The Past 20 Months

I’ve been trying to figure out what the “next chapter” of this blog would be, while I also figure out how to balance all of the aspects of our lives with a child in it. I realized it will be what it always is, a mix of homesteading and humor, just with a kid involved now. The truth is I don’t post his face a whole lot on Instagram, so it probably won’t be posted on here full-out much either. It’s a personal choice and absolutely no judgement on individuals who choose differently.

Here’s where we are now, 20 months after welcoming an incredible, super fun, sweet, intelligent and energetic boy into our world.

  • We have a child who will be referenced as “E” here on the blog. So, that’s huge.
  • The dogs are now seniors. Winnie is ten years old and Rosie will be ten in April. While it’s difficult watching them age, they are still up to the same antics they’ve always been up to, and it both makes me mad and warms my heart.
  • We still homestead as much as we can. We’re getting back into the swing of things now that E is a bit older.
  • I still have a full-time career in the communications field. As always, I save the writing/grammar police for my job and don’t worry about it too much on here.
  • I still run Green Barn Soaps on a primarily seasonal (October-December) basis. The website is up year-round, and I do ship year-round, but at this time I very rarely make product before August.
  • To decompress I do yoga and run; though I’m just getting back into running. Yoga has been my saving grace for years at this point and I love it. I particularly love going to studios because I do what they tell me, relax, retain nothing, and go home and forget how to do any of it. Just how I want it.
  • Also, to decompress, I sew kids clothing for friends/family and the occasional custom order when I have time.
  • I’m in my final year of graduate school and expect to graduate December 2018. You have no idea (or maybe you do) just how relieving this is.
  • The other big change since I left writing here is that while we dabbled in it before, we now eat a primarily whole-foods, plant-based diet. This has meant removing oils from our house, reducing salt, reducing intake of highly processed foods, and no animal products with the exception of a very rare occasion and even then it’s a super minimal amount. That might sound restrictive, but it leaves a bountiful amount of food left in the world to enjoy including grains, flours, egg-free pastas, roots, squashes, beans, lentils, peas, fruits, veggies, etc. Yes, our child is raised this way, we aren’t nutrient deficient, and friends and family leave our house full with warm bellies. We feel, for our family, a WFPB diet is best for us and our needs. Recipe posts in the past that contain animal product will stay up, but new recipes will not contain animal products. I think it is important for me to genuinely say with respect that our choice to do a WFPB diet is not an attack on other food choices of other individuals and their families. This is just our journey. If you’d like to learn more about a WFPB diet, www.nutritionfacts.org is a great place to start.

xo,

Heather

Photo courtesy of Lucharelle Photography

Oatmeal Truffles {Vegan Friendly}

I used to be terrified of failure. Then it hit me that failure is the only way to learn, and that at least I tried and can say I gave it my all. I still struggle with it sometimes, but this acceptance of failure has led me to do some pretty ridiculous things that sometimes work out, and sometimes don’t. Like, starting my own handmade soap company because why not (worked out), and building a super classy potato box last year just to see if they were any good (sort of worked out, but decided against one for 2014 since we’re trying a new method).

One of the places I’ve learned to accept and love failure is in the kitchen. Love might be a strong word, but I love that it forces me to just go for it, experiment, try something new, and learn from it when it dies in a blaze of glory and curses. It’s a growing opportunity. Sometimes things succeed exceptionally well which of course makes me feel like I could win “Worst Cooks Ever” on the Food Network, and sometimes—just sometimes—the happy accident happens. Which is, of course, my very favorite thing to happen in the kitchen because it means you end up with something better than you intended. That’s a straight up win in my book.

Oatmeal Truffles (1)This weekend I had a happy accident which started with the following train of thought, all in about 2 minutes.

“I can make granola. I bet I can make granola bars.”

“Ohh, what if I made chewy granola bars?”

“How on earth do you make chewy granola bars?”

“Where’s my phone?”

“Oh, that’s how you make them? Wait, this ones different. So is this one.”

“I’ll wing it. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll bake whatever happens into granola clusters or something.”

That, my friends, is how delicious Oatmeal Truffles were born. You are welcome.

The granola bars were on par to be pretty delicious, but I must have added too much agave or not enough coconut oil or something. They were just a little too sticky and drooped in bar form. I started squeezing the bar to see if it was just a compression thing. As I did that, I ended up with a ball. At that point I genuinely did not care that I didn’t have granola bars anymore.

Oatmeal Truffles (2)This is where, in happy accident land, a light bulb went off. I ran into the pantry and grabbed my raw cocoa powder and shredded coconut while I completely and blissfully forgot about any granola bars that might have been in another space and time.

Oatmeal Truffles (5)You get where this is going, right?

Oatmeal Truffles (6) Oatmeal Truffles (7) Oatmeal Truffles (8) Oatmeal Truffles (9)I even put my fancy pants on and did a single line of chocolate around while leaving the ends plain. Then I ate it immediately after taking a picture.

Oatmeal Truffles (10)I’ve got to tell you guys something. These are delicious and surprisingly filling. They taste like no-bake cookies but without the butter/dairy. I ended up deciding the best combination was a mix of chocolate and coconut together, which you can see below. One other happy accident I found, but isn’t pictured here, is that if after you coat the balls in chocolate you can keep rolling them in your hands and the chocolate absorbs into the peanut butter oils and makes a nice non-powdery coating.

Oatmeal Truffles (1)At the end of the day, I’m pretty excited I didn’t end up with granola bars. These are so darn good. I’m going to wing giving you guys a recipe just like I winged these. Pretty much once your mixture can easily hold together in ball form you’re good to go. Remember one tip though, it’s kind of a compressing into a ball motion versus a quick roll to make it all stick. These are vegan-friendly and even raw-vegan-friendly if you use raw nut butter! I think what I like most about these is that they are not overly sweet. I’m not huge on sugary sweet desserts and these fit the bill. It’s also pretty easy to be satisfied with one or two, since they’re very dense and filling.

I know these won’t save the world, but happy, not hangry, people make good decisions and express kindness to others. That’s got to count for something, right?

Oatmeal Truffles
A delicious happy accident that tastes somewhat like a no-bake cookie, and is vegan-friendly and raw-vegan friendly (if you use raw nut butter).
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Mixture
  1. 3 cups thick cut oats
  2. 1/4 cup agave nectar
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 1/4 cup coconut oil (I'm not sure this is definitely needed, experiment!)
  5. 1/8 - 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  6. Few tablespoons chia seeds
  7. Few tablespoons shredded coconut (I use dried shredded, not moist)
Exterior
  1. Shredded Coconut
  2. Raw Cocoa Powder
  3. Baking Chocolate
  4. Whatever else dried product you want to roll them in
Instructions
  1. If using coconut oil, melt before adding. It helps to add in the peanut butter to the coconut oil to melt everything down before mixing to coat the oats evenly. Add all "mixture" ingredients in a bowl and combine. Set mixture in the fridge to cool for an hour. Test to see if the mixture can hold ball shape by grabbing a small handful and compressing into a ball and then rolling around in your palms. They should hold up pretty solid. If they don't hold add more peanut butter (or play around to see what works best for you).
  2. Once they hold, roll into balls and roll in your mixtures to coat. Place in a single layer and put back in the fridge to fully set up.
  3. Now, eat!
Notes
  1. You want these to be cold when you're working with them. The heat of your hands will begin to melt the peanut butter/coconut oil. If they get too warm just put the mixture back in the fridge to chill again before continuing.
Like A Cup of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
xo,

Heather