ACV- Appearances Vary!

Let’s take a look at a few jars of ACV (apple cider vinegar). Note how their appearance varies. The lightest colored one (on the left) is made from apple scraps (peels,cores etc.) the others are made from store brought juice of varying brands. After it ages a bit more I look forward to comparing tastes.

The next jar – as you can see below – was started 8-23 so it’s still aging. Then (still going left) there’s the jar I’ve been using ACV from. Usually I pour off the whole batch and get another going but for now I’ve been pouring some off into the smaller jar. Then there’s the jar of extra mothers.

The appearance of ACV can vary quite a bit, as do the mothers. Some are thin and filmy, some are nice thick clean-looking mothers, others look a bit more haggard and maybe have a layer of sediment on them.

It’s all good.

See this post and start your own mother: Apple Cider Vinegar {making a mother}.

mossy_stone

Foraging Blossom Jelly

The boys are constantly picking flowers in that enthusiastic way little kids have. Amongst the plethora of flowers I started thinking maybe we should take advantage of this and make something….then I saw a post showing how violets start out as a dark blue infusion but the infusion “magically” transforms into a brilliant purple when lemon juice is added. Sounds like fun and even if the jelly wasn’t a hit at least we’d have a little experiment to do. Hence this:

turned into this:

The process is simple- cover the petals in an equal amount of boiled water and let sit for several hours or in the fridge overnight. I used a cup of petals for the violet and apple jellies and a half of a cup of petals for the dandelion. Strain and add lemon or lime juice, sugar and pectin. Cook as you would for any jelly/ follow your pectin’s instructions. I used Pomona pectin.Basically use the petal water/infusion as if it were juice.

My gift bearers/ helpers turned into eager taste testers. They wanted to eat the whole thing like a bowl of jello (BTW-that’s actually a second jar that was only partly filled).

It was so good ( delicate and decidedly floral) I started pondering “what other blossoms could we try and will they look and taste as awesome?” Two obvious potentials were dandelions and apple blossoms. I had made some really good apple peel jelly before but blossoms would be even easier and they’re free.

I was hoping the dandelion jelly would be a brilliant yellow but once I started the infusion I stopped worrying about the color and started just hoping it wouldn’t taste awful. Even though I cut the green part off the dandelion blossoms started smelling like cooked spinach the second the boiling water hit them.I almost didn’t even try it out but I figured a half mini batch wouldn’t be too big a waste and at least we’d have tried it. It was actually really good.

The apple blossoms smelled wonderful- almost rose like. The petals turned, unsurprisingly, brown. It tastes like apple jelly but just a touch flowery too. Here they are lined up left to right: dandelion, violet, and apple blossom.

Hmm I wonder how hibiscus jelly would taste….

mossy_stone

sharing this post with:

homestead barn hop, monday mania, fat tuesday, slightly indulgent tuesday, make your own! monday, melt in your mouth monday, hearth and soul hop, ruths real food, scratch cookin, weekend gourmet carnival, savory sunday, what’s cookin wednesday, gluten free wednesday, real food wednesday, frugal days sustainable ways, healthy2day, whole foods wednesday, wildcrafting wednesday, simple lives thursday, rural thursday,,real food freaks,fightbackfriday, white wolf summit, friday food flicks, eat make grow

In the Kitchen :: Favorite

I just love finding a new favorite recipe because, first and foremost, I get to enjoy a fresh new (and now favorite) dish but also because it justifies my huge “recipes to try” collection. I recently reorganized my “recipes to try” collection which began in elementary school as a few slips of paper in an old school folder  but it has grown and morphed into a bulging 13 pocket accordion folder monstrosity . But I really do try these recipes and, as I go, they either end up in my “keeping” binder or in the garbage; and lately I’ve been hearing a lot of “That’s my favorite!” and “That’s the best ever!” so I think I’m on to something.

Here’s a few things we keep coming back to as of late:

Cheesy popcorn- aka homemade smart food. I love cheesy popcorn and it’s as simple as sprinkling Parmesan cheese on your (buttered) popcorn. Who knew?!

Roasted Cumin Lime  Carrots – I found these through pinterest (imagine that!) I didn’t have the mint/green onion garnish so I left it out and I used maple syrup for the sweetener. I also used my preserved limes instead of fresh- worked great!

Quinoa- I know I’m like the last person to try it- can’t believe I’ve been missing out. It cooks so fast, it’s gluten free and reminds me of couscous.What’s not to love?!

Roasted Rabbit- from over at Real Food Freaks. This is my new favorite way to have rabbit! I used less oil and preserved lemons instead of white wine. Oh my did it smell good while baking and tasting it didn’t disappoint.

This was one of our meat rabbits. It was fresh; I soaked it in cold salted water for a few hours before baking.I recommend the salt water soak as it tastes better and the color is better too. And speaking of game we’ve been eating a lot of

Venison too. We got lucky with the tenderest deer ever. I’ve been coating venison tenderloins and butterfly chops with seasoned cornstarch and frying them in butter in my cast iron skillet. Then I transfer them to the oven till they’re done on the inside and they’re crispy and brown on the outside. I can’t keep up with demand!

And then there’s the

Rose hip Tart – I made this one up as I had several jars of rose hip jam I made from rose hips and apples I gathered at the beach. I hadn’t cooked the pectin quite down enough so it was more saucy than jammy. Somehow tarts came to mind as a way to use them up. I used pecan flour for the crust, blind baked it; and I threw in a piece of preserved meyer lemon into the rose hip filling. Oh so good, the lemon goes so well with the slightly herbal rose hips. I wish I had more jars of saucy jam!

And we made our favorite soap

mossy_stone

this post is shared with

homestead barn hop, monday mania , melt in your mouth monday, make your own! monday,  hearth and soul , fat tuesday, traditional tuesday, slightly indulgent tuesday, real food wednesday, what’s cooking wednesday, gluten free wednesday, frugal days sustainable ways, healthy2day, simple lives thursday, fight back friday, freaky friday, food flick friday, sunday school

Celebrating

For us February is a month of celebrations. Perfect- as winter has grown old and this season’s mildness has only served to fuel our spring fever  to get out there and DO stuff. And if you can’t get out there and work well you might as well have some fun (and that means cake, of course).

First Ezra’s birthday. An amazing 3 years old! He requested blueberry cake. Luckily I had some frozen blueberries still left from last summer. So we cooked them into a sauce/filling. I recently went gluten/wheat-free so we decided to try one of those packaged GF cake mixes. Let’s just say I’m not too impressed. I mean it looks great, and the texture is right but it just tastes……. not quite right.

Then for Valentine’s Day we transplanted some apple tree seedlings. The boys have been planting the seeds from their apples in my rosemary pots. A whole bunch came up so we moved them to their own separate containers.  Of course all this enthusiastic handling by little kids and a dog who has to sit on everything means that we only have a few survivors. Still it was fun and the boys got to check out the various stages of seed sprouting and root growth.

Even Ishmael LOVED it. This boy gravitates to dirt. He can find it, scoot over and get his hands it in 5 seconds flat. That’s my boy!

photo by Noah

Then it’s Noah’s birthday. What?! 5 years old already!

He received a pirate boat kit which he studiously put together- by himself by looking at the picture on the box. Once the glue dried we had some fun painting. He painted his boat and I borrowed a little paint to make him a Batman and Robin peg clothing pin figure.

photo by struggling_along

photo by Noah

Of course another birthday requires more cake! We went more traditional this time with a Chocolate Surprise Cake. It’s an old recipe and doesn’t really give any instructions- just a list of ingredients so here’s my one layer version:

The surprise is a whipped cream filling. It’s really good. It’s like having a HUGE really good whoopee pie.

mossy_stone

linking to Seasonal Celebration Sunday @ the natural mothers network