Simple [Sim-puhl]

Simple [Sim-puhl]
-adjective
1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.
2. not elaborate or artificial; plain
3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned

Sunday, June 7, 2015

'Waste Not, Want Not'

Sometimes we end up with more milk than we can use up before it expires. When that happens it's always good to have a recipe or two on hand to use up that milk in a hurry. Sometimes yogurt will do the trick and other times I make pudding.
Last night I tried a new recipe for rice pudding, something we don't eat very often in this home, and I just had to tweak it a bit to match the ingredients I had on hand. The original recipe is from The Humble Kitchen of Diana.

Rice Pudding with Flare

1/2 Gallon Whole Milk
1 Cup Arborio Rice or Calrose Short Grain
1/2 Cup Honey
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Eggs
Zest of one Orange
1/4 tsp Salt
Ground Cinnamon and Quartered Strawberries to garnish

Heat milk with rice and honey to a simmer and cover, stir every 5-8 minutes until rice is tender, about and hour.
Mix cream, eggs, zest, and salt in a liquid measure and add to tender rice. Bring mixture back to simmer and stir intermittently for five minutes.
Take of of heat. 
Two options; serve immediately dusted with cinnamon and topped with quartered strawberries (my preference), or cool and refrigerate to eat cold the next day.
There are lots of possibilities here. The original recipe called for lemon zest and I bet blueberries or raspberries would make an excellent topping there. You could leave out the zest and add chopped chocolate, or vanilla extract. Go wild!
Simple recipes are my favorite! I did have a major boil over last night but the pudding tasted just as good. It is very lightly sweetened and I can appreciate that, but if it's not to your liking just add a little honey a Tbsp at a time until you are satisfied with the sweetness. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fried Apple Biscuits

I got this idea from Joy the Baker, but this is my own recipe, and it's delicious if I do say so myself. They make a great to-go breakfast or snack (these would even be great as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream..maybe some syrupy strawberries on top...Mmm strawberries.), and one can whip them up in about 30 minutes and do the dishes and all.
When I found the idea on Joy's baking boot camp series, I immediately was reminded of the fried apples and biscuits my momma used to make for breakfast-sooo yummy. She made big fluffy biscuits and a pan full of buttery sticky cinnamon apples, so I thought of coarse bake them together, why didn't I think of that myself! Today I whipped these up without even looking at a recipe, and therefore I am now recording the recipe for you and me. (Disclosure: I have a Betty Crocker recipe for biscuits memorized so I can easily adapt it for whatever I'm making be it dumplings, cinnamon rolls, cobbler, or biscuits!)
Fried Apple Biscuits
2 cups Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, solid
3/4 cup Milk or Water
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in coconut oil. After apples are made, stir in the milk or water pat together into a ball and set on a floured surface. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, pour fried apples (recipe below) onto one half, careful to leave an inch uncovered around the edges. Flatten and distribute apples as desired. Pull other half of the dough rectangle over the apples and pinch the edges closed and reshape the now smaller dough rectangle with the outside edges of your hands. Feel free to " be the boss", as Joy says. You can pat, squish, even carefully pick up and reposition the dough. 
When  you're happy with the thickness and shape, cut into 12 small squares, three length cuts and four width cuts. Position an inch apart on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 12 minutes. At least that how hot and how long it bakes where I live.
Fried Apples
1 large or two small organic Braeburn Apples (Golden Delicious work well here too)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Honey
Pinch of Salt
A couple good shakes of Cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp) I don't like too much cinnamon in stuff
In an 8" skillet, melt butter, add cored and somewhat thinly sliced apples, salt, honey and cinnamon. Simmer apples stirring and flipping a few times until fork tender. Keep in mind they will cook a bit more during baking and we don't want them mushy, so a little crispness is ok.
Now, you can make the biscuits and apples separately and just pull a biscuit apart slather with butter ladle the apples over and drizzle with more honey like we did when I was a kid. In fact I highly recommend it! But, I like them this way too for a more hands on consuming situation. For example, toddlers can enjoy them a bit easier this way without the mess.
 Just a thought, why not try different fruit fillings like strawberries, peaches, pears or plums, even savory with cheese in the middle, herbs added to dough, marinara sauce for pizza bites, so many possibilities! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Real Food Journey; Starting Line

On your marks!
-Grass-fed meat animals and Gelatin, Pasture-raised Dairy Products/Raw when available, Fresh non-GMO produce as pesticides-free as possible, Soaked Grains, Nuts, and Legumes, avoid artificial colorings and preservatives as much as possible, eat only natural sugars in the and eat that liver now and then.
Get set!
-Find markets to shop that carry affordable foods as discribed above, learn to cook said foods, organize a schedule for preparing those foods, purge any foods that don't meet said standards, construct a support system to fall back on when opposition piques.
Go!
-This is not a race. But when I really started studying the "Real Food Diet," I raced to meet it. I read and studied and weighed out evidence, testimonials, facts. More and more information and first-hand experiences found me, and as I studied and learned, I was astonished by how familiar, logical, and we'll-grounded it all was. This is nothing new to me! My body and mind already knows all this stuff, the problem is, I had forgotten. The more fast-food, prepackaged cookies, chips, candy, cold cerial and low-fat dairy I ate, the more I had forgotten.
I had forgotten what my body was supposed to feel like! After only two days, eating soaked whole wheat blueberry muffins, Southern Goulash using grass-fed ground beef with steamed buttered beet tops on the side, homemade soaked whole wheat bread, roasted chicken, asparagas Mashed Potatoes gravy and pan-fried chicken liver and onions, I feel fifteen years younger. I have also been wearing homemade deodorant and using homemade cosmetics, and my skin is more vibrant, and bright than it's been in years. I am a believer! It's clear to me now, all those packaged cookies, crackers, canned soups, not to mention packaged multigrain breads, hamburgers, burritos, non-organic apples, nutriant-lacking eggs and over-sugared yogurts. They were all compromises for the real food I hadn't made, and it has made me sick. Not specifically sick, not yet I hope. But, generally sick, lack of interest in most things, lack of energy, overly-horomonal, easily taking offense, achy muscles, joint pains, lack of motivation... Sound familiar?
Today I took a walk with my son and was shocked at all I had been missing on our previous walks. The colors, smells, sounds had all been easily over-looked were vibrant and exciting to me now!

I had forgotten how good real food tastes. I though whole wheat muffins were dense and bitter and coarse. Soaking grains really works! The whole wheat becomes softer, lighter and has a richer flavor. It satisfies my hunger much better and fuels my day longer. I feel stronger and I can feel my muscles perk up as if to say, "step off fat, this bear is awake!" I had always soaked dry beans over night so I can't say I have seen much of a difference there except when I add them to dishes where I would normally use canned beans, I can definitely tell a difference, my body feels more nutritionally fed, and alive.
Grass-fed Beef tastes so much better, I can't really explain it accept it tastes more like meat, and it's more satisfying. Pastured eggs are richer, raw milk is more fresh and just tastes better- I didn't ever enjoy pasteurized milk even before.
Eating more fresh and frozen vegetables just feels right. When I go shopping I tell myself, just say no to the can and the box, they only save a few minutes anyway and leave me feeling nutritionally deprived.
We need nutrition! Not just stuff to call food and put in our stomaches! In order for our bodies to function well so we can enjoy life we need a good quality fuel to run on just like a car does. We will get better mileage, need fewer repairs, and just have a more pleasant journey if we do. My dad told me when I was leaving for college, "now take good care of your car and it will take good care of you." Same goes for most things. I really can't afford to not get a regular oil change, or my tires rotated and aired up. How about a little grass-fed liver now and then? It doesn't taste so bad when it's prepared correctly. Then again, who can notice an unusual texture when the body is giving such a rockus standing ovation with every bite? (Really, I could feel my body cheering me on!) When I'm craving something and don't know why I believe my body not the ever-changing theories about diet. Every time I went to the grocery store I eyed the frozen liver. It was a special at a restaurant I went to but my husband would recite it was bad for me. Finally last night as I was preparing our roast chicken, I began to salivate as I pulled out, and rinsed the liver. You don't have to be a hippie to know when your body needs nutrition. As soon as I put the chicken in the oven I set to cooking liver and onions the way my grandmother had taught my mother.

Good Liver and Onions
Mix flour with some salt and pepper (I now know sprouted whole wheat flour is the best choice.) Dredge the rinsed liver in flour mixture. Melt a good amout of butter in a pan when hot drop breaded liver in and let it sear on medium heat. Slice onions and sprinkle on top. Then flip the whole mess over, pour in water and cover until cooked done. Be sure to get all that delicious butter (or ghee) poured over top the liver and onions to serve. Let sit to cool and soften, then enjoy.
If cooking calf liver use a cup of water to steam. I used a quarter cup for the chicken liver. Don't be tempted to peak in and let all the steam out before it starts sizzling either.
Enjoy a nutrient dense meal! Your body will thank you/reward you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Homemade Deodorant

When I was a teenager and started wearing deodorant and antiperspirant, I never gave it a second thought. The shear humiliation of ever smelling gross or having a wet mark on my shirt was enough for me to not even question the social mandate. I had some difficulty acclimating to wearing deodorant, I tried several brands and found they made my underarms feel dry, itchy, and sometimes irritated.
One summer, I ran out of deodorant and couldn't buy more just then. I was very distraught. My dad told me to just pat some baking soda on. I was skeptical but after some convincing I gave it a shot. It worked for a few hours and I just kept applying it when I thought I needed it. Soon, it just wasn't working, so my mom suggested I add cornstarch to help absorb moisture. Once she convinced me, I found it worked better than before. But the next problem was icky lumps of my "natural deodorant" on my skin and clothes. So I tried rubbing it in better instead of patting it on like my parents had instructed. The next day my underarms stung when I perspired, since a was a strong girl I silently bore it. Soon I found my skin was slouphing off my under arms. And I didn't know what to do so I tearfully told my parents what had happened. I think my mother applied aloe to my underarms as she tried to comfort me and show me where I went wrong.
After that I decided it was easier to put up with itchy dry pits than to struggle with natural deodorant anymore.
So, fast forward over a decade. I get married and become pregnant and find out the many chemicals in bath and beauty and cleaning products can be harmful to babies, so I begin searching online for natural alternatives. I soon found on many blogs and websites several recipes and testimonials for homemade deodorant. Experienced as I had been I was very cautious and instead paid extra for "natural deodorant" for a while, but they don't work very well, and I found I couldn't really afford it.
My father suffered from Alzheimer's and passed away. All through the last year's of his life as I watched him struggle, I kept silently wondering to myself, what if he hadn't used commercial deodorant? Would such a small thing have made any difference?
So I decided I would rather try making my own again than to risk loosing anyone else over something so seemingly insignificant if it could even possibly make all the difference! I would find something that worked and I would share it with all my family and friends.
So here it is, I use:
Coconut Deodorant the
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Arrowroot Powder
6+ Tbsp Organic Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil
Stir to a smooth thick and soft even consistancy.
I've been using this exclusively for over three months and it works all day great!
No painful peeling. It's safe!
I put mine in a jar and just scoop a pea-size amount out with a clean finger and gently smooth it on my underarm right after I put in my contacts each morning. It melts and absorbs into my skin beautifully. No itchyness or chemically smells either, I actually enjoy the smell of coconut but if you don't you can always add a couple drops of an appropriate essential oil to your batch of deodorant.
This lasts several months for me.
Okay so my husband doesn't want to apply it with his hands because he doesn't want it on his hands when he's done and he doesn't want to have to wash his hands an extra time, so I cleaned out and filled this deodorant container for him. It will get melty when the weather heats up but I decided I don't mind keeping it in the fridge and fetching it for him each day if it has a chance of saving his health.
(I do realize that natural deodorant may not be a life and death element in our daily routines. But, I also know that little things can make a big difference too, and added up just might be able to save a person's quality of life even for just a little longer.)