Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Mouse Patrol

So…  I know a lot of my blog posts are “How To” and “This works for us” kinds of things and I love to write all of those posts. However, there are just those times when I want to let you all in on some of the “personality” of our little hobby farm.

As I sat on the mulch pile today, taking a little coffee break from gardening, watching the dogs play and being completely molested (otherwise known as forceful petting) by one of our cats (Mountain Man) I realized that I’d love to tell you all about our cats of The Shepherd Hobby Farm.

We have 11 cats… no I am not a crazy cat lady… well I kinda am because I really like them… but I’m not a hoarder kind of crazy cat lady…

First and foremost, these cats play a very important role on the farm… vermin/varmint catcher and killer! They catch and kill everything from snakes to mice and our farm would be overrun with vermin (just think of all the grain and feeds we store for the various animals… a mouse’s dream!) without these cats. After the fact they are great companions, comic relief, and a way to add a few more gray hairs to this head of mine. Flash got a fish lure caught in her mouth, Socks has had two hematomas in his ears, and countless other kitty cat mishaps keep us on very good terms with our vet!

It all started out with Mommy Cat (I know, our most unoriginal name EVER… I blame my boys… they got better with naming as you will see). We moved onto our little homestead in 2009 with one dog, Katja. We noticed a skinny stray cat hanging around our garage and started feeding her (she was the sweetest cat ever!). About two weeks later I noticed a faint meowing coming from the rafters/storage area of the garage and found Mommy Cat (she had gone unnamed until this moment because none of the family could agree on a name) with a litter of 5 kittens. We moved her and kittens to a safer place and started keeping track of their weights and personalities daily. It was a great lesson for the boys to learn how to weigh kittens and make sure they were steadily gaining weight as well as look for any medical issues (eye discharge etc.). With Mommy Cat’s help we raised up her five kittens and advertised to find good homes for them when they were weaned (what crazy person has 6 cats?… they needed to be rehomed.)

Did you know everyone is trying to rehome kittens in the spring and summer? UGH! We sent one little female, named Muffins, home with my cousin to Wisconsin (you visit us you go home with an animal… it’s kinda standard.) Another female, Scout, went to a local family with two young sons. The rest, well, no more relatives were visiting and we couldn’t find good homes for them so we decided to have them spayed and neutered and we kept them… that’s how it all got started…

Even though these are outside mousers we take their health and safety very seriously. We live far off from the road which is why we let them be outside and they all are spayed and neutered. They all are current on immunizations at all times as well as are constantly on flea and tick prevention (yes the vet loves to see me walk in the door 🙂 ) They are provided with a warm place to sleep in cold weather and always have shelter. They are fed cat food but rarely eat it because they usually fill up on varmints. We use no pesticide that would endanger them if/when they do eat their “catch of the day” (think about local cats if you use poison on mice in or around your home). Mice ingest poison and die, cat finds and eats mouse, cat dies or gets really sick… not good!

I’d like to introduce you to our Mouse Patrol…


Mommy Cat in mid yawn.

Mommy Cat in mid yawn.

Mommy Cat (female)

Age: unsure but the vet estimated she was around 2 years old when she had her kittens so that would make her 7 now.

Mother to Scout, Flash, Simba, BG (passed away in 2012) and Muffins (went home with my cousin to Wisconsin).

She is a very sweet cat but won’t be the first to greet you. She likes to do her own thing and loves to be pet on her terms at her time of choosing. She will give little paw swats at you when she has had enough.


Socks (black and white) and Scout (striped)

Socks (black and white) and Scout (striped)

Scout (female)

Age: 5 years old and daughter of Mommy Cat. Scout was the first off the blanket when exploring as a new kitten and never liked to stay on the scale to be weighed… too much to see, do and “scout” out. That is how she got her name. She went home with a local family but they called after having her for 4 months and said she started hiding under furniture and wouldn’t be social. We are thinking she may have been “loved too much” by the two young boys in the home so we asked the family to bring her back to us.

Scout never really came back around to being a social friendly cat but she will try to fool you. She is our most vocal cat and will meow and meow just beckoning for you to come and pet/hold her. However, the second you get close she will bolt… Haha SUCKER! Then she will stand a distance and do it all over again… she’s a tease. Once you catch her and hold her she settles down but catching her is a challenge and I’m usually the only one who can do it (we have to do it every couple days just to give her a check once over and make sure she’s healthy).


Simba... totally a lion!

Simba… totally a lion!

Simba (male)

Son of Mommy cat and brother to Flash and Scout.

Age: 5 years old

Even though he’s neutered he looks like a big tomcat. This boy was an “indoor cat” but decided he liked the great outdoors much better as he would constantly try to get out and decided everything in our house was his personal scratching post (even though he had tons of toys and cat scratching posts!). Because he spent so much time indoors he developed a great bond with our dog Katja and can often be seen rubbing all over her in great loving admiration (or he’s just trying to annoy her, success!). He likes to be held and pet by anyone but isn’t a huge fan of large crowds. He got his name because I love The Lion King and he looked like a lion… that is all.


Flash says "Pet me!"

Flash says “Pet me!”

Flash (female)

Daughter of Mommy cat and sister to Scout and Simba.

Age: 5 years

This little girl was always the runt of the litter so she got extra love and attention. She had a pretty bad respiratory infection as a kitten but bounced back well. She is a lover and a cuddly cat who will jump in your lap at any given moment. However, once you start petting her don’t expect to stop. If you do she will give you  little love bites (but they kinda hurt 🙁 ) until you start petting her again. Sometimes it’s best just not to start with this one unless you are in it for the long haul. She is a little love though! She got her name because she was always so fast… she would dart here and there just like a little flash of light.

Flash and Scout, happy sisters

Flash and Scout, happy sisters


Kitty Soft Paws (left) and Socks (right)

Kitty Soft Paws (left) and Socks (right)

Kitty Soft Paws (left) and Socks (right)

Kitty Soft Paws (left) and Socks (right)


Socks (male) and Kitty Soft Paws (male)

Brothers from another mother and father… totally not related but we got them as kittens at the same time so they were raised together.

Age: almost 2 years old

So Kitty Soft Paws and Socks were our second attempt at indoor cats. Kevin was on a work trip for a month to Oklahoma City and our youngest son wanted a kitten. OK, sure, why not! How about two? We found a listing for free kittens (two unrelated litters) and got Kitty Soft Paws and Socks. They did really well in the house for about 7 months and then started peeing all over and scratching up everything! The problem with making them outside cats was that our current little posse out there was very territorial and did not like visitors. It took us almost 2 months working with all the cats to get them used to Socks and Kitty Soft Paws. It worked though and you would never know now that they hated outsiders. Kitty Soft Paws loves it outside but Socks is stil adjusting so he gets to come in and out a bit and he hasn’t made a single mess in the house (usually snuggles up somewhere and naps)

Socks has had two hematomas in his ears so he kinda has the “wrestler” ear look going for him. The vet and I have no idea what caused the hematomas but some cats are just more susceptible to them than others and apparently Socks is very susceptible. Socks is a total lover and will let you pet him all day long if not many people are around. Kitty Soft Paws prefers private petting as he tends to hate big crowds. He’s a more one on one kind of lovin’ guy.

Kitty Soft Paws... pic was taken by Zach Galloway (10 years old at the time)

Kitty Soft Paws… pic was taken by Zach Galloway (10 years old at the time)


Sleeping Patricia

Sleeping Patricia

Patricia just learning to eat from a bottle

Patricia just learning to eat from a bottle

you've got mail... it's not spam! Patricia says Hi

you’ve got mail… it’s not spam! Patricia says Hi


Age: Almost 2 years old

So, we had just gotten these two kittens, Socks and Kitty Soft Paws, when I go to church one day and low and behold someone has left a box outside the back church door. It had stormed all night and the box was soaked through. Inside was a soaking wet and shivering kitten covered in fleas. Yup, I took her home.

She went to the vet the next day where it was estimated that she was about 1 week old and had a severe upper respiratory infection. We had to bottle feed (used a syringe for the first couple weeks because she’s was too little and weak for even the kitten bottles) her every hour at the beginning and each week we would add another hour between feedings… those were some loooooong nights! The boys helped which was awesome. She was weighed every day and she steadily started gaining weight. She received a bath with Dawn dish soap every day for a week to get rid of the fleas. After that first week she was FINALLY flea free and her antibiotics were kicking in. She had to stay away from our other kittens because of the fleas and respiratory infection so that was fun, not!

The boys named her and I think it has to do with something from SpongeBob Squarepants? Patricia is an aboslute love and prefers to spend her days and nights sleeping in the entry way. We were able to introduce her to all the other cats when we were acclimating Socks and Kitty Soft Paws so it worked quite well for those three to enter the pack together. Patricia and Socks are best buddies and often snuggle togther.

Please don’t count how many cats we are up to now because then you may not believe that I am in fact NOT a crazy cat lady… You just went back and counted, didn’t you? Don’t judge me…

Well, at this point we had decided no more cats. The whole “inside cats” thing did not work out and we had plenty of outside cats to keep our varmint numbers in check.

So this one day I was driving out past the county animal control place… totally innocent, I was on my way to the place I had gotten my horse to pick up her registration papers that I had forgotten to get several years ago when I bought her (I don’t put a whole lot of stock into registrations and what not). I saw two dead kittens in the road ahead (awww poor things) and as I drove by I noticed a box by the side of the road by the kittens. I drove a little further but something kept nagging at the pit of my stomach.

I turned around and went back. I stopped and checked the box and sure enough there were 3 little kittens in the box. Ummmmm… I couldn’t leave them there to get hit like their littermates so I scooped them up and brought them home (totally forgot to go get registration).


The three Amigos... Mountain Man (orange and white), Dump Truck (black and white) and SPeckles (gray and white)

The three Amigos… Mountain Man (orange and white), Dump Truck (black and white) and Speckles (gray and white)

Meet Dump Truck, Mountain Man and Speckles (all male)

Brothers (I’m assuming)

Age: Almost 1 year. We knew these guys would not be indoor cats and they were already eating solid food. After their vet check, flea baths and immunizations they were immediately introduced to the outdoor cats. However, our youngest son really fell in love with them (he’s our cat whisperer) so they did stay inside for a few months. Anyone every have 3 kittens running around your house? They tear up EVERYTHING! Anyways, these guys REALLY wanted to be utside as they would rub against the screens with the other cats, dart out the door every second they could and just in general try to be outside with the other cats. They were all neutered, healed up indoors and then did the inside/outside thing for a few weeks before they became full outdoor cats when the weather turned nice.

These three boys are our friendliest cats of the bunch. They LOVE everything about people… the snuggles, the pets, the love, the carrying, everything! They also love the dogs and the goats. These three are the first ones to meet you when you arrive and will not leave you alone… sorry people with cat allergies 🙁

Speckles (cat) and Katja (dog)

Speckles (cat) and Katja (dog)

Simba (far left), Scout (bottom), Flash (sandwisched between Simba and Mommy Cat) and Mommy Cat (far right)

Simba (far left), Scout (bottom), Flash (sandwisched between Simba and Mommy Cat) and Mommy Cat (far right)

A very flattened Kitty Soft Paws

A very flattened Kitty Soft Paws


Hope you enjoyed our walk down kitty lane. Have a purrrfect day!


Joyful Obedience… Should we expect it from our kids?


images[6] (2)

OK, so this has been on my heart for weeks as I have watched my youngest son dread, complain about, and try to weasel his way out of getting braces. He’s 9 (10 tomorrow… double digits buddy, buck up and move on about the whole braces thing!). Should I expect joyful obedience from my sons in matters which they do not agree, like, or feel happy about? In this case our youngest son is very close to disobedience and I can tell you right now that’s not tolerated in our household.

Apparently I (mom) am ruining his life and I really think he should be an equal opportunity blamer… son, dad is ruining your life too, we agreed on this whole braces thing. He got the braces on late last week but showed no signs of joyful obedience. He wore all black, got black rubber bands and picked out a black sweatshirt, t-shirt, and bag from the orthodontist office. Apparently braces= mourning  death. He’s been wearing a lot of black ever since.

He readily admitted several times that day and for the days to follow that he was glad he got it over with and that it wasn’t so bad but still feels he was completely justified for his “drama” leading up to it. So not only does he recognize that he was not joyfully obeying his parents he actually feels justified in his behavior and attitude… this, my friends, infuriates me.

Gunner with is black braces

Youngest son with his black braces

Isn’t it amazing how our kids seem to find the particular things that drive us completely crazy? Like we expect them to know better, do better, and think better than we did at that age. If you’ve ever uttered the words, “I can’t believe he/she did that” then you sit in the same boat as me as an imperfect parent and an imperfect person (sorry to burst your “I’m really super close to perfect” bubble). Why can’t we believe it? Is it really worse than the things we did as kids or even adults?

So, why do I expect my son to joyfully obey me when I demand he do something that I know is in his best interest but that he REALLY does not want to do? Ummmmm… because I know better and it’s way more pleasant and comfortable for me to see joyful obedience than it is complaining, arguing, and downright disobedience. I don’t enjoy dealing with the tough aspects of life and parenting so if everyone could just joyfully obey me that would be great (want a ticket to my dream world show?).


Now that I sound like a control freak and mother with extremely high expectations let me explain why I do in fact expect joyful obedience from my sons. It comes down to the fact that they are commanded by a power much higher than me to joyfully obey. First and foremost they are to joyfully obey God’s commands. Guess what, one of those commands is to obey their parents. Score for parents! I also expect joyful obedience because I know they are capable of it and when it becomes the standard it pushes selfishness and the “world revolves around me” mentality out of their heart.

With that being said, parents we need to be outstanding role models for what joyful obedience is. Do you begrudgingly do the dishes, complaining the entire time and threaten to switch your family to styrofoam dinnerware? How about cooking dinner and the million other areas you provide for your family and upkeep your home? Heading to church or Bible study? Heading to work or working late? Is it a chore or do you joyfully obey God’s commands to worship with fellow believers and learn His word? God doesn’t just expect  obedience from children, he expects it from us! If I see my own sons straying from joyful obedience I need to first look at what kind of role model I am being for them.

All right, so now I’ve gone on and on and complained about my son’s lack of joyful obedience but what can be done to turn things around? Well, what was done was done and there’s not much to be gained from lamenting and dwelling on past sins. We learn and we move on. Let’s concentrate on the present and the future. My husband and I need to take a look at how we are parenting… we need to realize and teach our sons that Biblical obedience is complete, immediate and clearly displays joy. Kevin and I taught our sons from the very beginning that obedience was all the way and right away (have I mentioned Kevin is a Marine?) but we left out a very important aspect and part… “with a joyful heart.”

Leaving out the “with a joyful heart” when teaching your kids gives them liberty to whine, complain, and have a negative attitude while obeying. Obedience with a negative attitude is not what God wants nor is it pleasing to parents (or those around our kids). So are we up a creek without a paddle or can this be fixed?

Can we fix it? Well, follow Bob the Builder’s cue and just shout, “Yes we can!” Is Bob the Builder still around? He was our younger son’s favorite if I remember right… might have been oldest son. Anyone remember Bear in the Big Blue House? That was most surely oldest son’s favorite and he had a Bear that he would carry around, rub the silky tag on the bottom, and completely rub off all the hair of poor Bear’s bum while sucking his thumb at the same time (hello braces for oldest son due to that!).

How do we fix it?

Step 1: Expect Biblical obedience. None of this wishy washy, “do you want to…”, “how about we…” “wouldn’t it be fun to…” Wishy washy parenting leads to wishy washy kids who have a hard time determining when to and when not to submit to authority. Determine your own “family rules” and establish a strong family identity in Christ by expecting your children to obey authority (you, teachers, daycare providers, etc.). Set them up for success and expect them to obey (check out step 2 when things don’t go as expected)…

Step 2: Consequences. Yup, there are always going to be consequences to our actions. When kids disobey it is our duty to administer consequences in a faithful and consistent manner. When a child’s disobedience is met with consequences children learn the law of the harvest. God has built the principle of sowing and reaping into this world we live in and it is important for kids to see that picture and get that principle throughout use of consequences, teaching, and guidance.

I’m never a fan of administering consequences to our kids but I am to be obedient to the commands God has laid before me. I am blessed to know that God understands how I feel and provides encouragement…“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 ESV). I can’t ignore His commands just as I can’t let it slide when my kids ignore His commands.

Step 3: Watch out for who your kids keep company with. I am far from the “helicopter parent” but I do scrutinize my boys’ friends closely. Your kids’ minds are still developing and habits are being laid every day. If the majority (or even 1 or 2 close buddies) of the kids they hang out with have troubles obeying parents and other authority figures your child will most likely follow suit. Wouldn’t it be nice if your kid was the one who stood up and helped those kids learn to obey authority? Probably not gonna happen… that’s a lot of expectation and pressure for a kid of any age. Most kids prefer to follow what everyone else is doing so help your kids surround themselves with a good group of friends who respect authority and have a heart for joyful obedience!


“Train up a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).


I don’t know about you but I have some work to do so I’m off to train up some kids… joyfully!

Youngest son says, "oh great..."

Youngest son says, “oh great…”


Tilapia with Mango Cucumber Salsa and Some Yummy Saffron Rice

Tilapia with Mango Cucumber Salsa and Saffron Rice

Tilapia with Mango Cucumber Salsa and Saffron Rice

So I am trying to juggle this whole blogging thing with keeping up with my home upkeep, family, hobby farm, Master’s degree program, cycling training and soap/lotion making… this morning the laundry won out and the tilapia recipe blog post got pushed to the back burner.

However, here it is! I love fish and with my mammal meat allergy it is a “safe food” for me (woohoo for fish not being a mammal!) so we eat quite a bit of it. My sons devour all fish but especially love lighter fish like tilapia and mahi mahi. We are all suckers for a great haddock or swordfish steak on the grill as well, yum!

Admittedly I will not be eating fish again for a little bit because I WAY overindulged eating way too much… I was stuffed to the gills!

**hehe I seriously just laughed at my own little joke right there.

This has got to be one of the easiest recipes I make. I usually make up a big batch of the mango cucumber salsa so I can snack for days with chips. It keeps remarkably well and much longer than tomato based salsas.

Tilapia with (or without) Mango Cucumber Salsa

What you will need:

Mango Cucumber Salsa: This is enough for 4 to 6 filets, feel free to double or triple for late night snacking with some tortilla chips!

2 ripe mangos : (gives a little when squeezed, reddish in color but you do not want mushy or big brown spots, peeled), sliced (there’s an oblong pit in the middle that runs almost the length of the mango, I just slice off the four sides, dice those up then slice off whatever other pieces I can away from the pit and try not to eat them all), and medium diced.

2 cucumbers: medium to small or 1 large. Peel, slice in half long ways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you should be able to just run the spoon down the middle and get them out easily). Medium dice the cucumber(s). You can also buy the seedless English cucumbers and just dice them.

1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion: diced small

2 jalapenoes: Diced small. Wear gloves if you will be handling little kids or babies afterwards.

Cilantro: YUM! I love cilantro so I add a lot. Normal people would proabbly add about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

Lime Juice: The juice of one lime or 1 tsp of lime juice from a bottle (or those cute little plastic lime things)

Salt and Pepper to taste: I use a tiny pinch of pepper and two tiny pinches of salt

Mix it all together and put it in the fridge.


 On to the fish!

Get yourself some fish filets (tilapia, mahi mahi, any light fish is good for this). I always keep a couple pounds in the freezer because they thaw super fast and are a great last minute meal. We cook 2 pounds of fish at a time but once again, when my boys find a food they like they eat us out of house and home and they like fish.

Olive oil (optional… you can also use butter to cook the fish)

Old Bay Blackened Seasoning (or make your own using this recipe… Blackened Fish Seasoning)

Butter  (optional)…Oldest son loves to dip his pieces of fish in melted butter rather than eating the mango cucumber salsa. It is usually recommended to cook your fish in butter but we have switched over to olive oil because it’s a slightly healthier alternative (you get a better crust with butter) and youngest son doesn’t like his fish as crusty.

Directions: There’s two ways to make this fish… either in butter or in olive oil. Butter will create more of a crust on your fish which is super yummy but we do olive oil because the rest of my family does not bleed dairy. I’ll give you directions for both ways…

Butter Directions:

1. Melt enough butter in your pan (I love cooking fish in cast iron cookware as it helps get a nice crust) on medium heat so that it will cover the bottom (yes this may mean almost a stick of butter… skip down to olive oil if you are scared you may clog every artery in your body… I was born and raised in Wisconsin so we have butter flowing through our veins)

2. Melt a little more butter in a dish that you can drench the fish in (in other words both sides of each filet will be covered in butter as you will be bathing the fish in butter).

3. Drench (lay) each fish filet in the butter and sprinkle very liberally with Old Bay Blackened Seasoning or your homemade version (link here)

4. You will want some sort of splatter screen for your pan… Now turn up the heat to medium-high and cook on one side until blackened and somewhat crispy. Flip over and cook the other side. Add a little more butter whenever necessary. If family members (youngest son wannabes) do not like their fish as crispy just do not cook as long or use the olive oil method below.

Great Pampered Chef splatter screen that I can put in the dishwasher or handwash easily

Great Pampered Chef splatter screen that I can put in the dishwasher or handwash easily

5. Remove from pan, plate and add your salsa (if you want) or melt more butter to dip fish in (if you are an oldest son wannabe).

Olive Oil Directions:

1. Heat 4 Tablespoons of olive over medium heat.

2. Drench (lay) each fish filet in a dish or plate of olive oil and sprinkle very liberally with Old Bay Blackened Seasoning or your homemade version (link here)

3 filets with seasoning and two waiting to be seasoned. I ran out of our homemade seasoning so I went with the oldy but goody Old Bay Blackened!

3 filets with seasoning and two waiting to be seasoned. I ran out of our homemade seasoning so I went with the oldy but goody Old Bay Blackened!

4. You will want some sort of splatter screen for your pan… Now turn up the heat to medium-high and cook on one side until blackened and somewhat crispy. Flip over and cook the other side. Add a little more olive oil whenever necessary. If family members (youngest son wannabes) do not like their fish as crispy just do not cook as long.

5. Remove from pan, plate and add your salsa (if you want) or melt butter to dip fish in (if you are an oldest son wannabe).


So I totally forgot to take a picture with the fish in the pan to show you what they look like when you flip because my family was way hungry and fussing at me to stop taking pictures and just cook supper already! Imagine fish in this pan and you’ll get the picture…

Imagine fish in here...

Imagine fish in here…










The nice thing about this recipe is it lends itself well to the entire family and many different side dishes. We chose a spring mix salad and Jasmine Saffron rice (recipe here). Many nights we just cook up some jasmine or brown rice and have a great fish dinner. The boys like their’s without the mango salsa which is easy enough 🙂

Happy Eating,



Blackened Fish Seasoning

This is a great do it yourself (DIY) recipe knockoff of the Old Bay Blackened Seasoning that we love so much on fish. I got the original recipe from All quite a while ago but made a few changes to fit our family’s tastes. I made notes of the changes I made so you can either stick with the standby or go the way of the Conways 😉

Blackened Seasoning for Fish or Chicken

  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (original recipe called for only 2 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme
  • 2 teaspoons  onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste (original was just 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon)


However, Old Bay Blackened is a pretty inexpensive spice blend so if you don’t think you’ll use the above spices in other recipes/spice mixes it may be best to just buy the Old Bay Blackened Seasoning. We buy and grow spices in bulk because we mix up a ton of our own blends and give them as gifts as well so we always try to have this blend on hand (though yup, we do run out of certain spices often… can’t seem to keep enough thyme in this house… and I grab the Old Bay Blackened at the store sometimes).


Place all ingredients in a jar and store in a cool dark place. Shake jar well before each use.

Chickpea Flour… the gluten free, high protein alternative

From time to time I will have contributors who add to the depth of my blog. Though I am a jack of all trades I consider myself a master at none. Some of these folks are truly masters in their fields or at least a TON more knowledgeable than I am.

This whole gluten free and nut free way of life is foreign to me and I honestly don’t think I could give up gluten unless it was seriously compromising my or my family’s health. For some folks, it is certainly compromising their health and the gluten free (or lower gluten) is certainly something that a ton of people are looking for right now!

Enter Michele… (one “l”, yup I know it’s weird… took me a long time to remember to spell it right!). I am thrilled to introduce you all to my family as I continue on this journey through simple hobby homesteading. This evening I’d like for you to meet my sister-in-law Michele… younger sister to my husband and seriously one of the most amazing women I will ever be blessed to know! Now I even get to be related to her!

I’ll save the whole wonderful “how we met” story for after her article because I know there are a great many of you who seriously want to know how you can use chickpea flour on the path to a healthier you…



Michele Magloire

Chickpea Flour

chickpeas                          chickpea flour


Looking for Gluten free, high protein, and or grain substitute… try chickpea flour. Chickpea flour can be found in most grocery stores. Other names for chickpea flour include gram flour, cici flour and garbanzo bean flour.

chickpea flour bag

If you cannot find it, it’s super easy to make. Get some dried chickpeas and run them through a coffee grinder, food processor or blender. I personally grind my own because I’ve learned that some products sold outside the US are not required to list allergy warnings. My husband has a peanut allergy, so to make sure he is safe I grind my own flour.


Health benefits of chickpeas aka garbanzo beans


Chickpeas are rich in fiber, high in protein, good source of vitamins (including iron, B-6, magnesium, and potassium), low glycemic index, and they can lower cholesterol. “Participants in a recent study reported more satisfaction with their diet when garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed.” (


There are tons of recipes that call for some type of wheat-based flour, whether whole-wheat, all-purpose or cake flour, but you can replace wheat flour with chickpea flour. It adds a nutty taste, and a boost of protein and iron; it works well in any dish, from baked goods to soups and sauces. You can substitute 7/8 cup of chickpea flour for every 1 cup of wheat flour. For yeast breads, add xanthan or guar gum to replace the gluten.


15 chickpea flour recipes



Soooo… how I met Michele. It’s a funny story really 🙂

I was in air force basic training 2 weeks after I graduated high school. Miss Michele Conway, I think 2 maybe 3 years older than me, was in my basic training flight along with maybe 30 other women. Force all these women to spend 6.5 weeks together day in and day out and you’re gonna see every side of them. To say that we all got to know each other well is the understatement of the century. I think we all had a love hate relationship with each other (though some the scales definitley tipped more to one side)

Michele was (and still is) strong, steady, independent and bound and determined to break her government issued glasses (they were called birth control glasses because they were so ugly no guy would even look at a woman wearing them). She came into basic with two other women that she knew from home (Massachusetts) and they were constantly coming up with ways to destroy their glasses so they could talk the TI (training instructor) into letting them wear their contacts or regular glasses. Every time they tried to destroy their glasses (underneath the floor buffer was especially creative) SSgt Grant seemed to find out and yell at me for it. You see, I was the “Dorm Chief” and got in trouble for everything that everyone else did wrong on top of my own screw ups! I had enough of my own screw ups so I wasn’t a fan of Michele and the others causing more tongue lashings directed my way. They seemed to love it or maybe I was just jaded… I got an extra 2 hours of door guard duty from 2-4am for the floor buffer fiasco.

I remember one day we (the whole flight but Michele and I were often about the same speed so we woudl run together) were running (I had just gotten done with a wrestling season back home so I was in the best shape of my life) and chatting back and forth… Michele always was a great runner. We were far ahead of most of our flight but the TI came up behind us and started screaming at us about how if we could chat we weren’t running fast enough. This guy was a machine… he said he better not beat us to the end or we’d be sorry… the man was like a Kenyan Olympic runner so neither Michele nor I took him seriously when he took off… there was no way we could ever beat him (bad choice on our part for not even trying… baaaaaad choice). He took off and we went back to chatting as there were no other TIs around. He must have circled around without us seeing because next thing I know there was someone coming up fast behind us breathing hard and all of a sudden I heard, “You two had better not be talking…” and he proceded to scream at us full steam (with so much profanity it would make a sailor blush) while never breaking stride… he had some sort of crazy lung capacity… and a lazy eye but that’s a whole different funny story.

Anyways, I have no clue how that run ended… I think we had to run extra but I can’t remember… do you remember Michele? Anyways… I think that kinda started a bond with us though we never quite got back onto that friendly of terms until after Kevin (her brother) and I were married as we had many run ins with difference of opinion for months after that awesome run.

Basic training was done, we were all heading off to our separate tech schools. I was heading to Keesler AFB with Michele’s best friend and Michele told her that Kevin was at Keesler AFB (he had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and joined the Air Force Reserve) so she should look him up and say hi (Michele’s friend had known Kevin for quite a few years). I was going to the same school as Michele’s friend at Keesler AFB (in Mississippi)so I kinda tagged along a few weeks later as she went to Kevin’s dorm to say hi and wish him warm greetings from his sister.

Maybe I should mention I was engaged to my high school sweetheart at this point and he was all I talked about throughout basic training and the beginning of tech school. Well, things fell apart with that “relationship” just about the time I met Kevin. We got to know each other and 3 months later we were married.

I do believe Michele’s words were along the lines of “I told ya to look him up and say “Hi”, not marry him.” She was certainly looking after her older brother and didn’t want him to be my “rebound guy.” I didn’t understand that then (I was all of 18) but I certainly understand and respect it now. That was 16 years ago and the Lord has given Kevin and I a marriage that we have worked hard for (and continue to work for) but full of the most amazing renewing spirit and blessings.

Michele and I still have our differences (actually not many that I can think of anymore!)but I truly respect and love this woman as a dear sister. She was recently married (my boys love that they have an Uncle Serge as he just sounds “tough”… he is actually pretty darn tough!) and now lives off in Cyprus so we certainly do not see her as often as we would like.

The boys love that their Aunt Michele seems to be way “cooler” than their mom because she’s into crossfit, ceramics (they are still amazed at how good she is), UFC/MMA, video games and computers, anything zombie or shark related, and standup paddle boarding. She just sounds like a cool aunt doesn’t she! However I love her amazing knowledge and passion in cooking, gardening, traveling and the fact that this lady is well read! Her and her brother have an insatiable appetite for books and knowledge, it’s so neat! She always says she loved her time in the Air Force (I assume she is especially talking about the time she spent with me in basic…. ummmmmm probably not lol) and working as a software engineer. She is certainly embarking on a new path in life as a wife and I wish her so many blessings in this marriage! When she speaks, I listen as it’s gona be good stuff. Love you Michele and thanks for writing!cleardot