Friday, November 8, 2013

Milk Kefir Syrup

Buttermilk syrup is a long time family favorite around here, 
but I wanted to try using milk kefir instead of milk and vinegar.  
Plus we started using raw organic sugar I get from WinCo.  

The combination is heavenly.  

I know the picture shows a store bought bottle of kefir, 
which I bought initially just to see if we liked it.  
Since then I wash it and refil it with my homemade milk kefir.

So here's the original recipe:
Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp Karo

Now my Real Version of 
Milk Kefir Syrup:

1 cube butter (organic and not treated with rBST, we like Tillamook)
1 cup raw organic cane sugar
1/2 cup milk kefir

(omit the Karo.  That stuff is poison.)

Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Add 1/2 tsp real vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Stir well.  It will foam alot so use a deep pan.

Pour and Enjoy!
Because I'm using Real ingredients, a little goes a long way!

We love it over my Sprouted Buckwheat waffles and some raw peanut butter.

Milk Kefir syrup.  It's a beautiful thing!

PS.  If you hadn't noticed I took my blog from public to private 
and eliminated all the banner adds and links to other blogs.  

I got a letter in the mail from an inmate at the state penitentary yesterday and I got really scared.  
How did he get my information?  What will he do when he gets out of prison?

Consequently I'm severely restricting my pubic profile.  No more pictures.
This is a process going off grid, but I love posting things I'm doing, 
mostly for me because I rarely do the same thing twice 
and I regularly go back to old posts to find recipes I made up.

Rethinking and re-evaluating is necessary sometimes, 
but getting forced to do it the way I did....  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heavenly Homemade Wheat Thins with Milk Kefir

I've been looking for a good cracker recipe that fits the Real Food critera.
I think I've struck Gold!  Almost Literally!

These are some deliciously tasty crackers that are
jam packed with super nutrition.
Personally I like them with my Lime Cilantro Hummus,
but my family likes them with soup or as a snack.
I'm just happy they are loaded with nutrition.

My youngest sister came by today and I had her try some.
Loved them!
She also said they have a nice after taste.
Regular Wheat Thins have a kind of weird after taste.
I didn't notice because I haven't bought regular 
Wheat Thins in a while so I didn't remember.
But I'm happy with that bonus!

The original recipe is here.
It's very good, but I've made a couple of modifications to ramp up the nutrition.

The biggest change around here is learning about kefir.
I'm certainly not an expert on Kefir, 
but a great source for info is over here at Cultures for Health.
There are 2 kinds of kefir.
Water and milk.
We love both and it's been fun trying new ways to use it.
I will definitely be sharing more recipes using kefir.

You can get kefir here and here
or if you're lucky enough to live by someone who already has some, 
just be patient.  
They will definitely have some to share.  
The little grains grow like crazy and you'll be splitting your culture regularly.  
I've only been at this about a month 
and have already given my mom her own milk culture.

Ok. Let's get started.
These are milk kefir grains.
Not really a 'grain', they just look like little grains.
They are kind of soft and squishy like a firm jello.
When you add the kefir grains to fresh whole milk, 
they go to town eating the sugar out of the milk 
and leaving a slightly sour but uber-nutritious thick milk.

You can buy milk Kefir ready to go at the grocery store, 
but it's about $4 for a quart.
I make mine using whole milk.
Raw organic milk is best, 
but I don't have access to that right now so regular whole milk it is.

Let the cultures sit in fresh milk for 24 hours on the counter, 
or about a week in the fridge.
Head on over to Cultures for Health for a great video tutorial on all the details.

At first I was overwhelmed with keeping the kefir healthy and happy every 24 hours,
until I learned I can keep it in the fridge and use it when I need to.
Much less stress and work for me, but all the nutrition when I'm ready for it.

Strain out the cultures and put them in a fresh jar of milk.
Keep the processed kefir milk in another jar and seal.  
Let sit in the fridge for at least a day before using.
Then it's ready to go.

Usually I use it in place of buttermilk or milk in recipes,
but I also like to add a little honey and just drink it.
It's probably and aquired taste, but I like it and so do my boys.

Alright, enough kefir stuff.
Let's get on to the crackers.

Heavenly Homemade Wheat Thins

In one bowl combine the following:
2 1/2 cups sprouted whole grain flour
(I always sprout my grains.  Always)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Whisk together.

In another bowl combine:

1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/4 cup kefir milk

Whisk liquid ingredients together then add to dry ingredients.
Stir to form a soft dough.
Knead a few times and wrap in plastic.
Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Longer is OK.

After it's rested, it's time to make the crackers.
I'm not strong enough to roll out the dough thin enough, 
so I used my pasta maker.
It works perfectly for making uniformly thin crackers.
You can find your own pasta maker here.
If you don't remember, 

I had to knead the dough a few more times before putting it through the pasta maker.
Cut off a chunk about baseball size or smaller.
Press flat and feed it through the pasta maker on setting 1.
Fold the dough over and roll it through again.
Keep folding and rolling 5-6 times to get good cohesion in the dough.
Then run it through at setting 2, then 3.

I'm happy with the thickness on setting 3. 
Feel free to experiment on the thickness you like.

Lay out the dough and cut into squares with a pizza cutter.
I re-rolled the excess dough in the next batch.

Place the cut squares carefully on a sheet of parchment.

When you're about 1/2 way done rolling out the dough,
preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheight.

Put the parchment on a cookie sheet and 
bake for 10-11 minutes or until desired doneness.

We like to bake them for 10 minutes, then when they are all baked,
we put the whole pile back in the turned-off warm oven 
for about an hour or so to crisp them up.

Longer than that and they get a little to brown on the edges.
Still wonderful, just more done than we would like.

 And Voila!
A whole batch of super nutritious crackers.
Now that we've discovered them,
I'll definitely be making them
over, and over, and over, and over again!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Real Applesauce

Since I've joined the Real Food revolution around here,
I have been going through my tried and true recipes
and seeing if I can re-work them to fit the Real Food critera.
Many recipes I don't have to change at all, but some needed a tweak here and there.
Since it's apple season and I'm making applesauce today,
I thought I would revisit my Fabulous Applesauce post from a while back.

It definitely fits the Real Food profile.
Just apples.
No sugar.
No additives.

I do bathe the cut pieces in 100 % pineapple juice to prevent browning.
But that doesn't count as an additive.

So here's the original post.
Happy Canning!

 Apple season is upon us.  I love this time of year and Apples are my favorite.  
I wanted to make applesauce for a while and finally had a chance to do it.  
It's not really time consuming especially if you have a pressure cooker.  
I used 4 different varieties of apples.  
The combination makes Fab-u-lous Applesauce and there isn't any sugar in it at all.  
Even better.

I used Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, & Jonathan Apples. 
Really, you just need multiple varieties. 
Choose your favorites.  
I just wouldn't add a tart apple like Granny Smith.  
Let's save those for Pie Filling.

Wash them and then cut out core.  
No need to skin them.

Put them in a bowl of 100% Pineapple juice before processing to prevent browning.

Put apple pieces in pressure cooker in steamer basket with 1 cup water in the bottom.

This is the pressure cooker I use.  
Here is the link to Amazon were you can get one of your own.

Heat on high to bring pressure to 2nd ring.
Remove from heat and place in sink to run cold water over the sides of the pan.  
This will drop the pressure rapidly.  Ladle out cooked apples and put in blender.  
Blend to desired consistency.  
I left mine in for about 1 minute for a smooth texture.

Pour hot applesauce into prepared jars and attach lids and rings.

You could add cinnamon or other spices to the applesauce at this point but I wanted mine plain so I could doctor it up later if I wanted to.

Process in boiling water or steam canner for 20 minutes.
Let rest 24 hours. Lable and add to your pantry.

Homemade Real Applesauce.  Fabulously Yummy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pallet Wood Wall Art Round Up

I recently delivered my latest batch of Pallet Art to Jill over at Twigs and Twine.
Rather than do different posts of each piece,
I decided to just post all of them together in one big round up.

Here's a few pics of her space over at Zinnia's.


Just like the projects before, such as this one, and this one,
I used my sister's Cricut.
Some one asked my how I do my lettering so here's the quick how-to.

This is the big 12 inch Cricut.
It's called the Cricut Expression.
You can cut up to 24 inches in length and you can set it to fit the space you want.

I'm using the Home Accents Cartridge for the word art.
You can choose the word art you want or use an alphabet font to create your own.
One of the boards I did used this method.

Cut the Contact paper to fit the mat and press firmly to adhere to the mat, paper side down.
Load in to the machine and select the design you want.
I set the pressure to low since it is contact paper with a really thin thickness.
Regular paper would be a medium.
Cardstock would be a high.

Select the size you want and then hit cut.
It will tell you if the image will fit the space you have.

Let it work it's magic cutting the image you selected.
Unload the mat and carefully peel the contact paper off the mat.

For my boards I did a few ombre pieces.
It was fun doing these.
I really like the color wash effect and this was easy to do.

I used some white paint, along with 2 other colors.

Start with the white and paint one board with a dry brush.
Add some of the lightest shade of paint to the white and mix briefly.
Brush on the next board.

Since I'm doing two of the same pieces, there are 8 boards, 
2 of each color.

Gradually add more color to the original white and move to the next board.

Brush on with a dry brush in quick long strokes.

Let dry and screw the slats together the same as shown below.

Add some hanging hardware at this point or wait until the very end.

Then I used the negative of the contact paper and pressed it firmly to the board.
Pounce the paint in the open spaces like this project.
Let dry completely and gently remove the stencil.

I gave it a good sanding to age it a bit and then a clear coat of Polyurethane to seal it.

So here's the round up of the boards I did.

 These were done the same way, just not an ombre finish to the boards.

I wanted to do some green ombre boards as well.
Same process as the blue.
The letters were cut using the Billionaire cartridge and I placed them so they look welded together.

A little more Love.

Here's the last piece.
A green ombre with a gold "Family."

I love how they turned out,
plus I had fun playing around with paint color.

I hope you got some good inspiration from these boards.
I'd love to hear about it if you do!

I'm linking up over at Domestically Speaking!

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