Category Archives: In my kitchen

Favorite Circus Cookie Recipe

One of my all-time favorite cookies is the Circus cookies. This is a recipe that we have been using for years. LOVE that the kids can help out (and since the littles are getting older, they can even do this one themselves) and make these as well.

I picked up the mini Noah’s Ark cookie cutter set (Here is the link on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CHh9cH) that is the perfect size for these little cookies. 

Cookies

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp half and half,  or 6 Tbsp heavy cream, or 7 Tbsp of milk plus more as needed

Instructions

For the cookies:

  1. In a mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until well combined.
  3. Mix in egg, vanilla extract. With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Divide mixture into 2 equal portions.
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill 1 1/2 hours, or until firm. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350. 
  6. Dust a clean work surface with flour then roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into mini animal shapes, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 3/4-inch between cookies. Bake in preheated oven about 7 – 11 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool several minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. For the icing: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and enough half and half or cream to reach a medium consistency (not runny, not thick). Spread over cookies and immediately sprinkle with sprinkles after frosting each one. We dunk cookies into bowl and remove with fork, and let rest on a cookie drying rack until glaze has set.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (or Solar Oven)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Beef Stew Meat or Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • Ground Black Pepper and Salt to taste
  • 4 cup Beef Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce (I substituted Teriyaki sauce the last time that I made it because I was out of Worcestershire)
  • 1 whole Onion, Sliced (I tend to only have red onions here, but any will work)
  • 4 cloves of Pressed Garlic
  • 16 ounces Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 1 handful Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Serve over Egg Noodles, Mashed Potatoes Or Rice 

INSTRUCTIONS: (This recipe works well in your solar oven as well)

  1. Place meat into the crockpot and cook until browned. You can cook this in a pan and add to the crockpot or if you have a ninja 4 in one cooker, you can use the stovetop setting.
  2. Add Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir until well combined.
  3. Pour Beef Broth on top and 
  4. Add sprinkle flour, salt,  and black pepper. Stir until combined (Sprinkle to prevent clumping) 
  5. Cover crock pot with lid and set to cook on Hi for 6 hours or Low for 8-10 hours. 
  6. Once done turn crock pot off and allow to cool for 20 minutes or until no longer simmering 
  7. Stir in sour cream
  8. Serve Beef Stroganoff over noodles, mashed potatoes or rice. Sprinkle with parsley

Favorite time of the year AND Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

Don’t get me wrong, I love summertime and spending it outside with my family and friends. I love the sound of the cicadas in the trees of Arizona. I love eating freshly picked watermelons from the garden and swimming in the pool with the kiddlings…

But my favorite time of the year is the fall when we start to can (applesauce is my favorite) and bake. Hoodies and apple pies!! Fires in the fire place. I love baking bread and biscuits. I love the smell of cookies coming out of the oven. (My waistline, however, doesn’t love that part! 😉 )

I love the approaching winter season when we celebrate the birth of our savior. 

Every day in the fall, I try something new in my kitchen. I attempt new cookies or bread. I love making dinner in the crockpot. I love creating new soups for my family. 

This morning in my area, we woke up to the first day of frost on our windshields. It was 34 degrees out when I got up at 3:30 for my classes to start. And our high today isn’t supposed to get over 55 degrees. It is a crockpot kind of day!

On the list for the week –

  • Chicken and Dumplings, Biscuits, Crockpot beef stroganoff, homemade noodles, and animal circus cookies.
  • We have beautiful purple cabbage coming out of the freeze dryer this morning and apple slices going in.
  • We plan on having a road trip if it doesn’t rain at the end of the week

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

Peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/4 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

PREHEAT oven to 375°F.

COMBINE together butter and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and soda. Beat until combined. Next, beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour, oats and chocolate chips.

Drop on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees

*This recipe doubles fantastically – We add 1 bag of chocolate chips to a doubled batch.

 

 

Cherry Black Pepper Jam

I have been making this jam for many, many years and boy, is it good on a toasted sourdough turkey sandwiches with a bit of cream cheese (or 3 sandwiches if you are Griffen or Berlyn). I can’t say “YUUUMMM!” enough.   When I open a jar, I  know that  it will be gone faster than I can say “cherries!” 

We also make this same recipe with Strawberries as well. And man, that black pepper just adds a bit of kick perfect for a sweet and savory dish. 

I never make quite enough of this jam either to last until cherries are ripe the next year. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 cups of  pitted and stemmed cherries ( I buy mine in bulk from my local fruit lady in the fall. HI JESS! and they come in 5-gallon buckets, pre-pitted!)
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4-1/2 TBSP Pectin
  • 2TBSP Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Bring to a boil and then add

  • 6 cups sugar

Stir, Stir, Stir!!! And bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute. 

Now, you can can add to your jars and can these bad boys for later use. Please follow all canning requirements to ensure safety. 

Four Pemmican Recipes

I am sharing this set of recipes this morning. This is an amazing super-food perfect to keep in your to-go or bugout bag or even as an emergency mini-snack for your kiddlings.  This is a re-posted article from http://www.wildernesscollege.com/pemmican-recipes.html 

http://www.wildernesscollege.com/pemmican-recipes.html

 

By Filip Tkaczyk

Are you looking for some excellent pemmican recipes?

Wait, what is this thing called pemmican and where did it come from?

 

For starters, pemmican is originally a Cree word for rendered fat. Pemmican is a food used by a variety of Native peoples for many generations, and was adopted by the fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. It likely originates from North America. Native American scouts who spent a great deal of time on the go depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time. Often times pemmican was their food of choice.

This amazing stuff is a dried mixture of meat, berries and rendered fat (also called suet or tallow). It is an invaluable survival food that when prepared properly using good pemmican recipes can last anywhere from several months to several years without refrigeration!

Pemmican is a great asset to have with you while exploring the wilderness even today. Though most classic pemmican recipes require the use of meat and fat, it is also possible to make it vegetarian as described below.

Here are some great pemmican recipes you can try out to make this amazing food. Try out the following 4 recipes and see which one you like best!

Pemmican Recipes
Recipe # 1

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups lean meat (deer, beef, caribou or moose)
  • 3 cups dried fruit
  • 2 cups rendered fat
  • Unsalted nuts and about 1 shot of honey

Instructions:

Meat should be as lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you do not have you own meat grinder. Spread it out very thin on a cookie sheet and dry at 180 degrees F for at least 8 hours or until sinewy andcrispy. Pound the meat into a nearly powder consistency using a blender or other tool. Grind the dried fruit, but leave a little bit lumpy for fun texture. Heat rendered fat on stove at medium until liquid. Add liquid fat to dried meat and dried fruit, and mix in nuts and honey. Mix everything by hand. Let cool and store. Can keep and be consumed for several years.

Recipe # 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs dried beef (see recipe 1 for drying instructions)
  • 1.5 cup raisins
  • Beef suet

Instructions:

Grind meat to fine pulp in a blender. Now add in the raisins. Chop this mix enough to break up the raisins and mix in well. Melt the suet to a liquid and pour into the mixture, using just enough to hold the meat and raisins together. Now allow this to cool slightly. Put this into a pan and let it cool completely. Next, cut the pemmican into strips, than divide it into bars of about 4” long by 1” wide. Bag these separately and you can store them for several months.

Recipe # 3

Ingredients:

  • Dried lean beef, buffalo, or venison (see recipe 1 for drying instructions)
  • Beef suet
  • Seedless dried fruit

Instructions:

Melt the suet until it becomes golden brown and liquid. Strain out any solids. If you cool it, re-melt it and strain it again it will improve the shelf life of the pemmican. Grind the meat into a powder. Chop or grind dried fruit and add it to meat. Pour liquid suet onto meat/fruit mixture. Mixes best if suet is warm, and allows you to use less of it. Now, press the pemmican into a tin using a spoon. Let cool in the fridge, than turn it out and cut into bars the size of candy bars. Wrap each bar in wax paper or paper lunch bag, label and store.

Recipe # 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dates
  • 3 cups powdered jerky (or powdered tofu-jerky)
  • 2 cups raisins
  • Honey (as a binding agent, add as much as needed)
  • 2 cups nuts

Instructions:

Grind all this material together, except for the honey. Add in the honey alittle bit at a time, and mix well each time. Pour into pan until about three quarters of an inch thick or make them directly into bars. Refrigerate and cut bars out of pan. This is a sweet concoction and in cold climates, honey can be replaced with suet and processed just as in pemmican recipes seen above.

Tips for making good pemmican

Here are some tips for you to improve your ability to use pemmican recipes properly, and make good pemmican:

  • Talk to your local butcher to acquire the suet. A local co-op butcher might have the healthiest choices in terms of organic meats. You may be able to acquire the suet for free in certain places.
  • When rendering (melting) the suet, be careful not to burn it or make it smoke.
  • The warmer the climate you are going to be using the pemmican in, the less fat you need in it.
  • This is also true for the time of year. Use less fat for the summer time, more for winter.
  • Label what you make, especially if you try different recipes.

Lastly, remember to experiment with your own recipes. The key points for making pemmican are to make sure that you render the fat (suet) properly and to make sure that the meat and fruit you put into the recipe are very dry, not cooked or partially dry.

Try making some pemmican of your own today!

 

Harvest Right Freeze Dry Machine

TestAfter saving and saving, Larry and I finally broke down and purchased a Freeze Dry Machine from Harvest Right.  Harvest Right has a Medium sized machine… and although it was pricey, I am looking forward to everything that I will be able to freeze-dry. (They do have a layaway program that we took full advantage of!!)

We set up the machine and I have a dozen blended raw eggs on one tray, mozzarella cheese on another and on the last 2 are filled with corn kernels. I make a killer corn chowder that I use freeze dried veggies to make it easier for the kids to take a scoop and add hot water.

One tray of the mozzarella cheese fit in quart sized jar… and the dozen eggs made right into a powder. I originally put in a half gallon jar, but I could have put it into a quart jar. 

On our first try, I had to put the corn back in again for several more hours (I think that i put too much on the tray). This is a learning process.  But, I am excited to have this opportunity. 

I was reading that the only thing that you cannot freeze dry is real butter and real peanut butter in these machines. You can however freeze dry items with butter or peanut butter in them. 

There are so many different foods that I want to try… I want to make soups and full meals and put them in there, I want to try strawberries and raspberries… I want to make hummus and guacamole. 

Our second batch is a tray of potato soup, a tray of chili, a tray of goats’ milk and a tray of yogurt.  

Mini Cheesecakes

My Elwyn made these last night… and added a few slices of strawberries in each mini cake before baking. (We double the recipe and make them in my 12-square brownie pan from Pampered Chef.)

Ingredients 
Crust:

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the egg.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

OathKeepers Preparedness 2/25/2017 – Meals in a Jar

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If you choose to not purchase pre-made freeze dried meals for an emergency, and instead choose to purchase #10 cans of ingredients, you need to know “what to do” with those ingredients. When in an emergency situation, the last thing that you should be thinking about is what you want to make for dinner and having to put that dinner together while searching through ingredients.

Freeze dried and dehydrated foods do not take a lot of extra planning, however, they can for certain recipes depending on how long that you have to soak your ingredients. I personally soak my dehydrated potatoes overnight.

#10 cans and 50 pound bags of fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy are GREAT to have on hand. We divide 50 pound bags into half gallon jars for easier storage and add an oxygen absorber to the top (and the bottom) if they are going to be sealed and stored away.

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

http://readynutrition.com/resources/11-emergency-food-items-that-can-last-a-lifetime_20082013/

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

  1. Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

  1. Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, its shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

  1. Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

  1. Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

  1. Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

  1. Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

  1. Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

  1. Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

  1. White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

  1. Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

  1. Powdered milk

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

 

Chicken Flavored Rice Mix
4 cups long grain rice
1/4 cup chicken flavored instant dry bouillon granules
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tsp. dried parsley leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried chopped onion

Mix all ingredients keep in an airtight container –
To Use – Mix 1 1/3 cups chicken rice mix and 2 cups cold water and 2 Tbsp. butter, bring to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover pan and reduce heat to low, cook for about 20 min, until all liquid is absorbed. Makes 4-6 servings

http://foodstorageresource.blogspot.com/2012/01/make-your-own-rice-mixes.html

 

Beef Broccoli Stir-Fry

In a one Quart Wide mouth canning jar layer

  • 1 Cup Thrive Beef Chucks
  • 1/3 Cup of beef Stir fry mix
  • 1 Cup Thrive Broccoli
  • 1/4 Cups Thrive FD Carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons Thrive FD onion
  • 1/2 Cup FD Bell Peppers

In a baggie place

1 cup Thrive instant Rice place on top of jar

Add oxygen absorber or vacuum seal the jar, date and label.

Beef Stir Fry Seasoning mix

1/4 cup beef bouillon

  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons dry minced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry soy sauce powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers

 

To Make

  • Add 4 cups of water to a skillet . Take out the baggie of rice and set a side. add jar meal to the water and let set for 10 to 15 mins simmer on low for 20 to 25 mins. after starting the jar meal cook the rice in a separate pot… after the rice is done server jar meal over rice.

http://rainydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com

Revisiting my favorite bread recipe – Boule French Bread

Boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. It is a rustic loaf shape that can be made of any type of flour. A boule can be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough. The name of this bread is the reason a bread baker is referred to as a “boulanger” in French, and a bread bakery a “boulangerie.” Boule (bread) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

My Favorite French Bread recipe (formed in Boule shape)

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board) *if you grind your own wheat, you will need to add  a Tablespoon of wheat gluten to get a better rise.
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see below

 

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)

 

  • (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos or garlic saon their bread)
  • Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a metal pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

2016 December Advent, Day 7 – Mint Candies and Family Bonding

I love December because I seem to spend more time with my children in the kitchen. And now that they are bigger. I get to watch while they are cooking, cutting, dicing or icing. 

Last year we came across this AWESOME mint candy recipe online at  http://tatertotsandjello.com/2014/12/happy-holidays-cream-cheese-mints.html

Here is a exact copy of the recipe from the tatertotsandjello.com website…. But as you can see by my photo, I didn’t break out my icing tips. I just used a ziplock bag and clipped the corner. 

img_20161207_152811881Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) brick of cream cheese; room temperature
  • 2 tbsp butter; room temperature
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups powdered sugar
  • food coloring

 

Directions:

  1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. (Do as I say, not as I did… my bad.) Set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Once well combined, add in peppermint extract.
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until thick. The mixture should be stiff enough to hold a peak and not wilt when the mixer is off. This is normally in the 4 1/2 to 5 cups of powdered sugar range.
  4. Add food coloring to cream cheese mixture until desired color is reached. If doing multiple colors, divide cream cheese and then dye. (My mints required 1 drop of red and 3 drops of green.)
  5. Put cream cheese mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip and drop nickel sized amounts on lined baking sheet. (To make the “kiss” shape, hold tip 1/2-inch above the baking sheet, squeeze bag until circumference is about that of a nickel, and then pull up quickly.)
  6. Place tray in freezer for 2 hours to allow the mints to firm up. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Luke 1:37 -For nothing is impossible with God.