Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butter Meltdown...

Step 1: Get cream out of the freezer to thaw.

Step 2: Borrow KichenAid stand mixer from SIL to try out.

Step 3: Let cream go round and round in the mixer. After an hour, it still hadn't made butter.

Step 4: Give up and put the now "whipped cream" into the VitaMix (as done before). Butter separates almost immediately.

Step 5: Proceed to mold butter together, realize it probably needed to mix a little more, but too late. Start rinsing butter out in the ice water.

Step 6: Plop the butter back into a bowl to get new ice water. Buttermilk still left in the bowl, splashes all over me, all over the counters, all over the cabinets.

Step 7: Complete and total meltdown. Crying. Hysterical crying. Screaming about how I can't do this. Hubby comes out and tries to be encouraging, but I'm past the point of responding to encouragement. Tears streamed down my face. I fell to my knees at the kitchen sink and just bawled my eyes out. Not to mention my DD had woken up from her nap and I knew could hear me screaming and crying while she played in her crib. I hate that she could hear me fall apart like that.

Why do I think I can do this? I mess it up. ALL. THE. TIME. I drop things. I put the wrong ingredients in. I mix up the jars of sour cream and buttermilk. I spill things.

I'm not a natural. I don't know what I'm doing. I have to spend at least half my day reading and researching and I still get it wrong. I feel like a failure. I want to be good at this. I want to do this for my family, for my husband.

Don't get me wrong. I'm totally committed to this. I WANT to do this. But it's been almost 2 months and I still screw things up all the time.

UGH. This will get better, right? Someday I will be good at this?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken feet and some of my favorite things...

You know the phrase "a watched pot never boils". SO TRUE. On the stove is my first attempt at homemade chicken stock. It is supposed to "simmer" for 4 hours. But it took FOREVER to start bubbling at all! I kept watching because I didn't want to get it to too high of a boil and have it spill over. I'm still checking it now again because I had to turn it down and it started to stop simmering again!

But all in all it has been a pretty simple endeavor so far....chicken feet and all.

What's that you say? Chicken FEET? Yes, my friends. Chicken feet. In all their glory.

I ordered these beauties from the poultry farmer where we have been getting our chicken and eggs from. I saved a couple of chicken carcasses and decided today was the day.

So, first I had to boil the chicken feet to get them rinsed off and soft enough to cut the toenails off. Yes. I had to cut. the. toenails. off. Can we say ICK??

But, I did it. I really did. And here's the proof:

Nice, huh? The creepiest part is they kind of looked like an old lady's hand. I felt pretty weird doing it, but at least it was easy and went fairly quickly.

Next, I also boiled the chicken carcasses quickly and rinsed them off. And during this time, I realized there is NO WAY I have a pot big enough for all of this. You would think I would have realized that when I saw that it is supposed to make THREE GALLONS of chicken stock! I called my SIL who does have a bigger pot, but it is now at her new house which is a ways away instead of just down the I decided on two smaller pots and I would just divide up the ingredients.

So I put everything in and of course snapped a picture. Ignore my messy stove. Yesterday was cleaning day and let's just say that didn't happen.

What is everything, you ask? Let's see....carrots, celery, a little bit of white wine, some kosher sea salt, peppercorns, a little fresh parsley and a bay leaf. I think that's it (with all the chicken bones and feet of course).

Now the stock simmers for 4 hours, then I let it sit for 10 minutes before straining it into a glass bowl to cool in the fridge. Then I'll put it in glass quart jars and freeze some of it for use in the next few months. And some will be used in our chicken and potato soup tomorrow night. Yum.

Now what are these favorite things I'm talking about...?

Tomato and Basil soup...

Zucchini bread with freshly made raw butter....

Sirloin steak with a mushroom sauce and baked potato (yes, I love potatoes)

Recipes and more info coming soon, including a post on the reasons we now eat raw, unpasteurized dairy like it's going out of style, and my first attempt at brining a ham (process to start later today...).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hubby's Health

While we are no longer in the "danger zone" of hospitalization (Praise the LORD!!), the hubs is still really struggling with his health.

His UC is giving him a ton of grief and pain. He's scheduled to have a colonoscopy on the 28th of the month and we'll see how things are looking. We're still committed to seeing this nutritional and supplement program through to the end.

In all honesty, it's the only option we have left at this point. We've exhausted almost every avenue for healing for him. We're begging and pleading with God for this to help. We know that his poor, damaged health didn't show up overnight - it's been a process of eating poorly, rounds of antibiotics, stress, etc for the past 34 years of his life.

And with that, we know it's not going to get better overnight. We have to give his body time to heal with foods that are nutritious and healing to his colon and digestive system and supplements that will help him improve his condition.

So for now, we keep on keeping on and keep praying. Faith that God knows best is the only thing that is getting us through this mess. Without it, I can't imagine where we would be.

With all of that, I know there are some reading this who do know us personally. I am struggling to find a balance between honest reporting of how things are going and respecting my husband's privacy of how much to share about this horrible disease. If I don't go into details, please understand that I am just doing my best to honor my husband. I hate that my best friend has to go through this. It just isn't fair.

Oh no....

I've already dropped the ball on posting and it's been over a week!

Can I blame busyness? And an 8 month old baby who has discovered who "mommy" is and wants all her time? And trying to spend some time away from the computer so I am not quite so attached to it all the time and actually see people in real life? :)

I'll blame it all - but I'm here now!

Part of the reason I haven't posted is I haven't been doing anything spectacular in the cooking arena lately. In fact, I've had a few bombed dinners. But I suppose that's part of the process - sharing the failures and the successes, right?

Anywho, I'll try to get a post with my latest endeavors and another one with an update on hubby's health up asap!

For now, I'll just say that cooking without garlic and onions is just NOT NEARLY as good. I miss them - a lot.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Simple Saturday

Yesterday one of my closest and dearest friends asked if I wanted to go for a hike early this morning. I LOVE hiking. And I LOVE spending time with this sweet friend. So naturally, I jumped at the chance. We were going to go early, before it got hot, and would be back to take care of our littles by the time they woke up.

But I started to realize...I had planned to have a simple, not have to go anywhere, stay-home-and-enjoy day. And yes, it WOULD be enjoyable to go for a hike. But that would require getting up between 4:00-4:30 in the morning so I could meet my friend by 5:00-5:30 so we could hike (it's a bit of a drive to the mountain we were going to hike).

I WANTED to say yes. I knew it was good for me, I knew I'd enjoy it. But I also knew I'd already planned to stay home on Saturday. To make some baby food, cook up some future meals, enjoy a few cups of coffee, maybe even do some reading...and try to keep it simple.

So after I had already said yes, I got back in touch with my friend and backed out. It was hard for me to do, to say no to this friend. Especially after I'd already said yes! But of course being the wonderful person she is, she totally understood.

So now I am here, after sleeping in an hour more than normal (6 a.m. people - that's sleeping in these days!), getting ready to start the coffee and staying in my pj's for a while.

It's going to be a Simple Saturday, and I can't wait.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Trouble with Chickens

Now that we have started buying locally raised meat, free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and allowed the freedom to roam and graze as nature intended, I have come up on a bit of a dilemma:


I am a boneless, skinless chicken breast type girl. They are easy to thaw, easy to cook, easy to eat. I don't want to have to mess with everything that comes with other parts of the chicken.

But now I order my chickens whole. And they are MESSY. They take forever to thaw. It's kind of gross to handle them. And I am TERRIBLE at cutting them apart.

I did it once a few weeks ago and BUTCHERED the poor thing. We were able to eat pieces, but you could hardly tell what was what.

Tonight, I made chicken again. First of all, it took days to get fully thawed in the refrigerator. Then I realize the recipe I was using called for the chicken to marinate in the seasonings for 24 hours. Well, I didn't have 24 hours. I had more like 6. So 6 it was. I cooked the chicken just like it said.

And then came the task once again of cutting it apart. In the time since my last failed attempt at cutting apart a whole chicken, I have watched several videos on HOW to cut apart a chicken. So at least I had an idea of where to begin.

But many of the videos showed a RAW chicken being cut into pieces. Mine was cooked. And it was HOT. I admit, I was nervous...

But it turned out pretty accurate to the videos I watched! I got everything apart, and we had 2 nice, juicy chicken breasts for dinner. And now we have leftover thighs, wings and drumsticks for lunch tomorrow. Go me!

So, in case you're curious, here is the recipe I used (taken from ):


2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound) whole chicken
5 cloves garlic, crushed


In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Rub the chicken with the mixture. Cover chicken, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
Stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan.
Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), and continue roasting 15 minutes. Baste chicken with pan drippings, reduce heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C), and continue roasting 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

It sounds strange, but it was pretty good!

Because my husband can't really do too much garlic (it is not nice to his system AT ALL), I did put some inside the bird but did my best to scoop it out before we ate it and I carved it we got some of the flavor but hopefully it won't upset his body too much.

And I fried some potato chunks in organic butter with salt and pepper...Now those were GOOD.

So another meal that I can add to the recipe file (if I ever get down to actually CREATING the recipe file). I think next time, I'll take the chicken apart FIRST and then season it and marinate poor burning fingers would probably appreciate that.