My Blog

My blog has morphed over the years into different things. It is a place to learn about saving money, product reviews, cooking, gardening, and homesteading. It can take you to whatever has my attention at the moment and then back to the day to day. I hope you will learn something here and come back often.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Going Sugar Free

Today is the first day of our Sugar Free lives.  We are taking this sugar free journey for several reasons but the main one is to try to weed out the cause of complications in Blake's life.  We are starting with sugar and then moving on to wheat.  Hopefully one of these will be our culprit and we can move forward.

We started our day off with homemade whole wheat pancakes.  I used a mixture of homemade applesauce and persimmon as the liquid to add sweetness to it.  I will put the recipe below.  We added a 1/2 cup of milk and coffee with sugar free creamer to finish out our meal.  If you want to keep up with the calories, the pancakes have 100 calories per pancake, coffee creamer 20 calories/Tablespoon, and 1/2 cup of milk is 75 calories.  Not a bad breakfast and it should be very filling.

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

1 c. Soft White Wheat Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/4 t. Salt
1 Egg
1 c. Milk
1 T. Oil
1/2 c. Applesauce or 1/4 c. apple sauce and 1/4 c. persimmon pulp

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add liquid ingredients.  The batter will be thick!  I used 1/4 c. batter per pancake and then used a knife to spread the dough on the griddle.  Cook about 1 minute per side.

I just came up with this recipe so I may still do some more tweaking to it.  If you come up with some good changes let me know. 

I still have lots of the applesauce and persimmon pulp so I'm planning on making muffins today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Daily Bread

It's Monday and we are out of bread! 

This morning I got the boys started on their school work and I headed off to the kitchen to whip up some bread.  My grain of choice is Spelt but today I decided to use Hard Red.  It turned out great!  Here is the recipe:

6 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 T. oil
2 T. honey
2 eggs
2 t. salt

Mix 3 cups of flour and yeast in mixer bowl equipped with kneading hook.  Add hot water and mix 1 minute.  Cover bowl and let dough sponge for 10 minutes.  Add oil, honey, eggs and salt.  Turn on mixer.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough cleans the side of the bowl.  Knead 5-6 minutes in mixer.  Lightly grease hands and divide dough in half.  Form into loaf and place in loaf pans.  Allow to rise until doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool matter how good it smells!

This is the basic recipe.  I do things a little different but it's too hard to write it all will just have to come to one of my bread classes to learn more!  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Little Things...

It's the little things in life that make me happy!  I got so excited this afternoon as I was making dinner because I got to use some of my dried herbs for the first time.  I had the boys bring down a jar of tomato sauce that I canned this summer using the instructions given to me by my new Italian friend.  I threw the sauce in the pot and added some of my dried basil.  Nothing else was needed.  It was great!

I made Eggplant Meatballs to go along with our pasta.  I guess it would be meat-less though.  They turned out much better that I expected.  My husband was a little concerned because we ended up with a vegetarian meal but I assured him that meat would be back on the table tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow... Tomorrow is the big game.  Alabama vs LSU!  I can't wait.  It should be a great game!  The whole family is getting together to watch it.  My brother, who ended up a great cook, is making Bang Bang Shrimp. Mom is making seafood gumbo.   I bought a gallon of oysters that were picked up at the gulf yesterday.  A great game calls for great food, right?! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fresh Veggies

Want to know my secret for buying great, fresh produce?  KROGER! 

They have a good selection of regular and organic produce.  I scored some great deals at my local Kroger yesterday (check out the picture).  I bought bok choy, 4 red peppers, 4 orange peppers, 2 eggplants, 3 lbs of mushrooms, and 3 lbs of turnips for $7! 

Our dinner tonight was homemade Cream of Mushroom soup, sauteed bok choy and peppers, and a slice of wheat bread.  The creamy soup was perfect for this cold weather that has moved in. 

I took a little time this afternoon to julienne the remaining peppers and threw them in the freezer.  I love being able to reach in and grab a few peppers at a time to add to a recipe.  The eggplant has been diced and is resting in the fridge.  The turnips...well, they are headed to my Mom's house!

One thing I always do as I'm peeling, chopping, or coring veggies is keep a bag of scraps in the freezer.  Every time I peel an onion, the skin and ends go into the bag.  I do the same thing with carrots, celery, and peppers.  I use these to make my chicken stock.  After I cook a chicken, I add the carcass and veggie scraps to a pot of water and simmer it for several hours.  After it cools, skim everything out of it and you have a great stock!  You can freeze it or can it for later use.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 1 + Bread Recipe

Today did not go as planned.  I had all of these grand plans to create menus, organize pantry, and cook some good, wholesome food.  NONE of that happened.  I woke up with a terrible sinus headache.  The kind where everything in your face hurts and when you sneeze you almost pass out.  Yeah, fun stuff! healthy food for the day:  Sweet tea for breakfast, no lunch, and Chick-fil-a for dinner on the way to church.  Great start to our new, healthier lifestyle!!  Well, sometimes life happens and you just have to do what you've got to do.  I was in such pain I really didn't care about eating at all, much less eating healthy!

The good news is I made it to church AND I am now feeling much better.  I still have a little pressure but nothing like earlier today.

I did need to make bread today and I didn't feel like messing with it so I decided to try a recipe I found online and throw everything in the bread maker.  This way we still have healthy bread without all of the preservatives and I didn't have to mix, knead, rise and bake.  It turned out really good so I thought I would pass along the recipe.

1/2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. warm water
1 egg
3 T. honey (if you need a local honey source shoot me an email)
2 T. butter, softened
1.5 t. salt
1.5 c. bread flour
1.5 c. wheat flour (I used Spelt)
2 t. yeast

Add ingredients as directed by your bread machine.  Cook on NORMAL cycle (not wheat).

I don't have the directions for doing this recipe by hand (or mixer, that is) but this is how I would do it:  Mix bread flour and yeast.  Add water and milk.  Mix and cover.  Let dough sponge for 10 minutes.  Add remaining wet ingredients then quickly add remaining flour.  Knead 5-6 minutes. Cover bowl and let the bread rise until double.  Punch down and form dough into a loaf.  Place dough in greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hello Blog

Wow, time flies when you stop blogging! I can quite honestly say that 2011 has been a year of ups and downs.  So much has happened that I just sit and shake my head as I think back on it. The conclusion though is God is faithful in all things and we press on.

My real reason for dusting off the old blog is because I like to blog as I start something new.  It keeps me focused on the goal.  What's the goal this time you ask?  Nothing completely new.  I just want to renew my quest for a healthier way of life for me and my family.

Those of you that know me already know that I love to garden.  We raise chickens so we have fresh eggs.  Some of you may not know that I grind my own grain to make our breads and pasta.  I buy milk from an old German farmer.  I make our yogurt from the milk and sometimes butter.  I buy fresh, in season produce from food co-ops whenever possible.

We are trying to eat "real" food as much as possible.  I want to cut down on trips to the grocery store and eliminate eating out.  This is difficult because, even though we homeschool, we lead a busy life and it's hard to always plan ahead.  So, here I am, confessing my shortcomings to whomever decides to read this blog and pledge to once again try harder.

Hopefully, I will be back tomorrow to tell you about the first steps in our quest!