Friday, March 30, 2012

A "Basket"...

Like I said once before, sometimes I just play. :D

I have a small stand of basket willows, and a few weeks ago, my husband pruned them for me. I decided to attempt a basket. I used the smaller parts of the willows and a few strands of Wisteria vines and came up with a... cough... "basket." Primitive, to be sure, putting it kindly, but it was loads of fun and I like it and will use it.

Here it is:

The bottom:

The inside:

I put a small cloth in it and will keep what's left of last year's garlic harvest in it:

And this is where it hangs in the kitchen:

Along the same lines.... the grandchildren are still here and we have built "forts" out in the woods for them. Here are some pictures:

They will be here through Easter Sunday. I will miss them so much when they go home, and yet, as I often say, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened!"

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baking Powder Biscuits

The quest for the perfect biscuit that is also healthy has come to a successful end! These are amazingly tender and flavorful biscuits. They are made with whole wheat flour that I sprouted from wheat berries, just until a little tiny sprout started showing. Then I dehydrated and ground them into flour.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Rumford baking powder
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup cold whole raw milk

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together thoroughly.

Grate the butter into the flour mixture, a small part at a time and stir it in gently to get it covered with flour so the butter pieces won't stick together.

Pour in the milk and stir with a fork, just enough to moisten all of the flour.

Sprinkle a little more of the sprouted flour on your work surface and dump the dough out onto it.

Press the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place the biscuits on a baking sheet. You may place them close together OR leave room between them if you like them to be more crispy.

Bake at 500 degrees F for 10 - 12 minutes. Watch them carefully, and bake just until they start to brown on top and the bottoms are browning.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a basket lined with a cloth to serve.

I can't describe the taste of these biscuits. I just know we all love them!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You have GOT to try this recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies! I just baked a batch. Oh my! They are delicious! I ended up with 30 cookies. There is only 0.17 teaspoon of honey in each one, and they are nicely sweet. Here is the link where you can find the recipe:

Whole grain, properly soaked, eggs, healthy fat and just a touch of honey. Perfect.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wholesome Butterscotch Pudding

Now that I retrenched, I am trying to develop more recipes to replace the ones I eliminated on my blog. I just made this pudding, and it is To Die For!

Butterscotch Pudding - 8 servings

1 quart raw goat milk (or whole milk)
1/3 cup non-GMO cornstarch ( or arrowroot powder)
1 cup Rapadura (or Organic Sucanat)
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (or sea salt)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon butter
3 eggs

Beat the eggs very well.

In a microwave-proof bowl (I use my 2-quart Pyrex measuring bowl) combine the milk, cornstarch, Rapadura, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk together thoroughly.

Place the bowl of mixture in your microwave oven. Process on "high" for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and whisk well. Add the butter.

Then, do it again, and keep doing it 1 minute at a time, whisking well in between, until the pudding thickens and starts to poof up a little bit.

Immediately pour about 1/4 cup of the hot pudding into the eggs and whisk it together very well.

Pour the egg mixture back into the pudding and whisk that together thoroughly.

Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or store it in your refrigerator.

Frozen chocolate banana desert!


The granddaughter that is visiting us currently LOVES this desert and I promised to make it while she is here, so today I did. It is quick and easy, delicious and nourishing!

Here is what you need:

A blender
Some cups or little bowls

4 ripe bananas
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons maple syrup (or raw honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

It's simple - put all of the ingredients into your blender. Put on the lid and blend on high until smooth. Pour the mixture into serving bowls and freeze.

It is best if eaten as soon as it is frozen, but if it freezes HARD, it is still yummy, it just takes more muscle to eat. :)

Linked to Real Food Wednesday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grandchildren, again. :)

Two of our precious grandchildren are visiting us for a few weeks. Yesterday, this young lady showed me she was trying to learn "Someone Like You," that Adele Adkins sings. I found a site online where I could purchase a download of the music at a very reasonable cost. She practiced it some last night, and this morning, has learned a page and a line. She's doing very well. It's a joy to hear a child practicing piano in our home again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Love Breakfast.

You may read advice about breakfast in many places. Some say to skip it if you aren't hungry. Some say it's the most important meal of the day. I suppose it's very much a personal thing, but to me, Breakfast is my Favorite meal of the day!

Whether I am hungry or not, I always eat breakfast. I have found that if I skip it, then I want to snack all evening and that is definitely not healthy!

In the picture you can see what I have for breakfast the majority of the time. A nice pastured egg, fried in butter, with a piece of my homemade whole wheat bread made into toast and buttered, and a small glass of milk kefir. This enjoyed in the morning, when the sun is not quite up yet, at our table, with my husband... that is a very happy and relaxing time of the day.

I read once that Julia Child said something to this effect:

Eat 3 meals a day. Have a little of everything. Not too much. No seconds. Don't eat between meals.

I agree with her. I really think our stomachs need a rest with no food in them. And I know that I sleep much better going to bed "hungry" than not. Obviously, I'm getting plenty of food in those 3 meals, if I'm not losing weight! I think that what we think is "hunger" is often not really that.

Everyone and every ~ body is different. Young children, with tinier stomachs, and when they are growing, obviously would need to eat more often.

We all have to call this for ourselves. Get to know yourself... what agrees with you, and what doesn't. How much and when. Pay attention.

How did I get off on that? Well, I really do LOVE breakfast. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weekly Stock

I use a lot of stock and bone broths in my cooking. I was intrigued when I ran across the concept of what many call "Perpetual Soup." I've read about it recently on several sites and thought it might be exactly what I need!

You can use a chicken carcass leftover or even a whole chicken, or other soup bones, and you add onions (I left the skins on), garlic, celery, bay leaves and parsley. Here is how I did it, and below I will describe how to use it!

Weekly Stock

You will need a Crockpot. I used my 5 quart size, but you could get by with a smaller or larger one, too. The one thing is that you need it to be reliable about simmering your stock. Some of the newer crockery cookers run too hot to do this as well. If you are using a larger pot, add more of the ingredients.

In the cooker, place either a whole chicken, a leftover chicken carcass from some other meal, or beef or lamb shank bones or ribs, and if you have them, knuckle bones. (I've never been able to locate knuckle bones.)

Add to that a couple of nice onions. Cut off the stem end and then quarter the onions with the skin on.

Add two cloves of garlic (or more), cut in half.

Add 2 or 3 stalks of celery...

some parsley (fresh or dried),

a few black peppercorns,

and 3 or 4 bay leaves.

Fill the crockpot up with filtered water, put the lid on and set it to "low."

You may begin using the broth after 24 hours. Just take out what you need, strain it, put any solid bits back into the pot, top it off with more filtered water and voila! You have the stock you need, and can use this for a week.

You may also use the meat that is in there for soups or stir-fries or whatever you wish.

You will find that after a certain time (and this will vary) the stock will have it's best flavor. At the end of the week, the gelatin should be all steeped out of the bones.

Save whatever liquid is remaining, perhaps in the freezer, or just make it into soup on that last day.

This way, you ALWAYS have fresh stock available with Very Little Effort.

It is important not to add carrots and other root vegetables. They can make your broth taste bitter when you use this method.

Chicken soup really is good for colds and flu. Imagine how lovely it would be to have this nice warm broth available all week when you are ill. Just strain some out, add some lovely unrefined sea salt, and you'll be all set!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wonderful Tapioca Pudding!

If you've never had tapioca pudding, you are in for a treat! I used to make it a lot when our children were little, but had sort of "forgotten" about it until the other day... Here is my favorite recipe:

Tapioca Pudding

1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
3 Tablespoons of "Minute Tapioca"
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg white until it forms soft peaks:

Combine the milk, maple syrup, egg yolk, salt and tapioca in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and whisk together well.

On medium/high heat and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat.

Quickly whisk in the beaten egg white and then stir in the vanilla extract.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Or, you can cover the pudding and refrigerate it.

Enjoy! I have linked this post up at the Homestead Barn Hop #53!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Day One

Thanks to Heidi_@_homeingreece, I finally decided to try to make my own Vanilla Extract. Her instructions arrived in my email inbox on the perfect day, as I had an opportunity to go to a bulk foods store today and the lady there was able to sell 3 vanilla beans to me! I always keep Vodka around (not that I ever drink it. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we don't drink alcoholic beverages.) I keep a supply, though, for making medicinal tinctures. I think this big bottle of Vodka cost less than $10. The vanilla beans were $2.25 each. I could probably buy them in bulk for less a piece, but I only wanted 3, so I was delighted to find them.

So, here are the ingredients... Vodka and 3 vanilla beans. I am using a 16 ounce bottle. I have several of those from making kefir soda.

Here are my three precious vanilla beans. Heidi's instructions said to slit each one lengthwise with a razor blade. So, I did.

Then I put them in the bottle:

And filled the bottle with Vodka:Link

I put it in a cupboard and will take it out and shake it gently, once a day, and theoretically, that will make Vanilla Extract!

Heidi also said you can use the beans more than once! So, this will be quite economical.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hurry up! The potatoes are shrivelling!

If you read the last post, you will have seen a picture of some of my poor little pathetic shriveled potatoes. I have about a bushel of them left from last year, and although I don't want to have potatoes at every meal, I think we will be eating them every day for a while. I hope not many of them will go to waste. If I couldn't afford to get new certified disease-free seed potatoes, I would definitely use a lot of these to plant this year, perhaps as early as St. Patrick's Day, if the weather cooperates. However, I will be buying new seed. It's safer, and I have the money set aside for that.

Today's potato feature is Hash Brown Potatoes. A lot of people buy "hash brown" potatoes, frozen in big bags, at the grocery store. Fine, but even though those are not very expensive, they still cost more than using fresh potatoes, and I believe that my homemade hash browns are more nutritious and safe to eat.

So, here we go!

Hash Brown Potatoes - 3 servings

1 pound of potatoes
3 T butter
Sea Salt (I use Realsalt)
freshly ground black pepper
ground cayenne pepper

As you can see, my potatoes are ready for spring!

I chose a few of them, about 1#, and scrubbed them well:

Next, partially fill a bowl with cold water. Grate the potatoes, and add them to the water. Do not let the grated potatoes sit out for long, as the oxidation will make them rather unattractive.

Start heating your skillet on medium/low heat. Just before you are going to add the grated potatoes, melt the butter in your skillet. A heavy skillet (I use cast iron) is necessary to prevent scorching.

Pour the grated potatoes into the colander, place the colander under cold running water in your sink and rinse and stir, rinsing very thoroughly to remove excess starch. Press out as much water as you can:

Then, put them onto a dish towel and press out more water:

Dump the grated potatoes into the heated skillet that contains the melted butter. Spread them out. Now you can season them. I use salt and pepper to taste, a tiny amount of ground cayenne and a nice sprinkling of paprika:

Let the potatoes cook for about 4 minutes and then start stirring them around every minute or two:

Continue to cook, moving them around frequently until they are nice and soft. Then, turn up the heat a little and press them down into the skillet. Cook until the underside is as brown as you like, and flip them over (it is not necessary to keep them all in one piece) and cook until the top is brown also.

We like to eat these with fried eggs. And of course, you have my permission to use ketchup. :D

This post is linked up with Friday Food Flicks!
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