Category Archives: Recipes

A Powerhouse, Nutrient Rich Carrot Soup

Hello Lovelies,

With Fall in full swing and temperatures dropping fast, we have embarked upon…Soup Season! Yummy, delicious, warming, thick, creamy, good for the soul soups.  I had numerous carrots in the fridge that needed to be used and I already have plenty of canned chunky carrots.  I canned 11 lbs last year and truly do not need anymore.  With all of the homemade broth we make, carrots are still a staple on our grocery list.  Even with all of the planning in the world, somehow we always end up with something leftover, something missed, or something forgotten. Seeming there was a good bunch of carrots left and I was getting the itch for some soup, what better way to use them up than putting the two together.  I did can this recipe for use throughout the winter season and got about 5 pints and 1 half pint plus our dinner.  This recipe is absolutely delicious!

You will need:

  • A bunch of washed carrots with skins on, chopped in chunks
  • Water
  • A small bunch of celery
  • A few garlic gloves minced
  • 1 Large diced onion
  • Butter
  • Chicken bouillion
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Stick blender or regular blender

Wash the carrots thoroughly and keep the skins on.  In the skin there are an enormous amount of good vitamins and medicinal properties, so we don’t want to throw that way. Dice the carrots into chunks. This soup simmers for about 30-40 minutes so thicker chunks are perfectly fine as you will puree them later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large pot, combine carrots and water as well as the rest of your ingredients.  Spices and herbs are purely on personal taste and I rarely use measurements.  Be sure to taste as you go and remember that the taste will change as the soup simmers.  Flavors will develop and mingle creating a very nice rich, slightly spicy flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

The herbs and spices within this soup were chosen on purpose.  Fall and Winter seasons come with nasty colds and the dreaded flu.  By using certain herbs and spices, you can create a powerhouse soup that has many health benefits further aiding your symptoms.

  • Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and powerful anti-oxidant.
  • Red pepper flakes are full of capsaicin and have strong analgesic, and pain-relieving qualities and is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Garlic can combat the common cold and boosts the immune system.  It is very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.
  • Ginger is very good for helping with nausea, reducing muscle pain and soreness, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Carrot is full of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
  • Rosemary can aid in bad breath, stimulates blood flow, anti-inflammatory, and is slightly diuretic.

Much of this information is available online and is much more in depth.  I’m not a healthcare professional, but in our homestead we do use foods for their benefit. Always, as with anything, do your own research.

After your soup has simmered, let it cool.  It was still warm to the touch when it was pureed because we use a stick blender.  If you are using a glass blender, please let it cool down completely.  Blending hot food can pop the top of the blender and you will get a nice carrot facial.  Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Some add milk or cream, but it truly isn’t needed because this soup is very creamy on its own.  Milk or any dairy causes phlegm and mucus and defeats the purpose of this soup.  If you choose to can this soup, process at for 20 minutes for pints with a pressure canner.

Total Cost: A bag of carrots $.99 plus pantry staples for a small batch.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

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How to Make a Chaste Berry Tincture

Hello Lovelies,

DISCLAIMER:  I have a few male readers, so if you are male, this post isn’t for you.  Sorry guys 😉

Often times women have female issues, whether it be balancing, or even some support.   In researching, I have found the amazing Chaste Berry.  It is said to be great for PMS, PMDD, PCOS, and numerous other ailments and symptoms.  Chase Berry goes by a few names, but one common name is Vitex, which is popular among those trying to conceive.  I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional, so please do some research before trying. In my case, I bought the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine which you can find on Amazon. It is a fantastic book and very informative!

Per the American Family Physician website at www.aafp.org,  Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus), or monk’s pepper, is the fruit of the chaste tree. It is native to western Asia and southwestern Europe, and is now common in the southeastern United States.  It has been used for more than 2,500 years to treat a variety of conditions. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it was used for many gynecologic conditions.

With our homesteading venture, we have made many changes to how we live and heal ourselves.  People often tackle a few changes but are those changes really worth the trouble if you only change a few things?  It is like exercising everyday expecting big results and not changing your diet.  It is counter intuitive. Recently, we have made the decision to add Herbalism to our skill set.  An act of producing your own medicine for common ailments such as colds, flu, burns, and wounds to name a few.

Out of all of the ways to use Chaste Berry, I chose to make a tincture.  An herbal extract of the berry.  Chaste Berry tinctures do not work overnight.  They must be taken over a period of time.  A tincture is an alcoholic infusion which extracts medicinal properties of plants, herbs, roots, berries, and flowers, basically the entire plant. Any part of that plant can be used and may be used for different uses.

Here is what you will need:

  • Glass pint jar with a lid
  • Whole Organic Dried Chaste Berry
  • 90 or 100 Proof Vodka (some use Brandy)

With a mortar and pestal, grind the berries coarsely to expose as much surface area as you can.  This makes sure that all of the goodness of the berry is extracted. Fill the jar half way with the berries and fill the jar up with Vodka.  As it sits, you may have to top off with more Vodka because the berries will reconstitute and absorb the alcohol.

 

Shake well and store in a cool, dark place upside down. Let sit for 2-3 weeks, then strain the berries.  Put the berries in a food processor and puree them.  This ensures that you are getting every possible property out of the berry.  Add back in your jar and let sit for another 2-3 weeks.  Then strain and compost the berries.  For my own purposes, I use 1 tbs twice a day in the morning and at night.

Herbs, berries, and roots can be found at the Bulk Herb Store or any natural health store.  I am not sponsored in any way, this is where I got a lot of the herbs and berries that we use. In natural food stores, I found they were kept over by the bulk spice section and not within the supplement section.

Total Cost:  Estimated $6.25

For the books I have purchased and the many methods of herbal extraction please visit the Herbalism Page.

Quick, Cheap, & Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

Hello Lovelies,

Tonight, I wanted something different.  And by different I mean something Babydoll won’t eat.  He is very anti mushrooms and well…I love them!  I had some large caps that needed to be eaten so I decided on the fly to make stuffed mushrooms.  They were absolutely delish! You can use whatever ingredients you wish.  This dish is completely versatile so use what you have and improvise!

You Will Need:

-2 good size Portobello mushroom caps

-1/4 cup chive cream cheese

-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

-1 tsp minced garlic

-1 piece of toasted bread (in my case leftover grilled burger buns)

-1 tsp butter

-Seasonings to taste (I used thyme and rosemary)

-Salt and pepper

In a small pan, drizzle a little olive oil.  Saute herbs and garlic until browned lightly.  Add a small pat of butter with a splash of water and scrape the bottom of the pan getting all those herbs to release their oils.  Add toasted bread in small pieces and stir until all the oil and butter is soaked in the bread mixture.  Lastly, dice the stems of the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two.  I waste nothing so I add stems.  It is good flavor! 

In a baking dish, spray with PAM or coat with oil so the mushrooms do not stick.  Fill each cap with your bread mixture and spread evenly.  

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and Parmesan. Mix to combine.  Spread cheese mixture over the bread mixture and top with a sprinkle of more Parmesan.

Be sure to put a splash of water on the bottom of the baking dish so the mushrooms become tender. Cover with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

This was so yummy and took less than 25 minutes to make.  It is great way to use what’s left in the fridge and play with different flavors.  I have a lot of freshly dehydrated herbs from my garden, so I used rosemary and thyme.  You can mix up different herbs and use different flavored cream cheeses to make a unique variation of stuffed mushrooms every time.  My caps were rather large so cooking times will vary. When you don’t really feel like cooking a huge meal, this is perfect.  It is a great meat substitute and cooks rather quickly.

This serves two people.

Enjoy!

Make Your Own Homemade Flavored Vinegar From Fresh Herbs

Hello Lovelies,

It has been a long time!  Our family has been dealing with some health issues, but God is great! We are healing and on the up and up.  About a month ago, I started drying most all of the herbs that we grew in our garden.  I couldn’t let them to go to waste, but couldn’t use the fresh version up in enough time.  Due to lacking freezer space, I tried another alternative such as making flavored vinegar.  After the herbs were cut down to just stems, the purple basil started regrowing leaves and eventually flowered.  But what I didn’t know, was that you can use the entire plant and make flavored vinegar!  I had heard about it in books and online, but never gave it a try.  It is a great way to use most all of the plant to get the most out of it.  Here is how to make it.

Purple Basil Vinegar

-Cleaned and drained basil leaves and flowers

-Sterilized Mason jar

-White Distilled Vinegar

20170729_190942Fill the bottom of the mason jar with freshly cut leaves and flowers of whatever herb you are wanting.  In this post, it is purple basil.

20170729_191210_001Pour over white distilled vinegar and cover tightly.  Shake gently and put in the refrigerator.  Let it sit in the refrigerator and in two weeks you will have flavored vinegar.  Simply strain the leaves and flowers and keep in the fridge.

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You can make any flavor you’d like with any herb you’d like.  The vinegar has a pretty strong fragrance and can be used in so many recipes for a boost in flavor.  First thought that comes to mind is spaghetti sauce and chicken! Other ways to incorporate vinegar is in sauces, canning, or even in pickled vegetables.  The two pictures to the left and right are what the vinegar looks like after two weeks.  It smells soo good ya’ll!

 

Other Flavorful Ideas

  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Combinations such as a sprig of rosemary, basil, and oregano

Total Cost:  An estimated .50 cents for the vinegar to fill a quart jar and my 3rd round of basil.  Store bought version on average for flavored vinegar is $5-$6 with no guarantee it is made from fresh herbs.

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Want a Healthy Snack? Try Roasted Chickpeas!

 

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Hello Lovelies,

Chickpeas are an amazing legume with endless possibilities.  Not only do they provide us with yummy hummus and are absolutely delicious in soups, they also roast really well. By spending a long period of time in the oven, they get very crunchy throughout, even more so than chips. You wouldn’t think legumes would be very tasty any other way then treated like a bean, but they actually are pretty good when you think outside of the box. They contain a ton of fiber which is great during a busy day or when it is too hot outside to cook.  Make a big batch and store in mason jars. You’ll have a readily available snack to just grab which in my opinion is key as a mama.  A half cup of roasted chickpeas is around 150 calories, contains tons of protein and insoluble fiber making them fantastic for the digestive system.  I’ve had these a few times before and I loved them!  You can put any seasoning under the sun on them and they will be amazing.

You will need:

  • Dry chickpeas
  • Salt to taste
  • Any seasoning to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

For the seasoning shown in the pictures:

  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cracked  black pepper
  • Kosher salt

I didn’t list exact measurements because this isn’t a science.  It truly is season as you wish and roast.  You can add seasoning completely to taste and change up according to time of day, sweet or salty, spicy or savory, the sky is the limit.

To get started, soak the dry chickpeas overnight in a container full of water.

 

 

Drain the chickpeas and pat dry with a towel. Spread out over a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 350 degrees. Start at just 30 minutes and increase by 10 minute intervals making sure to taste one in between.  Our oven took about 50 minutes. They should be very crunchy with no raw smooth inside.  It should be crunchy all the way through. If you would like softer chickpeas, you can roast a little less.

 

I really hope you give this recipe a try!  It is a great way to snack all day and grab something that is actually healthy for you. You can try hundreds of different spice blends to come up with different flavors.  This recipe is our favorite go to but we’ve also tried cinnamon and sugar by roasting in just olive oil and adding the cinnamon and sugar at the very end.  The sugar will dissolve a little bit from the heat of the chickpeas. It is simple to make that even the kiddos can help!

Total Cost: 60 cents for a bag of chickpeas and the rest from pantry

Enjoy!

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