This is a great fresh jam to eat fresh. It also freezes well, so is a good freezer jam. Since the berries are not cooked and there's not enough sugar to help preserve it, its fridge life is fairly short. If you're keeping it in the fridge, try to use it within about a week. If left too long, it will get moldy (you'll know if it does!) But it's SO GOOD fresh! My eight-year-old made a batch two nights ago; we ran out yesterday. I made another batch this morning, and between spreading it on our pancakes at breakfast, and using it on warm bread this afternoon, it's gone again!
Pectin-free Strawberry Freezer Jam
1 pound strawberries, washed and hulled (green parts pulled off)
2 Tbsp. honey (or to taste; use any sweetener you prefer)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds, OR 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
Mash the berries with a fork, or chop in a blender until they're the consistency you want. Stir in the honey (or other sweetener) and the chia.
After this sits for about half an hour, the chia (or flax) will gel as they absorb the extra liquid. Keep refrigerated or frozen.
Makes about 2 1/4 cups.
Come to think of it, a drop or two of orange essential oil would be really, really goo
We have a favorite salad... at a local place called Zupas. I found a recipe online that a lady had tweaked a little, and I've tweaked it a little more! The original salad uses strawberries where I used blackberries, but I used what I had: blueberries and blackberries were $.99/cup at NPS
Sometimes DollarTree has frozen mango chunks, 12 ounces for a dollar. The trick is to visit the store within a week of when they get their monthly frozen shipment.Mango Berry SaladSalad
8-10 cups greens (I used green leaf lettuce)
1-2 cups chopped fresh strawberries (or other slightly sour berry)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 fresh mango, cubed, or 1 cup frozen mango, diced and mostly thawed
1/3 cup cinnamon honey nuts
Combine in a large bowl in the order given.Creamy Mango Dressing:
1/2 c.Greek yogurt* (plain or something mild like vanilla)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 fresh mango, pitted and peeled, or 1 cup frozen mango, mostly thawed
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine in a blender until smooth. If too tart, sweeten with a little honey. Makes about 1-1/4 cups. Drizzle about 1/2 cup over salad; toss to coat. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side, or save the rest for another day .
*for a dairy-free option, use coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut, which is sweetened)
These are delicious in a green salad with sour berries or salty cheese, or just by themselves.
My grandmother has six beautiful pecan trees, ones she and my grandpa planted when my dad was a little boy. When they visited recently, they brought a bagful of their shelled, fresh pecans for each of their adult grandchildren. A treasure. Pecans are my favorite nut; it might be because of the memories of the Christmastime harvest: my dad and uncles high in the pecan trees, shaking the branches while we grandchildren stuffed the fallen nuts into bags. We'd sit around Grandma's big dining room table with some of those nuts and a nut cracker, talking, laughing, and eating those moist, mild nuts. The bulk of the nuts, though, got hauled over to the local nut company, where they machine-shelled them for a fee. A while later Grandma would pick up a now-shrunken bag of the best nuts in the world!
I used pecans in this, but any nut may be used.Cinnamon Honey Pecans
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. water
dash of salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. pecans (a good handful)
Put the honey, water, salt and cinnamon in a small nonstick frying pan. Turn heat on to medium-high. Stir until reasonably mixed. Add pecans and stir until the nuts are coated. Heat, stirring often, until nuts first become dry, then begin to smell a little toasty.
This takes somewhere around 5 minutes but can be more or less, depending on how hot your burner gets and how cold the nuts were. (I keep mine in the freezer, so mine always take on the longer side to toast.) If in doubt, take a nut out, blow on it a bit, and eat it. If it has a little bit of crispness to it and tastes delicious, they're done! Remove from heat. Cool completely before adding to a green salad.
These are a perfect ingredient in Mango Berry Salad
I've been neighbors with a few Brazilians; they have been warm, kind people who have a strong affinity for desserts made with cooked sweetened condensed milk, or 'dulce de leche'. There's a plum-caramel filling for cakes, another cake filling made with crushed pineapple and the caramel, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
One Christmas my Brazilian neighbor Celia brought over a plate of these creamy, sugar-coated dulce de leche balls. When I next saw her, I asked for the recipe and what they were called. She shrugged her shoulders, then said, "little bears, I guess". This is a simplified version of hers, which contained strained egg yolks and 'crema media' (half-and-half), but the results are just as delicious. Best of all, these are cooked and ready to shape within ten minutes of starting!
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
unsweetened cocoa powder
about 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
Pour the sweetened condensed milk in an ungreased, very large microwave-safe bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap to help avoid boilovers: this boils much higher than you would expect!, Microwave it for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes. Stir, scraping sides down. Repeat in 2-minute intervals for a total of either 6 or 8 minutes, stirring every two minutes. It should thicken and darken some. To see if it has cooked enough, drop a little in a cupful of icy water, then pull out after about five seconds. However hard it gets is how hard it will be when completely cool. It needs to be able to hold its shape. Put the sugar in a cereal bowl and set aside.
With buttered hands, pinch off a bit and roll in a ball, about 3/4" across.To get the brown side, drop into unsweetened cocoa powder, then pick it up and drop it into the sugar. After you have a few in there, roll or toss to coat, then set on another dish.
Makes 30-36 balls, about 3/4" each.
Do you have wheat stored, but haven't been able or willing to spend $250 on a grain mill? Have you wondered if there's a way to make bread with it anyhow? THERE IS! This bread is moist, tender, with a good crumb and impressive natural gluten strength. The overnight soak is the magic trick here: as the mash sits, enzymes break down proteins and allow gluten to begin forming on its own, enzymes break down starches into sugars for flavor and to feed the yeast you add the next day, and the soaking lets the little hard bits of wheat soften up, leaving no trace of grittiness or graininess. You will not need to add dough enhancer, Vitamin C, vinegar, vital wheat gluten, or any thing else to get great !
If you use the 2 1/2 c of wheat kernels, the bread ends up about 2/3 whole wheat; if you use a high-speed blender (like BlendTec or Vitamix) , you can use 3 cups and end up with bread that is 85% whole wheat.
Blender Wheat Bread
2 1/3 cups (17 oz) wheat kernels (65% ) OR 3 cups- 22oz , if using a Vitamix
2 1/2 cups water
Combine in blender; mix on high speed for two minutes. If it seems too hard on your motor, add 2 Tbsp. water. Let the mash soak, covered and at room temperature, 8 hours or overnight. After soaking, add:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (11 oz)
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. honey
4 ½ tsp. yeast (1 ½ Tbsp. or 2 envelopes)
1/4 c. hottest tap water (no hotter than 130 F)
Knead for five minutes, dough should be just thick enough to clean the bowl's sides. Add flour if needed, but the dough should be tacky and very soft. It’s had enough kneading when it passes the windowpane test. (See slide show.) Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Coat two 8x4 loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Pour ½ cup water on the oven floor (avoid the heating element!). Turn the oven on 350 degrees for ONE MINUTE to warm it, then turn heat off. Divide dough in half. With wet hands, shape each loaf and place in a pan. Place pans in the warmed oven. When the top of the loaf has risen about ½” above the edge of the pan (around 30-40 minutes later), remove from oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When oven is hot and dough has risen to about ¾” above the rim, bake loaves for 20-25 minutes, until the sides are browned. Remove from pans; cool on a rack at least 20 minutes before slicing.
If using a high -speed blender, use 3 cups of wheat kernels in the mash. When adding flour the next day, use 1 1/2 cups flour instead of the 2 1/2 cups.
How long can a soaker sit? It’s best right around 8-12 hours up to 24 hrs. If you need to have it go longer, refrigerate it from the beginning to slow down enzyme activity.
How high does the ideal proof go? (3/4”) Does the poke test work? Yes if you use a wet finger or have let it rise uncovered.
How smooth can I get the puree in a blender, and does it matter much? It doesn’t need to be super smooth with this method; soaking eliminates any hard bits.
How long does it take to rise without a warm oven? Depends on your kitchen temperature, but around 1 hour.
Is the 20 minute autolyze necessary for flavor or texture? It’s OK without it, but rises better and tastes a little nicer (sweeter) with it.
How many minutes does it need to rise in the oven? About 30-40.
How long does it really take to bake at 400? This depends on whether your loaves are identical in size, where any hot spots are in your oven, and how accurate its thermometer is. My evenly-sized loaves took 21 min.
I have the HARDEST time finding bouillon that doesn't contain MSG. Here's a solution: no MSG, no fillers, no preservatives. Only what you choose to put in it.
This recipe was adapted from Traci's Transformational Health Principles
by Traci J. Sellers Vegetable Broth Powder
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Nutritional Yeast (to make your own, see here
1/4 cup RealSalt (or Himalayan salt; something with those trace minerals)
1 Tbsp. onion powder (see how to make your own, here
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. marjoram or oregano, optional
1 tsp. dried lemon peel, optional
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
Put everything except parsley in a blender or food processor, in the order given. Blend until
powdered. Add parsley, pulse just enough to chop it a little bit (you're aiming for small bits). Store in an airtight container indefinitely.
To use, add a heaping 1/2 tsp. per cup of water, or 1 Tbsp. of powder for every quart of water.
We discovered roasting vegetables about three years ago. Now when I buy broccoli or cauliflower, they are almost always served roasted. Even my kids who "don't prefer" (the PC term at our table) broccoli, like it roasted.
Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken - serves 6-8
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cooked chicken
Preheat oven to 475, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position about 20 minutes. Put the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Roast about 20 minutes, stirring once about after about 15 minutes. Cauliflower is done when parts of it turn a deep golden brown. Stir in the chicken .
We ate this with rice and chicken gravy (see below) on the side; conveniently enough, it also takes about the same amount of time to cook. If you start the rice first, then cut up the cauliflower, the rice should be done about the same time if you're using regular white rice and cooking on a stove top.
Since I didn't have any leftover chicken, I put 1 lb of chicken in my pressure cooker along with two medium-small onions (or use one med-large) and about 1/2 tsp. salt. My pressure cooker does not lose water when it cooks, so I didn't add any. (If your pressure cooker does, please add water! Probably 1/2 cup, as the chicken and onions release moisture as they cook.) It was done after 15 minutes of high pressure.
Clear Chicken Gravy
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup juices from cooking the chicken and onion
In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, stir together the water and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in a little of the cooking juices, then stir in enough that you have 1 cup total. Microwave for 1 minute; stir. If it hasn't thickened yet, microwave another minute and stir again. Add salt if needed. (Mine didn't need it.)
photo: Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever run across a recipe calling for nutritional yeast and you didn't have any? Maybe didn't even have access to some? Or maybe you attempted to make a batch of bread and the yeast wasn't working anymore?
Too bad I didn't know, a month ago, what I'm about to tell you. I threw away an entire pound package of baking yeast (Saccharoymyces cerevisiae
) because it wasn't raising my dough. Sad.
First of all, what IS nutritional yeast? It's deactivated yeast, frequently the strain used is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Totally dead yeast. Usually it is cultured in something sweet for a few days, then heated to deactivate it. It adds a nutty, savory, almost meat-y depth of flavor to recipes. (The term is 'umami'). It also contains B vitamins and is a complete protein.
I've been studying a new (to me) breadmaking book (more on that later!), and in it, the author, Peter Reinhart, gives instructions for making your own nutritional yeast: Put 1/4 c. active dry yeast in a hot skillet. Toast over med-hi heat until it turns a medium shade of brown.
Now, was my dysfunctional pound of yeast ready to be used as nutritional yeast without toasting? No. It was only partly dead. Or maybe 'mostly dead', to quote a favorite movie. But it needs to be totally dead before you consume it. Besides that, toasting brings out flavor.
Ways to use nutritional yeast:
- as a topping on popcorn
- sprinkle on top of things in place of cheese
- mix into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs in place of cheese
- add to soups or white sauces to improve flavor (the flavor acts similar to adding bouillon or broth)
- use in this recipe for dairy-free buttery spread
- sprinkle on top of homemade crackers or breadsticks before baking
- make your own vegetable broth recipe, on this post. Tastes like chicken. :)
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
It seems that most of us translate this statement as "cleanliness is a form of godliness".
Well, maybe. Maybe not.
1. Freedom from dirt, filth, or any foul, extraneous matter.
2. Neatness of person or dress; purity.
(1828 Noah Webster's Dictionary)
Cleanliness and order can be synonymous, and 'order' can be defined as 'priorities'. Proper priorities are definitely a form of godliness: sometimes 'proper priorities' means leaving a mess behind so I can focus on my children, or my neighbors, or my husband (not necessarily in that order). And usually proper priorities means cleaning the SLOW way by teaching my children to do it. It's easier, and cleaner much sooner, if I do it myself, but one of my God-given jobs is to train them.
In other words, I often have to choose between being godly and having cleanliness; and
We're in the transition between the celebration of Christmas and the reevaluation of a new year; here's some of what I've been thinking about.
We just don't know all the long-term effects of our actions... but he does; he who knows the end from the beginning. He tells us
, My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee, and "I am God, and there is none like me,
from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isaiah 46:9-10
I know that God has directed my paths, that I benefit most from this when I pay attention and listen for his counsel and direction. I'm grateful for the struggles and learning he's helped me through; they prepare me to become more like he is, and to better serve him and his children.