recipes

Do you like homemade granola? I do, but I can’t seem to find time to make it. The bowls, the pans, the stirring, the oven…blah. Half the time I make a mess in the oven as granola spills when I try to stir it up. So now I make up a batch of quick granola, on the stove top, whenever I want it. It takes about five minutes, and I don’t measure any part of it.

 

First, I drop into my hot pan a heaping few tablespoons of coconut oil and then a glob of honey. After it’s all melted, I throw in a small bowl of rolled oats and whatever nuts I have on hand. I stir it up here and there, and when it gets as toasty as I want, I take it off the heat and put in whatever dried fruits I have on hand. Done.

 

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The only real mess to clean up is the stove top, after the kids finish serving themselves up a topping for their yogurt.

 

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I started to make some coffee this morning and I had to laugh. No time to make granola (“No time!” she says), but I make my coffee in probably the slowest way possible. Why? Well…I enjoy the process. It makes me putter when the clock is yelling at me to hurry. I tossed my wristwatch about 15 years ago because I wanted to arrange my days–my life–to follow my own tempo the best I could. So…some things I hurry along (like granola) and some things I make more difficult, in order to force me to slow down (like making coffee).

 

It takes me five minutes to stare out the window and grind the coffee. In the background, you can see my husband’s personal coffee-grinding tempo :)

 

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In the cup goes a pat of unsalted butter and a spoonful of coconut oil. And then I make the coffee. We both love using our Aeropress Coffee maker. It’s inexpensive, really makes the most delicious coffee, and the only power required is your own hands.

 

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While that’s steeping for a minute, I begin heating up some milk. I press my coffee, which melts the butter and oil, and then I whip up my milk. We both like the Aerolatte Milk Frother for that. I gently pour the milk into my coffee and top it all off with a sprinkle of vanilla powder.

 

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I don’t feel like I need to rush the process. It’s about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on how often I need to stop for a child’s needs. But when it’s done, yum.

 

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Any kind of handwork is a slow tempo. I haven’t even used my sewing machine at all for about a year, but I have gotten some embroidery and a quilt binding finished. I’m working to finish this lacey scarf before spring, and I have an apron with yet more embroidery to finish afterwards.

 

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Using a camera is a way I slow down my tempo, to take the time to really look and see, but drawing and art journaling take me even longer. I find the process meditative. Sort of like grinding coffee. They are just little ways to slow my tempo to where I crave it to be.

 

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How is your own life tempo? Are you traveling at a speed comfortable for you?

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I’ve been feeling the need to update my post on whole wheat sourdough bread, mainly because baking with sourdough is far, far easier than the recipe I left there. And now that I’ve been at it for several years, I’ve also gotten to a nice rotation in juggling multiple sourdough starters. I get most of my starters from Sourdoughs International, and I’ve been very pleased. Each one has a different personality, a different flavor, and even a different scent! Some work really well with heavy whole wheat (such as the Russian or Polish Rye), and others work better for white or wheat/white mixed breads (such as the French or Italian). Some ferment and rise very quickly, within a few hours, and some take all day.

 

I realize that *real* bakers weigh their ingredients, but I’ve really enjoyed just following the recipes in Classic Sourdoughs (also available via Amazon). Furthermore, I really like just eyeballing the flour and water mixture for consistency, and I learned that through the book, too. I almost never use baker’s yeast anymore at all, and when I do, it’s always kind of a bummer I didn’t have my starter ready.

 

I keep all of my starters in the fridge. I’ve kept and rotated four at a time for a while, but I got kind of bored and dehydrated a couple. After a nice long baking sabbatical, I added a Polish Rye to the group, and currently I am keeping and rotating three (one Italian and a French, along with the Rye). At the ready for rehydrating when I’d like are a Russian, another Italian, an Alaskan and a South African. I love having so much variety in my baked goods at home! The nutritional value AND the money savings are bonus!

 

This is how I rotate my starters; all of these pictures were taken on one single morning.

 

When I remove a starter from the fridge, it looks like this. It’s probably been a week or two since I’ve used this starter. The separation is normal. I will pour this entire jar into a ceramic bowl, and then “feed” it with some flour and water. I eyeball both measurements, taking care to keep my flour just less than half of how much starter there is, and then slowly whisking in water until I get that pancake consistency. I love using my Danish dough whisk for this, but I did use a large fork for a long time. I cover the bowl and put it aside. I’ll be feeding it again in the evening (second feeding) and a third time the following morning. That following evening is when I will put a dough of something together, to let it rise overnight.

 

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This is a bowl of starter I had begun the day before.  All I have to do here is feed it, again just eyeballing it and let it sit until evening. If I forget or choose not to make dough that evening, I simply hold it over until morning for pancakes or waffles or pizza dough or even chocolate cake. YUM. And I really, really, really try not to forget to SAVE STARTER BEFORE MIXING DOUGH. The saved starter (back into a fresh mason jar) gets a little feed and goes back into the fridge until its turn to play is again up.

 

By the way, the best way to not lose starter is to share with friends ;)

 

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Lastly, I have a bowl of dough mixed from the night before, risen and ready to be scraped out onto the counter to rest for a half hour. Then I put my dough into loaf pans and let it rise until its good and ready to throw into the oven. Depending on the starter, this could be just 2 hours, or 8-10! This happened to be my Polish Rye (a slow riser), and I made a couple of loaves of whole wheat raisin bread. I baked them that afternoon and we had seriously crazy yummo sourdough rye raisin bread to toast for our breakfast the next morning.

 

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I suppose the last photo ought to be the finished bread, crumbs and melted butter on a sweet plate dappled by sunlight. But we ate it all before I bothered to take any photos that would make you drool :)

I don’t really plan ahead what I’m going to bake.  Typically, I just pull out the next starter and consider what kind of breads would be good with that one. Sometimes I just don’t bake anything at all for days. And when I do bake, it’s in small batches. Gone are my days of pulling out half a dozen yeast breads at a time. Sourdough breads are not only delicious, but they are far more filling.

 

Juggling multiple sourdough starters isn’t really difficult. It’s just like anything else, simply a learning curve to get around.

 

Blessings,

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Dehydrating Sourdough Starter

May 13, 2013

UPDATE (4-16-14): This process is very, very easy, but I did not have success rehydrating the starter. You can read about my efforts here. I still plan to dehydrate, but I will be doing more research on resurrecting it, too. Please feel free to share your thoughts on either post!   ***   I rarely […]

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Mocha Without the Machine

April 21, 2012

I have no regrets selling my espresso machine.  It was expensive, it took up counter space, it took care, it demanded to be used, and it was just one more thing I needed to plug in and maintain.  I’ve been ruthless in decluttering my house and I know I’m not finished yet!  But I do […]

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Hot Cereal For Breakfast

January 25, 2012

Seeing as boxed cereals from the market (even the “natural” ones) are about the worst thing we can eat ever eat, much less serve our children, I thought I’d share an easy hot cereal recipe.  I generally use whatever I have on hand, and some of the ingredients are probably not the “best”, much less […]

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Natural Face and Skin Cream, Part Two

January 12, 2012

Well, I was so excited about the fabulous cream I made last night that I wanted to share it with you pronto!  And then….something was nagging at me….like….didn’t I blog about that before? YEP.  You can read how I did it here.  So I guess that makes this post “Part Two”. But…seeing as how I […]

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Healthy, Quick, Easy Schoolday Lunches

September 14, 2011

Update:  Today (Wednesday), we had leftover cabbage slaw (made w/cilantro and homemade mayo), tossed with leftover chicken (our own!) and mozzarella cheese, topped with crunched saltine crackers and onion bits.  It was delish! It is really difficult for me to craft a new lunch every day because, face it, lunch is in the middle of […]

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Spring Food

May 31, 2011

I can tell you that my second go at this post is going to be a whole lot shorter, what with Blogger losing the first time I wrote this up.  It was a good reminder that everything I do here is as the air that blows by, nothing will keep. What I wanted to share […]

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Homemade Green Mix

March 24, 2011

I was inspired to put together my own family’s green mix after watching one of the homesteading videos in which they did the same. Her mix was far larger than mine (and also I assume way more costly) and I didn’t want to end up with more than we would use within the year, so […]

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

January 13, 2011

No oil. No yeast. No honey. No extra gluten, vitamin C, or extra white flour. Just bread. Simple bread with whole wheat, water, salt…and starter. I’m very, very happy with my new kitchen passion: whole wheat, sourdough bread. The flavor is amazing. The health benefits are incredible. And the process is slow. Slow, to me, […]

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Fast Food: How to Feed People on the Quick!

January 3, 2011
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Have you ever had meal preparation time delayed? Or last minute unexpected visitors to feed? Listen in as we delve into the challenges, discover some new ideas of how to prepare for this inevitable hurdle in the kitchen, and what sorts of snacks and meals can be easily put together with just a few raw ingredients. You don't have to send people away from your home hungry!

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Hours in the Kitchen?

December 2, 2010

I recently read a comment about how preparing and eating healthy food sounds like a good idea, but this particular person didn’t want to spend “hours in the kitchen”. I do find it curious that activities such as cooking (and exercise for that matter) that foster good health typically have a bit of dread involved, […]

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Hot Dog Buns: First and Last Time?

November 11, 2010

Well, I was pretty satisfied making these hot dog buns (for the first time!) because I had already figured out hamburger buns. I basically made the dough, stretched them long, and grilled it on both sides (rather than baking). You can google “make hot dog buns” for lots of different recipes. Then I cut the […]

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What’s in Your Pantry?

August 8, 2010
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What's in the pantry matters! You do have control over the food you provide and prepare for your family. Learn to create a health-promoting, wholesome kitchen, learn to cook from scratch, and learn to take control of your families bodily AND financial health. It really matters!

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Homemade Seasonings 2010

July 17, 2010

It’s harvest time, for whatever there is to actually harvest this year. We’re enjoying salad from the garden, at least. One of the things I enjoy doing is drying the seasonings I want to use in the kitchen throughout the year, but it is a little bittersweet. Is it too much to ask that someone […]

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

July 3, 2010

It may not look like summer outside. We may keep on eating warm lentil soups and crockpot casseroles. Sweaters are still within reach. But……I am still going to make PIES. That is one of my *summery* things, and I’m stickin’ to it. We harvested some rhubarb from the garden but the strawberries are sad little […]

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Marshmallows

March 17, 2010

The more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I figure out that a lot of the foods I buy at the market are overpriced, tasteless, and full of stuff I don’t want in my body. I couldn’t believe it the first time I figured out how to bake bread. The loaves coming out […]

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Herbes de Provence

January 27, 2010

I was following a crockpot recipe from a cookbook written by a fellow blogger when I came across an ingredient I didn’t have on hand: herbes de provence. I used to have available to me every spice and seasoning available (or so it seemed), but over the years I’ve weeded out the ones I hardly […]

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