I am wife to Stewart, mama of four, homeschooler, homebirther, home cook, fermenter, head dish-washer and chief fire-puter-outer. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
810 articles written by Shannon

Before baking. I hope you’ll understand how I still haven’t gotten an after shot, even after making this recipe several times.

He never really seems phased when he can’t eat something, or at least it doesn’t show all that much. The list of “no” has grown or shifted over the years but his understanding and maturity about the whole compromised gut health situation go way beyond his nine years.

Though he is fairly stoic, somehow I always cringe a little, even if he doesn’t. It happens when someone offers him food and I watch him navigate his own response. It happens when we eat outside of our own home and he asks “What can I eat?”. Mostly, it happens when I see that he simply cannot partake in the simple act of sharing some food.

So I try to make things I know we all can eat – mostly just real, basic foods like meat, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, broth, beans, and all of the bone broth and good fats we can muster. Other times, I try to give him something special that we can all gather around – a pie we all can eat or a cookie or scone that is all his own.


Milk kefir – one of my favorite workhorses in the kitchen.

Which is how these barely-sweetened cookies were born. They are a treat, in that we don’t eat cookies often, but they are really wholesome enough to enjoy with a bowl of homemade goat yogurt for breakfast. It was kind of an accident actually, when I whipped up something for him knowing I had baked something for the rest of the family.

Fermenting some oats in kefir and mixing in a few other ingredients did not seem like it was heading toward a favorite new cookie. But when he was presented with a stash of these for weekend snacks his eyes widened and that said it all. Maybe he is more phased by the “no” food category than I thought, he simply doesn’t show it like I would. And I can’t disagree with him, these cookies are really lovely, especially considering there is no sugar in sight.

And that’s reason enough to make cookies such as these, cookies for Elijah.

Kefir-Fermented Oat-Pumpkin Cookies


  • 1 cup steel cut oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup milk kefir
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum or brown rice flour
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/2 cup softened coconut oil (neither hard nor melted, but soft like room temperature butter)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates, raisins, or other dried fruit


  1. Combine the steel cut oats and kefir in a mixing bowl. Mix in the canned pumpkin and gluten-free flours.  Leave to ferment for 4-24 hours, depending on preference. The longer fermentation time will leave them tangier and even easier on the belly.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or line with parchment a large baking sheet.
  3. To the fermented dough, add the flax meal and softened coconut oil and beat them into the dough using a wooden spoon. Add all other ingredients and mix well to combine.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving 1/2″ between each cookie. Place cookies onto the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until firm and golden on the bottom. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Makes approximately 18-24 cookies, depending on size.

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Like most things on the homestead, having goats around has been both a big change and a seamless incorporation into our day. In the same way that life and work and family intertwine to form our days, these goats have worked their way into our homestead.

In the morning, Daddy and Elijah and Annabelle head out to the milking stand while Mama and Ruthie make breakfast and Abram cares for the chickens. Afterward I strain the milk, pour some into my coffee, and jar the rest. (After trying a few straining methods, we’ve landed on this reusable coffee filter. It’s a one-time, no waste purchase and works very well for us.)

Abby is a vocal one, so we hear from her throughout the day when Daisy starts to wander or someone departs from visiting hours or she simply wants to be heard. Throughout the day someone heads their way to pet, play, or refill water. But her level of communication (ahem) means we never really forget that they are there. And that’s fine by me. I love watching the children interact with them and grow up with animal contact – for their physical as well as their mental well-being.

At the end of the day, right around (or after) dark, the milking crew heads back out again. This time Abram mans the milking stool next to Daddy and almost always the little ladies insist on trailing along while Mama gets supper on the table. And when they return we gather around the table, strain and jar the milk once again, and wash up the milk pail. Because first thing tomorrow, it happens all over again.