Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This is the time of year that everyone loses their minds over pumpkin everything, particularly pumpkin spice everything.  But I think often underrated is the humble pumpkin seed.  Whether you are carving your pumpkins with your kiddos, canning pumpkin from your garden or baking a from scratch pumpkin pie, don’t throw out all those yummy seeds!

A favorite treat around here; they are packed with nutrients and oh so yummy.  Don’t waste a single seed!

IMG_2658

Here’s how it works:

As you are scraping out the guts/seeds from your pumpkin, drop the seeds into a bowl of water to soak (floating them in some water seems to help the process of cleaning them up.)  Rinse in a colander to make sure you’ve gotten all the bits and pieces off of them.

*Note: I recently heard that if you are not carving your pumpkin, that you can bake the pumpkin before cleaning it which makes the seeds even easier to separate but I have not yet tried this method.

Spread out the seeds on a cookie sheet (you can line it with a tea towel for quicker drying if you like.)  Leave the seeds to dry completely before attempting to roast.  (I just leave mind for a day or so.)

When the seeds are dry, transfer them to a bowl and coat with 1-2 Tbl of oil then add seasonings of your choice.  (I’ll share my favorite blend in a minute.)

IMG_2605

I love to use the silicone baking mats but parchment paper or tin foil will work as well.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until they reach the right color.  You will have to keep a close eye on them, they burn easily.

And that’s all folks, it’s that simple.

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?o=1&p=8&l=ez&f=ifr&linkID=6eaedcb20276c5dc3281a1256461ccff&t=homesteadstat-20&tracking_id=homesteadstat-20

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Ingredients:

Seeds from 1 pumpkin

1-2 Tbl Olive oil

1 1/2 tsp of sea salt of mineral salt

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili

Instructions:

1. Scrape seeds from pumpkin
2. Soak/Rinse seeds and remove pumpkin “guts”
3. Dry seeds thoroughly
4. Toss seeds in olive oil & seasonings
5. Roast in 325 degree oven for 10-20 minutes (watching carefully)


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Happy Fall Everyone!!!

Homemade, Traditional Refried Beans

Who doesn’t love refried beans?  Especially true, homemade, traditional refried beans.

I grew up in the Southwest so I was surrounded good, traditional Mexican food and my favorites are those that are simple and classic with no frills or fusion flair added.

Traditional refried beans definitely fall into that category.  They are simple, stick to your ribs, comfort food that can be dressed up or down as needed.  So although this recipe is beyond simple, it is a great tool to have in your toolbox to whip out any time you need it.  It is the perfect filling for burritos, the base for a fantastic bean dip or a simple side for fajitas, tacos, or even steak!

IMG_0661

So lets talk beans.

You will want to start with cooked pinto beans.  This can mean that you start your beans from scratch earlier in the day, use leftover pinto beans (which is what I do) or you can also use canned pinto beans, but I’ll be honest, unless they are home canned beans,  they just won’t be as flavorful as home cooked or canned beans.

Now, before we start, let me make this disclaimer: not everyone agrees on the issue of rinsing and draining beans.  Some will tell you, you MUST… others that it isn’t necessary but the truth of the matter is that it depends on your own family.  If someone in your family has… ehem… digestive issues… (my Grandma Hilda would smack me for even referring to such things) due to eating beans, then soaking and rinsing your beans is the best thing you can do.  I never bothered with this step for a long time and my husband would be miserable for 24 hours afterward.  When I finally gave in and started rinsing the beans, it made a big difference!  So for us, we soak & rinse.

If you are not used to cooking your own pinto beans from scratch, here are two easy methods that you can use.

  1. Slow Cooking – Start by pre-soaking your beans overnight.  In the morning, drain off the soaking liquid, rinse the beans and replace the liquid with fresh water.  Add your spices to the pot and cook on low for about 5 hours.
  2. Pressure Cooking (my personal favorite) – Put your beans in the pressure cooker  and fill the pot 2/3 full of water.  Bring up to pressure, then vent your cooker until all the steam is released.  Drain off the cooking liquid, rinse the beans and replace the liquid with fresh water.  Add your spices to the pot and bring back up to pressure.  Pressure the beans for 18 minutes.  *IF you are using the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and if you do not intend to rinse your beans then you can just do a quick soak for 15 minutes or so and then use the Beans/Chili button which will pressure for approximately 30 minutes.

Moving on to the good stuff.

The frying part.  (insert dreamy SIGH here.)

Isn’t everything just tastier when it is fried?  Now before you go judging me with your low fat, low calorie gavel, that trial was thrown out long ago.  Now I’m not talking about deep fried twinkies here people, but incorporating some good ole’ butter or bacon grease in your cooking is, in fact, healthy.  Recent studies have also shown that a high sugar diet is the real culprit for cholesterol and triglyceride issues.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100420/high-sugar-diet-linked-lower-good-cholesterol#1

As a matter of fact it has also been proven that our bodies cannot properly absorb the vitamins in our foods unless there is at least some animal fat in our diet.

Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box now.

Start by adding your lard or bacon grease to a non-stick type pan.  (I use well seasoned cast iron.)  Add finely diced onion, garlic and jalapeno or green chiles (all optional but will add great flavor; I suggest at least adding the onion.)  Saute veggies until translucent and very tender.  In the mean time, strain most of the liquid off of the beans and reserve the liquid for later.

Turn heat up to a moderately high heat and add your beans.  Mash well with a potato masher and then let the beans cook down and “fry” on the bottom.  After 5 minutes or so, stir the beans, scraping the bottom of the pan and allow to cook down and fry again.  Repeat this process until your beans have reached the desired consistency.  You can add the reserved bean liquid (or plain water if you don’t have enough) to moisten the beans, you can also do this with red enchilada sauce which will take the flavor over the top.    Keep the beans just a little more wet than you want your final texture to be.  As the beans cool, they will dry up a bit.  Add salt if needed.

IMG_0644

Traditional Refried Beans

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 cups cooked pinto beans

2-4 Tbl lard or bacon grease (you can use olive oil for vegan option)

1 small onion, diced

Garlic & jalapeno or green chiles (optional)

Grated cheese (optional)

  1. Add lard or bacon grease to a non-stick type pan.  (I use well seasoned cast iron.)  Add finely diced onion, garlic and jalapeno (all optional but will add great flavor; I suggest at least adding the onion.)  Saute veggies until translucent and very tender.  In the mean time, strain most of the liquid off of the beans and reserve the liquid for later.
  2. Turn heat up to a moderately high heat and add your beans.  Mash well with a potato masher and then let the beans cook down and “fry” on the bottom.  After 5 minutes or so, stir the beans, scraping the bottom of the pan and allow to cook down and fry again.  Repeat this process until your beans have reached the desired consistency.  You can add the reserved bean liquid (or plain water if you don’t have enough.)
  3. Add salt if needed.

*If you really want great flavor, you can season/moisten the beans with red enchilada sauce.

If you would like the recipe for my Pinto Bean Spice you can click HERE.

Refried Beans_1

Pork Fried Rice

Sometimes, the best things come from collaboration.  This recipe is one of those things.

My best friend and I rarely get to hang out and neither of us are “phone” people either so we end up going way too long without talking.  She only lives 45 minutes away but trying to overcome that distance and our schedules sometimes becomes nearly impossible.  So when we do have a day that we can make it work, we banish the kids to play in the other room, grab a cup of hot tea and debrief.

We never even make it to the couch, we just end up hovering over her kitchen island where spend the next 4 hours downloading all of our parenting struggles, crazy stories and random questions like “what have you been making for supper lately?’

This recipe came from one such conversation where we had both been making a fried rice style stir fry and I ended up combining the best of both versions to make something that my family LOVES.  It is an easy “go to” meal that really doesn’t even require a recipe or much thought at all but is a home run every time.

Pork Fried Rice4.jpg

First, begin by browning your choice of meat.  We typically use diced pork (because pork is something we tend to have a LOT of) but chicken works equally well.  This time were running a little low on pork chops to dice so I grabbed some pork sausage and it was fantastic.  Seriously people, use what you have on hand.  Don’t make an extra trip to the store.  This recipe has so many potential variations from the meat you can use to the vegetables that you choose.  Even your choice of garnishes are optional.  (Although the pistachios are pretty fantastic.)

Season your meat with a little salt and pepper and some granulated garlic, (but go easy on the salt, as you will be adding soy sauce or liquid aminos later.)

While your meat is browning, chop your vegetables, nuts and herbs.

Pork Fried Rice1

When the meat is done, remove from the pan and cook your veggies in that same pan (leave out the nuts and herbs.)  When the veggies are finished, add your meat back into the pan with rice and stir well.

*Note: I like to keep some extra, cooked brown rice in the freezer so that this recipe will come together easily. 

Add soy sauce or liquid aminos to taste and garnish each bowl with chopped pistachios and cilantro (or chives.)

Pork Fried Rice3

Pork Fried Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lbs Pork (diced or ground)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped small
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Brown your meat and season your meat with salt and pepper and granulated garlic, (but go easy on the salt, as you will be adding soy sauce or liquid aminos later.)

While your meat is browning, chop your vegetables, nuts and herbs.

When the meat is done, remove from the pan and cook your veggies in that same pan (leave out the nuts and herbs.)  When the veggies are finished, add your meat back into the pan with rice and Stir well.  Add soy sauce or liquid aminos to taste and garnish each bowl with chopped pistachios and cilantro (or chives.)

*Potential variations:

You can use pork, chicken, I’m sure that even shrimp would be fantastic.

In place of the peppers, mushrooms and zucchini you can use a combination of peas and carrots (or really any other combination of vegetables you like.)

Another fun addition to this dish is 1 egg, scrambled, to be added at the end.

Trust me, this is simple meal that won’t disappoint.  I would love to hear about your variations and how it turned out!

Zucchini and Eggs Breakfast (THM S/Whole 30/Grain Free/Paleo/GAPS friendly)

I decided this morning that I just HAVE to take a few minutes and share this breakfast with you.

It just wouldn’t be fair to keep this one to myself.

As I have said before, one of the most important keys to developing a “homestead state of mind” is be reclaiming your health by the means of homeopathic remedies and nutrition.  I have also shared with you that in my own health journey with Hypothyroidism, a breakfast made up of Protein/Fat/Fiber is super beneficial.  On that note, one day I was trying to come up with a breakfast that contained those three things and this is what I came up with.

It’s totally cheating for me to even call this a “recipe.”  It is so crazy simple but SOOOO very good.  The tiny humans and even my mountain man LOVE this breakfast.  I mean really, when you tell your kids they are having vegetables at breakfast and they literally cheer… you have struck gold my friend.

So let’s break it down.

Melt butter, (ghee or bacon grease for Paleo/GAPS) in a cast iron skillet.  Saute diced onions until the edges start to brown (if your kiddos just can’t do the onions, you can omit but the flavor is really awesome so try it.  Seriously.  Keep trying.  My kiddos have come to LOVE cooked onions in their food.)  When the onions are starting to brown, add in your sliced zucchini and more fat if needed.  Season well with mineral or sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and a good amount of garlic powder.  Continue to saute the zucchini and onions until the onions are soft and brown and the zucchini are beginning to brown as well.

(When it comes to flavor, just remember, “brown food is good food.”)

You can complete this dish with either poached or fried eggs but you really want those yolks to be nice and runny.  

That’s all folks.  Super simplicity, super deliciousness.

IMG_1893

 

Irish Stew with Colcannon & Whipped Horseradish Cream

Irish Stew_Ad

I love all things Celtic, It’s in my blood and I always love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with my favorite Irish Foods.  But a few years ago, things in life had gotten really crazy and I realized MID-DAY that it was actually St. Patrick’s.  GASP!  How had I let this sneak up on me without notice? 

I was in a panic.  I had NO CORNED BEEF in the freezer.  (And I wasn’t about to load up in the car and drive to town with two small children for 1 item.)  So I hopped on Pinterest for inspiration and realized that there are a LOT of options for delicious Irish fare besides my beloved Corned Beef and Cabbage.  I realized that a traditional Irish Stew is much like my own stew recipe so that would be a piece of cake.  But I needed something more, something celebratory that wasn’t on my typical monthly menu.  And then I discovered….

Colcannon.  A yummy concoction of mashed potatoes, bacon, cabbage and leeks. 

And not JUST Colcannon… but Irish Stew served OVER Colcannon. 

The next year, I decided to add a little extra flare and added whipped horseradish cream. 

Irish Stew OVER Colcannon TOPPED with whipped horseradish cream.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Comfort food in it’s most glorious form.

So I am here to share the glory with you today, and it goes something like this…

IMG_2457

The easiest way to start any recipe is “mic en place” (or for us down home cooks, “get yer stuff together”.)  This recipe has many components and the best way to simplify is to get all of your ingredients chopped, sliced and ready to go. 

Slice your leeks, shred your cabbage and chop your bacon, carrots and onions (and stew meat if needed.)

Starting with the stew…

This stew can be cooked on the stove, in a Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) or in a crock pot. (see cooking times/methods in the recipe below)

Beef would be the most traditional meat choice of course, but you can use venison or elk, here I used bear stew meat.  Whatever you keep on hand is fine.

Start by cooking your onions and garlic directly in your stew pot or pressure cooker.  The only need for an additional pan here would be if you are going to use a crock pot to cook the stew.  In that case I much prefer cast iron for the browning process.

When the onions are cooked, remove from pan and turn you heat to high.  In batches, start browning your stew meat, seasoning with salt and pepper during the browning process.  *Note- Browning the stew meat in smaller batches is important.  You don’t want to over crowd your pan when browning meat.  If you do, the meat will essentially steam rather than getting that nice dark sear that you are looking for.  Give the meat some space and room to breathe.

After your meat is browned, remove the last batch and deglaze the pan with a bottle of Guinness or other dark beer, scraping the bits from the pan as you stir.  Add in your beef stock, tomato paste and all of your meat and vegetables.  You can tie your herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine or if you aren’t fancy like that, just place them on top and kind of “smoosh” them down beneath the level of the broth.

See the recipe below for cooking times & methods.

IMG_2460

Now, let’s talk Colcannon.

Add your bacon to a skillet and fry until crisp.  Remove from pan and add cabbage and leeks to the bacon grease and cook until tender (fresh garlic is a nice addition here too, but I was out today.)

While that is cooking, you’ll need to start some basic mashed potatoes; I won’t be going into that this time but will in a future post.

When your potatoes are mashed and seasoned the way you like, fold in the cabbage, leeks and bacon.  That’s it, Colcannon is done. 

IMG_2471

Now the third (and most epic) feature of this recipe, the whipped horseradish cream.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Well, maybe it’s not a secret but I didn’t catch on to this until about 2 years ago so it was big news to me.  So here goes… if you want a great punch of flavor from your horseradish you need to add… wait for it…

Sugar.  Sugar makes the flavor of horseradish really pop. 

Anyways… begin whipping your heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper.  When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish.  (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process. 

IMG_2483

So now you have all your components and all you have to do is pile it up!

IMG_2489

Colcannon, Stew, Horseradish Cream.  It’s a beautiful thing.

IMG_2493

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, or Tuesday, any day really will be a happy day when this is in your belly. 😉
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({
google_ad_client: “ca-pub-7095923791366533”,
enable_page_level_ads: true
});


Stew:

  • 2 lbs Stew Meat of choice
  • 1 lg onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz fresh or frozen green beans
  • 6 lg carrots, chopped
  • 1 lg bottle (mine was 1 pint 6 oz) Guinness or other dark beer
  • 1 qt Beef Stock
  • 2 Tbl tomato paste
  • 4 sprigs fresh herbs or 2 Tbl dried (I prefer rosemary and thyme for this recipe)

Saute onions and garlic until translucent, remove from pan and brown stew meat in batches (careful to not overcrowd.)  Season meat with salt and pepper while browning.  After meat is browned, deglaze pan with dark beer, scraping up any bits from bottom of the pan.  Add beef stock & tomato paste and adjust salt to taste.

Crock Pot: Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 8 hours.

Instant Pot: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add all ingredients to pot and pressure for 2.5 minutes. For beef stew meat or chuck – Add meat to broth and pressure for 25 minutes, quick release pressure and add vegetables, pressuring for another 5 minutes.

Stove Top: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 hour, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.  For beef stew meat and chuck – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Colcannon:

  • 8 oz diced bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (green onions will also do in a pinch)
  • 4 medium potatoes, mashed and seasoned to taste
  • Crisp bacon in skillet.  Remove from pan and saute cabbage and leeks until tender.  Fold bacon and vegetables into mashed potatoes.

Whipped Horseradish Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-4 Tbl grated horseradish (to taste)
  •  pinch sugar
  • freshly cracked pepper

Whip heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper.  When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish. (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process.)

To Serve:

Fill bottom of bowl with Colcannon, ladle stew over the colcannon and top with a dollop of the horseradish cream.

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Healthy, Homemade Velveeta Style Cheese

As I have said before, one of my passions in cooking is Redeeming Comfort Food.  Finding ways to enjoy those foods that are total guilty pleasures and making them GUILT FREE is super fun and completely supportive of a “homestead state of mind.”  Cooking from scratch and reclaiming your health with super nutritious foods is incredibly rewarding

So what is one of the biggest guilty pleasure foods of all time?  Processed Cheese.  We can all pretend to be above such highly processed, preservative ridden junk food but lets be honest here, it’s ooey-gooey, creamy and melty in a way that in many recipes, you just can’t get with good ole’ fashioned cheese.

Or can you?

IMG_4389

With 3 simple ingredients, this recipe uses real food to produce the same cheesy product with no chemicals, no preservatives, no additives, no artificial ANYTHING.

In fact, the addition of a good quality gelatin actually boosts the nutritional value.

So here’s how it’s done:

Healthy, Homemade Velveeta Style Cheese

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz grated cheese
  • 1 heaping, half tablespoon gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Grate cheese of your choice.  (I used a mixture of Cheddar and Colby Jack cheese this time, whatever you have on hand will do.)
  2. “Bloom” gelatin by sprinkling it over 1 tablespoon of water in a separate bowl.
  3. Bring milk to a boil on the stove.
  4. Add grated cheese to your food processor or blender.
  5. When milk is boiling, (be careful not to scorch it) remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture.
  6. Start blender/food processor and slowly add milk mixture until will blended.
  7. Immediately scrape out your cheese mixture into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hrs or overnight.

DIY Velveeta_1

The possibilities are now endless for you.  The world is your bowl of Queso, or Broccoli Cheese Soup… or Green Chili Chicken Soup…

You get the idea.

Any recipe that uses processed cheese is now free game!  Go crazy!

Sausage, Kale & Egg Muffins

IMG_2897School is almost back in session!  Summer has really been flying by this year and although we still have just over a month before we “officially” start getting back into our school routine, that month is going to be a busy one.

I have determined that in order to start off the school year smoothly I need to get back into the swing of keeping my fridge & freezer stocked early.  You see, the only way that I can survive the whirlwind of farm chores, household chores, my duties as director of our homeschooling coop & actually homeschooling my kiddos is to stock the fridge and freezer with easy (& healthy) “Go To” food so that I am not spending my entire day in the kitchen.

These bad boys are one of my favorite staples to keep on hand for breakfast.  As I learn to manage my health in a “self sufficient” way, I have found food to be one of my most important allies.  One of the best ways to boost my thyroid function is to start my day off with a breakfast that is based around protein, fat & fiber.  This style of breakfast can aid weight loss, reduce sugar cravings as well as boosting energy and focus.  So not only is it helpful to those with thyroid imbalance, it is helpful to anyone; especially those little ones who need a good jumpstart to their day before diving into school work.

To learn more about starting your day with protein, fat and fiber click HERE.

I LOVE the combination of sausage and kale.  You will see that in future posts from me I am sure.  If you don’t have kale, spinach will work fine in this recipe as well.  But I struggle growing spinach for some reason and kale grows ABUNDANTLY in my greenhouse.  It is one of my favorite greens.  It is just such a hearty plant to grow and to use in the kitchen.  It grows well almost any time of year, (it is very cold hearty) and doesn’t turn into mush after it has been cooked which is something that bothers me about spinach and swiss chard.

If you think you don’t like kale, chances are that you may have only tried it sauted on it’s own as a side dish.  If that is the case, give this superfood another chance!  Our family does not enjoy on it’s own (unless it is in the form of Kale Chips.)  But I have found that adding it to soups, stews and breakfast dishes is a fantastic way to boost the nutrition of a dish in a way that he whole family can enjoy.

So here’s how it works.

Start by browning 1 lb of sausage.

IMG_2858
My sweet 5 year old labeled all of our packages of meat this year as we were wrapping. Makes me smile every time!

IMG_2861

In the meantime, rinse your kale and pat dry.

I’ll take this moment to add a note for those of you who are new to gardening and have grown your own kale.  (If you buy your kale from the store and are squeamish, just skip this part.) 

Just as it is with cabbage and broccoli, Cabbage Loopers LOVE kale.  And although I’m sure that they would add even more protein to your dish… you probably don’t want to include them.  In order to make sure your kale is free from those little buggers, take this extra step.

Start by soaking your kale in a sink-full of water. 

IMG_2863

If you leave it to soak long enough, the tiny green hitchhikers will just fall off in the water.  But if you are in a hurry, just quickly turn the leaves over before you pat them dry and look for a small, brighter shade of green hiding out back there.

IMG_2866
It’s like looking at a Where’s Waldo book.  Do you see them?

Pick them off and throw them in your chicken bucket, the girls LOVE bugs and it gives them the protein that you are choosing to leave out. 😉

 

IMG_2868

Okay, now back to cooking.  After you have patted your kale dry, just strip the leaves from the stem and chop the kale finely.

IMG_2869

Remove the sausage from your skillet and add the kale right in.  Sprinkle with granulated garlic (seriously, start using the granulated instead of garlic powder, it makes such a difference) and throw in a decent pinch of salt.

Saute the kale while you are getting your egg mixture together.

For the egg mixture, scramble eggs and stir in cottage cheese, shredded cheese and baking powder.

Add sausage and kale and you are ready to fill your muffin tins!

IMG_2883.JPG

Spray your pans with cooking spray (I have recently discovered coconut oil spray and am so happy with it.)

IMG_2884
Fill each cup close to the top.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes.

IMG_2885

 

Now, these guys can be a bit tricky to remove from the pan.  Slide a butter knife around the edges of each egg muffin before lifting out.  They may not always come out pretty but let’s be honest here, the point is quick and easy fuel for our day, not to win extra points for presentation on the Next Food Network Star.

IMG_2886

They are always a big hit!

IMG_2897

I add a splash of hot sauce to mine as a finishing touch.  YUM!

Sausage, Kale & Egg Muffins

  • Servings: 18-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 3 cups finely chopped kale
  • 15 whole eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • granulated garlic & salt to taste

1.Brown sausage in a skillet.
2.While sausage is cooking, rinse and chop kale.
3.Remove browned sausage from pan and add kale to the same skillet. Sprinkle kale with garlic and salt. Saute until bright green and slightly soft.
4.Whisk eggs with a fork until well mixed.
5.Add cheeses and baking powder to eggs.
6.Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup almost to the top.
7.Bake for 25-35 minutes or until set.Put your recipe here.

Additional notes:

    • This recipe makes approximately 18 egg muffins.  After you have eaten your fill the first day, line a cookie sheet with parchment, freezer paper or a silicone mat.  Place your muffins on the lined cookie sheet and put into the freezer for a few hours to “flash freeze.”  Once they are frozen you can toss them into a gallon sized zip top freezer bag without worrying about them sticking together.  When you are ready for a quick breakfast, just pull out your desired amount and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven!
    • This recipe is VERY versatile and forgiving of mistakes.  You can add more or less shredded cheese and use whatever kind of cheese you have on hand.  You can even opt out of the shredded cheese altogether and the recipe will still taste great.
    •  You can also pour the completed egg mixture into a 9 x 13 cake pan and bake as a breakfast casserole rather than using a muffin tin.

Homemade Mayonnaise

I’m sure by now, you are probably aware that I have a serious gravitation to all things self sufficient.  My favorite avenue of self sufficient cooking is Redeeming Comfort Food.

Indulging in a favorite comfort food that would typically be a “no-no” and feeling GOOD about it is just a fantastic feeling.

One of my favorite ingredients that tends to get a bad rap is mayonnaise.  That creamy, dreamy white stuff can be used in so many ways: spread on hamburgers and sandwiches, used to bind chicken or tuna salad, a base to homemade ranch dressing and even added to baked casserole dishes to provide a yummy, creamy consistency are just a few glimpses of the possibilities.

The first reason that mayo gets a bad rap is due to the low fat diet trend that began in the 1970’s.  We now know however, that in fact many types of fat are healthy and are a very necessary part of our diet.  More on that later, but for now just hear me, fat content alone is NOT the problem.

The second reason that mayo gets a bad rap is due to the highly questionable ingredients in this processed food.  Now this, my friends is a very valid concern.  Any time that you can make food yourself, you are doing your body a BIG favor.  You are taking control of what ingredients are used and also the quality of the ingredients that are used.

The desire to get away from processed foods, coupled with my slightly obsessive tendency to make all things from scratch are what led to this recipe.  I’ll admit, the first time I made this I did a slightly embarrassing happy dance in my kitchen that would make Carlton proud.

Carlton Dance_short

So here it is.

First, add eggs, mustard, lemon juice and salt into your blender and secure the lid.

IMG_2149

Next, start blending on the lowest setting and gradually increase to medium high speed (on my Vitamix, I start on Variable 1 and increase to Variable 6.)

IMG_2150
It should look nice and frothy like this!

Then, while the machine is running, remove the lid plug and SLOWLY pour oil through the opening into the container; I start with a few drops at a time or a very light drizzle.  As the mixture begins to thicken, the oil can be added at a faster rate.  A nice steady stream is perfect.  The oil adding process should take longer than 2 minutes.

IMG_2152

Once the mixture is nice and thick and your oil is incorporated, you can stop the machine and stir in any oil sitting on top.

Scrape your mayo into a jar and refrigerate!  (Use within 2-4 weeks)

IMG_2162
Perfection.

It’s that simple folks!!

Note: My mayo turns out a butter yellow color rather than white due to farm fresh eggs.  Don’t upset yourself over stuff like that; just let your food be the colors they naturally are.  God is the Master artist, right?

IMG_2160

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Olive Oil
  1. Add eggs, mustard, lemon juice and salt into your blender and secure the lid.
  2. Start blending on the lowest setting and gradually increase to medium high speed (on my Vitamix, I start on Variable 1 and increase to Variable 6.)
  3. While the machine is running, remove the lid plug and SLOWLY pour oil through the opening into the container; I start with a few drops at a time or a very light drizzle.  As the mixture begins to thicken, the oil can be added at a faster rate.  The oil adding process should take longer than 2 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is nice and thick and your oil is incorporated, you can stop the machine and stir in any oil sitting on top.

Note:  If your kitchen is TOO warm (like, if you are doing this next to your stove and have the oven on and a burner going) OR if you have a high powered blender and let it run too long, the mixture will not thicken.

And now go on with your bad self and enjoy some guilt free indulgence.  🙂

 

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

 

Natural-Dye Easter Eggs

A very big part of living this self-sufficient lifestyle is using what you have on hand, rather than going to the store.

I wish I could say that I always make everything from scratch, handmade & homemade but in truth, this journey is one that must be taken a step at a time.  If you try to change every single thing you do at once, you will be completely overwhelmed in the first two days.  I make it my goal to take on 1-2 new things per month that work towards our goals of self-sufficiency.

This month, it was dyeing Easter eggs with natural dyes from food items that we already had in the kitchen.Easter Egg3.JPG

 

It was a very fun experiment to say the least.  There are many methods out there on Pinterest and believe me, most of your results will differ from theirs.  That’s the fun part, right?  In fact, I had one color that another blogger said she expected to be pink, but it turned out green.  But when I tried it… purple.  Super fun!

In our post today, I’ll break down the method rather than giving specific recipes.  The reason being that you should have the freedom to use what you have on hand, experiment and as I said before, results will vary.

The basic method is this:

1. Cover food (dye ingredient) in water, in a pan and place on the stove top.

2. Simmer for 1 hour(ish) until desired color is reached. ( Remember that the egg will end up a few shades lighter than the color of your dye, so you’ll need to account for that.)

3. Strain into containers and cool.

4. After dye has cooled, add 1 Tbl white vinegar per cup of dye.

5.  Add boiled eggs to dye and leave over night.  This was the hardest part for the tiny humans who are used to the instant gratification of store bought dye.  But the next morning, it was all worth the wait.  They were SO excited to see what came out of those jars!

IMG_2035 (2)
He’s such a good Daddy, isn’t he?

6.  The next morning, take the eggs out of the dye and drain on upside down egg cartons.

 

 

I made up 7 batches of dye.  I’ll show you what it looked like for us.

Easter Egg14

Purple Cabbage (Blue)

  1. Shred approximately 1/2 of a red or purple cabbage
  2. Cover with  1/2 inch of water.
  3. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
4. Strain into jar or container and cool.
5.  Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid.
Blueberries (mottled grey)
1.  Cover frozen blueberries with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
2.  Simmer until desired color is reached.

Easter Egg73. Strain into jar or container and cool.

4.  Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid.

Onion Skins & Ends (Orange)

  1. Peel onions.
  2. Dice onions and save for fixin’ Easter supper.
  3. Cover with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
  4. Simmer until desired color is reached.

5.  Strain into jar or container and cool.

6.  Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid.

Beets (Mauve/Pink)

  1. Peel & Chop (I think grating the beets might have resulted in a prettier pink)
  2. Cover with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
  3. Simmer until desired color is reached.

4.  Strain into jar or container and cool.

5.  Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid.

When using herbs & spices, the method changes a bit.

  1. Measure herb or spice into jar.
  2. Add Boiling Water.
  3. Let steep until desired color is reached.
  4. Strain into jar or container and cool.
  5. Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid
Turmeric (white eggs- bright yellow or brown eggs- gold)

Easter Egg5

Hibiscus (Theoretically pink, though mine resulted in a mottled purple (I left the herbs in the jar to get the cool mottled pattern.)  However this is also the one that resulted in green for another blogger.  I think it depends on the container you use perhaps?  I make a Hibiscus tea for my girls instead of giving them Kool-Aid and if I add their magnesium powder to the tea it will turn green.)

Easter Egg6

Add your boiled eggs to the dye jars and refrigerate a few hours or over night.  The longer you let it sit, the darker your results will be.

IMG_2095 (2)

Notes:

  • Check out this fool proof method of NOT boiling your eggs.  Trust me, it works like a charm.
  • You can order bulk high quality Turmeric & Hibiscus from Bulk Herb Store HERE.

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

 

 

How to NOT Boil an Egg (and get beautiful results)

There aren’t many things more awkward than buying an 18 pack of store bought eggs when you have 25 chickens at home and several dozen eggs sitting on your kitchen counter.

Eggs

Why on earth would I be buying store bought eggs you ask?  Well if you have your own chickens, you already know; but if you don’t, let me clue you in.

Boiled fresh eggs DO NOT PEEL.  That stubborn egg white clings to its shell like we small town folk cling to our guns and religion.  😉

By the time you’re done clawing that egg out of the shell it is not a pretty sight.

peeled egg_ugly
Not exactly Easter brunch, deviled egg material is it?

Even store bought eggs can have this issue, around the holidays when egg suppliers have a harder time keeping up with demand and the eggs on store shelves are much fresher than normal.

 

The only way I’ve known to combat this issue is to keep an egg carton aside for 3 weeks or so.  The longer those eggs have had to sit, the more easily it will be to separate that pesky membrane between the shell and white.  The problem is… it’s no easy task to keep aside my precious “to be boiled” egg carton.  Inevitably the hubby will sell them, or they get mixed up with other cartons and used for breakfast… it just never seems to work out.  Plus, we go through a LOT of boiled eggs.  They are a healthy, inexpensive snack for our family and having to wait around for 3 weeks to get another batch ready just isn’t always feasible.

So there I find myself, sheepishly tucking the egg carton in my shopping cart and hoping that no one notices that I am shamefully PAYING for eggs at the store.

Enter Pinterest.

I love Pinterest, seriously, there are SO many great recipes and great ideas out there right at our finger tips.  ANYWAY, I came across a Pin one day about STEAMING eggs instead of boiling them.  Say what?

It works folks.  It works REALLY well.

Now the thing to remember, as with all cooking, there are ALWAYS variables.  Altitude, the temperature of your eggs, whether they are in a single layer or double layer in your pan, all of these things might vary your results.  It is okay if something doesn’t work out perfectly the first time.  Don’t throw the idea out all together, it just means that your method needs to be adjusted next time.

So here’s how it’s done.

  1. Place eggs in the steamer basket above a pan of water.
  2. Turn your stove to medium high heat and wait until you see condensation form the steam begin to form on the lid.  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  (This is the time that I typically use with my eggs double stacked in the steamer basket, 22 minutes seems to be just right if there is only a single layer.)
  3. When your timer goes off, immediately transfer the eggs to an cold water bath.  Cooling the eggs off quickly prevents your eggs from over cooking and causing that not so pretty green tint to the yolk.
Now, when it comes to peeling the eggs, I have another fun trick that makes peeling them a breeze.  This handy little method is really the key to pulling this whole thing all together and get beautifully smooth, peeled eggs.
  1. Place boiled (or steamed in this case) eggs in a tumbler with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
  2. Seal the open end of the glass with your hand and shake vigorously back and forth for 10 seconds.
  3. Take the egg out and the skin will easily slip off.You can see how it’s done here:  The FASTEST way to peel a hard cooked egg!

 

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.