Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Yummy Veggies

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Today we are sitting out a Tornado Watch, here in the Southeast.  My little town was wiped out by a tornado in April 2011, so it goes without saying we are all a little on edge.  We've been glued to the television all morning, so by default I have heard all about the world of "news" that I am usually too busy to care about.  Like the kid president and the commercial knocking vegetables that taco bell pulled.  Before I am misunderstood, I do believe this should be a free country.  But, I hate marketing lies, especially in the food industry, like McDonalds new campaigns to make you think their food is farm fresh.*  The thing is, with the freedom for them to say what they want, we have the freedom to not be stupid.  So if you think you are getting pure wild-caught fish that will up your omega-3's when you order a fillet-o-fish...you are the one at fault for being an idiot.  And if you think those apples in your kids meal are grown with "rain and sunshine", I don't think you can point your finger at them.  You and I are responsible to use our brains to decifer truth from lies.  I should add (before I get off my soapbox) that I do support all legislation for truth in labeling, and frankly I think everyone should, even if you want to eat Oreos and Doritos, you have the right to know what they are made of.  Okay, stepping down.  What I really want to share is a great, and very simple way to eat veggies, so you can prepare them quickly and get more of them at your table and ultimately in your belly.

I grew up eating veggies "steamed" in the microwave.  No flavor, no crunch, no nothing.  It is no wonder, by college I would only eat salad and not cooked veggies.  The problem with salad, is you have to keep so much stuff on hand and you have to eat it before it goes bad.  So once, I didn't have the convenience of my college cafeteria salad bar, I found it almost impossible to eat enough veggies.  Then I married my hubby and he was raised in the great South on slow, long cooked veggies.  Which I figured he could always get from his mom!  Until about a year ago, I'd been making mostly salads and occasionally steamed or roasted veggies.
If you aren't familiar with Nourishing Traditions or some other form of traditional food way of cooking, you might be interested to know that raw vegetables are NOT the MOST healthy veggies.  When vegetables are raw your body has to work so hard to digest them, that most of the nutrients pass out of your body without being absorbed.  The best thing to do is slightly cook the veggies and then add a form of saturated fat to aid in the digestion of the nutrients.  Most nutrients you want out of veggies are fat soluble, so if you eat them steamed with no fat you will not be able to absorb their goodness.  My fat of choice is usually butter, unless I'm cooking leafy greens then I like to use bacon grease.  Here's how I do it:


Heat a small amount of water in a skillet.  It doesn't matter if it is


Add some salt to the water.  A generous pinch will do, you can add more later.


While that's heating, wash and prepare (chop or snap) your veggies.



Add to the hot salted water.


Cook to desired tenderness, stirring as needed.  Green beans or leafy greens are quick, like 2-3 minutes.  Something like carrots, may take 6-10 minutes.  Squash, broccoli, or the like, somewhere in the middle.


Drain off excess water and add some butter.  A generous amount.  (this was a little too much for green beans.  It will depend on how much your veggie will absorb.)  Carrots or squash will absorb more than beans.  Broccoli or cauliflower will absorb a good amount too.  Use as much butter as they will absorb...butter (grass-fed butter) is your friend, it has nutrients in it you cannot get anywhere else!


Taste for salt, and add more if needed.



Add a generous amount of garlic powder.  Fresh Garlic diced would also be nice, but if you are in hurry, just shake on some powder.  This technique is all about simplicity!


Toss to coat with the butter-garlic mixture, remove from heat, and serve.


Here's some carrots and quash I did the same way.  


Happy Veggies to you!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

*The ideas in this article and the comments are to show the American majority opinion on farming and food.  Let it be reiterated that I am not in the majority on almost all subjects :)

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Everybody's Gotta Start Somewhere!

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Are you feeling overwhelmed about how to make healthy decisions for your family?
I just attended a seminar on the GAPS diet.  I have been pretty familiar with this book and diet for several years now and it was amazing to hear from a practitioner about how much success she has had in treating patients with so many different symptoms.  My husband has started to introduce GAPS after being on a way-too-long round of antibiotics...that let me mention in the end, he had a pinched nerve not an infection...but antibiotics are routinely given.  I'm going to stop there before I start a rant on the stupidity of the modern money medical industry.   That's not why I sat down to write this.
I have had a couple of conversations in the last week or so with moms who are newbie's on their journey.  They have a ton of questions.  Where do I start?  How can I do this on a budget?  What if my kids hate the food?  What if my husband thinks I'm nuts?  I must step back and say, I'm here today, but I was not here yesterday, or last week or a year ago.  So I guess what I would say to these ladies, is to step back and take a deep breath.  (In fact, I did say that to a commenter the other day!)  You can do one thing at a time, and I'm going to give my advice on where someone might want to start.

#1 Get a copy of Nourishing Traditions.  (I know books?  Can't I get it online?...no, you cannot find all of the info online in one place like you can in NT).  Besides being a great cookbook, this book has so much information on tricky food labeling, where ingredients come from, and the history of the decline of American health.  It is priceless!

#2 Get in the Kitchen.  And just cook.  From Ingredients you can pronounce and your kids can pronounce.  Even if you just use butter, garlic and salt, you will be successful most of the time.

#3  If you are here, welcome!  I hope I can be of an encourage you that it is well worth it to your health and your family for you to embark on this endeavor.  From my blog, these are staples in my kitchen and could be in your's too with a minor amount of effort.

Taco Seasoning:  I use it in Chili, tacos, fajitas, anything tex-mex.  I keep it pre-mixed in the cabinet, being able to make all of these dishes w/o any packets from the store goes a long way!  And already having it mixed means dinner can be quick and effortless!

Milk Kefir: This is especially important if you aren't able to source Real Milk.  You can ferment store-bought whole milk and then use it to make whey...but again, don't get overwhelmed right now.  Start with the kefir, make a smoothie and enjoy the health benefits of this ancient fermented beverage.  You can get Milk kefir grains from here.

Mayo: This is always in my fridge.  It is much easier than it looks and it makes amazing Ranch Dressing.  I also keep that Ranch powder in the cabinet, there are a lot of simple "crap" food recipes that call for a packet of ranch, so that gives you the power to quickly recreate something without much thought or extra $$.  With Mayo, you can also whip up all kinds of other sauces and dressings.

#4 Last I would say try to buy a whole chicken and roast it.  Shred the meat, and use the bones to make broth.  If you have never done this, it may seem a little gross.  But I think by doing it, you will feel empowered and strong.  It is also very economical.  With your shredded meat, you can make Chicken Salad with your mayo, or Soup or any dish that calls for diced or shredded chicken, even casserole.

I'll leave it there, so not to overwhelm you.  I'll write another post on picky eaters and pleasing kiddos.  But for now, I must say YOU can do it!!  I welcome any questions you might have in your journey.  Blessings to you on all of your endeavors 

Love and Butter,

Mishelle





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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reclaimed Comfort Food

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I started cooking young because food was not a big deal in my home growing up, but somewhere in my heart, food has always been a big deal.  It started young as trying to be healthy, and now has become a journey into taste, experience, and down right L-O-V-E!  I love food, everyone who knows me, even a little "knows" me, knows this.  I cannot have a 5 minute conversation, maybe not even two minutes without food coming up.  My soul is so directly connected to my mouth and stomach, it never ceases to be a part of who I am.  
So since food wasn't a big deal in our home, I don't have this grandiose comfort food that I remember my mother preparing.  I do remember my grandfather hunched over the stove (he suffered damage to his feet in Korea), cooking pasta and so I am forever connected to pasta.  I swear, and not trying to be prideful, from nothing, I can create a pasta dish that you would think was from a restaurant.  And my husband will not take me to an Italian restaurant for this reason.  Because PMS or not, I will surely find a way to condemn the place as a crime against pasta.  (Disclaimer:  I live in the Deep South of America, if you venture to the East Coast or down in to FL you can find real Italian food, but here all we have is the Olive Garden.  And if that isn't a crime against pasta, then I don't know what is?)
When I found Nourishing Traditions and the Weston Price Foundation, which by the way if you haven't...you should, I was devastated to see that pasta was a condemned food.  Now let me restate that, the excessive consumption of refined wheat is condemned.  In our house, we never full did away with pasta, but we do consume a minimal amount of it.  In the future, I hope to refine our taste-buds to sprouted or Einkorn pasta, but for now, we just eat it once or twice a week.  And NEVER more than one serving in any setting.
So this is my Comfort food, I even made it in my dorm room.  2 ingredients: Noodles and Parmesan Cheese.  Yep, I know that sounds disgusting, even to me now.  No butter?  No I was totally Low fat back in those days.  Even later when I made this and allowed my self a tiny drizzle of olive oil, it was still gross.  I am comparing this bowl of powdery noodles to the feast of Fried Chicken I got when I went home with a college friend from Savannah...and it doesn't even shake a stick.
So now, with the help of my husband, we have come up with an awesome version that is similar, but only contains real food.  Take a look at this label on 100% Parmesean Cheese...apparently to the FDA 100% doesn't mean anything.  Kind of makes you wonder what is in your 100% Grade A Beef or Milk....uugghh!!  No thank you!



So now my noodles contain a generous amount of near raw garlic, grass-fed butter, activated-almonds, and nutritional yeast...and you know what?  They taste a million times better...it's the butter!  But I have to thank my husband for this amazing little shaker of goodness he has come up with that has made me forget all about my "100%" friend.  And he found this little concoction on his own and when I got home today he had even taken some pictures while he was making it so I could share it!

Ingredients:  
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp of Real Salt or sea salt
2 tsp of garlic powder


Add almonds to a small food processor or food chopper.  Process till ground, then add other ingredients, process until it is "about" the consistency of that sprinkley cheese garbage that we want so badly to avoid, but still love the way it binds a recipe together.  Store in the fridge and use as you would shakie Parm.






For my Reclaimed Comfort Food:  Cook spaghetti noodles to package specifications.  Over Med, heat a good amount a butter in a sauce pan.  (1-2 TBSP per serving...seriously it isn't call Love and a Little Butter).  When butter is melted, but not browned press in some garlic cloves.  I usually do 2-3 per person I'm feeding.  Stir just a little over the heat and then quickly remove.  This will allow most of the garlic's nutrition to remain, but will slightly break down the harshness of it.  It will also infuse all of the butter with garlicky goodness.  Toss the noodles in and serve with the shaker of awesomeness that you just made.  So good, no powdered cellulose or modified milk...seriously?  How does one modify milk?  And in case you are wondering, powdered cellulose is a food grade wood product...and to that I ask how does one make wood a food-grade product?...we aren't Beavers!

So that is my pure, indulgent Comfort food.  A bowl of garlicky, buttery Love!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

Shared on: Simple Meals Friday

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Activated Almonds

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I cannot believe I have owned my copy of Nourishing Traditions for more than 3 or 4 years now and never tried Soaked Nuts.  I didn't think I would like them, because I don't like roasted nuts.  And I was justifying it because nuts are more like a condiment.  But the truth is, if you want to digest the benefits of nuts, you have to activate them!  It also is a good time to salt them, if you like salted nuts...not my thing so I didn't add salt like NT suggests, just water and time.  A little work, but it was TOTALLY worth it!


 Cover raw almonds with a generous amount of filtered water.  Not tap water, filtered, spring, or distilled, not tap.


Make sure to leave room for expansion in the bowl.  They swell and you want them to remain covered with water.  Cover bowl and leave in a warm place for 24-36 hours.


 Spread on a cookie sheet, in one single layer.


Dry out in a warm oven (lowest temp on mine is 170) for 12 hours or until crunchy.
Enjoy!!!  Store extras in a jar in the fridge or bring them to me :)


Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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Monday, January 21, 2013

EASY! Artisan Bread

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I don't know if I believe in signs or not, but I do think I got a couple of signs telling me to try to bake bread like this.  I pinned a recipe a couple of months ago.  Then I saw one posted on my local WAPF chapter's facebook page.  And finally I found an article in my recent copy of Mary Jane's Farm.  So the tri-fecta has spoken, I must try this technique.  So I drug out my grandmother's Club  dutch oven and tried it out.  I am immediately shocked and taken by this amazing bread that looks like I paid $6 for it at the local artisan bakery....and I did it!!!
This technique rocked my socks off!!  It met all of the criteria for an awesome recipe: it was easy, it only used one bowl that I had to wash, and it turned out right the first time...on a rainy day nonetheless!!  And then it turned out right the second time...which is a miracle for me and bread!!
All bread recipes seem to be the same, so I must say it really isn't the recipe, but the technique that has changed.  You always have flour, salt, sugar (or honey), and some rising agent.  I've done basic wheat, soaked wheat, sourdough and now this slow rising bread. 
I am convinced the difference here is in the technique.  You mix all of the ingredients together and then leave them overnight.  Because the bread rises slowly the gluten in the wheat is broken down.  This gives the dough an amazing elasticity.  Then you bake it in a covered dish so the steam keeps it moist while the high temperature gives the outside an amazing crust.


Tools needed:
A cast iron (or in my case cast aluminum**) pot with lid
A large bowl or mixer
*optional -- A grain mill (it really does make a difference)

Ingredients:
5 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
1 cup of unbleached flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (also called bread machine or rapid rise)
2 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt or Real Salt
1 Tablespoon of organic sugar
1 Tablespoon (or so) or organic cornmeal (if you are going to buy anything organic, let it be your corn, some statistics say that 100% of corn now is GMO in the US)
4 Tablespoons of whey (you could substitute yogurt of kefir)
3-4 cups of filtered water

Add all of the dry ingredients except cornmeal to a mixer.  You could do this by hand, it would be a great upper body workout!  Mix on low adding whey first and then water slowly.  Start with 3 cups, then slowly add enough to get a wet dough consistency.  You want the dough to be sticky and shaggy (like a dog's fur).  Make sure your dough has enough room in the bowl you are using to double (and then a little extra).  Cover the bowl and allow to sit over night 12-18 hours at room temperature.


In the morning, place your covered cast iron pot in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  While the oven preheating, dust your counter with unbleached flour.  Remove dough from the bowl and roll over itself a few times in the flour.  Forming a shape that is similar to your pot.  Cover it and let it rest until the oven finishes preheating.



When the oven is heated, remove the pot and sprinkle corn meal on the bottom.  Add the loaf, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.  
Cool on a rack and enjoy with lots of Grass-fed butter and a drizzle of local honey!








As you can tell from the picture, this is a very "wheat bread".  That's the way I like it, but you could easily adjust the flour/wheat flour ratio to fit your taste.

**You should not use aluminum pots to cook food.  I keep this particular pot because it was my grandmother's and I grew up with my mom using it.  Here is a great article from The Healthy Home Economist on why it is safe to still use aluminum pans for baking, as long as there is no metal to metal contact.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle

This post was entered at: Tasty Traditions, Wild Crafting Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Natural Living Link-Up, Meal Plan Monday, Family Table Tuesday, Natural Living Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Modesty Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Make It Yourself Monday, Better Moms Monday, Clever Chicks Monday, Homemade Mondays, Hearth and Soul Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Fat Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Making a Home, Tuesday Greens, Whole Foods Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Simple Living Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Wise Woman Link Up, Show and Share Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Hearts 4 Home Thursday, Proverbs 31 , Little House in the Suburbs
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Fermenting Tips

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Yay!  Flu Season!...no not really "Yay". From what I've heard it has been a rough one.  We fought off a virus in December that very well could have been the flu...not sure.  It wasn't long lived here, about 24 hours per person.  But I must say that we are fermented junkies.  Fermented foods and beverages are a must during this time of year, well and every time of the year.  I hope they aren't something you are scared of, or don't think are worth your time.  They really are more simple than you think and very, very tasty!  Maybe it's your Real Food resolution or you are trying to keep your immune system strong so you don't catch whatever funk is going around this week.  But either way, here are a couple of things I am doing to keep my little bacterial friends growing strong and mighty in these chilly winter months.

This is my Kombucha cabinet.  I seriously have one, and most of my foodie friends do too.  I may have to keep my pantry items in the laundry room, but the Kombucha...it gets it's own cabinet!  I am experimenting with a continuous brew batch.  That's why the jar in the front is only half full.  I will just add more sweetened tea to it and have more Kombucha in 3-4 days.  With the cold weather, I was pushing 8 or more days on a gallon brew.  Here's how I help my booch along, I keep my stew stewing right under the cabinet.  Tonight we are having Corn and Sweet Potato Curry, and thanks to the warmth from the slow cooker we will have some super-fizzy Kombucha to wash it down!

Here's some Simple Kraut I have going next to the stove.  I had bubbles in about 2 days, but let it go the full 3 to make sure it was ready to work it's immunity magic!



And my Water Kefir too.  My grains have been a little moody since the weather turned cold.  But being near the stove is helping some.  My milk kefir is just a little further away from the stove, but not too far to not gain the warmth as well.


You could also keep something like a space heater near your ferments and I read somewhere they make heated strips for fermenting.  I found this one at Kombucha Kamp, which is a great blog for all things Booch!  50 Bucks is out of my price range for Booch, so I'll keep running my Crock Pot and using the warmth of my oven for now.  Either way, the fermenting will continue!  

Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sprouted Pie Crust

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I'm using my oven a ton these days.  One, to keep my kitchen warm so I'm warm while the kids and I are doing school and my ferments stay happy and growing.  And two, because my friend gave me a kick-bootie stove!  Yeah..I'm g-rated!  I know friends don't usually give friends stoves, but this was a weird circumstance.  Anyway, said stove is much truer to temperature than my old stove and has a covered element on the bottom so I don't have to worry about drips turning into smoke disasters!  My husband is most happy about this, because almost on a weekly basis we have to evacuate due to the smoke I create...I wish I were kidding.

On today's menu is Quiche Lorraine.  I think that is the technical term.  It's spinach quiche with bacon and maybe goat cheese...maybe swiss...I can't decide.  Quiche is one of the most affordable meals you can put on the table.  They are so high in protein and since eggs (even really great farm fresh eggs) are cheaper than meat you can get a whole meal for less than $10 on the table.  That's for my ginormous family...regular family maybe less than $5.  I always add a little meat, but it only takes a little.  For instance, this quiche will only have 1 slice of bacon each.  That's 2 slices of bacon to feed 6 people with some leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  You can't beat that!!  Oh and on top of that, quiche can be eaten right out of the oven, room temp, or even reheated...this is my kind of flexible meal!  Tonight I will bake it and then leave it in the oven (with the oven off) while I go Zumba with my BFF.

Anyway there is my plug for quiche, but that's not really what this post is about.  While I was making my quiche I wanted to take some pictures to walk you through the process of making a pie crust.  Because those frozen pie crusts, which I must admit are super convenient come with a price.  They are all made with rancid hydrogenated oils or if you buy the organic ones you will get sifted flour and you will pay a fortune for them.

So my answer is to make the pie crust at home.  You could make these ahead and freeze them, but I find it easy to just make them in steps and do the steps when I can.  You can easily mix the crust one day, put it in the fridge and not bake it until the next.  Or you could blind bake a few crusts on the weekend and then use them throughout the week.

*if you are wondering why Sprouted Flour??
1.  Sprouted Flour is easier to digest.
2.  The sprouting process increases the nutrient content of the wheat, especially Vitamins C, B, and Carotene.  
3.  The sprouting process creates enzymes which are great for digestion.
4.  The sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid.  Phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. P.S.  There is a reason why so many people are deficient of these minerals.

This is a really great source for sprouted grains.  And they offer free shipping a lot!


Sprouted Pie Crust
(yields 2 8-10 inch pie crusts or 1 double crust)

8oz. of Grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold)
2 1/2 cups of sprouted Whole wheat flour*
A pinch of salt (if butter is salted) or 1 tsp. of salt if butter is unsalted
1 tsp. of sucanat or organic sugar
6-8 TBS. of ice water

Dice your butter and put it in the freezer for an hour or more.



In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sucanat.  Pulse a couple of times.  Add frozen butter cubes and run until butter is broken down into chunks pea-sized or smaller.



Add in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until a ball is formed.  Don't let it get too wet.



Remove and put into plastic wrap.  I like to wrap my hand in plastic wrap when I remove it so it doesn't get all over my hand.



Roll into a log (instead of a ball, it easier to split into two pieces later) and refrigerate at least one hour, but even a day or two would work.



Press into pie plates.  I do this by hand.  You can also roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap like I do with my Chicken Pot Pie.  I just find it easier with a pie to just press it into the pan.



Sometimes, I blind bake my crust when I make quiche, just because the eggs are so wet.  Sometimes I don't.  But if your recipe doesn't call for it, just poke a few holes in it and use it.   Other wise, add a piece of parchment paper to your and fill with beans or pie weights.  I figured for this post it would be best if I blind baked it, just in case you wanted to do yours that way.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Then remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Remove the parchment paper and beans and poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  

So I know, this wasn't as simple as my Freezer Meals, but seriously YOU are capable of this!  If I can do anything with this post, I hope I would encourage you to give this a try.  I swear (on my raw milk) that it truly is simpler than it sounds!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Super-Glue in My Eye

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Okay...the title says it all.  I got Super-Glue in my eye.  Yup!  Of course it was two hours before my dinner guest was going to arrive.  I was just about to finish dessert and toss a salad and I saw this little teapot my daughter had broken and left on the counter for me to fix.  In the spirit of having a spotless house when I have company (because that is the only time I even try), I grabbed the Super-Glue to fix this little pot so I could get it put away.  
It was a little crusted on the top, so I picked off the dry piece and when I did, I released the pressure from the inside and the stuff shot in my eye.  It instantly bonded to my eyeball and dried.  It was the weirdest feeling.  I then completely melted down into a panic attack.  I can usually exhale my way through pain and things, but this freaked me out.  
Maybe it was because I had just listened to the details of my Aunt's cancer surgery and reconstruction of her entire throat and neck...maybe I've just seen too many weird things on TV or the fact that I must be literally knocked out of commission for at least 48 hours before I even consider seeing a doctor.  But I literally could not breathe thinking about doctors removing this piece of glue from my eye with tweezers or thinking about the last time I got super glue on my skin and how painful it was to remove and the fact that this was on my eye!.. or needles...what is it with doctors and needles?!
With one quick google search, my husband had a solution of baking soda and water for me to rinse with and told me to calm down because it would take several hours for this piece of glue to slowly make it's way out of my eye.
So that's what we did.  It hurt so much.  The baking soda solution stung so much, but seemed to offer momentary comfort, so I kept using it.  About 5 hours later I could tell it was starting to loosen and I was able to fall asleep.  It was gone by morning, my eye was just a little crusty, like I had a cold.  I should also mention we still had our guest and an amazing dinner complete with 2 veggies, salad and cobbler.  I will probably follow up with my eye doctor next week before I start wearing my contacts again.  
Have you ever done anything ridiculous like this?  I was most surprised by the panic attack I had.  I've only had one other panic attack and that was when I went into be induced with my son.  I really didn't want to be induced, but because of a bunch of circumstances I was pressured into doing so.  And I panicked when they went to put in my IV...like I couldn't breathe and was crying uncontrollably.  I know the word panic attack is over used in our Xnax-loving society...but these were times when I was literally out of control of my body and mind.  Pretty scary.  I also couldn't help but thinking I would be a total failure if I ever attempted to have a home-birth (which is my plan if Number #5 ever graces our presence).  
Sorry to ramble.  Couldn't help but share this freakish occurrence   It will probably never happen to you, but if it does...STAY CALM and flush your eye!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Go-To Salad

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January always comes with salad!  Whether you are trying lose weight or just trying to incorporate more veggies into your diet.  I have a go-to salad that I can throw together in a pinch and have on the table in 5 minutes, thought you might like it too!

Ingredients:

Organic Spring Mix
Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola, crumbled
Dried cranberries
Sliced Almonds (Chopped Walnuts also work)

Dressing:
1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (like Braggs)
1/4-1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (a mild-tasting variety works best)
1 TBS Dijon or Whole Grain Mustard
1-2 TBS Honey (do this at the end to taste)

Make the dressing.  Mix together in a glass mason Jar Vinegar, Mustard and 1/4 cup of oil and 1 tbsp. of honey.  Shake and taste.  If it is too tangy add more honey and oil until you find the tang you like.  (I vary this recipe on whether or not my husband is eating with us, he doesn't like very tangy dressing.  I also go heavy on the oil and honey if my kids have chapped lips, it decreases the chances of whining.)

Add to the bottom of the bowl the amount of dressing you think will be necessary to coat the amount of salad you are making.  Add spring mix and then other ingredients and toss until coated with dressing.  Serve all of it.  This salad will not keep once the dressing is added to it.  So if necessary make it in smaller portions.  Enjoy!  
I love the combination of flavors in this salad and so does my entire family.  I never hear a complaint when I put this out!  And if my two cents means anything, I do also think it is good to put combinations of flavors like this in front of kids as often as possible...even if sometimes it is a battle.  Variety combats pickiness.  Good Luck!!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle



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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Simple Tip: Homemade Baking Powder

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I feel foolish even writing a post on this because it really is so simple, but I had no idea until a week ago that you could do this.  I am not the first blogger to cover this, but I am wondering if by some crazy degree of interest if there are some of you out there that didn't know this.  Or maybe you did and you just need a little encouragement or a shove in the right direction to try something new for yourself.


I love becoming more self-reliant, but I must admit sometimes I wonder...seriously why...why am I going to try and do one more thing on my own?  But then there are days when I run out of something I need and I look at my four crazy kids and my upside down house and think...well...doing it myself would be easier than packing up this crazy ship and heading to the store for one thing!  
So now, I can make baking powder.  And honestly, it is more than just being handy, homemade baking powder will be better (not to mention way cheaper!) than the stuff at the store.  Did you know most baking powder contains aluminum which has been linked to Alzheimers?  Also, did you know that even if you pay the extra for the aluminum free stuff it still most likely contains GMO corn.  No thanks!  This is all you really need:

Ingredients:

1 part baking soda
2 parts cream of tartar
(optional: for long term storage) 1 part Organic* corn starch or Arrowroot

*Always buy organic anything that contains corn!!!!  85% of corn is GMO and in case you haven't heard that is BAD news!  And by the way corn is in everything..literally.

Mix Ingredients together in the amount you desire.  I did 2 tablespoons per 1 part.  This used my jar of cream of tartar (that by the way was a seasonal item at Aldi and only cost me 99 cents).  Store in an airtight container.  Bake with it!!

I didn't add the corn starch to mine, but I did use all of what I made in about 2 weeks.  Toward the end it was a little clumpy, but still worked.  The last thing I used it to make was my Grain-free Banana Nut Muffins.  See how they turned out!

They rose from this...

To this!!

Each thing I take on making by myself gives me a feeling of control over myself...which of course is false, because I live in a world where four little people make most of the decisions for me!  But I can make baking powder and hand soap and butter and I feel dang good about it!!  But seriously this one is too simple, you should give it a try!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle





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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome Change in 2013

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I've read it is purposeless to make vague resolutions like "get in shape" because there is no measurement to the success.  I must admit some of my resolutions can be measured and some cannot.  Some will be impossible to achieve 100%, but what the heck, here goes!!

Best Uncle a girl could ask for!


Spiritual Resolutions: 

Pray more.

Dig deeper into God's word each day, no matter what!

Glean everything I can from the mentors in my life.


Organization/Planning Resolutions:

Organize my calendar to stay on top of special events.  Smaller goals include do a seasonal wreath on my door instead of just pinning one the day before the holiday! And not making my kids birthday cakes at the last minute. 

Spend 30 mins a day on my blog.  I have far too many unfinished posts.




Homesteading Resolutions:

Plan my garden more efficiently.   I usually do pretty good on my summer garden, but drop the ball on spring and fall. 

Get my compost act together.

Start a rain collection system.

Learn more about essential oils and incorporate them into my life.

Get brave enough to sneak some chickens into my backyard.


Kitchen/Food Resolutions:

Keep working toward fish 3x a week.  (We are at 2 on a good week now.)

Source Sprouted grains and work them into my food budget.

Learn to make the perfect loaf of soaked artisan crusty bread.

Hike or run on every pretty day that it is possible.



Breathe Deeper.  Yell Less.  Love More.

Blessings to you and yours.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle






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