No, I’m not sick – Yes, still doing self-isolation with only necessary trips out and about, since March 9th, when I arrived home from my trip to be with family member at hospital while they had hip replacement surgery. Started my own restricted goings 28 days ago because:
- Mid-March through April is aka spring allergies, sinus infection season, as well as our peak seasonal flu season.
- Hospital Setting for 2-3 days, is akin to ‘deliberating placing oneself in a known petri dish’ – other aka’s are:
- Having kids in a school that gives attendance awards, because their once a year count, held in cold season, determines their funding for the coming year.
- Working for a place that provides customer service, for low wages and a ‘call in sick and you’re probably fired’ unwritten policy – I speak from personal, true, work history experience, so don’t care what you think of how minimum wage is enough, and folks at the bottom of the earnings ladder are all ‘lazy whiners’ – they are not – I can attest to that, since 1988.
[this personal, experiential fact-sharing PSA is over, but think about it everytime you vote, whine about taxes that fund local infrastructure, social nets, but are spent elsewhere to bail others out etc. for, some of the lowest paid, least amount of social benefits folks are a bulk of who is making it possible for you to pick up take out, get things delivered in, etc….Now back to my planned post share of information….]
Warning! Serial Length Post Ahead Notice
I think this may be my longest post ever – that I didn’t split out into multiple posts – but it is what is.
Basically, the current status of the Ballybin Household – as the wave of COVID-19 numbers grows in our state and I pull out equipment, supplies, figure out substitutions and make do with what is on hand as much as I can, to save $ and reduce any trips out to shop and a pre-emptive strike at doing even more with less or what I have on hand while trying new things that may increase yields of usable nutrients for daily kitchen operations.
It’s a journey folks and the tale just covers many tangents and the history deserves well…..
The Story of Why…..
Fermentation Experiments Have BEGUN!
In face of my personal “oh, crap! out of baking powder” moment about a month ago and nowhere to be found for purchase the following 3 weeks, I was sent back to the kitchen to start once more, sourdough starter operations, cuz I often get busy working, earning a living, other new things to try my hand at, and have, historically, managed to kill ’em off.
(yes, yes, I finally scored a small jar of creme of tartar to mix with my existing baking soda supplies to make my own now and baking powder once more available, ordered and on the way, just in case I don’t like the sourdough biscuit recipe as much as my grandmother’s recipe or ever decide to make cookies in a toaster oven….)
Note: see Resource and Recipe section at end of post for where I have shopped for years to lower my ‘gas guzzling’ footprint, bulk buying for low budget needs & recipes for various things I share throughout the post, as well as the book list that led me to this whole mess of a long post 🙂
Their are two kinds that I will be getting into place, one is pure flour+water+time, the other is the Amish Friendship Bread Starter I looked up and shared with my mom, who is thinking about baking cuz she can’t quite get out and garden just yet, and who is down to only 2 packets of yeast left –
I started with plain jane, flour and water option, first – might mix up the Amish Friendship one later today – maybe tomorrow….
Day 4 of Sourdough starter
Success! See the bubbly goodness starting? YAY! And no wasted starter discarded along the way, either! Yahoo! See Crepe Recipe at end of post for how to use that discard starter each day
Homemade Fruit Soda
I researched making small ales and wines (aka speed brewing) long ago, and last summer/fall.
Why? Well, first off, years ago, I fell down the rabbit’s hole into the world of nutrition and health via a traditional diet, and how, just by making those decisions, you immediately impact, for good or ill, our environment, your local community resiliency, economics, politics and more…well, I’m not a hardliner on most topics, but there are a few core principals or values I try to adhere to as much as I can as I expand my knowledge in various things to try on food front:
- Prepare your own food as close to the source of raw ingredients as you can
- Where and who you buy your food from makes a difference to environment, carbon footprint, community abundance & resiliency, national GDP, small business options being available and your overall physical, mental & emotional health
- Shop local as often and as much as you can afford or are able to.
- Shop ethically and support small business that is as close to local as you can via your budget and location (less trucking/packaging/storing/warehousing wastes)
- Invest in individuals who provide what you need, as much as you can – you are investing in them, their livelihood and their dream – what you get is the ‘by-product’ of that – it’s always an investment, when you vote with your dollars this way – they may stay in business long term, they may not, but you’re doing your part to support them.
- Try hard to not get too attached to things that won’t grow where you live, that you couldn’t do yourself with enough time, money and/or land/space – for those things, just admit they are part of your ‘luxury items’ and
- have a plan in place for what you will do if they are no longer available to you – it’s just easier that way should the manure hit the rotating blade – like it has several times in me own life…less stress overall, I tell you, to plan for the worst, then hope for the best and be done with thinking about it until need arises and you must revisit the topic.
Back Story alert to why I’m starting small wines/hard sodas first, instead of homebrew traditional beer
So, long ago, after being told ‘no beer – red wine only’ after my stroke and they couldn’t immediately figure out why I had had (untreated hypothyroidism seemed to be the main factor – hindsight is rather 20/20) and the fact that beer didn’t ‘taste right’ most of the time for years after my stroke, I discovered quickly I didn’t really like dark red wine. No matter the blend, I just couldn’t find one I liked to drink straight.
Face it – I’m not a wine connoisseur…so I did the unthinkable to those who LOVE wine in the early days to follow the ‘recommendations’
I watered it down to get into me, the requisite 5-6 oz portion a day – and still can’t drink it straight, all these years later. Although as I recover from those early days (2011) I find my tolerance for drinking more water-wines in a day has gradually increased, though my alcohol tolerance before getting loopy is very much at light weight status.
Woe to me should I learn beer tastes good today and have a few like I was still 20 years old….
Water Wine means about 2-3 oz of wine in 29-30 oz of water.
Thus, even on Friday night libations, that get poured less precisely the later it gets, I not only can get pleasantly buzzed, cuz I’m such a light weight now, but I rarely have hangovers or am dehydrated.
I have been informed, however, that even with my above the average water intake of a modern American adult, my imbibing doesn’t count for the water challenge done with prizes awarded each week, even if I only count the ounces in glass/number of glasses a day of the water portion only – sigh – Cuz it’s not plain water…..
Given my lightweight status and all, I realized that each glass of libations meant that I really wasn’t ingesting high amounts of alcohol, per glass, AND, given most of the nutrition in fermented beverages lies in keeping it all together before ingestion, INSTEAD of filtering out all the goodies, etc., like yeast, fruit pulp etc… Plus the fact that
I also weaned myself off soda years ago, I don’t use in tea or coffee beverages and rarely get a sweet tooth unless it’s a warning sign I’m pushing me body too hard on long days, I figured why not get all the nutrition from all the fruit pulp, maybe score some low ABV libations to save $ spent at liquor store to make a mixture (luxury item on my list) and I set about researching it all – some time ago.
I found homemade soda recipes, that could be ready in 24 hours, and, should you follow recipe to a tee (the sugar/fruit sugar portions) and just wait, watch/care for it for awhile longer- you could get alcohol – maybe as high as 8-9% with bread yeast – higher with champagne yeast -and other factors…
Thus, the recipe research, collecting supplies, purchase operations began in earnest back in late 2018/early 2019, for ‘when I have time to try’.
This is what the preceding months of ‘gathering supplies’ looked like:
- Asked the man-child (who still does soda) to buy in 1 liter or 2 liter plastic jugs, instead of the cans I previously saved to be painted black, core out bottom and top to make heat collection tubes for solar window heaters, dehydrators, ovens…)
- Asked the man-child, who drinks beer, if he liked a brand of beer that came in flip top bottles and would he try, and yes, I would share his ‘beer costs’ with him, to score the bottling supplies (that brand is more pricey, ya know)
- Added a few different dehydrated fruits to my normal rotational online orders, cuz the boy likes the hard soda that comes in peach & mango – one #10 can goes a long way on dehydrated fruit, I tell ya.
- Garden seed order included quite a few small, first year and/or perennial berries that grow here, are easy to dehydrate at home –
- Found a recipe for rhubarb and for rosehip (I have both growing on the place, now…) tonics that can be turned into fizzy, intoxicating drinks if you just wait a few damn days –
- Ordered in 10 packs of some super-charged yeast that packs a punch and survives high alcohol content, cuz it’s used to ‘recharge stuck fermentations’ and located a ‘make your own yeast cakes’ recipe as well as how to save yeast colony and just keep fermentations going.
- Started picking up a bag of organic raw sugar and/or raw wild honey when shopping, and/or it was at a good price – my house is rather low sugar usage and I don’t have huge stores. Good thing I did long ago – some of those things have been ‘unavailable to order’ at a price I can afford, lately
- Researched how to make sugar syrup from sticky rice & sprouted wheat, how to make sugar syrup from beets (grow well here) and from sorghum (meh – might grow here, might not, ordered in a small packet of seeds and researched how to process with nothing but the equipment I already own. I placing my bet on the sweet albino beets (not sugar beets) as working better than the sorghum, overall – will report back – cuz I don’t live where sugar cane grows well nor do I have 20-30 years or the space to start a maple tree forest, if they even liked growing here….
- Ordered a refractometer, watched the video on how to use it and promptly forgot to take my beginning reading before pitching the yeast when I actually got started – ah well…there’s always next time…
Strawberry/Raspberry & Peach Mango Sodas the first tries
I had to split out the peach mango after about 12 hours, cuz man alive, it took off and at 4 a.m. Saturday, I realized, ‘uh-oh’ better split between 2 jugs to prevent explosions.
The strawberry/raspberry is humming along, but not as frothy/building up CO2 as fast as the peach/mango one.
We shall see – may try a sip, but that peach mango – one really took off.
(no, I didn’t buy a pack of ballons, or pull out the 5 gallon carboy with airlock for this – I’m looking at counter-top operations, quick turn around and small batch experiments land – I also need to dig out the power drill to drill holes in the caps of 2 liter soda bottles and insert thin plumbing rubber gasket material cut to insert in cap, with small slit that will self-regulate through pressure – but that is for later – trying out first, small batches, the manual/hands on way:)
Since I do know a bee keeper, that’s sorta local, and who sometimes is passing through by my place and brings me honey that I save/ration for serious health self-care, rather than to be wasted in personal care concoctions for body/hair or making…um…’hooch’…
I figured I should, at the least, learn some mead recipes, just in case he has a bumper crop someday and I can afford to buy 5 gallons at a time from him.
Thus, I also refreshed my knowledge on making mead – looked around for info, simple, traditional recipes and came across Sima – which hails from a part of Europe one side of my family tree has roots in.
That all said, how and when they got access to lemons/raisins to put into it, I have no clue – but dehydrated lemon peel, lemon juice and raisins are things that I have in stock, though I durn well know, they are ‘luxuries’ for me right now, cuz they are not grown locally, though, if I try, I maybe could get some grapes going here.
But, I tried hard to follow the original recipe first try – had to substitute, anyhoo, so we’ll see….
But Before I could brew up a batch of sima, I stumbled across Wild Plum Vinegar…
About 2 years ago, a garden club member hit a sale at the far away metro ‘brewing supply’ place of 2.5 gallon fermentation buckets, bought quite a few and gifted me one.
Last fall, a neighbor was just about worn out harvesting her wild plums and preserving them or eating them, and she delivered a bucket to me of plums, plucked off the tree into bucket and gifted to me.
I dried a few, but mostly, I processed for making a wild fermentation stab at plum wine.
All went as planned, the first 2-3 days, and then man-child moved home, the house was in chaos for days while we re-arranged stuff, he worked split-shifts of horrible hours, and I ramped up cooking to feed a male, physical laborer at his peak in muscles/metabolism and….
… the bucket got moved from direct line of my sight – then stacked on top of pails of not dug into often food stores frequently- and finally, um…
…YES! I forgot about it –
Until I needed the bucket for the Sima project
One look at the airlock with no water left in it, and one sniff after I pulled off the lid and I thought, “hooch? paint thinner? vinegar?”
But, no mold, no smell that made me want to puke,and after letting it air out and yes, I filtered out sediment, etc., I decided I might have a fine batch of cooking vinegar –
I will test while making farmer’s cheese – and I may toss it, or I may test a wee dram on myself.
Not right now – I understand medical facilities have enough on their hands now, without me showing up for help with self-induced food poisoning, so I’ll wait – see how it does decanted into a glass jar and sitting on the counter for a few days with the lid back on…
But, the bucket was cleaned out, one more experiment/test on meself operation added to the list, and I whipped up a batch of Sima – I’m starting on day 2 and it is the white bucket in the picture found within the recipes section.
Abundance And Shortages Locally
Given the sourdough starter, the fact a neighbor with 3 small children is having to go to 2-3 stores to get milk for the week, given ‘1 per customer’ restrictions, and another neighbor who is elderly, and in self-isolation, but who has chickens who are in their peak laying season – well –
I first bought 3 dozen eggs myself, when calling to check in and learned of the ‘refrigerator space issue’ of my neighbor –
Then I set about getting a young mama in need of eggs hooked up with safe transmission of buying locally.
Then I started making crepes again, during which time I substituted out a portion of the milk/flour ingredients with the daily discard from the sourdough starter operations, and also….
Pulled out my bulk coconut flakes to make coconut milk, found a recipe for both raw or cooked eggnog, to whip up a batch to try on the man-child for taste/yumminess, and if it passes, then see if young mama’s kids might like the taste of and the nutrition of, to lower their dependency on milk, just now for daily sippy cup needs.
Which means, crepes are our daily bread or tortilla consumption substitute now, coconut milk is made as well as experiments of it with powdered milk added to list, (can I make a simple farmers cheese – first with white vinegar – then, can I make it with the plum vinegar and some dehydrated fruits to put with the sweet version of the crepes for a ‘dessert’ treat?)
I fall down the rabbit’s hole of possibilities and tangents on most things – as you well know, if you regularly read my long form blog posts, which have come back in fashion, it seems….
The Face Mask Shortage I hadn’t thought about, for our household…really…
Came on my radar yesterday the more urgent need to get in place.
The man-child casually said he was going to try to find face masks for me and him, as we visited while I did kitchen concoctions and manned dishwashing activities.
I asked why, even while I knew this recommendation had been a ‘thing’ here locally, if for no other reason than eing observed as a responsible citizen when one does venture out.
I had early warning signs of this storyline, and I had already looked up how to make a homemade one, not WHO certified by any means, but in the early days of this trend/recommendation and the fights over ‘should we legislate it, or let folks decide for themselves’ political and social debate … well.. truth be told….
All I kept thinking about was a long ago history/documentary thing I ingested regarding Spanish Flu and all the pictures of paper/cloth masks, when it was later discovered the virus could transmit through ceramic pores –
But, that said, let me not be an ass-hat to social norms/demands –
I pulled out 4 of my hair ponytail bands, grabbed two of the soft flannel handkerchiefs I made for my dad when the oxygen tube the last year of his life made his nose drip and get sore from wiping, and which came back to me, after he died and mom got around sorting out his dresser drawers.
Fold the handkerchief in thirds, put the bands on each end, fold over cloth ends to secure the bands, stretch the bands on each end over your ears and walla – you have a visible face mask, though, at this time, I’m not sure anyone truly knows the full or true efficacy of such operations, but, it is another layer of defense, all the same – for oneself and the general public.
Speaking about layers of defense….
The man-child works for FedEx – an essential services just now.
I’m informed that while his co-worker has not been tested and was, in fact, diagnosed via teledoc services, it’s possible COVID-19 has made an appearance in the place where he works.
Which is why the mask thingee came up. Some of his colleagues are wearing bandanas or masks as the days go by.
Essential Oils Layer – Not saying they are a cure…
Over two weeks ago, as I watched the news/spread in US and Colorado play out each day (I just look at the stats page, and where/why it hit in Colorado, best they knew at the time, I just figured, “get ready -it will morph”.
So I made both of us essential oil (nasal) inhalers and a mixture of oils to rub on our neck, wrists and feet of oils blended for seasonal respiratory flu and boosting immunity –
Not a cure, by any means – just another ‘antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal’ mixture that brings some relief of symptoms for seasonal flu, provides some support to the immune system without returning to the days of purchased anti-bacterial soaps/wipes that I left behind for numerous reasons, ages ago.
Quite frankly, those hawking their wares as ‘prevent it/curing it’ agressive marketing campaigns that aren’t backed up by real information, rather torque me off on many fronts.
Still….layers of defense is my motto.
Layer by Layer
To me, optimum health isn’t to be found in a silver bullet or pill or super-foods I have to truck in at high $ cost OR buy through an MLM representative.
It’s a steady layering of daily routines – including food, self-care products, extra additions when you know, for durn sure, your daily life means, your body and mind are taking hits –
It’s my job to figure out the hits I’m taking/subjecting myself to and then add one layer/extra support pillar option for everything hit I’ve identified.
Unexpected Bonus from layer of ‘might help, but won’t harm’ essential oil options
I learned about a week after making the rubs/inhalers, that he was using the inhaler regularly and one night, when he was stuffier in the nose than usual after we played in dead plant removal outside, was informed he wasn’t taking the OTC allergy medicine he usually did and was, in fact out of supply, but hadn’t bought because the inhaler was really helping with seasonal nasal stuffiness.
I had added in oils for his seasonal allergies to the room freshener, carpet freshener, soap/spray cleaners/personal bath things, when he moved in last summer, but hadn’t specifically added those oils to the recent inhaler mix, focusing more on immunity/lung health – so was surprised it was noticeable enough he realized AND commented on.
Okay – that’s the long-arse story of what all led up to Day 4 of Sourdough Starter – and my personal Day 28 of self-isolation and only venturing about for essential operations (food, mail check once a week, if man-child works long hours and doesn’t get to while out, my annual doctor’s appointment, delivering things to locals in total isolation if need be)
Let the Food & Beverage Games Begin!
List of Recipes and Sources
I order from a variety of online places, have done so for years, and for ordering in spices/dried teas/fruits, I also have a neighbor (Ms. Wild Plum) who has a wholesale account with Frontier food co-op, so I check with her first, order through her when I can, to support one of her many side-hustles she does to earn her living.
If an ingredient is not specifically linked, I got it locally. If it is, then I linked to one of many options to purchase from and you can find those in the Resource section.
Be advised, I’ve ordered from most vendors on the list for years – however, some are experiencing delays in shipping, out of stock or have temporarily shut down online orders, until they get caught up.
Disclaimer about Links – Should you wonder
* NONE of the following are affiliate links – I do not have such things, although there are a few that I order often enough for group/collective local operations to ‘share the shipping costs’ that I do have a wholesale account discount, based on $ amount spent, but I do not make dollars off referring you to these stores
Baking Powder Substitute
2 parts baking soda to 1 part creme of tartar
- 2 Cups of Shredded Coconut flakes
- 4 cups boiling water
- Pour water over the flakes, cover, let sit for 1-2 hours, strain through mesh bag for sprouting/jelly making bag (the one in picture is one of many I made from unbleached muslin years ago, when I first started sprouting grains/legumes).
- Let drip/squeeze out the first batch of ‘milk’, dump the flakes back into pan, cover with 4 more cups of boiling water, let sit while you do other things most of the afternoon.
- Blend with stick blender (or in your blender) until creamy smooth, dump the whole mess back in the bag, hang to drip out for awhile longer
- Squeeze out excess 4 hours later, put bag of leavings in ziploc to spread on dehydrator later for coconut flour making operations – cuz it’s late, you’re tired and it will keep to process tomorrow – 🙂
- This recipe doesn’t follow many of the online guidelines – I am doing it the same way I learned years ago from acupuncturist to brew herbal tea mixes to get full worth of the herbs, and consistent dosage across ‘brews’ if you will
Sourdough Starter & Yeast Operations
Day 1 – Mix 1 cup of hard wheat flour with 1 cup of water. Cover with fine cheesecloth set in warm place and wait. (yes, I grind my own wheat, unless I have whole wheat flour I bought when work life meant I might want flour, but didn’t have time to sprout/dry/grind me self – for this recipe, I don’t sprout the wheat first….)
Equipment – I used a quart mason jar, with cheescloth secured by metal ring – you can use any glass vessel, cover with coffee filter, clean muslin, fine netting, whatever lets air in/keeps bugs out, and secure with a rubber band, piece of string, a shoelace? – The “use wood utensils not metal” is an oft repeated tip, so since I have wooden spoons/bamboo skewers, I do…)
Note*. I started out with 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water. Upped it up to 1 & 1 on day 3, as I realized, I would be using more each day as I meld into daily baking operations – I’ll probably need to transfer to 1/2 gallon or gallon jar before it is all over.
Day 2 – Stir the mix, pour 1/2 off, use in crepe recipe or google ‘discard sourdough’ recipes and find what you want to make. Add back in 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, stir, cover, put back in warm place.
Day 3-7 (or 10) – Repeat Day 2 operations – Seriously! I re-read through about a gazillion online options and entries for sourdough starter in books on my shelves, and after reminding myself of how to-do, I also remembered what I did long ago – KISS!
In my experience, the good thing about KISS, (keep it simple, seriously!) operations on home fermentation is that with simple ingredients and simple instructions, with simple equipment – well, when it goes right, you have a doable routine that just becomes part of your life.
IF it goes bad/ugly, well…
YOU KNOW IT! You see it, you smell it, sometimes you gag and pinch your nose while throwing it out – NO WAY you would ingest it! Even if someone paid you a gazillion astrobucks or double-dawg-dared ya to.
PLUS – fewer variables to troubleshoot through as you try to figure out why it went wrong….
That said, green mold, gray splotches that smell like used gym socks or pink splotches are all early warning signs that you need to toss it out and start over.
A layer of beer/yeasty smelly liquid on top that stirs right back in the first day or two before bubbling takes off is par for the course, in my experience, however, some online sources claim this ‘hooch’ is bad for you and for the love of all that is holy, throw it out or drain off carefully and try to ‘save’ your starter –
I have, for all the times I’ve done this, over the years, just stirred it in a clean jar, with a clean spoon, washed regularly (no extra sanitation steps) and did the usual – I ain’t dead yet with this total lack of disregard for my own well-being….But that’s just me and why this blog isn’t a marketed, titled or keyworded as a guru expert one – 🙂
Maintaining the starter, once it’s completed, can be done via refrigerator with weekly feedings or daily use/feeding on the counter – or, if done properly, freezing for later – google it – and remember KISS when you are surfing the options.
More Ingredients Sourdough Starter Option
There is also the Amish Friendship Bread Starter that uses milk and starts with store bought yeast packet and the link for it is to the blog I found the most helpful/doable.
Make Yer Own Yeast Cakes DIY
Along the way, I discovered this cool recipe for making your own yeast cakes/granules from existing yeast on hand supplies – not perfect on fast-rise fronts, sounds like, but, yup, you guessed it, I’m going to try it –
I have corn meal on hand, best sourced that I can, and, if seeds grow/I harvest it this year, and process it right, I’ll have my own corn meal next winter – we shall see…
(For two people, one who works physically demanding job…)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 1 cup of flour (gluten free, amaranth, millet, hard wheat, soft wheat, I’ve used them all at one time or another for making the crepes or the roux for the following white sauce based recipe)
- 1 TBS of cooking oil (I use avocado)
Beat the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients and stir with whip until thin batter with no lumps is achieved.
Pour on hot griddle/skillet, like a pancacke.
Ya know when to turn cuz top gets bubbly/sets, to turn, then let go just a little less time on the other side, so soft enough to roll –
Sourdough Note: Replace the milk/flour portions with whatever sourdough discard you have – first day? I had 1/2 cup of discard from starter, and replaced the milk/flour in 1/2 & 1/2, ratios – i.e –
1/2 cup of discarded starter replaced 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of flour of the recipe
Creamy Poached Eggs for over the Crepes
- 1 TBS butter, ghee or lard (I render my own lard – do not recommend the bulk buy sizes available at super stores)
- 1 TBS flour (again, any type seems to work)
- Salt & Pepper to taste (I use 1/4 tsp salt or less, dependent on what kind of cheese is added, 1/4 tsp of pepper and usually add more pepper from shaker…)
- 1 cup of milk (I have used raw milk, store bought, powdered, full fat coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup of cheese (Optional – pick your flavor/pref – melty cheeses like American, cream cheese, Velveeta, colby, gouda, hard cheeses & some cheddars seem to work better for sauce consistency than mozarella/jack types – )
- 1/2 cup of fine chopped & prior cooked/sauteed veggie mix (I used a mix of dehydrated veggies I had rehydrated by letting sit in warm water for awhile- I used mushrooms, mixed sweet peppers, onions & tomato flakes)
- 4-6 eggs (dependent on size of egg, your skillet size and number of folks to feed)
- Heat butter in low setting skillet until melted, stir in flour with stir with wire whisk until absorbed/clump free. (silicone whisk if you’re using a nonstick coated skillet – I use cast iron skillets)
- Remove skillet from heat and add 1/4 of the milk to the skillet, whipping to blend. Doesn’t need to be exactly 1/4, just enough to start incorporating the roux and milk mixture to avoid clumps.
- Return to heat, and slowly add the rest of the milk, stirring with the whisk to incorporate as you go.
- Stir regularly as the mixture heats up and starts to thicken.
- Add in cheese (if using) and whisk until blended, and merrily simmering along.
- Add in veggie mix, stir in until mixture is simmering once again.
- Carefully break each egg into the mixture (or do the responsible thing, and break them over a small dish, then ‘slide them into the bubbling sauce in case the eggs you get are from chickens not properly fed and the shells are thin and break into minute pieces into your sauce….)
- Place the egg additions about the skillet with ‘cooking room’. I fit the sauce and 6 small to medium sized eggs into an 8″ cast iron skillet 🙂
- Cover the skillet, and let it simmer along on lowest heat that maintains the simmering levels for 4-7 minutes, dependent upon your pref for poached egg doneness. You can observe the whites cook & set, then any additional time cooking just takes you from soft to hard poached egg preferences.
- Scoop eggs and sauce out, place on top of rolled (or lay ’em flat) crepes you made & kept in warm place while you made this portion, because you only have a single induction burner stovetop – 😀
Fruit Soda Recipe
Um, okay – maybe I won’t share exactly what I did, cuz I didn’t rehydrate enough fruit, and given research on making country wine from left over tea, the role of raisins in fermenting beverages for homebrew, etc., I rather went off the reservation, even my first time out – but here’s the recipe I put together from various recipes to start with that was rather my ‘guide’ when I started.
IF it turns out good and tasty, I’ll share the recipe of what I ACTUALLY did, someday – LOL
- 24 ounces frozen strawberries
- 2 cups water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3 TBS Lemon Juice or 2 TBS Lime Juice
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon Champagne Yeast
- Bring 2 Cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pot. Add the lemon, sugar, and salt. Stir till dissolved.
- Place the frozen strawberries in a large bowl. Pour the water mixture on top and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Puree the water and strawberries till perfectly smooth.
- Place the puree in a clean 2 liter bottle.
Fill with water being careful to leave 2 inches of space on top.
Add the yeast place the top on and give a good shake.
- Place the bottle in a dark cool area of your home for 1-2 days to allow the carbonation to form.
Again, I found the original recipe/idea in a homebrew forum while researching whether you can use baker’s yeast (of which I have a plenty, cuz I buy in bulk and store in fridge/freezer until needed) and stumbled across the post of some pour soul in a country that outlaws intoxicating beverages for so many of it’s citizens (dependent upon their religion) and was looking for ideas on what could be brewed with baker’s yeast – and sigh, didn’t bookmark it.
But remembered the name of beverage some helpful soul replied with along with their way of fixing it. And searched the name – Sima –
And follows, is what what I actually did…..
- I modified to a 2 Gallon batch (bucket is 2.5 gallon one) , used 1 bottle of raw honey in the 1lb, 8 oz size (for ease of just dumping it in and not messing with measuring cups)…
- Then I used Molasses Crystals instead of dark brown sugar, cuz, to get brown sugar, when you don’t buy it, means mixing 1:1 ratio of black strap molasses to regular sugar, and again, why mess with it, when I have molasses crystals on hand and they’ve worked for anything else calling for brown sugar?
- I don’t keep lemons on hand – nor is me or anyone else in my neighborhood, to my knowledge, have a lemon tree and a bounty of lemons to share/sell – I DO have on hand, lemon juice, dehydrated lemon peel, dehydrated orange peel and after seeing several recipe variations and asking the man-child his preferences/thoughts on the matter, did the following:
- I put in 3 TBS of lemon Juice, 2 tsp of lemon peel and 1 tsp of orange peel and um…yup, I tossed the raisins in the initial batch, just cuz I worried some about the ‘molasses’ substitution – we’ll see how it turns out – just now? I wasted about $5 bucks of ingredients for 2 gallons of beverage should I be successful – sad to say, as I hate waste, but figured it was low-risk…
- Time, taste and whether I manage to ‘lose track’ of the bucket again, will all tell the tale, I’m sure – when the time to ‘test/taste’ comes about….
Dehydrated food, herbs, teas, spices, cooking oils/fats
- Rainy Day Foods – Walton, Idaho
- Mountain Rose Herbs – Eugene, Oregon
- Frontier Co-op – Norway, Iowa (I have local wholesaler I purchase through)
- Vitacost – Las Vegas, Nevada
- Costco – Nationwide – I have 2-day delivery option (before COVID-19) for non-perishable pantry items – so some staples, I get through them
- Mountain Rose Herbs – Eugene, Oregon
- Plant Therapy – Twin Falls, Idaho
- Hopewell Essential Oils – Ross, Texas
- Vitacost (Vitacost or NOW brands) – Las Vegas
- New Directions Aromatics (New to me in 2019 – Canadian based, with distribution centers in US – use for some things I can’t source in ‘order once, and don’t need to re-order for a year supplies I can’t get from above suppliers in same sizes. That said, have placed 2 orders since winter of 2019, and pleased with quality/service/prices thus far.)
Books/Websites that changed my perspectives over the years
While there are many, many books, websites and documentaries that have informed/formed my choices and ‘how to do/try/experiment’, here’s the somewhat short list of ones I recommend to others often, and are in my personal library or bookmarks list, for reference. Listed in no particular order, other than my journey through me own history, what I changed, and why –
- Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
- How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons (and also my fave example when people sweat over titling their works..it’s like in it’s 15 edition or something – I own a battered copy, well used 7th edition)
- Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka
- Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture course/newsletter
- Weston A Price Foundation (website)
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell, Mary G. Enig, Marion Dearth
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon Morell, Mary Enig
- The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins
- New Money for Healthy Communities by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. (online)
- Foxfire Series -Eliot Wigginton, George P. Reynolds and Foxfire Students (I inherited volumes 1-6 from my dad)
- Power vs. Force: the Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
- Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
- The Children of the Earth series by Jean M. Auel – I have yet to read The Land of Painted Caves – my favorite is “The Valley of the Horses”
- Many, many more – but um…yes – this is a good starter list for thinking in broad, connected ways to increase your own resiliency, how to add a layer of it, at a time, without getting overwhelmed by it all – 🙂
You’re still reading? Really?
Why bless your lil pea-picking heart! (Nope, no clue how that family phrase came about, where it got started, it’s linquistic history – nada – but it means,
“Why aren’t you just fantabulous for sticking with this long, barely edited, short on pictures, post this long?”
Hope this finds you and yours well for where you are and how things are, in your neck of the woods.
P.S. – Yes, I almost didn’t hit the publish button, but figure, you can read it over the coming week, should you wish to – or navigate to my fly by seat of pants recipes/resources list – 🙂