Monthly Archives: January 2014

I Love Lard!

P1050603You might be thinking, “You love, what?!”

LARD!

I am rendering some in the crock pot as we speak. Did you know it is actually GOOD for you? It’s high in monounsaturated fats, Vitamin D, etc. Not to mention, it makes the best baked goods and it is awesome for frying. I am LOVING using it!

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Orange Burst Pancakes

P1050552I’ve been on a real pancake kick lately! It started with a steak and eggs and pancake dinner at our house last week, followed by several pancake breakfasts!

Pancakes are great because you can whip them together in one bowl- for quick and easy cleanup, and you can cook them in minutes- for all those growling bellies.

I really like this recipe because, like My Favorite Pancake Recipe, you still get the health benefits of oats and wheat flour in the pancake, and then an added surprise of little bursts of orange that are just enough to brighten up the flavor. Top with a little buttery maple syrup and you’ll enjoy very bite!

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Made-from-Scratch Fudge Brownies (boxed mix copycat)

P1050531I miss boxed brownie mixes. I admit it.

I really do love eating and preparing real foods, and I almost never even have the desire to go back to the foods I used to prepare, but….I do miss those boxed brownie mixes. Maybe it’s just me. But, usually,I am just not overly thrilled with homemade brownies- they’re missing something.

P1050539My ol’ stand-by brownie is this one, A Good Brownie, and I do like it. It’s good. However, it still doesn’t seem to quite match up to the texture and taste of those packaged mixes.

So, being a little disappointed, I just didn’t make brownies very often. But, I was re-inspired to try again to recreate those mixes when my husband was dreaming of hot, fudgey brownies the other evening. My kids chimed in, too….”Oh, yes! Brownies!!”  You see- these are important matters to chocolate lovers. I needed to come up with a brownie that was just as tasty as a boxed mix brownie.

And I think this recipe just might be it!!  These are soft and moist- fudgey, but not too dense. They are the perfect texture, and even get that kinda flaky top. 

Try ’em out and see if you agree!

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Fresh Ham Steaks in the Crock Pot

P1050413When we had our pig butchered, I was introduced to many cuts of meat that I was not accustomed to using- cuts that you don’t see in the normal grocery store. But more than that- I also found out that cuts like “ham steaks” and even a whole ham is much, much different when it is fresh and uncured, like the ham I used to buy at the grocery store.

Those hams have been processed and treated with nitrates and preservatives, which greatly affects their taste and appearance.

My fresh, uncured whole ‘ham’ from our hog, had the texture and taste more like a roast- Definitely not what we are used to eating on a ham biscuit, along with eggs, or on the platter for Easter dinner. The ham steaks were the same way.

This was going to take some getting used to. I looked for some recipes for the ham steaks, but nothing looked that great to me. From what I read, though, I did gather that fresh ham steaks have a tendency to be a little tough and also dry.

So, I decided to just start experimenting until something worked. And….I finally figured out the perfect recipe. In fact, this has become a much enjoyed and popular dish at our house! It is moist, tender, and tastes great.

So, in case you were wondering, too, here’s how to prepare fresh ham steaks! (I think the recipe would work equally as well with pork chops!)

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Mason Jar Pitchers

P1050502Here’s a fun product, I’ve been enjoying using- Mason Jar pour caps!

I was wanting to find a nice sized glass pitcher, so I could quit using the old plastic pitcher that we usually used for iced tea. But, I didn’t really want to buy anything new.

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Make Your Bread a Powerhouse of Health! (this book will turn what you think you know about bread, upside-down!)

guide to breadI LOVE bread. I mean- I really love my bread. Who can resist a hot yeast roll with butter? I also love preparing and eating food that tastes good, but that I also know is nutritious, healthy, and real.

But, bread can be a slightly controversial food when it comes to its health and nutrition. Many diets ban bread, many health enthusiasts insist on particular flours, and require soaking grains or grinding your own wheat in order to obtain a healthy loaf.

But, everything I thought I knew about bread- especially about what makes it good for me, has been turned upside down. That’s why I am practically bursting at the seams to share this book with you. I think it is one of the most interesting and informative books I have read in a long time.

It is called Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread:Unlocking the Mysteries of Grains, Gluten, and Yeast. It is written by Jessie Hawkins. You can visit her blog, here.

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Quick and Easy Kettle Corn

P1050454Here is a recipe I just have to share with you. It’s the perfect snack.

I still make popcorn the stove-top way. A big bag of popcorn kernels is pretty cheap- much cheaper than microwave popcorn- not to mention much better for you! So, when a friend of mine (thanks, Angela!) recently shared this recipe for Kettle Corn, it grabbed my interest and I knew it was something I wanted to try.

I have made it so many times since then!

In less than 10 minutes, you can have this delicious sweet and salty snack. The sugar creates this coating- kinda like a glaze- over the popcorn, that quickly dries once the popcorn is done popping. It gives it a lovely, lightly sweet taste- not nearly as sweet as a caramel corn. Sprinkle it with sea salt to taste- and oh, yum- It is so, so good! It just couldn’t be easier.

See the original recipe hereThe lady who posted this recipe, Erin Huffstetler, has very clear instructions- which I pretty much follow as written. But, I went ahead and included my own instructions/ingredient list, too.

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