Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back to homemade...

"The simplest things in life are the most extraordinary." -Paulo Coello

I have signed up for a new online course that involves taking pictures of "Still Life."  I am definitely outside my comfort zone, but I find doing the assignments brings a calm to my life.  It has made me scour my cabinets, and drawers for fun, vintage linens, cups, silverware, and other items.  It is like Christmas as I rediscover these past treasures.  I found this Mary Engelbreit lotion dispenser (far left in the photo) which is no longer functional, but I could not bring myself to get rid of it since it is so pretty.  It does make a good prop though:  Perfect for this week's theme for Texture Tuesday at Kim Klassen's blog: Yellow.  I had yellow soap, a dried yellow rose, and I coupled it with some dried lavender from my garden.  All the things in the photo say...relax, breathe in the simple.
Texture: kk_brushed linen, soft light 100%, masked 50% off the rose, and lavender
Speaking of simple, I do not know if I have complicated my life, or made it more simple, but I have started making some things from scratch lately.  I hear, and read that there are so many terrible things added to our foods.  Too bad we don't have a farm/ranch where we can grow, and raise our fruits, vegetables, chickens, cows, etc.  But that really would complicate my life.  I will do what I can, and that is enough.  So, about a year ago, I started making Kiefer in hopes of helping with some of our joint pain. (growing old is terrible).  It is supposed to help with inflammation, allergies, and your immune system.  A friend gave me some kiefer grains for my starter, and I make a kiefer shake for Warren each morning.
Here's what the grains look like...sort of like cauliflower.  The kiefer milk is strained from the grains, and the kiefer is used in drinks.  Put the grains in a jar, cover with the milk of your choice, and leave on the counter for 24 hours.  Repeat the next day.  The grains actually grow, so they have to be divided every now and then.  

Warren's spot at the table...kiefer shake, his kindle, and his magazines.  This is where he does a lot of his reading.

Another dairy product Warren likes is Greek yogurt.  It is quite expensive for a small 6 oz. cup...anywhere from $1.19 to $2.00 depending on the product.  Again, when I was scouring my cabinets, I came across an old yogurt machine.  It actually doesn't make the yogurt.  It just keeps it at a constant temperature, so yogurt forms.  I went online to find out how to make "greek" yogurt, and made my own.  Warren liked it, so now I make his yogurt.   We figured one of these 6 oz. containers costs about 11 cents to make.  Quite a savings!  I grind up a couple of probiotics to make the yogurt super good for you.  

Making yogurt.  Scald 4 cups of milk of your choice.  Cool the milk.  When cool, add 1 container of plain yogurt, 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (for Greek yogurt), and I add one pill of probiotics.  Pour in the containers, incubate at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours.  Presto-chango- you have yogurt.

This is my yogurt incubator...available online.

One day, my yogurt separated into curds, and whey...not good for yogurt.  I guess I did not scald my milk long enough.  Rather than throw it out, I decided to try to make cream cheese out of my flop.  I didn't have cheese cloth, or muslin, so I used "homespun" fabric, added my curds, tied it up, and let the liquid drain overnight.  The next day, I had the most gorgeous cream cheese.  It tastes wonderful, too.

This was rather tart, so I added a little splenda, and it was fantastic...
It made quite a lot of cream cheese. Yummy on bread!

My domestic tendency did not stop there.  When my boys were growing up, I made all my bread...pizza dough, sandwich bread, muffins, and even hamburger buns.  If there was a potluck, I was told to bring the bread.  With all my boys gone, and being an empty nester, I started buying my bread.  I don't know why, I just did.  My husband loves homemade bread, so I told him I was going to make my bread again.  He was very happy about this decision.  It really doesn't take long to make, especially if you own a Kitchen Aide mixer.  Throw all the ingredients in, mix, let rise, punch down shape, let rise again, and bake.  It takes about 5 minutes to stir up.  The rest is a matter of timing.  I started with french bread.

French bread is probably the easiest to make...it has water, flour, oil, and yeast...that's it.  

let rise...


and bake.  Goodness at your fingertips...
Bread was getting low, so I asked my husband, "What kind of bread do you want me to make?"  He said, "Wheat with almond flour."  Almond flour is pretty expensive, too.  So I bought some raw almonds, and ground them to make my own almond flour.  (4 pounds of flour is about $36, I got more than 4 pounds for $11)  The bread was to die for.  So good.

My almond flour...the almonds still had the dark skins on them.  I did not want to take the time to blanch them to get rid of the brown skin, so mine had the brown flecks in it.  I like the color and texture of them anyway.

mix, let rise...



enjoy...so good, and it smells good too.
My next homemade product is ice cream.  For Mother's day, I made a half gallon.  Don't get me wrong, I love Blue Bell Ice Cream, but it is expensive, and only one kind does not have high fructose corn syrup added.  I made a half-gallon for about $2.00 with no bad ingredients...well except for sugar.  I think I am going to try some of the fancy kinds of ice cream, and see how they turn out.  First on the list is going to be "Birthday Cake."  I thought I would add some cake pieces, and some frosting during the very end of the churning process.  My birthday is in June, so this kind of ice cream will be one of the things I have at my party.  

Maybe with all the homemade stuff, we can get rid of some of our aches and pains.  It is worth a try.  
Be blessed.


deb said...

hello rob
what a lovely blog you have!
your bread looks delicious - as does your homemade cream cheese! my husband makes bread once a week and it is amazing.
thank you for stopping by my blog today & your kind comment ♥

kelly said...

loving all your homemade goodness...those french loaves look divine! :) beautiful shots and pretty processing on the yellow rose. love your soft touch.

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