Friday, November 28, 2014

Mashed Potato Hash and a Touch More


We are living green here...as in foliage green
with all the rain along with sunshine, the plants and trees cannot help it
they have no other wardrobe color to wear except chlorophyll...
which makes for pretty scenery

this area on the side of the cottage leads to the back garden
my husband put down a stone walkway to keep our feet clean of mud during rains
it works


however, what I really want to say is...
there is sunshine in my bottles
the ginger beer soda I made is temporarily bottled...
but, it won't be in them for too long
they taste too good to stay bottled

but, don't the ginger soda make for pretty views



after a few days, the soda culture turned nice and fizzy
in fact, I also want to warn you...
if you make homemade soda...
do make sure that you open the bottle lid s l o w l y...
'cause that fizz is going to turn your soda into a liquidy volcano...
if the lid is popped off too quickly
just like real soda that's been shaken
oh wait...no, no!
this is real soda, the homemade one
the other is just lots of bad sugars with chemicals with fizz thrown in to fool us
you know, the ones on the supermarket shelves

and before I forget to tell you...
the commercially made ones don't have that good-for-you probiotics...
and beneficial enzymes...
like the homemade culture does

so, do make your own sodas
it really isn't hard work and you'll wonder how you ever liked commercial soda at all



so now that you have real ginger beer to drink...
how about a mashed potato hash to go with it

for every person who will be eating this, take...
1 medium size potato (2 small ones if you have no medium size)
or more if you are bigger eaters
1 large onion, chopped
herbal seasoning of any kind you like (I'll show you mine further down)
2 Tbs of butter ( I suppose you could use another oil but, it ain't the same)

put the potatoes into a pot of water and bring to boil just until they are turning soft



once they are cooked, put them into a bowl and cool for a few minutes



with a masher or fork, mash up the potatoes, peel and all
the peels have nutrition in them, too
put some sea salt into the potatoes as you mash them, to your taste
don't over mash them, leave them a bit chunky...
it's much better that way



in a pan with the butter, saute the chopped onion till almost soft



add the mashed potatoes and stir them around with the onions just a bit



while the potatoes and onion are cooking...
add the herbal seasoning to your taste
I don't measure but, just sprinkle the seasoning over the potatoes till it looks good to me
my herbal seasoning is a combination of different herbs together into one bottle
it makes it so much easier to just pick up one bottle instead of bringing out the whole pantry
you can see on my fancy labels and lovely handwriting the combination I have
I just buy packages of the herbs (or dry them myself)...
and don't bother using measurements of each - just each package emptied into a bowl...
and thoroughly mixed together, then put into a lidded jar or large mouth bottle
it works
(sorry for the blur - I focused towards the wrong spot)



once the first side of the hash is done, I sprinkle cheese (whatever you like)...



and turn it over to crisp on the other side



voila! mashed hashed potatoes
and you can add anything else you like along the way as it cooks
please your own palate



thought I'd give you a scenic view of fluttering butterflies...
and a pretty, speckled bug on a flower (lower center)
can you see the butterflies in their lovely bright orange-red blurs?


O give thanks to the Lord;
call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:8

May your day or night be praise to the Lord.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Using the Ginger Bug Culture



How much I love to see the sun shine through the trees in the morning...
after lots of rains

and when I walk the road from the cottage with the dogs...
the sun rays penetrate the dark shadows of trees to give an ethereal feel to the surroundings 


and to the east side of the cottage stands a tall, lovely tree I love to look at
it stands maybe at about 40 feet or so
and if you look closely, you will see a dot of a moon above
(this photo was taken earlier in the month)

but, on to the ginger beer soda making


you will need...

a half gallon of un-chlorinated water...
2 and 1/2 ounces of chopped ginger
1 cup of the ginger beer culture 
the juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
1 to 2 cups sugar (depending on your taste for sweetness)
one thing to remember is that, the sugars will be eaten by the fermentation...
and will not leave an overly sweet taste to the ginger beer
but, if it isn't sweet enough at the end of the process...
you can always add as much sweetener as you want

if you have nothing but tap water on hand...
just let your water for the soda sit for about 24 hours to let the chlorine gases escape...
before using it
I have done this and it has not been a problem for culturing soda


put the 1/2 gallon of water into a pot...
stir in the chopped ginger and bring to a boil
turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour, uncovered

at 1/2 hour, take off the ginger syrup from the heat and stir in the sugar
I like to use raw sugar but, you can use what you prefer
put in the lemon (or lime) juice...
and let the syrup cool down to room temperature


strain the syrup into a gallon jar and fill the jar up with water...
and add the 1 cup of ginger culture


put a paper towel or cloth over the top of the jar...
and let the soda sit from 3 to 7 days before using

this will give the soda a chance to start fizzing
the longer the soda sits, the more it will become fizzy

once you are happy with the amount of fizz you like...
you can pour the soda into bottles and store in the fridge


to get a better idea of soda making...
you can view these two videos by HerbMentor at...

part 1 of:
and:

making your own soda is not hard at all...
it is fun and much more healthier than store bought which is fraught...
with unhealthy ingredients

May your day or night be blessed in the grace of the Lord.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ginger Beer Culture



Before one can make the ginger beer soda pop...
you have to make the culture, so that is what I'll show you first

all I use is 3 ingredients; unrefined cane sugar, fresh ginger and un-chlorinated water
some people use baker's yeast to get their culture started...
but, that is not necessary
the wild yeast in the air will do the job just fine
in fact, using baker's yeast will probably turn your culture in alcohol

this is my way of making the ginger culture...
but, there are other ways of doing this and you can go to youtube...
and type in "how to make ginger soda pop" to find different videos on it

I like this  particular video on how to make the culture...
which also has a part 2

making the culture aka "bug" works best with fresh ginger
fresh ginger should be organic because you don't want ginger that...
has been washed with anything to kill the natural lactobacilli that ginger...
have to protect themselves in the ground, specifically over the winter

if you are not able to find fresh ginger...
you can use organic powdered ginger that has not been irradiated
if it is organic, by organic standards, it will not have been irradiated...
which kills all the good lactobacilli bacteria that ferments the ginger solution into the culture

it's possible that using powdered ginger may take the fermentation...
a couple of days longer to get started

as for the sugar used to feed the lactobacilli...
I have seen different people use different sugars
I do not keep processed white sugars but, I do use unrefined brown cane sugar...
you can find it by the names of turbinado, raw cane sugar or demerara
do not use raw honey as it will take much longer to get the culture going
you can use the white sugar which really is of no real concern...
because the sugars fed to the culture will be broken down...
and be eaten up by the fermentation and you won't be consuming it yourself


after I dig up enough ginger to use for the week...
I brush or lightly rinse the ginger without scrubbing to take off any dirt
and keep the peel on which the lactobacilli live on

fill a glass jar with 12 ounces of unchlorinated water...
cut up a piece of fresh organic ginger into very small bits until you have 1 tablespoon
put that into the jar of water and add 2 teaspoons of sugar into it


once the ingredients are all in the glass jar...
give it a good vigorous stir until the sugar is completely dissolved


cover the opening with a loose weave cloth or a paper towel
you can also use a canning jar's lid band over the cloth or towel
this will give the ginger solution the breathing ability to catch the wild yeasts in the air
set it aside in a warm spot

once a day, every morning...
feed your culture by chopping up small pieces of fresh ginger...
to make 2 teaspoons and add that along with 2 teaspoons of sugar to the solution

stir your culture vigorously 2 to 3 times a day as it likes to be aerated 

it will take about 2 to 5 days for tiny bubbles to appear at the top of the solution
it all depends on how warm your kitchen is
the bubbles tell you the fermentation is taking place
you will continue to feed your culture for 7 days

and next post, we will go to the next step of making soda pop


May your day or night find grace in the Lord.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Kitchen Zone


The kitchen seems to occupy a large amount of my time lately

we've had a couple of pumpkins that were ready for the picking...
and I made some pureed pumpkin to keep stored for use in soup thickening...
coffee flavoring and baking
I do not can the puree...
it is frozen or kept in the fridge if it will be used in the next week

I merely cook the pumpkin till it's soft...
then puree it in a blender till smooth

great for baby food, too


I have been learning to make my own soda pop...
and I must say...
it is so good

store bought sodas are a detriment to good health and we refuse to drink it
it has been many years since we last had a taste of commercial soda pop
to tell the truth...
I cannot remember what coke or pepsi cola tastes like
and it doesn't matter because I know those drinks are not good for the body

so, we are making our own sodas
right now, I am working on ginger soda pop...
and I have already tasted it
wow!...
commercial ginger pop has nothing on this homemade recipe


also, I have been busy working on sourdoughs of various kinds
one is wheat and rye for my husband
one is gluten free with brown rice and sorghum
and I am also trying for the first time oatmeal sourdough
I simply mix in a 1/4 cup of oatmeal flakes with water to get started

these all get fed once a day in the morning...
each a couple of spoons of their respective flour and whey or buttermilk

I find that using whey or buttermilk seems to help...
in developing cultures in the sourdough quicker and easier
I make sure and label them with the date to remember when they were started
and to make sure I know which one is the gluten sourdough
so far, they are coming along fine


clabbered milk continues to be made in this kitchen
it is a delicious treat of probiotics...
and the chickens do love it so, too



they never seem to get enough of it
I understand


I think it would be fun to make sorrel (aka roselle hibiscus) soda pop...
and hope to do that sometime
for now, juice is good enough


we had some ripe bananas that needed using...
so a cocoa banana cake was in order
that is a good one



these next two months of November and December...
I will be taking these things going on in the kitchen...
and will give you how I do them and a few recipes
so my posts til the end of the year will be about recipes for the most part

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:8

May your day or night find contentment in the grace of the Lord.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Kiddies and Them Thorns Do Hurt



Around noon time...
I fill a couple of buckets up with water and take them down to the goats


the kiddies are growing ever so fast


and soon we will come around to milking mama Snowflake
we have her and the kids by the cocoa orchard which is also above the big garden...
so we need to keep mama on a tether so we don't lose our crops


in spite of all the wild bush for them to eat...
goats will lunch voraciously on both cocoa leaves and anything in the gardens


as you can see, these twins enjoy being together


brother is the one on the right with the longer horns


sister enjoys using him for a pillow


*****

We have quite a few citrus trees on our homestead...
and all the ones we deliberately planted have no thorns...
as they were cultivated from grafted trees

but, there are a few that grew from seeds that were thrown down...
from fruit eaten and had grown on their own
these have thorns


there are two citrus trees with thorns that grow at the corners of the chicken coop...
and if I had it my way, they would be hacked down...
but, right now, the citrus trees are full of fruits

the two thorny trees are grapefruit and I'm itching to get my hands on the fruit...
just as soon as they are ripe enough


because they sit so close to the coop...
I must maneuver around them carefully

I didn't learn to do that well enough, until after a few scratches on my arms...
I finally one day bumped my head against the tip of one of those 2 inch thorns
that was several days ago and it still hurts

instead of taking the trees down while they fruit...
I took pruning clippers and snipped off the thorns on the trunks...
and wherever they were a danger...
and pruned off any thorny overhang at my head level

now, the trunks are smooth and bare of thorns...
and that has helped tremendously


the first thought that came to mind when that thorn met my head...
was to take a machete to the tree
the second thought was a crown of thorns of over two thousand years ago

one thorn was plenty hurtful...
a whole crown of thorns could only be torture
that crown of thorns from long ago was worn by the Savior who willingly...
wore it to set me free from sin, darkness and wrath
and as hateful men set that crown of thorns on the Lord Jesus...
I know that my Christ's loving thoughts were on me

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

May your day or night find grace in the Lord.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Home on the Range - Little Patch of Heaven


Well, we may not be dancing the homestead jig with our animals...
but, we get close

it's been more work than play on Pilgrim's Farm...
which leaves little time for blogging...
or footloosing with the chickens

I'll be back to post next week, Lord willing
in the meantime...
do enjoy this little video I found on YouTube




May your day or night find heavenly grace in the Lord.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Winding Down, Avocados Are


Mango season is now pretty much out...
but, we still have a few left that we don't let get away

and one of my favorite drinks is a home brewed tea of...

7 teaspoons of earl grey tea leaves (or 5 to 6 teabags) in a large pitcher
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
1 mango (ripe or green will work) cut up or grated down to the seed
you can even leave the skin on if you wish
put it all in the pitcher and fill with very hot (not boiling) water
let steep for several hours and strain...
sweeten with raw honey (or whatever your favorite sweetener is), then refrigerate

sometimes, instead of the ginger, I'll use mint leaves
that one is good, too

and I have found, this tea is actually better if left overnight to meld the flavors together
I'm going to be sorry when no mango is left to pick till  next season

if you have no mangoes...
you can make this tea with peaches, apricots or even try an apple




and woe is me!
we are at the end of avocado season with our trees

now honestly, I do not know what variety are avocados are
I do know they are delicious

the one in this photo below is long, smooth skinned and has a sweet, creamy tasty texture
I loved this one!


it's quite large and heavy and the meat of it is a creamy yellow
boy! does it make a good chocolate/avocado mousse



then, we have a much smaller avocado that is, well...
good but, doesn't beat the taste of the pear shaped one above


it does fit quite nicely in the palm of my small hand
and when it turns the color of purplish red...
it's ready to eat

and did you know?
avocados do not ripen on the tree
they must come to full maturation, then picked...
and they will ripen usually in the next couple of days, or so
some will change color; others will "give" a bit when gently squeezed

and if you are not ready for an avocado from your own tree, yet...
the fruit can be left there until you are



well, one of my favorite salads is an avocado and tomato salad with fresh basil leaves
the fruits are diced into bite size pieces
spritz a little lemon or lime juice into the salad
and...
whip up a mixture of olive oil and apple cider vinegar with a little raw honey and sea salt...
mix into the salad
and the basil leaves can be cut with a scissors and mixed last
so good!
some shredded parmesan cheese would probably be good as a topping, too

I would rather have good food labored for by the sweat of my brow...
than all the riches of the wealthy who are burdened of all their "stuff"


The sleep of a labouring man is sweet,
whether he eat little or much:
but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
Ecclesiastes 5:12

May your day or night find good food in the sweet grace of the Lord.