Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paleo snacking at its best!

I just can't leave well enough alone.  I always seem to need something new to keep me interested in my business.  Right now, one of my biggest sellers is soaked and dried organic nuts -- walnuts, almonds and pecans.  They sell 10:1 against the plain organic nuts.  Why soak and dry?  It's a process that removes phytic acid from the nuts and makes them healthier.

So I got to thinking.  What if I mix them with some organic blueberries from our local market?  I can dehydrate them in my Excalibur dehydrator, which I use to dry the nuts after they are soaked in salt water.  Why not keep it busy - and BUY LOCAL?

Why stop there?  I have found an excellent (albeit not cheap) source of quality organic nuts and organic dried fruit.  So here's the lineup, all USDA organic:  Soaked and dried almonds, walnut halves, pecan halves, pepitas and sunflower seeds; local dehydrated blueberries; dehydrated sour cherries (mmmmm, I keep sneaking those from the package!) and sultana raisins; unsweetened coconut flakes; and yummy dark chocolate chips.

Then the ingredients are loaded into boxes, each box individually filled ingredient by ingredient, carefully weighed, so that each contains exactly the same amount of each ingredient.  Then a nice snap-on lid so you can dip in and munch, and then keep it covered (if you can) until the munchies hit you again.  This is paleo snacking at its best!

Stop by Purple Porch Wednesday night market or my booth at the Farmers Market for a taste and to purchase!  Available by mail as well.

Paleo Trail Mix - all organic ingredients

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rivers and pickles

Well, the river is escaping.  My yard is a soggy mess, and if the river rises another six inches, it will be in full flood mode down there.  I saw the river out of its banks a couple of years ago, but I didn't live here than.  We are not, I repeat NOT, in a flood zone where the houses are.  They are really quite a bit higher than the river.  From the street to the back of my house, there is a nine foot drop in elevation.  Then the lawn gently slopes for a length of about 250 feet to the river bank.  The houses are pretty close together at the street, but we are all blessed with these huge, lovely grassy lawns between house and river.  My lot is just shy of a half acre.

My yard
Neighbor's yard
One more good rain, and it will look like a lake, not a river, with our river's edge trees looking like they are on tiny islands in the middle of the lake.

On another note, the pickles are in at the farmers market.  I started some New York sour pickles this morning.  I didn't have any whey, so I threw a teaspoon of kefir into the mix.  And the only oak tree I have on the property is this weird saw tooth oak.  I hope the leaves have tannin in them.  That is what makes the pickles crisp, without using alum.

Yum!  Five days to crisp New York sour pickles with garlic!
 Well, back to the kitchen to clean up, then church, then company this afternoon.  Hope it doesn't rain!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taking a lazy day with a box of recipes.

The recipe box

My daughter Valerie and I have always shared a love of cooking and eating.  I found an old recipe box and went through it, thinking, "This would make an interesting cook book."

Many of the recipes are handwritten, with notes on them from relatives and old friends.  We don't do that anymore.  Everything consists of sending a link for an internet recipe in an email or Facebook message.  I remembered how many of them I had actually used and enjoyed.  If someone takes the time to laboriously write out a recipe by hand, you know it is going to be good!

In this box, which Val and I painted and decorated so many years ago, there were recipe cards, recipes cut out of newspapers and folded to fit, folded lined paper, and several on yellow lined paper that were obviously cut from the same sheet, each just a few inches long and folded in half.

A peek at the treasures

I enjoyed looking through the recipes, especially the ones marked "Good!" in red ink.  Some are in my mom's handwriting, some in Val's, others in my own -- most with the source clearly marked, from a magazine or cookbook, a friend or a family member.  A few were marked, "This is my own recipe."

Some of the treasures I found include my grandmother Wolff's recipe for a cooked dressing to use on her potato salad.  Then there was another card marked, "a lot like Grandma Wolff's dressing, a lot easier, but it doesn't taste as good."  And one was marked "Miss Smith's caramels, 1929."  Miss Smith was my mom's home ec teacher at Tonica Community High School, the same school I graduated from thirty years later in 1959.   My daughter makes those caramels every Christmas, and everyone loves them.  Another treasure is a recipe for a fish salad that I thought was gone forever.  It sits on the pile of recipes that were pulled out so that I can make them again soon. 

The treasures - to be made again soon

I found a recipe for meatballs from my husband's secretary.  The meatballs are rolled into balls but not browned, just dropped into the rich tomato sauce and simmered for three hours, sort of like dumplings in broth.  I remember they were well worth the time and effort.

I always loved my mom's chicken soup with her homemade noodles.  But I found two recipes, not one.  I'm pretty sure which is the one I loved so much, but I may have to make both just to be sure.  ;-)

The funniest one was my mother's spell for getting rid of warts - she told me, and I carefully recorded, every German word she uttered when someone came to see her with warts that nothing had worked on so far.  It worked surprisingly often, although most times not.  I suppose the times it worked, the warts were about to say adieu anyway, but she got quite a reputation.  Such fun to see that I have the spell, preserved until someone goes through my things when I pass and throws the whole box away.

Some of the notes were touching, some brought tears to my eyes, including one for pretzels that my daughter-in-law, who passed away a little over a year ago, wrote down for me so many years ago, I think when she and my son were dating.

So many memories - of people, of special dishes, of family gatherings.  It has been a lovely afternoon.