Sunday, October 31, 2010

Awesome Giveaway At "The Healthy Home Economist"

Be sure to check it out. The Healthy Home Economist has a new sponsor and to celebrate, you could win a yummy prize from Higher Power Food For The Gods sprouted and raw foods store. There are so many delicious foods to choose from that it is definitely worth checking out!

Happy Halloween!

Now, for something different, here are the kids and I enjoying some homemade honey popcorn. Please excuse the picture; I took it with my webcam and it was night but at least you get to kind of see me and my cute kids :)

It was supposed to be popcorn balls but it cooled off too fast and was too hard to form into balls. The kids were bringing it to a party so we broke it up and put it in little baggies. It was still very yummy and I will probably make it to put in the kids lunches for a treat sometime. It was quick to make and I know the kids like it. I may also try it with vanilla some time.

Honey Popcorn (Balls)

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons of butter
10 cups freshly popped popcorn (remove any unpopped kernals)
salt to taste

Bring the sugar, honey and butter to a boil. Pour over the popcorn with salt to taste (if you want a bit of salt, which I find makes it a bit tastier) and stir it around. When it is cool enough to handle (but not set!), butter your hands and form into balls. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheets and wrap as desired when cooled. If you don't want balls, it would be best to spread on cookie sheets when coated and break up when hardened.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chicken Soup x 2

There is a local Acadian chicken dish called Fricot which is very yummy. It is like a thick chicken stew full of chicken, potatoes, onions, sometimes dumplings (I don't) and a scattering of carrots. I sampled some at a farmers market and knew I had to try to make some.

You can buy fricot seasonings but to honour my Acadian roots, I just concocted something that looked and tasted good.

The reason why I called this chicken soup x 2 is the first night, it was a rich, hearty dish but the second day, we wanted something lighter so you'll see what I did ;)

Chicken Fricot

3 lbs of chicken thighs, skin on. You could also use a whole chicken
6 or 7 peeled and washed potatoes
4 peeled and washed carrots
2 peeled and washed parsnips
2 large onions, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Put the chicken thighs in a very large pot and cover with water (put a couple more inches of water above the height of the chicken). Add salt and pepper to taste as well as half of the onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is falling off the bones, adding more water if it reduces too much.

Remove all the chicken pieces making sure to get all the bones out. Put on a large platter and let cool until you can handle. Cut up all of the vegetables into small pieces and add to the broth. Let cook while you remove the meat. I only used half of the meat and saved the rest for a future soup or stew. Make sure you save the bones to roast for more broth.

Add the meat to the stew and let simmer. You may thicken if desired but it is not necessary. Serve.

This was very rich and hearty. My father who doesn't like chicken stew or parsnips LOVED it. He ate two heaping bowls. It was very good and very satisfying.

Second Time Around

4 cups of leftover fricot
4 cups of water
chicken spices if desired (I have a blend of sage, thyme, onion, garlic, marjoram and rosemary which was very nice)

Put these in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer over medium to medium high heat.

Mark actually liked it the second time around. He isn't as into rich food as I am. I thought both were equally good and will certainly make it again! The above picture is from the second day since I felt silly taking pictures of my food with Dad there.

Part of Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!

Soaked Dough Pizza and Garlic Fingers

Pizza is a favorite around here. It is one of my favorite foods to eat. Garlic fingers are right up there, especially with donair sauce!! It is a local thing but one which you must try! I can't find a good way to make donair sauce really healthy but it is something you wouldn't want to eat very often anyway.

Usually, I just use my normal bread dough for pizza. This time, I soaked it as I have been doing for my homemade bread. Here is how I do it:

Bread Machine Homemade Soaked Dough Pizza and Garlic Fingers

3.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1.5 cups of warm water
3-4 tablespoons kefir

Put these items in the bread machine and put on dough cycle. Let it work for the first cycle until it comes to the rest period then shut the machine off. I usually leave it right in there but you could also put it in a bowl and cover it to sit on the counter overnight.

The next day mix the following in a small bowl:

1/4 cup very warm water (not hot)
2 tablespoons honey
a sprinkle of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Stir well to dissolve the honey then sprinkle 2 tsp yeast on top. Let proof about 10 minutes. Put the bread machine back on the dough cycle and start. Slowly add the liquid ingredients, letting them mix in without sloshing around. When all the ingredients are worked into the soaked dough, let it knead until the first rest period then shut the machine off again. You can let it rise at this point but I usually start working it right away. I think it's more tender if you let it rise at least once before rolling out.

Grease two pizza pans or cookie sheets. This will make at least 3 12" round crusts so divide the dough into even portions and roll them into the desired shape. I usually freeze one to have on hand (either rolled out and frozen on a pizza pan or in just a lump).

For pizza, spread with pizza sauce or desired tomato based sauce (I usually use the kids favorite spaghetti sauce). Top with desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese.

For garlic fingers, spread with butter and top with grated mozzerella cheese and minced garlic that have been minced together. If you have a favorite garlic butter, use that and use less garlic.

Bake at 400 degrees until the tops are brown and bubbly. Slice the garlic fingers into long, thin slices and servegarlic fingers with donair sauce.
Another way that I make donair sauce is put half a cup each milk powder and sugar into a blender. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup of boiling water as well as a tablespoon or two of sugar. Blend until well mixed (I sometimes have to adjust the ingredients but I can't remember exactly). The third way I've tried is a can of sweetened condensed milk with enough vinegar added to make it sweet but tart. Like I said, not ideal ingredients but best saved as a rare treat. I've tried making with natural sweeteners, but it is tricky to make and never tastes right.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Turnip Au Gratin

On our valley trip last month, we got a big bag of turnip. These are now nestled safely in a tub of sawdust to help preserve them over winter. I do not have very many turnip recipes. None really. Either mashed or sliced and eaten raw or put in stews is about as creative as I get with turnips.

So I thought I would try something different. These are kind of like scalloped turnips but Turnips Au Gratin sounds a little better :)

Interestingly, around here, turnip and rutabagas are called the same things in the store. I was shocked when I found a true turnip at the farmers market and ended up buying a few. It is a much different taste. Although I say turnip, I actually used rutabagas, which have a milder taste. So that is my disclaimer ;)

Turnip Au Gratin

1 medium turnip (1-2lbs)
1/2 cup of cream
2 tablespoons of butter plus some for greasing
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
2 slices of crumbed soaked bread

Peel the turnip and grate into thin slices (much easier if you have a food processor!). Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Fill with turnip and cream, tossing to lightly coat and seasoning to taste then top with little slices of the butter. Top with the grated cheese, grated garlic and bread crumbs, spread out evenly on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the turnip is tender.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unbaked Pirate Cookies

Imagine my surprise when I discovered these are not common everywhere! They are one of my absolute favorite all time cookies. Kraft Pirate cookies. Ours were only 99 cents a box, dangerous, especially when you read the ingredients . Hmmmm. Can we do better at home?
Well, the story behind my recipe is that one morning before school, Ethan wanted a Pirate cookie. I thought since his school is nut free, it would be a bad idea since he'd go to school smelling of peanut butter and he would have the oils on his hands. He wanted it after school. There was only one left. I completely forgot he wanted it and ate it. Yes. Bad Mommy :(. That was weeks ago and I still haven't heard the end of it.
So yesterday I told him I would make peanut butter cookies. When I was a kid, my mom made cookies called P-oaties but apparently nothing like that exists on the internet that I can find. It is basically an oatmeal peanut butter cookie, sometimes made with chocolate chips.

Then I got busy. I realized I had to pick up the kids at their bus stop in 10 minutes. I looked for an unbaked recipe. They all had cocoa so I just omitted that. I also changed the ingredients around a little bit. Here is what I came up with and I will tell you what I would change for next time.
Unbaked Pirate Cookies

2 heaping half cups of honey (probably close to a cup and a half...too much!! see below)
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup milk

Bring these three items to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the following:

pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of peanut butter
splash of vanilla (1tbsp)
4 cups oatmeal

Mix well until the peanut butter is melted and it is well combined. Pour into silicone muffin liners or drop on parchment paper if not soupy. Chill.

Ok, these are super, super sweet. I should have just used 1/2 cup of honey. The recipes all called for 2 cups of sugar so I thought I would try to get close. Bad idea, too sweet, and I like sweet. Because of all the liquid, these were liquidy. I only had 4 cups of my Speerville organic Newfound oats left. Otherwise I would of just added enough so they would be like the drop cookie they were supposed to be. Next time, I will use a lot less honey as this was the big problem. They are delicious though but so sweet that when I tried to have a drink of milk after, I actually spit it out because it tasted bad from all the sweet on my tongue (note: the milk is good as I had some earlier).

All in all, once I got over the overpowering sweetness, they did taste like a pirate cookie! They didn't get too hard. I was suggesting to everyone to eat with a spoon since they were so gooey. I bought two more bags of oatmeal today so I will probably give them another whirl. However, I will probably make them with cocoa and not peanut butter so the kids can take them to school.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yum Foods!


As I mentioned, we were away this weekend. We spent two nights at the Super 8 Motel in Windsor. Our church was having a stake conference in Halifax but we wanted to stay outside of the city. Bonus was Mark's brother and his family stayed there too so the kids had cousins to play with.

Of course when we travel, I often check out food that is locally made or try to find out where farmers markets are or just interesting things to check out. I was quite pleased to see that Yum Foods! was celebrating their grand opening of their retail outlet in Windsor! Yay! I had seen their products on the shelf but they were a little pricey. I especially wanted to get a bottle of tahini but at $10, it was a luxury I had to pass up.

We decided to go on Saturday and promptly got lost. They had a sign in the downtown area of Windsor so I got Mark to call and the lady there happily gave us directions (hint, if you're driving downtown towards Falmouth, there is a fork in the road and the left side goes up a big hill. Look to your left and you will see the sign down a side street as you are driving up. Yes, the sign below. Oh look, they are the same age that I am!).
As soon as we walked in, she told us they were planning to have a production meeting because they could not keep their products on the shelf! We had fun looking around. It wasn't a big store but there were lots of yummy things! Bakery goods, lots of different nut butters, maple syrup and related products, preserves and other locally made goods.

We ended up buying a bottle of peanut butter ($4, comparable to conventional), tahini ($6), cashew butter ($5), bread (on reduced rack for $1.50) and a tray of super yummy pumpkin muffins ($2.50; even the kids liked these!). All the nut butters had literally just been ground. The tahini bottle was kind of greasy on the outside. They must be whisking them to the shelf as fast as they make them! I was tempted to get two bottles but I restrained myself since it doesn't have the long shelf life the preservative filled kind has. The organic nut butters were tempting too but at $9 for organic and $18 for almond, we had to pass. Next time we'll definitely be getting some regular almond.

So I will definitely be going back some day! It is kind of surprising what you can find produced locally if you take the time to look. I know they do not grow the nuts here (they explain this on their website, ), but knowing I can support a local-ish buisness to process and buy from that does not use additives and preservatives, that makes me happy :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I have been slack. I have had little to no motivation for much lately and for me, that's bad news. We were away for 3 days and eating junk, which in combination of the cruddy weather, have killed my motivation and energy levels. I need to pick myself up and get back on track.

I still have a backtrack of recipes and an adventure to blog about. I will say this, eating local is both fun and yummy! I live in such a great place and it is wonderful the things you can find if you only take the time to look.

In the meantime, here is a little recipe that I concocted. It is not entirely "real food" but it is something that is good and quick and satisfies a crave:

Zwieback Pizza

For each one:
1 zwieback (you could also use other things but this is what I had on hand)
1tbsp. pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 or 2 slices of pepperoni
a good sprinkling of mozzerella cheese

Top each zwieback as you would a pizza, make as many as you want depending on how many people are eating and how hungry they are. Place on a cookie sheet and bake under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly. When slightly cooled, enjoy! The top picture is my beautiful 6 year old daughter enjoying one :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Keeping Up

I was hoping to post a recipe each day this week and while I have one, I didn't have the motivation to write. I have a pile of things backed up and I need to write them. Otherwise I will probably forget what I made and not make them again, lol!

Part of the reason is I take crappy pictures. I live somewhere that is gloomy most of the time, foggy and our apartment is dark. Flash pictures don't always come out the greatest and it's usually dark by the time we eat our evening meal (not outside but just how our apartment is situated and how it receives the sun).

So I will share a simple recipe that needs no picture because everyone has probably seen this before. The kids loved it, Mark and I loved it, simple, nourishing and so satisfying! It can be scaled up or down depending on your needs.

French Toast

2-4 pastured eggs
1/4 cup of cream
2 tsp organic cane sugar
8-10 slices of homemade soaked flour bread
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp nutmeg or cloves (optional)
butter for frying and serving
maple syrup for serving

Heat up your frying pan to medium heat. Beat the eggs, cream, sugar and spices until well mixed. Either dip or soak the slices of bread (depending on your preference). Lightly grease the frying pan with a quick pass of butter and lay slices of battered bread in pan. When golden brown, turn over and cook until done through. Repeat for remaining bread. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Yum!

This is a good quick meal that most people generally have the ingredients for on hand. When I made it for the kids one night, I only managed to get one slice because they gobbled it right down. It's nice to have some quick ideas on hand because everyone has those nights where everything is rushed, there is nothing prepared, no meat thawed, no time, ect...

Monday, October 18, 2010

100th Post!

Wow, 100 posts in this blog. Yay me!

I do not have a Monday Market Report today because I haven't been keeping track. Bad me. I didn't go to the farmers market and I have been trying to only buy necessities (eggs, milk, salad/veggies). I will not be buying much this week either as we will be away for the weekend.

For my 100th post, I have a very yummy meal to share. There is a little story behind it. I was making banana bread for the kids lunches so I thought I would use the extra space in the oven to bake some buttercup squash that was starting to get some bad spots. I then decided to make some curried drummies for snacks (the drummies from turkey wings baked with curry powder) and a small pork roast. When the squash was done, I was thinking of all the yummy pumpkin pie recipes I have been reading lately and since the banana bread wasn't quite done, I made a pumpkin custard, but with buttercup squash instead. The roast got overcooked and I had to do something with it. I was thinking of when we were at Acadian Maple, how all the maple seasonings were just maple sugar, salt and something else, either pepper, chili powder, ect...

The result for supper was maple pepper pork with buttercup squash custard! It was sooo good. The pork got really crispy and tasty without being overly sweet. Mark really liked the custard because I didn't make it very spicy (I prefer spicy personally). It worked well as a side dish and would be wonderful as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream!

Maple Pepper Pork

1 small tenderloin pork roast (already cooked) or 2 cups of leftover pork
2 tablespoons of butter
salt to taste
generous shake of pepper
1-2 teaspoons maple sugar

Cut the pork into bite sized pieces or shred. Melt the butter in the frying pan over medium-high heat (not too hot though) then add the pork. Cook for a few minutes until heated through, turning once or twice. Add the seasonings and maple sugar. Cook for a few minutes more until the pork is well coated and crispy.

Buttercup Squash Custard

1/2 medium sized buttercup squash, roasted (baked in moderate oven until tender. You may also substitute other kinds of squash or use pumpkin. I didn't measure but I weighed the squash and it was 300g after I scooped it out of the shell)
1 can coconut milk (the full fat kind)
4 eggs
1/3 cup honey (local raw)
1/3 cup maple syrup (b-grade)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. all spice
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the squash then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a casserole dish (I used a bundt pan) and bake for about 30 minutes, until it is set but still jiggles a little bit. May be served warm or cool.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coconut flour & phytic acid | Phytic Acid: Tips for consumers from food science.

Link: Coconut flour & phytic acid

This is something that I have wondered about, does coconut flour need to be soaked? Is there phytic acid in it? Well, there appears to be a small amount and there isn't enough to be concerned about, which is of relief to me.

I am planning this week to go back to grain free/low-ish carb/gluten free/whatever. Eating healthy isn't good if I'm sneaking cookies every time I walk by them. Not healthy cookies but the Oreos and Fudgeos that we got for 99 cents a box. I notice I am not feeling as well as I should and there is a reason I am craving this junk. So tomorrow I am cutting it out. I don't know what to call it since I will still have technical grains but I will be avoiding flour based foods and if I need something, I will make it out of coconut flour. It's not really low carb as I'm not restricting starchy veggies and it's not entirely gluten free. I'm doing my own thing...traditionally! Nourishing my body. Healing.

So now that I know coconut flour is a good choice, I will have more options. Plus many recipes only call for a very small amount and lots of eggs, a good way to get those nourishing yummies in your tummy :).

I will still be soaking for the family and will NOT be buying any more junk. Mark brought the kids to a fun fair Saturday and they had candy and candy apples. Well, Ethan was literally bouncing off the wall, just totally unable to stop moving (he even said he didn't know why he couldn't stop). I know it's primarily because of the candy apple and all that red dye 40. It doesn't affect Shaylee the same way, thank goodness, but I know I should be more careful with both of them regardless as they are toxic! It really made me really sure about abolishing the artificial stuff in our diets, especially food colouring. But by golly, it sure is hard, especially around Halloween and with Christmas on the way!

Saturday, October 16, 2010



Native to the North Atlantic and Pacific North-West, this purplish-red frond constitutes a favorite traditional snack Ireland. One serving meets your daily vitamin B6 quotient and provides plenty of iron. It also gives you vitamin B12, a nutrient rarely found in plants. For a chewy, jerky-like treat, add this salty, slightly tangy seaweed to trail mix."
I love dulse. It is one of those "acquired tastes" but as someone who grew up foraging the sea for mussels, clams, pennywinkles (aka periwinkle or sea snails) and crabs as a kid, it's right up my ally. Mark loves it Ethan loves it. Shaylee....doesn't, lol! I have to be in the mood to eat it but when I am, I love it.

It's a good healthy snack, rich in iodine, B vitamins, fiber and it is actually pretty low in sodium, not that sea based sodium is bad for you. We got a big bag for $10 on our last trip and I'm sure we'll have to get tons more when we go away again since it's more expensive in my town and in small bags (well, $2 a bag but that is just a little snack the way we eat it, lol!). Plus we like the chewy kind and most dulse around here is the really dried out kind that is hard to chew. Actually, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea to deter us from eating too much. It can cause a bit of gas if you eat too much (Mark seems especially fond of the "purple gaseous" foods, dulse, raisins, prunes,ect... much to the dismay of the people around him ;) ).

So if you're looking a new healthy yummy treat to try, I recommend trying some dulse :)

Think Raw Veggies are Best? Think Again | The Healthy Home Economist

Link: Think Raw Veggies are Best? Think Again | The Healthy Home Economist

I found this article very interesting. I have a hard time eating most veggies raw, except lettuce, tomatoes and baby carrots (well, some others too, but these are the ones I enjoy eating raw).

Last night at a church event, I chewed on some broccoli and cauliflower, or tried to. One nibble of the cauliflower and I couldn't eat any more. The broccoli wasn't so bad but it wasn't enjoyable.

So when I start to feel guilty about not liking certain raw veggies, I can stop knowing maybe my body doesn't like them raw because they are not ideal to eat.

I can see that I will probably find this site pretty interesting.

I know I haven't been posting much. It's been one of those weeks I haven't felt like writing much. Hopefully I can make up for it soon :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My kids love crackers. They really love soda crackers. I buy them by the big box when they're on sale since it's most economical. I decided a while back I would try to start making my own crackers even though I still have several pounds of soda crackers in the basement. I may have to make a food bank donation :)

I was going to wait and do sourdough, but I kind of killed my starter. Then the other day I came across Penny's cracker recipe and thought, this sounds easy! So I gave it a go.

I did decide that I would do the right thing and soak the flour first. Unfortunately, I forgot to add kefir but I did remember before I went to bed, so I just worked it in (it had already been soaking for 6 hours at this point. I was also soaking flour for bread. Can't believe I forgot!)

I decided to cut them in neat shapes to add to the appeal for the kids. Plus each shape is a different flavor :)

So here's my recipe with variations.

Soaked Flour Crackers

2 cups whole grain flour of choice (I used whole wheat)
3/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp. kefir (or whey or lemon juice)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
cinnamon sugar (optional)
1 tsp. oregano and 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese (optional; enough for third of the batch of crackers)

The night before making, mix the kefir with the water and add to the flour. Mix well, kneading into a smooth ball. Cover and let sit overnight. When ready to make, preheat oven to 350 degrees and knead the salt and coconut oil into the dough. Knead until it is smooth. Take a piece, cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out until it is very thin, but not too thin or it will burn. Cut out and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt or cinnamon sugar for a "pizza" tasting cracker (dried tomato powder could also be added). Use cookie cutters to make them fancy. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn. Let cool (they will crisp as they cool). Eat!

There are endless possibilities for variations on this cracker. These three are the ones I thought would appeal most to my kids since the are so picky. The strawberry crackers are the sea salt, the halloween shapes are the cinnamon and the star crackers are the "pizza" ones. I think they are all very tasty!

Monday Market Report October 12th

I am terrible. I have not been keeping track of what we have been spending. Part of the reason is the huge guilt I have over all the boxes of cookies we bought this weekend. GUILT GUILT! Pure junk. I feel terrible. The worst part is, I have probably eaten more than anyone. Yes, I have a problem.

Other than the junk, this is a basic rundown of what we've spent:
$350 side of beef! Whoo hoo!
about $20-25 at Bulk Barn for grains, spices, raisins, almonds and other bulk goodies.
$13 on milk (4x 2L, or two gallons in US$; it was on sale!)
$25 for 10lbs of butter, super sale! It's $4.29 regular price.
approx. $10 on produce (greens, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, ect..)
$20 today at Superstore (liver, cauliflower, more broccoli, gouda cheese, montery jack cheese, frozen smiles, locally made plum sauce, ham slices, corned beef slices, chick peas, ect..)
$10 on misc. stuff. and about $25 on junky cookies, crackers and ice cream :(

It is really hard to stay on the real food track when the kids are so picky. It's a vicious cycle. I need to stop buying it. Looking at ingredients will stop me most of the time, but Mark likes junk too. I told him if he wants it, he can buy it when he works since he works at a grocery store and it is there. It can be dangerous for me to go into a grocery store.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My ideal turkey would be made out of chocolate :)

It is Thanksgiving here in Canada today. I love turkey day but I get kind of sad around all the major holidays. I grew up thinking I would some day have a family and I would be able to make them wonderful meals on all the big eating holidays because that is what we had growing up. Mom always made awesome feasts for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, ect... so I just assumed I would do the same.

So I got married, we have our family but I do not get to make them awesome holiday meals since we are split between families wanting us over for family holiday meals. I understand it, truly I do, it's just different from what I'm used to and 10 years later, I still find myself trying to adjust to not having holidays at my home. We have attempted to have our own and it never works out (think one year eating supper at 11pm because our families kept us so long at their houses that I didn't have time to cook and our turkey was frozen, lol!).

So I don't have any wonderful holiday recipes to share. I really wish I did. I spent the weekend trying to find something I could make but I was so busy I hardly had time (although I have some good recipes I came up with that I just need to post). I don't have any traditional holiday dishes of my own since I've never had the chance to establish any. I always thought I'd have a "signature dish" by now.

I think instead we will celebrate the US Thanksgiving. It's kind of halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas and as far as I know, no one has us booked for that! Too bad it will be too late to order a free range turkey.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where's the beef?

It's in ma freezer!

We finally have the quarter beef that I have wanted to get for so long and now I can shut up about it, lol! It took me a while to convince Mark, but after watching Food Inc with me yesterday, I think he is starting to see things my way.

I got a call this morning to put in my cut order. Fortunately Heather walked me through it (but I imagine I'll need to be walked through it next time we order, lol!). Then she told me where to pick it up and that it would be ready at 1pm.

On the way, I got Mark to deposit the money I had been hanging on to which was almost enough to cover it. At the farm where our meat was cut, there was a friendly collie named Sophie and a black cat that eyed us suspiciously. We were a little surprised when we walked in as there was a carcass hanging right in front of the door! We were unsure if we should go in. I still have some of my OCD habits and being in a bloody-ish room with hanging carcasses and that earthy meat smell kind of turns me off. I ended up holding the door for everyone.

We ended up with two boxes and two bags of meat. It costs $350 and I forget how many cents. It was about 137lbs hanging weight and $2.55 a pound cut and wrapped to our specifications. It took up nearly a third of our freezer, making me very grateful we had been eating it down (although there is still a ton of food in there!).

I feel so blessed that I can have the comfort of having a freezer full of safe, organically raised (but not certified) grass fed pastured beef that was treated kindly during its life.

So for supper I took out a round steak and a t-bone steak, which we'll be eating with potatoes and fried mushrooms and onions. Sounds like a kings feast to me!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Move Over, Taco Bell

Sometimes I just want a good taco. Living in a town where Taco Bell is the only place that serves them, that just doesn't happen. The last time I had taco bell, it was so gross to me. I was convinced I was going to get sick, it tasted so bad (I couldn't finish it and I used to devour their tacos!)

I decided to make my own! Not only would they be cheaper, they would be healthier and they would be more in line with what I want to put in my body. Plus, my kitchen never closes! Not to mention the much better taste!

Grass-fed Tacos with soaked flour Tortillas

For the tortillas, the night before, I soaked 2 cups of flour with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of kefir (but you can use yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice) and 3/4 cup of warm water. Mix well until the flour is completely damp and in a firm ball.

Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let soak overnight.

When ready to use, add about half a teaspoon of salt and knead well for a couple of minutes until it is well mixed. You may need a little extra flour if it's sticky. Divide and roll into 8 to 12 equal balls. I weighed mine and they were about 1.40 oz each to make a dozen. Let rest for half an hour, again covered with a damp towel.

Heat up a frying pan until it is very hot then turn down to medium (I like cast iron as it holds the heat and you can even turn it down more). Put the balls of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and either roll out with a rolling pin or if you have one, use a tortilla press. I find it takes exactly the same amount of time to roll a new tortilla as it does for one to cook. Turn them over when they start turning bubbly. It is easy to get a knack for when they are done. As they are done cooking, place under a damp towel so they stay soft and pliable.

For the taco meat, I fried a pound of my grass fed beef until browned. I actually added a cup of water since I was cooking from frozen so it kind of "steamed" the meat with the cover on (I don't know for sure, but it seems to cook quicker this way). I roughly followed Kelly The Kitchen Kop's recipe for homemade taco seasoning, although I put more cumin and 1/8 tsp of pure chipolte powder. I used to make large jars of it when I made tacos more and I probably will have to again :). The water was cooked down a lot so I added half a cup more with the seasonings, although you could probably add tomatoes or tomato paste, whatever floats your boat. I let cook at a low temperature until it was fairly dry and I knew the flavors were fully merged.

To serve, I made a plate of our favorite taco toppings (all fresh, local ingredients):

If you can believe it, our kids don't like tacos so I made these for our lunch. Maybe if I make them some that aren't very spicy they will enjoy them more :). They did seem to like the plain tortillas. I plan to make chips out of them some time since I know they like those!

As for me and Mark, we loved these! They were great, so good. I had three (they were small!). I did spice them up a little too much but in a good way. Yogurt was good after, but it would of been good on top too. So would sour cream. Yum. Too bad I already ate the leftovers!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

I have been try for ages to find a good hot dog or hamburger bun recipe. I have attempted it before but never seem to be able to shape them properly. I don't make them enough to justify buying a hot dog bun pan (I can make hamburger buns just fine).

I found a very interesting blog the other day, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, and proceeded to read though a number of pages with the intention of looking through as much as possible. I bookmarked a number of recipes to go back and try.

They had a recipe for buns and I thought I would give it a try! I made the dough in the bread machine since I have a hard time kneading things these days.

2 tablespoons instant yeast
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups hot tap water

I put these ingredients on the dough cycle and took it out after the first rising. I then rolled it out and cut into hot dog bun shapes. The first ones were really thick. I think what would work best is having them about as long as the hot dog and about two times as wide as the hot dog is around. Fold it over. Repeat for each one and place in a 9x13 pan so they aren't quite touching. Let rise until about double in height. Brush with an egg coat (beat a small egg with a couple tablespoons of milk; pullet eggs are great for this!). Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slit down the middle for a place to put the hot dog.
The kids moderately liked these, as in they each ate one but they also each had one that was too big to eat. Mark liked them. I thought they were good. I hope the next time I will be able to shape them better. The first picture is Ethan's and the second is mine. I love sauerkraut and this kind is really good. In all honesty, I don't like making it. This kind is $2.39 or I can get double the amount but chopped for $2.99. It is a really good tasting kraut.

With the leftover dough, I rolled it out, covered with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and made cinnamon rolls! The kids love these. Mark likes them with raisins and the kids don't so I did half and half.

I didn't bother with the soaked dough since it was kind of a last minute supper idea. My sourdough starter isn't doing very good so I may start again. I may make a regular one and a gluten free starter. All the gluten free flours are 20% off at bulk barn. I just need to watch the video so I'll know what I need.

Also, I know hot dogs aren't the greatest food but something we like. They are somewhat locally made and other than summertime, not something we have very often.

Monday Market Report October 4th

I think this is my favorite market report ever! I had so much fun shopping this week :). I didn't report what I got at Bulk Barn because I decided that from October on, I would be accountable for all the groceries that I buy, not just what I buy at the farmers market. I am trying to build up our storage with healthy food and hopefully posting it all will give me motivation to stay on track.

Good news! This week we are getting our quarter of grass fed and finished beef! It was the last one and I almost didn't get it. I feel it was a great blessing that it was freed up for us, with God knowing how important it was to me and our health to buy it. It is going to the butcher on Thursday so it should be interesting to see how much it is and how I handle placing the cut order (I never know how to do it!).

This is what our kitchen looked like when we got home late Friday night. It was a full day of shopping and buying lots of yummy vegetables (and other things). (don't mind the mess; things just kind of got thrown around and I've been slack in the housekeeping department lately :) ).

I was so happy to go to Meadowbrook meat market. They were having a sale of buy two get one free shoulder bacon and frozen sausages. We got 6 packs of the shoulder bacon and 6 sausages. 3 packs of sausages were breakfast sausages and the others were donair, maple and honey garlic. We also bought a slab of salt pork (Mark loves this fried up but it's also good on bacon and rappie pie), a couple packages of back bacon plus a little pack of goats milk Parmesan cheese. Now I really don't care much for goat milk products so I'm taking a leap here trying the cheese. I think it will be interesting. I don't want to break down the cost of each item but all this plus a $2.50 bag of ice to keep it cold was $49. We've had some of the bacon and a pack of breakfast sausages and it is really good!

I love Forsythe's Farm Market but didn't get much. At this point we already had most of our produce (even though carrots were $3 cheaper a bushel here but we didn't know). 2 spaghetti squash $2.50 and two zucchini for $1.50. Total: $4. They had 2 liter jugs of real maple syrup for $27-something so I may get that our next time through. They only take cash and I didn't have that much on hand.

Here are our Foote Family Farm findings, a gallon of unpastureized honey and a gallon of fresh pressed cider (we had to have some before we got home, lol! It's the one in the red cap ;) ). $26; $5 for the cider and $21 for 12 lbs of honey.

The next two pictures are from Gouchers Farm Market. I wanted to go back and get more! So much wonderful food at great prices. The acorn and butternut squash were 49 cents a pound and I wish I had bought more! 50lbs buttercup squash $15, 4 acorn squash $2.11, 2 organic garlic $2.17 ($10 a pound), 1 butternut squash $1.79, 2 sweet dumpling squash $1.50, 2 pie pumpkins $2 for both, big bag of dulse $1o, 5 cucumbers $1, 3 bunches of green onions at 69 cents each, mushrooms $1.99, romaine lettuce 89 cents, red onions 50 cents a pound (my favorite and usuall $2 a pound! 2.25lbs so $2.25 for onions), bunch of bananas for $1.10 and we each got an ice cream that were $1 each, cheapest around for real local ice cream (Mark and I had Oxford blueberries and cream, so divine on such a hot day!)

This was from a neat farm. The farmer was old, probably in his 80's. He looked like what you expect an old time farmer to look like. I wanted to buy everything he had as his prices were very reasonable and he was pretty nice. The bushel of carrots were $7.75, 25lbs of turnip $7. 50, 2 lbs of green peppers at $2.50, 5 gourds for 20 cents each ($1), tomatoes were 70 cents a pound (3lbs so $2.10) and no spray strawberries were $2.50 a box. The strawberries aren't there because it wasn't until we got home I remembered I sat them down to carry stuff out and didn't go back to get them. Grrrr. I was so looking forward to nice fresh strawberries! Total spent: $24

We usually get a lot more at Avery's but they didn't have much and we didn't want to shop around the other ones. 3 bunches of celery at 77 cents each and two grapefruit at 59 cents each.

These aren't really a farm goodie but they are the best chips! I especially love the burlap bag they came in. These chips are made in New Brunswick (technically in our 100 mile zone even though it is across the Bay of Fundy) and can be hard to find around here (Bridgewater's Appleberry's is the closest place I know that stocks them). They make awesome sweet potato chips! Small hand batches of kettle chips are the best (even though they are made with canola). These were $3.99 at Winners (at Pete's Frootique they are nearly $5 and you don't get an awesome burlap sack with them!).

This is what I got at the Saturday farmers market. Almost 2 dozen pullet eggs for $3.75, 2lbs of grassfed beef for $5 and a pound of ground pork $2 (I think it's pastured but probably fed grains/feed too). I got the meat before I knew we were getting the beef, otherwise I wouldn't of bothered!
And finally, I got this at Sobeys. 2 blocks of cheese ($3.99 each) and a bag of spinach ($1.99). No one had spinach in the valley and I still crave greens. There weren't even any at the farmers market because it was pouring rain and the lady I usually get them from wasn't there. I will buy more cheese when they don't only have skim mozza. I also need to get milk and go to bulk barn again.

So an extremely productive shopping week! If I can remember how, I am going to put our grocery tally in the sidebar so I can keep track of our expenses. Remember that this isn't just for the week, but I am attempting to store up some food for winter. I have been doing a lot of reading on how to store food for winter use, even if it is different in this modern day than it was over a hundred years ago.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don't Be Fooled

It can be very easy to be fooled when shopping at the grocery store. I went thinking I would get some items, particularly cheese since there are some foods I want to make in the upcoming week. They only had part skim mozza so I only bought one plus a pack of old cheese.

Then I got browsing.

I picked up a couple packages of marshmallows. I put them back. I remembered I need to avoid junk and get the kids off refined sugar products. Plus I have a few packs kicking around. I mostly wanted the 10 air miles.

Then I remembered I saw bottles of maple syrup for $3.99 earlier. I grabbed a couple of bottles. Something made me stop and closer examine the bottles. I realized it didn't say pure maple syrup on the front and on closer examination the only place maple appeared was in the product name. I looked at the ingredients. Ingredient: sugar, Water, Pure Maple Syrup, Invert Sugar, Natural Maple Flavour. So the 100% Natural Canadian Syrup was mostly comprised of water and sugar, eh? Big surprise, eh?

So make sure you are looking at the labels. $3.99 is too much to pay for sugar syrup. Forsythes, a farm market I love to visit, has 2L bottles for $27-something of pure maple syrup, a lot better than the $39.99 at the store (for the same bottle I paid $25 for earlier this year). I'll make sure I have enough cash next time I go!

Oh, another thing is I wanted donair meat. They had big packages for $3.99, enough for a couple good meals for me and Mark. I put it in my cart, then thought to look at the ingredients. I couldn't pronounce half of them. That went back on the shelf too. I will just have to learn how to make good donair meat. I think I found a good recipe The problem is non-Atlantic Canadians are giving the recipes I find bad reviews since they're comparing them to gyros. Unless you've had an authentic donair, you don't know what you're missing! I have the sauce down pat, I can make the pitas (or use some type of homemade flat bread) but the meat has always given me trouble.

One last thing. I was told that I will not be making the cake after all. I was kind of relieved.

Well, I have good news and a fabulous market report in the making but I won't share that now. I'm pretty excited though!!