Sourdough Crackers

I recently started up a sourdough starter. This means that every other day or so I need to remove some starter and feed the remainder. Usually the directions say to “discard” the starter that is removed. But I read that you can use it in recipes. So I went looking for some recipes to use. I found crackers! I have wanted to make crackers for some time and never got around to it. So today I found this really easy recipe and tried it out. They are not beautiful, but the crackers are delicious!!  And wow did they ever smell good while baking!   I altered the recipe a bit…I added herbes de provence, dried onion, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

 

My recipe:

1 cup starter

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons herbes de provence

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Mix all together and .  Divide dough in half (for easier handling) and cover.  Chill for an hour.  Roll out 1 of the balls of dough sprinkling with flour as needed to keep from sticking.  Roll out thinly.   I rolled the ball out into a rectangle to fit on my cookie sheet.  Roll the dough on your rolling pin to transfer the dough to the cookie sheet.  Brush some olive oil lightly onto the dough and sprinkle with either coarse salt or herbs, as you like.  Cut dough with pizza cutter to the size crackers you want.  Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes until getting brown.  Remove from oven and cool.

 

Feb 17th, 2017
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Misc Food Projects

Food projects I worked on today:

Pictured:
Oat Nut Bread
butternut squash cooked and frozen
fed sourdough starter

Not pictured:
granola
dog food

Feb 17th, 2017
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Monday Food Post

I have a hard time with my hands.  They hurt a lot of the time.  They are weak and I have a hard time doing some tasks such as cutting into big hard vegetables such as squashes and rutabagas.  I have some squashes here and decided today since my hands were not so bad today, I would cut these things up and cook them and freeze them.

I cut two acorn squashes in half, put some chopped apple, butter, maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and stuck them in the oven.  I also cut up a rutabaga and put it in the oven at the same time to cook.  It baked them 1 hour and 15 minutes and took them out.  I let them cool.  Then I scraped out the squash and mashed it up and put in freezer bags.  I put the rutabaga in freezer bags also.  I have 2 butternut squashes to do tomorrow if my hands cooperate.

Feb 13th, 2017
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How To Make Cranberry Juice Cocktail

I had 2 bags of cranberries sitting in the refrigerator from Christmas time. They were organic and consequently had no preservatives on them and were starting to get mold. So I decided to make juice. I put the 2 bags of cranberries in a pot, added one chopped apple and 2 tangerines (because they were getting oldish also).  I added about 2 quarts of water.  Bring this to a boil and reduce heat and simmer till fruit is all mushy.

Strain fruit into a bowl.  I mashed the fruit to get as much juice out as I could.

Pour juice through a coffee filter to get out all the mushies and make the juice clearer.  I had to replace the filter several times because a lot of mushies went through the colander I strained it through first, so the filter got plugged up.

Heat juice up again while getting jars, lids, and hot water bath canner ready.  I added about 1/4 cup sugar to the juice for only a very light sweetness.   Fill jars with juice and put on hot lids.  Put jars into boiling water in canner and boil for 15 minutes.  Remove jars carefully and put in safe place to cool.

Aren’t they pretty!  I used the 8 ounce jelly jars for these and they are ready to drink.  I canned 8 jars of cranberry juice and put 2 in the refrigerator.  I also canned some rhubarb juice I had already made earlier.

Feb 10th, 2017
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Using Pantry Foods For a Dinner

I made a chicken and noodle casserole today for dinner.  I mixed up 1/2 of a pint of chicken I had canned and 1 pint of vegetables canned in chicken broth into a quart casserole dish.  I stirred in some herbs/spices, 1 cup of the chicken broth, 1/2 cup of cream I had in the refrigerator that needs to be used up, and also a bit of diced up cream cheese.  I made homemade noodles and mixed those in also.  I did not measure the noodles, but the recipe I used was 1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup flour. I baked it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes I think, till it was bubbly and browned.   It was yummy! The cream cheese in it was excellent.

Ingredients

ingredients

Before

before

After

after

Feb 10th, 2017
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how to make maple pecan ice cream

I asked Caitlin to pick me up a container of cream so I could make ice cream and she brought me 2 large containers of cream.  That is enough for 4 quarts of ice cream!  So yesterday I made chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  Today I am making maple pecan. I will still have 1 more load of ice cream to make but I don’t have any more sweetened condensed milk so it will have to wait a few days lol.

Gather your ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
real maple syrup
vanilla
butter
1 or more cups chopped pecans
cinnamon

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan, stir in 2 tablespoons real maple syrup. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and pecans. Over medium high heat stir pecan mixture until it bubbles for several minutes and most of the liquid is gone. Don’t burn it, but do boil it several minutes. Take pan off stove and let mixture cool. The butter and syrup will coat the pecans in a candy like coating. When cooled break it up and set aside. WARNING: this is very hot, don’t attempt to taste it because you WILL burn your tongue. Don’t ask how I know that.

In a 4 cup container, stir together your condensed milk and heavy cream. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

If you are the think ahead kind of person, you will have mixed this up the night before and put it in the refrigerator to get completely chilled. I am not that person, so I put this container in the freezer and SET A TIMER for 1 hour. After 1 hour, give it a stir and see if the edges are starting to turn mushy. You want this mixture to get very cold but you don’t want it to freeze yet.  That is why you want to set a timer so you don’t forget about it.  There is my ice cream maker base next to it and a tub of chocolate ice cream I made yesterday.  There is also a store bought (gasp!) ice cream in the base that Den brought me.

After probably 2 hours, remove your cream mixture and pour it into an ice cream maker.

Turn it on and when it gets soft servish, pour in the nuts and continue running ice cream maker to stir the nuts all in.

Pour ice cream into a container and freeze several hours to overnight.

About Ice Cream Makers

I have an ice cream maker that I bought several years ago from Aldi for $15.  This was one of the best investments I have EVER made!  I use it about once a week because chocolate ice cream is one of the few things my picky husband will eat.  Luckily I am not a big chocolate ice cream eater.  So if all I make is chocolate, I don’t eat it.  This ice cream maker makes about 1 quart. You do have to think a bit ahead and put the base in the freezer ahead of time.  I would suggest 2 days ahead.  I pretty much keep it in the freezer all the time if possible.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make ice cream.  Just whip up the cream till stiff, then add in the condensed milk and other ingredients and pour into container to freeze. But if you love ice cream, buy a maker.  There is one on Amazon that Mom got and likes.

 

Other Ice Cream Flavors

Vanilla – use above recipe but leave out nut mixture and maple syrup.

Chocolate – use vanilla recipe but stir in 1/4 cup cocoa powder into the condensed milk before stirring in cream.

You can use the vanilla or chocolate base and add different things to it – I added chopped up reeses peanut butter cups into vanilla ice cream and carefully stirred in chocolate syrup.  Oh that was good!

I did add some mashed up strawberries once and it was good, but the fruit freezes up hard and I wasn’t real happy about that.

I also added 1/2 cup pumpkin puree to vanilla along with some pumpkin pie spices.  That also was good.

 

Feb 10th, 2017
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How To Make Pot Roast

Ingredients:
hunk of beef – not too lean, you need some fat on it
carrots
celery
onion
salt
pepper
thyme
garlic powder
beef or vegetable broth or water

Step 1: I am making “roast” for 2 and I am using 2 small round steaks that have a bit of fat marbling them. You need a bit of fat, don’t buy the meat with no fat at all. You could buy a bigger chuck roast if you want a larger meal. Just buy whatever is least expensive. You don’t need to worry about whether it is tender meat because you are going to be cooking it slowly for a long time; it will get tender from the cooking.

potroast_2

In a large skillet or a roasting pan, brown all sides of the roast in a bit of olive oil and butter till browned over rather high heat. Add salt and pepper to the meat while cooking. Remove the meat and put in the roasting pan or on a plate. You only want to brown the outside of the meat, not cook it. I am browning mine in a cast iron skillet.

potroast_3

Step 2:

Dice up some vegetables – onion, carrot, and celery. I also had a parsnip that I used. If you aren’t familiar with parsnips I urge you to try them! They look much like large white carrots and cook like them also. They have a bit of a peppery taste and really can add some flavor to your food.Today I used 1/2 of a large onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and 1/2 of a parsnip. Add these vegetables to your skillet that you browned the meat in. Lower the heat you don’t really want to brown the vegetables, just cook and stir them till they are starting to cook a bit, the onion will be turning limpish. Don’t over cook, remember you will be cooking this in with the meat.

potroast_4

Step 3:
Put the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan and lay the meat on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle salt, pepper and other seasonings over all. I use thyme, garlic powder, parsley. Use what you like.I added about 1/4 cup water to the roasting pan because there isn’t much fat in this meat today. If I had some out already I would have used some beef or vegetable stock, but I didn’t want to open a can just for that.

potroast_5

Step 4:
Cover the roasting pan and put in oven that is heated to 275 degrees. I am cooking it slow today. You could raise the heat higher and it will cook sooner, but I am not in a hurry today.I set the timer for 2 hours. I will check the meat then.

potroast_6

 

Step 5:

After about 1 1/2 hours, I took out the roaster and added in some potatoes.  I also added some more water because the chopped veggies had pretty much soaked up all the liquid.  I increased the heat to 350 degrees and set the timer for 1 hour.  Add the potatoes on top of the other veggies and place meat on top of potatoes.

potroast_7

 

Step 6:

The potatoes were actually done after about 35 minutes.  Here is the final product.  The meat was a bit dry, I probably should have used more liquid, but I wanted the potatoes to be “roasted” and a little brown, not steamed. A different cut of meat with more fat would have been less dry.   I made some green beans to go on the side.

 

You can use this cooking method with other meat also, pork roast or chicken.  If using chicken pieces, I would remove the skin and you don’t really need to brown it.  Chicken would also require more liquid – pour in some chicken or vegetable broth to cover the chopped veggies.  Check during cooking to see if more is needed.

You can also cook this in a crockpot.

You could make and Italian style pot roast by adding a can of chopped tomatoes instead of other liquid, and add some Italian seasoning.

TIP:

I had some extra veggies that I needed to use up because they had been in the refrigerator for awhile.  So I chopped up some more carrots, celery, onion and parsnip and lightly cooked them in the cast iron pan I used earlier.  I didn’t season them or cook them as long as the ones I used for the roast.  When they had cooled, I put them in freezer baggies and put them in the freezer.  Next time I make a roast, these will be ready and waiting.

mirepoix

Feb 8th, 2017
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Winter Is Back…

snowYesterday all the snow was melting and it was 50 degrees. Birds were singing.

Today…winter is back.

So I decided it was a pea soup kind of day…

 

peasoup

Mar 12th, 2014
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Replacement for canned condensed cream of… soup

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in pan, stir in flour and cook, stirring rapidly until thick.  Slowly pour in broth while stirring,  then stir in milk. Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper.

This can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

You can vary this by adding mushrooms, sauteed celery, etc.

Nov 2nd, 2011
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Homemade Soap

I have been making a lot of soap!  I have about 80 bars now, I think that will be enough for some time.  I plan to give some for Christmas presents.

My first attempt was a simple recipe I found for equal amounts of coconut oil and olive oil.  That soap is very hard!  Then I went on to a recipe from Rhonda at Down To Earth.  This soap has cured for 2 months now.  It is ok, but it took a long time to cure (harden) and it is not very sudsy.  Third try was a plain lard soap.  This soap became hard quickly and is a nice white color.  It is ok.  I like my 4th try of mostly lard with the addition of coconut oil.  The coconut oil helps make the soap sudsier.

Some of the lard/coconut oil soap was grated up to use in my homemade laundry detergent and it worked well.  But on my next batch I used 1/2 my soap and 1/2 Fels Naptha.  I felt the Fels would make a little more power to it. In one lard recipe I added some ground oats and honey.  In another batch I added buttermilk powder and honey.

In the picture on the bottom is a box of cured soap 3 layers deep!

homemade soap drying

Oct 27th, 2011
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