Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Break and Updates

Well, I've been off for a while now thanks to a cold which led me to find out about a kidney infection. Really unpleasant as they've put me on antibiotics, so I'm sucking down homemade stocks, ferments and yougurt trying to build up my system while I'm on the gut- hating pills ...

In other news, the holidays here were wonderful, and Baby Boy really enjoyed his first Christmas. The two of them made out like bandits (only grandchildren and all) although they got so much I'm planning on going through their old stuff and going to donate at the local Salvation Army. Too much stuff= not enough focus on what's important.

This year I'm trying something new, and to prepare myself for the new year I'm going to downgrade our stuff in January. It's a slow month for us, and other than starting my next classes I'm not doing much. February and March are 3 birthdays out of 4 here, and then comes the gardening season, so I want to get the house stuff out of the way early.

If you don't downgrade your belongings regularly, you should give it a try. Just go through your whole house, room by room, and declutter all the things you don't use. Check out these additional tips, and my ideas on decluttering.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday System Day 27- trying new things

Countdown to Christmas: 3,2,1 That's right, only 3 days until Christmas. Today, you should
Plan to Finalize Details
for the last-minute tasks. Make sure you have everything you need from the store, and the small things that can easily get forgotten: hostess gifts, small presents for people you didn't expect to get you anything, and if you live anywhere near me a snow kit for your car!
Most important, take some time today to relax with family or friends and take a break to remember what the holiday is all about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Real Food Eggnog- all natural, raw dairy

I love eggnog- this is a recipe I adapted from Alton Brown's recipe- he has a cooked one too, but with raw milk, I keep it uncooked.

Real Eggnog

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sucanat
1 pint whole milk (raw)
1 cup cream (raw)
3 ounces liquor- I like dark rum personally ;)
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

In mixer, beat your egg yolks until lemon-colored (depending on your eggs, pastured ones never really get this light for me.) Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the milk, cream, rum and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Put your egg whites in a bowl and beat together until in firm peaks. Whisk the egg whites into the eggnog mix. Chill well before serving, preferably with some whipped cream and grated nutmeg on top!

I am happy to share this at Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Friday.

Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway- "Real Meal" planners- meal planning with real food, made real easy!

Holiday System Day 21- taking a break

Especially in the middle of the holiday season, it is important to find time to relax.

Taking breaks works for me, and so do GIVEAWAYS! Don't forget to sign up for my first ever giveaway-a 6 months subscription to my all-new Meal Planning by MAHM.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday System Day 20- trying new things

Keep your mind open for new ways to make things

Tuesday is twisting...

This week has been pretty crazy here, some things have gotten pushed aside. So far...

I did it:

Kombucha mother success- now on my brewing (methods from Food Renegade)
I tried a fruit juice, and a fresh citrus blend (orange and lime) which was delicious. Next, onto my favorite "gingerade" flavor- just picked up some ginger juice and can't wait to set it up!

Sprouted Cookies - sorry for the delay on this- it took me a while to perfect the recipe but I have it worked out well to go with my variations now. Finally got my grain mill- makes it so easy!

"power bars"- these are delicious! from Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking, thanks to Katie at Kitchen Stewardship. I used peanut butter, prunes, and all sunflower seeds (I had no crispy nuts left!) and half butter, half coconut oil. I was worried, but they set up perfectly in the fridge. Big Boy actually said chocolate when he ate them- and I do think they have a certain rich chocolate-like flavor this way. Using the prunes also allowed me to reduce the sweetener by half- always a good thing!

Second try with sourdough- it's looking good and hopefully in a few days I'll have some bread to tell you all about!

Soaked Oatmeal Cookies- this recipe from Cheeseslave is great! I added in some homemade chocolate chips- yummy!

real pickles- I did brussel sprouts (DH loves 'em) and they turned out quite well. Also on my second round of sauerkraut this week.

I didn't do it (yet)

new candy recipes- a fudge, a toffee, and some chocolate barks.

Don't forget to enter my (first ever!) giveaway- 6 month subscription to my "Real Meal" planner

Monday, December 14, 2009

Natural Sprouted-Flour Cookies with variations

New Butter Cookie Dough

(makes about 30, depending on size)

1/4 lb. butter
2 hard boiled egg yolks- secret ingredient
3 Tablespoons sucanat
1-2 eggs, beaten (if planning on rolling the dough out I use two, the dough holds together better)
1 cup sprouted flour (I used plain hard wheat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract- the real one, not imitation

Heat oven to 320 degrees F. Cream the butter until smooth, and add in the egg yolks and sugar (I like to push the yolks through a sieve to break them up, or try a fork.) When well mixed, add in the eggs and combine. Add in the flour, and vanilla, combining together well. I like to form these by rolling in a log and wrapping in plastic wrap or parchment, then chilling in the fridge. This way, I can make the dough and the cookies on two different days, and the dough can just be sliced off with a sharp knife into thin rounds. Made this way, the cookies hold together well and cook evenly, in just about 12 minutes.

After combining well, you may also divide the dough into equal portions (four portions if planning on using all the following variations.) Refrigerate at least 3 hours until firm, or for up to 1 week.
This dough may be rolled and cut, or shaped as desired. Bake at 325 degrees for about 12-15 minutes depending on thickness.

Variations: Orange-Chocolate; Ginger-Spice; Snowballs

1 Tablespoon orange zest (organic oranges recommended)
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
Add in the zest to the cookie dough. When cookies are baked cool on rack, then drizzle melted chocolate on top.

2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice (may substitute 1/4 teas. each of ground cinnamon and clove)
These are especially nice formed into balls, pressed down flat with a glass, and sprinkled with sugar.

1 cup pecans, almonds or other nut diced finely (best if almost ground, use a food processor or grinder)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + 1/4 cup minced in processor for decorating
Add nuts and coconut to dough, and shape into medium balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough per ball. Bake, and when out of the oven for 1-2 minutes but still warm, roll into coconut. An alternative decoration is to drizzle with white chocolate.

Additional ideas/ tips:
I like to make these three variations, leaving one quarter of the dough to make plain rolled cookies which I shape by cookie cutters, and decorate with diced fruit, sprinkled sucanat or homemade natural royal icing. These are especially fun to make with children. This dough is very versatile, consider altering the recipes above to suit your family's tastes.

I am happy to share this for Gnowfglins Gallery of Christmas Cookies.

For more great info on natural cookies, consider my e-cookbook.

See this Martha Stewart article, which inspired the idea of this dough and the recipes.


Information, pricing and purchasing for my upcoming e-cookbooks.December- January: cookies- recipes and decorating reduced to only $0.99!
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February: chocolate- sweet desserts and savory dishes too!
homemade chocolate, Mexican mole and chocolate infused rosemary gravy- perfect for grass-fed meat!

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Annual Subscription

Access to these is included free when you subscribe to meal planning annually, cost is free for one month when you subscribe to meal planning monthly. More information...

Giveaway! for meal planning subscription

UPDATE (again) To Deanne- I cannot access your profile to contact you. Please email me so I can start your subscription. Thank you. ~Shelley

UPDATE- winners announced:
Deanne, Virginia, and Holly! Congratulations, and I'll be contacting you by email.

My first giveaway... I am so excited! Just in time for the holidays, I am giving away a 6 month subscription to my new meal planning service. Valued at nearly $50, keep it for yourself or choose to give it as the perfect present for that special someone, or the person who already has everything else! Included will be 6 months of my new and upcoming e-cookbooks.

Meal Planning by MAHM helps:

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  • make it healthy, planning meals with bone broths, fermented foods, organ meats, etc.

I will be gifting 3 subscriptions, to further spread the love around. Entries due by 1/15/10. As your first entry, just leave a comment below on why you'd like to win. For additional entries:

  1. Join MAHM by feedburner or on Google friend connect
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  3. Blog about this giveaway (non-bloggers, share by digg, facebook, etc. and tell me about it)
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Visit here for more information on the meal planning service.

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Holiday System Day 19- slowcooker beverages

perfect for the holidays
leave the stove off, and make some hot drinks in the crockpot: kid-friendly or adults-only!

I am happy to share this at Homemaker Monday- check out for info on her new blog- I can't wait to check it out!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday System Day 17- traditions

The holidays are all about traditions. Try to
strike a balance
this holiday season, keep it relaxed. Don't be afraid to change a tradition that's not working for your family. At the same time, don't be afraid of keeping some traditions- that's what people remember the most.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday System Day 14 - recipe: sprouted flour butter cookies

Here is the promised recipe, delivered a little later as it took me a few extra tries to perfect it. But through the Spirit of this holiday season I did just that, and have a cookie that is so good, and yet healthy, that I think I will try to have it replace my old standby. Based off Fannie Farmer- yes, that book again! - for Norwegian butter cookies:

(makes about 30, depending on size)

1/4 lb. butter
2 hard boiled egg yolks- secret ingredient
3 Tablespoons sucanat
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sprouted flour (I used plain hard wheat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract- the real one, not imitation

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter until smooth, and add in the egg yolks and sugar (I like to push them through a sieve to break them up, or try a fork.) When well mixed, add in the egg and combine. Add in the flour, and vanilla, combining together well.
I form these by rolling in a log and wrapping in plastic wrap or parchment, then chilling in the fridge. This lets me make the dough and the cookies on two different days, and the dough can just be sliced off with a sharp knife into thin rounds. This way they hold together well and cook evenly, in just about 10 minutes.
I will be trying this with forming them as for rolled cookies, cut with cookies cutters, next and will update with my results.
I am happy to share this at Real Food Wednesdays. and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday System Day 12 - a break for a focus

Please remember the true meaning of Christmas: family, friends, faith.
Check in here to see what made me remember.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday System Day 11 - countdown plan

It's less than 3 weeks (19 days to be exact) until Christmas. Today's tip is simple:

Plan Your Countdown

Planning all of the last-minute details is critical in maintaining your peace of mind when the holidays are upon you.

  1. Plan for the big day- every little thing. I like to make an hour-by-hour schedule. I base this on my earlier plans, which allows me to see how long each dish will take to cook, etc.

  2. Plan for the preparations- be ready! Make sure you schedule all the little tasks, like cleaning, and big things (like making sure guest rooms are ready.) This will keep your stress down as the holiday approaches.

  3. Plan for the unexpected- it will happen. You know, it, that thing that can't possibly happen and then does. Guests who arrive 2 hours after you said dinner would be ready- and dinner is roast chicken (which does not hold well!) These things, they will happen. Be sure of it, and try to plan for whatever you can. Otherwise, relax and enjoy knowing you've done all you could.

Remember, plans will help you to keep your focus on the important part of the season- family, friends, faith.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday System Day 10 - being prepared

Plan ahead and be prepared for the holidays.

sorry about the late posting- as it turns out you should be careful when pouring hot water for tea- 'cause if you're not paying attention you might pour the water all over your hand instead of in the mug. Ouch!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

OAMC update

So from my list planning my freezer cooking days, I did not accomplish the granola, pancakes or cookies, but I'm okay with it. I had gotten sick on Monday night, so that and part of Tuesday was kind of a wash. I did add in beans in the crockpot, and brown rice to the list thanks to inspiration from some great ladies!
All in all, I accomplished a good amount, and had a lot of fun- can't wait to do it again! (And to boot, I got my fridge and freezer cleaned out for the first time in a month! Yay!)

Holiday System Day 8 - homemade gifts

All about homemade gifts- how to pick the perfect one, some ideas from my kitchen, and tips for packaging pretty!

Tomorrow- sharing an update from yesterday's post on cookies- how to try making them a little healthier! (a secret ingredient revealed- you don't want to miss this!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday System Day 7 - gift plan and cookie recipe!

A plan for gift-giving, and a basic cookie recipe with three variations- makes your life easier!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Freezer/ Once a Month Cooking (OAMC)

Another way to make December easier, I'm joining in freezer cooking day(s) with LifeAsMOM and MoneySavingMom to make some freezer-friendly grub. I'll be making some of my basics that I'd been planning on doing anyway...

  1. Meat Marinara Sauce- In the crockpot
  2. Soaked Pancakes- Making the batter today and cooking tomorrow
  3. Soaked Pie Crusts- Make the dough today and roll out tomorrow
  4. Cranberry/ Orange Scones (got a craving yesterday) Will post recipe tomorrow
  5. Chicken Pot Pie (with pie crust top) -with cooked chicken and potatoes, frozen peas -recipe later
  6. Meat Pies (like above, but with beef and sausage)- also using leftovers, recipe and details later
  7. Lasagna (using the marinara)- Self explanatory, but with homemade soaked noodles
  8. Squash Puree ( I love to sneak this in different things and use for bread and muffins)
  9. Soaked Granola (a pantry item)
  10. Soaked Crackers (pantry again)
  11. Crispy nuts and seeds (NT style, again for the pantry)
  12. Some freezer-cookie doughs
Follow along on twitter-  this will be lots of fun, and (hopefully) very productive!
I am happy to share this at Tasty Tuesdays, check out her great holiday appetizers and everyone else's great posts!

Holiday System Day 6 - menu planning

Mmmm, meal planning! Make your time work for you in the kitchen-

Set up a Holiday Menu Plan
-and enjoy your holidays more.


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