Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sprouted Wheat Manna Bread - Yum!

I ran across this blog post: . It sounded and looked wonderful to me, so I decided to give it a try. It came out of the oven about 1/2 hour ago and I couldn't wait any longer. Oh, my! This stuff is delicious! First I ate a piece plain, and then the second piece had butter and some raw honey. I can understand the title of her blog now. I think I must be in heaven.

I did it exactly as she described. Give it a try! I'm sure it is very healthy and nourishing.

Here it is ready to go into the 225 degree F. oven. I used butter to grease the baking dish and also my hands when I was working with it.

Just out of the oven onto the cooling rack ~ turned upside - down to cool

2nd yummy piece

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Nothing is Happening....

Deb, on ~ has suggested that we share pictures of our kitchens. Well, here goes! I have a tiny kitchen, very crammed, but this is where I work!

No dishwasher, but lots of nice small appliances

See my lovely refrigerator! Pics of grandkids, food co-op order schedule, Church phone list, etc. On top you see my radio, bread bowl, rice cooker and milking buckets.

My aprons are hanging on the door of the laundry room

Pantry shelves, Hoosier Cupboard where I make bread, Tons of other things

Kitchen range

The other corner with small appliances

Calendar and phone

Sink and clean dishes

View from the kitchen window

So, there you have it! (blush)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Worth Getting Up For!

I recently got a very nice sourdough starter and have been experimenting with it. Last night I decided to try sourdough pancakes. We just got done eating some of them. I have made hundreds of batches of pancakes since we got married, but these are truly the most delicious pancakes we've ever had!

Here is the batter this morning, ready to bake:

First 3 on the griddle:

They've been flipped over:

Here you can see how light they are!

There would have been more on this platter, but my husband was already eating!

Here is the recipe:

Sourdough Pancakes

The night before:

Put 1/2 cup of your sourdough starter into a large glass bowl. Add:

2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups warm water
2 + cups of whole wheat flour - you want it to be like really thick cream. You can thin it down in the morning, but you can't add more flour, so it is better to err on the thick side at this point. I started with two cups of the whole wheat flour, and added more a little at a time until it seemed good. You don't want it to be STIFF, just sort of thick. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature overnight.

The next morning when you are ready to make breakfast:

Uncover the bowl. It should be all bubbly. Take out 1/2 cup of the starter to save for next time. You can keep it in the fridge for up to a month, maybe, but you can also freeze it and let it sit out to thaw if need be.

Ok, so now add:

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons extra-light olive oil
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix it well, with a fork. If the batter is too thick, add a little more water, but be careful and then let it sit for 5 minutes while you heat up your griddle.

When I bake my pancakes, I use a pan spray between each batch I put on. But you can do them however works for you! It made 2 dozen pancakes.

My husband likes his with butter and pancakes syrup. I had some with butter and homemade apple butter. That was to die for!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


One of my favorite online sites is Breadtopia. You can view several different, very helpful, bread-making videos on there and get great recipes. They also sell a nice selection of supplies and equipment at really fair prices. A few days ago, there appeared a new recipe for Rye Bread. I made some. It is done now, and the verdict is ~ Wonderful! Here are some pictures, and here is the link to the videos. Enjoy!

This bread is very easy to make. No kneading required.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Before and After

If you have not yet read Nourishing Traditions, please do! If your library doesn't have it, try inter-library loan, but if you can't get it there, you can get it here: http:///There is a lot of conversation about the concepts in the book going on in blog-land currently. A dear friend gave me a copy of the book a few years ago. It is quite an education. So, I am now "into" soaking grains before cooking them. Last night, before I went to bed, I set up the following:

whole wheat sourdough bread sponge
corn meal soaking for today's cornbread
1 pound of navy beans soaking
some cream from my goat milk sitting out to get warmed up for butter making
my breakfast oatmeal
a small batch of kefir, brewing

Here is the bread sponge as it looked after soaking all night:

Bread dough divided into 5 pieces:

Bread after baking:

Corn meal soaking:

Corn bread after baking:

Navy beans soaking:

Bean with bacon soup after cooking:

Cream warmed after a night sitting out:

Finished butter:

Breakfast oatmeal soaking:

Bowl of oatmeal for my breakfast:

Kefir brewing:

Strained liquid kefir in drinking glasses for tomorrow:

Buttermilk and skimmed milk cooking to make ricotta:

Finished, salted, ricotta:

Here are more details about the various projects:

Overnight Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

The night before, in a large bowl mix:

10 cups freshly ground wheat berries
1 cup sourdough starter ~ you can get FREE sourdough starter here:

6 cups lukewarm water

Stir that up, cover bowl with a plastic bag and let it sit in a warm room overnight.

The next morning, when you get around to it, add the following:

1 Tablespoon yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons sea salt
Unbleached all-purpose flour - enough to make a nice kneadable dough

Knead for about 15 minutes. Return to the bowl, which has been washed and oiled. Turn the dough over so that the top is oily. Cover with a plastic bag and let sit in a warm place until doubled, or it "sighs" when you poke it with your finger.

Divide into 5 equal pieces. Form into loaves and place them in greased/sprayed bread pans.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. When the loaves are doubled and nice and springy to the touch, put them in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 dregrees F. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on wire racks.


The night before, stir the following together:

1 cup whole corn meal
1 1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon liquid kefir

When you get ready to bake it the next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.


3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg
5 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder (Rumford)

Stir that all up well with a fork, pour into greased baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and when you touch the center, you can tell it is firm inside.

Bean with Bacon Soup

Sort and rinse 1 pound of navy beans and cover well with water and add 1 good glug of lemon juice. Let this soak until the next day.

Make some little slices of bacon and dice half of a large onion and cook them together in a cast iron dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pan.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Add them to the pot and put in enough water to cover the beans plus 1 to 2 inches more. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. Then add salt and pepper to taste.


I have quit milking my goats for now, until they freshen in May. I had a few jars of milk sitting in the fridge long enough that the cream had risen. Now, goat milk is sort of naturally homogenized, and the cream does not rise readily or soon. I have been considering buying a cream separator, and was glad for the opportunity to make butter to see if we would like it. We do, by the way. It is wonderful! I used my turkey baster to take the cream from the milk. It was rather thin cream, so did not yield very much butter, but it worked just fine. Once I have the separator, the cream will be heavier.

Here is a link showing exactly how I made the butter. Easy - shmeazy!

My butter is white because it is from goat's milk. I could add butter coloring if I wished.

Breakfast Oatmeal

In a small saucepan combine:

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon liquid kefir
sprinkle of sea salt
A few raisins
1 Tablespoon sunflower seed kernels

Let that sit, covered, overnight and cook it the next morning. I topped mine with:

Fresh goat milk
pat of butter
drizzle of raw honey



I have explained about kefir elsewhere on this blog, so look there for information. I am currently only doing a little bit of kefir because of the milk supply problem. I have quite a few quarts of milk frozen to tide us over and also 2 gallons of liquid kefir to use until May when we hope to be milking again. Most of my kefir grains are in the fridge splooshed down into some milk and covered with extra-virgin olive oil for the duration, but I have a little bit that I am still brewing, and you can see that in these photos.

Ricotta Cheese (sort of)

Technically, ricotta is made with whey left after cheese making, but you can do it with whole milk also. I had the buttermilk left, and also the skim milk from the butter making, so decided to make ricotta. It is very easy.

Put your milk in a stainless, heavy-bottomed pan. Gently heat to a simmer and then add 1/2 cup white vinegar for each gallon of milk. Remove from heat. Let it cool for 15 minutes and strain through a cloth. Gather up the cloth and press with the back of a spoon to expel most of the remaining liquid.

Put the curds in a bowl and salt to taste. Be careful not to add too much salt.

This cheese can be used in many things... stuffed shells, salads, pizza (along with mozzarella), lasagna.

So, there you have it! Before and After!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Greenhouse

A reader asked for information about our greenhouse. We got the original idea from Elliot Coleman in his book, He gives instructions for making a greenhouse out of hoops made of concrete reinforcing bar, covered with black plastic pipe, with the ends buried in the ground and then covered with clear plastic. With this set-up, you take the plastic off during the warmer months and thereby avoiding any buildup of insect pests. This greenhouse is for wintering over cold-hardy vegetables. The first year, that is just was we did. Then after that, my husband made it much nicer. He fabricated ends for the structure, attatched the rebar to a sturdy wood foundation and we bought real greenhouse plastic. The first year or two, I grew the vegetables in the ground, but for the last 2 years, I have had a raised bed, 4 feet by 16 feet which is filled with "Mel's Mix" described in this book: It is a mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 fine vermiculite and 1/3 compost (which should be a mix of 5 different kinds of compost - but I could only find 4.) I start planting in August (we live in zone 5). When it looks like we will have a frost soon, then we put on the plastic. When the weather gets more severe, we stick wire wickets into the bed at intervals and cover it with floating row cover. I don't remember how much it cost. If you are serious about wanting to do something like this, I urge you to buy or borrow a copy of Coleman's book first. Then you could make your plan and call around for prices. The hardest part was building the ends, but the truth is, you don't have to have official ends with a door and all of that. It just makes it more convenient. The vegetables we grow in the greenhouse start, as I mentioned, in August. When the weather gets really cold, they stop growing, but are very much alive and can be harvested all winter and then as the season warms up, things start growing again. It's wonderful! Once established, it is not hard work at all, and it's so nice to go out there on a February afternoon and bring in things for a salad or a stir-fry. The outside dimensions are 12 feet by 20 feet.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Very Tiny Savings

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that maybe I could cook on top of our fireplace insert. My husband lost his 20-year job, and fortunately we had nearly a year to prepare, so one big thing we did was start heating with wood. I tried this out on straight oatmeal the other day, so last night, I did my soaked method thus:

In a cast iron sauce pan the night before, combine:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon kefir (not strictly necessary)
2 Tablespoons raisins
A few pieces of walnut

Let that sit overnight and then in the morning I put it on top of the fireplace insert (with the lid on) and checked it and stirred it every 5 minutes until it was done. It took about 12 minutes, but that would depend on the fire and your situation. Next winter, we hope to have our new, larger, wood heating stove in place and then I will have a larger cooking surface to use.

Obviously, this didn't save a huge amount of electricity, but every bit adds up!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A method for making Soup

My idea here is not to give you specific recipes, but rather to show *how* I cook. Anyone who cooks could write a book of recipes, and of course there is plenty of room for recipe books, but when I read them (and I do, often, cover-to-cover!) I rarely have the ingredients listed. But reading them can show you HOW to cook as much as WHAT to cook. So, if you like my methods, just use what you have on hand and give it a try!

Anyone looking at this blog would think about all I ever make is soup. Hmm... that might just about be it. Well, no, actually I do make a lot of other things, but soup is the main course a good part of the time. I rarely use a recipe for soups. I just use what I have on hand, and try to make it yummy and good for us. Here is what I did yesterday:

I had a large package of frozen pork neck bones, so I put them in my cast iron dutch oven and covered them with water. I added:

1 onion, peeled and roughly sliced
3 cloves garlic, just sliced in half - not peeled
4 small carrots, scrubbed and sliced
a small handful of dried kelp
1 cup sliced celery that I pulled out of the freezer

Bring this to a boil and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Then let it cool for a little while and strain it through a cloth, reserving the broth, of course! I use a good quality cheesecloth and wash it and use it over and over. I bought it here:
Of course you can use some other loosely woven cloth or just a stainless strainer, but I like the cloth as it does a better job than a strainer.

Return the broth to the kettle (which I washed first) and add:

A few potatoes, peeled and cubed (I often don't peel potatoes, but when I cook them with cabbage, I do for aesthetic and texture reasons.)
1/2 head of a nice cabbage, cut into smallish pieces
1 teaspoon salt
The little bits of meat off of the bones
I had some leftover mashed potatoes from the other day, and so I put them through the ricer and added them to make the soup a little creamier (and so as not to waste the potatoes!)

Simmer for 1/2 hour.

Oh, this was GOOD.

Served with a nice homemade bread and butter, it's heavenly!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Souped - up Food

Something I like to keep in mind when I am cooking is, "how can I soup-up this dish?" In other words, how can I enhance the nutritional value? It starts, of course, with using the best ingredients you can get/afford. I was thinking about this today as I made some chili. It is cooking in a Crock Pot right now. Here is what's in it:

1 chopped onion
2 T extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 cans of kidney beans, drained
1 quart of home canned tomato juice
1/2 tsp. salt
a little pepper
2 T chili powder
a handful of macaroni (I live in Indiana. This is Indiana chili!)

Now, here comes the slightly souped-up part ~

1 T. nutritional yeast flakes (NOT baking yeast)
1 tsp. kelp powder

Those additions do not affect the flavor and I humor myself with the notion that they add something nice to the nutritional value.

Always thinking about something....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kefir - Chapter 8.5

When the weather gets really cold, and house is chilly, then my liquid kefir tends to be more runny and kind of grainy. I don't really mind, but my husband does. A few days ago, we bought one of these at Wal-mart. Now he can blend up his liquid kefir and it is smooth. The item is easy to use and easy to clean. He is very pleased. I tried it today and I really like it too. So, if that is a problem for you....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cheering it up a bit

I like to cut about 1/2 inch off the top of a carrot, place it in a little bottle cap, or other small container, keep it watered, and it will grow these nice ferny things. Very cheery in the midst of winter!

I also had a few turnips left and so am growing one in a little vase. I keep the vase full of clean water and the top grows. Nice to look at and nice to take a nibble off of once in a while.

I know, I'm kind of strange, but the heart of a gardener is always simmering. In fact, yesterday I ordered some seeds that we need and also drew out our vegetable garden plan. I can't wait!
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