Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Taking Flight: Creative Parenting Part 8

Through all of our travels, all the paths we have tread, we have not only kept alive the desire to homestead, but have taken steps to make it a reality as much as our situation would allow, as those of you who read this and my Yemeni Journey blog are most likely aware. A few weeks ago we decided that we had to make some big changes, and look for a new place to live. At first, we focused on this area because we had formed some strong friendships and liked many things about Kansas City. The children and I talked, and, after I explained everything to them clearly, they hopped on board, eager for whatever changes would come.

One of this year's beds, early on
One of this year’s beds, early on

My personal list of wants in a house was pretty simple. I wanted space to grow our own vegetables and fruits and hopefully get a few chickens in order that we could continue to move forward in our journey towards some measure of self-sufficiency. My husband looked at several properties, and it became clear relatively quickly that finding this space in the city was going to be very difficult, if not impossible. We began to talk about the house we’d owned in Liberty, NY, before moving to Yemen. The house itself was a “fixer upper” with a small yard, but we were able to have a flourishing garden and make connections throughout the community that are difficult to make in a more urban setting. We began to turn over the idea of looking at other areas in Missouri and seeing if we could find something in a small town or, even better, a rural environment. One day, as we were on one of our almost daily walks, we made the decision to spread our wings and see if we could fly.

The next day, Khalil was looking for properties on the internet. Our hope was to rent to buy, since we can’t deal in interest, but, as always, we found that if we kept our eyes, and our options, open, trusting in Allaah, the most surprising (and wonderful!) things would happen.

Khalil, through one of the goat farming forums he follows, found out about two twenty acre parcels of land in southern Missouri. One was rent to own, while one was to rent only. Upon contacting the person who owned the land, he found out that the one that was rent to own was taken, but the other was still available. I still feel the joy I felt when I received his email with a link to a description of the property and the contact information for the landowner. It sounded and felt just perfect for us. Once I called and spoke to Alice, I knew it was the right move, and it sounded like she felt the same way. So many connections, so quickly, and the more we learned about both the land and our potential landlady, the more we loved it all.

Deer tracks going through the yard of our new house
Deer tracks going through the yard of our new house

That was two weeks ago. We have since signed the contract and are moving in the middle of January, insh’Allaah. To say we are excited would be such an extraordinary understatement that I won’t bother. While my husband works on the technical aspects of the move, the rest of us are looking at chicken and goat breeds and planning next year’s garden. As we begin sorting, organizing and packing, I find that my time to write has dwindled a bit, thus the scarcity of postings on the blogs in the last few weeks. I am looking forward, though, to sharing our journey with you, step by step, as we make this transition and see what Allaah has in store for us!

Today after breakfast the children and I bundled up and went for a walk in the snow, all of us a riot of red noses, bright scarves and mittens. Later, as we sat up in the attic sipping hot chocolate that dear friends had gifted us with, I realized that in this, too, creative parenting comes into play, not only in the relationships we foster with each of our children, but in the bigger picture as well. What started out as two people dreaming of living on the land with a continent between them grew to include an entire family sharing that dream working towards it, and being willing to step off a cliff, together, mittened hands joined, knowing that insh’Allaah we will be granted the gift of flight.

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    1. I think it would work just fine. I have read that some people cook the pumpkin down a bit before pureeing, but I never have, and I haven’t had any problems. Pumpkin tea bread?? Mmmmmmm….

  1. Pumpkin banana bread with apples

    Total time: 60 minutes


    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, room temperature
    1 cup regular white sugar
    2 eggs
    2 very ripe bananas, mashed
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 cups sliced apple chunks, or about 2 medium size apples (cored), or 1 large size apple (cored)

    Use a 9×5 inch loaf pan or a 8×4 inch loaf pan (plus 3 muffin cups) – see note below

    1) Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, using electric mixer, beat 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of white sugar on high speed for 1 minute until well-combined. You will get coarse looking mixture (not creamy).

    2) Add 2 eggs to the butter-sugar mixture and continue beating for another minute until very creamy and very smooth.

    3) Add mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar-eggs mixture, and continue beating, using electric mixer, until well combined – for about another minute.

    4) In a separate medium bowl, combine sifted flour (do not overpack the flour, when measuring it using measuring cups!), baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.

    5) Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix, using large spoon, just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. If there are lumps – they will work themselves out during baking. Fold in apple chunks.

    6) Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper too. Note: lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper ensures that the bottom of the bread will not get stuck. Pour the batter in the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

    From http://juliasalbum.com/2013/10/pumpkin-banana-bread-with-apples/

  2. Pumpkin 7 Layer Bars

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
    1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
    1/4 – 1/2 cup whole cane sugar
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
    1/2 – 1 cup sweetened condensed milk

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
    In a large plastic bag place several graham crackers, remove all the air possible, and seal the bag. Roll a rolling pin over the crackers until they form finely ground graham cracker crumbs. Measure out and add the crumbs to the melted butter, stirring to combine well.
    Pour the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of a large baking dish or 9×13 pan. Press the crumbs down to form a packed crust. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
    In the meantime, put the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat with the hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. When you take the baked crust out of the oven, spoon this pumpkin mixture over the crust and smooth out in an even layer.
    Sprinkle the chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut in order over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Bake until the coconut is fragrant and lightly toasted, about 35-45 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting. Preferably, let them cool completely and then cut.


  3. Maashaa Allah, we don’t find pumpkins that are small and sweet here, but we love them! Here, we almost always have butternut squash instead.

    I, too, love it cubed in soups, stews, sauteed with onion, garlic, and herbs mixed with pasta, and even pumpkin curry. I often saute it with other vegetables like cauliflower and spinach for a colorful lunch when everyone else is chewing meat, LOL. A sister told me a fast way to “roast” the seeds, which I did once…basically taking them after the cleaning prep and doing them on the stovetop in a pan with a bit of butter and a sprinkling of salt. Yummy if you want to eat them straight away.

    Here’s a recipe that I am planning to make, using honey or date syrup because I find stevia has an aftertaste. Of course, it will have to be a butternut squash cheesecake as long as I’m here, but I can live with that. Pumpkins will come, bi idhn Illah, with another year and some water and sunshine.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake
    20mins prep, 1 hour cooking
    serves 6-8 (so triple it when we come, LOL!)


    About 1 cup of almonds, pecans or hazelnuts, finely powdered in blender or food processor
    2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
    1 egg
    cinnamon to taste
    honey or stevia to taste

    12 ounces pumpkin puree (about 1.5 cups of homemade or about 1 can store bought)
    2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
    2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
    3 eggs
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spices (to taste) or 1 tsp cinnamon and a sprinkle each of nutmeg and cloves
    1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    stevia or honey to taste (I used 2 tsp of powdered stevia leaf from the garden)
    [Note: The above recipe can be doubled to fit in a 9×13 baking dish]

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Finely powder the almonds or pecans in food processor or blender.
    Mix with cinnamon, stevia, egg and coconut oil and use hands to press into bottom of pie pan.
    Put in heating oven for 10-15 minutes until crust is slightly toasted.
    In the meantime, mix the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, spices, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, and sweetener with a mixer or immersion blender (or just throw in a blender).
    When crust has started to toast, remove from oven and pour filling into pan.
    Return to oven and cook for 35-45 minutes or until top doesn’t wiggle in center and starts to slightly crack on sides.
    Remove and let cool.
    Chill at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.


    1. YUM! Mash’Allaah, we have to try this too. Insh’Allaah we will make when you are making it, and we can compare notes! You are right, stevia does have an aftertaste, almost like artificial sweeteners. I use it in teas sometimes, but it isn’t very good for baking in my opinion.

  4. Sad, but true, I’m lactose intolerant and I love dairy. If it’s milky, creamy, buttery, or cheesy then I’m already wishing it was in front of me. I’m sure if a little more cornstarch was added to this and it was chilled, it would be smooth pumpkin pudding….and if it was frozen, pumpkin pudding pops. “This looks yummy!” says Mai as she reaches for the whole box of Lactaid tablets, LOL.

    Warm Pumpkin Custard Drink

    3 cups whole milk
    4 egg yolks
    1/3 cup real maple syrup
    1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
    2 Tablespoon arrowroot powder or corn starch
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, pumpkin, arrowroot powder, and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (I use a whisk) until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir until creamy. Pour into mugs and serve warm.


  5. I apologize for commenting again, but I guess I can be a big mouth when it is something strongly attached to my heart. I love pumpkin even more because our Prophet, Muhammad sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam, loved it. It follows that everything loved by the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is good and beneficial to us, al hamdul’Illah. It is all part and parcel of my wanting every bit of the Sunnah in my life and to be attached to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in as many ways as possible. In fact, when my husband asked me to make him pumpkin soup shortly after we were married, because he read the hadith about the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam loving it and chasing the pieces around in the bowl, it made me love my husband even more, maashaa Allah.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now and look for somewhere to put all that “Sunnah emotion” brimming in me!

    1. Yes, alhamdulillah. When I was writing this article the children were talking about that hadeeth, mash’Allaah. It is interesting because there is some discussion as to whether it was pumpkin or another type of squash, so that it why I didn’t add it into the post. You know how I am about exactness of speech, mash’Allaah.

      1. Yes, caution is a blessed quality maashaa Allah…and I love that about you, along with everything else, Barak Allahu feeki! Indeed, that is why I’m so happy with the different squashes…and feel good eating ALL of them, al hamdul’Illah.

        1. I find that especially butternut and acorn are interchangeable with each other and with pumpkin. I also think they are all so PRETTY mash’Allaah! And they keep for ages, which is always good.

  6. As Salamualaikum! Everything sounds so good! Mashaallah sis mai posted some yummy recipes! I have never really had much pumpkin and I am in the midwest (ohio) where there are tons of pumpkin fests and sales throughout the fall!so I’ll have to try these in sha’Allah I do love pumpkin flavor in my coffee though. I was wandering, how do you think pumpkin would taste in bone broth? I am trying to get a more nutritious and balanced diet and bone broth seems to keep my interest!

    Pumpkin seeds are also a big hit in egypt! When I lived there, the Egyptians were always chewing on pumpkin seeds, and you’d see the shells all over the ground lol ma sha’allah.

    barakaallahu feekum for the recipes!!


    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah! Pumpkin flavored coffee sounds pretty good, mash’Allaah. I have seen tea as well, but never tried it. I think it would be worth trying in the bone broth, although I have never tried it myself. In Yemen pumpkin seeds were popular, as was another smaller seed- I don’t know the name in English, actually. The Yemenis were very adept at getting the shells off when the seeds were in their mouths, something I never mastered. For pumpkin seeds, we eat the whole shebang, mash’Allaah. Feekee BarakAllaah!

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