How I cook A.k.a Learn to be flexible!

Lets face it. Only in a perfect situation are you going to have all the ingredients you need on hand for a recipe. Hubby is always amazed at how I can sometimes come up with my best meals when theres no food in the house. I like to pride myself in being imaginative and not letting something like being out of eggs stop me!

I will have to post tips and tricks as I go but for now Im going to show you an example for our breads that I made two days ago. I have decided not to buy bread unless absolutely necessary. Its much cheaper if you buy your flour and yeast(Store in the freezer) in bulk. As long as you store your flour properly it wont go bad too fast.

I had a few issues… I was out of salt,eggs and did NOT have enough flour!

The easiest issue to resolve first was the eggs. Until my chickens start laying for me this is a quick trick that I learnt from some of my vegan friends. 1 tbsp of flax seed(We always have flax as we use it as a supplement for our horses) ground up with 3 tbsp of of water let stand for 15 minutes will make a great egg replacer. You can do the same with chia seeds as well. My friend does the same with soy flour Im not sure if the mix is the same. Im pretty sure it is though.  I really like the flax as it gives a nice nutty flavour. Chia is better for things you dont want flavored but it can be more expensive.

For the salt well I did something not very conventional. If I had celery salt I might have substituted for that as some people do use this for a more natural salt option. But the only kind of salt I had in my kitchen was garlic salt so in it went!

As for the flour. I threw all my white flour in(About six cups) my mother gave me half her bag of whole wheat flour last time I visited so I threw that in there hoping it would be enough(It was about 24 cups) and it STILL wasn’t enough. So into my non conventional flours I went! I threw in the last of my vital wheat gluten(Its something that helps whole wheat behave more like white flour if your cooking exclusively with whole wheat. And threw in a few cups of Sorghum flour that I had. The bread came out great. The only thing is the sorghum is gluten free so the bread doesn’t toast as good as just whole wheat or white would.  but neither of us have complained. And it isn’t overly garlic flavored(Which wouldn’t have bothered me funny enough)

I followed Perbains recipe as my basic recipe. Here is her video. She is an amazing woman and I love her videos. Hubby and I have been watching her videos for a long time now and they always bring a smile to our faces.

Here is my dough all raised(I did a double batch!)

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Punches down and ready to go onto the counter to portion

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What a huge piece of dough!

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Here are a few loafs and rolls done up.

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And a few hand loafs as well.

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And into the freezer. Once their frozen solid I move them to ziplocks.

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We decided to do one batch of rolls up and cook them right away

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All cooked

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Served with butter and mozzarella they were delish

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This morning we cooked up a loaf as well and it was great. The sides did like to crumble just a tiny bit when toasting but not so much that its not edible

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Cut up nice not too dense not too fluffy

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And toasted for breakfast with eggs 🙂

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In total this double batch recipe made 10 loafs of bread and two pans full of rolls. So hopefully I have encouraged you to go out there and experiment! Recipes are to learn Once your mastered a recipe you can make it your own 🙂

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Oven Roasted Herb chicken with Balsamic potatoes and carrots

I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with Justine and Sue of Les Farm learning how to Process/Butcher chickens. As a thank you gift They gave me a whole chicken(The second largest one they processed) as well the skinned carcass of the last chicken that had the breast and wings removed which I brought to make stock but it still had the drumsticks and thighs on it. I also came home with ALL of the hearts and gizzards which I am going to make stew with but that is a future post. This meal was absolutely delicious and I decided to share it.

I tried as much as I could to only use ingredients from my garden or friends gardens.

I used a green onion from my herb garden

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On a lark I decided to try digging in my potato patch thinking there was no way that it would yield anything and It was full of baby potatoes so I decided to use some to make Balsamic potatoes!

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And the gorgeous chicken that I helped Process/butcher

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Herbs freshly picked from my garden(Basil and Thyme)

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The first thing I did was melt 2 tbsp of butter then I chopped up 1/2 a tsp of fresh thyme and basil as well as some sage(Sadly my Parsley smothered my sage so I had to use powdered sage), I chopped up two garlic cloves and added that as well as a pinch of salt and pepper.

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I took a brush and liberally painted both sides of the chicken and placed it in the pre-heated oven at 350FDSC_0208

While that started cooking I chopped up some carrot and the potatoes and got my main ingredients ready (Balsamic vinegar and oil) I placed all the ingredients in a ziplock bag then added a quarter cup of oil and half a cup of balsamic vinegar as well as a tsp of thyme and salt and pepper to taste.DSC_0209

zip it up and shake well.

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I then took the chicken out and placed the potatoes onto the pan to finish cooking with the chicken(40 minutes or so)DSC_0211

Look at my beautiful new to me oven! I don’t care that its not super fancy it WORKS and its super clean. And by work I mean all of the burners, the timer, the clock AND the oven! It also doesn’t fit where the previous oven was and my large cookie sheets don’t fit into it but I don’t care because AT LEAST I can bake! DSC_0212

Once everything is done Plate up cut some chives and sprinkle and take some of the drippings you have left that mixed with the balsamic vinegar(We didn’t have much) and gently pour over top and Bon Appetit!

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Pumpkin Drop Cookies

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C packed brown sugar
  • Flax eggs (2 Tbsp Flax meal mixed with 6 Tbsp water whisked then let stand 15 minutes) Or 2 eggs
  • 2 Cups Pumpkin Puree(I had one cup spaghetti squash one cup pumpkin on hand)
  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Clove
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1 C Hemp Hearts(Or any kind of nuts of Chocolate chips would be amazing)

Heat oven to 375º F Cream butter and sugar together then Beat in the flax egg and Pumpkin pumpkin.

Mix Dry ingredients in separate Bowl.

Combine wet ingredients to dry and mix.
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Fold Hemp hearts into the dough
Use two small spoons to drop dough 2 inches apart onto parchment paper or oiled cookie sheet.

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool a few minutes then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

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These make super light and fluffy cookies. They feel almost like cake more than cookies, Very delicious! Their not overly sweet either I think adding chocolate chips would make these perfect.

Photo of the cookies in my cookie jar. The tag was from Justine and Sue of Les Farms wedding Favor. Now this made a beautiful photo but I don’t suggest putting these in a cookie jar like the one I have their very moist cookies and will stick one on top of the other. Id probably put parchment paper or wax paper between layers of cookies in a container.

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Fall is coming, Why not make Pumpkin bread!

My mother was over and dropped off a few things from her garden and at the same time asked me if I wanted the last of her Pumpkin Puree from last years harvest. Since Pumpkin season is almost upon us I agreed as I had just found a little Toaster oven(Our oven was broken and not working) and wanted to bake some Pumpkin Bread. I Proceeded to thaw out my Pumpkin Puree and get started on the ingredients. I used the recipe from

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pumpkin_bread/

I love the look of Pumpkin Puree don’t you?

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I sifted all my dry ingredients(The Zucchini in the back is because I also made a loaf of zucchini bread adapted from this recipe)DSC_0784

All sifted and stirred for good measure.

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Something here looks off doesn’t it? Turns out the other package of frozen Pumpkin Puree I had was actually spaghetti squash. But I just shrugged and threw it in anyway. Its a squash just like Pumpkin! I’m nothing if not willing to experiment.

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Once the wet is all stirred mix the dry into it and mix well just don’t over stir.DSC_0771

Not the other thing is I didn’t have any Walnuts so I used what I had on hand and mixed half crushed almonds and half Hemp seeds. DSC_0772

Now with these I folded them in with my rubber spatula instead of stirring. DSC_0773

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Now place into a greased Bread pan and pop in the oven!

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Or in my case a Toaster oven!

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And once its ready take it out. I had just one small burnt spot as unlike an oven this was fairly close to the heating element.

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Let cool slightly then remove from bread pan onto a cooling rack.

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Once cooled a bit more slice and serve with some butter and enjoy the wonderful Fall flavor!DSC_0788