February 4, 2016

Winter Recipes: maple popcorn

It's maple syrup season here, and can you believe that I have never tasted Maple Popcorn until now! I know. Right. Anyway a friend blessed us with a quart of real maple syrup and planted the seed of Maple Popcorn in my head... so I gave a whirl. 

How To Make:

Start with one cup of popped pop corn, in a large bowl. You will need to toss the ingredients together so allow room for this in the bowl you choose.

Then in a medium sauce pan, place:
  • ½ cup maple syrup 
  • ½ cup butter 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Melt together over low heat, and once this is melted pour the mixture over your popped popcorn. Toss/mix well. Add salt to taste and toss again...

Let your maple pop corn cool before serving. Resist the urge to pop a piece into your mouth right away... as the syrup mixture will still be warm. A little too warm for tender mouths. 

I wouldn't normally use this much valuable syrup in a recipe, however I just had to make and serve it up to my family.  And I can say if the means are there, then this may become a maple syrup tradition at least once a year. 

~ blessings!

January 29, 2016

{reflections journal} first month of the year

looking out my window… it's winter. There is semi faint green grass and birds a million, singing from the tree tops. Knitting projects in baskets, begging to be finished before the use of wool has to wait another season. Sap buckets are hung, the first round collected... seed catalogs piled high with anticipation, the days growing longer and mornings are not so bitter.

of my thanksgiving... thank you, to the cashier whose soft voice was louder than my moment of worry. When in your praise, you reminded me to rejoice in the day, you were gifted with. I left the store with a smile and a reminder of who really is King. Thank you, Father for the bountiful blessing of bananas, a whole case for ten dollars! Thank you, for the two fryers on sale and the lead on forty nine cent avocados. For the package in the mail, from a pen pal... a dear friend whom I hope to meet face to face one day... whose love and encouraging words were as fragrant as the home made soap she gifted. 

~ amish school yard ~

reflecting on... the lessons I am learning from my Amish neighbors. The other day my daughter and I went to purchase eggs, and in the yard of the home in which we visited where two young boys stuffing what looked like a bag of some sort. I could not resist asking about it... after I purchased the eggs, I asked the older sister “might I ask, what are the children stuffing in the yard?”

I was thinking, feather pillows for their beds or something...

The reply: “Casket pillows.”

Apparently, they run the cotton through a gas powered motor and fan of some sort and it shoots the cotton, fluffier than when it went in, into the heavy grey fabric. To which they place in the bottom of the casket. I didn't know what to say to that, except “oh.”

But I have been thinking about that all week. Life and Death, a reality these children see every day from the time they enter into this world to the time they leave. These children are not obsessed with death, nor do they seem to take it lightly. I see them laughing, running and about playing with joy and mischief in their eyes. But they appear to take life with an element of sobriety that much of our society seems to have forgotten, and I am inclined to believe that it has been detrimental to us all.

from the pages... 

“For love will starve if its not fed, and true hearts pray for daily bread.” 
~ J.R. Miller, The Family ~

ebb and flow of home... limiting the amount of so called 'news' in the world. This may be a odd subject to share about in the ebb and flow of home. But the tone of the home is set by what is allowed to enter and often by what mood is allowed to flourish. And most of what is shared, is not 'news' but political propaganda, confusion, partial stories, articles with no regard to a Creator or creative stories that offer little hope and too much distraction. We are aware. But not sucked into the chaos.

pursuing simplicity... embracing the joy that comes from watching birds. It's true. Our house is filled with bird watchers... even the dog will sit on the couch and look out the window at the feeder. We live in an area where there is wide variety of birds and my daughter created a simple feeding station to which numerous flock. Cardinals, Finches, Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, Chickadee's and Junco's abound.

~ cardinal visiting our bird feeding station ~

nurturing souls... we are working on memorizing a new portion of Scripture. {1 Peter 3:8 – 12} And listening to Torah Class's Teachings on the Book of Acts. I would strongly encourage the teachings for anyone, for multiple reasons. One of which would be give you a solid context and history of the Apostle Paul. Tom Bradford has a lot to offer in the way of historical accuracy.

building community and sustainability... remember that we are all human. We all have struggles, we make mistakes, we get it wrong sometimes... but those things do not define you. It's what you do on the other side of them that matters. What you learn through the struggle, how you right a wrong... how you forgive. Yourself and others. How you get back up and praise your Maker and carry on bravely!

from hearth and home... this morning I bombed my THM diet and made off plan oatmeal pancakes with whole wheat flour, full fat raw milk, topped those babies with butter and organic sugar free strawberry jam. I did it. It's true. And I am only slightly sorry... because the smiles on my family's faces were worth it.

~ spinach under hoop houses ~

in sowing and reaping... well. I reaped a stock pile of beans. Lots of beans. Honestly, we love beans... and I have a really hard time eating meat three or four times a week. For one it's pricey. Second... my body loves beans. My body responds better to plant based foods and cultured dairy products. Anyway the beans will help pad our pantry in the days to come and I am very thankful for the cushion they offer.

creations for the apothecary... I am waiting for two creations to come forth form the cupboard. One is our Elderberry Brandy and the other is Passionflower Tincture. The Passionflower tincture is used for stomach concerns, anxiety and for calming to the mind. You can read more about Passion Flower here.

~ blessings!

January 19, 2016

Dehydrated Eggs, Kefir Grains and Tomato Flakes...

In an attempt to update and 'clean' house around here, I am condensing three posts into this one, simply for my brains sake. I hope you don't mind... you see my blog style is a bit different than when I first began and these three post topics were an import from one of my early blogs. 

First was my lovely experiment of dehydrating my own eggs, this was driven from the "what do I do with all these eggs" when we first had chickens. I wanted a way to preserve them without a freezer.

So here it is...

DIY Dehydrated Eggs:
"Powdered eggs can be a great thing to have on hand, however they can be expensive too, and the expense was not something I wanted to embrace. So I did a little research and with some work I was able to make my own 'powdered eggs'. right here at home."
First I would recommend watching this short video, and you will see how making your own powder eggs is E.A.S.Y.  The video shows you how to make them in an oven, but mine were made using a food dehydrator. Either way seemed to work. Yes, I did do them both ways.

Here's How:
  1. Take 6 fresh chicken eggs and scramble them in a cast iron pan, using no oil or seasoning. Just the eggs. 
  2. Then let the eggs cool on a towel, until completely cool.
  3.  When the eggs are completely cool, spread them evenly over your drying surface.
  4. Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees and dry the eggs for seven to nine hours.
  5. When finished, the eggs should hard, and snap when broken... let them completely cool again before moving unto the grinding process.
To Grind: I put about one cup of dried eggs into my blender at a time, blending for roughly a minute, then sifting the large chunks out and placing the egg powder in a separate bowl. Then I would run the large chunks through the blender again until they were fine and powdery in consistency. After which I sealed them in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber, where they should keep just fine for about 3 years.  Update: I did keep mine in a jar for three years, to test this... and yes, they were just fine, for their purpose.

To Use/To Reconstitute: Take 1T egg powder and mix with 2 T Water.

From what I have read this mixture should make approximately one egg. My next project will be to actually use these, to see how they work and taste...

Update: I did use these in baking and they seem to work fine, however powdered eggs to scrambled hot on a plate, the word that came to mind was interesting. But in a survival or camping position I think this is workable. 

Kefir Grains:

Kefir {pronounced keh-feer, kuh-feer, or kay-fir, depending on geographical location} is a cultured milk drink with T.O.N.'s of health benefits, its produced by 'grains' made from yeast, bacteria, sugar and various proteins. Kefir grains look similar to cauliflower tops and having a slightly firm gel feeling.

How I Make Kefir:
  • Take a 1 quart mason jar and fill it with whole milk... raw if you have it.
  • Add your kefir grains to the jar of milk... if you are reusing your grains, rinse them once in a while to help remove the Co2 'jackets' they form. Remember to rinse them with non-chlorinated water only, as the chlorine can harm your little buddies. 
  • Cover the jar with a lid and leave on the counter overnight, in the morning you will have a wonderful cultured milk beverage. Repeat the process, place newly made kefir in the fridge and serve cold... I prefer in a smoothie.

If my kefir grains produce more than I can use, which is bound to happen, I simply place the grains in a fresh jar of milk and store them in the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process while keeping your grains 'live' until you are ready for them to produce again.

Your grains may be sluggish for a day or two when coming out of the fridge, but they should return to normal activity soon. Visit FAQ's about Kefir Grains for more information. Note: The summer's heat will effect the rate of your kefir production, often speeding up the process considerably.

How To Use Kefir:

Besides Smoothies, I have made Kefir cheese, Frozen 'Kefir' pops and ice cream. I also use kefir like I would buttermilk, but cooking with it kills most of the benefits.

Do you need more recipes? Check out Kefir Recipes!

Tomato Flakes:

What to do with all those extra tomatoes at the end of the season? I know! Dehydrate them and grind them into tomato flakes/powder. Then place them into a mason jar with a new lid, add my oxygen absorber and place the jar in line on the pantry shelf. Now they are ready to use anytime, this week or next month. 

This link gives you the jist of how to use your dehydrated tomatoes, thankfully I will not be spending that kind of money for tomato powder when I can make mine right here, at home

~ Blessings!
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