Tag Archives: local

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!!

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).
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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

Homemade Pickled Eggs & Radishes

Homemade Pickled Eggs & Radishes

“One of the smartest things you can do on ‘Chopped’ is to take one of those ingredients and make a pickle out of it, because almost every dish benefits from that…” ~ Ted Allen

I’m in love with almost anything pickled at the moment. Cucumbers, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, beans, beets, and now more than ever… eggs! I’ve recently found a combination I love in homemade pickled eggs & radishes. I have to admit when I first heard of pickled eggs I think of a dim lit neighborhood joint with peanut shells on the floor and a large dirty jar at the end of the bar containing some unknown white floating balls.

These spicy pink hued eggs take away most of the fear of the unknown and the taste is fantastic. I use local pastured eggs and local organic radishes. A mix of white and cider vinegar, fresh local organic garlic, red pepper flakes give the radishes a spicy crunch and the eggs are soft and tangy. I’ve come to love this snack so much so that I’ve got to have a jar in the fridge at all times. A good flavor develops after roughly 5 days in the refrigerator but I dare you to wait that long. I’ve received tips to poke the eggs to allow the vinegar & spices to penetrate the insides. I’ve yet try this because I’ve got a thing for smooth looking eggs (= The red from the radishes offer a light pink hue to the egg white, providing a bit of visual fun to your snack and the crunch from the radish is a perfect contrast to the soft egg.

If you like hard boiled eggs and if you like pickles, you’ll love this snack. Homemade pickled eggs & radishes… enjoy!
21213 pickled eggs & radishes

* = organic
^ = local

Homemade Pickled Eggs & Radishes
– 1 quart mason jar
– 8 – 12 hard boiled eggs (depending on size) *^
– 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled & halved *^
– 1 cup apple cider vinegar *
– ½ cup white vinegar
– ½ cup filtered water
– 1 tablespoon kosher salt
– 1 tablespoon sugar *
– ½ teaspoon dried dill
– ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
– ¼ teaspoon celery seed
– ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
– ¼ teaspoon mustard seed

Step 1: In a medium sized pot, bring to a boil 8 to 12 eggs. Soft boil your eggs for 5 minutes then remove from heat and let rest in the hot water for 15 minutes. Next drain the hot water and place ice cubes and cold water over your eggs and let rest for an additional 10 minutes. At this point your eggs should be read to peel. Remember to rinse your eggs after peeling to ensure all egg shell pieces are removed.
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Step 2: Wash, stem and chop the radishes in quarters. Add the radishes and eggs to the Mason jar in rotation allowing for layers of each; eggs & radishes.
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Step 3: Add spices and fresh garlic to the Mason jar.
IMG_2658 v2

Step 4: In a small saucepan heat up the vinegars, water, kosher salt, and sugar till the salt & sugar are dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Once the liquid is cool, pour the vinegar mixture over the eggs, radishes, and spices in the Mason jar. Ensure the liquid covers all of the ingredients, providing at least ¼ inch headspace at the top of the jar. Seal the jar with a lid and place in the fridge for up to five days before enjoying.
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Homemade Pickled Eggs & Radishes… enjoy!
21413 pickled egg & radish test

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Homemade Peach Pie

Homemade Peach Pie

“I don’t think a really good pie can be made without a dozen or so children peeking over your shoulder as you stoop to look in at it every little while.” ~ John Gould

homemade peach pie

As a child, I remember in my grandmother’s backyard an apple, apricot, and peach tree. Every summer the tiny peach tree would provide just enough fruit for grandma to make a few trays of peach bars, peach cobbler, and homemade peach pie. I remember her making the peach treats in the morning after picking the fruit and by late afternoon the tray holding the gooey peach goodness would have been picked over leaving a half mangled bar and several crumbs.

Peach season was short-lived and as I got older the tree seemed to get smaller and the fruit arrived less and less. The peach tree is now no longer there but it still provides me great memories.

Today, I have two peach trees in my backyard. I look forward to those beautiful peach blossoms and the bounty of fruit we’ll receive; and when we do we’ll be making peach bars, peach cobblers, peach jam, canning peaches for use later in the year, and of course homemade peach pie!
homemade peach pie

Here is my take on a summer favorite in our household, homemade peach pie. I use fresh ginger and spices to give this pie an extra kick that my family loves… homemade peach pie, enjoy!

* = organic/non-gmo
^ = local

Homemade Peach Pie
375 degrees (f) 45-60 minutes bake time

CRUST
1 1/2 cups flour *
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar *
1/2 cup butter or lard or tallow, chilled, cut into pieces *^
4 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon white vinegar or vodka, chilled

In a food processor with dough blade or stand mixer with a dough hook add flour, salt, sugar, and butter. Mix till the flour turns into a crumbling texture. In a measuring cup add vinegar to water and place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to get the water ice-cold. Remove the water from the freezer (do not let it freeze). With your mixer on medium speed, slowly pour/drizzle the water into the flour/butter mixture until the dough barely holds together when pinched. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a ball. Cut the ball in 1/2, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes or overnight.
homemade peach pie

PEACH FILLING
5 cups fresh peaches, skinned/pitted/sliced **quick peeling method listed below** *^
Juice of 1/2 a lemon *^
1 cup sugar *
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg *
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon *
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped *
1/4 cup flour *
2 tablespoons butter – used for topping before top crust is added *
CRUST TOPPING
1 tablespoon sugar – used for topping crust before baking *
1 tablespoon cream + 1 egg white – used to brush top crust before baking *^

In a bowl mix peach slices, sugar, flour, spice, and lemon juice. Place in refrigerator while you roll out the dough.

**QUICK PEELING METHOD**
Make a small slit in the bottom of each peach and drop into a pot of near boiling water for 30 – 45 seconds. Remove peaches from the hot water and immediately drop into an ice bath. The more ripe the peach, the skin should slide right off. From here you can de-pit and slice.

PIE ASSEMBLY
Remove one of the balls of dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle. Keep lifting up the dough and turning it a quarter turn as you roll, rolling from the center of the dough outwards to ensure equal thickness around the circle. Fold the dough in half and transfer to a 9 inch pie pan. Remove the excess dough by pinching it down along the edge of the pan. Remove the peach filling from the refrigerator…
homemade peach pie

Place pie filling into pie shell and top with butter.
homemade peach pie

Remove the 2nd ball of dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough same as before.
Cut dough in 1/2 inch wide strips.
homemade peach pie

Begin by laying horizontal strips, 1/2 inch apart, across the top of the pie. Then take one vertical strip at a time, laying over/under, creating a braided pattern. You will have to carefully lift each horizontal strip as you braid in the vertical. There will be roughly 5-6 strips of dough horizontal and 5-6 strips of dough vertical. Remove excess dough by pinching off the edges.
homemade peach pie

With the remaining dough, roll out 2 separate strips of dough to cover the pinched edges. Create a “worm”, with your fingers, roll the dough from the center out. Creating a 12 inch long thin roll that will go around the edge of the pie plate, covering the pinched edges. With your pinky finger, create an indent every 1/4 inch for a simple decorative edge.
homemade peach pie

homemade peach pie

With a silicone basting brush (BPA free, leaves no stray strands), brush the entire pie with a thin layer (no puddles) of cream/egg white to create a shiny deep color to the crust after baking. For a deeper shine, add a sprinkle of sugar after basting.
homemade peach pie

Your pie is now ready for the oven. To avoid spill over, place the pie on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or tin foil). Place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. If the edges of the crust are getting too dark before cooking time is up, cover with pieces of tin foil.
homemade peach pie

Remove pie from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30-60 minutes before serving. Serve with a heaping scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream… enjoy your fresh baked homemade peach pie!
homemade peach pie

Homemade Almond Basil Pesto

Homemade Almond Basil Pesto

It’s that time of year again when the seasons are in the midst of changing. Where the days are still warm but the evenings cool quickly letting you know summer is giving way to autumn. Folks are planning for a fall bounty and harvesting the last of their early summer gardens. Garden herbs like basil may be ready for that south-facing window or a complete harvest. If your basil plants grow like mine, then you’re left with a giant bush of a plant and more basil you know what to do with. The fastest, easiest use that comes to mind is pesto! I see pesto as a luxury item given the cost of the oils, nuts, and cheese. After doing some research and playing around with different ingredients, I found a pesto recipe that was reasonable for my family and allowed me to use my fresh basil harvest to its fullest; homemade almond basil pesto.

For my family, almond basil pesto is the go-to-quick-fix meal. I’m able to freeze 1/2 pint jars. Half of a 1/2 pint jar is the perfect amount to cover a pound of pasta and its acompanying ingredients such as vegetables and a meat, pork, or fowl. Know that almond basil pesto is not just good for pasta. We like to toast a baguette and top it with pesto, oven roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Need a flavor boost on your grilled steak… smother it in pesto right before it comes off the grill. Since pesto is composed of a fresh herb, you’ll want to add pesto on as a finishing ingredient. Right before serving or just as you’ve turned off the heat… add your almond basil pesto. It keeps the flavors light and fresh… yes, even if it has been frozen. I found that the pesto freezes exceptionally well and defrosts without a loss of texture, taste, or quality. I’ve read from others that they’ve found challenges with the cheese loosing quality during freezing. If you’re worried about quality, keep the cheese out of your frozen mixture and add back in when you thaw.

A traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and a hard cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano. Unless I know how to extract the pine nuts from my grandmother’s pine tree cones, there is no way I could afford to buy enough pine nuts to accommodate a recipe that includes the amount of basil I had. Instead, I chose a variety of raw local almonds that I’ve roasted myself. I’ve found a couple California olive oils that are well priced and won’t break my budget if I use a couple of cups. Finding hormone free cheese that is reasonably priced has been a challenge but we’ve found some varieties. A typical Parmigiano is used for a traditional pesto, but any dry aged hard cheese will do… pecorino, Asiago, even dry aged jack… it is all in the flavors you’d like to create. An almond and Asiago combination will give a sharp bite to the pesto where as a walnut Parmigiano will have a lighter, smoother texture.

Have fun and play with the flavors while harnessing the freshness of summer with the last of your fresh basil harvest… almond basil pesto, enjoy!

homemade almond basil pesto

* = organic, hormone free, gmo free
^ = local

Homemade Almond Basil Pesto
yield: 4 – 1/2 pint freezer jars

■ 3 cups, packed, fresh basil *^
■ 3/4 cup cubed or shredded dry aged cheese of choice (i.e. Parmigiano Reggiano, romano, Asiago, dry Monterey jack) *
■ 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil *^
■ 1/3 – 1/2 cup nut of choice (i.e. pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews) ^
■ 2 medium-sized garlic cloves *^
■ juice of 1/2 a lemon *^
■ kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
■ Special Equipment: Food processor

Step 1: in a preheated 350 (f) degree oven, place raw nuts (in this case almonds) on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes
homemade almond basil pesto

Step 2: After the nuts have cooled, place in a food processor and pulse until you’ve achieved a corse chop. Then add in your garlic and cheese (shredded or cubed will work) and continue to pulse until you’ve achieved a fine chop.
homemade almond basil pesto

Step 3: now add in the basil and pulse a few more times to combine the herbs with the cheese & nut mixture.
homemade almond basil pesto

Step 4: While the food processor is running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Half way through stop the processor, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and add in the juice of the lemon, kosher salt, and pepper…

Step 5: Finish processing the olive oil to your desired consistency and adding kosher salt and pepper to your desired taste…
homemade almond basil pesto

Step 6: Once processing is complete, you can pack the pesto into 1/2 pint freezer jars. Leave a 1/4 inch head space and top with a drizzle of olive oil before placing on the lid. These jars will keep in the freezer up to 1 year and in the refrigerator for up to a month.
homemade almond basil pesto

To Defrost: place frozen jar in refrigerator and defrost overnight or place in a bowl of luke warm water for a more immediate defrost (usually takes an hour or less).
homemade almond basil pesto

Homemade Almond Basil Pesto… enjoy!

homemade almond basil pesto

homemade almond basil pesto

Blog post originally written by The Sustainable Sweet & Savory Gourmet on September 19th, 2012 at site: http://thesustainablesweetandsavorygourmet.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/homemade-roasted-almond-fresh-basil-pesto/

Daily Rants – It’s Been An Odd Week

Daily Rants – It’s Been An Odd Week

daily rants - it's been an odd week

The weather at this very moment is perfect. Last night’s storm refreshed the air. The break in the rain has allowed this afternoon’s sun to illuminate the green that has sprouted across the hillside. It’s breezy, very cold, but the sky is bright.
This has been an odd week for me; not much sleep, scatterbrained, feeling the need to constantly catch up. The lack of sleep comes from anxiety attacks that arrive at night right before bed. I may be passing out on the couch but as soon as my head hits the pillow… boom… the brain starts working overtime. It takes quite a while for sleep to come and the alarm seems to arrive so much sooner these days.

I think part of my worry comes from us going through toddler life changes; new sleeping, bathroom, and learning arrangements. I’ve definitely been challenged lately in keeping up with my kiddo’s active mind and curiosity, while still maintaining order here at home, and working on my own goals. It has not been an easy task. I think because of his recent adjustments over the last couple of weeks, I’m realizing the amount of work that needs to be done. I’m just feeling a bit panicked. I admire families that have multiple children, keeping them active and learning while maintaining a life for themselves and their households. So much of my day to day, is DIY, and that s**t takes time, but it’s time I’m proud and happy to put in. It’s just been an adjustment to find balance between everything, which I know I will find.

So what do you do when it’s 11pm and you’re supposed to be fast asleep because the alarm is going to go off in less than 5 hours? Push –ups; lots and lots of pushups, which eventually turned into a mini stretching/yoga session. The hubs had gone to bed and I sat quiet in the living room stretching and doing pushups, sit ups, and deep breathing until I could get my head to settle. I’m not sure when sleep came but obviously I didn’t wake when my alarm went off. That said, the day’s schedule was adjusted again. I had been letting this entire week’s lack of schedule function get the best of me; so today I said no. I wasn’t going to let it bother and I was just going to go with the flow.

The kiddo and I enjoyed breakfast together, homemade plain organic yogurt with homemade cranberry sauce and a homemade carrot pancake topped with a small dollop of homemade Meyer lemon jelly. He enjoyed a nice tall glass of organic milk and I a nice big cup of coffee! We tackled tasks around the house; he helped me prep the bread dough for making bread this afternoon. We worked on his ABCs with some fun ABC cards and then we hit the road. He on his balance bike and I on my feet, I jogged alongside him for 2 miles, to the park and back. We had fun at the park even if there was only a couple people there… it was cold, but we normally don’t let weather get in the way of getting outside and having fun. Back home for lunch (homemade organic bread, homemade almond butter, and homemade Meyer lemon jelly), more letters & numbers, and he helped me make a batch of homemade granola bars… I’ve now had 2 and need to back away! The kiddo is resting and I’m catching up on whatever… whatever I can. I’m not going to feel stressed because I didn’t get to #1, 2, 3, 4… on the list. I’ll just do what I can, with timeliness and purpose but I’m not going to kill myself if I don’t get it all done.

I decided on beef heart meatballs with pasta and homemade tomato sauce for dinner tonight. I’m off to get the meatballs in order and start the sauce. Hopefully I’ll have time to clear off the pile that is forming on my desk… if all that gets done and I get to take a shower before the kiddo wakes from his nap… I’ll be a happy camper.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter

“Peanut butter is the pâté of childhood.” ~ Florence Fabricant

I’ve always been a fan of the peanut; in its natural state, shelled, crushed, or creamy… the peanut is pretty awesome. The good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich never tires, my grandmother’s peanut butter cookies are better than any I’ve ever tasted, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – a treat my mom & I use to share when I was little brings back memories. I can remember my grandfather had his own designated jar of roasted & lightly salted peanuts always stored in the cupboard. You’d know he had eaten peanuts because he’d smell like a giant peanut. Consumed alone or cooked into delightful dishes such as Chile Peanut Crusted Chicken with Napa Cabbage and Radish Slaw or Grape Leaves stuffed with Mozzarella, Dry Monterey Jack, Peanuts, and Raisins, or Caribbean style chicken with Brown Sugar Peanut Spice rub – I love peanuts.

I can remember as a little girl, my mom and grandmother purchasing fresh made peanut butter at some of our local health food stores. There was a peanut grinding machine near the ‘specialty foods’ area. You could place an empty container in the machine, press a button, and a few minutes later you’d have fresh – nothing but peanuts – peanut butter. It was pretty neat and how awesome was that – we made our own peanut butter. How I forgot that it was so simple. Those machines seem to have disappeared and a majority of what is left on the store shelves has too much ‘unhealthy’ oils, salts, fats, and other ingredients I wouldn’t ever try to pronounce.

A couple of months back I heard a news report on the radio that the peanut industry was in trouble. The DJs on the radio joked peanut butter was going to equivilant to gold. If you were a kid in school and got a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch… you must be rich! I looked into the subject a little deeper and found that demand couldn’t be met in the last couple of years due to contamination, land space, and costs of goods. Southeast Farm Press

Reading this article and understanding the different obstacles the industry and it’s consumers face, it seems like it is another consumption problem – too easy, too much, too often. Between the unwanted ingredients and the energy used to process, package, and ship the peanut item, I decided to refrain from purchasing peanut butter… until now. I looked into local peanut options and was fortunate to find my favorite local organic farmstand, Pinnacle Organic, grows and sells peanuts during the late fall and winter seasons.

Peanuts, from planting to harvest have a 120-150 day growing period. They are usually planted after the last frost and require a soil temperature of 65 degrees F for germination. A little over a month after planting, the peanuts will begin to flower, another couple of weeks and the roots will develop and penetrate the soil, and lastly the peanuts will mature over a 10 week period, staggered. The soil must be well-drained; loose and sandy. (iastate.edu)

For some reason I didn’t think of peanuts in a “seasonal” sense but like anything else that grows… it grows in a season. I’ve decided to try to manage peanut butter in our household like we do with anything else for preservation. For example, during the height of tomato season I would buy extra tomatoes and can them. This is so I would have tomatoes throughout the non-tomato season and I would not have to depend on the BPA lined cans of something that is supposed to resemble a tomato from the grocery store. Each week I visit the farm to get my produce I will buy extra peanuts and soak, roast, and grind them at home for our own homemade peanut butter. A jar of fresh homemade peanut butter will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 months and in the freezer in a freezer safe container for up to a year. If you’ve used oil to cream the peanuts, the oil will separate in the freezer. When you are ready to use, you must thaw the homemade peanut butter completely – remix – and store in the refrigerator.

homemade peanut butter

I won’t kid you… the process is not hard but it is time-consuming. Homemade peanut butter is simply ground up peanuts. You can soak them in salt water and you can add a little oil for a smoother texture… but otherwise, it’s just peanuts… easy, right?! My family didn’t think so when I had them shelling peanuts for an entire morning; all to produce 2 pint jars of peanut butter that are now gone and we’re back to shelling again! I realize this process is not for everyone… afterall who has time to sit around shelling peanuts. For us its a matter of using things when they are in season, storing them for when they aren’t, and making sure we know what we’re consuming and were it’s come from… for that, I’ll spend time shelling a few peanuts.

* = organic
^ = local

Homemade Peanut Butter
■ 1 pound peanuts, raw *^
■ 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (optional ingredient & note, if you are using table salt, reduce to 1 cup)
■ 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil (optional ingredient)
■ large pot for soaking + plate to keep peanuts submerged
■ tray for drying
■ food processor
■ water for soaking

Step 1: Place your peanuts in a strainer and rinse, removing as much surface dirt as possible. Drain. Place peanuts and kosher salt in the soaking pot, cover with water till the peanuts are submerged. Stir. Cover the peanuts with a plate to make sure they stay submerged for the soaking duration. After 1 hour, remove the plate and stir the peanut salt water mixture. Cover and continue soaking. Do this every hour for at least 3 up to 5 hours. Drain.

homemade peanut butter

Step 2: Single layer the peanuts on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on WARM or the lowest temperature your oven will allow – this will speed up the drying process. If you don’t want to run your oven they can air dry overnight. Once dry, place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing the peanuts throughout the cooking time to make sure they don’t burn.

homemade peanut butter

Step 3: Remove the peanuts from the oven and let cool. Once cool, the peanuts are ready for shelling. Make sure to remove the thin outer skin as well as the shell. The skins will make your peanut butter bitter.

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

Step 4: Once shelled, they are ready to enjoy… but if you’re wanting peanut butter… place your peanuts in a food processor and process, while drizzling the oil in slowly.

homemade peanut butter

The more oil, the smoother the texture. Process till you’ve found the consistency you like. This can take several minutes depending on how smooth you like your homemade peanut butter. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 4 months or in the freezer for up to 1 year. My kiddo enjoys his homemade peanut butter with homemade jam on homemade bread… best PB&J ever! Enjoy!

homemade peanut butter