Category Archives: Recipes

Best Sprouted Wheat Bread

Courtney has found the best sprouted wheat bread recipe.  It is from her King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  The recipe we’ve settled on is on  page 185.

We buy whole wheat berries in 50 pound bags from a local buying group that pulls together bulk orders twice a year.  We use a Nutrimill to do the grinding and a Bosch mixer to do the kneading.  The Bosch is a breeze to work with.  Handling 5 loaves at once, it is a definite upgrade from the KitchenAid Artisan that Courtney wore out making bread.

So why should we sprout our grains?  Through the process of sprouting, a grain unlocks tons of nutrients that are used in the growing process.  These nutrients are more available to the human body by doing this and can provide a lot of immune system support.

There is a downside to this.  You will NEVER be able to eat store bought bread again.  This bread it soooo good that it will instantly turn you into a bread snob.  But you will be a healthier bread snob as a result.

Happy baking.  Robert.

Young Living Essential Oils

Has anyone been wondering what the heck we’ve been up to? It has been quite some time since we put a post up here. Our homestead has kept us very busy. We have also been working on a new income source.

Courtney purchased a Young Living Essential Oil Starter Kit last spring so that we could make our own bug sprays. We quickly discovered that the oils can do so much more, from relaxation to supporting normal healing, from promoting healthy sleep to revitalizing healthy skin.  We have a saying in this house “there’s an oil for that…”

Young Living has adopted a business model that empowers their customers to be the sales force by offering a commissions to share about products they love. Sharing is a natural result when you love the oils.  Courtney has been doing this for the last 6 months or so and it helps provide some extra money for our family. For those willing to work hard and do what it takes, it can be very rewarding.  Hearing your friends say “I’ve had the best sleep of my life” is extremely gratifying.

If you are looking for a home based business opportunity with great income potential, check out the Young Living essential oils tab at the top menu bar. Courtney has provided some details on how to get started.

If you are just interested in essential oils and don’t want to be bothered by the business side of things, that’s OK. There is no continuing obligation after the first purchase.

We would also love to hear from you if you have questions or would like to know more, or even if you already use essential oils.

Thanks,
Robert

Eat your crust!

Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve written, but this couldn’t wait.  A few days ago we were sitting around the table at mealtime and I was encouraging our son to eat the crust from his toast.  I told him that the crust is where all the nutrition is, and that it will also put hair on his chest.

And that is just when the bombshell was dropped.  Courtney spoke up with an “actually.”  Actually, that is probably not true, she said.  Think about it, the composition of that crust is not any different than the rest of the bread.  Nothing gets concentrated there.   If anything the vitamins and minerals become broken, denatured, less useful, etc due to the higher heat that is experienced in the crust.  A flood of emotions came over me as I realized I had been lied to my whole life.  I was troubled.  I was bothered.  But then, I became elated.  Thank you, Mrs. Food Scientist for enlightening us and opening our eyes to the truth once again.

For the record: there was no disputing that eating crust puts hair on your chest.

Thanks, Robert.

How to cook a pumpkin

Thanks Robert for that update on the storage potential of winter squash.  Now I bet you want to know how to cook them.  I personally like to roast them and make pumpkin pie healthy food for my family.  Here’s how I roast them.  It’s pretty easy and requires no monitoring, so you can go about your other chores.  You can roast pumpkins or any winter squash this way.

First, preheat oven to 350°F.  Now, cut them in half.  Be careful, they can be very hard, which makes cutting a little dangerous.

Next, scoop out the seeds.  (You can roast the seeds later if you’d like)

Now pop them in a roasting pan, cut side down, like so.

And finally add some water to the bottom of the pan, maybe a cup or less.  It depends on the size of the pan and how many you are roasting.  Mine has a groove along the outer edge so I like to add a little more because I know the pumpkins won’t be sitting in the water.  Cover with aluminum foil tightly and  roast for 45 minutes to  1 1/2 hours.  Until they are tender when you push them with your finger.  If they aren’t done, it makes them tougher to scoop out and the pulp is often more stringy and fibrous.

Here is butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet dumplings.

Before:

After:

Voila!

Here’s a link to a really yummy Thai coconut curry soup from Weight Watcher’s that uses butternut squash but I think you could substitute any winter squash.

Please share a link to your favorite squash recipes in the comments section.

Thanks,  Courtney

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Okay, if that title is not enough to get you interested then let me tell you that these cookies are to die for.  You will love these if you often find yourself disappointed that Reese’s peanut butter cups are not as good as you think they should be, Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream is not as intense as you would like, or you find yourself eating peanut butter on a spoon studded with chocolate chips.  Okay, if this is you then read on, make these cookies and hide them from your family.

This recipe was very kindly shared with me by a friend.  She gave her sister the credit for coming up with them, isn’t that sweet.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cup peanut butter or a 16 oz jar

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking soda

4 cup quick oats

1 scant up flour

bag of chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)

Mix the first 5 ingredients then add remaining ingredients.  Drop by big spoonfuls or with your handy dandy cookie scoop.  Bake at 350°F for 10 -12 minutes.

This is a high altitude recipe, you may have to add double the baking soda at sea level.  My friend says you can easily omit the flour and they are wheat free cookies – not bad.  Or you can add wheat flour to add even more fiber than the 4 cups of oats are giving you.  Think of these cookies as healthy and good for you.  I do.

Thanks,  Courtney

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Recipe

I love cranberries.  Fresh or dried, I love them.  But I really love biting into a muffin or scone and tasting a fresh, juicy, tart cranberry.  So began my thought process as I created these yummy pumpkin cranberry muffins.  I started with my grandmother’s pumpkin bread recipe which is far and away the best pumpkin bread you will ever try.  Very moist and not overly spicey.  Why add pumpkins you ask?  Because it’s January and I still about 20 pie pumpkins in my kitchen.  People walk in and say “whoa that’s a lot of pumpkins.”  Yes, we are horders and we love free things.  So when our CSA said free pumpkins come and get them before the frost, we dropped everything and loaded up our minivan.  So long story short I put pumpkin in everything now-a-days.  Even my son who has an itty bitty vocabulary saw a picture of a pumpkin and said “cook and eat”.  Most kids would have wanted to carve a jack-o-lantern it but not my 2 year old.

This recipe can accommodate pretty much any shape pan that you have.  I used the giant muffin tins 50 minutes), stoneware mini loaf pans (55 minutes), loaf pans (1 1/2 hours), mini muffin tins, you name it.  To make this at a high altitude use half the leavening agents called for in the recipe below.  I am going to give you the base pumpkin bread recipe and then you can add in whatever you like.

Pumpkin Bread

Dry

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Wet

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

1 cup pumpkin (I always add more)

2 eggs

Add-ins

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans and 1 cup chocolate chips

2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

Glaze

3 Tbl frozen orange juice concentrate

1- 2 Tbl water

powdered sugar

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix all wet ingredients together.  Add wet to dry and fold in Add-ins.  Bake in greased pan @ 325°F for time mentioned above.  Let cool briefly in pan and then use knife to loosen sides and invert on cooling rack.  If you are glazing the loaves you can do it in the pan or on the rack.  More will absorb into the bread if you do it in the pan.  To make the glaze whisk together the orange juice and water and then add lots of powdered sugar until it is nice and sweet.  It may take a cup or two of powdered sugar.  Cool completely.  These can be wrapped in plastic wrap then foil and make great gifts.

Thanks, Courtney

Fall Salad with Apple Butter Dressing

This is really nothing special but just a simple, yummy, fall salad.

Fall Salad

1 head of lettuce (anything but iceberg, please)

1 handful pomegranite seeds

1 handful dried cranberries

2 handfuls of crushed pecans (just crush in your hands)

1 apple cut into bite size pieces

Parmesan cheese

Apple Butter Salad Dressing

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons apple butter

scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

drizzle of honey

Stir well, pour on salad and toss, serve.  The amounts of everything are really just approximates.  I like to use equal parts lemon juice and olive oil because I like it tart and not oily.  Play with the recipe until it suits your taste.

Enjoy – Courtney

Mike Mills’ Beef Ribs Recipe

Here’s a review of a recipe I made back in September after our new baby girl was born.  We’ve gotten very busy, but I wanted to share with you now.

Thanks, Robert.

*******************

Over the weekend I made this recipe for beef ribs from the Food Network website.  It is excellent and is the third time I’ve done the recipe.

Here is a picture of the meat being prepped.  Beef ribs have a pretty strong membrane along the entire inside.  That membrane must be peeled off before cooking because the heat will only toughen the membrane.  I use a butter knife and slide it in under the membrane and peel away.  The butter knife won’t cut through the membrane, so it is great to pry and peel.

The recipe instructions are easy to follow, so I don’t elaborate on that.  Here’s a few pictures of the meat on the grill.  It did take 2.5 or 3 hours on the grill.  This is another low and slow recipe, which is a great example of the way I like to cook.  I actually left the lid of the grill open the entire time with the burners on low.

And here is the finished product.

The leftovers (if any) won’t be around long.

Thanks, Robert

My Favorite Apple Butter Recipe

As you read in my post yesterday we are up to our ears in apples.  Free apples nonetheless.  What’s the best about free things is that you can experiment with new recipes and don’t have to worry that you are wasting your money in case you don’t like it.  So we tried three different apple butter recipes and I have combined them to create my favorite.

We tried Overnight Apple Butter from Martha Stewart and Amy Traverso, a spiced cardamom Apple Butter also from Martha and Classic Apple Butter from The Art of Preserving.  All were great but I combined the best of each to create my own and here it is.

My favorite Apple Butter Recipe 

Makes 5 half – pint jars or 2 pint jars (with a little extra)

4 lb apples, peeled, cored, and cut into rough 1 inch chunks

1 1/2 cups sweet apple cider

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice (shhh, I cheat and use bottled)

2/3 tsp ground ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/3 tsp ground cardamom

1/3 tsp ground nutmeg

small pinch ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and set to high for 1 hour, then turn down to low and simmer all day or all night.  You are looking for consistency more than timing.  You want it to be brown and thick.  It usually takes me overnight and then several hours in the morning to cook down sufficiently.

After several hours cooking you can crush apples with potato masher to speed the process along.  We like ours chunky so I don’t bother putting through a food mill but you could do that.  It’s just one more thing to wash though.

Remove cinnamon stick, ladle into jars and leave  1/4″ headspace.  Process the jars for 10 minutes (high altitude 20 minutes) in a boiling water bath.  If you don’t can often check out a canning book to learn the detailed process of preparing jars and lids, etc.

Some more tips:

A large crock pot will hold a double batch.

Borrow a neighbors crock pot like I did to make your canning efforts more efficient.

I realize that there are no 1/3 tsp measuring spoons, we scaled this recipe down from another.  Just estimate the amounts.

I use Penzey’s spices and I always need to use less than called for on spices because theirs are so fresh and strong, especially the cinnamon.

Cardamom is my new favorite spice, so don’t leave it out!

Half a cup of lemon juice seems like a lot but we used sweet apples and I don’t like it really sweet.

Thanks,  Courtney

Inaugural Cider Batch

We’ve done it!  We gathered up a whole bunch of granny smith apples on Saturday morning (for free!) and turned them all into wonderful cider.

So, here’s how the process works:

Start by washing your apples.  I used the bottom section of the 55 gallon tub I used to make my chicken plucker, filled it with water and Courtney and I sat around while the kids were napping and inspected all the apples.  We sorted them into two buckets, one for good apples and one for those that had a moldy/wormy spot.  We rubbed each apple with our hands to knock off any dirt, etc.

Halve or quarter all of the apples.  This is so that they fit into the grinder.

Grind away!  The grinder will chew up the apples as fast as I can feed them in there.  It is amazing.

The ground up apple pulp is collected in a food grade bucket.

Another view of the grinding in action.

Filling the pressing bags.  The bottom three inches of a five gallon food grade bucket acts as the form.

Tie the bag with a piece of kitchen twine.

Loading the press.  Put a bag in the bottom, then a pressing disc, then another bag, and so on.  A lot of juice will come out into your catching basin before you even begin pressing, so have that in place first!

Start pressing.  On the ground is the scissor jack from our mini van.  You start with that and once there is room, switch to the 6 ton bottle jack.

The final product.  One sip and you’ll know what the “Wow” factor is all about on this fresh squeezed cider.  It is comparable to nothing else I’ve ever had.  Courtney and I drank a large pitcher of it over the next few days.  The rest was split between a few half gallon Ball jars to make vinegar with the balance put into a fermenter to make hard cider.

Thanks, Robert.

Other Apple Grinder/Cider Press Posts:

Project Introduction

Status Report

Cutting a Keyway

Completion

Being Bold: Apple Collecting

Apple Cider Vinegar (future post)

Hard Cider (future post)