Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Little Effort Provides....

As some of you may husband is a man of many talents and we have been adding on and remodeling our home for quite a while now. We are doing this ourselves with me being the supervisor/design expert and Jason being the manual labor. Anywho, we are almost finished! How blessed to have built our home ourselves and for our children to be able to say "My Dad built those cabinets, made that trim. " Truly blessed are we. What's even better? Zero house payment my friends!

In my kitchen you will find a shelf above and to the right of our stove. That shelf is full of extracts. I have vanilla extracts, orange extracts, lemon, cinnamon, and even one that is a combination of vanilla and cinnamon that smells and tastes an awful lot like a certain "Hot Damn" liqueur. No, really. I made for my holiday cooking and my husband even drank a bit to be sure of his assessment. Not a proud moment of mine, Lol. Homemade extracts are super easy to make and you can get as creative as you want. For instance, you may have noticed that in my previous shortcake recipe I used lemon extract. I have 2 different ones. 

Lemon Extract 

1 lemon peel with pith removed as much as possible (the white part between peel and fruit) 
Jam jar with lid
Alcohol of choice - I have vodka in one and sambuca in the other. 

To your jam jar add your lemon peel and then pour your alcohol in - covering peel. Place lid on jar and place in a dark, undisturbed location (for me it's the corner in the bottom of my pantry, I've even been known to use an empty tater box). Shake jar once a week for at least 6 weeks, and of course the longer it sits, the better the flavor.

I often start making these at the end of October to use as Christmas gifts. 
My list of extracts:

For the cinnamon, I use cinnamon sticks. Vodka is the most common alcohol used and what is used for your "grocery store" extracts. Go ahead and try some of these or make up your own. I'd love to hear what you end up with!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summertime Blessings

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Our family has been blessed with the bounty from our gardens. We try to live as sustainably as possible by growing much of our own fruits and vegetables. We gather eggs from our own chickens and have even been known to put a rooster or two to use. We are able to produce our own dairy products by using milk from our goats. We also have the noise of guinea fowl running rampant throughout eating the insects to help keep us organic.  Although my husband and I didn't initially seek out this lifestyle, we are truly grateful for all we have been blessed with. We turned our family over to God and have been blessed with the means and knowledge to help provide for ourselves. I tend to look at my recipes as a lot of semi-homemade meals. As a busy mom I like to use a lot of our farm fresh options combined with the help of items made easily accessible by the grocery stores.  Such as with the following shortcake recipe made semi- with the use of an allergy-friendly baking mix and homemade with our farm fresh eggs, blackberries, and my homemade extracts. Please enjoy!

Blackberry Shortcake

1 qt blackberries
1/3 cup sugar 
Combine and set aside. 

1/4 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups GFree Bisquick
1/3 cup coconut oil

Use a fork or pastry blender to combine ingredients until coconut oil has formed dry ingredients into pea-sized granules. 

3/4 cups coconut milk
3 eggs beaten
1 tsp of my lemon extract 

Stir wet ingredients into dry until dough is just formed; it will be lumpy. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet and place in 425 degree preheated convection oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. 
Recipe will make 6-8 shortcakes depending on size. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Zucchini Time!

The best and worst part of being a semi-sustainable, organic food family is growing and putting away your harvest. It is time consuming and you never want to do too much of the same thing. Our family is blessed to have an orchard, spring garden, summer garden, and fall garden. Although we haven't planted our fall garden yet, it will be where the spring garden was. I have now finished digging potatoes and onions up, cutting greens, and pulling beets. They have all been put away for later use. Currently, our summer garden is finally starting to produce. I was so excited to pick the 1st zucchini. The hard part now is figuring out what looks to be a bumper crop. To start things off I decided to do a different take on zucchini bread by turning it into a waffle. These will be great for breakfast or as the 'bread' for sandwiches.

Zucchini Bread Waffles

2 cups AP Flour
1tsp Xantham Gum
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix Dry ingredients well to be sure Xantham gum is well-incorporated. 

2 cups Coconut Milk
3 eggs
2 tbs Honey
2 tbs Coconut Oil in its liquid form

Mix well and combine with dry ingredients. 

Fold in 1 shredded large zucchini and 1 can of crushed pineapple drained with juice reserved. 

Make waffles according to the directions for use on your machine. 

**with reserved pineapple juice I like to reduce it down on the stove top by about half and add a little honey or agave to thicken for use as a syrup. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who Needs Flour?

It's the beginning of July which means school days are only a month away!  Whatever happened to school starting the first of September and ending the end of May?  Oh how I miss those days...

Now is the time that I have to start preparing for those busy school days. If not, I will be a basket case by the end of July. I like to plan ahead and have my freezer ready for those busy mornings. One thing my daughter loves to take for lunch is chicken nuggets. I wanted to make sure they maintain a healthy option and I also wanted to experiment a bit. The breading I came up with is absolutely wonderful and I hope you enjoy!

Flour Free Chicken Nuggets

Cut up an organic, free range chicken into bite size pieces. 
To a food processor combine potato chips, raw pumpkin seeds, and toasted sunflower seeds
I like to add the jalapeƱo kettle chips or regular wavy lays..
Place chicken in large Tupperware(ish) container, pour breading on top, and shake until chicken is covered. Breading will be a bit thick so shake really well! Place on a cooling rack in top of baking sheet to prevent soggy nuggets and bake @ 350 degree convection for 35-45 minutes depending on thickness of chicken. Enjoy!