Archive for the ‘food’ Category
Last week I had a request for my oatmeal bread recipe, and I thought that some homemade apple butter would round it out perfectly. Unfortunately, yesterday I pinched a nerve in my back and then today the electricity went out for most of the afternoon, due to an outage clear to Nebraska. Needless to say, I have not been doing much other than sitting very still. I didn’t get any bread made. though I did manage to do the apple butter after the electricity came back on. I wanted to share both recipes with you as with the weather cooling down, there is almost nothing better than a slice of fresh, warm bread and the delicious taste of apple butter. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I cheat when I make bread. I dump all of the ingredients into my bread machine pan and let it do all the kneading and rising work for me. Then I pull it out and shape it the way I want it, and bake it in the oven. This method works really well for me, so while one day I would like to do all the kneading with my own hands, this works for me now. Hope you enjoy!
- 2 cups applesauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- pinch of ginger
- pinch of cloves
- pinch of nutmeg
- Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 1 hour until desired thickness.
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
- Place ingredients in bread machine pan in order specified by manufacturer (mine is wet ingredients first, so just put them in in order I have listed)
- Put on the dough cycle, and when it is done, take the dough out and shape it however you want your loaf to look.
- Cover and let rise until about doubled.
- Bake at 350° for approx. 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
This past weekend was our little girl’s 5th birthday. We woke up in the morning and there was a solid foot of snow on the ground, we were snowed in. We really try with our kid’s birthdays to have it be more about memories than stuff. We let them choose what the meals are for the whole day and if it is possible, what to do that day. Even though we couldn’t go anywhere, it ended up being a great day, with lots of fun and snuggles. After donning her birthday crown we ate bacon, cheddar scones from the recipe in The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe, which were absolutely fantastic. They will definitely be made again, and again. We had plenty of hot chocolate and Christmas music, after all it was snowing. This year for her birthday gift, we put together a sewing basket filled with all the goodies necessary to start crocheting. I found a neat old sewing basket at an antique shop last month and had fun picking out pink and cream cotton yarn, several crochet hooks in colours she would love and Kids Learn to Crochet by Lucinda Guy. This book is fantastic, and it really hold’s her attention. Incidentally, it is also really helpful for me as I am just learning how to crochet as well.There was lots of playing in the snow, making snowmen and snow angels, plenty of black forest gateaux, and lots of snuggling with her new crochet hook and yarn. She mastered the slip knot and was thrilled to complete a chain of 23 stitches with just a teeny bit of help. Five years ago I held a tiny baby girl in my arms just seconds after she was born. My how time flies, and now she has grown into a beautiful, funny, imaginative, loving, creative 5 year old. We are so grateful to have her and look ahead to many years of love and laughter. Happy Birthday little one!
So much for fall, yesterday we had our first real snowfall. We’ve had a few flurries and flakes during the last week, but not enough to play in. Yesterday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland, and there were squeals of delight from my kiddos. It is supposed to continue snowing until next week, and probably longer, so I made soup for lunch. I’ve been planning on trying to make soup and bread for lunch on most days in an effort to keep tummies filled with nutritious, inexpensive, and most importantly, warm soup. When I was a child, one of my favourite foods was cauliflower cheese (I grew up in England), and I was thrilled to pieces when I found a recipe for cauliflower cheese soup. I was skeptical at first, but as soon as I made it, I was in love. One of the big draws for me is that it is pureed, so some of my pickier kids can’t complain when they see a bowl full of veggies, nothing to see here folks. Just a creamy white pureed soup that is delicious. I can’t remember where I found the recipe as I scrawled it on a piece of paper quite a while ago. I just couldn’t handle making soup in 90 degree weather, but now that the bitter winds and snow have arrived, it’s perfect. One batch makes enough for all six of us, and goes really well with oatmeal bread. In an effort to spread the cauliflower cheese love, I wanted to share the recipe. I’d love to hear if any of you try it and like it.
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
- 1Tbsp. butter
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 large cauliflower, chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- salt/pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a pan and saute the onions until soft.
- Add cauliflower, potato, broth, and milk, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for approx. 30 minutes or until the veggies are soft.
- Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts.
- Blend well, and enjoy!
I use my immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pan, but if you use a blender, remember not to fill it more than about 2/3 full and to remove the plug from the top and cover it with a towel, because a boiling hot soup explosion is definitely not a good thing.
Sadly this was the last week of our local farmer’s market. I was looking for some good bargains on items that I could preserve for the winter, and I knew I hit the jackpot when I saw these gorgeous peppers. We have one organic farm that has a stall at the market, and their produce is exceptional and their prices are phenomenal. Often their prices beat the conventional produce of the other sellers. As much as we can, we try to buy organic food and support the farmers who are growing their produce in this way. With six mouths to feed and a tight food budget it isn’t always possible to buy organic, so when I come across a good deal I try to stock up. I think they thought I was a little nutty when I told them I wanted 20 peppers, oh well, I had a plan. When we got home I started to wash, slice, and dice these babies and after a couple of hours (with plenty of distractions), I had these… 20 bags of diced peppers ready to go into the freezer. Not only will it save me time when trying to get supper ready, but we will have scrumptious, farm fresh, organic bell peppers during the freezing, wintery months. The only regret I have is that I didn’t buy more.
I love to buy fruit and veg from the farmer’s market if I can, but sometimes such a good deal comes along at the grocery store, I just can’t pass it up. This week at one of our local grocery stores, they had organic peaches for $1 a pound. I just couldn’t beat that price anywhere else, so my hubby and eldest son went and snagged 25 pounds. I had big plans for putting them up for the winter. Yesterday morning I got a bunch of peach jam made and the afternoon and evening were spent blanching, peeling, slicing and freezing peaches. I absolutely love a good bargain especially when it comes to organic fruit and veg. Now that summer is winding down, it’s nice to see the pantry and freezer being filled with yummy things for the winter. I’m hoping I can get a good deal on corn this coming weekend at the farmer’s market. Then I’ll put my kids to work, good thing they like shucking corn.
These are two books that I am really excited about. I’ve already been making my own yogurt for about a year and a half, and we made butter once, but I have been interested in making different kinds of dairy products for a while now. The Home Creamery is fantastic and has all the info I need to try sour cream, creme fraiche, mozerella, kefir, cottage cheese and many more. I think it’s a good beginner’s look into making your own dairy products. The second half of the book is full of recipes that use all of the different kinds of cheeses and milks. I’m really excited about getting my kids involved and trying these out. I can only imagine how good a pizza would be with made from scratch dough, homemade sauce, tomatoes right off the vine, basil from out of the pot, and homemade mozzarella. Landscaping With Fruit is another book I’m loving. This year I took the plunge and got four fruit bushes, three currants and a raspberry bush. Granted, they are teeny and the currants aren’t even producing fruit yet, but I happily dream about the day when we can walk out into the garden and collect baskets of berries, or pick pears, or apples, or peaches off of trees. This book is beautiful to look at and has given me quite a few ideas to use when planting more fruit.
My family loves yogurt. We eat it in smoothies, mixed with fruit, drizzled with honey, and even in our potato salad. It is so versatile and healthy and it keeps tummies filled with good bacteria. It has gotten me through some rough pregnancies, and times when my jaw hurt so much I could not chew properly. It has fed my babies that are just starting on solid food, and generally been a much loved staple in our diet. My gift for Mother’s Day last year was a yogurt maker. I had requested this and was thrilled to get it. We like to go through so much yogurt that sometimes it was cost prohibitive to buy organic yogurt, not to mention there is still a lot of sugar in the flavoured kinds. When I realized that I could make my own for half the cost, I jumped at the chance. I know that a lot of people don’t use an actual yogurt maker and do just fine, but sometimes I am so busy and trying to do quite a few things at once, so I really liked the idea of being able to put the yogurt in the maker and just forget about it for several hours. It paid for itself very quickly and I am thrilled that I can take one gallon of milk and turn it into approx. four litres of yogurt with very little effort. This way I can also regulate how much sugar goes in, if any at all. I like to use honey or cook up some fruit and mix it in. Nuts are also a favourite topping. The possibilities are endless. Homemade yogurt is one of those things that I take great pleasure in doing myself.
I love making my own bread, there is something about smelling it rise and pulling a beautiful golden loaf out of the oven that I just adore. The only hard part is waiting long enough so as not to burn my fingers trying to get at a slice before it has had the chance to cool slightly. Both of my girls have been ill and some nice bread was just what they needed to ease their tummies back into health. I, however, needed an excuse to slather on some thick, golden Scottish heather honey. My mom recently returned from a trip to England to visit a dear friend of ours in the town that we lived in when I was a child. She brought home many treats including the honey. The second I smelled it I knew a fresh baked loaf was in order. The moment I tasted it I was transported right back to Scotland where I had first tried it. It still amazes me that a smell or taste can take you back 15 years as though it was yesterday, and I was reminded that this indeed, is the best honey in the world.