Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brown Rice Sunflower Seed Cracker Recipe

I have been making rennet cheeses lately with all the goat milk I have been getting from our goats. My husband has never liked chevre but I decided to make it anyway because of how little work is involved. He tried it after I made it and liked it but wanted crackers to eat it with. So I looked for a cracker recipe. I used this recipe as a guide but changed the ingredients to use what I have on hand. We have been out of almonds so I used raw sunflower seeds. I just used a little salt for flavor because some of the chevre I made is flavored with sweet ingredients.

As a snack, we topped these crackers with the plain chevre. Then for dessert, I topped these crackers with chevre and a drizzle of honey and my husband topped his with chevre and dried delicious! We finished the crackers in one day, so I will probably double the batch next time.

Brown Rice Sunflower Seed Cracker Recipe

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Grease a baking sheet.

Grind up the sunflower seeds. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until a dough is formed. Make two balls of dough.

Put one ball of dough in between two sheets of wax or parchment paper and roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. Pull off the top sheet of paper and flip the dough onto the baking sheet. Use a pizza cutter to cut crackers into 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares. Take the edges off and add to the other ball of dough and repeat.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. (I rolled mine real thin and baked for 15 minutes.)

Let cool on baking sheet.

Makes 30-35 crackers.

This article is shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Banana Bread

I have been waiting for the two bananas on my counter to turn extra ripe so I can make banana bread. I usually make Elana's banana bread recipe but I did not have any eggs to spare so I tried to make a new egg free version with the ingredients I had on hand. This banana bread came out great! You can't tell that there are no eggs and it was NOT crumbly. I store it in the fridge and when I want a slice, I put it in the toaster oven an top with a sliver of butter.

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Banana Bread Recipe

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 tbsp ground chia seed
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup soaked almonds or walnuts, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp stevia powder
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup milk*

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grind up flaxseed and chia seed (I used a magic bullet.) Add milk to the flaxseed and chia. In another bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, white rice flour, stevia, cinnamon and baking powder. Mix well. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and add vanilla, milk, and baking soda. Mix together the coconut oil, banana mixture and flour mixture. Fold in nuts. Pour into greased 8 x 4 glass loaf dish.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

* I have used sour cow's milk and fresh goat milk from my goats!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Milking Goats

We had been trying to milk Chloe for a week an were only getting an ounce or two each time. I did try separating her for a few hours during the day from her son, but he kept getting out of the pen I put him in. We thought Chloe just wasn't a good milker and decided to put her up for sale. A registered milking goat came up on craigslist so we went to take a look at her. The seller (we told her the issues we were having with Chloe) let us milk 2 other goats as well as the one for sale just so we could see the differences. We also got to see how much milk Bambi was giving. We decided that we would take Bambi, we were just going to wait until the weekend to pick her up. She also told us to try separating Chloe from her son at night and then milk her in the morning. We separated them on Friday night.

So Saturday morning we tried milking Chloe in the morning (We had to wait until Saturday so my husband could help me.) I could feel the milk in her udder! So I milked her. She finished all the grains while milking so I got her more and kept milking. We ended up with 12 ounces of milk! (All this time we thought that we needed a registered dairy goat to get milk; we were so wrong, You just need to learn the correct procedures to milking a goat, which Bambi's owner taught us.) So I took all the ads I posted to sell her down.

Chloe has been giving me 12-14 ounces of milk every morning since then, which has only been a few days. I am very pleased with her. She is also much better on the milk stand as she will only kick a few times and doesn't fight me while trying to milk her.

We have decided to sell her son. We are going to have to keep him separate if we want to use him for breeding purposes which means we will have to get him a male goat friend to keep him company in a separate pen. But we already know he can get out if he really wants to. Also, I have to use him to bribe Chloe on the milk stand in the mornings - too much work! Not to mention, my husband would have to build a pen for him and we would always worry about him getting out and knocking one of our goats up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

We Got Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Baby getting milk
We already put a deposit down on a baby Nigerian dwarf doeling goat a few weeks ago when we picked up a few chickens from Okeechobee. My husband had a week off of work so he built a shelter and fenced in a section of our property for the goat. When he was done, we called the lady to pick up the goat but she has not been weaned from her momma yet so we have to wait. We decided that we also want a goat that is giving milk now as we have to wait until our first goat is a year old to breed her and be able to get milk.

2 week old buck, JJ

Off to craigslist I went looking for a goat that's already giving milk. I didn't have much luck in our area, so I searched further away. I found a momma and baby nigerian for sale but they were four hours away. My husband said no at first (he would have been the one to go pick them up as our son was not ready for an eight hour road trip.) I searched for a couple of days and found nothing else so I convinced hubby to let me email the listing for the momma and baby. My husband spent a whole day driving just to pick them up. They are so beautiful!

Momma goat, Chloe

We will try milking her in a week because we need to build a milking stand. They are still getting used to their new owners. The mom will eat out of our hands and will let us pet her while she is eating grain. I am hoping she will be more comfortable with us by the time we start milking her. For now, her baby is drinking her milk.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mawa Recipe - An Indian Dessert

My parents are from India so I grew up eating curries and dishes made with paneer, which is made from soured milk. My mom used to make all sorts of Indian desserts with milk that she would sour with vinegar or lemon juice. She taught me how to make a few of them. It has been a while since I have made many of the desserts because hubby doesn't care for the desserts made with soured milk. I have had a half gallon bottle of sour milk in the fridge for a while now. I keep telling myself I will make rasgulla but it has not happened yet. 

This morning I finally decided to make something with the soured milk. I poured the milk in a pot and turned on the stove to the lowest setting. The milk was already so sour that I did not have to add any vinegar or lemon juice (this only happens with raw milk.) The curds started to separate from the whey. I was initially going to make rasgulla which are milk balls in a light sugar syrup. I decided that this was too many steps for today and I would not have enough free time to make it as my son enjoys my attention during the day. So I called my mom to ask her how to make the mawa (pronounced m-ow.) I had made it once before but that was many years ago.  Most of the recipes online used sweetened condensed milk, that is not the authentic way to make it - not to mention, very unhealthy! This recipe is the authentic way of making it. The only change is that I used coconut sugar and stevia instead of regular granulated sugar.

It came out perfect! Here is the recipe:

Mawa Recipe

1/2 gallon of raw milk (it can already be soured)
3 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (only needed if milk is not sour)
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp stevia powder
shredded coconut (optional)

Pour the milk into a large pot. Turn pot on lowest setting. Once the milk heats up, it may start separating if it is already sour. If it is not sour, add the vinegar or lemon juice. You will see the curds start to separate. You can turn the heat up a little as the milk has to reduce to a pudding consistency. Keep stirring every 10-15 minutes. Once the milk had reduced to half, add the sweeteners (add more or less based on your preferences, just remember that the milk will reduce more so it will get sweeter as it reduces.) Mix the sweeteners through and keep stirring so the milk doesn't burn or stick to the pot. The cooking process will take about 2 hours. You will know it is done when it is a very thick consistency. The color should be a nice tan.

Grease an 8 x 8 glass or pie dish. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes in the pot, then scoop into dish and pat down. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, if desired, and press down a little. Put in fridge and let cool.

Cut into bars and serve.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Kind of Oats Should I Buy?

There are many different ways you can buy oats - oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats, old fashioned  rolled oats, quick oats, instant oats, irish oats, and scottish oats. We have been having oats a couple of times a week since learning the correct way to prepare them. I have been buying organic old fashioned rolled oats and I was going to update my amazon subscribe and save account when I decided to research which oats are the least processed and healthiest to purchase. I will explain the differences below:

Oat groats are the the hulled oat grain. This is the most unprocessed version that you can get at the health food store. Oat groats look like brown rice. I have never cooked with oat groats.

Steel cut oats or Irish oats are oat groats that have been cut into three or four pieces with steel blades. This is the most nutritious version of oats that people are used to eating because it still contains the oat bran and it is NOT steamed before it gets to the consumer. These oats are also more chewier when cooked.

Scottish oats are oat groats that are ground up to make a porridge creamy style of oatmeal.

Rolled oats are made by steaming the oat groats and then using a roller to flatten them, hence the name "rolled" oats. Old fashioned rolled oats are thicker because they are made with the whole oat groats. Quick cooking rolled oats are made using steel cut oats.

Instant oats are quick cooking rolled oats that have been steamed longer and are rolled more thinly. These are the least nutritious of all oats because the steaming cooks the oats which reduces the nutritional value.

I am currently using old fashioned rolled oats but I plan on switching back to steel cut oats after learning the differences. I don't like how the rolled oats are steamed before they get to me, the consumer. I do prepare my oats the correct way by soaking them for 12-24 hours in water and sour milk which reduces the phytic acid making the oats more digestable. I then proceed to cook them by making baked oatmeal or soaked oat breakfast bread.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Few More Hens...And A Goat!

We are happy with our three hens but eat more eggs than they can produce so we wanted four more hens. I found a farm on Craigslist that was selling chickens, organic produce, and eggs. We drove an hour away to Okeechobee to purchase more hens for our flock. When we got to the farm, the woman I had spoken to over the phone, Jennifer, seemed very knowledgeable about chickens, goats, and organic farming. We were there a while just talking. I had not met anyone with the same views on on the food we eat until now. People always think that I am crazy and go overboard about the foods that we eat. She understood and has the same views!

On the drive in, we saw her goats (we did not know this was a complete farm with goats.) She had two baby goats in the same pen as the chickens and we got to talking about goats. She then walked us over to the older goats. The baby goats were dwarf nubian goats and she said they were good milking goats and very easy to take care of. Well, we put down a deposit for the baby girl she had. She said that most people buy her goats for meat and she was happy that we were buying her to milk. Jennifer knew that we don't have shelter for the goat yet so she said we could pick her up when we have shelter for her.

We did get four barred rock cochin hens. Fortunately, on the way there we bought a large dog crate at a yard sale for $25. Otherwise we would have had to put them in our animal trap and a cardboard box. The dog crate is also the perfect size for transporting our goat. This was a great yard sale score!

Temporary DIY Chicken Coop

We tried using scrap wood and materials we already had had to make our temporary chicken coop. We had some wood fence panels, pallets, black landscape pot, wood fence post, chicken wire and cinder blocks. A small part of our backyard is fenced in with a chain link fence, so we used the chain link as one side of the coop. We then laid the wood fence panels up against the chain link fence to make a tee pee. Then we put one pallet on each end to work as a door and put a cinder block up against it. We then used chicken wire to cover up any holes that the pallets did not cover.

For a roost, we put down two cinder blocks 2 to 3 feet apart in the coop and put a fence post we had lying around on top of the cinder blocks.

The nesting box was made from a 5 gallon black landscape pot nailed on its side to a small pallet. The pallet was put on to of two cinder blocks to keep it off the ground.

We have every type of predator here that preys on chickens. This coop kept our chickens safe from hawks, raccoons, bobcats, opossum, foxes, rats and any other predator that I am not aware exist in our area.We set up our animal trap near the coop to catch any predators that may try to get our chickens. The first night, we caught a muskrat. I assume this is the same muskrat/rodent that dug up my freshly planted herbs the week before.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Frugal Lunch: Leftover Meat Puttanesca

Leftover Meat Puttanesca

The other night we had penne with meat sauce for dinner. There was enough leftovers for a light lunch for one. I somehow had to turn this into a hearty lunch for two. The previous day, I had soaked all my garbanzo beans to cook and freeze for future use (I avoid all canned foods as most cans are lined with toxic bpa which leaches into the food.) I decided to make a puttanesca with whatever I had in the fridge. We enjoyed it so much that I am making it again for tomorrow's lunch with leftover roast chicken. The best part about this recipe is that you can leave out or add in whatever you have or don't have in your kitchen. The garbanzo beans have enough protein to make this a hearty meal even if you don't have any leftover meat. Here is the basic recipe:

Leftover Meat Puttanesca Recipe

1 cup leftover meat (spaghetti sauce w/meat , roast or boiled chicken, can of sardines etc.)
1 cup leftover brown rice pasta or cook up the desired amount of pasta
1 bunch  chopped swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 chopped onion or 1 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 1 cup pasta sauce or chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped olives
salt and pepper to taste


top with cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Saute the onion, stems from the greens, and garlic until soft. Add sweet peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Add everything else except olives and heat through. Turn stove off and add the olives and mix. Serve in bowls and top with cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I've started roasting or boiling a whole chicken every week. I always try and make something new with the leftover chicken. I had made all this chicken broth the other day so I wanted to make a soup but I was craving a creamy soup. So I came up with this creamy chicken soup recipe. My husband said it tasted like pot pie. You can really add whatever vegetable you have on hand. I would have loved to add some celery, spinach, and/or mushrooms if I had some. If you add fresh spinach, add it at the end with the milk. I also made this gluten-free by using potato starch as a thickener. Here is the recipe:

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup Recipe

16 oz homemade chicken broth
4-5 carrots, chopped
1 bag of frozen peas or any frozen vegetables you have on hand
2 sprigs of lemongrass or 1 inch of ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups deboned roast chicken
1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 cups raw milk (I used soured milk)
3 tbsp potato starch
Brown rice to serve with

Pour chicken broth, chopped carrots, onions, and garlic into pot and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add lemongrass or ginger, poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of milk and potato starch. Add the remaining milk to the pot and stir. Add potato starch mixture to the pot and heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Soaked Oat Breakfast Bread

Over the long holiday weekend, I tried a new breakfast recipe. It was for a soaked berry oat breakfast bread. I have been trying to stay away from grains but some days can't seem to get full unless I have some grain. I have recently learned about soaking grains prior to cooking them from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Soaking reduces the phytic acid which increases the ability of your body to absorb the vitamins and minerals from the grain and reduces enzyme inhibitors which in turn makes the grains easier to digest. The first recipe I tried was a baked oatmeal from soaked grains which I enjoyed. So I looked for more soaked grain recipes. I have made this berry oat breakfast bread a few times now, but I altered it every time to my liking. When I saw the recipe, it reminded me of Entenmenn's cheese danish I used to eat when I was a kid, so I added a cream cheese mixture, among other changes. Here is my version:

Soaked Oat Breakfast Bread

4 cups freshly ground organic rolled oats, (I blended oats in a magic bullet)
2 cups raw sour milk
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Mix the above in a large bowl. Cover and put in oven 12-24 hours to soak.

The next morning:

1/2 cup water
1 tsp himalayan salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup blueberries
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 free range eggs

Cream Cheese filling:

4 oz cream cheese
3 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the water, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and maple syrup to the bowl of oats and mix. Beat the eggs and bananas together in another bowl. Add to oat mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the blueberries, chia seeds, and walnuts. Pour into 2 greased 8x8 or round casserole dishes.

In a separate bowl mix cream cheese and maple syrup. By the tablespoon full, drop this mixture into the dishes. There should be one dollop for each slice you plan on cutting. I put four dollops into each dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with a tablespoon of butter on top.

8 servings

Monday, January 9, 2012

Natural Burn Remedy That Works - Aloe

I had dinner in the oven and was trying to get all the dishes done before the casserole was done cooking. I grabbed the saucepan off the stove to wash, not realizing it was still hot, and put my hand on the bottom. Owww! This was the worst I had ever burnt myself. I put a bag of frozen green beans on it but realized I had to do more because this was a really bad burn. My husband was on the computer so I asked him to look up what to put on a burn. He said aloe will work so he went outside and pulled some aloe off one of our aloe plants. Within minutes the burning had stopped. I kept re-applying the aloe until I went to bed and the next morning I was fine. No blisters. Two of my fingers were slightly red but no pain. Aloe really works for burns! Every cook should have an aloe plant in their backyard just for burns. Now that I have discovered this remedy, I will never have another burn scar on my hands again.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax and Citric Acid

I have been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for a while. I researched the ingredients needed and all the recipes included borax. I looked at our current detergent be Seventh Generation and it has borax in it so I assumed it was fine to use. I was going to order borax online when my husband asked me how safe it was to use. I checked its rating on the Skin Deep database and it is listed as a 5-6. It also says not to use on infant skin. So I did not order the borax and instead searched for recipes that did not include borax. I ordered the washing soda online because it was cheaper that way and I do not know where to get it locally.

I never got around to make the laundry detergent but we were out of dishwasher detergent so I found a recipe online. I had to look for a recipe without citric acid because I did not have any but I had lemon juice which I thought would do the same thing. I found a recipe for dishwasher detergent at The only change that I made was to use Seventh Generation dishwasher soap instead of castile soap.

Homemade Liquid Detergent Recipe

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup liquid dish soap
2 tablespoons pure lemon juice
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon washing soda

Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Mix until everything has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into glass container. Shake before using. Fill dishwasher compartment and pour white vinegar into rinse compartment.

I have used this twice now and it cleans as good as my Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent did and this is so much cheaper!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homemade Raw Milk Yogurt

I have made yogurt once before a few years ago with raw milk and it came out good. But I never made it again as I never had the time. My mother has always made her own yogurt since I was a kid. She always boiled the milk first. I have since learned that raw milk is more nutritious and boiling the milk kills the good and bad bacteria. We only buy raw milk now, at least until we have our own goats and cow. We had too much milk in the fridge so I decided to make some yogurt as I have been craving a yogurt smoothie.

I boiled some water and poured it into the mason jar I was going to use to sterilize it. Then I heated up the milk. I don't have a thermometer so I guessed the temperature. It was probably around 100 degrees. I was really just trying to get it a little warmed up. Then I put a heaping tablespoon of store bought yogurt. I used Stoneyfield Farms plain yogurt. I stirred it with a spoon, covered it, and put it in the oven with the light on overnight. In the morning I had beautiful yogurt. You could see the cream floated to the top. The yogurt tasted amazing and it was nice and thick, not watery at all.