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?

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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
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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.

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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!

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.

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So here it is.

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

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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.)

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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.

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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)

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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?

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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.  🙂

 

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How to NOT boil an egg and get beautiful results (for Instant Pot OR Stove Top)

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.

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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 can always be 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.

It can be done on the regular ole stove top OR in everyone’s new favorite Instant Pot type pressure cooker.

Here’s how it’s done on the stove top.

  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.
And here’s the Instant Pot version:
  1. Pour 1 cup of water in the bottom of your pan.
  2. Place your trivet or steam rack in the bottom of the pan over the water.
  3. Add eggs on top of the trivet/steam rack and close lid.
  4. Turn your pressure relief valve to “sealing” & set manual timer for 6 minutes.
  5. When your timer goes off, use a quick release to relieve  the pressure and quickly 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!

 

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