Category Archives: Recipes

Disclaimer

A collective of recipes gathered from family, friends, classes, and research…
Many of these recipes I am testing for the first time and will be noting any “ahha” moments or “fails” in the process…
I will also note what specifically I used that was listed as organic or non-GMO/GE.
Some recipes are original, giving reference to its creator or where I discovered it. Some recipes are my own modified creations…
Recipes will be categorized according to season or ingredient…
I welcome suggestions and versions of your own!

From my kitchen to your tummies… happy eating!!!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Curd
Yield: 1 Pint Jar Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients – Equipment Needed
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3/4 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
6 to 7 tablespoons cold butter
1 sauce pan OR double boiler
whisk
sift / strainer
juicer (optional, just your hands works well too!)
zester / micro plane

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Step 1: zest one lemon, roughly a tablespoon worth of zest, set aside. Juice lemons, strain pulp, and set aside.

Step 2: Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Reserve egg whites for another recipe* Add egg yolks and one whole egg to sauce pan or double boiler**. Add in lemon juice, sugar, zest, and whisk till incorporated. Now turn on your heat low, keep whisking…

* Side note – saving eggs: Separated eggs can be frozen easily and stored in a freezer sealed bag for at least six months to a year. In my instance, I have backyard chickens and have an abundance of eggs, so in order to not waste, I separate them, and freeze. This recipe is made with frozen eggs.

** Side note – double boiler vs stand alone sauce pan: this is based on your comfort level of cooking eggs to ensure you don’t turn your yolks to scramble. The double boiler keeps the liquid eggs from the direct heat, allowing you more flexibility when whisking to not develop scrambled eggs. If you do not have a double boiler, you’re still good… just keep the temp very low, and don’t stop whisking. Worse case, get out that fine mesh strainer and run your curd through to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking.

Step 3: one by one add in a tablespoon of butter. Whisk till incorporated and add another, one at a time. Keep whisking. At this time, get a small metal spoon and take a dip. Time to taste test before the curd comes together. Not sweet enough, add a teaspoon or more of sugar and keep whisking… keep whisking… and watch the magic start to happen.

Step 4: after 15 + minutes of whisking you will see your curd start to thicken. Keep in mind, once you turn off the heat the curd will continue to cook and continue to thicken. When you’re able to form soft peaks with your curd you are ready to turn off the heat and set aside. Once cooled, transfer your curd to a pint jar with sealing lid. If you’re concerned with lumps, run your curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps formed during cooking.

Storage: half pint and pint jars by Ball or Kerr freeze extremely well and this recipe will freeze incredibly well for at least 6 months. Its consistency remains in tact even after freezing. Store in the fridge in a sealed pint jar for up to a week… if it lasts that long.

ENJOY!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Serving Suggestion: we enjoyed a dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd this morning atop my homemade french toast and berry sauce… everything from scratch… bread, berry sauce, & lemon curd!

Egg Breakfast Cups

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Bacon & Kale Cheesy Egg Cups – Part of a Successful Weekly Meal Plan
Yield: 12 individual egg cups Temp: 325° (f) Cooking Time: 25 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes  

Ingredients – Equipment Needed
undefined 1 head kale, chopped
undefined 5+ strips bacon, cut/crisped (save some bacon grease for cooking the kale)
undefined 12-14 eggs, medium to large
undefined ½ cup combined, shredded Parmesan & mozzarella cheese
undefined Kosher salt/pepper to taste
undefined 12 pan muffin tin
undefined Parchment paper or cupcake liners
undefined Skillet
undefined Canning funnel

Step 1: Preheat oven to 325° (f) and prep the muffin tin with liners. Set aside. My best advice for still intact, non stick egg cups is to use parchment paper by making your own muffin tin liners or purchasing liners that are specifically made from parchment paper. Making your own is super simple and here is a really quick cool video I found on the interwebs by Cooking with Manuela on how to make your own. If making your own is not your thing, I use these from Paperchef all the time and I 100% swear by them *not a paid ad

Step 2: Dice bacon and crisp in a pan. I use a cast iron skillet, but any pan will do. Make sure to drain the fat (but save it!!) while cooking to ensure a good crisp on the bacon. Once crisp, remove from pan and set aside.

Bacon rendering in a cast iron skillet.

Step 3: Wash, dry, and remove kale from stems. Chop and place in skillet with a tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat. You can omit and use olive oil or any oil of your choosing. Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Saute until desired wilt or crispness has been achieved, add back bacon and toss for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4: Crack and whisk eggs with kosher salt and pepper. Set aside. Fill each muffin tin with a tablespoon of bacon kale mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese mixture on top.

Step 5: If you have a canning funnel, I would totally use it because it will help to eliminate any drips or spills, which in turn makes egg cup removal from the muffin tins a bit tedious… the funnel helps keep everything in the cup where it needs to be. If not, use a large spoon or ladle and fill each muffin tin ¾ full.

Step 6: place in a 325° (f) preheated oven for 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately or do as I do and store in airtight containers in the fridge for your meal planning win during the week.

Additional Ingredient Options: Here are some additional examples of breakfast egg cup variations I’ve made this year:
undefined Broccoli, bacon & goat cheese
undefined Kale, sweet peppers, & cheddar cheese
undefined Sweet peppers, zucchini, sausage & Parmesan cheese

A Note About The Ingredients I Use:
The eggs in this recipe and all recipes I create are made from the chickens I raise. They are fed organic feed in addition to all of the organic produce scraps from my kitchen and all that nature has to provide for them in my pasture. All other ingredients I do my very best to source locally if it does not come direct from my homestead (i.e. the produce & meats) as well as organic and non-gmo options. These recipes do not need to be local & organic but this is what I chose to do for my family.

The Story: I’m a fulltime remote employee for a global tech giant, I wrangle two very active boys and husband daily. The dog needs walking & the chickens need food. The land needs tending and there are only so many hours in a day, then you need to eat. This year I’ve decided to reinstate meal planning and meal preparation. Egg cups – the first installment of that plan. I’m typically (when Covid-19 doesn’t have us stuck at home) on the go, tacking on 120+ miles a day in the car in addition to meetings, kids activities, tending to the homestead, trying to stay physically fit and all the things life has to offer. In my back to basics journey I’ve made deep strides to improve the health in my life and I don’t want to hinder the progress by eating crap on the fly. Having good for you, fueling meals ready on the go is key for success in my day to day. This recipe makes 12 egg cups for me for the week. I warm up 2 egg cups a day from Monday through Saturday for my breakfast. Sundays are left for meal planning and meal prepping. I’ll be 100% honest, these are best the moment they come out of the oven and look a little sad on day two, but the taste is still delightful and fills me up on the go. So, here’s to your meal planning success, Egg Cups!

Banana Bread Muffins

According to the interwebs, banana bread was one of the top icons of the recent quarantine. Everyone and their grandmother has been baking like their lives depend on it and banana bread was at the top of the list. This is not your grandmother’s quarantine banana bread. These are fluffy, moist and quite chocolaty. A perfect mobile breakfast for the meal planning guru’s arsenal, easily adjusted to be gluten free using a 1:1 baking flour, and really the only way I’ll enjoy banana anything… muffins!

Chocolate chip or double chocolate with deep rich red dutch cocoa, better than grandma’s. If my grandmother heard me say this… she might agree! This recipe is hers, with a twist.

As it relates to a meal planner’s arsenal, these muffins store well in the fridge or freezer and easily warm up in the oven or microwave oven for a good meal “on the go”. During what I refer to as meal prepping Sundays, I make at least a dozen and this will satisfy breakfast for my little boys for the entire week.

So don’t let those bananas go to waste on your counter top. If anything *pro-tip*, peel, cut in half, freeze on a cookie sheet, and then transfer to a freezer sealed bag to use for future smoothie material. OK, I’ll enjoy banana two ways… but for now… muffins!!

Banana Bread Muffins
350 (f) degrees / 25 – 30 minutes baking time / 10-15 minute prep time
Yield One Dozen (12) Muffins

3 Medium Ripe Bananas
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Spice (combination of cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg)
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
2 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (or as many as you like!)

For Double Chocolate Chip Make the Following Ingredient Adjustments
Add 1/4 Cup Red Dutch Cocoa Powder
Reduce All-Purpose Flour to 2 Cups only


For Gluten Free Make the Following Ingredient Adjustments
Replace All-Purpose Flour with 2 1/4 Cups of 1:1 Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour

STEP 1:
Pre-heat oven to 350 (f) degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. Set aside.

STEP 2:
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment mix bananas, vanilla, sugars, spice, baking soda and baking powder. Once fully blended and fluffy, whisk in melted butter. Once incorporated, change the whisk attachment to the mixing attachment to fold in the flour (& cocoa powder if making the double chocolate variation) and chocolate chips.

If no stand mixer is available, start by mashing the bananas and sugar together with a fork or potato masher, then with a hand whisk or handheld mixer whisk in vanilla, spice, baking soda and baking powder. Once fully blended and fluffy, whisk in melted butter. Once incorporated, use a spatula and fold in flour (& cocoa powder if making the double chocolate variation) and chocolate chips.

Your batter should be thick and not able to easily fall from the spoon.

Why add the soda & powder to the wet ingredients & not the dry like every recipe on the interwebs??? I’ve found that by whisking the soda & powder with the wet ingredients, it helps to create a fluffier texture. This is why I recommend folding (do not over mix) your flours into the wet to avoid breaking down the fluff you’ve just created. I’m no scientist but baking is a science and to test & experiment is to find new improved ways to do things!

STEP 3:
Fill each cupcake liner to the brim. Don’t overflow but fill them to the top. Place the filled muffin tin in a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick to ensure a clean removal & your muffins are done and ready to consume.

STORAGE:
Stores well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or in a freezer bag for a few months. Heat up on the go in the oven or the microwave for a few minutes. Perfect with your morning beverage to go!

Enjoy!!

Simple Country White Bread

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

I first started making bread eight years ago. I was trying to save money and cut out all of the crap in our daily consumption. The original recipe was quite tasty but there were too many ingredients involved for me to consider it cost saving. Plus, a simple tasty slice of bread is made from just a few simple ingredients.

Simple country white bread consists of flour, yeast, water, honey, and flax seed or chia seeds. I add the seeds for protein and omegas. The seeds are 100% optional and not needed to get a great fluffy loaf of bread. I store our loaf in an airtight container in a cool location. The loaf will last the week for the oldest’s sandwiches for lunch or honey toast for my youngest for breakfast. Any leftovers get turned into french toast at the end of the week!

SIMPLE COUNTRY WHITE BREAD

350 (f) degrees / 38 minutes / yield avg. 12-14 slices

  • 3 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup organic chia or flax seeds *optional
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw local honey

STEP 1: In a bowl combine yeast, honey, and warm water. Note, not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Set aside and let activate. You’ll have a layer of foam when you know the yeast has bloomed.

STEP 2: Once the yeast has bloomed add flour, seeds (*optional), salt, and olive oil. Mix. You can use a stand mixer with bread attachment or the best tools you have in the kitchen… your hands. Mix until combined and kneed for a couple of minutes. Add flour if it is too sticky. Once combined, set aside in the bowl, covered with a dish towel in a warm location. Let rise or double in size.

STEP 3: Prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper. Once the dough has doubled in size, kneed out the air for a couple of minutes, shaping to your desired loaf pan. Cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm location to double in size.

STEP 4: Preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees. Once doubled in size, sprinkle the top of the loaf with some warm water and place in preheated oven for 38 minutes. When finished, remove from oven and loaf pan and place on a wire rack to cool.

STEP 5: Store in an airtight container in dark cool location for up to a week. ENJOY!

Granola Bars

“Before I had kids, I didn’t even know it was possible to destroy an entire house with a granola bar.” – Twitter Quote

I will be revisiting all of the recipes presented on this site, as well as sharing new ones. The first recipe I’ll be revisiting is my infamous granola bars!

When I first wrote this recipe, I was starting a new journey, looking deeper into the food I ate and attempting to make better decisions on what my family consumed. Looking back on the recipe, what seems to be healthy on the outside may not always be healthy on the inside. I chuckle because I had added extra brown sugar in the recipe that really doesn’t need to be there.

Now don’t get me wrong, the original recipe is still very tasty but I decided to remove the brown sugar and make some other adjustments to reduce the amount of sugar we were consuming in our day to day lives. These bars are quick & easy to make and quite versatile. I make a batch weekly for my boys. The granola bars are better than ever and according to my oldest son, should be famous!

GRANOLA BARS

350 (f) degrees / 25 minutes / yield avg. two dozen bars / Prep Time: 15 mins / Bake Time: 25 mins / Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 4 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup organic flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, melted (*can sub coconut oil)
  • 1 cup organic dried fruit, chopped
  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey
  • 1/2 cup organic semi sweet chocolate chips (*can sub cacao nibs)
  • 9 x 13 pan
  • sheet of parchment paper

Step 1 – preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees. In a large bowl combine oats, seeds, and chopped dried fruit. Mix well.

Step 2 – fine chop dried fruit of choice. You can really use any kind you like. In my recipe I use 1/2 cup dried chopped cranberries and 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots. Add to the bowl and mix.

Step 3 – add melted butter and mix to ensure all ingredients are coated.

Step 4 – add peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. Make sure to mix well so all ingredients are well incorporated.

Step 5 – line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Press your granola mixture into the pan, making sure you have an even spread across the pan.

Step 5.a optional – this is where you can get creative. I don’t add this to the ingredient list above but you have the option to add an extra layer of peanut butter to the top of the granola mixture or chocolate chips. When the granola’s are done baking, you would use a spatula knife and spread the layer of chocolate thin to cool and harden. The layer of peanut butter needs no attention after baking

Step 6 – place in preheated 350(f) degree oven for 25 minutes. When finished, place on wrack to cool. Pro tip – once the tray has cooled, place the tray in the refrigerator for an  hour to make cutting your bars less sticky and more uniform. Once cooled you can cut your bars to desired size. I typically cut the bars 4 inches in length which yields me up to 24 bars. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to a week… If they last that long 🙂

ENJOY!

PS: this recipe is quite versatile and simple to adjust. Don’t want chocolate chips, keep them out. Ingredients not coming together well enough, add more peanut butter or honey. Too sticky, add more oats. Substitute butter for coconut oil. Add any dried fruit of your desire. Add more nuts, chopped up walnuts or almonds or sunflower seeds. The possibilities are endless… have fun and enjoy!

Graham Bars

Graham Bars

When I was a kid sweets were not a frequent part of our household unless it was the holidays or a birthday. I spent a majority of my after school afternoons at my grandmother’s house waiting for my mom to get off work. The snacks Grandma kept for my afternoon stays were basic; cheese, nuts, fruit, and the occasional package of fig newtons. Needless to say I consumed a lot of fig newton’s given they were the only semi-sweet treat in the house.

Fast forward many years later. I still carried a love of fig newton’s but given our change in food habits, store bought fig newtons didn’t fit into our food lifestyle. Fig newtons were, in our minds, filled with over processed unknown not good for you ingredients. I didn’t think much of making my own fig newton’s until we moved to a property that had a fig tree. Upon having more figs than I knew what to do with (besides sharing with friends) my first attempt in cooking with figs was a pear and fig tart.Graham Bars

Graham Bars Although it was a tasty option I needed to find more recipes to use up the figs… fig jam seemed like the logical next step. The hubs did not approve. He was not a fan. The jam was not a flavor we were used to. It was a simple recipe of orange juice, sugar, pectin, and of course figs. Now here I sit with an abundance of fig jam and nothing to do with it. Then nostalgia set in and my memory of fig newton’s flooded back. Why couldn’t I try? I could use the fig jam as the filling!!

The crust or cookie outer layer of the newton was not as easy to figure out. Most of the recipes I came across were more like a shortbread than a soft cookie. I made a batch. They were OK but I gave up after one attempt. I like shortbread but as a healthy snack it didn’t fit; too much butter, sugar and not much else.

We eventually moved and said goodbye to the fig tree. I took with us several jars of fig jam that I had canned from the previous season. What was I going to do with this jam? I couldn’t waste it. I had to figure something out. Then it hit me; my graham cracker recipe! It was the perfect cookie consistency and something I felt good about making more than once a month. I got to work and made our first batch.

The result was fantastic! I finally did it… fig newtons, graham style… I made graham bars! The hubs and kiddo approved!Graham Bars

I was finally able to use up the last of the jars of fig jam by way of the graham bars but now what was I to do. I no longer had easy access to figs. The logical next step was to use different fillings. Why not get wild with our graham bars…Graham Bars

We made apple…Graham Bars

and blueberry…Graham Bars

Blueberry monster faces of my niece and kiddo… who says kids can’t enjoy a healthy snack and still have fun…Graham Bars

and my favorite… apricot graham bars… all from local organic fruits in our community.Graham Bars

The graham bars are now a go-to in my snack arsenal for the kiddo. You can use any preserve, store bought or homemade. I choose to thicken up my filling by adding in a couple tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin. The blueberry filling didn’t need it because of its already natural heavy pectin content but the apricot needed some thickening. For purposes of this recipe I will reference the apricot but you can use any fruit preserve of your liking, with or without the gelatin added (just skip this step in the recipe and go straight to spreading out on the graham dough).

So here’s to bringing back childhood memories… with a twist… fig newtons graham style… Graham Bars… enjoy!!

 

Graham Bars

350 (f) degrees for 25-30 minutes / 30+ graham bars depending on cut size

Graham Cracker Recipe

1 Pint Favorite Fruit Preserves (we’ll use apricot in this recipe)

2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (optional)

 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees

Step 2: Prepare a deep edge cookie sheet tray with parchment paper

Step 3: In a sauce pan whisk in 2 tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin with your favorite preserves (in this recipe we’re using my homemade apricot jam made with local organic apricots, spice, lemon juice and pectin). After well mixed, remove from heat and set aside to cool.Graham Bars

Step 4: Follow the instructions to make graham cracker dough here: Graham Cracker Recipe. Once you get to the rolling portion of this recipe move on to step 5 below.

Step 5: Cut your ball of chilled graham cracker dough in half. You’ll roll each half separately. Roll your dough in the shape of a rectangle, roughly a quarter inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to your parchment paper lined cookie tray. The dough will be delicate so be prepared for breakage. It doesn’t have to be perfect… if it breaks, just press the dough back together! Now take your cooled preserves and spread a thin layer over the entire rectangle leaving a quarter inch space around all edges.Graham Bars

Step 6: Now carefully fold each side half way making sure the final fold overlaps the first fold. Press the ends together to keep the preserves from oosing out during cooking. Repeat step 5 and step 6 with your 2nd half of dough. I take a sheet of tin foil and crumple it up to create a barrier between the two halves as there will be spreading during the cooking process. This creates a barrier to avoid the two halves baking together into one.Graham Bars

Step 7: Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 25-30 minutes till edges are crisp and the graham is golden brown. Remove from oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. After cooled you may remove the tinfoil barrier and cut desired sized bars. I use a pizza cutter but any knife will do.Graham Bars

Step 8: ENJOY! Your graham bars will store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week… or the refrigerator for two plus weeks… if they last that long.Graham Bars

So there you have it… my take on the fig newton… only better! Graham bars. Use your favorite preserves of any kind and enjoy!

 

 

Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

During my childhood days I had a couple people in my world that provided an exposure to foods beyond the typical everyday fare. My late grandfather was one of those people. He loved liverwurst, salsa, headcheese, salty nuts, alcohol, and sweets. He use to get upset at me because I’d eat all of his special foods and leave him none. He didn’t expect his little granddaughter to eat all of his headcheese! One food or condiment he loved was spicy pickled peppers better known as pickled jalapeno escabeche. These peppers were tangy from the vinegar, sweet from the brine filled with carrots and onions and spicy because the peppers were jalapenos. He’d have a jar hidden on the door of the refrigerator. I’d eventually discover the hidden jar and clear it of all jalapenos so all that remained were onions and carrots.

Over the years I’ve developed a great love for these spicy tangy peppers and today I need to eat them with everything! Unfortunately the store bought versions are filled with unhealthy sodium (sodium is healthy but in the right form and the right amounts), vegetables grown from who knows where and covered with who knows what (produce shipped from long distances covered in chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other gmo concerns). In addition to the unknown ingredients/chemicals in the store bought version you’re also dealing with the chemicals that come along with processing store bought foods in cans. In line with our goals of eating local food, organic food, from scratch food, and food with minimal ingredients I decided to make and can pickled jalapeno escabeche on my own. With a few basic ingredients this has been the easiest pickled and canned recipe I’ve made in a while.
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

I wish my grandpa was still here so he could enjoy my homemade version of his favorite spicy snack. He’d be so proud of the healthy alternative we’re enjoying now. As mentioned, in line with our goals of eating homemade, home canned, local, organic, seasonal foods we choose to can enough pickled jalapeno escabeche that will last us till jalapenos are in season again next year. How many pints is this do you ask? Well, I’m not sure yet since last year was the first year we attempted to make this recipe and start canning the jalapenos. This year I’ve canned an ample amount and we’re already enjoying the fruits of our labor. We’ve got a couple more weeks of peppers and the season is done. Just think to how often you eat these peppers. Some enjoy them on everything and some only enjoy them on certain things… nachos come to mind (= If you eat a jar a week… consider how many weeks you’ve got till jalapenos are in season again. 52 jars. That might be a bit much but giving you an idea of planning. If you eat a can a month then that might be a more reasonable approach. This recipe will provide you 6 to 8 pints of canned pickled jalapeno escabeche.

The following recipe is fun because it is versatile. I’ve seen versions with dried herbs and other vegetables that stand up to high temperatures. This is your basic pickled jalapeno recipe that I’ve compiled of various versions found across the interwebs. Adjust it as you like. Included in the recipe are basic instructions for water bath canning for long term storage. Enjoy pickled jalapeno escabeche!
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche
* = organic (or GMO free)
¤ = local

Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche
1 pound fresh jalapenos (use serranos or even habaneros if you’re brave) *¤
1 bunch carrots (6 or more medium sized) *¤
1 onion (I prefer white but you can use any kind) *¤
10 cloves garlic *¤
1/3 cup olive oil *
2 tablespoons kosher salt (or sea salt)
2 tablespoons cane sugar (I use Florida Crystals a carbon free company. I’ve also tested coconut sugar, which works well) *
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water (optional to cut the zing of the vinegar)
6-8 sterilized pint mason jars + lids & rings
1 large water bath canning pot
2 tablespoons white vinegar (optional, add to canning water)

Step 1: Prepare your water bath canner and jars according to your manufacture instructions. In this instance I am using 6 to 8 pint sized mason jars, lids and rings. I prepare my oversized aluminum canner with hot water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. I crank the temperature to high so it will be close to if not already boiling by the time I’m ready to fill the jars. With my jar grabber I place each jar, rings & lids removed, into the heating water. I will let the water fill the jars as they enter the pot. I fill a separate small pot with water and add the lids to get warm. Do not boil the lids.
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Step 2: Prepare your ingredients. You may cut rings or leave the peppers whole. If you leave the peppers whole make sure to cut a small slit in each to allow the juices to penetrate later in the cooking time. Set peppers aside. Clean and chop carrots. You can cut circles or on the bias and not too thin or they will fall apart in the cooking process. Set aside. Clean one onion. Cut in half and then cut slices. The thickness is your choice but keep in mind the thinner onion slice will fall apart sooner in the cooking process. Set aside. Clean 10 cloves of garlic and thinly slice. Set aside.
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Step 3: Heat up olive oil in a medium sized stock pot. Add the peppers to the hot oil and stir making sure to coat all of the peppers with oil. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and continue to stir, coating all of the vegetables. Next add the kosher salt and sugar and incorporate well. Sauté the vegetables till soft, roughly 10 minutes. Next add in the white and cider vinegars and stir well. If you like less of a tangy pepper you may add a cup of water to dilute the vinegar. Cook the vegetables till soft and the color has muted almost to an olive green (in the case of jalapenos or seranos), roughly 10 minutes. Once your vegetables are cooked through, remove from heat and begin preparation of filling your jars for canning. NOTE: If you don’t plan on canning and instead eating these right away, I would cook them for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to ensure a soft pepper. Otherwise your peppers will be crunchy and possibly too spicy. The canning process helps to cook them through further. END NOTE
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Step 4: Now it’s time to fill your jars. At this point the water bath is close to if not already boiling. Turn the water down just for the moment you’ll be handling the jars. Drain the small pot with lids and set lids into rings in preparation to top jars. With you jar grabber, remove one jar at a time from the hot water in the canning pot and place onto a clean towel. Make sure to pour out any excess water from the jar back into the canning pot. I like to use the canning funnel, which allows for easy filling of the jars with minimal mess. Place the funnel in your first jar and fill with vegetables and liquid. Make sure the liquid covers the vegetables and ensure there is a one inch head space between the vegetables and the rim of the jar. Remove the funnel and wipe the rim of the jar to ensure there is no debris that will impact the lid’s seal. Place a lid and ring on the jar and close till just barely tight. Too tight or too loose and the seal won’t work. With the jar grabber place the filled jar back into the boiling water and repeat with all jars till full. Once you’re done filling the jars bring the water back up to a full boil and start your timer for 15 minutes. NOTE: Make sure you start the time when the water is at a full boil and not before. Also note that you must have at least 1 to 2 inches of boiling water above the lids of the jars while in the canning pot. 10 minutes for ½ pints. 15 minutes for pints. 20 minutes for quarts. END NOTE
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Step 5: Once the timer is complete at 15 minutes turn off the heat and with your jar grabber carefully remove each jar and place on a towel in an unobstructed area free from roaming pets, wild kids, and breezes. The jars must sit overnight (24hrs) for a complete seal. Depending on the manufacturer (in my case Ball) you’ll hear the POP of the seal when it’s complete but it’s best to leave the jars overnight to ensure the seal is complete. For long term storage remove the rings of the lids before storing away and do not stack the jar. WHY you ask… because if a seal fails the ring will allow it to re-seal and then you’ll never know until opening the jar if you’re food has spoiled. Same process applies to stacking. Without a ring or object blocking the way you’ll know immediately if a seal has failed.

Step 6: ENJOY! When people ask me what they would eat these peppers with I remind them of nachos or burritos and then it clicks and they realize these tasty peppers are absolutely wonderful with most any meal. Need to add an extra spicy tangy condiment to your meals… add pickled jalapenos escabeche. Enjoy!
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche

Homemade Scones

Homemade Scones

It’s neither a muffin nor a biscuit. Homemade scones are an easy grab and go add for your breakfast or snack on the run. I first tried a scone from one of my office cafeterias several years back. It was an overly sweet, overly dry square of dough. I needed more than one cup of coffee to help get the dry dough down and it usually lasted till lunch time rolled around. All of the scones I’ve tried, the fruit was a reconstituted substance with not much flavor and the dough was dry and chalky. I thought any baked fruit flavored dough must be good – but not these bites. There must be something more to the scone. There had to be because I saw them in almost every breakfast bakery section throughout grocery stores and cafes everywhere. I decided to try my hand at a version of my own. The store bought scone was dry, tasteless and expensive. Not to mention a majority of the ingredients were unknown. I tested several recipes, some with more fat some with more liquid. The following homemade scones recipe is a combination of several recipes found over the interwebs, which has become a “country breakfast” staple at our kitchen table.

Originally known as a “Scottish quick bread” and griddle cooked, the scone became an integrated part of English tea time, served everyday at 4:00pm. Now the scone is more likely to be baked in the oven and typically enjoyed at breakfast or during a very late night snack! The scone can be made sweet or savory; cheese, herb, fruit, vegetables, and even custards… a well made scone is a versatile dough ball of goodness.

Variations
Using the basic dough recipe, you can make several variations of the homemade scones. The following are variations I’ve tried all of which have been successful and tasted great!
* = organic
^ = local

– 2 small carrots, shredded & drained + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 medium zucchini, shredded & drained + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 large apple, peeled diced & caramelized in sugar or honey + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 cup shredded raw cheddar cheese + 1 tsp ground pepper *^
– 1/2 preserved lemon, cleaned & diced + 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries *^

The variations are endless. For this particular recipe we’re going to utilize fresh local organic strawberries that I’ve frozen and preserved meyer lemons. Have fun with your homemade scones recipe, the options are endless!

Homemade Scones
yeild: 6 to 8 scones depending on size
425 (f) degrees for 20 to 25 minutes

Basic Dough
– 2 cups unbromated all purpose flour *
– 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon chia seeds * (optional ingredient)
– 1 teaspoon flax seeds * (optional ingredient)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla (corn syrup free)
– 1 egg *^
– 6 tablespoons butter * (or any fat of your liking. You can use lard or tallow, both of which I’ve tested and work great!)
– 2/3 cup whole milk *^ (you can also use buttermilk)

Variation – 6 strawberries, diced *^ (frozen or fresh)
– 1/2 a preserved lemon, washed cleaned & diced *^

Step 1: In a food processor, using a dough blade, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, seeds (optional), and salt – quick pulse to get the ingredients combined. Next add the egg, vanilla, and cut butter. Process till the mixture has a crumbled texture… kind of like sand. Remove the dough crumble from the food processor and place in a bowl. Set aside. {NOTE: if you do not have a food processor you can use 2 butter knives or a dough knife to cut in the butter.}
homemade scones

Step 2: Next wash and chop the strawberries and preserved lemons. Since a preserved lemon is stored in salt, you will remove the lemon from the salt, remove the pulp and wash. Once cleaned make a small dice of the preserved lemon. You can also use the zest of one fresh lemon in replace of the preserved lemon. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If frozen, make sure that the berry is semi defrosted before chopping. Mix in the chopped fruit to the crumbled dough mixture.
homemade scones

homemade scones

Step 3: Next slowly mix in the milk. You may not use all of the milk. You want the ingredients to come together but the dough must be sticky and thick. Thick enough to form a ball of dough. You don’t want to add all of the milk or the dough will turn into a batter and you’ll have pancakes instead of scones!
homemade scones

Step 4: Now with a large spoon, scoop out 6 to 8 balls of dough onto a cookie sheet; depending on the size of your scoop. They don’t need to be perfect but should generally be the same size to allow for equal cooking time. You can use a sheet of parchment paper or grease the tray. I do neither because there is plenty of fat in the mixture to keep it from sticking. Place in a pre-heated 425 (f) degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes to make sure the scones are not burnt.
homemade scones

Step 5: Once the cooking time is up, remove the scones from the oven and place on a plate to cool for 5 minutes – the inside will be hot and soft and the outside will be golden brown and crisp. Serve with fresh homemade jam or butter and a hot cup of coffee… enjoy!
homemade scones

Apple Cinnamon Scones
homemade scones

Blueberry Lemon Scones
homemade scones

Carrot Cinnamon Scones
homemade scones

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes

In a big family the first child is kind of like the first pancake. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, there are a lot more coming along. – Antonin Scalia

Pancakes were a special treat for me as a child; I only enjoyed them during overnight stays at grandma’s house. Sunday morning we’d wake up early and she’d pull out her very old very long griddle and we’d mix up some bisquik pancakes.

It wasn’t until my kiddo was born that I detoured from the typical box mix I remembered from my childhood. I took the time to read the box labels and I had that ‘ah-ha’ moment. I realized… I can make this myself, allowing full control of the ingredients!

I set out, scouring the interwebs to find a solid go to pancake. After testing a few variations, this has become our family’s go-to recipe. You can incorporate any fruit or vegetable… make the basic batter and fold in blueberries, sliced strawberries, apples, shredded carrots, or even zucchini. Yes, zucchini… just think zucchini bread. My three year old who once was the champion eater of our home, eating everything in sight, now only eats specific items; pancakes being one of them. To ensure he’s getting the most out of his pancakes I incorporate zucchini when in season. I hope to find and test a gluten free recipe that is comparable. For now…

Here is your basic pancake recipe with a zucchini variation… zucchini pancakes, enjoy!

zucchini pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes
Makes 12 to 15 zucchini pancakes depending on size
* = organic
^ = local

1.5 cups unbromated all purpose flour *
3 tablespoons cane sugar *
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chia seeds * (optional)
1 teaspoon flax seeds * (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla *
1/4 cup melted butter *
2 eggs *^
2/3 cup milk *
2 small zucchini, shredded *^

Step 1: In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and seeds). Give a good stir to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
zucchini pancakes

Step 2: Slowly incorporate one at a time, the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk. You’ll end up with a thick lumpy batter. Here is my kiddo helping to crack the eggs (2nd egg was not a success).
IMG_3304 v2

Step 3: Wash and trim 2 small zucchinis. Fine shred the zucchinis into a clean kitchen towel. Once shredding is complete, twist towel to drain out the extra liquid from the zucchinis. It is important to do this step otherwise your batter will be runny and the final pancake product will have too much moisture. Fold in till well incorporated but don’t over mix.
zucchini pancakes

Step 4: Prepare your cooking surface accordingly. I have a small griddle, which is a flat non stick skillet cooking surface but you can use a frying pan or cast iron skillet if available – prepare accordingly. Do not to over crowd the cooking surface to ensure the heat is maintained at medium to medium high. Bubbles will form at the surface when the pancake is ready to flip – between 3 and 5 minutes but make sure to check mid way to ensure your pancake doesn’t burn.
zucchini pancakes

Time to enjoy… topped with a little organic grassfed butter, or some fresh maple syrup, or our favorite some homemade jam.
zucchini pancakes

zucchini pancakes

zucchini pancakes

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

When life hands you lemons, you make Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake!

When I think of meyer lemons I think of my great grandparents and the modest meyer lemon tree in their backyard. My nona would pluck the lemons right off the tree and eat them as is. She’d bite right into them. I can remember the smell was distinct, bright and sweet. We were recently gifted a very large amount of meyer lemons from a family member’s backyard tree. I used the lemons to make candied lemon peels, homemade all purpose cleaner, lemon juice for cooking use, and other miscellaneous treats. The husband’s main request was coffee cake. We found the following recipe online. I made some minor tweaks to adapt to what was already in my pantry vs. heading to the store for extra ingredients. In the end I formulated my own version and have determined this is the best coffee cake I’ve ever tasted, hands down. It’s moist, sweet and tangy, bright, and simply wonderful. You could adapt any fruit to this cake mix but for the sake of late winter, early spring citrus; here is the best Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake you’ll ever try… enjoy!

meyer lemon coffeecake

* = organic
^ = local

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake
350 (f) degrees, 55 minutes

Crumble Top
1 cup all-purpose unbleached unbromated flour *
3/4 cup light brown sugar *
1/2 cup unsalted butter *
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 (f) degrees. Next grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.

Step 2: In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and cubed butter. Using your hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter; work the butter into the dry ingredients until you form a medium sandy like texture of a mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to top the cake.
meyer lemon coffeecake

meyer lemon coffeecake

The Cake
2 cups all-purpose unbleached unbromated flour *
1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cane sugar * (I prefer cane sugar but you can use any granulated sugar)
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal * (optional)
1 cup homemade yogurt *^ (You can use any store bought brand)
1/2 cup butter *
2 eggs *^
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extra *
5 Meyer Lemons, sliced thin
1/2 cup cane sugar * (this measurement is for the lemons only)

Step 3: Slice the meyer lemons as thin as possible. NOTE: You can use a sharp knife or a mandolin. I prefer a sharp knife because the mandolin slices too thin and the lemons fall apart in the cooking process.
meyer lemon coffeecake

Step 4: Place your sliced meyer lemons and sugar in a large sauce pan and cover with water. Place over a medium high heat and simmer for 15 minutes. This process helps to remove the bitter taste from the rind. Don’t let the mixture boil or your lemon slices will disolve.

Step 5: After simmering, remove the meyer lemon slices from the heat and drain. Place the slices on a cooling rack and set aside while you combine the cake ingredients.
meyer lemon coffeecake

Step 6: In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, flaxseed (optional), kosher salt, and set aside. In a stand mixer cream together, butter, sugar, eggs (one at a time), yogurt, and vanilla till all ingredients are creamy and smooth. Now on low speed, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients till everything has been well mixed. Make sure to stop the mixer half way through mixing and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are well mixed. You’ll have a thick cake batter consistency.
IMG_2943 v2

Step 7: Now divide the cake batter in half and spread it out on the bottom of the greased and floured 9 inch cake pan. Layer on half of the meyer lemon slices. Spread out the remaining cake batter, taking care not to move or spread the first layer. Spread out the remaining meyer lemon slices.
meyer lemon coffeecake

Step 8: Remove the brown sugar crumble from the refrigerator and spread out over the top of the meyer lemon slices to ensure all of the cake is covered. Use all of the topping because it will create a beautiful sweet crunchy crust and will keep in the moisture of the lemons. Place in a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 55 minutes.
meyer lemon coffeecake

Step 9: Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges and with a small metal spatula, place under the cake and lift onto a storage plate. The cake will rest well covered on the counter for a week… if it lasts that long! Cut a slice and enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea!
meyer lemon coffeecake

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake… enjoy!
meyer lemon coffeecake