When we first started dating, my husband cooked beans and rice for me while we were out on a picnic. Over the years, this has become a staple in his lunch box. It is simple to make and inexpensive. This recipe will make 6 man-size lunches, or probably 8-12 family servings. This is a great stand alone meal because it has protein, carbs, veggies, and fat. Continue reading
Well we finally finished our new chicken coop. I must say that I am underwhelmed with the results. I am relieved to be done with the project, but it didn’t exactly work out the way I hoped. If I were to do this project over again, there are several things I would do differently. The first would be to start by running the instructions through a sanity check before buying any materials. But first, let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading
My hard-working husband has to get up most mornings at 2 am to get ready to punch into work at 4 am for a ten-hour workday, and if he is lucky, it will only be five days instead of six. This makes breakfast very important for him. It will fuel him through the morning until his 11:30 lunchtime. Since I cannot get up with him at that ungodly hour, I make sure to have soaked oatmeal as ready as possible for him when he gets up. It takes only 5 minutes in the morning before he can eat. Continue reading
I once told a friend I would write a post about my rotating file system. It took me a long time to get to it, partly because I simply forgot. I’m sorry, and I hope you find this valuable. I am horrible at keeping track of papers. I have tons of papers to deal with. Graded homework that has been sent home, homework to be completed, shopping receipts, appointment reminders, chore charts, school calendars, 3-week-old newspapers, notebooks, empty envelopes, bills, political mailings, books, charity solicitations, recipes I have printed out, etc. All of these are on my desk right at this moment. Most are poorly organized, meaning they have just been plopped down in a teetering stack waiting for the center of gravity to shift ever so slightly so they can all topple onto the floor. Continue reading
Pancakes make the perfect Saturday morning breakfast. They invoke images of country kitchens, melting butter and warm maple syrup, and family sitting around the table together. The problem with pancakes is that they are difficult to digest. My body actively tries to prevent me from eating most pancakes by tightening up my esophagus and making it hard to swallow. My mother and daughter also have similar reactions to similar foods. I am loathe to give them up, though, so I was delighted when I discovered soaked flour pancakes. They are similar to sourdough pancakes and with a couple of minor tweaks, you can use the same recipe.
Soaked flour pancakes
Soaked flour pancakes and standard pancakes share many of the same ingredients.
Here we have white whole wheat flour, farm fresh milk, baking soda, butter, eggs and raw apple cider vinegar. Variations include exchanging the milk and vinegar for sour milk, or using sourdough starter instead of the flour, milk and vinegar. I have been known to take a bottle of raw milk and leave it on the counter overnight to sour specifically to use in pancakes and other baked goods. Raw milk sours and is still perfectly edible (if not palatable), pasteurized milk spoils and is unusable. Never use pasteurized milk that has spoiled. Sour raw milk, on the other hand, is still healthy and edible even after two months in the refrigerator. For more information on raw milk go check out A Campaign for Real Milk.
Start the night before
The key difference between standard pancakes and soaked flour pancakes is when you start them. Soaked flour pancakes need to be started 8-12 hours before you want to eat them. I start them when I get ready for bed. Take 2 cups of flour, a scant 2 cups of milk, and 2 Tablespoons of raw vinegar. If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice, or whey. Mix these all together in a medium to large bowl, and cover to keep out curious pets, or anything else that might be interested in sharing your food. Check the consistency and adjust the flour or milk as needed to get a consistency just slightly thicker than you want your final batter to be. If you have sourdough starter, then just feed it so that you will have approximately 3 cups of starter available for morning.
In the morning
In the morning, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium low heat.
While you are waiting for the butter to melt, add two eggs and stir to combine. This is a great way to involve your kids. Five-year-olds adore cracking eggs, then wiping their hands on their pajamas. Mine has been cracking eggs since she was three.
If your butter isn’t melted yet, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and stir it in.
Once your butter is melted, stir it in, too. The order you add the ingredients is not important, but I like to add what I can while I wait for the butter to melt. In the hot summer, sometimes the butter is ready fast, so the eggs and/or the baking soda can go in after. It really doesn’t matter. If your batter is too thick at this point, you can add milk one tablespoon at a time to thin it out a little. If it is too thin, logic says to add flour one tablespoon at a time, but that flour would not have the benefit of the overnight soak to make it more easily digestible. I will leave that up to you.
Start the cooking
This is how I need to set my stove. My griddle spans two burners. I have a large burner in front and a small burner in the back, and the opposite on the other side of the stove. In order to provide the same BTUs, I have to set the small burner a little higher than the large one. Start with a medium-low setting for your griddle and fine tune it from there so that your pancakes turn golden brown instead of either burning with a gooey middle or dehydrating instead of cooking.
Once your griddle is hot (test it by seeing if a few drops of water sizzle on it), pour your batter on. I use a quarter cup measuring cup.
Your pancakes will start to develop little bubbles on the surface when they are almost ready to flip. Standard pancakes develop lots of bubbles, but these only make a few. If you wait for a lot, you will burn them. While you are watching for bubbles, also keep an eye on the edge. It will start to look dry and cooked. This pancake is just moments away from flipping.
Flip all of your pancakes and cook on the other side. The second side won’t take as long as the first side, so don’t go checking your email at this point.
When the second side is done, stack them all up on a plate and refill your griddle with more batter. Fend off the kids who will want to poach them all instead of waiting until they are all done. You can put them in the oven with the oven light on, or set to the lowest setting with the door open to keep them warm.
When I was a small child (age 6, I believe), my family moved to a mountainside. Our section of road had no name, and the town stopped maintaining it 2/3 of a mile from our house. There was no electricity, no running water, no plowing. A couple of years later we moved to an equally primitive home in a more settled area, and lived there until I was 12. This was in the 1980s, and yes, it was very unusual for industrial New England. My kids seem to think I grew up a century before I did simply based on my childhood stories. Continue reading
Today I want to share a family recipe that I grew up on. It is called Red Bunny, and I suspect that it is derived from Welsh Rarebit. I don’t know the actual origins of this dish, but I do know that no one outside my family seems to have ever heard of it. It is a good quick meal when you are just throwing something together, if not particularly balanced. It is no worse than mac and cheese, though. And this has vegetables. Sort of. Continue reading
I usually try to post deep and meaningful things on Sundays, but I need to come clean here (see what I did there?). Being deep and meaningful takes work. So today I am posting a recipe instead. A recipe for laundry soap. I have been making my own laundry soap for nearly ten years now. It saves money, saves time, and saves the Earth. Continue reading
I know, I know. Do we really need another chili recipe? Yes! This is so delicious! Also, I promised earlier to post this recipe. I know it is summer, and chili is a winter food, but I thought I was short on grocery money this week and had to do some pantry meals, and chili is one of the best pantry meals. All of the ingredients can be stored in the pantry if you skip the ground beef (which I often do, much to L’s disappointment), making this a perfect zombie apocalypse recipe. Continue reading
I’m going to try this recipe feature again. Hopefully it works right this time and only publishes once. I was asked to post a budget-stretching recipe today, so I decided to share my Chicken Cabbage Soup, which is based on Anytime Soup found in The Schwarzbein Principle. If I’m really honest, it is just a variant based on what I had and felt like putting in it. Continue reading