Homemade salad dressing

Homemade salad dressing

We’ve been enjoying lots of lettuce out of the garden. Salads everyday!

Mesclun lettuce

I planted this mesclun mix which is really nice to have the different colours and shapes in the salad.

Store bought salad dressing is made with soybean oil, it’s the first ingredient listed. Even the ones that said “made with olive oil” on the label, listed soybean oil as the first ingredient! So I’ve been venturing to mix my own salad dressing.

Karen and Drew at Herb’N Renewal make a lovely blend of herbs called Greek’n Greens, that you simply mix with your own oil and vinegar. I made theirs last week. It was wonderful! And so easy. This week I tried this recipe:

1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. sucanat
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix well and add 2 Tbsp. to
1/4 cup vinegar (your choice) I used raw apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. water

I’m not a fan of the taste of raw apple cider vinegar though I do appreciate it’s benefits. Next time I think I’ll try it with balsamic vinegar.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.

Farm fresh cream!

What’s better than farm fresh cream, so thick you have to spoon it?! I know of a farm to get it but it’s quite a distance away. I was in the area last week so was able to get some. Also got 5 lb.s of butter and 2 lbs. of cottage cheese. So good! I was a little exuberant about getting cream so I was looking for ways to use it up. I tried making homemade sour cream, it turned out really good! Also made cream of turkey soup and ice cream, which I haven’t done in a years. My ice cream maker is older and really loud so I made it outside. I add a heaping dollop of cream to my coffee every morning.

What’s your favourite way to use fresh cream?

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.

Pumpkin Tourtière

This is a new recipe I tried. “Tourtière a la viande” is a savory spiced meat pie usually made with pork. This recipe breaks from tradition and is served in a pumpkin rather than a double-crust pie.

Pumpkin Tourtiere

  •  3 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup currants or dried cranberries
  • 4 slices dense bread, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 whole 10-inch pie pumpkin

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until limp, 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.  Brown the pork and drain off the fat.  Return the onions and garlic to the pan, along with the water, currants, bread cubes, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and salt.  Simmer until the liquid has disappeared and the mixture has thickened.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut a circular lid off the top of the pumpkin.  Save the lid.  With a sharp-edged spoon, scrape out the seeds and the fiber.

Place the pumpkin upside down in a baking dish and bake at 350F for 30 min.  or until almost tender.  Carefully turn the pumpkin right side up.  Spoon the meat mixture into the pumpkin.  Top with the lid.  Bake for 1 hour at 350F.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

It was delicious!   We all enjoyed it very much.  It reminded me of a recipe my mom used to make where she put her meatloaf in the cavity of a zucchini cut in half lengthwise.  I think this recipe would be very good with just about any kind of ground meat.  I couldn’t find any currants so used dried cranberries.  I think raisins would be too sweet.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister, hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

Muesli, egg salad and kefir

Muesli – I tried making muesli this week.  I added raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and soaked it overnight.  I ate several spoonfuls but couldn’t finish it. 😦  I had to cook it.  Guess it’s not my thing.  We all ate the porridge, though.

Eggs – We eat a lot of eggs.  Scrambled, fried, poached, hard boiled, pickled.  Hubby takes sandwiches to work for his lunch so I made him some egg salad.  I mixed in my homemade sandwich spread, salt and pepper and a little Herbamare.  If it was just for me, I’d also mix in some chopped onion. 😀

Kefir – Life got busy at the end of November so the kefir got neglected.  I’ve started it up again and am enjoying a glass each morning.  I’m using the powder, not the grains (at this time).  The little bit of kefir that was left in the fridge for several weeks smelled like sourdough starter!  It was a good yeasty smell but not bubbly.  I threw it out. I was wondering if I could have used it in baking or something?

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

Tuesday Twister

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  Some family stuff came up and I didn’t have the mental energy to blog.  It’s been a challenge cooking real food when life gets crazy!  Don’t you find it that way?  I thought I wasn’t doing too bad for suppers.  They were very simple but still real.  It’s the other meals I sloughed off. The worst part is my hubby has been buying processed lunch foods, because I haven’t been home enough to do food prepping and cooking.  My son came down with a cold last week and has been fighting it for longer than I like.  I wonder if there’s a connection between my cooking (or lack of) and son’s health??  Well, I’m trying to get back to doing more again.  Here’s a few of this week’s real foods:

Homemade Noodles – This was the first time I tried making egg noodles with kamut flour.  It was different to work with but tasted pretty much the same to me.

Turkey Noodle Soup – Soup for the homemade noodles, of course.  I cooked turkey bones with garlic and onion to make the broth.  I added some carrots afterwards for colour and taste.  This is one of the first foods I like to cook when anyone is feeling under the weather.

Pumpkin Pudding – I’m working through my pumpkin harvest.  This recipe has lots of pumpkin flavour but is not too sweet. 

3 – 4 cups cooked pumpkin
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup honey
½ cup flour , type of your choice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Puree the cooked pumpkin with the wet ingredients in a blender of food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Generously grease a medium pan or casserole with about a Tbsp. of butter. Spread the batter in. Sprinkle with the following combined mixture on top:
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. honey

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

Kefir and Butternut Peanut Soup

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Homemade kefir

I have been looking for kefir or kefir starter for ages!  Ready to eat kefir is not available in the stores anywhere here. I finally found some starter!  Actually hubby found it when we were out together. I was so excited! I don’t have raw milk to make it with but if it’s as good as I’ve been reading, even made with store milk we should see the benefits.  Eventually I would like to make it with raw milk.  You can read here about the difference between kefir and yogurt.  I have some questions, though.  How is making kefir with the starter different than with grains?  The kefir was ready this morning, I gave it a stir like the directions said.  It looks really good, thick and smooth, but there’s no grains.  It tastes good, a lot like plain yogurt.  My youngest son likes yogurt but said ‘bleh’.  I gave him half a glass and he drank the whole thing.  Maybe first thing in the morning wasn’t the best time to get him to try it.  😀

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Butternut Peanut Soup

The other new recipe I tried was Butternut Peanut Soup. Doesn’t the name sound yummy?  I have quite a few butternut squashes from my garden this year so thought I’d try this different looking soup.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because there were a few ingredients I didn’t have and don’t normally so I adapted it to my pantry.  The recipe posted is my adapted version.  It’s very good and filling too.  I think I’ll try it with turkey stock next time.

Marg's Sandwich Spread

Marg's Sandwich Spread

I promised to share my sandwich spread recipe so here it is.  It turns out a lovely creamy-yellow colour.  Yellower than the picture. The next batch I may experiment with adding different ingredients to this base recipe.

Marg’s Sandwich Spread

2 egg yolks
½ tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dry mustard mixed with a little water.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a blender. With the blender running, drizzle in olive oil very slowly. Mix the dry mustard with a little water to make a paste and add to the blender. Keep refrigerated.

Yield: approx. 1½ cups

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

Mostly poultry

Here’s a look at the real food that’s been cooking in my kitchen this week.  I didn’t realize we were eating so much poultry until I put this post together! Ha!

Roast turkey – I cut the legs and wings off one of our homegrown fresh turkeys, put them in the freezer for another time and roasted the rest, breast side down. Cooking it breast down makes it very moist. I removed the breast and sliced it for a meal and for sandwiches.

Curried turkey – We loved this! It’s also a good way to use bits of meat you get from different parts of the turkey. It can be made with any kind of leftover meat. The way I used to cook it called for canned cream of mushroom soup, but this time I made it with real ingredients only and it was so much better! I served it over brown basmati rice.

Turkey enchiladas – not pictured. This was a new recipe I tried and it was very good! Filling too and we hardly knew it was turkey. Which was nice since we’ve been eating so much of it lately. 😉

Turkey stock – The bones were so big, I had to cook it in my canner! It made lots of yummy broth.

For a turkey that had the legs and wings removed, it fed us for a lot of meals. I picked the last bits of meat off the bones, (another pound!) and froze it for another meal at another time. Hopefully that’s the end of it for a while!

Greek Roasted Chicken and Potatoes – I make this fairly often. It’s a family favourite. I especially like it because you can adapt it for feeding more or less people.

Fresh Tomato Soup – A soup made with chicken broth, from the leftover roast chicken. I used up the last of my tomatoes from the garden. The picture doesn’t show that there are chunks of tomato, green pepper and chicken. I also used up the last little bit of cream I bought earlier in the week even though it didn’t call for it.

Sandwich Spread – I won’t buy Miracle Whip anymore and mayonnaise isn’t zippy enough for my family so I’ve been experimenting with a sandwich spread recipe. I don’t want to call it Miracle Whip because I’m not trying to copy the taste but make my own. This one turned out pretty good. They’re eating it in their turkey sandwiches so I guess it’s okay. 🙂

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

Tuesday Twister

I still have a few tomatoes ripening.  We’re enjoying them in a variety of ways.  This past weekend was Thanksgiving, so turkey was on the menu and lots of fresh vegetables from the garden. Here’s a few real foods that have been twisting in my kitchen this past week.

Cultured Salsa – I found the recipe over at The Nourishing Gourmet.  I’m waiting for it to ferment.  How long does it take?  It tastes pretty good already.

Marinated Tomatoes – I love tomatoes!  Found this heart-shaped tomato in my garden. 

Thanksgiving dinner – Yesterday was Thanksgiving, we had a big turkey dinner on Sunday with the family.  This is our own homegrown turkey.  It didn’t present well mostly because I forgot to tie the legs together and I had to cover it with tinfoil because the lid wouldn’t fit over the giant bird.  It dressed out at 24lbs!  It still tasted wonderful!  The gravy was to die for!  Fresh, free ranged turkey beats store bought.  We also had potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and tomatoes from the garden.

Deviled eggs – I thought it was neat to cut this egg and find a double yolk.  So I had to show you. 😀  Double yolks can be quite common in eggs from hens just beginning to lay.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

For the love of cucumbers

Every week I seem to have theme running through my kitchen.  It’s all based on what’s ready in the garden.  Guess what it is this week. 😀  The cucumbers have finally started coming at a steady pace.  I really do love them!

I made my first batch of old fashioned dill pickles today.

This cucumber salad is a nice creamy alternative to the oil/vinegar based salad.  Simply peel and slice cukes.  Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain well.  Add a spoonful of yogurt and a spoonful of sour cream, chopped dill, salt and pepper and stir.  Serve immediately.

Cucumber, tomato, onion salad was so good, I’ve made it a few times this week.  It never lasts long.  Hubby’s not a fan of plain cucumbers but he likes this salad.  I posted the recipe last week.  Click here to find it.

Food for thought:  No man was ever shot while doing the dishes.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com

There’s good news and bad news.

On goes the quest to eat more real foods and eliminate processed crap.  It’s been a week of ups and downs. Here’s a short review of what has been slicing and dicing (twisting) in my kitchen this week.

Sourdough breadMy sourdough starter was a success and I was really anxious to make some healthy bread for my family! Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. The bread is far too sour and will be croutons in its next life.  Come think of it, I’m sure I did this once before, years and years ago.  I’m so discouraged and fear this learning curve is just too steep for me.

That was the bad news, now the good news:

Gazpacho – I made gazpacho again this week for hubby’s lunches and packed it in 1/2 pint jars to-go. I changed up how I made it from last time and it turned out much better, I think. Super healthy for hubby too as everything is raw.

Tuna Noodle Skillet Dinner – this I winged. I improvised on my homemade version of hamburger helper to make a tuna helper. Tuna, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, whole wheat rotini, in a cream sauce and topped with shredded cheddar cheese. It was surprisingly good!

Tomato cucumber and onion salad – very basic, simple ingredients but so delicious! Peel and slice 3 small cucumbers thinly, cut tomatoes into wedges and slice onions thin. I use twice as much tomatoes and half the onions as cucumbers, but you can use any ratio you like. Drizzle with 4 Tbsp olive oil and 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and toss gently.  You can try different types of vinegar but the white wine vinegar is so good!  I may never use regular vinegar again. 😉 Refrigerate for at least an hour to blend the flavours. A lovely summer salad!

Food for thought – No matter what happens – there’s always someone who knew it would.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFGLINS.com