Live Life Farm

Enjoying the simple things everyday

Category: Food

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

We have been making bread for over a year now! It’s an exciting venture because we no longer rely on preservatives and can add ingredients that we love. I was working with white bread and decided I needed to find a way to make a softer wheat bread that my kids would LOVE! I am sharing some top secret tips (not anymore) to making soft bread. First, I really believe the bread machine is the key ingredient. We love our Zojirushi bread maker. The 2lb maker has 2 paddles and is similar to what you get at the store. Next, I needed to design a recipe that made a 1 1/2 lb loaf because my kids need smaller portions for now.

Love these 2 paddles to make great even loaves, though I don’t like that no matter how much I soak and scrub I cannot get the pan perfectly clean. Luckily, this does not impact the bread at all.

Always be sure to list the ingredients in order when using a bread machine. I also use warm water to start, even though my bread machine does preheat.

Add water, then your flour…..then I add the other ingredients to the side, EXCEPT the yeast.

Then I make a nice well with my finger, really no need to be technical. Yes, I did wash my hands.

I buy the larger containers of yeast because we make a TON of bread! When I first open the yeast it is really fresh so I just add 2 tsp of yeast. Towards the end of the jar, I end up adding more, almost 3. Told you I was giving away all of my secrets to perfect bread every time.

Add the yeast to the well you made


Throw that baby in and get ready for the magic. But first, check your settings. I use whole wheat setting and take it out 30 minutes prior to end of cook time so that I get less crust and more of a soft bread. The only issue I have noticed is that the bread is not usually uniform on each end. But it tastes better than perfect in a sandwich!

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread
This is a nice soft loaf of bread that kids will devour! There are no preservatives, just really great bread for sandwiches.
Course Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
  1. To make your bread, add all ingredients in the exact order listed. For a better rise, be sure to use warm water.
  2. Program for basic wheat bread. Adjust the cook timer so that it takes off 25-30 minutes of the actual bake time. I time the bread and take it out when I see that it is not yet brown. Almost always 30 minutes prior to done. If you like a crusty bread you make let it cook the entire time.
  3. Take bread out to cool. The "keep warm" function keeps your bread warm but also continues to cook it! Set on counter. While still slightly warm I bag my bread to keep it soft.
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Breakfast Hobie Pies

This is one of our family favorite camping meals. Breakfast is huge while we are camping, but even better over a hot fire on a cold weekend. It also didn’t hurt that we had leftover BACON! We are huge bacon fans over here, especially slow cooked. I will share that recipe later.  Back to the cold… was so cold that it SNOWED! Yes, snow in May! Even up in Michigan that is just unacceptable.

Back to the recipe…..First, start with the basics. Eggs, buttered bread, cheese, and bacon. If you need another meat, feel free…..but I cannot approve because bacon is just too good to pass up. Cheese is another story.  A sharp cheddar would be amazing but we are dealing with little picky kids over here. American is the way we roll for many of our egg recipes.

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Now comes the assembly. Pretty easy really. We just make sure to wedge the bread in so that it “holds” the egg. Basically, try to make a bit of a “bowl” out of the bread so your egg stays where you want it….oh, and have a level pie iron.


Now, I must change topics yet again. Pie Irons are a big deal. We have 3 different types. Do not waste time in going cheap and getting an aluminum one. Aluminum irons burn food and everything sticks to them. Cast Iron is the BEST cooker and our favorite is below. For just a few dollars more you can have the best.

Onto more prep.  I like to add the cheese right on top of the egg. It seems to hold the egg in place better.


Now to the bacon……you can add a little

little bacon

or load it up! This was hubby’s hobie pie and he loved it! Would you like some egg with your bacon?


Just be sure you put the buttered piece on the outside. I make this mistake constantly and it’s a huge tragedy.


This is our other hobie pie maker. I do like this one for the eggs pies but the one I mentioned above does a much better job of cooking pizza and grilled cheese!



The key next is to let these pies cook slowly. We like to use our tripod to cook them and we love the below tripod. It cooks everything great for us. Steaks, burgers, etc, etc cook so well because you can move your tripod around for more or less heat.

You can see how low we have these to the fire. We just keep flipping and check to be sure they are browning well but not burning! The 1st batch takes a bit longer because the cast iron takes a bit to heat up. Once you take them off the fire we use hot pads to rest the pie irons on to make the next batch.

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Once done they are hot and delicious!


What is your favorite Hobie Pie recipe?

The low-down on bone broth

I’m not sure I really believe that bone broth is the cure for everything but there is something nice about making your own from scratch. It’s not time-consuming but it does take some time to enhance the flavors. I really prefer my own chicken or beef stock, no worries of artificial flavors, colors, or MSG.

We start out with freezing our carcasses and once we are low on stock I start cooking! The real trick is to try and use those neck bones and even feet (if you are daring)!

Remember to fit as many bones as possible into the pot and just cover with enough water to slightly cover the bones. The more bones the better flavor! I also add in frozen necks. We have our own meat chickens (more on that later) so we ask to have every part sent back to us for stock/bone broth. I have a hard time getting every tiny piece of chicken off my bones but know it will just enhance the flavor of the broth.

Before cooking be sure to add a nice glob of Braggs apple cider vinegar to draw out the collagen from the bones. Let that sit for about 30 minutes and then crank the heat up baby! Get a nice boil rolling to get things cooking. Once we have a boil I turn down and let the magic happen. I let everything simmer for about 24 hours. My poor husband thinks that the smell is so strong he dreams of soup all night. Added bonus is when you are cooking stock on a cold winter night, it just seems right!

I like my bone broth to be extra-virgin so I don’t add veggies….but if you choose to you can add celery, onions, carrots….don’t save the good stuff for the broth, just throw in some celery ends with the leaves…whatever is leftover or you won’t consume. Let the broth cook for 1-10 hours with veggies if you like a combined broth or added flavor.

Bone broth in process!

Once your broth has simmered for 24 hours it’s time to strain! I still use my ball jars and lids.
This is the best way I found to strain my broth.

Once your jars are filled, let them cool for an hour before putting lids on and popping them in the freezer.


So easy to make and enjoy! I even add some leftover broth into ice cube trays to freeze to pop in recipes that need just a small amount.

Making Maple Syrup in fresh spring weather

The weather in Michigan is prime now for making maple syrup. This past week we had some beautiful days and I can’t think of anything better to do in nice weather than to cook over a campfire. It’s bringing me back to last summer with all of our campfires.

The easy part of making maple syrup is tapping the trees. Then you soon find out that buckets are FULL of sap that will yield a wee bit of liquid gold. Now, we admit this is our first venture and we are, by no means, experts but it was fun and tasty.  Once we drilled the tree it was easy to tap the trees and lightly hammer the taps into the tree.

These taps are our favorite.


going out to collect sap

The kids loved participating in collecting sap. And we still had snow on the ground….but not for long!


our first tap in


all of the taps in place

We have puny sugar maples. They are not yet ready to tap…..maybe in, ohhhhh, 30 years. But we do have these 3 silver maples. The sugar is not as plentiful in silver maples but it still tastes good. We checked the trees about every 12 hours and the buckets were fulllllllll of sap! Lots of sap that even the kids enjoyed drinking.

Now, don’t be like us and try this venture over a gas grill stovetop, it won’t boil and you will sit around stirring sap until the cows come home (and we don’t have cows, so that tells you a lot).

Next we got smart, or smarter, and built a fire. Added a little more work but it does pay off….that sucker was boiling as long as I fed it all day long.



Lots of steam, lots of evaporation

The important thing is to keep that pot boiling and skim the foam. The fire can add a funny taste but I just kept skimming the foam off. I didn’t notice any undesirable taste with the syrup. One reason to make your maple syrup outside is that it takes around 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup….unless you have silver maples, then maybe even less. I wasn’t sure I really needed 39 gallons of steam (sugary steam) in my house so it’s best to cook outside. Once you see the below color and it has reduced significantly you should get a temperature gauge ready.  Once the temperature is at about 210 I bring the syrup inside to strain and finish. It took us about 12-14 hours outside to boil. Inside, about an hour to get up to the ideal temperature of 219.1.


maple syrup getting close!


strain before last boil

We are still playing around with the straining process. I used a coffee filter but will probably use a cheesecloth next year. I found it was really hard to strain once it was the finished product at 219 degrees. After straining boil again until you reach 219. Then you can put in HOT prepared jars and hot lids. I get everything ready while doing the last boil and made SURE the jars were hot. Maple syrup is really easy to can! You can fill (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), apply lids, and tighten. Then just flip upside down for about 2 minutes, flip back and listen to the “pop” of the lids. Super easy!


The finished product, the light enhanced the ones in back

We maybe made a gallon this year but stay tuned for next years adventure!

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