Homemade Bread

I've always loved making bread, but I've never really been good at it. I think it was a mixture of having old ingredients and having wrist problems that has prevented me from really kneading the dough as much as it should. This year for Christmas, my boyfriend got me an amazing Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and it has totally changed my baking experiences. It just takes all the work out of it and it becomes fun again like it used to be when I was a kid.


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour


In a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Stir in remaining flour until a it starts to form a soft dough ball (1/2 cup at a time). Make sure to turn off your mixer while you add the flour.

Turn your mixer on and mix for about 4 minutes, until the dough starts climbing up the dough hook. If you are mixing by hand, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about and hour and a half.

Punch the dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface; dived dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf. Place the loaves into two greased 9x5 in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 30-45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. 

Optional: Put a bit of melted butter on the top of your loaf to make it look nicer.

Foraging P - S

Hey guys, here are some more foraging information. I hope you find it useful and get a chance to use it at some point in your life. I am currently making a survival binder for my home in case of an emergency where I don't have the ability to look at this information online. Just a reminder again that foraging can be dangerous, please don't eat anything unless you are sure of what it is. Incorrect identification can cause serious illness or may lead to death.

Pearly Everlasting

The leaves and young plants can be cooked. It grows in open, disturbed areas in foothill, montane, and sub-alpine areas.


These sweet native fruits are not pretty, but their sweet taste makes them a very popular wild food. Persimmon fruit has 16 calories per ounce, along with vitamins A and C. Look for wrinkled fruits in late October. They are very bitter and give you a strong case of cotton mouth if they are not yet ripe

Pineapple Weed

Edible parts: Pineapple weed flowers and leaves are a tasty finger food while hiking or toss in salads. Flowers can also be dried out and crushed so that it can be used as flour. As with chamomile, pineapple weed is very good as a tea. Native Americans used a leaf infusion (medicine prepared by steeping flower or leaves in a liquid without boiling) for stomach gas pains and as a laxative.
Flower heads are edible raw. Plants can be eaten raw, though bitter. Plants can be powdered and sprinkled on meat to reduce spoilage and keep away flies. Grows on roadsides and disturbed ground in plains, foothills, and montane regions.

Pine Needles

Can be made into tea and is high in vitamin C, making it a great remedy for the common cold. Also
contains vitamin A and beta-carotene. Most varieties are safe, however make sure you don’t harvest from yew, Norfolk Island pine or Ponderosa Pine, which are poisonous
There are over a hundred different species of pine. Not only can the food be used as a supply of nourishment but, also can be used for medicinal purposes. Simmer a bowl of water and add some pine needles to make tea. Native americans used to ground up pine to cure skurvy, its rich in vitamin C.

Pine Nuts

The nuts of any large pine tree are a classic western survival food. Measuring 172 calories per ounce, these nuts are high fat, with some protein and carbohydrates. Pine nuts are also a good source of thiamin and manganese, with a decent array of other B vitamins and minerals.


You can usually find plantains in wet areas like marshes and bogs, but they’ll also sprout in alpine
areas. The oval, ribbed, short-stemmed leaves tend to hug the ground. The leaves may ground up to about 6” long and 4” wide. It’s best to east the leaves when they’re young. Like most plants, the leaves tend to get bitter tasting as they mature. Plantain is very high in vitamin A and calcium, also provides a bit of vitamin C.
Is another one of those plants that seems to thrive right on the edge of gardens and driveways, but it’s also edible. Pick the green, rippled leaves and leave the tall flower stems. Blanch the leaves and sauté with some butter and garlic just as you would with kale or any other tough green.
Young leaves can be eaten raw. Leaves are best finely chopped or when cooked with fibers removed. Seeds can be dried and ground into flour/meal. Varieties in Manitoba are Common plantain and Narrow-leaved plantain. Grows in a wide range of areas, including disturbed/cultivated soil in plains, foothills, and montane regions.

Prairie Turnip

Tuber is edible raw. Tuber is best when gathered when tops begin to die. Tuber can be dried for storage. Tuber can be ground into flour. Tuber is palatable and nutritious. Tuber was traditionally an important food source. Grows in open woodlands, prairies and stream valleys. Warning: consuming the plant may trigger a photo sensitive reaction in some people, due to the presence of furanocoumarins.


While considered an obnoxious weed in the United States, Purslane can provide much needed vitamins and minerals in a wilderness survival situation. Ghandi numbered Purslane among his favorite foods. It’s a small plant with smooth fat leaves that have a refreshingly sour taste. Purslane grows from the beginning of summer to the start of fall. You can eat Purslane raw or boiled. If you’d like to remove the sour taste, boil the leaves before eating.


Leaves are edible raw. Raw leaves have a blandish taste. Leaves, stem and shoots are edible when cooked. Plants is suitable as a potherb. Plant can be dried and powered for use as a flavouring agent. The variety in Manitoba is Gallant soldier. Grows in disturbed sites.

Rose Hips

Can be eaten raw or boiled down for syrup, jam or tea. Like the taste of roses without tasting floral.
Boil for 12-15 of them for 3-5 minutes, smash them open with a spoon and let them steep for 20 minutes, strain and serve.
The fire-engine red fruits of wild roses are only 20 calories an ounce, but they are a good source of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin A and manganese. One ounce will provide close to your daily allowance of vitamin C.

Salsify (Goats beard, Oyster Plant)

Roots are edible raw. Roots can be dried and ground. Roots can be roasted as coffee substitute. Young leaves can be eaten raw. Young stalks and root crowns can be simmered. Varieties in Manitoba are Common salsify, Yellow salsify and Meadow salsify. Grows in dry, disturbed areas.


Edible and medicinal. The old way to make root beer was the root of this tree

Sassafras is a small to medium sized tree. The most defining characteristic of the tree is its 3 leaf forms. One is mitten-shaped, one is 3-lobed, and the last one has no lobes at all. None of the leaves are toothed. The berries are blue with a reddish stalk.
Leaves: As stated above, there are three forms of the leaves: One is mitten-shaped, one is 3-lobed, and the last one has no lobes at all.
Sassafras grows in old fields and at the boarders of woods. The roots of Sassafras can be boiled to make a tasty tea. Young leaves can be dried and crushed into a powder to thicken soup.
WARNING: Recent studies of Sassafras have proven that a chemical in the plant causes cancer in animals.

Sea Asparagus, Glasswort

Plant is edible raw but better when cooked/boiled. Top-half of stems can be harvested, allowing the bottom to grow a new shoot. Plant has a salty taste. Plant is best when gathered before flowering. The variety in Manitoba is Red glasswort 
Grows in saltwater marshes and in the salty soil near high-tide areas.

Sea Milkwort (Sea Milkweed)

Rhizome is edible after prolonged boiling. Young leaves can be used as a flavouring agent. Plant was traditionally consumed with grease, and only before bedtime, due to drowsiness effects. Grows in inland marshes, wet meadowlands, and coastal tidelines. Warning: may cause sleepiness and/or nausea if eaten in quantity.

“Self-Heal” Prunella Vulgaris

The young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads; the whole plant can be boiled and eaten as a potherb; and the aerial parts of the plant can be powdered and brewed in a cold infusion to make a tasty beverage. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids and rutin. Medicinally, the whole plant is poulticed onto wounds to promote healing. A mouthwash made from an infusion of the whole plant can be used to treat sore throats, thrush and gum infections. Internally, a tea can be used to treat diarrhea and internal bleeding. (Like all herbs, pregnant women and breast-feeding woman should consult a physician first before use) Leaves are edible raw. Leaves are suitable as a potherb. Leaves have a slightly bitter taste. Leaves taste best when cooked. Grows in lawns, fields and beside roads.


All parts of plant are edible raw. Older plants can be tenderized by adding pinch of baking soda to cooking water. Pods and seeds are edible, and taste peppery. Seeds can be parched and ground to flour. Roots can be eaten fresh or dried. Burning the plant results in ash that can be used as salt substitute and/or tenderizer. Grows in a wide range as a weed, especially in disturbed or cultivated areas. Warning: seeds may blister skin.

Sheep Sorrel

Common weed in fields, grasslands and woodlands. It flourishes in highly acidic soil. Sheep sorrel has a tall, reddish stem and can reach heights of 18 inches. Sheep sorrel contains oxalates and shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities. You can eat the leaves raw. They have a nice tart, almost lemony flavor.
Leaves are edible raw. Raw leaves may have bitter taste. Leaves are best when boiled in several changes of water. Warning: eat only moderate quantities of the raw plant due to oxalates, which block nutrient absorption.

Silver Orache

Leaves are edible raw. Leaves are suitable as a potherb in moderate amounts. Grows in open areas. deserts, and ground with high salt content, including the seaside.
Warning: seeds contain saponins and should not be consumed in extreme quantities. Warning: plant tends to concentrate harmful nitrates in their leaves, avoid harvesting plants which grow in artificial fertilizer.


Rhizomes are edible raw, though possibly bitter. Rhizomes is best when roasted, boiled, or fried for several minutes. Roots can be dried for storage. Roots are best when collected in autumn or spring. Varieties in Manitoba are Common silverweed and Pacific silverweed. Grows in moist, open areas in plains, foothills, and montane regions.

Sow Thistle

Young leaves are edible raw. Young leaves are best after boiling in at least one change of water. Varieties in Manitoba are Perennial sow thistle, Prickly sow thistle and Annual sow thistle. Grows by roadways and in disturbed areas.


Leaves are edible raw. Leaves are best harvested when young. Leaves have a taste that ranges from dull to peppery. Stems and flowers are edible raw. Plant is high in vitamin C. Plant is suitable as a potherb. The variety in Manitoba is American speedwell. Grows in meadows, steam banks, forested areas and disturbed sites. Warning: avoid consuming plants growing near polluted water.



Leaves are edible raw. Leaves are best when young. Leaves have a sharp flavour similar to parsley. Leaves are suitable as a potherb. Grows in open areas, fields, and disturbed sites.

Sweet Gale

Leaves are edible raw. Leaves and nutlets are suitable for soups and cooking. Grows in thickets and moist areas at low elevations. Leaves can be used to repel insects. Warning: this plant should not be consumed by pregnant women, since it can induce abortions.


Rhizome is edible raw. Rhizome can be made tender by prolonged boiling. Rhizome is best when peeled and cooked, either by boiling or roasting.
Central core of young shoots is edible raw. Young spadix is edible raw. Plant is an effective insect repellent. The variety in Manitoba is American Sweetflag. Grows in marshes, quiet water, and wet, open areas.

Sweet Rocket

This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals; Dame’s Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads. NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.

DIY Laying Brick for a Hearth

So as many of you know, I've been saying that we've been working on our hearth for our wood stove for quite a few months. And I'm sure your all ready to see what it looks like, I know I was excited to see the final product. So I'm going to go through it with you step by step so that you can do it to. I don't know about you, but our electricity bills just keep going up and up and it's really getting ridiculous, our last one was $500. Anyways, we had decided quite a while ago to convert to a wood stove, not only to save money but also because we love the look of them and the smell. Plus we are surrounded by bush and there is no chance of having to buy any wood.

So our project originally started off fairly simple, there was already a foundation for the hearth, we just need to replace the top layer with bricks, luckily the wall pieces were already there. So this is what it looked like to begin with.

Just in case you can't tell from these photos, the top of this hearth is laminate, and the sides are carpet. Not sure what the previous people who owned our house were thinking. But the backing is actual brick which was a great time saver for us. (Yes I know that carpet it nasty, we got rid of it).
 So we obviously had to remove the laminate, but this is what happened.

So we took the top off, and opened a can of worms. Or mice I guess... Yes that is a mice nest. Thank God we did this in the summer and there wasn't any in there!!! So that changed our plans right away. First thing we did was stop and go outside. Do not breath this stuff in. We went to the store and got those masks, and some bleach and spray bottles. Put equal parts bleach and water in there and start spraying. Thankfully I have a brave boyfriend and he scooped all that into a bag and i didn't have to deal with it. Then we sprayed some more.

We didn't want to keep wood that was soak with mouse pee and poo so we started from the ground up. There was scratches in the floor from them too, it was so gross. So we were planning on painting the floor in there anyways, because we are allergic to dust and these particle floors in trailers are really bad for it, so we were using the garage floor sealer stuff. So we painted over this too, and we haven't had any mice yet this year (yay!!)

So then we had the opportunity to change the shape of the thing because it was really weirdly shaped. And we just started cutting. (turns out we had some major difficulties with the angles we choose but that's a little later on).

After we got the main shape we started adding bracing, mainly vertically. We though we had enough new wood but we ended up using a few scrap pieces that were nailed together, it didn't really need that, we were just being lazy haha.

Then we added the horizontal pieces were the wood stove was going to sit for a little extra protection. Our wood stove is huge. And we shoved it in place (man that thing was heavy)

Next thing we did was put plywood (not osb, this is super important, you will see why in a few steps). Which I apparently didn't get a photo of, but then we put the bricks around just to see what it looked like.

Ok I'm sure that you are wondering, we just used pre-made mortar, the have it at Home Depot or your local home improvement store. Said it was for bricks and masonry, that's what you want. So we mixed up some mortar, it should show the ratio on the bag, if not you kind of want it sort of thick but not so much that it will dry before you use it all. Also once you mix it you have to use it, so make small batches. It's really scary at first I am telling you that right now. At least all of these bricks below that we laid we were zero percent confident, but we kept going, that's what you have to do because that's how you gain the confidence. So I'm going to share a tip here with you which is something we found out by accident, the more water on your surface and brick the better. It sounds silly but it really helps the mortar stick on there and easier to spread. Put water on the plywood using a cloth (this is why you can't use osb) and all sides of the brick that is getting mortar on it and the bricks beside it. Use a bucket and an old rag. Also I want to mention if you get some mortar on the tops or sides of the bricks that is ok, it wipes off fairly easily with a cloth and water. Be sure to use to separate buckets of water and cloths though as they do get rather dirty, and you want the one your using to clean them to be, well, clean. The other one it doesn't really matter, since your putting mortar on the places your wetting down.

This is what you want to do: First wet your plywood base, then wet the side of your brick that are getting mortared and any bricks beside it that will have mortar on them. Next put some mortar on the plywood and level it out with your trowel, run the extras up the sides of the bricks surrounding if there are any, if not, scrap the excess off and put it back into your bucket. Put a little bit on the bottom of your brick, just a thin layer. Then you really want to layer on the side(s) and push it up against the other bricks or the wall. Mortar will squeeze out, that is ok. You want to run your finger along the edges (or your trowel, whichever you prefer) to get rid of the excess. Make sure you have it in the place that you want it, once those are dry, they are on there. This is the point where you can wipe down the tops and sides of the bricks with a wet cloth, the sooner you do it the better, but it can still come off if you let it dry, it just requires more elbow grease.

You might want to get an actual masonry trowel, but we didn't because they are expensive and we are cheap so we just got a cheap drywall one. Which in all reality didn't really work all that well, we got some rubber gloves and put those on and just started using our hands, and once we did that everything started working way faster. At this point I know you are wondering, why is there more plywood in the center there now? Well our big slab bricks were 1/4 inch smaller than the other ones, so this was the fastest way to make everything even.

Just a quick note about cutting the bricks. I will defiantly recommend you go and get yourself a diamond cutting blade. They are meant to cut masonry and it works fairly well, we got one for our grinder, because our circular saw bit the dust (pun intended) earlier in the year and we hadn't gotten around to getting another one yet. But keep in mind the size of your bricks compared to the size of the blade, my boyfriend had to cut one side and then flip it over and cut the other side. We used an angle finder for the angles and a little bit of guess work. Turned out we had exactly one half of the red bricks left over. That's cutting it close!! (pun intended again)

Note: your floor will get really messy. If you have nice flooring that you are planing on keeping, I would highly recommend that you put down some plastic. Otherwise your floor will look like ours does, and I'm pretty sure we already swept it up. But it is really easy to get off, just sweep up the lumps and then mop.

There, we finally got it done. This week we are going to move the wood stove on and get the chimney installed. Which I'm sure will be it's own box of worms. Maybe I'll have to post a whole other post about it (man I hope not). Until then!

Foraging M - O

Hey guys, I'm back again with another foraging post, which I'm sure you were looking forward to. I just want to remind you all that the below information is second hand information that I've collected over the years through the internet and books, so please use caution when trying any of the below. Incorrect plant identification can be extremely dangerous, and can cause you to be very ill or worse case you could die. Use at your own risk.


Mallow is a soft tasty leaf good in fresh salads. Use it like lettuce and other leafy greens. You may find the smaller younger leaves a tad tenderer. Toss in salads, or cook as you would other tender greens like spinach. The larger leave can be used for stuffing, like grape leaves. The seed pods are also edible while green and soft before they harden, later turning woody and brown. I hear they can be cooked like a vegetable. I’ve harvested and eaten them raw, and want to try steaming, pickling, fermenting, and preparing like okra.

Mallow Malva Neglecta

Edible parts: All parts of the mallow plant are edible — the leaves, the stems, the flowers, the seeds,
and the roots (it’s from the roots that cousin Althaea gives the sap that was used for marshmallows). Because it’s a weed that grows plentifully in neglected areas, mallows have been used throughout history as a survival food during times of crop failure or war. Mallows are high in mucilage, a sticky substance that gives them a slightly slimy texture, like okra, great in soups. Mallow has a nice pleasant nutty flavor. One of the most popular uses of mallows is as a salad green. (Like all herbs, pregnant women and breast-feeding woman should consult a physician first before use)


Their flavor is citrusy. Usually only the petals are used. No green parts.  I also use them for yellow coloring in various dishes. They’re another flower called the “poor man’s saffron” the other being the Calendula.


Leaves are edible when cooked; boil 10-60 minutes, until tender.
roots can be cooked and eaten. The variety in Manitoba is Yellow marsh-marigold. Grows in wet, open areas in montane, subalpine and alpine regions. Warning: eat in moderation, avoid uncooked young leaves and flowers.


Also known as: Maids of the Meadow, Meadow-sweet, Meadows Queen, Meadwort, Queen of the Meadow
An herbaceous perennial up to 1.2 m (4 ft.) high with long-stemmed leaves, it has large, dense, umbrella-like heads of creamy-white flowers that emit a sweet but sickly fragrance from early summer to early autumn.
You’ll find it: in wet, damp woods and meadows; also in marshes and fens and alongside streams and ditches.
Leaves: pleasantly aromatic, dark green leaves, each formed of two to five pairs of tooth-edged leaflets. Leaves have greyish-white undersides
Harvesting the leaves: cut while young and fresh and before eaten by insects.
Using the leaves and flowers: chop up young leaves and use to flavour soups. Dried leaves have been used to introduce aromatic aromas to wines, as well as to mead. Flowers when added to beer and wine are claimed to make a stronger and headier brew, and introduces sweetness when used in cold drinks and fruit salads during summer.
Medicinal Values of Meadowsweet
Young leaves and flowers are occasionally infused together to make a tea that is claimed to ease the common cold, soothe inflammatory problems and calm stomach complaints. The plant contains the chemicals that are used to produce aspirin.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is most commonly sought for its medical properties of preventing and repairing liver damage. But most parts of the plants are also edible and tasty. Until recently, it was commonly cultivated in European vegetable gardens. Leaves can be de-spined for use as salad greens or sautéed like collard greens; water-soaked stems prepared like asparagus; roots boiled or baked; flower pods used like artichoke heads.

Miner’s Lettuce

Flowers, Leaves, Root. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. A bland flavor with a mucilaginous texture, it is quite nice in a salad. The young leaves are best, older leaves can turn bitter especially in the summer and if the plant is growing in a hot dry position. Although individual leaves are small, they are produced in abundance and are easily picked. Stalks and flowers can be eaten raw. A nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb also can be eaten raw. Although very small and labour-intensive to harvest, the boiled and peeled root has the flavor of chestnuts. Another report says that the plant has a fibrous root system, so this report seems to be inaccurate.

Mullein Verbascum Thapsus

Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. The flowers are fragrant and taste sweet; the leaves are not fragrant and taste slightly bitter. This plant is best known for a good cup of tea and can be consumed as a regular beverage. Containing vitamins B2, B5, B12, and D, choline, hesperidin, para amino benzoic acid, magnesium, and sulfur, but mullein tea is primarily valued as an effective treatment for coughs and lung disorders.


Mulberry leaves have two types, one spade shape and a 5-fingered leaf. Both have pointed edges

Musk Mallow

Leaves are edible raw. Young leaves are tenderer and less bitter than older leaves. Young shoots are edible raw. Leaves are suitable as a soup thickener. Seeds are edible raw. Seeds have a palatable, nut-like flavour. Flower buds and flowers are edible. Fruits are edible. Grows in meadows, roadsides, disturbed sites and gardens.


They all have yellow to white blossoms, sometimes pink, usually a simple cross which is there the family names Cruciferae comes from. They range from the Mustard that produces the seed that makes the condiment to the radish in our salad to the plant that produces what eventually is cleaned and deodorized into Canola oil. In northern climates they are a spring and summer plant. Wild radish and wild mustard look similar but have small differences. One is that Mustards grow tall, radishes like to serpentine. Radish blossoms cluster and have noticeable veins, mustard blossoms are singular, and the veins are not obvious. The seeds pods are different as well. Mustard’s pod is smooth, the radish jointed and why the mustard is called the charlock and the radish the jointed charlock. Their blossoms are both peppery and mustardy. They work best in cold salads or hot soups, the latter they can be tossed in just before serving. And of course, Mustard and radish leaves can be cooked up as greens.


The blossoms are peppery. In fact, the entire plant above ground is edible, even the seeds which can be pickled and used like capers. Multi-colored, low growing or trailing, Nasturtiums are often used in kid projects because the seeds are large, they’re fast to germinate and grow, safe, and edible.

Northern Water Plantain

Bulbous base of plant is edible raw. Plant has a strong flavour. Plant is best when dried and cooked. Grows in ponds and marshes. Warning: may cause a skin reaction and be poisonous to some people, use with caution


There are some 400 species in the Allium association if you include Onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and closely related ramps/leeks, the latter having wide leaves. Usually the flowers have a stronger flavor than the leafy parts, and the developing seed head even stronger flavor. Blossoms are usually white but can also be pink. Onion stems are round, as are chives but smaller. Garlic leaves are flat. Ramps and leeks have large leaves.

Oxeye Daisy

Young leaves can be eaten raw. Leaves have a strong taste. Spring shoots are edible raw. Roots are edible raw. Unopened flower buds can be used for flavouring. Grows in fields, pastured, disturbed areas and roadsides.

Homemade Bread

I've always loved making bread, but I've never really been good at it. I think it was a mixture of having old ingredients and having...