Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Kraut

I am very happy when something is fermenting in my kitchen. This past week I purchased two bags of cranberries on sale and decided it was time for another experiment in food fermentation. I chose this recipe as my base and altered it based on what I had available in my kitchen.

Into the food processor I put about 1/2 a head of green cabbage and sliced/shredded it with the attachments. This was salted with sea salt while I chopped up one bag of cranberries, three cups, in the processor by pulsing in the processor as well. I juiced and zested one orange and added it as well as the juice from 1/2 lime. Then a one inch piece of ginger was finely chopped and added to the mixture along with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Finally 1/2 cup of raw sugar was added to the mixture. 

Packed into my jar and covered with kombucha. I love the idea of using a real live substance like kombucha to serve as the fermentation assistant in my sauerkraut. You want all the solids to be immersed in liquid so that they are not exposed to air that might encourage bad bacteria/yeast/molds to grow. 

Ready for the fermentation cupboard, this receptacle will be out of the way, in a dark place for several days until nice and sour.  The final product's sour factor is determined by how long you allow it to ferment. Longer fermentation will result in more sour flavor or simply stop the fermentation by refrigerating it and eating!

- Posted using BlogPress by Amanda

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thrifty Fabric Recreations

One of my favorite parts about being back in the city is the plethora of thrift stores to browse. This week my friend, Rachel, with whom I've been living with the past several weeks took me to a great Goodwill where we picked up quite a few items. She is about ready to have a baby and has definitely been in the nesting mode around the house. Clearing things out and adding new additions necessary for the first child. She has been needing a bigger apron for use in the kitchen so I decided to put to use a men's dress shirt I purchased from a thrift store and an online tutorial found here. I think that it turned out great and I even put it together in just about an hour! I'm thinking about making many more with fun fabric and putting them on my etsy shop. Would you buy one or just make it yourself?

Rachel also needed some curtains for these great big windows in the stairwell. We found a perfect duvet cover at Goodwill in a nice soft grey fabric. They were perfect for cutting up and creating curtains. These custom curtains for three windows were a total cost of $7. I also got some great fabric in sheets that I plan to put into curtains for my new home. Moving day is Thursday so I'm pretty excited to start decorating my own home and making it comfortable for lots of friends to enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole

Last night I had the blessing of attending our 2nd Annual Family Thanksgiving Dinner of Friends. I have some quality people in my life and although I am in the process of moving I am so blessed to continue to share life's blessings with these people in small town Kansas. We enjoyed a great feast and have so much to be thankful for during this season of fall and abundance. Although our after dinner viewing of the K-State football game was less than ideal we are proud KSU supporters. EMAW!

I've decided that if I could only have one thing on my plate at Thanksgiving it would have to be something the color orange. I really can't decide whether I like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or pumpkin the best so as long as I have something orange on the table I am satisfied. I've been eating a lot of pumpkin recently so I decided to go with a sweet potato casserole last night.

Several large sweet potatoes, baked
Pure maple syrup
Unsweetened Coconut
Brown Sugar
More butter
Candied Ginger pieces

Bake your sweet potatoes until fork tender in the oven. I used a random collection of small and large potatoes so I would guess them to be equivalent of about 4 large potatoes and baked them at 350 for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and then peel. Alternately, if you are in a rush you can just microwave them for several minutes although I recommend using the oven over a microwave any day. Mash the sweet potatoes with several tablespoons of butter. Add a splash of whole milk, about a 1/4 cup, and a couple tablespoons of pure maple syrup. I honestly just direct poured about a tablespoon into the bowl. Sprinkle in about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and taste. Obviously you can tell that I rarely measure while cooking but the measure comes from the taste. It will all depend on the sweetness of your potatoes and don't forget some salt as that also helps bring out the sweetness. If you like it more creamy add more milk or butter or if you like plain and pure sweet potatoes keep it simple with less. Spread this into your greased dish.

For the topping combine 1 cup chopped pecans, or you could use walnuts as well, with 1/2 cup coconut flakes with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Combine  about 3 tablespoons of softened butter into this mixture. Then I added an extra special addition of about 1/4 cup of candied ginger pieces. This is totally optional as I found them in the cupboard and decided they would be a great addition, but it would be great without as well. Add the topping and bake in 350 oven for another 30-45 minutes just until brown on top.

Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and E for healthy skin and hair. They are also rich in manganese which helps regulate blood sugar. They are a super food of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that can help prevent your skin from sun-damage and is excellent for eye health. They have good fiber content as well. Just eat them!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fall Delight: Beet Pumpkin Soup

Today I was inspired by the baggies of pureed beets and pumpkin hanging out in the fridge. Earlier last week  a delightful beet chocolate cake was created from the beet puree but another collection was found this week in the fridge ready for use. In an attempt to make a tasty satisfying soup with the beets I decided a sweet addition of pumpkin could have great potential. I love using what I find on hand to create healthful easy dishes!

Beet Pumpkin Soup
1 T. Coconut oil
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
Splash of white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups beet puree
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger, cloves
Plain yogurt or sour cream for serving

Into the dutch oven I sauteed the onion in coconut oil adding garlic after onion is softened. I used a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and then added the chicken stock and apple cider. The apple cider was another item I found in the fridge that needed to be used. Otherwise you could just use more stock or water. I added the beets and pumpkin and cooked just until heated. Then I pureed most of the mixture in a blender. You could also leave it chunky if you would prefer. Add spices to your liking and serve with a large dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream on top.

Additionally, if you don't happen to have beet puree in your fridge I might recommend roasting them whole or chopped in the oven at about 400 until tender before adding them to the soup. Roasting beets and pumpkin before cooking brings out a natural sweetness not found when simply boiling .

This makes a great fall soup utilizing some essential fall produce items. Beets and pumpkin both contain many healthful nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals and generally cleanse the body. Consider taking an adventure in the soup department this fall. You really can't go wrong with things in a pot!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Observations of Nature in November

Our weather patterns are not normal. We've all observed the extreme weather patterns going on around us. Some of us have experienced much more drastic consequences of the cycles of weather. Today I am thankful to have escaped hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, and fires that have ravaged other parts of the worlds. Here in the Midwest we have been in a perpetual drought but have not experienced anything life threatening. But no matter where we reside we are aware that in the past several years we have experienced more dramatic weather in a smaller time frame than ever in history. This is alarming. I understand that our earth functions in cycles, but seriously, this is major. Climate is drastically changing and we are all going to have to deal with the consequences.

Being a gardener I understand that this affects our food production. The drought is undoubtedly causing a rise in food costs. It is changing the growing seasons. It's November and the past several weeks I've barely worn a jacket. I'm thankful for the nice 70 degree weather that allows me to be outside comfortably, but I know that this is not normal.

A few observations that make me ponder:
Today while planting garlic with a friend on this 70 degree day we noticed cilantro and lettuce growing beautifully in the raised beds. There are still so many trees in this city that are displaying gorgeous colors of leaves. While it's great that there is beauty to observe, these leaves should be long gone by now. However, with no rain and warm days they are staying on the trees.

What does this mean for us? It means there are going to be a lot of changes for us in the near future. Food prices are rising for one. I really believe that we are going to have to figure out drastically different methods of food production, because what we are relying on now simply won't work without water and with increased temperatures.

What do you think about these crazy weather patterns? Could they be an indicator of the end of our time on earth as we know it?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beautiful, Delicious, and Brutal

The blessings of this weekend were many. Saturday morning I arose to a gorgeous sunrise. Simply amazing to take in and so incredibly time sensitive. I caught a glimpse of the sky, ran around trying to find my camera taking apparatus, ran outside and it had already changed colors. I got this picture, went inside, put my camera away, and looked back out the window and it was completely different. God is so creative. 

I finally got some bubbly kombucha!

Breakfast delight: crusty bread, pesto, liverwurst,
farm fresh egg, & tomato!
I was having a fabulous morning drinking my bubbly kombucha, eating amazing breakfast sandwiches and doing some baking. Then I decided to make it outside to do the chores and realized that we have another issue with chickens being massacred. Except this time, it's not the whole flock all at once. This weekend both mornings I noticed just one dead chicken carcass in the pen. It appears that the deaths are happening in the early morning time, because when I get to them, the bodies are still pretty warm. This varmit is also leaving the carcass versus the massacres we've had in the past, they just take everything. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm thinking possibly a hawk? Just because the most of the carcass is still there and it's only getting one at a time. Any thoughts friends? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Adventure with Liverwurst

I've always known that liver was good for me. However, when Mom used to cook it growing up as one of my father's favorite meals, my sister and I would turn our noses up. Pretty sure we refused to eat the liver and onions delicacy that she would occasionally cook. Now I understand the nutritional powerhouse that liver is and wish that I consumed it more often. Okay wish that I consumed it ever. Yesterday as I was browsing the freezer I managed to catch a glimpse of a package of liverwurst. Liverwurst contents: liver, pork, salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Sounds pretty legit to me. I'm sure it was more legit when it was purchased and put into the freezer back in the year 2005!!! Seriously, things get lost in that freezer and I decided that surely nobody was going to miss this delicacy if I busted it out now. I figured the worst thing that could happen to me would be my liverwurst tasting like freezer. 

The large block of liverwurst looked far from appetizing and because I had no idea how it is traditionally prepared I decided to go with a little breading and frying action. I sliced off a chunk, dipped it in egg and then into a little coconut flour/spice mixture. Into a frying pan of coconut oil went my creation. It got nice a browned pretty quickly and I also realized that the consistency of this liverwurst is pretty tender and soft.

I topped my fried liverwurst with some of my homemade chili sauce. It was pretty tasty I might say and didn't taste like the freezer! Not the gross liver smell and taste that I remember from childhood. I made a great stir fry of bell peppers, kale, tomatoes and eggs to go with. It was a fabulous brunch and kept me well satisfied for the day. I can just feel my iron escalating. 

This just in. I decided to Google search liverwurst. Apparently, it is traditionally eaten cold or room temperature on sandwiches or as a spread on crackers. Woah. Not so sure I want to try that, but maybe I'll get brave and try that tomorrow with the rest of my liverwurst loaf. It is described as being nature's multivitamin. I know you're all running out to get your own now! Don't think twice, do it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Experimental Kimchi

I've been concocting some more great food experiments in this kitchen. Yesterday I harvested a bunch of red cabbage leaves that grew back on the plants after we harvested the cabbage heads months ago. I was amazed how much grew back on the plants after we cut off the heads and decided that I might as well try to use this second growth for something good. I decided a nice batch of kimchi would be a nice experiment that I haven't tried before. Kimchi is a great Korean fermented food used to help in digestion. Most often consumed in small amounts after a meal. I've only had it a few times but I love all things that are going to be beneficial to for my gut flora and overall body health. 

There are really numerous methods that I found but here's how it went down for me:

  1. Chopped up about 5 pounds of red cabbage leaves with one large head of napa cabbage. Typically kimchi is made with all napa cabbage but I am always altering something here.
  2. Added about a pound of sliced carrots.
  3. Mixed that all up and put into a giant crock. Covered the veggies with a brine made of 1/4 salt per quart of water. This was allowed to sit overnight so that the veggies could start leaching out their water.
  4. Drained the veggies and added the spice mixture: 5 cloves garlic, 3 T. fresh ginger, 3 T. dried chili peppers, 1/2 cup chopped red onion, about 1 T. soy sauce, several dashes of lime juice, 1 1/2 t. sugar. Some of thee recipes I found suggested fish sauce or anchovy paste which is probably pretty authentic for the Korean delicacy, but I went without since we don't have fish sauce in this house. 
  5. Then I pressed the mixture into my jars and covered with the reserved brine so that the veggies were submerged. 
  6. They will sit on my counter for several days as I check them daily, push the veggies under the water and wait until I feel like they are properly fermented. Pretty simple and magical. Then they'll go into the fridge for safe keeping.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brewing Kombucha

I've been back at the brewing station with my kombucha science experiments at home. It is seriously so fun to try new things that involve real food and real health benefits. After returning from my month long traveling trip I was a little worried that my kombucha was dead. It was exhibiting some symptoms of death as I pulled it from the fridge. For one it had not fermented the tea at all. It was still sweet tea tasting and I noticed a few very minor specks of mold on the top of the tea. The SCOBY was also not floating but instead had sunk to the bottom. In my desperate plea to revive it I simply gave it a fresh feeding of new sweet tea and left it for a couple of weeks in our dark basement. I was so excited to come home this weekend and noticed a very healthy looking SCOBY floating on top and a nicely sour smelling kombucha. 

 I also managed to acquire two nice brewing bottles this weekend in KC and found three more in this farmstead house so that I could give a second fermentation to my kombucha. I hoping to finally create a nice sparkling carbonated kombucha beverage. I have fallen in love with a specific brand available in stores for almost $4 that is made from kombucha and ginger juice. I've got to figure out how to replicate that action for this frugal lifestyle. For this second ferment I used approximately 16 ounces of kombucha plus 2 ounces of juice. I made three using a cranberry juice and two with an apple cider. I capped them and put them in the basement for the second ferment. Here's to hoping for a science experiment success!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Homemade Mayo Success

I was helping my mom craft up some deviled eggs for tonight's social gathering and decided to give homemade mayonnaise a try again. Last time I tried this feat it resulted in a runny mess that tasted really good but was more of a mayo flavored sauce than thick creamy mayo. Today I tried again and I experienced success! The trick is definitely to add the oil as slow as humanly possible.

1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
Beat together in food processor. I used a smaller processor this time that definitely helped to make sure the contents actually touched the blade.

Add: 2 T. Lemon juice
1/2 t. Salt, Blend

Slowly add while the machine is running 1 cup oil blend. I used 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 grapeseed oil. I think that coconut oil would also be good.

We made the deviled egg filling by adding out mayo, mustard, hot sauce, paprika and black pepper to the yolks. I also did a curry filling by using mayo with curry powder and garlic powder. Pretty tasty with our farm fresh eggs!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Apple Abundance

I love free things. Especially when free comes in the form of amazing beautiful apples. My free fruit search began recently when walking around Salt Lake City. I noticed that many houses had fruit trees in their front yards. It seemed to me that a much larger amount of front yard orchards existed in SLC than other cities I have walked. I ate several apples right off the ground during my time there. 

As I returned to the great state of Kansas I was blessed to be introduced to an amazing loaded tree in the town of Ottawa. On my return trip to the farm I loaded up with three large bags of granny smith green apples there and then also found another loaded tree between Lawrence & Topeka on Hwy 40 that screamed for me to stop and pick another two bags of lovely red apples. With applesauce in mind I knew that a nice variety of sweet and sour was essential for a good sauce and having two rather tart apple varieties I was on the look out for a sweet variety. Here is where the jackpot comes in. Here is where I encourage everybody to open their eyes, ask questions, and take home the bounty. I have a great apple relationship with some random folks that happen to live near a friend's parents' home. Several years ago when the house was for sale we loaded up on the jackpot of free apples just falling from unattended trees. The next year when the house was occupied I decided to go back and ask if I could pick some apples. Sure enough, these wonderful folks told me to pick as many as I wanted. They have an excellent variety of yellow delicious, granny smith, and pink lady apples. I came home with three more giant bags full of apples.

Yesterday my mother and I spent 12 hours in the kitchen cutting, coring, cooking, pressing, and canning applesauce and apple butter. We managed to go through about half of our apple bounty and stored up 34 quarts of applesauce, 7 pints and 4 half-pints of apple butter. Preserving the abundance is definitely a lot of work, but oh so rewarding. Knowing exactly where my food comes from and exactly what I put into it makes it so real. Our apples ended up being not so juicy so we added some pure apple cider to the cooked apples and have 100% pure applesauce, no sugar added. This is the greatness of real food. So simple, so delicious!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blessed Day

Today I am reminded of the great faithfulness of God. I am so blessed and thought I would take a moment to share just a few of the moments this day has brought a reminder of God's faithfulness.

Barrett and I have been back to grinding the road of Hwy 40 in eastern Utah. We took several days off and I was blessed to be able to spend time with my beautiful cousins in Salt Lake City while B traveled back to KC for a wedding. As we awoke this morning I was blessed with the face of the most adorable 14 month old I know, Mr. Otto Lindahl. There is just something so great about a little one in Monkey pajamas with a big smile on his face that makes life so great! We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast with the family and then hit the road east to where we left off last week, near Roosevelt, UT. The drive was beautiful through the mountains watching the trees change colors and catching the sun glare off the many gorgeous lakes. So lovely. It's really great to realize that not all of the trees change colors at the same time. It's a perfectly orchestrated transition of trees over a period of time so that we can enjoy the beauty for a season and not all at the same time. Have you ever thought about that reality? Perfectly orchestrated creation.
Our trip has been quite adventurous in nature as some days we literally don't know where we will be staying for the night. Every day has resulted with something a little different but it is always interesting to see how things work out. Today as we traveled through several small towns the tactic was to simply stop, knock on church doors and ask for a place to stay. We stopped at one particular church and were blessed with accomodations for a couple nights later in the week. Seriously, such a blessing.

After I dropped off Barrett to start the walking for today I ventured back to this town of Roosevelt to explore. I managed to walk into a small open veggie/fruit market and had a lovely chat with the lady working there, Rachael. She was very encouraging to me as I told her about the trip. She said that although she did not have a place for us to stay she was willing to give and sent me on with a bag of fruit and a dozen farm fresh eggs. Once again, God continues to bless this journey as we set out on the adventure that He calls us to.
Lamentation 3: 22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Western Colorado

I'm back in the drivers seat of the 1994 Dodge Conversion Van with Go Walk America plastered across the sides. It's a wild ride in Western Colorado and I've been pleasantly surprised by the beauty even in the midst of drought. It's brown, but by golly, there is just something about mountains that make the brown country still so beautiful. We've done a considerable amount of driving back and forth across Mouffat County along Highway 40 here in northwestern Colorado. There is simply not much out here and our gracious hosts that allow us to stay multiple nights have been in the nice town of Craig. After we passed through Maybell, CO there was a sign that said, "no gas for 57 miles." It's no lie, the rolling mountains keep coming, the brush remains that only vegetation, and random herds of antilope and deer are far outnumber the people. Tomorrow we will make it to the Utah state line and officially leave the state of Colorado.

Once again I am continually surprised by folks that are so giving. Giving of space, giving of time, giving of funds, giving of food. God is so good and Barrett continues to teach me about relying on His provisions as things always seem to work out. We may not have many places to stay lined out in advance, but there is always a place to lay the head and some kind of food to eat.

I've fallen back into the role of food critic for Barrett and at least making him think twice about drinking pop and eating so many Clif Bars as a main staple of his diet. I've been blessed to be able to serve Barrett and do my job of cooking healthful food when I can and packing up his backpack with a little bit of nutrition for the journey.

I would include pictures here but I've been taking them on my iPod and uploading them to facebook so this small moment that I have on B's laptop I'll leave to text. Check out my photo history so far on FB here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


As I sit here in my half empty apartment, I'm reminded that this life is so temporary. I'm in one of those fabulous life transitions that at this precise moment seems a bit scary. I'm starting to doubt my decision to quit my perfectly good stable job, pack up my stuff, and move to a place where I really have no definite plans. I'm doubting whether I really want to risk the unknown, whether I'm really as brave as I think I am or whether I'm just a crazy person for taking that step that is so very counter-cultural. I'm confident that eventually I will discover that next step that I am supposed to take. I am confident that this move will result in great growth in my own personal faith, but it doesn't make this unknown transition moment any easier. I continue to remind myself that Jesus doesn't call us to live comfortable confident lives. I actually really like he was probably considered the crazy dude, his actions didn't make sense to others, and every place that he stayed was only temporary. 

So tonight I'm packing up my possessions. I'm trying to remind myself that if transition and change were easy everybody would be doing it. I do know that I am about to embark on another great traveling adventure and I'm pumped about that. Sunday I fly out to Denver to join my friend Barrett on the great walk across America. Check out for a few more details if you're unfamiliar with that journey. He's crazy. I'm crazy. We get along well! I'll be with him for about another month and then I'll move my life on to the next temporary place. So while this moment of packing up and leaving my home in Abilene, KS is so bittersweet I am thankful for my time here while remaining excited for the future to come.

On another note, I've been cleaning out the freezer and cupboards and came up with this fabulous concoction. Super easy and delicious!

Real Food Island Popsicle
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can crushed pineapple in juice, not syrup
  • Liquid stevia extract, (I used about 2 syringe squirts)
  • Strawberries (handful?)
Blend it up. Put it into molds. Freeze. Enjoy your tasty treat!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Veggie Creations

Roasted Squash & Sausage Soup
  • Butternut squash
  • Acorn squash
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Broth
  • Sausage
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
For this delightful soup creation I decided to roast all my veggies prior to blending. I peeled and chopped my squash along with the onion and garlic and roasted them with olive oil in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. I then put them into a blender and blended with some homemade beef stock. Alternately, if you prefer to keep them chunky, just add the stock or broth and do not blend up. I added some cooked sausage, salt & pepper for a super simple delightful soup. This soup is lovely just as is or grate a bit of Parmesan cheese on top.

Baked Kale Chips
  • Fresh Kale
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt

Strip your kale leaves from the stalks and chop or tear into pieces. Sprinkle with vinegar, oil, and salt and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Put onto a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes. Watch closely until they are crispy. Enjoy a most delightful snack.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beauty in a Bowl

Today's garden produce found its shape in a lovely gazpacho inspired salad. I was about to make gazpacho but decided that a blended soup is not always as visually appealing. Therefore, I kept the veggies in their chopped form and simply kept it as a salad. All of the veggies featured in my dish today were straight from my garden. I'm so thankful for freshness, nutrition, color, beauty, and tastiness found in my home-grown veggies.

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 large red sweet bell pepper
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 1 extra small yellow onion
  • handful of purple basil
  • sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
  • generous spoonful of sheep's milk feta cheese
  • several nice splashes of balsamic vinegar
  • several nice splashes of olive oil
Isn't it beautiful?
I also added some garbanzo beans for a little added protein.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Roasted Tomato Glory

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. You must absolutely find some fresh ripe homegrown tomatoes. When you obtain these tomatoes simply wash, core, slice in half and roast them in the oven for approximately an hour. I went ahead and roasted them for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Then I stirred them around, added some garlic and fresh herbs and continued the roasting at 300 degrees for another 30 minutes. After cooling for a bit, put into a blender, add several splashes of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper and then blend. The end result is the most amazing flavorful tomato sauce you have ever imagined. I am literally in roasted tomato heaven right now!

Roasted beauty combo of yellow and red tomatoes.

Pureed awesomeness!

Placed on top of simple grilled eggplant = an epic delight!

Friday, July 27, 2012

No-Knead Crusty Bread

This is it folks. The easiest, simple, tasty, crusty bread you will ever make. It takes some planning out and time to develop this greatness, but the actual hands-on time is very minimal. I urge you to try it out real soon!

Into a large bowl go:
345 grams cool water
250 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
8 grams salt
2 grams instant yeast

Simply combine with a large wooden spoon until you have a wet sticky shaggy dough. Cover this and let sit at room temperature overnight for 12-18 hours. 

Due to the above average room temperature in my humble abode my dough is looking quite nice after only 10 hours. You want to see obvious bubbles on the surface and it should be doubled in size.

Next you will heavily flour a work surface and dump your dough out onto it. Using a bench scraper stretch the one end out at a time and fold onto the dough. Repeat with each of the four sides. This is called folding the dough. I let mine sit for about 30 minutes and then come back for the final shaping. Remember this is a wet dough but you don't want to add too much flour so that you get chunks of it inside the dough.

For the final shaping, I folded it again and then rounded the loaf. Place a tea towel into a bowl and sprinkle with corn meal. Place rounded dough into bowl seam side up. Allow to rise for an additional 1-2 hours. When second rise is complete it will be near doubled again. When lightly pressing fingers into the side of the loaf it should hold an impression. If it springs back it needs more rise time. 

This bread can be baked most optimally in a cast-iron dutch oven type heavy pot with a lid. However, I do not have one of those so it is also okay to use a regular bakers stone in your oven. Make sure you pre-heat whatever baking apparatus you plan to use in the 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. We want it to be nice and hot for the dough.When the final rise is complete, gently turn out the dough onto the stone or into the dutch oven that are sprinkled with more corn meal. 

If using a dutch oven with a lid put the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. The lid will trap the steam from the loaf inside and assist in the crusty crust formation. After 30 minutes remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 10-20 minutes lowering the temperature to 425 until it is deep brown color, but not burnt.

If using a stone add steam to your oven by spraying a squirt bottle of water into the oven to create steam. Bake 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 425 and bake an additional 10-20 minutes until a deep brown color is achieved.

When complete carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Today I think I over-proofed my dough by getting distracted so it was a little more flat than I would typically desire. However, after properly cooling and cutting into the bread, beauty is found.

A little slice of heaven. This is the reason I could never truly go gluten-free.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Money In My Blender

Praise the Lord; we got about half an inch of rain last night! Now 1/2 an inch will really not do much for the 10 inches of rain that we are lacking for the year but it still makes for a beautiful morning. Last evening I rode my bike across town to a political forum and during this forum I could hear something stirring outside. Sure enough when I exited the building to get on my bike, it was raining with lighting and thunder still going on. My ride home was a little treacherous considering I still haven't gotten my flashing light fixed, I was wearing a skirt and sandals, and the possibility of me hitting something or being hit by something was probably pretty likely in the dark. However, I made it home safely, got wet, and loved it! Seriously, now if only we could blessed with about a week of steady slow rainfall we could possibly do something about this drought. But today I'm thankful for what we did receive.

To celebrate the rain this morning I went all out and made a smoothie which I haven't done in quite some time. This mornings creation is definitely money in a blender and money in my body. It is soooo tasty!
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 large spoonful of cocoa powder
  • 1 small spoon of raw, local honey
  • 1 spoonful of almond butter
  • 1 cup raw whole milk
  • 5 ice cubes
This is seriously money folks. I might add that using raw whole milk makes this thing amazingly creamy and frothy. The awesome fat in there has this amazing power to really froth up in a blender. I purchase my raw whole milk from a grass-fed dairy so it is of exceptional quality and I love it. If you don't have your own source of raw dairy products, I encourage you to purchase as close to home as possible. Now go get it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Go Walk America

Many of you know that this past spring I had the opportunity to travel from Gainesville, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia with Mr. Barrett Keene as he walks across the country on his mission to support orphaned and abandoned children. His specific walk, Go Walk America, has led him roughly half way across the United States so far and will continue to lead him to San Francisco as he meets with folks along the way to spread the word about the Global Orphan Project. Their work aids orphaned and abandoned children by providing school uniforms and orphan care as well as providing jobs for adults in those areas producing the uniforms in newly established sewing centers.

This past weekend I had the blessing of hosting Barrett and his current walking partner and van driver, Michael. As I speak they are entering the world of western Kansas, enduring the 105 degree repetitive daily temperatures that we are experiencing here. Yet even as I walked with them on Saturday across Dickinson County in the sweltering hot sun, Barrett's comment to me was, "Kansas isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be." I'm not sure what he was expecting but to hear that 100 degrees temps with no cloud cover and very few trees really isn't so bad I'm quite impressed. One can learn a lot from the interactions with this dude about the power of a positive attitude and a complete trust in God to provide daily needs. Every day is a new adventure and definitely provides stories worth writing home about. 

It was my joy to host Barrett and Michael in my own humble abode. I'm pretty proud to report that I successfully got Barrett to eat not only several meals including zucchini but even a breakfast frittata with swiss chard in it. Whoop! Whoop!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zucchini Hummus

Here's another inspiring summer squash recipe. My plants are still going strong although I have started to notice the squash bugs presence. It won't be long before they start to die off, but I'm okay with that. I recently was inspired by a recipe for summer squashummus.

I started out by sauteeing about 5 cups of chopped zucchini. No need to peel the squash first, just saute until nice and soft. Added it to the food processor with 2 Tablespoons tahini, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt, about 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.

Pretty tasty. It is definitely more liquid like than the hummus that I'm used to, but it was fabulous with my no-knead overnight bread dipped in it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sauerkraut Production

Yesterday my mother and I got busy in the kitchen after a harvest of her red and green cabbage. I get so excited thinking about eating the product of our toil and the work of fermentation. We put together three different sauerkraut recipes and I'm pretty pumped about all of them.

We used a purple garlic sauerkraut recipe from Holistic Kid. 
Our roasted jalapeno and garlic sauerkraut recipe came from Balanced Bites
One giant bowl of shredded cabbage.

I love garlic and there was certainly copious in these krauts!

Into the basement for fermentation to do it's magic.

One crock of plain sauerkraut