Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baked Apples ~ yummy!

Have you ever had a simple baked apple for dessert?  If not, you are missing a real treat.  Make one of these for each person, and for an especially magical presentation, serve them warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  :)

Baked Apple

1 raw apple
1 teaspoon butter
1 Tablespoon real Maple syrup
a small pinch of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Carefully wash your apple.

From the top of the apple, carefully cut out the core, making sure you don't cut all the way through to the bottom.  Be sure to remove all of the seeds and crunchy core bits.

Place the apple in a ramekin, and to the hole, add the butter, syrup and cinnamon.

Put the ramekin in another oven-proof dish and bake for 45 minutes or until when you insert a small sharp knife into the apple, it is tender.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


I have linked this post to Simple Lives Thursday #93! Also at Homemaker Monday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My noodle drying rack. :)

I just have to show you this.  The idea is not original with me.  I just put 4 half gallon jars in strategic locations and placed an oven rack on top of them.  Voila!  Noodle drying rack! 

Vanilla Extract - Report

I promised to let you know how my homemade vanilla extract turned out.  The original plan was to let the vanilla beans soak for 1 month.  It took 6 weeks.  I am sure this would vary depending on your vanilla beans and the temperature in your cupboard.  Anyway, it is done and I am very pleased!  I plan to just leave the beans in the vodka as I use it and perhaps even add another one or two beans when I can get some.  When most of it is used up, I will add more vodka to the bottle.  Here it is as of this morning:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Candy ~ Really.

Have you ever been to a "taffy pull?"  When I was a youngster, this was a beloved party activity, and let me tell you, now I know WHY we did it at parties.  Today I did it ALONE.  Not the most intelligent choice I ever made, but it worked out in the end.

According to what I have read, just 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses has:

18% of your daily requirement for manganese
14% of your daily requirement for copper
13.2% of your daily requirement for iron
11.7% of your daily requirement for calcium
9.7% of your daily requirement for potassium
7.3% of your daily requirement for magnesium
3.4% of your daily requirement for selenium
AND only 1% of your daily requirement for calories!

That is a pretty impressive list.  Here is my recipe for:

 Blackstrap Molasses Taffy

1.5 cups Organic Blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup Organic Sucanat
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black walnut extract

Butter a Pyrex 9 x 13 inch pan.

In a heavy-bottomed, 3 quart stainless saucepan, combine the molasses, Sucanat, butter and vinegar.

Stir constantly and over medium heat, bring to a boil.

Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, and stirring, continue to cook until the temperature reaches 260 degrees F.

Remove from heat and stir in the black walnut extract.

Pour the mass into the buttered pan.

Stir around gently with a fork as it cools to bring the outer parts to the center.

When the taffy is cool enough to handle, generously butter your hands and then begin "pulling" the taffy.  This just means you stretch it, and fold it back on itself over and over.  I could not take a picture of it stretched out, because I only have 2 hands.

Continue pulling the taffy until it has lightened somewhat in color and it becomes almost firm enough that you cannot pull it any longer.

Pull it into a long rope and lay it out on waxed paper to cool.

Cut into small pieces with some sturdy scissors and wrap each one in a small piece of waxed paper.

This will make about 1 pound of candy.

Are you old enough to remember the "Pay Day" candy?  It was an "all-day" sucker on a stick that we would lick and suck on for hours.  This taffy is a Lot Like That and so so yummy!

You can feel good about feeding this to your children!  :)

This post is being shared at Simple Lives Thursday #92!  AND Real Food Wednesday

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Babka Easter Bread - a little late!

Babka bread originally came to this country from Poland and is traditionally served at Easter.  There are many recipes available.  This is my super-healthy adaptation.


Babka Easter Bread
5.5 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw milk, scalded
2 cups filtered water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
2 pastured eggs
1/2 cup Rapadura
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Grease 2 medium-sized loaf pans with coconut oil.

Measure the flour into a large bowl.  Stir in the salt.


Pour milk into a small saucepan and scald (heat gently until bubbles form all around the edges) and add the coconut oil to allow it to melt.  Add the honey and when the mixture is lukewarm, add the eggs and beat together.  


Heat ¼ cup water to 110 – 115 degrees F.  Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir with a fork.


Add the milk mixture, 1 ¾ cups more water and the yeast/water mixture to the bowl containing the flour and salt.

Wash and dry the bowl and grease well with more coconut oil.

Stir thoroughly, and if need be, add more sprouted whole wheat flour to make a soft kneadable dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding more bits of flour to prevent sticking. 

When the dough is springy and elastic, place it in the greased bowl, rub a little more coconut oil over the top and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Allow to raise until it doubles in bulk in a warm place. (80 degrees F.)  You can tell when it is double if when you poke it with your finger, it “sighs” and the hole does not fill back in.  Watch it carefully.  You don’t want it to rise beyond that point.

Press the dough down to release the gas, re-cover, place in your warm place again and allow it to raise for 30 more minutes.

Flour your work surface (continue to use the sprouted wheat flour) and pour the dough out.  Do not handle the dough any more than necessary.  Cut it in half and place the extra piece back in the bowl.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to approximately a 20 inch by 10 inch rectangle.

Combine the Rapadura, cocoa and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the dough rectangle.

Now… working from one short end, “accordion – fold” the dough, trying to get the individual folds to be about 3 inches in height.  When you get near to the end of the dough piece, use the unfolded part to wrap across the top of the folds.  Pinch it along underneath, pinch and tuck the ends under and place it in a bread pan, seam side down. The following pictures show the process.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Here is what it looks like when it is ready to go into the oven.


The reason you should not handle it anymore than necessary, is that as it raises, gas bubbles are formed in little pockets of gluten fibers.  You want to maintain those little pockets and not rip them apart.  This is particularly important when using dough made from sprouted wheat flour, as it is more tender.

Start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees F.  Set the 2 loaf pans on top of the stove.

Allow to raise until it doubles, and is springy when you poke it.

Place both loaves in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Remove from pans and cool on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Slice thickly and serve with plenty of nice butter!

 If you like, you can add raisins or other dried fruit and/or chopped nuts when you sprinkle on the cocoa/cinnamon mixture.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Poor Man's Peat Pots

Pan of Paper Pots

After reading this great article ~, I wanted to try this method.
Also, from this article ~, I learned how much easier it is to fill planting containers if you moisten the potting medium first.
Not wanting to spend money on the peat pots if I didn’t have to, I decided to make some newspaper pots.  Here is how it is done…
Materials ~ newspapers, scissors, empty tin cans or drinking glasses with straight sides, and a pan of some sort to put your pots in after they are filled.
First… open the whole newspaper sheets and cut them into 4 long strips:

Newspapers, cut into long strips.

Place your can or drinking glass horizontally across the paper strip, leaving the bottom hanging out a bit and roll the paper up all the way to the end:

Beginning to wrap newspaper around the can.

 Still wrapping...

When the paper has all been wrapped around your can, then, carefully tuck the loose ends INTO the open end of the can:

Newspaper sleeve tucked into end of can.

Remove the can from the newspaper sleeve, and then insert the bottom of the can into the top of the paper pot to mash down the bottom.

Can re-inserted into newspaper pot.

Remove the can, and voila!  Your pot is complete!  Repeat with more newspaper strips and make as many as you need.

Completed Paper Pot!

Needless to say, you can make them any size you wish, large or small, and adjust the size of the strips of newspaper accordingly.
Fill your little pots with moistened planting mix, place them side-by-side, in a pan that is tall enough to come up near the top of the pots, transplant your seedlings into them and then you will water from the bottom

Cabbage and Broccoli Seedlings in our Hoop house

Newly transplanted cabbage seedlings in paper pots

As with peat pots, these little pots can be directly placed in the garden soil when it is time to take them outside.  Mine are living in our hoop house, which is covered with greenhouse plastic we bought from the Greenhouse Megastore!

I got this idea from my friend, Debbieo!  Thank you!

Our Granddaughter at the Piano - Update

A few weeks ago, I posted a short video of our granddaughter playing a song she was learning on the piano.  Here is what she was able to do after 3 weeks.  Although she has the music in front of her, what she is playing is memorized.  She is 10 years old.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breakfast Frittata

Frittata for breakfast is wonderful, and it is so versatile that it can be used as a main course in any meal.  You may substitute other meats, vegetables, cheeses, etc. for the filling.  It is a great way to use up a bit of leftovers too.  This Frittata is savory and filling.  You will love it!

I went out last night when it was time to close the greenhouse and gathered a few leaves of Swiss Chard and a green onion.  Here you can see those (I put them in a glass of water so they wouldn't wilt overnight) and the duck eggs, 6 strips of bacon and 2 ounces of cheddar cheese that I used:

 The Bacon has been chopped small, as well as the vegetables:

 I beat together 7 duck eggs (if using chicken eggs, substitute 9 of them) with 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 4 "cranks" of pepper:

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet on medium heat.  Add the bacon and, stirring, cook until it is partially cooked and then add the vegetables, and continue to stir and saute until the bacon is done:

Pour the egg mixture carefully over the filling and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.  Turn the heat to low and continue to cook, without any stirring, until the eggs are set almost to the top ~ about 1/4 inch from the surface:

Place the pan under a broiler set on "low." 

Watch your Frittata.  When the top is nicely browned, it is done.  Remove from oven, cut into wedges and enjoy!

This post is linked with Wardeh's Wonderful Simple Lives Thursday and Friday Food Flicks, and Traditional Tuesday!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Cure for the Common Cold...

This week didn't start off too well.  Monday night while sleeping, I became thoroughly chilled and woke up with a sore throat on Tuesday morning.  As the day progressed, I got sicker and sicker and by Tuesday night, had a full-blown cold.  Ugh.  Not a big deal, of course, however, I had several obligations looming over me this week, including teaching a lesson on making soap at Relief Society Thursday evening, and on Easter Sunday (tomorrow) I am teaching a lesson again and also our choir is singing 3 songs in Sacrament Meeting and I really need to be in good voice for that.  So, I wracked my brain for anything I could come up with to help me get over this cold quickly.

Recently, I had been reading online about "The milk cure."  Apparently, adopting a diet consisting of exclusively raw milk can often actually cure many severe diseases.  I had never noticed that anyone mentioned the common cold, but felt inspired to give it a try.

Tuesday night I barely slept.  I was achy and miserable.  I think I slept for about 3 hours and got up at 3:30 a.m..  That was fine, really, as I was able to get a lot done before the grandchildren woke up.  :)  It was a perfect time to try the milk cure, because I was so miserable and didn't feel like eating anything anyway.  I didn't go about this scientifically.  Fortunately, there were several quarts of raw goat milk in the refrigerator, so I was all set. I just drank a glass of milk whenever I felt like it.  I think I probably consumed 2 quarts that first day.  When our daughter and son-in-law arrived that evening, they brought a large sack of grapefruit, so I ate one of those, but other than that I had nothing but raw goat milk all day.  As the day wore on, I suspected that I was actually already beginning to recover.

That night was very interesting.  I slept "like a baby" (which I rarely do.)  When I awakened on Thursday, I was DEFINITELY a LOT better. The aches were gone, and nasal and chest symptoms were vastly improved.  Ordinarily, with a cold, I would have not even reached the horrific peak of it at that stage, and yet I was much improved!  So, I continued with the milk. That day I also ate another grapefruit and some of my fresh, green "lemonade", but nothing else.

That evening I was able to teach with no difficulty.  I wasn't coughing and sneezing and my voice was good.  Friday I began eating solid food again, as I actually felt hungry, which I hadn't before.  Today is Saturday.  Yes, there are still icky things getting coughed up and I'm blowing my nose, but I am No Longer Sick.  Hallelujah!  It worked!

I don't know if it would help anyone else, but it was too remarkable to keep to myself, and I'll definitely be doing this again next time.

If you would like to find out a bit more about the milk cure, read the following article:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Home Canned Chili Beans - at last!!

For quite some time I've been trying to come up with a recipe for my own "chili beans."  We like them best when I make chili, but until now, I've always had to purchase the beans in cans.  Because of the dangers of BPA that is in the metal can linings, and the fact that I can use organic beans and soak them properly, I am very happy to report that no longer will I need to buy my chili beans at the supermarket!  I had looked, many times, in cook books and on the internet trying to find a recipe, to no avail.  Here is how I do it now.  They are really delicious!

First, make up a batch of the seasoning mix.

SEASONING MIX FOR CHILI BEANS  ~ makes about 1/2 cup of mix (enough for 8 pints of beans)

2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon unrefined sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
4 more teaspoons of the unrefined sea salt to add to the jars.

Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Store in an airtight glass jar.

How to prepare the beans

For 8 pints of home-canned chili beans, you will need 2 pounds of dry kidney beans.

Sort and wash them well.  Drain.  Place in a large glass or stainless container and cover with water, at least half again as deep as the level of the beans.  Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Allow to soak for 24 hours.  Drain.  Rinse.  Cover again, as before.  Allow to soak for another 24 hours.

Drain and rinse.  Cover well with clean water and bring to a boil.  Boil gently for 30 minutes, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface.

When you fill your pint jars for canning, fill them only about 3/4 full of beans and top off with the cooking liquid or boiling water. Leave 1 inch head space at the top.

Add 3 teaspoons of the seasoning mix to each jar and 1/2  teaspoon salt.

Process in a pressure canner for 75 minutes at 11 pounds pressure.

If you are not familiar with canning, please don't be afraid, but do consult an authoritative source on canning.  I recommend this book:  Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

If you are a fan of chili beans, you are going to love these!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...