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Welcome Alderman Farms!

I would like to welcome Tommy and Patti Alderman of Alderman Farms to the blog as authors. Tommy and Patti have become great friends of ours via the internet. We have shared information about technology, farming, recipes, and baking with each other. We seek to use all that God has given us through our family heritage and the land that He has entrusted us to provide for our family and help others be confident in their pursuit of self-sufficiency.

As you know, Family Heritage is a topic of passion for me. The Aldermans have a wonderful heritage, and they share that heritage with others. Take time to check it out.

The best way to share with you about them is to share their “About Us” from their website. You can also find farming and self-sufficiency tutorials on YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook.

Patti Alderman

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Patti at the Brookhaven Farmers Market

Patti Alderman is a homeschooling mother of four whose knowledge in the areas of budgeting and thriftiness, gardening and small-scale farming (“homesteading”) has been a sought-after resource among her friends and family.

Patti learned at the feet of those whose lives span decades of living off the land the old fashioned way, using simple, time-tested techniques (see Acknowledgments), and it is her desire to pass that information along to a new generation just beginning to feel the need to become as self-sufficient as possible.   Patti also strongly believes that budgeting plays an important role in self-sufficiency, in that adherence to a family budget spurs creativity, forcing one to learn how to “make do” rather than whipping out the credit card to purchase the “easy” solution, which is often the “expensive” solution.

Tommy Alderman

Tommy Alderman

Tommy with “Shaggy”

Tommy Alderman is a former law enforcement professional with 18 years of municipal and county law enforcement experience, currently working as the Director of Special Projects for a Public Safety Software developer.  In that role, Tommy develops marketing and product training videos, maintains the company’s social media presence, and performs other marketing functions.  His passion is persuasion and training others, whatever the discipline.  Patti has had her hands full training him in the ways of frugality, which Tommy readily acknowledges, saying “If it weren’t for Patti, I wouldn’t have a penny to my name.  But thanks to her, we have pennies-a-plenty and great food on the table.”

Tommy was graduated from LSU in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, which he says explains why his police reports were longer than those of his co-workers.  “The Lt.’s hated to see me coming with a folder in my hands,” he jokes.

And though his education was focused on formal English, he’s more likely to speak and write in his native tongue, “Redneck.”

What A Year! Reflecting on 2012

I can’t think of a year in my life that was so full of changes. These are all good changes, which is really nice for a change. I just can’t believe that it all happened to me. It’s like winning the lottery but way better!

1. I had an uneventful, quite successful pregnancy.

2. I had a BEAUTIFUL baby boy 7/5/2012 (who is actually playing with my toes at this very moment–hope he doesn’t suck them like he does his own ewww).

3. I found a new love for my kitchen and for cooking/baking.

4. I have started the process to start my own cottage food kitchen.

5. Although I have plenty to lose, in spite of my pregnancy, I haven’t gained a pound over the course of the year! Yay breastfeeding!!

6. I have finally seen the look of true happiness on the face of my mom and dad. They are totally in love with my son (their 1st grandchild).

7. I left my full-time job (after working outside the home for 24 years) and dedicated myself to care for my son in our home complete with homeschooling.

8. I have seen and heard my husband speak of me to others with satisfaction and pride regarding me as a mother and a homemaker.

My, my, I could go on. I am so happy!! As I begin wrapping up the requirements for my cottage food kitchen, I ask myself, why didn’t I do this before? Well, before–the food in our home came from a cardboard box. Yeah, I could cook, but after working and being just the two of us, we just “picked something up.” Oh the money we spent! Oh the calories and fat we consumed!!

Life is changing. Life HAS changed! I wake to the cooing of my son, or perhaps the screaming that communicates, “I’m wet or hungry or I’ve got gas give me my medicine NOW,” instead of an alarm clock for work. My day is full of changing diapers and making bottles for my wonderful baby (instead of having to deal with a bunch of adults who act like them). My home now has the fragrance of bread, cake or supper, instead of the stale smell of air barely breathed. I never thought I would ever echo my mother, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I can say that before the birth of my son–we were merely existing. Now, we are LIVING. I am SO happy to be alive, and I bake to share that same feeling with others. There is nothing like fresh, homemade baked goods. I have found “my thing.” My niche. I hope you find yours.

It’s Not You, It’s Me…Trading Up

It really isn’t the Sunbeam‘s fault. It’s an excellent mixer! I have to say I have only one gripe about it. The beaters are difficult to remove.

Vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster Pro

I end up getting more ingredients all over the kitchen trying to take them off than I do when I turn it on full blast. The other issue with the mixer isn’t really a gripe. It’s more of an evolutionary issue. I use Cook’s Illustrated recipes–almost exclusively now. They are constantly updating recipes as they test them and find ways to perfect a recipe, and they test equipment to determine which equipment will yield the home cook the best results. Well, sorry Sunbeam.

Mixers now have the planetary action when mixing, and they are one beater machines. Mixer manufacturers also have been making improvements to attachments such as the flat paddle, something that wasn’t included with the Sunbeam. Also, the Sunbeam didn’t come with a whisk attachment. I hate to say it, even though I’m fairly new to the cooking/baking scene, I have outgrown this mixer. I bought a Cuisinart 5.5 Stand Mixer. It was on top of the Cook’s Illustrated product test for stand mixers.

What really pushed me completely to the Cuisinart over the KitchenAid were the reviews on the Cuisinart on Amazon.com. Many of the reviews were raving of how it handled yeast and cookie dough. They were very impressed with the five (5) year motor warranty (I was, too). One gentleman actually dropped his on it’s head (you know what I mean), and it never mixed a beat (haha). He updated his review over the course of several years and the mixer was still performing with excellence even given his accident.

Cuisinart 5.5 Stand Mixer

The new mixer is pretty sweet. Beautiful, I would say. I would even describe the older Sunbeam as beautiful. I love the vintage look. I felt like it was Christmas opening this mixer up. It was so easy to assemble and use. I have made three (3) loaves of bread with it (2 batches). It made the process very easy.

My First Shot at Homemade Bread – Home run!!

I enjoyed baking the bread so much I am going to get a Cottage Foods license to be able to bake bread and sell it locally. There’s just something about being able to share something you baked yourself with others. I also will most likely be baking bread for Christmas. I think the fact that I do not dread having to make more loaves is a great testimony for the Cuisinart. The Sunbeam did make the baking process easier, but there were little things that were frustrating. I haven’t encountered the first frustration, yet. I am very excited about the prospects of selling my own creations.

So again, it’s not that the Sunbeam was a bad machine, it’s just that I didn’t enjoy using it. I actually “enjoy” using the Cuisinart. I guess if I am considering using it for business purposes, it’s a good thing that I enjoy it. I feel like it will be a reliable tool. I will treat it well, keep it clean, and in good repair. Who knows what future opportunities will arise out of this venture. I am anticipating and hopeful.

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