Cooking from Nourishing Traditions :: Carrot Soup

With a bout of the sniffles going around I knew it was only a matter of time before soup was requested- and so it was. Therefore I give you, by special request: Carrot Soup.

Carrot Soup (found on page 221 of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions) is a very simple  curry soup comprised of mainly carrots and onions. Because of this the broth plays a very important supporting role in rounding out the flavor so I really recommend using homemade broth.

The Recipe (serves 6)

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped

4 TLB butter

2 tsp curry powder

1 1/2 Qt chicken stock

1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon rind

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

sea salt and pepper (optional use of fish sauce)

piima cream

Saute the veggies slowly in the butter until very tender (about 45 min). Stir in curry powder. Add stock then bring to a boil and skim. Add lemon rind and ginger. Simmer about 15 min, covered. Puree. Check seasoning and serve topped with a dollop of cultured cream.

Simple. But it really does take about 45 mins ,over rather low heat, for the carrots and onions to become sufficiently soft without browning the butter.

So how was it?

Once again I have to give this recipe from Nourishing Traditions a good review. For a bit of perspective I’ll say 4 out 5 stars- and for a soup that’s basically carrots and onions that’s good! So why not 5 stars? Well I think it could use a bit more rounding out- maybe some butternut squash in addition to the carrots and onions?

The boys loved it- but they like both curried soups and carrot soup and soup in general- and that’s pretty much a requirement to enjoy this recipe. I will make this again although I will make a few adjustments, starting with adding some butternut squash. We’ll see where we go from there.


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Melt In Your Mouth Ribs

 I LOVE my pressure cooker. It’s incredibly fast and oh so effective.

(Bear with me here with the crappy photos)

I had a couple pounds of ribs left from last years pig (we raise and butcher our own) so I adapted this recipe from Cuisinart’s User Guide/Recipe Booklet to use them up.

Barbecued Pork

Brown 4 pounds of ribs. Add 1 large chopped onion, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 Tlb brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook under high pressure 45 min, allow pressure to release naturally.

When pork is cool enough to handle remove bones ( this is so easy- they fall right out). Strain the cooking liquid reserving 1/2 cup.

Put the pork with 2 cups barbecue sauce and the reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid back in the pressure cooker and cook 3 mins. Use quick release to release pressure and serve.

Everyone loved these! I made more a few nights later. The ribs are so tender they fall right apart. I served these with baked potatoes, buttered corn and apple crumble.


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In the Kitchen:: Let Sit

I thought I’d share what’s in the jars this week:

First an update photo: Here’s the Apple Cider Vinegar with a new mother starting to grow. This is about 3 days in. The old mother drifted off to the bottom this time (although it has since floated back up to the top).

And here’s this week’s collection- fermenting meyer lemons (are meyer lemons really that much different better than regular lemons? Yes!), ACV, and, in the front, dairy wise we’ve got kefir, sour cream, buttermilk, and buttermilk starter.

See that crack starting there? With the whey starting to separate? That’s how I know when the kefir is ready.

Also sitting in the kitchen- a new batch of vanilla extract. These were some fresh vanilla beans- so soft, fragrant and easy to scrape.

Now we just let them sit.


Progress {Yarn Along}

It’s Wednesday!

I’m making good progress on the kid goat sweater…..

And I’m re-reading Surviving Off Off-Grid- definitely a book requiring some thinking and reflection. Which works out pretty well: read a bit, knit and think, read some more, knit some more, repeat.


Apple Cider Vinegar {making a mother}

What is that?!

  A mother. A mother, as Wikipedia says ” is a substance composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air. It is added to wine, cider, or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar.”

I originally made my mother  from mixing a bottle of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar with the mother with an equal amount of apple juice. After sitting for a while it began to form a mother on top. I  let the mother grow a bit then took that mother and a small amount of the vinegar, that was made while the mother was growing, and started another batch with slightly more apple juice than the previous 1-1 ratio. And we’ve been up and running ever since.

The resulting vinegar tastes great- use as you would use store brought apple cider vinegar. It takes less than 5 minutes to make. I make about 2-3 batches a year- making about a half gallon at a time. Other than the initial cost of the bottle of Braggs vinegar with the mother my only cost is the apple juice.  I cook and clean with the vinegar but I do not do my canning with it. In order to can with homemade vinegar it is important to get a hydrometer (anywhere with homebrew supplies should carry one) in order to insure the vinegar is acidic enough..

So on to the mothers: their appearance, behavior and usage.

Some photos.

Yeah the mothers look weird, gross even. They feel firm and not that slippery really. The mother always forms at the top of the container in a thin layer that will gradually thicken. If disturbed it may fall to the bottom and a new one will start to form on top.

Here are two mothers. They were in the bottom of the jar in the top photo.

They are quite thick. This is the thickest I’ve had them get so far.

Some times when you have a second mother start in the same contain they might meld together, eventually forming one large mother.

They start out thin and filmy-like these below. These formed over several months in the jar of ACV that I was using. So if you manage to damage your mother you can always restart with the ACV you have made.

I added it into the new batch: a half gallon jar full of apple juice.

Place the mother on top as best you can. If it falls to the bottom don’t worry. You can also add some ACV. This would be more important for really large batches to ensure the apple juice fermentation isn’t too much for the small amount of mother to process in a reasonable time frame. If for some reason you get mold growing throw it all away and start again as the mold spores spread throughout the contents and will regrow making future batches bad.

I initially cover the jar with a piece of fabric, held on with the canning lid rim, to allow the fermenting gases to escape. After the initial period I will switch to a regular cap. I write the date on with sharpie marker- it scrubs off easily, especially with a little baking soda.

Once the mother is in there you may see things like this floating:

or bits, like these in the below photo, settled on the bottom

They are normal and harmless so don’t worry about them. If you want you can filter the finished ACV. One way would be like this: through a coffee filter.

There’s not much but it did get those floaty bits.

Here is the filtered ACV. It’s the last from the a batch made about 6 months ago.

You can have as many batches (of any size) going as you like. As you can see the mothers are easily made and easily multiply. When I store a mother I put it in a small jar covered with ACV, rotate every few months. Why store a mother? I do in case I want to start another batch while the first is still aging and so if I do lose a mother (hey neglect and mistakes happen) I can just keep going on as usual.

          Here are left to right, a mother in storage, filtered ready to use ACV, and a new batch just started. I took these photos in the light so they would be clearer however ACV in all forms should be stored in a cool dark place – like a cabinet.

So that’s how to start a mother and use it to produce a never ending supply of apple cider vinegar.


For another look at ACV see this post: ACV- Appearances Vary!

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One Morning In Maine

                                  It was a gorgeous morning so we ventured out for a little walk.                                   In spots it was rather muddy,

and it was so sunny it felt like spring. (Except when the wind blew.)

                       Tex (the goat) came running up-as he does every morning- and proceeded to run about in a very dog like fashion.

Noah came down and we checked in on the rabbits, giving them some treats.

(This photo makes me think of Beatrix Potter’s Flopsy Bunnies.)

I was excited to find some eggs and some thyme growing.

And Noah was excited to find a bone with teeth in it.

We headed back in- grabbing some firewood-

to refuel with hot cocoa and some scrambled eggs and bacon (and maybe do some clomping about pretending to be dinosaurs) before heading back out and finishing up our chores.

Thanks for coming along!


Farmgirl Friday

Goat Sweaters {Yarn Along}

Our goat, Ells, is hugely pregnant. Just by looking at her (which is in no way an accurate gauge) I’m thinking she has to be having twins, possibly triplets- and soon too.  I feel much better this year with the temperature being so relatively mild  but the first few days are hard enough for a newborn without battling cold winter nights.

Enter goat sweaters!

Last year I modified one of the kid’s (mine) vests for one of our kids (goat). Hopefully I can find it and, with luck, also knit up a sweater in time for Ells kidding. I found the pattern over at Fiasco Farms- an excellent site for goat info.

Reading wise I just finished The Birth House which I enjoyed immensely as the subjects of birthing and midwifes vs doctor are definitely  topics near and dear  to my heart.

I’m also reading bits here and there from The Beekeeper’s Handbook (great resource). One of these days I will have bees….one of these days…..


farmgirl friday

Homemade Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars

Maybe walking pass the aisle of heart shaped boxes is getting to me.

I had to make some candy. I’ve been intending to make some homemade peanut butter cups but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand. I did have some chocolate chips and coconut tho,- and you can’t go wrong with chocolate and coconut.These use white sugar (could be replaced with honey perhaps) so they’re no so much a real food but at least they are HF corn syrup and preservative free.

The first step to making chocolate covered bars is to assemble the coconut bar filling and baked them. Press in almonds (use soaked and dehydrated nuts if possible) and let cool. I really like the almonds as the chocolate is so sweet but I left some plain for the not-so-much-of-a-nut-fan folks. I’d also make them smaller- like half the size.

Coat the cooled bars in melted chocolate and cool at least 4 hours to allow the chocolate to re-harden.

Or dig in….

Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars

1 (14 oz) package shredded coconut, sweetened preferred

1 jumbo egg white or 2 small egg whites                        2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract                                                       Almonds

1/3 c (or use up to 1/2c) sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Combine all but chocolate chips. Form bars and bake till golden around the edges. Press in almonds, if using. Let cool. Coat in melted chocolate (use 2 forks). Let sit till firm to touch-least 4 hours.


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So here’s cool experiment for little ones: Dilute as much borax as possible into hot water. Suspend some pipe cleaners and let sit over night. I had the kids make shapes and tie the string on  the pipe cleaners since this experiment requires that the adult does most of the hands on work.

The next day:

Feel free to explain things like solutions, saturation points etc or just marvel at the “magic”.


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Keeping Warm

About two weeks ago I finally finished my Oatmeal Pullover. What a great sweater! It knit up so fast (when I got the chance to work on it) and the yarn – baby alpaca- makes you want to knit it. I just love it. It fits great and is exactly that extra layer I’ve been wishing I had.

You can’t really tell from the photo but the yarn has a silver thread running through it. I knit the body using size 10 needles and dropped down to size 9 for the ribbing to help reduce the bulkiness.

So what’s on the needles now?

These fingerless mitts for my MIL. I’m just starting the thumb gusset.

These are cotton. The pattern is called Fallberry fingerless mitts (Winter 2011 in Knitty) but these colors say spring to me! I’m using size 2 double points.

What are you knitting?


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