Reduce, Reuse, Regrow

I live in the Upper Mid-West which is zone 3- 4 for planting which basically means that if I want to grow anything that takes more than a couple of months to mature I need to do a lot of planning and prep work. I’m starting my vegetable and annual herb plants that take 90 days or more to mature in a mini green house with a small heat lamp hung inside that I turn on to keep my plants warm on nights when the temperature is below freezing. Setting the heat lamp to come on with a thermostat set to 40 degrees works great (no worries if the temp drops when I’m fast asleep). I like this method better than starting the plants indoors because the young plants get conditioned early and don’t get shocked as easily when transplanting them into the garden. Today happens to be April 21st 2017 and even though we are in a fruitful period we are in the last phase of the moon (lunar cycle) so it’s fruitful for below ground crops. I’m experimenting with planting above ground crops during this fruitful time because I will be controlling the water table for my plants since they are contained. I’ve modified some used plastic containers (water bottles) from my recycle bin to try and keep it out of the landfill for a bit longer.

I cut the bottom 1/3 off the water bottle, removed the cap and inverted the top portion into the bottom. The bottom will store the water the inverted top will house the soil. I packed dirt into the neck to form a soil plug. This will act as a wick and pull the water below into the soil above as the plant needs it. This will help provide a more consistent moisture level and help prevent damping off of the sprouts. I take the top 1/3 of another water bottle with the cap removed and use it as a mini greenhouse. When the seedling reaches the top of the dome it’s time to remove the top.

Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 1
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 1
Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 2
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 2
Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 3
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 3
Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 4
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 4
Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 5
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 5
Reusing Water Bottles - Figure 6
Reusing Water Bottles – Figure 6
Heirloom Corn Seeds - Figure 7
Heirloom Corn Seeds – Figure 7

I planted my heirloom corn today because heirlooms take longer to grow than hybrids. I will be planting corn again on 4/29/17 because that is another fruitful period but we will be in the first phase of the lunar cycle and that is great for above ground crops. I want to compare the difference growth between the two lunar cycles.

 

I hope to post updates with progression photos to this post as the season move forward. Hopefully, I will be able to capture it all the way through to the harvest of next years’ seed.

I also used come yogurt containers to start my Bloody Butcher tomatoes!!!!

Bloody Butcher Tomatoes in Chobani Containers
Bloody Butcher Tomatoes in Chobani Containers

 

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

I usually do my lacto fermented veggies using whey off my kefir or plain yogurt but while I was stumbling around the world wide web I found this website called “The Crunchy Moose” that had a recipe for fermenting using Milk Kefir Grains, I saw a recipe for fermented garlic and thought what a brilliant idea, adding the health benefits of beneficial bacteria to a super food. WIN WIN…This is the website link to that recipe. http://thecrunchymoose.com/ferment-garlic-using-kefir-grains/. THANK YOU “The Crunchy Moose”

 

Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

Ingredients:

Enough peeled garlic cloves to nearly fill a pint jar

non-chlorinated water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Milk Kefir Grains (rinsed)

 

Preparation:

AS WITH ANY FERMENTATION PROCESS, CLEANLINESS CAN’T BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE CULTURING BACTERIA AND YEAST AND IT IS JUST AS EASY TO GROW HARMFUL BACTERIA AND YEAST AS IT IS GOOD.

Add the salt, milk kefir grains a some of the water to the jar and mix with a non-metal spoon. Add the peeled garlic cloves and top with water until 1 ½ inches above garlic. Weight garlic cloves down to keep submerged below brine. I use a plastic cottage cheese lid cut in a circle to the circumference of the inside of the jar. Put on a loose fitting non-metal lid (gas will form so it needs to escape). I prefer to retrofit plastic mason jar lids with holes and rubber grommets so that I can use a fermentation air-lock. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight until it reached the desired fermentation. Put in the refrigerator to stall the fermentation process when it is as fermented as you desire.  This is my first batch and I will be trying to reuse my grains in another batch of garlic. I never really have a shortage of grains as they multiply in my milk kefir pretty quickly. I’ll post the results in updates to this blog post.

Grains Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Quick and Easy Homemade Tomato Soup

Quick and Easy Homemade Tomato Soup
Quick and Easy Homemade Tomato Soup

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup organic chicken stock

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon organic onion powder

1/4 teaspoon organic garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon organic black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Put all ingredient is medium sauce pan. Simmer stirring frequently until blended. I use an immersion blender at this point just for a smoother texture soup.

Serve and garnish with chives or parsley sprigs or cilantro or whatever you choose.

Serves 4.

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Just in Time for Christmas – Light and Flaky Butter Crescents

I’ve been on a mission for years to make Crescent Rolls like my mother made. She has long since passed and I wished I had paid more attention to her technique. I’ve tried dozens of recipes but none were quite right. Then I started taking the best features from multiple recipes and I think I finally have accomplished a very close approximation. Maybe even a bit better if that’s possible. Crescent Rolls are always a bit of work unless they come from a can but there are worth the effort. This crowd pleaser will make your Christmas dinner “Merry and Bright”

 

Light and Flaky Butter Crescents

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescents
light-and-flaky-butter-crescents

 

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups organic unbleached flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder

 

Remaining Ingredients:

2 1/2 sticks cold butter cut into pieces ( I used an olive oil/butter blend )

1 1/4 cups organic buttermilk or milk kefir (I used kefir because I make my own and always have it on hand)

 

Preparation:

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl with a whisk.

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescent-ingredients
light-and-flaky-butter-crescent-ingredients

 

Cut cold butter pieces into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly.

cutting-in-butter
cutting-in-butter
pea-sized-cut-in-butter-pieces
pea-sized-cut-in-butter-pieces

 

Add liquid and mix (it will look un-cohesive at this point). Turn out onto floured surface and knead until dough comes together but don’t overwork it or you will lose the flakiness.

 

before-gentle-kneading
before-gentle-kneading

 

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a rectangle. **Roll the rectangle out to approx. 8” x 10”. Fold rectangle in thirds and then in half the opposite way. Roll it out again and fold it again.

 

dough-divided-and-rolled
dough-divided-and-rolled

 

Cut the dough in half and shape into a round disk. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Repeat with the remaining dough from **.You should have 4 dough disks when you are finished.

 

dough-disks-wrapped-ready-for-refrigeration
dough-disks-wrapped-ready-for-refrigeration

 

These can be frozen for up to a month if you like. When you are ready to make the rolls remove the dough disk from the fridge or freezer and allow to come to room temp. Put on a lightly floured surface and roll disk into a 10 – 12 inch circle. Cut into 8 equal wedges (I used a pizza wheel to do this).

 

ready-to-roll-up-almost-there
ready-to-roll-up-almost-there

 

Roll each wedge into a crescent and put on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 3-4 hours depending on the temp of your home.

 

ready-to-raise
ready-to-raise

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Serve warm. Mmmmmm Mmmm Good.

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescents
light-and-flaky-butter-crescents

 

NOTE: Each rolled disk section of dough makes 8 rolls. Wrap some dough up in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for later use. I pre-freeze mine in plastic wrap then vacuum seal them to store in the freezer for longer periods and to insure freshness.

 

saved-for-later
saved-for-later

 

Wishing you and yours many Christmas blessing

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Attitudes are contagious…Is yours worth catching?”

 

 

I made it, I ate it, I still don’t believe it!!!!!

I made it, I ate it, I still don’t believe it!!!!!

A little back story might be in order. I was searching the internet to try and find uses (like sprouts or flour) for the abundance of pole bean seeds that I have dried. I have far too many to plant. I came across a simple recipe using beans and I wish I had saved the link so I could give credit where credit is due. There were so few ingredients and it was such a simple process that I didn’t even need to write it down. So THANK YOU to the creator of this wonderful recipe. My husband ate this and he HATES all things bean. I didn’t adhere strictly to the recipe, I used what I had on hand, But hey, that’s me J

Black Bean Chocolate Pudding

Black Bean Chocolate Pudding
Black Bean Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups organic cooked unseasoned black beans (drained and rinsed)

1/2 – 2/3 cup organic dark agave syrup (depending on the desired sweetness)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking soda (my attempt at preventive gas relief, after all, we are talking beans)

Black bean pudding ingredientsBlack bean pudding ingredients
Black bean pudding ingredients

Preparation:

I mixed the cocoa powder, agave syrup and vanilla. I added the beans and the baking soda and used an immersion blender (hand blender) and mixed until the texture became smooth and pudding like. It is slightly gritty but not bad. If the texture is not smooth enough to suit you add a small amount of water and blend some more.

Blended pudding
Blended pudding

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?”

 

 

 

SPROUTING GRAIN TO MAKE FLOUR

My first attempt at sprouting wheat and grinding my own sprouted grain flour went very well!!

 

sprouted grain sour dough bread
sprouted grain sour dough bread

SPROUTING GRAIN TO MAKE FLOUR

Directions:

Use only whole raw non-gmo seeds to sprout

2 cup organic raw whole non-gmo grain seeds (I used red winter wheat berries)

non-chlorinated water (enough to cover the grain to two inches above grain)

1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Preparation:

Put the rinsed grains into a soaking vessel and cover with water to two inches above the grains. Add the acidic vinegar or lemon juice to help keep bacteria from forming. Stir and cover with a kitchen towel, cheese cloth or other loose fitting lid. Let soak for 12 – 16 hours. Drain thru a mesh sieve and rinse with cool non-chlorinated water. Return to vessel. Rinse 2 – 3 times a day until you see little sprouts start to form. Once you see sprouts put the grains in a dehydrator at 105 degrees for about 18 hours. Remove from dehydrator and grind into flour. The finer the grind the lighter the bread.

soaking grain
soaking grain
sprouted grain
sprouted grain

sprouted-grain-flour

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

CREAMY COCONUT MILK PIE IN A SPROUTED QUINOA FLOUR CRUST

I’m new to sprouting grain but became interested after reading about the health benefits. Since I started experimenting with malting for making my home brewed beer sprouting grain just seemed like an extension. I looked through my pantry and found a bag of organic quinoa and thought “Why Not!” So I sprouted the quinoa, then dried it in my dehydrator and then ground it into flour. The flour had a wonderful buttery nutty aroma that sent thoughts of wonderful possibilities running through my mind. I decided to make it into a pie crust. It turned out so light and flakey and flavorful that it could stand alone without any filling at all. BUT fill it I did. I paired it with a creamy coconut milk filling topped with a light fluffy meringue. Mmmmm delish. Another Happy Accident!!!

creamy coconut milk pie
creamy coconut milk pie

CREAMY COCONUT MILK PIE IN A SPROUTED QUINOA FLOUR CRUST

Crust:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic unbleached flour

1/2 cup organic sprouted quinoa flour (made in advance)

1/2 cup organic coconut oil (keep cool so it stays solid)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup non-chlorinated water (very cold)

Preparation:

First of all I chilled all of my bowls and utensils prior to starting my crust preparation. Sift together all dry ingredients then cut in coconut oil with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly. Add the apple cider vinegar to the cold water. Mix the cold water gradually into the flour mix until it forms a ball. Roll out dough on parchment paper to form desired size circle keeping rolling pin well floured.. Gently use parchment to fold crust over. Be careful as dough is delicate. Transfer crust to pie plate and unfold and trim edges. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Makes 1 – 9 inch deep dish pie crust.

sprouted-quinoa-flour-crust-1sprouted-quinoa-flour-crust-2

 

Filling:

Ingredients:

2/3 cup granulated raw sugar

1/3 cup organic unbleached flour

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 1/2 cups organic whole milk

1   tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

3 organic egg yolks (beaten) (save the whites for meringue)

3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preparation:

Combine the flour and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Mix well to prevent lumps when adding liquid. Add the milk, coconut milk, coconut extract and butter. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken. Add some of the thickening mixture to the beaten egg yolks and whisk then add back to the pudding and mix well. Add shredded coconut and continue to cook until thick. Pour filling into crust and place waxed paper over filling so it doesn’t form a film as it cools. Prepare meringue.

 

Meringue:

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3   tablespoon sugar

3   tablespoon shredded coconut

Preparation:

Whip organic egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie filling and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake pie at 300 degrees F for 20-30 minutes to set and brown meringue. Remove from oven and cool completely.

NOTE: My crust slid down the sides of the pie plate in a couple of spots when I pre-baked it so I will use parchment and pie weights (I use dried beans) the next time so it will be prettier.

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

“Attitudes are contagious…Is yours worth catching?”