Third (and Final) Amazon Store

Alright!  I have now setup my third (and hopefully final) Amazon store.  This one is woefully lacking in items listed.  This is my oldest blog and I have used so many various resources throughout the years to get to where I am today that I’ll be surprised if I remember them all.  I will continually add to the list as I remember (and scour my brain, computer, and bookshelves to jog my memory).

As of this moment, it has a list of all the store-bought gluten free items we have tried (and liked).  I have a list going of what we liked, what we hated, and the ingredients of each item.  My goal is to take all that information and figure out the right mix of gluten-free flours that we will like.  Right now, it seems as if there will be two (can’t remember if I’ve already typed that or not in my last post): one for quick breads/pancakes/muffins, etc. and another for bread like foods (you know, white bread).  I discovered that with each product link, I can add my own notes (so, of course, I did with all the products so far).

The other things I have listed are all the knitting and crochet books I have.  Those I also know are not complete lists but I’m pretty sure I’m only missing a few.  I have cookbooks listed and yes, that is not a complete list.  I will also include a list of books on gardening/homestead but my brain’s a bit fried right now so that list is empty.

The link to the store is to the right and along the top of the page (I figured doing a store like this would be easier than a links page, where we know web sites tend to disappear over time).

Also, here’s the link: My Amazon Store.  I won’t be posting an update every time I post something new to the store.  Just know that it’s there: a constant reference list of all the things I have enjoyed and learned from over the years.

I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Brenda

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Quick Update and Changes

My focus, when it comes to posting recipes, will be changing.  I have tried to keep my low carbohydrate (Atkins/Keto) posts to my other blog but now something new has reared its head and I am not willing to start a new blog (or just ignore it and only share with my Facebook friends). As of right now, my husband either has a gluten sensitivity or full blown allergy. We won’t know for another week or two whether it’s celiac disease or not. So, I’m am on a new path when it comes to food and will be sharing my experiences. I want everyone to see my trial and errors, what we discover we like (and don’t like) so that if you ever find yourself in this situation, hopefully I’ve gone through some of the pain for you.

I am in the process of going through various links that I’ve either already known about or those given to me by friends. I am still of a mind to make my own mixes (and once I get a flour mill of some kind making my own flours as much as I can) but right now, there are so many varied options out there that I’m not willing to by a 25 pound bag of sorghum flour if we are going to hate it.

So, I am making lists, buying pre-made foods/gluten-free mixes, noting whether we like an item or not and writing down the ingredients so I know what blends we like/don’t like. Once we settle on a couple (seems like there would have to be two mixes: one for bread-like products and another for muffin/quick bread recipes but I’ll know more once we experiment), I will share all of our observations, trials and errors with all of you.

My point in making this post is, I will no longer be posting standard gluten recipes UNLESS you can substitute the regular flour for a gluten-free substitute without altering the recipe in any other way.

Food Storage You Tube Playlist

I’ve been lost on You Tube for two days.  I’m such a huge video person and realized (when trying to write out some information about food storage) that my channel was pretty lacking.  So, here it is.  It doesn’t have the entire scope of all the options I think of when considering food storage but I think it’s a good primer.  I know me.  I will be adding to it (unless I actually force myself to get off my rear and get some projects started/completed).

OH!  And I fixed the link (to the side of this post) for my main You Tube channel.

Challah

The first loaf of bread I ever made was challah.  I had to be … maybe 12 years old?  I don’t remember the exact age but do remember where we were living (so that narrows down the time frame a bit).  I also remember that beautiful loaf of bread.  It was gorgeous and HUGE!  I was so proud!  Well, until I cut into that dark golden crust to find raw dough (just about an inch of the dough had cooked … the rest was raw as can be).  That was also the last time I made bread until I was an adult.  I’ve made bread that resembled a chunk of concrete to bread that resembled a dried glob of glue but I was determined.  It’s taken me many years of trial and error to figure out exactly how long to knead and  how much flour/liquid to add to obtain the right consistency.   I’m very happy with my bread making skills (I’ve worked hard for them 🙂 ).

So, while trying to figure out a way to pay back my neighbor for finishing off the front yard that we started whacking on Valentine’s Day, I decided on challah.  I have been wanting to make it so long and this time (yes, this was the first time I had made it since that day too many years ago) it was beautiful (and edible)! I used a recipe I had written down and stuffed in my binder of recipes.  I have no idea when I wrote this down or who it was who originally shared it (may have been a friend who lives in Israel) BUT I discovered (while doing my favorite activity … searching the internet) a woman who pretty much uses the same recipe on You Tube!  The recipe she uses makes 4 huge loaves.  The recipe I have makes 6 standard loaves (so, just cut the dough into 6 pieces instead of 4 and you are good, unless you have a large family or are making this to take somewhere).

So, here is the playlist of her videos, plus a couple more.  The first video is an amazing demonstration of various ways to form/braid rolls and loaves.  I just sat there with my jaw open, in shock that there are so many different ways to manipulate the dough!  The second is a woman demonstrating the various braiding methods for loaves: from 3 strands up to 9 strands.

AND here’s my bread:

I cut the dough into 6 sections and made 4 loaves.

I cut the dough into 6 sections and made 4 loaves.

See that ugly loaf?  That’s what happens when you forget to grease your loaf pans!  Here’s a close-up:

The bottom of the loaf stuck like crazy to the pan.

The bottom of the loaf stuck like crazy to the pan.

So, those took care of four of the dough chunks and this is what I did with the other two.  I cut each of them into 6 sections and made sandwich rolls out of them.  Now, these look beautiful but I cooked them way too long.  That’s what happens when you turn the timer off (because they weren’t quite brown enough) and then proceed to talk to the neighbor about how her grandson is doing.

3 of these large rolls is the equivalent to one loaf.

3 of these large rolls is the equivalent to one loaf.

And here’s the recipe I used:

Challah

  • 3 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 4 cups warm Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt (reduce if you use salted butter instead of oil, like I did)
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil (I don’t use vegetable oil nor canola oil.  I used melted butter because my olive oil supply is currently limited and I forgot I had peanut oil)
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 12 cups Flour (approximate)

For Egg Wash:

  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds (optional)

In a large bowl (remember, enough dough for 6 loaves of bread), pour in the warm water (How warm?  I test on my wrist: if it doesn’t make me flinch, it’s good.  For more specifics, check out this web page: Yeast Is Fussy About Temperature) and whisk in the yeast and sugar (I use Saf-Instant.  I don’t bake a lot  so once opened, I store it in the freezer.  I have had the most consistent results from this yeast even when it has expired).  Let sit in a warm spot until it looks like a layer of foam is across the top of the liquid.

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In a smaller bowl, break the eggs into it and whisk in the salt and oil.  Once the yeast is ready (proofed), whisk the egg mixture into the yeast until everything is well incorporated and you can’t see chunk of egg.  Now, for the fun part: adding the flour.

Using a large spoon, stir the flour (1 to 2 cups at a time) into the liquid.  Keep doing this until it feels like your arm is going to fall off (I tried making large batches of dough like this when I had a working Kitchen Aid mixer … it wasn’t pretty and is probably what lead to it dying).  Then, on a large surface (counter top, kitchen table, whatever will work as long as it is sturdy) sprinkle about 1/4 cup or so of flour and turn your dough out onto the floured surface.  Time to knead in more flour.

This is where I used to mess up.  When a recipe called for X-amount of flour, I used it all.  The amount of flour you use depends on so many factors from the humidity in your house to the size of the eggs you use to what kind of flour you are using that you need to pay attention to how the dough is behaving to determine how much flour you really use for a certain recipe.  I typically add (to the bowl) all but the last two or so cups, then add more flour while I knead.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

When the dough is ready place in an oiled bowl (I don’t have one large enough so I used my stock pot), cover with plastic wrap or a towel (I usually wet a towel with hot water, wring it out, and cover the bowl with it if I’m using a container that doesn’t like plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours, depending on how warm your house is).  Once it is risen, punch the dough down and place it onto a very lightly floured surface.  Knead just a bit so you can form a nice ball, then separate into sections to make loaves or rolls.

Now, get the egg wash ready.  In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and vanilla (if you are using it).

Each one of the loaves I did a 6-strand braid and the rolls were two strands each.  You can shape the dough however you want. Once shaped, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using).  Let the loaves rise until nearly doubled (1 or 2 hours).  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves are a deep golden brown.  Each one of my loaves were baked for 25 to 30 minutes and, because I got distracted, the rolls probably went for about 40 minutes.

 

How to Grow Super Healthy Tomatoes in Containers: Using Organic Techniques

I have always used banana peels with my roses but never thought of using them for tomatoes! What she says about the egg shells, I have always done this. There have been times when it looks like it snowed around my tomato plants because of all the egg shells I’ve crushed up and worked into the soil.

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, do you have canned carrots (or you could use older fresh carrots) that turned to mush and you don’t know what to do with them?  How about make a carrot cake!  I’m also thinking this may be good with canned pumpkin and/or canned sweet potato.

Update: I just made this (muffins instead of cake … baked for 15 to 20 minutes) and they are amazing!  They aren’t spike-your-blood-sugar sweet and so flavorful!  This recipe is a keeper.  I made some changes that I will note here:

  1. Replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with almond flour
  2. Replaced the remaining flour (1 cup) with 1/3 cup of wheat germ (Why?  Because I had some)
  3. Reduced the milk to 1/4 cup due to the excess liquid in my carrots
  4. Reduced the total added sweetener by half (so, 3/4 cup total), then replaced 1/4 cup of the brown sugar with Splenda
  5. Substituted all-spice for the nutmeg (Why?  Because I didn’t have any nutmeg)

Note: I had one quart of thickly cut home canned carrots and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of mashed carrots.  I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

I may or may not make the frosting but if I do, it will be with mostly Splenda with a bit of powdered sugar (I have come to the conclusion that Splenda tends to get bitter if using a lot … mostly because I kept trying to slip some in hubby’s coffee and he immediately noticed).

http://www.daringgourmet.com/2014/02/18/old-fashioned-carrot-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

For Cake:
½ cup walnuts
1 cup pureed carrots (boil just under a pound of carrots until soft; drain and cool, then puree in a food processor.)
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (be careful to avoid the white pith of the orange, it’s bitter)
½ cup raisins

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Nut Loaf Bread

I know this is a bit late (should have posted this around Thanksgiving when all the canned pumpkin was on sale) but this looks like the best Pumpkin Bread recipe out there (like on my mom’s friend used to make).

http://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashioned-pumpkin-nut-loaf-bread-184460

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Now, if you don’t have evaporated milk, here’s a substitute:

To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup.

In many recipes, evaporated milk may also be replaced with a combination of whole milk and half-and-half. For 1 cup of evaporated milk, use 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup half-and-half.

And:

Mix 2/3 cup non-fat dry milk with 3/4 cup water.

Sardine Puffs

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sardine-Puffs-106257

Makes 120 hors d’oeuvres

Ingredients
    15 slices firm white sandwich bread, lightly toasted
    1 (3 3/4- to 4 3/8-ounce) can sardines in oil, drained
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    3 tablespoons minced onion
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Canned Sardine Fritters – Fritelle Sarde

Since my seafood allergy disappeared, I’ve been stocking up on canned fish again.  I never really thought of cooking with any of it.  lol

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/canned-sardine-fritters-fritelle-sarde-recipe.html

Ingredients

2 cans good-quality oil-packed sardines, chopped
2 large eggs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped plus extra, for garnish
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pepperonchini
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated caciocavallo cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, to fill a deep pot no more than halfway
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon halves

Torta con Nutella e Nocci – Chocolate Nutella & Walnut Cake

This, right here, is the biggest benefit of having TWO blogs to post recipes on.  The other one, I post good for me recipes and this one?  Indulgent sweet-tooth enabling recipes.  🙂

4 eggs
125 g / 1/2 cup + 2 T sugar
125 g / 1 cup chopped walnuts
75 g / 4 T Nutella
75 g / 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
125 g / 1/2 cup + 1 T butter
75 g / 1/2 cup + 1 T flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt