Monthly Archives: February 2015


Grinding My Own Grain!

My husband bought me a grain grinder for my birthday.

I’m really not sure what this says about me. But between the grain grinder and the backyard chickens, I sense that I’m crossing some sort of line. Some line manned by alternative hippy dippies and paranoid survivalists. (Is this a bad time to mention that I haven’t used conventional deodorant in over a year? I swear, I don’t stink though.)

Anyway, I now grind my own grain. I fantasized aloud back in September about how nice it would be to have freshly ground grain – since it tastes so much better that way. And then my supply at Whole Foods dried up. For over 5 months they had no whole grain spelt.

So my husband bought me a grain grinder for my birthday!

It’s a Wonder Mill Jr. It’s hand powered, not electric, because I thought it would be more durable. Theoretically, this thing should last my lifetime and beyond! You can buy an attachment to use your drill to do the grinding, but we haven’t tried that out. So far it’s just been manual labor all the way. But I have two slaves children to do said manual labor, so it’s not so bad!

One slave child is particularly enthusiastic about the grinding.

IMG_4991 grinding spelt

Grind baby grind!


We have this policy of whoever walks into the back room (where the grinder is set up) has to do a few cranks on the grinder. This started out working great, but lately production has dramatically dropped. (I’m going to have to break out the whips soon.)

I bought a ridiculous amount of spelt berries from a farm in Idaho. $50 for 50 lb, which is really good. Unfortunately, the shipping cost as much as the spelt – which is NOT so good! After this runs out, my next goal is to find a source that’s more local so that I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg just to get it to me.

spelt spelt

I poured it into two buckets with air-tight lids. The whole berries should keep this way indefinitely.

spelt spelt

And the verdict? Is there really a difference between freshly ground and store bought flour?

Yes! I’ve so far made biscuits, banana bread, dumplings (chicken and dumplings), cookies, and rolls with the flour, and they all taste noticeably better! They’re light and tender and delicious! I have noticed that some of the ratios are different, though. For example, my biscuits take much less liquid with the freshly ground flour than the pre-ground stuff.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to buy a grinder and start grinding their own grain. The VitaSpelt from Whole Foods worked just fine for me before they stopped selling it. (The Bob’s Red Mill brand spelt, however, tastes AWFUL. Truly, truly awful. Don’t bother with it.) But if anyone out there is curious and does want to, I can testify that it is worth it and is delicious. And we’ve been very happy with the Wonder Mill. I suspect it will outlast me on this planet.

And, don’t worry. I don’t really think owning a grain mill actually makes you a paranoid survivalist. (Unless you also have a cellar full of canned goods and a stockpile of weapons. Then you might be.) But it DOES make you one seriously good cook!




hot chocolate

World’s Best Hot Chocolate

There’ve been some pretty cold days here in Pennsylvania lately. And with cold days comes craving for hot drinks. We all enjoy Cranberry Cider Swizzle, and at bedtime I love a mug of honey-sweetened Cardamom Milk, and there’s always tea. But on certain days – especially snowy days when you come in from sledding and playing outside – nothing will do but hot chocolate!

Here’s our go-to hot chocolate. It is the best hot chocolate you will ever drink in your whole life. I don’t mean, it’s “pretty good for being healthier for you.” I mean, it will blow that packet of Swiss Miss out of the water and make you wonder why you ever put that stuff in your mouth. It is rich, chocolatey, and deeply satisfying. Every single person who has ever had it has said, “Wow! How do you make this!” and can hardly believe how good it is. So, if you’ve been used to making instant hot chocolate packets, try this instead. It’s cheaper, healthier, and waaayyyy tastier!

And – bonus of bonuses – not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s also made with a minimum of sweeteners and only natural, whole-food ingredients! So you can drink this (as long as you’re not highly inflammatory at the moment) and give this to your family and feel good about it!!

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