Monday, January 19

A day to brag about!

Well, I had originally taken today off to hang with my boys since they were already off for MLK Jr Day... but Joe got a call to go help a buddy with a house project, and Kanan opted to go with so he could play with Rambo (our friend's baby chihuahua).  So I ended up with a bonus Kitchen day!! Wahoo!
So after brunch (I had thawed a batch of Kelly's Cinnamon rolls & baked them up - they were great hot out of the oven, but both the boys were like "where's the icing??" so I made a quick small batch made with butter, powdered sugar & maple syrup- I wasn't sure the maple & butter alone would do it..), the boys left me all alone....
I started by finally tackling Yogurt - I've been a bit scared to try it, but I found an easy crock-pot recipe that I felt I could handle... It's incubating (is that the right term??? Eww!) right now! Can't wait!  I'll probably leave half plain & sweeten the rest with Maple Syrup - Trader Joe's has their own brand of Granola, one of the flavors has crystallized ginger in it - I'm seriously in love!! Anyone have any idea how to duplicate that??  Anyhoo, I love to add a scoop to my oatmeal or yogurt, or sometimes I combine all three!  I take oatmeal packets to work currently, but one day I hope to figure out how to make my own & make it easily portable...
I've had a Kombucha SCOBY for months in my fridge for a few months (I ambitiously bought one when I found Kefir Grains on eBay from the nicest man who goes by the alias of 'Bacteria Pimp' - cute eh?)   Anyhoo, I started making Kefir as soon as my package arrived & my grains seem healthy despite my many attempt to kill them lol...I just didn't ever get around to researching the art of Kombucha & have the time (or so I thought!)  So today I decide that was IT - no more excuses - just DO it!!   It was easy.  I ended up following the recipe in NT, I had some lovely Organic Pastures "Living Tea" - which is my favorite store I hope mine will come out like theirs!  One thing I am not sure of:  I did not have any organic tea.  And I didn't have access to a car to run to the store... so I used what I had & just hope it's ok... next time!
I had some Raw Cream on hand that was starting to go, so I started a bowl of Sour Cream!  We love this & use it as regularly as I can keep it stocked!  I was inspired by Ann Marie to try the Kefir again.  I don't know where I got this, but I've been using my soured milk to make Kefir... does that make sense to anyone?  I honestly cannot remember if someone told me to, or if I just decided it was a logical thing because you let the milk sit out & 'sour' to an extent anyway...???  Anyone?  One that subject, does anyone have any uses for sour milk?  
On Friday night I had started a bunch of grains to soak, so today they were sprouted enough to start drying.  Thankfully, my oven is gas & goes as low as 100 degrees, so it's not hard to let my grains dry overnight or all day while I'm at work.  I tried the 100% Sprouted Wheat Bread recipe from Marilyn Moll last week & we loved it!  It's my favorite so far.  I made a double batch (in the Kitchen Aid, as it was WAY too full for the bread machine) because Joe's boss has offered t buy it from me she liked it a lot!   I added sesame & sunflower seeds for some extra texture & appeal.... it looks gorgeous & tastes pretty good...I think I'll try a bit more next time, but I think I also need to up the liquid a tiny bit...
I also soaked a cup of Almonds on Sat morning, so today I threw them into the VitaMix to make Almond Milk.  I always try to use the left over pulp in a soaked grain muffin recipe, so I have that (about 1 cup) with about 2 cups mixed whole grains soaking to make muffins tomorrow evening....or maybe Wed morning (although it's awfully ambitious of me to think I'll get up early & make them!  But I bought some fresh berries, so it sure would be nice to use them in a muffin.  We'll see...
Saturday morning I went for Raw Milk again, as I was short on Milk.  I bought enough this time to (hopefully!) last a month.  I also ran to Costco to stock up of stupid things I like best there like TP & Cat litter...I ran a bunch of other errands & made bread.  On Saturday night I had roasted a chicken.  (Thanks for the inspiration, Erica!  I bought the Coleman's organic ones at Costco for about $12 each!  I'm going to shoot for 1 every other week!) On Saturday we'd eaten an extremely gourmet bowl of cereal early on, so when the chicken was done, we just wanted a snack, so I cut up one of the breast & we just nibbled on that - it was SO yum!  I roasted it breast side down so the white meat would be super moist!
So then the rest went right into the fridge & today I stripped all the meat off & started stock.  It was even easier than usual because I'd been keeping a freezer bag of veg scraps for the last couple weeks...I can't wait to see how this batch turns out!  There were mushrooms, bell peppers, leeks, onion, broccoli bottoms, you name it, it was in there!  It's been smelling so good all day!  Ok, so with the meat I stripped off, I chunked all the dark meat & made Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with them for tonight's dinner.  The remaining breast got cubed & I made a small bowl of Chicken Salad for sandwiches this week.  I added mayo, mustard, cayenne, craisins, chopped celery & chopped pecans - YUM!  I would have added apples too, but I don't have any at the moment...
Freezer Meals:
I ran across a nice easy recipe here for Egg Cups, so I made those, wrapped up 3 for the fridge & the rest are freezing as I type for future To-Go Breakfasts... Yum!
Meal Plan
I keep reading every one's Meal Plans & it seriously seems like such a good idea!  I just haven't felt 'ready' to begin.  Yet.  I think I'm almost there...I have a partial list, but I'm really having some challenges because I already know that we will be out of the house Tues & Thurs nights for Book Clubs at friend's houses.  So I'm trying to think of quick dinners for those nights (don't forget that we've taken on the oh-so-important challenge of "No Eating Out" this month, and normally that would be my solution...  I'm working on it, but I think I'll see how it goes before attempting to join the official "Meal Plan Monday"... 
Well, the boys got home at 6-ish, we had dinner & now I'm all caught up!  Must go strain my stock, now - g'night!

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Santa Susana, Ventura County, CA, United States
Me? Well....I have a day job selling travel to beautiful far away lands, and I love to travel - my job sort of supports & feeds the 'travel monster' inside me. But my other inner monster is: food in all it's facets. I have a 13 yr old DS from a previous life, and married the lovely JoeBacon a three years ago! I finally became a home-owner at that point, we did a huge addition/re-model right away to make the house a bit bigger & I got a wonderful new kitchen out of the deal! I've gone thru Culinary School twice (mostly for fun) 'cuz I love to cook! And thru reading/doing the Maker's Diet 2 years ago, became aware of Sally Fallon, Weston Price, etc...and now after about 9 months of exploring their world, I'm trying to really make it all part of mine. I've had some things turn out great & others have been miserable failures, but I'm learning a LOT (mostly from my fellow NT Bloggers)!! Now I'm enjoying my yard, garden, sprouting, baking bread, brewing Kombucha, using raw milk, making Kefir & Yogurt & just trying to find small ways to make yummy food better for us.