Category Archives: Recipes

Just hand over the potatoes, ma’am. (Oven fries)

This is a very easy recipe. Your children could make these (minus the chopping). You take your potatoes. Cut them in thin wedges (or slices or sticks) and put them in a baking dish. Throw on some good fat. I like to use a combo, like olive oil and beef tallow. If you have some herb butter in the freezer, thaw first and use that. I’m going to use some rosemary butter for mine tonight, along with beef tallow. Sea salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine so the potatoes get all covered in the oil mix. I can’t tell you how much oil–you obviously don’t want them drowning in it, but make sure they’re very well coated.

Bake at 425 degrees until they’re done and crispy, maybe 40-50 minutes, turning once or twice in between.

Over-the-top variation: ¬†Add some BBQ sauce before hand tossing. ūüôā Now that’s a good potato!

This post is part of Tuesday Twister Blog Carnival

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Ooh Chihuahua! (Homemade Enchilada Sauce.)

Enchilada sauce is one of those things I love, Love, LOVE, but don’t make often enough (or enough of it when I do), but I’m determined not to buy any more. It is so good (much better than store-bought in my opinion), and easy to make. ¬†I looked in Nourishing Traditions for Sally’s recipe, but sort of combined it with what I’ve done in the past, which I learned from a Mexican family that has a huge tamale-making party every year. I use bone broth in the sauce, so this is another opportunity to use some of that wonderful broth in your freezer that you keep trying to get into your family during cold season!

My sauce is definitely on the mild side because that’s how we like it, but you can make it hotter by not using all of the water or broth when you blend/mill it. Likewise, you could make it even milder by adding more broth at the end. You could also experiment on which chiles you like best. ¬†I used Chile California Entero for this batch. ¬†I always try to find “less dry” chiles because they’re easier to work with (less crumbly). ¬†Just give the bag a little squeeze and if there’s a little “give” to the chiles instead of totally crispy, choose that one.) I use my VitaMix to blend the sauce and I don’t have to strain it. ¬†Most recipes say to use a food mill–this strains out the large pieces of skin. ¬†Years ago, I tried a regular blender and was not happy with the sauce because there were little hard pieces of skin in it. ¬†Not a good mouth feel. ¬†So if you have a VitaMix, use it. ¬†Or put it through a food mill. Or I suppose you could blend it, then strain well??¬†Oh, and do as I say and not as I do: use gloves to handle the chiles! Your skin will thank you.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 3 oz. bag of dried chiles
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2-3 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 quart hot tap water
  • 1 1/2 c. bone broth (I used chicken this time)

Use scissors to snip the tops off of all the chiles, then snip up the length of each chile and remove all the seeds and large rib stuff (not sure what to call that!). Put all the cleaned chiles in a pot with all the rest of the ingredients, except for the broth. ¬†I save the broth for later, because if I need to adjust for spiciness I won’t be dumping that precious liquid down the drain!

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the chiles are tender (completely limp when picked up with a fork!). Let cool slightly so you won’t crack your blender. Okay, and less hellishly spicy steam going into your eyes!

Now for the blending/food milling part. For your first time, you may not want to use all the water before tasting for spice.  This time, I bit the bullet and dumped the whole shebang in the VitaMix, and it worked fine. But you can hold back a cup or two of the liquid then add it later if you want, depending on your taste. Add the bone broth (or most of it, and adjust later as you did with the chile-water) and blend the heck out of it!  (Or pass the whole thing through a food mill.)  Now taste, adjusting your liquids as needed, and add more salt and/or oregano if you want.  Your sauce should be smooth, thicker than water but not gravy-thick. I divide it into zip bags and freeze for later.

When you’re ready to use some, thaw completely. ¬†For enchiladas, I usually thicken it a little with a roux (which is what I do for store-bought sauce too). Melt some good fat (beef tallow, lard, butter…) in a skillet, add same amount of flour and whisk for maybe 30 seconds, then pour your sauce in and whisk til slightly thickened. ¬†Amounts of each? Your ratios will be about 1:1 on the fat:flour, so for each cup of liquid you would use about 1 Tbls. each of fat and flour. Or in Grandma’s words, “1+1+1” instead of the “2+2+1” for a thicker gravy. ¬†If this confuses you, ask me in the comments and I’ll clear it up for you ūüėČ .

I use this sauce for enchiladas obviously, but also in various casseroles (tamale pie, anyone?), tamales (add the sauce to your meat to fill your tamale), or for dipping tortilla chips. Mmm. This sauce makes me very happy.

Sorry, no photo of the finished product.  I bagged and froze it without thinking of the camera!  It just looks like enchilada sauce anyway.

This was a part of the Real Food Wednesdays carnival.

Killing my wolf. (How to cook beans.)

One of my favorite things to eat for dinner is bean tostadas. ¬†A super frugal meal, and sure to scare away the wolf at the door. ¬†Take a corn tostada shell (store-bought are cheap and of course easy, or you can make your own), spread with refried beans, smear with sour cream (or home-made kefir sour cream), top with whatever you like–tomatoes or fresh salsa, shredded cheese and homemade hot sauce is how we do them.

This is how I cook my pinto beans. ¬†I follow Sally Fallon’s recipe for basic beans in her “Nourishing Traditions” book, which is basically the way I had made them previously, with a couple small exceptions. ¬†I take a 2 pound bag of pintos, pick through them for rocks, etc., rinse them good and put them in a large bowl, covered with WARM water. ¬†Black beans require a little whey also. Let them soak for 12-24 hours (I usually try for the 24), drain off the water, put the beans in my large crockpot covered with water, and cook on low for about 12 hours or until tender. ¬†DON’T SALT THE WATER until they’re done, or you risk having tough beans that won’t ever get tender! Trust me on this.

When they’re done, I season with sea salt, turn the heat off and let sit until cool enough to fill several zip bags and pop in the freezer (lay them flat until frozen, then they can store upright-takes less space). ¬†I always put some of the bean liquid in the bag with the beans, since I use these mostly for refried beans which require some liquid.

Let me tell you, homemade refried beans are a cinch to prepare and you will never go back to canned! ¬†Thaw your beans. Melt a good amount of bacon grease in a skillet (I’m going to try beef tallow next time), put in the beans and mash with a potato masher or large spoon until they look right (I personally don’t mind some whole beans in there, but you can certainly mash your little heart out here). ¬†That’s all I usually do, other than some S & P. ¬†Maybe I’m a purist, but I don’t think they need anything else. Tostadas made with these beans are make-you-shout-halleluia good.

And if you didn’t understand the reference to the wolf, you need to read ¬† ¬†¬†M.F.K. Fisher’s book called “How to Cook a Wolf.”

Passionate Homemaking’s Soaked Whole Grain Bread. (The one.)

Okay, I’ve got another bread recipe. ¬†I think this is THE ONE. ¬†(I always say that, but I think it’s for real this time.) ¬†It’s from Lindsay’s Passionate Homemaking blog. ¬†And, can I say how impressed I’ve been with Lindsay? She is this young mom that just seems to have it all together! ¬†I’ve read her blog for about a year now, and this 40-something has gleaned a wealth of information and recipes from that 20-something! ¬†(at least she looks 20-something–not sure of her age!) ¬†Everything from coconut oil uses to homemade cleaning products and many, many recipes, her blog has it all.

This bread is soaked overnight, preferably for 24 hours since it uses oatmeal, making it NT-friendly and ultra-nourishing! I love using oatmeal in bread, since we eat very little oatmeal for breakfast, and I know it’s so good for us. ¬†I substitute a little molasses for some of the honey because I like molasses and because of its beneficial nutrients. ¬†I don’t add all the seeds that she does because I don’t happen to have them, but I would if I did :). Also, I made it today without any dough enhancer, and it turned out fine! ¬†You can see her recipe here. ¬†I am going to write my version of it here, but if you want all the details of how to do it, please visit her site. ¬†(But please visit her blog anyway; it’s pretty incredible.) ¬†I split Lindsay’s recipe in half, by the way, since that’s all my KitchenAid will hold.

Soaked Whole Grain Bread

Mix well together in bowl:

  • 5 1/2 c. fresh ground whole wheat flour (I use hard red)
  • 1/2 c. kefir
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. honey (I don’t fill it full, then add molasses to the top, maybe 1-2 Tbls.)
  • 6 Tbls. butter or coconut oil, melted

Cover and let sit on counter 12-24 hours.  Then get your yeast going by mixing together the following and let sit for 5 minutes til bubbly:

  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 Tbls + 1/4¬†3/4¬†tsp. yeast [later realized I had divided wrong, but it worked anyway!]

Add the mixture to the dough, and add:

  • 2 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Mix all this together and knead as normal. ¬†You will probably need to use some more flour–between 1/2 and 3/4 cup–but don’t add any more than it takes to make the dough clean the bowl. ¬†Let rise till double, punch down, let rise again, punch down and put in pans. ¬†Rise once more, then bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Yes, I know I didn’t add much detail on the process. ¬†It’s a trick to get you over to Lindsay’s!

Until I can get my sourdough bread to come out right, this is the bread I will be making.

How not to make soup. (Don’t try this at home.)

I finally made something that Hubby didn’t like. And wouldn’t eat. Okay, there was the Thai Green Curry that was too hot, but that’s understandable, right? And lest anyone is critical of someone who is just too picky, I have to say that my Hubby HATES to waste food. ¬†He’ll eat things that are past their prime, just so they don’t go to waste. ¬†I have learned to use up my leftovers long before this happens, because ¬†A) I can’t stand to see him eat something gross; B) I see it as a challenge to use everything up, due to my limited food budget;¬†and C) because he’s drilled it into me that wasting food is…a waste.

So I had this package of lamb kidneys in the freezer, just waiting for me to do something with. ¬†And I really needed to make some bone broth out of a bunch of lamb bones (and a couple beef bones), so I decided to combine my efforts–make the broth, cook the kidney in the broth, remove from broth and cut up, then make a soup from the broth, kidney pieces and some veggies. ¬†Sound good so far, right? (other than the run-on sentence!)

I don’t think I’ve ever tasted kidney, much less lamb kidney, so I took one out and bit into it, for research’s sake (yes, after it was cooked!). ¬†Very liver-y, and with a little center fatty-looking part. ¬†I wasn’t too excited to make liver soup, but I was too committed at that point to change courses, so I trudged ahead (mistake #1) and cut them all in tiny dice. ¬†My thought was that if the broth and veggies were tasty enough, we wouldn’t notice the liver-y kidneys too much.

I put them in a soup pot with a bunch of veggies: onion, celery, carrots, turnips and cabbage.  Added a bunch of the bone broth from the crock pot and set it to cook.  Tasted the soup occasionally (well, just the broth really), and it was okay, sort of blah, but doable.  I added some of my frozen herb butter at the end because it needed a punch of flavor.

Well, to make a long story short, the soup was definitely not a hit.  I served it (mistake #2) with homemade biscuits. Hubby said the soup smelled like a cow barn.  He tried it, pushed it away and ate a biscuit with honey instead.  Tried the soup again a few minutes later and again pushed it aside.  I did manage to eat it but tried not to think of the flavor in my mouth. Instead, I concentrated on the yummy biscuit with lots of butter and honey.

Now, please, no comments on rudeness here! ¬†This is the ONLY time, except for the too hot Thai food, that he’s ever not eaten something I made. ¬†He even eats things he really doesn’t like too much, like fruit on green salads. (He faithfully ate them for several years before telling me I had traumatized him with strawberries in the salad!)

Oh, and by the way, Little Boy LOVED the soup.  Picked the kidney meat out and ate it piece by piece.  Ate every little bit of that soup.

Going with the flow. (Milk Based Soup)

Warm, gooey, melty, cheesy, bacony Cream of Potato Soup

It seems like every time I make a menu and then post it, I later have to modify it. Several times I’ve planned a tuna casserole, forgetting I had no tuna (and forgetting to buy it). ¬†This time I forgot to buy canned salmon for the patties. ¬†Must be the mommy brain. ¬†As I was thinking this morning about having Hubby go to the store for salmon, I had a brain flash: “How ’bout using those leftover herb-baked potatoes from last night to make a wonderful soup?” Tonight’s menu features homemade pizza, which I’ve not been able to get excited about yet, probably because I was too tired yesterday to get the crust made, and tomorrow’s has the salmon patties. ¬†So, what to do… I’ll make the pizza crust today, the soup for tonight, and do the pizza tomorrow night. ¬†That will give me pizza leftovers for Thursday lunch, which will be great, because I will have worked an overnight shift Wednesday night and won’t have to cook lunch on Thursday. ¬†(I probably will be in some sort of comatose at noon on Thursday.) ¬†Confused? It’s called “going with the flow.”

Now, for those readers who read the Broth Based Soup post, you get to expand your soup-making repertoire and learn how to make a cream (or milk) based soup.  From scratch.

As I’m beginning this post, I have not started the soup, but I have an idea of what it will be like because I have some key ingredients waiting for me in the fridge. ¬†First let’s talk about cream soups. ¬†We’ll start with a deconstruction, like we did before.

Milk Based Soup Deconstruction

  • Base – Think of Cream of Whatever¬†soups. ¬†Basically, a broth or meat flavored white sauce, thinned down to soup consistency. ¬†We’ll do this from scratch, of course, with my Grandma’s gravy ratio for fat, flour and liquid. ¬†You need to consider fat to be part of the base. ¬†You could go with just butter, which is of course yummy! ¬†I often use a combo of fats to make the sauce with, because that’s what I have and that’s what I love! (Imagine the flavor of a sauce made with butter, bacon grease and beef tallow!)
  • Basic flavor veggies ‚Äď As always, I begin with my flavor veggies, my “mirepoix”–onion, celery & carrot. These will heavily flavor your soup base, yet remain in the background to allow the stars of the show to shine through! ¬†You’ll want approximately equal amounts of these veggies, cut up as small as possible (in fact, I often just grate the carrot, and you could do the same with the onion and celery too).
  • Meat/protein ‚Äď This differs from the broth based soup. ¬†You don’t necessarily need meat for a cream soup, which is why I often make them for my non-meat meals. ¬†The milk in the base (plus possibly cheese added later) will give you lots of protein. ¬†If you have some leftover meat and want to put it in, go ahead! ¬†You could make a cream of chicken soup with leftover chicken from the night before. ¬†I usually make more of a cream of veggie soup, heavily flavored with some sort of meat fat. If I have a few slices of bacon hanging out in the fridge or freezer (which is rare), I’ll crumble that up and throw in the pot.
  • Starch‚Äď This depends on what you’re going for here. ¬†Obviously, a potato soup will have potatoes for the starch. ¬†You don’t really need any noodles or other starchy things. ¬†Look in your fridge for inspiration here–what do have sitting in there, begging to be used? Maybe some leftover rice? ¬†I just looked in the fridge, and I saw a tiny bit of leftover pasta, so I’ll put that in the pot too, along with my baked potatoes.
  • Extra/signature vegetables ‚Äď What kind of soup do you want? ¬†Cream of broccoli? ¬†Cream of mushroom? ¬†Or a mixture of veggies? ¬†You’ll usually want to cook the veggies first, instead of putting them in raw. ¬†(They would eventually cook, of course, but I like to make things as quick and easy as possible. ¬†I can usually get a soup done from start to finish in about a half hour.) ¬†Today, I think I’ll use a mix of veggies in addition to the potatoes–probably some zucchini and red bell pepper.
  • And then there’s the cheese. ¬†I am all about the cheese! ¬†I should belong to Cheeselovers Anonymous, because there’s not a day goes by without me throwing it in something! ¬†It just makes life better. ¬†I’m going to use some cream cheese and some cheddar cheese.

So let‚Äôs get cooking! ¬†As before, I’m not going to give exact amounts. ¬†I will be making the soup in my 2 quart pot, to give you an idea of the finished amount.

Milk Based Soup

  1. If your extra/signature veggies need cooking first, do it now  (Broccoli or cauliflower, etc.).  I wanted to put in some crumbled bacon, so I fried the bacon while I was chopping veggies.  Since I had another good fat to use, I decided to save the bacon grease for other uses, but still take advantage of the flavor of the bacon itself. However, often I will use bacon grease to saute my veggies in.  Not very NT, but a yummy compromise!
  2. Finely chop equal portions of onion, celery and carrot. Let’s say a large

    Basic flavor veggies, ready to saute

    handful of each, give or take. Heat up your pan and put some fat in it. ¬†I have a mix of beef tallow, coconut oil and olive oil leftover from frying some potato chips the other night, so I’ll use some of that. ¬†At least a couple tablespoonsful. When that is melted and hot, put your flavor veggies in it and let them cook over medium-high heat til tender, stirring occasionally.

  3. While those are cooking, chop any other veggies to go in later. ¬†I’m

    Zucchini & red bell pepper, ready to add to the basic flavor veggies. Potatoes to go in later.

    using zucchini and a little red bell pepper. ¬†Those will go in the pot towards the end of cooking the onion mixture, since they won’t take that long to get done. ¬†I also chopped my potatoes. ¬†I had some leftover baked potatoes from last night that I had dipped in herb butter before baking, so I used those.

  4. You’re going to have to look at your veggies and consider how quick-cooking they are. ¬†I really can’t tell you when to add them to the pot, but you definitely don’t want to add something like tiny chopped zucchini or thin sliced mushrooms at the beginning. ¬†Just take a guess and add them later, so they get done approximately all together. ¬†Don’t worry too much about this–just do it! ¬†Since my potatoes are already cooked, I’m not going to add them til after the sauce part is done.
  5. Now, this can be done different ways, but often I think it’s just easier to

    All my veggies, removed from the pot temporarily

    throw all these veggies (once they’re all done) onto a plate, so I can use the same pot to make the sauce in. ¬†You add the veggies back into the pot later. Professional chefs probably don’t do it this way, but oh well. Works for me!

  6. Make your white sauce. ¬†My grandmother used the rule “2+2+1” for sauces/gravies. ¬†It means 2 Tbls. fat + 2 Tbls. flour + 1 cup of liquid. You can adjust this accordingly if you want a thinner or thicker sauce. I’m thinking my sauce here should be slightly thinner because of all the potatoes, so I’ll do maybe 1+1+1. ¬†I don’t measure it, but that’s basically the ratio of how I do this. ¬†For fat, I’m going to use butter. ¬†For liquid, I’m going to use milk and frozen chicken bone broth. ¬†So, for my 2 quart soup pot with a ton o’ veggies in it, I’m thinking I’ll need about 3-4 cups of sauce. ¬†I put 1/2 stick of butter in the pan and when it’s

    Whisking the butter and flour, ready to add liquid

    melted, add about the same of flour, stirring with a whisk til it’s all incorporated and then a bit more. ¬†Stirring constantly with the whisk, add maybe a cup of milk at a time until it thickens, then add more. ¬†I want to use some bone broth, so once I have several cups of milk in and it’s looking like a

    See how it's thickened, but not as thick as gravy

    thick sauce, I add frozen bone broth til the sauce thins out to my liking.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

  7. Add the cooked veggies back in and taste for seasoning.  I also threw in my potatoes and a handful of cooked pasta here. I wanted this to be a very CREAMY soup, so I added maybe a 1/4 cup cream cheese and a big handful of cheddar cheese and stir til melted.
  8. Since the veggies are so flavorful, I often don’t add any seasoning except salt and pepper, but I happened to have some frozen herb butter on hand, so I put that on top for the photo then stirred it in. Simply marvelous! ¬†Give yourself a high five.
  9. If the soup is too thick, add some milk. ¬†Usually I have to do this to the leftovers, as it thickens when refrigerated. ¬†If it’s too thin, you could try putting a couple ladles of it in the blender for a minute, then add back to the pot.

Frozen herb butter (rosemary, basil & oregano), ready to be stirred in

This post is part of Tuesday Twister Blog Carnival.


Hot Tamale! (Fermented Sriracha-style Hot Sauce)

When I was writing the post on my traditional nutrition journey, I mentioned one of my “holdouts” was Sriracha hot sauce. ¬†Well, I realized that I hadn’t even made an attempt to replace this chemical-laden product! ¬†So, after perusing the net for replacement recipes, I decided to wing it (which is what normally happens for me–I rarely follow a recipe exactly anyway). ¬†I knew that I wanted my sauce to taste similar to the store-bought version, nice and hot, garlicky and slightly sweet.¬†I’m always looking for more opportunities to serve fermented foods to my family, so I knew that this would need to be lacto-fermented as well. This is what I came up with, for round one anyway. If it needs tweaking, I’ll let you know.

What I wanted were Thai chiles, but I couldn’t find them. ¬†In fact there weren’t even any red chiles of any kind in one store I went to! ¬†(Hello, do chiles even grow in January?) However, I went to another store and found red Fresno chiles. I had no idea how hot they were, so I asked one of the produce employees. ¬†He said they were about the same heat as a jalepe√Īo, but when we both took a bite of one it wasn’t hot at all! ¬†I was debating on whether just to buy them anyway, and supplement the heat with some Habaneros (which I did end up doing but didn’t use them), when he bit into another one. ¬†After this bite, he let me know, with expletive-ridden language, that THAT one was HOT!!! ¬†(“Yay for me!” she exclaims, scared AND excited!)

Fermented Sriracha-style Hot Sauce

Please ignore the tomato sauce, vinegar and habanero! I didn't need them after all!

  • 16 Red Fresno chiles
  • 1 Large shallot
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbls. Sucanat
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 Tbls. Fish sauce
  • 1/4 c. + 1 Tbls. whey, divided

First, put gloves on! ¬†You definitely don’t want this stuff getting into your eyes, or onto your baby’s skin! ¬†Remove stems, seeds and ribs from the chiles. I gave them a good rinse to make sure I had all the seeds off. ¬†Give them a very rough chop (maybe into 2-3 pieces?), then put in food processor with all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the last tablespoon of whey. ¬†Whiz this for several minutes or until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape sides. When I make this again, I will probably use my VitaMix to get it even smoother.¬†Taste for seasoning.

Pour into jar, top with remaining whey and seal tightly. Make sure you leave at least an inch of space at the top, or you may have leak issues (which I probably will have, because I didn’t follow my own instruction!)

Let it sit on the counter for 2-3 days, then refrigerate.

If you’re interested in how this turns out, follow the comments. ¬†I’ll report back. ¬†At this point, it tastes pretty close to the “real” thing. ¬†Also, I will probably use maple syrup instead of Sucanat, but I didn’t have any this time.

This post is a part of Fight Back Friday!