Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's good to have friends...

While a friend was on vacation, she asked me to pick up her CSA share...
I'm thinking Chili...with some jalapenos from the garden and beef from the quarter cow in the freezer.
Yes, it's good to have friends.
Ones that share.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cultured Buttermilk

I always felt as though buttermilk was one of THOSE refrigerator items...
One of those things I don't really use except when making pancakes or something fancy...
One of those things I could just sour milk for and not have the added expense of buying something just for a few items...after all, I do so love multipurpose.
But alas, W. started having some milk issues, so I decided to experiment with cultured buttermilk since yogurt didn't seem to bother him...and lo and was fine!
So...I still had the "I don't want to buy buttermilk just for baking" issue...
So I decided to just find a way to make my own...
Easier than yogurt...let me tell you I wish I knew about this before...
Cultured buttermilk

Buy a container of buttermilk with live cultures (got mine at Trader Joe)
Pour one cup of it into a clean quart jar
Fill with milk (whatever type you like...doesn't matter if it is ultra pasteurized, raw, your monkey's uncle etc.)
Let sit at room temperature for 12-36 hours
When you are down to one cup in the bottom of the jar, pour into a new jar and repeat the process.
That simple
We've been going through about a quart a week for baking, pancakes, and buttermilk sourdough waffles.
It seems to add a richness to items.
I use a touch less leavening too (or not.)
Baked items seem to stay moist longer as well...
(as always...this is what I do, use caution in the kitchen and always use approved methods as bacteria and culturing can be harmful if not done it the right way...)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mr. Matt Mann

We have a new friend in our house...
He helps us write stories.
He often is found laying down on the kitchen counter.
C. says he looks like a monkey.

Get Set for School by Handwriting Without Tears is C's new favorite work.
We got it because W's occupational therapist has been doing Letters and Numbers for Me with him
for about a year now.
C. "NEEDED" work to do just like him.
(C has done half a book in a few weeks.)
It's funny how truly engaged she is in W's learning process.
Now my biggest fear is that they'll be in the same "grade" soon as she plows through work at a rocket pace.
It shows how each child is different.
W's strength is in his imagination.
C's strength is her determination.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hiatus over

Well the last few weeks were full of packing, learning, and travel...
I am the world's foremost expert on being disorganized when it comes to travel and so it took me a whole week to pack up the van to go on vacation...were we met up with the Country (slacker) Sister and her family.
At a place where a vacant lot has a very different meaning...
Where we couldn't quite make jam this year (our hips were too green...)
Where we learned it is difficult to take a picture on rough seas of a lighthouse in the dark.
Where cousins like to hang out...
While the daddies play golf.
(see the point of rock to the right...the menfolk invented a form of golf played on it...)
Where siblings watch boats at high tide...

We had a nice time visiting with family on our vacation...
Yikes I need to tend to the garden...the volunteer squash took over the yard...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What is the world coming to...

Did you catch this one...
a family had to get their sewer line fixed.  
Instead of replanting their front lawn with grass like any sensible suburbanite...
they dared to grow....
and now are facing up to 93 days in jail for fresh home grown veggies.  
Yikes...what is this world coming to.  
She blogs here.
Take a look...
Personally, I'm quite thankful for normal neighbors who love the eggs and veggies that come their way.
And for a town that is reasonable and has lots of common sense.
What do you think of this?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Locally Delicious...Very nutritious

Dinner...Ahhh Dinner
Mostly homegrown
Chicken from a local farm roasted with homegrown herbs on top of a bed of our own Swiss Chard braised with a bit of broth and fresh (homegrown...may I add) garlic...
A side of potatoes (that I grew) baked with a touch of local butter and backyard herbs...
Carrots and beets (that both grew in our garden,) glazed with a touch of local honey...
Each item cared for by either me or someone I have met in person...
Something is so right about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Into the woods...

We went "hiking."

Keep your eyes never know when you'll see something.
What is there one moment...
May be gone a second later..

Berries in the sunshine taste best...
And occasionally you may see something you've never seen before.
Anyone know what it is?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday...I'm a nut job

So I have always wondered where almond milk came from.
No udders.
No creaminess.
So I happened upon Earth Mama's  nut milk recipe...and my curiosity was finally satiated for this query.
So here it goes.
Put one cup nuts into a jar and cover with water.

(I put one cup of almonds in a pint jar and filled 3/4th of the way with water.)
Soak overnight.

(I soaked almost 24 hrs.)
Drain off water.
(Be amazed about how large your nuts get.)
Place in a blender with 4 cups of fresh water and blend until smooth.
(Or place nuts and 1 cup of water in a container and use a stick blender to pulverize...then place a cloth over a strainer and jar and pour the slurry into the cloth...then put the nuts back in the container with more water and repeat until all 4 cups of water have been filtered through the nuts.)
Strain nuts through a cloth and squeeze like no tomorrow.
You will have about a quart of nut milk and about a cup of nut flour...keep the nut flour for

Grain Free Brownies
Also known as freekin' good brownies.
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 4 TBS fat (I used a combo of butter and canola oil) Melted
1/2 cup nut flour
3/4 cup cocoa
mix eggs and sugar until eggs become fluffy...add cocoa, fat, and vanilla...mix in nut flour... Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan (or a smaller one for thicker brownies...and cook longer) bake at 350 for about 20 minutes...enjoy!
Somehow these brownies came out really dense and fuggy, but fluffy at the same time.  When dealing with the leftover almond flour, I was amazed how fluffy it was (compared to regular flour) and it seemed to pass this trait on to the brownies.  
The recipe was based on the Silver Palate cook book, but modifications were made to change the flour, fat, and chocolate methods (I never have unsweetened chocolate by the ounce on hand.)
So enjoy and tell me what you think.

Sorry no picture of the  brownies...they seem to be in the belly of my family almost instantly!