Category Archives: Food/Recipes

Off On Another We-Dont-Know-What-We-Are-Doing Adventure

But these little fellers are ready and waiting.  They don’t care, they just want to participate.  IMG_4385

I wish I was childlike enough to want to participate not having any idea what the event was.  I could learn a lesson or two from my animals who trust in me to guide them without question.  I want to  do that with God, but for some reason I think I should be in the driver’s seat with the control panels.  EVERY time  I get in the back seat with my animals and let go and let God,  life is better.   And fruitful.   Not always easy.  But it sure lightens my burden a ton.

But we are off to the sugar bush.  What did I just say?  Never used those words until now, but like I said, new adventure using words I’ve never used.  We are tapping some of our maples to make Shieling Maple Syrup.  Found in a grocery near you.  Well, maybe someday.  Not in this lifetime.   Last year we went out to pick our Maples and realized it was a little difficult to do in the winter since there are no leaves on the trees for identification.  This past summer, I actually had a moment of forethought and skidaddled out there to mark the trees.

We are on track for something.

Sugaring season is about a 4-6 week period beginning in mid to late February.  From what I read and hear, we tap the trees when the temperatures reach  40’s-50 during the day and sink below freezing at night.  This is the ideal environment for the sap to run up and down the tree  getting ready for who knows what.  I will let you know when I know.   Probably getting ready to fruit and leaf out and all that wonderful stuff trees do in the Spring.  Tapping the trees is the easy part.  It took me all of an hour to tap 10 trees.

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I then hung two gallon plastic bags on to the spouts.

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And then, we wait.   I tapped the trees two days ago.  Yesterday, each bag had about 1/2 cup of sap.  The temperatures were not high enough for much activity.  We are expecting some good solid 40’s in the coming days, so we should be in business.  But who knows.  I read that when temps reach high 40’s -50’s the sap can just pour.  That would be a sight.

The hard part is gathering the sap into 5 gallon buckets to place over a wood fire outside and watching it boil down into luscious syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. It takes A LONG time to get there.  Days, my friend.  Days.  Someone has to be on hand to feed the fire.  My goal is to get 2 gallons of syrup.  Is that a reasonable goal with 10 trees and the time we have to stand by the fire?  I have no idea.  We’ve never done this before.  But I can tell you that little Virginia and Samdog are goin’ to be lovin’ it.   That means major time with Mom and Dad in the coming days.

The highlight of our tree tapping day was the game that the dogs (and Farmer Bob) played with an opossum.  It was the first time I have ever seen an opossum play dead.  It was alive and well then just rolled over.  At first I thought, “oh not, that opossum is not right.  Something is terribly wrong”.  But then remembered that is what they do.  Oh yeah.  I forgot.

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I hope our efforts bear wonderful fruits.  How do you keep a fire burning for days on end and get anything else done?  hmm.

God bless,

Karen

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Granola. Friend or Foe?

5 Degrees?  BRRRRRR.  Our little hens are cozy under their heat lamp.

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Precious they are.  Just love them.

Granola. is. awesome.  It is nearly impossible for me to keep my paw paws out of it.  And I think it can be very confusing because while it all looks the same, sadly, it is not.

The differences are in the type of fats used.  The quality of ingredients.  The amount and type of sweetener.   And whether the seeds and nuts are prepared properly for the best digestion.  It can be trash.

The following recipe  is wonderful.  I sprouted the seeds which will aid in digestion.  You don’t have to.   The original recipe called for 1/2 of Brown sugar and 3/4 cup of Pure Maple Syrup.  I used much less and it tastes great.

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KAREN’S GRANOLA

Ha.  A recipe named after moi?  I’m the boss, so yeah.  A recipe named after me.

Preheat oven 300 degrees

3 cups of Old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds

1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup coconut unsweetened

1 cup soaked and dried cashews

1/2 cup soaked and dried walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup  (Don’t know if I have to capitalize this but it deserves it.) Add more if you must but you really don’t need it.

1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (or more)

You can add anything else you may like, but do me a favor, and make sure it is organic and unrefined.  Thant means NO SUGAR!

Mix all the ingredients.  Spread out on 2 cookie sheets with sides.  Cook for about 50 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.  There is  outstanding granola out  in that there world.  I figured it was high time I figured it out.

Stay warm.

God bless,

Karen

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Are We Feeding Our Chronic Ailment?

Just a  quick note on flu shots before I step into my post today.  What do you actually know about the flu shot?   I encourage you to learn what a flu shot is and does/doesn’t do  so  you can make an informed decision.   I have attached a short article about flu shots for you enjoyment.  At the very least just scan the 11 reasons.  In all matters concerning your health, be informed.

http://goodworkswellness.com/why-i-refuse-to-get-a-flu-shot/

Ok.. Hello.  About 7 years ago I realized that my chronic sinus headaches were a result of me eating wheat.  Who woulda thunk?  I think that we associate food sensitivities to gastric/digestion problems.

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Removing wheat from my diet made huge improvements in my overall well-being for a time.  The following year, I discovered that my respiratory infection symptoms were a direct result of ingesting dairy.

milk

 I LOVE milk and bread.

There lies the problem. 

Fast forward 7 years.  I have been sailing along pretty well and very healthy.   When I eat those two things, I am ok if I just dabble one time but if I dabble over and over in the course of  a couple of days,  the symptoms return.

This past year I have gotten on a nut butter kick.  Every morning I whip up nut butter in our coffee grinder.  I even upgraded our grinder to a sorta commercial model. I was ALL ABOUT THE NUT BUTTER.   I have been buying large quantities of raw organic nuts.  I soak them for 24 hours and then dry them in the oven for a few days.  Man, they taste 100 times better than what you get at the store.  By soaking them, you release enzyme inhibitors that otherwise would inhibit digestion and the flavor is greatly enhanced.

  I grind pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.  and spread it everyday on an apple.  DELICIOUS.  I cannot even tell you.  It made me jump out of bed in the morning.  Christmas morning, every morning.

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About 6 months ago I started having excruciating pain in my neck, lower back, hips and knees.  If I had been sitting for any length of time it was unbearable standing up.  It was hard to turn over in bed at night.  I am positive that 90 year olds were more mobile than me.    My body had seized up.

 I recently went to the doctor to find out  how I could go from absolutely normal to almost crippled in 6 months.  It felt as if a virus or a bacteria (are those one in the same?? I have no idea) had settled into my bones and joints.

We did some blood tests.  I left the doctor’s office and when I got in my car it occurred to me that maybe it was the nuts I was eating.  So I took time off from my Christmas mornings.  Guess what?  Within 3 days, I had no symptoms.  That was a month ago and I am completely normal for an aging old hag.

A couple of things……

I read that if we find we are sensitive to a food, it is common to become sensitive to more foods as time goes.  ugh.

I am learning  that we can avoid becoming sensitive to foods if we aren’t pounding them every chance we get.  Like I do.   I think the reason so many people become sensitive to wheat/gluten is that they are eating it at every meal.  You could probably say that about dairy too.

There is something to say about the old-time people who ate what was in season, and did not, when it was not, therefore,  they were never eating any one food more than a season in the course of a year.   Huh.  Suppose that makes sense?

If you are suffering from a chronic something or other, it is very possible it is food.  Each food that I have grown sensitive to has its own cute little symptom to go with it.  And all of the symptoms would appear to have nothing to do with food.

The key is to incorporate  a large variety  of food into our  diet.  If I enjoy nut butter, enjoy it once a week not everyday.   I read that it is best to not eat any one kind of food more often than every 3 or 4 days.   ok.  I think I got it.

Please, investigate this if you are experiencing chronic symptoms.  It could be a simple answer using no chemical medicines.

Have a good Thursday.

God bless,

Karen

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Lighten Up The Load..

on Thanksgiving.  If you can.

We had a Thanksgiving dinner when our son, Sam, was on leave from the Army last Sunday.  I was at my art conference and wasn’t getting home until Sunday evening, so Pops was in charge of making the food.  Oh boy.  It was all yummy,  but the poor man……… Lets just say…..How can I be nice here……I love him.  Things get a little out of hand when the going gets going.  He was so exhausted when it was all said and done.   I asked if it was worth it.  He said no.  But that it was great to have everyone here.  But we could have peanut butter and jelly with the same people here, right?  And Pops would have been able to enjoy Catch Phrase with us in the living room instead of losing his pretty little head in the kitchen.   Is it worth it?  (My head is always thinking about  stuff like this. )   Why do we make SOO MUCH FOOD?  And it’s not only so much food but it is so much heavy,  decadent food.  Can we cut corners somewhere?  I have a  new friend who just told me they never have the huge dinner.  Never.  They do their own thing and don’t think a thing about it.  Good for you, Sarah.  People time is the most important, right?

In my world????  (What is that?)  I wouldn’t cut fat cause I happen to know fat is good for you.  Good organic, local fat, that is.  I would cut sugars and omit some of the bread/noodle/white potato  stuff.  I KNOW. I KNOW.  Stuffing is SO GOOOOOOODD.  Why not eat the stuffing and forget the other starchy things.  When you look at a plate of thanksgiving food, really it looks so…well..ugh.  With the exception of a tiny section of green beans maybe and a quarter size of red tarty stuff ruining everything around it.

After Thanksgiving…bring to boil the carcass and  simmer for  two days or more. The longer the better.   Pour broth in glass containers 2/3 and freeze for future use for soups, rice, or any good thing.  It is the best thing ever.

Below are three recipes for lightening up the sugar.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Most casseroles call for at least a cup of sugar.  This calls for  2 T.  We had it and we loved it.

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for the preparing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar unrefined.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potato out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole.  Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a bit puffy. Serve immediately.

PUMPKIN CAKE BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

(No flour and small amount of honey as sweetener)

CAKE BARS

1 c. pumpkin puree

1 c. almond butter

1/2 c. raw honey

2 eggs

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t. vanilla (pure)

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. cloves (optional

pecans or walnuts.

350 degrees.   8 x 8 pan 30 minutes

ICING

2 package cream cheese, softened organic.

1/3 c. honey

2 t. vanilla extract

Mix. Spread.

WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHUNK ICE CREAM

(No sugar added. Dairy free)

This is really good.  But if not eaten day of, it gets really hard in freezer but still tastes good.

1 13 oz. can of full fat organic coconut milk

1/4 c. chopped walnuts.(soaked and dried if possible)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

Pinch of salt

1/4 c. finely chopped dark chocolate.

10 drops of stevia

splash of vanilla

Heat coconut milk until smooth.  Stir in walnuts, banana, salt vanilla.  Pour into glass container and cool.  Add chocolate and stevia.  Freeze, stirring occasionally.

I pray safe travels, loving family time, and relaxed digestive state for all.

God bless,

Karen

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Was It Really All That Black?

No, it really wasn’t all that black.  The weather,  however,  sure added to the drama.

Buster Brown, the nasty billy-goat,  went bye-bye.  I think the only thing that is dark about that is  he was keeping our beloved Great Pyrenees company while she guards the chickens.   She may be suffering from loneliness a little bit but we plan to supply her with another playmate soon.  She like to lick the chickens to death if she doesn’t have anything else to think about.

The butchering of the turkey was pretty uneventful as well.

This is what you will be having for dinner.

This is what we’re having.  You wanna come for dinner?

  I hope my family doesn’t mind getting feathers stuck between their teeth as they chew the  stringy,  tough turkey.   She only weighed out at 7.8 lbs.  She’s been running around here for the past 5 months so we are pretty confident the meat wont be too succulent.

Pops and I decided that we will leave the meat chickens to the Amish for processing.  They can do 150 chickens an hour.  We did 1 turkey in the same time.

Ugly? yes.  But we know exactly where that turkey came from.  We know what it has eaten.  We know the kind of life it lived.  She was queen of the guineas.  She ruled.  Please  make an effort to know where your turkey came from.

ART SHOW

I am participating in an art show in a few weeks.  If you are in the area, please stop by. The opening reception should be a grand time.  Can you guess which painting on the invite is mine?

It would be the second one in from the left.   The tree.

Gathering Humility

Ferns in Christian art symbolize humility.  I like that.

I pray that your week is a good one.  I pray for healing for all those that need healing.  I pray for safety, courage and strength for our service men and women.

God bless,

Karen

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Black Friday

It’s here.

I am the queen of dread.  I am like George Costanza on Seinfeld.  George complains that he dreads all events no matter what they are.  Even dates with the hottest women.    That’s me.  There has to be a fear tied to it.  As I reflect on it, I guess it must be a fear of not being prepared or not being accepted.  Or I wont be able to handle my part of the responsibility.  I fatigue easily and I fear I will crash in the middle of it.  Where’s my bed?  Waaahh.     I am always glad when I am there.  It is just the leading up to it.  Do you ever feel that way?

I dread today.

We are taking Buster Brown, our intact buck, to the auction house. He is just a little more than we can bear.   Another one of those farmin’ things that are hard to do.  Pops stayed home today to help out with the Black Friday events.  The weather has contributed to the mood of the day.  Dark. Dreary. Rainy.  So, if you will, imagine two suburbanites hunched over a picnic table in the middle of nowhere. Dark. Wet. Rainy.  Most likely not clean.   Yelling at each other for not doing the right thing when in fact neither of the two know what the right thing is.  There you go.

We are going to butcher our turkey this afternoon.  Pops and I.  By ourselves.  We have never done anything of the sort.  In our lives.   We have planned the deed to take place at our campground which over the culvert and through the woods.

Campground

Far far away from any living creature on our farm.  We don’t want them to suspect they are next for goodness sakes.   We just hope the guineas don’t follow us since Miss turkey is their leader.   I have taken down You Tube instructions and think I have it down in my head.   Just take it easy and don’t get in a panic,  I tell myself.

On another note we had a fabulous salmon dish the other night that I’d like to share.  Good fall meal.

Fall Salmon Delight

Serves 2

Using the best found ingredients

1/4 c. whole almonds

3 T. butter

1/2 c. chopped apple

1/4 c. golden raisins

1 t. fresh thyme

1 t. fresh rosemary

1 T. fresh parsley

Zest of half orange

1 t. sea salt

1 t. pepper

2 t. olive oil

2 salmon filets

Toast almonds.  Add butter and cook until browned.

Add apples, and raisins.  Cook until raisins plump and add herbs and zest.

Season filets with salt,  pepper and oil  and bake in oven on 350 for 20 minutes.  Or grill.

Remove from pan and top with yummy topping.

Serve with your favorite fall veggies.

I will fill you in on the Black Friday results in my next post.  I’m not really that scared.  I think plunging my whole arm into a goat kinda desensitized me.

Have a super weekend.

God bless,

Karen

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Food. Good.

Who doesn’t love food?  Boy, oh, Boy.   There are  a lot of things I can’t or shouldn’t eat.  I stay true to those “rules” most of the time.  When you can’t eat the easy stuff, the convenient stuff, you figure out ways to make the wholesome stuff taste good.   As I have said in the past, my cooking is very simple, using few ingredients since most ingredients do not work for my health.

Whole foods.  The name of the game.   Pops and I wonder sometimes why we bother going out.  Our food here is always better than even the finest diners.  Why?  Fresh.  Local.  Homegrown.  Organic.  Simple.  Unprocessed.  REAL FOOD.    I do miss bread though.  A lot.  I am bankin’ on sourdough bread next to my bed when I am in heaven.  You watch.   With butter.

What makes fine restaurants so good?  They keep their recipes simple, fresh, and high quality ingredients.

Tonight we had scrumptuous munchuous.  Man, it  was good.   And simple as it gets.  HEALTHY.

PORK TENDERLOIN

Sprinkle tenderloin with fresh basil, coarse sea salt,  minced garlic.  put several slices of bacon over top and drizzle with olive oil.  Pop in oven 375 degrees for an hour.  Done. Perfect.  Delectable.

Remember……where the pork and bacon comes from makes HUGE difference in flavor AND health.

GREEN BEANS
Sautee in generous amount of Ghee (clarified butter) fresh green beans, chopped sweet red pepper, onion.  I don’t boil or steam beans first.  Done.  Perfect.  Delectable.

NOW……for a secret yummy…..

Since sugar…and dairy…and gluten…and, and, and,…. are no nos, I am continually experimenting to get a dessert acceptable for us (me).  Try to make a dessert without the above ingredients.  Impossible, right?  Darn near.  Well,  yes, it is impossible.   But we can make significant improvements on the status quo.  So, usually I end up making a fruit thing.  A crisp, or cobbler.  But fruit being the base.  I use the minimum sugar (organic coconut palm unrefined sugar) that I can get away with.  About 1/3 -1/2 cup for a 9 x 13 pan. of whatever I am making.     We top with ice cream (coconut milk based for me and ice cream with the least amount of ingredients for others).  And then,  a bit of home-made caramel sauce  drizzled on top.  THAT is the secret yummy.  Oh my goodness.

The best flavor IN THIS WORLD.

I make it with the whole she-bang.  But I use the better ingredients.  Every little bit helps.

EASY CARAMEL SAUCE

1 C.  organic coconut palm sugar

1/2 C.   organic heavy whipping cream

4 T organic butter

Pinch of sea salt

1 t. vanilla

Heat on med low heat the first three ingredients.  Whisking continuously until all is melted and thickening.  5-7 minutes.  Make sure granules are dissolved.   Add salt and vanilla stir and put in jar.

We wait for weekend night to enjoy our very special  yummy treat.  Since the sugar thing has to be few a far between for me, dessert is very special and we like to make that a part of a wonderful night home on the weekend.

Enjoy!

On a different note…I was driving home one night last week at dusk and a fog came rolling in that was wild.  It was deep blue.  Like an ice fog or somethin’ .   That is what it looked like to me.  It was warm out but it look like an ice fog sheet.  I know that doesn’t make sense.  But I took a picture with my phone and the contrast of the fog and my headlights was very cool.

By the way, I did not manipulate this photo.  The contrast was really quite something.

This was with headlights off:

I find great joy in the atmosphere.  Dont you?

You have yerself a great Tuesday.

God bless,

Karen

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