Dance Like Nobody Is Watching

As much as she LOVED all our friends and family who joined us at the beach to celebrate her birthday, this one always finds a few moments to dance her way into her own beautiful little world. It is a good thing to have kids as role models in our lives.


Submitted to the Rock The Shot August Photo Challenge at



Vanilla Einkorn Flour Cupcakes with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I love Einkorn.

At first, I loved einkorn because it was the first wheat flour alternative to modern wheat that my family could eat and enjoy without allergies and tummy aches flaring up. But now I love einkorn as an ingredient in and of itself, not just because it’s good enough to replace modern wheat; it’s delicious!


If you’re not familiar with einkorn, it’s basically modern wheat’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-(etc)-grandparent. It’s a non-hybridized ancient wheat with different types of gluten than what has been developed in today’s wheat. Some people who have difficulty with modern wheat find they can tolerate einkorn with no problem. You can read all about einkorn here.

So far I’ve managed to easily and successfully replace modern wheat with einkorn flour in just about all of my old baking recipes. One of my favorites is this recipe for Very Vanilla Cupcakes topped with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting. The recipe is simple and straightforward, and a great way to start using einkorn flour!


* A note about ingredients: To meet my family’s needs, we choose pastured butter and eggs, sea salt, organic unrefined cane juice, chocolate without soy, naturally dyed sprinkles, aluminum-free baking powder, and raw milk and cream. Some of that is not affordable, difficult to find, or even illegal in some areas! Just make the best choices available to you and aim for high quality ingredients for a delicious end product.

Vanilla Cake

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups Jovial einkorn flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz chocolate, chopped (milk or dark – your choice!)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with 24 paper baking cups.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a hand mixer), beat the eggs on medium-low speed until light yellow and foamy, about 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer to medium-high and slowly pour the hot melted butter into the eggs, allowing the mixture to temper so the eggs don’t scramble. Once the butter is added, reduce mixer speed to medium-low again.

Add the milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix for about a minute, until well combined.

Sift together the flower, sugar, and baking powder and add to the batter. Mix on medium until just combined. Remove the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Fill the prepared cake cups about 2/3 full. You will have enough batter for 20 to 24 cupcakes.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when lightly touched.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Once the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting. Pour the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just starting to simmer (do not boil). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until completely smooth. Refrigerate until firm but not hard, about 45 minutes.

When the cupcakes are cool and the chocolate is firm, remove the chocolate ganache from the fridge and beat with a hand mixer until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Frost your cupcakes with a knife or piping bag, top as desired, share and enjoy!

Backyard Eggs Made Easy

Fresh eggs right outside your door… for many of us, it sounds too good to be true! I have several neighbors and friends who have started keeping backyard chickens recently, and while I always loved the idea of it, the details were too overwhelming for me to actually take the plunge.

In fact, if it were not for The Easy Chicken, I would still be dreaming about backyard eggs instead of watching the kids bring them in each day.

The Easy Chicken is a Saint Louis company that provides everything you need for backyard chickens, from the coop and feed to the hens themselves, as well as help with any regulation compliance necessary in your area. Here’s a peek at how they calmed my backyard chicken fears…

Where does one buy laying hens, anyway?

Or a coop or feed or a nesting box or whatever else chickens need to be happy, for that matter? These are not things I see on my weekly shopping trips. The Easy Chicken not only solved that problem by providing everything we needed, but they delivered the whole package to our yard. I didn’t have to figure out how to transport chickens home in my car, and I didn’t even have to haul that huge bag of feed up my driveway.

Is my yard even suitable for chickens?

Our yard is small, full of kids’ toys, has a lot of rocks and mulch and not a lot of grass, and we live in a city neighborhood. This was one of my biggest mental blocks: figuring out if chickens were even feasible or could be happy in our yard. Seth and Maria at The Easy Chicken helped us determine the best way to keep the chickens where we wanted them, and it turns out our yard is working just fine for them. Even if we didn’t have a fenced space where the chickens can free range during the day, the coop they provide is built to be mobile, so 2 to 4 hens will be comfortable living full time in the coop if necessary. All we would have to do is wheel it to a new spot now and then to give them a fresh space for hunting bugs and other goodies out of the grass and dirt.


What if I get chickens and they go and decide not to lay any eggs?

Apparently figuring out why a hen isn’t laying can be a bit like sleuthing out a mystery, but that is one mystery I won’t have to solve (unlike where in my house is hiding the left shoe of all three pairs of my toddler’s shoes).  My hens from The Easy Chicken are guaranteed to lay, so if I have any trouble, all I have to do is give them a call. But so far, no trouble!


Am I going to be housing chickens in my basement over the winter?

One of my favorite things about our chickens is that the kids consider them delightful pets, but they never have to come into my house (it resembles a barn often enough without actual animals inside). If we keep the chickens over the winter, they should be nice and cozy in their coop. But the hens’ egg production goes way down in the colder months (did you know eggs are truly a seasonal food?), so with the rental package if we decide we would rather only have charge of the chickens when they are laying, we can simply return the whole package to The Easy Chicken at the end of the peak egg season.

Do I need a license? Do chickens carry any diseases? What kitchen scraps can I feed them? Are my chickens going to take flight over my fence resulting in me chasing a flock of flapping birds up and down the street while the neighborhood kids chuckle from their porches? Do chickens pose any threat to my kids if they’re sharing space, or vice versa? How long does a hen lay? If we purchase a package, what do I do with a hen when it gets too old to lay? Will the chickens destroy my lawn/landscaping? Is it going to be like an Easter egg hunt every day, searching out eggs the hens lay all over the yard? Are they noisy? Can I use the poop in my compost or garden? Are there chicken predators in this area?

The folks at The Easy Chicken took care of all my questions before we decided to get the chickens and even more questions during our initial set-up and consultation, and they had some other useful tips as well (thank you, chickens, for preparing my garden beds for planting!). That’s the final calming piece of their offering: a hotline for any and all hen- and egg-related questions that might come up as you get to know your backyard flock.

And let me just reiterate that my kids could not be happier. They fill the food and water, collect the eggs, close up the coop in the evening, let the hens out in the morning, feed the chickens scraps, and want to know everything there is to know about chickens.


And did I mention the eggs are delicious? I guess that goes without saying. And if you’ve been finding it difficult to locate non-GMO eggs (from chickens fed non-GMO feed), you can even upgrade to the organic non-GMO feed The Easy Chicken has sourced.

It’s kind of like they thought of everything.

So if you are in the St. Louis area and want to learn more about backyard eggs made easy, check out The Easy Chicken web site, find them on Facebook, or just drop them a line:

The Easy Chicken Contact Info
Telephone: 314.852.2802

They will also be at a few farmers’ markets on various dates this summer where you can stop by, ask questions, and arrange for your own flock of backyard hens:


The peak laying season is just around the corner – contact them now to get the most out of your backyard hens this summer!


*Obligatory disclaimer: We are happy to call Seth and Maria, owners of The Easy Chicken, local friends of ours. But friends or not, I would not have made our backyard hens a reality without The Easy Chicken, and I would not have written this post if I wasn’t truly happy with our experience with both our chickens and their company as a whole.