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Category Archives: cooking

Easy Sourdough Bread for the Smaller Family – Part 2

As stated previously, most Sourdough Starter and Bread recipes I’ve seen are far too big for my family and/or my dough kneading equipment.  So I revised and tweaked the Nourishing Traditions Sourdough Starter and Bread recipes for manageability and success.



2 cups Sourdough Starter

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

3 Tbsp warm spring or other clean water (not distilled or ozonated or anything weird)

1 Tbsp raw sugar (I use palm sugar, do not use honey)

1/4 tsp sea salt

3 – 4 more cups of flour.  For a denser loaf use whole wheat, rye or spelt etc.  for a lighter fluffier loaf use unbleached white flour


Throw everything except the flour into the mixer, blend for 1 min.

add 1 c. flour and blend for 3 min

now switch out to your dough hook  or start stirring with a wooden spoon and start adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until you reach a solid dough.  This dough will be more sticky than other bread doughs.  just as long as it’s not runny.  Most of the time I don’t use all of the 4 cups of flour as it just makes the dough way too stiff.   You want it to be workable.   If using a dough hook, let knead for 7 min. adding flour a Tbsp at a time if necessary.  If stirring by hand turn the dough out onto a floured surface and start kneading adding bits of flour everytime the dough gets too sticky.  Knead for about 10 min by hand.


Then form into a loaf and place in a well greased loaf pan.    here’s where it gets hard to say what’s going to happen.

It takes my dough 2-3 hours to rise to a nice poof above the loaf pan.  Next time I do it I’ll have to take a picture.


Bake at about 350 for 40 – 50 min depending on density and crunchiness desire 😉


How it looks when you put it in the bread pan.  As you can see it’s stiff like dough, but a bit looser than regular bread dough.


In this picture you can see I proof (rising) the dough in my oven with the light on for warmth, and a pan of hot tap water under it for moisture.  This is after it’s been rising for about an hour or so.



This is a picture of after it’s been rising for 2-3 hours.  It has more than doubled in size and I think it’s time to turn the oven on!  I just leave it in the oven while it preheats, and i leave the pan of water in there too as it creates steam and a lovely crusty top.


Here is the final product!  Yum.  As you can see, the family has already been at it 😉  The crumb (texture) is a lot larger than a regular two rise, added yeast, bread.  It’s got a lovely chewy-ish texture and that nice sour tang you expect from sourdough.  The older your starter (don’t forget to keep feeding your starter! ) the more you will detect more and better sourdough flavour.



well, I hope that helps, please post any questions in the comment section.


Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread- Part 1

Easy Sourdough Starter for smaller families


Usually the sourdough recipes I see are huge and make enough starter to make bread for an army.  So I’ve revised a Nourishing Traditions recipe to make smaller amounts, with a few tweaks to ensure ease and success along the way.


a bag of light or dark rye flour, the fresher the better.

clean water (if you have chlorinated tap water let it sit out for 24 hrs before using it to prepare your starter, or just buy natural spring water)


seriously, that’s it.

in a metal or glass bowl

1/2 c. rye flour

1/2 c. water



do this every day for 7 days


add another 1/2 c. rye flour and another 1/2 c. water and stir

If at anytime your mixture gets more thick than soupy and runny, add a bit more water.

This activates natural yeasts that are present on every plant, fruit and in the air.  Rye flour has the least amount of some scientific thingy that I can’t spell so it’s better for the yeasts.

Use a new bowl as often as every day, but I don’t bother, I just use a new bowl every week and scrape down the sides with a spatula every day.


In this picture of my starter you can see the bubbles forming as the natural yeasts are activated.



Going away for a bit?  No problem.  Just put your starter in sealed jars in the refrigerator and resume feeding it and baking with it when you come home as usual.


Stay tuned for many recipes that use this sourdough starter.


Some recipes are gross. Sometimes I think we need less recipes and more real food.

Recipes are great! I love recipes… but I sort of feel like recipes are for special times.

The rest of the time I think we should just eat whatever we can gather to throw in the pot and stew/soup up. to nourish ourselves. not to necessarily satisify our taste buds that are used to msg, crazy chemical addictive compounds and other super sonic taste sensations. Our taste buds/bodies are in the same boat as the adhd crowd. too much and too much. We don’t know what’s good for us. there’s too many distractions.

I’m all for making things “better” but if “better” includes not being able to recognize real very lightly and home processed food if it bit me in the fat butt? no thanks…. for the most part.

industrialization created a lot of things for good reasons,  including food that would last for centuries…. but then, they had so much, they had to market it too… so they started making recipes, recipes, recipes…. recipe cards, recipe commercials, recipes that require weird ingredients…. and… unfortunately, recipes that require certain brand names of products.  Recipes that helped you use that cheap “food” that everyone else was raving about.  Recipes that make everything taste like you live on Olympus with everything made of nectar of the gods.

Maybe in the beginning eagle brand milk, velveeta, kraft and hormel had a purpose. “preserve the food so it can be sent over to our soldiers, so it won’t go bad, so nothing goes to waste” i’m not questioning the beginnings of the company or the great things that they have sponsored, if they’ve sponsored anything.

My point is, they made a crap load of this stuff, and didn’t know how to off load it, so they marketed this non-food…. they marketed brilliantly… to the point where we don’t even know what recipes to use without them, because the recipes we rely on are “THE BEST” as long as we use their product. … taste buds everywhere respond.

Now, we’re having a resurgence of more natural foods… but the recipes abound! trying to make our normal food taste as good as our mutant food… let me ask you this….

IF YOU COULD FLY!! would anything else compare? What if flying gave you cancer? diabetes? or other health issues? would you still fly? no? but you would try to make not flying feel like flying.

you would want walking and driving and being in an airplane to feel like flying. but it’s bad for you.

Did you ever hear of cold turkey?

quit cold turkey. u don’t need their chemical compounds, you don’t. real food tastes awesome with a very small tad of natural seasonings.

You don’t need the crazy pseudo non flavours that are the norm with today’s bags of chips. they are not REAL flavours. Eat some BBQ! taste the difference?

Food is good.  Food Tastes good.  Try it.   real food, without salt without anything, just eat  something unadulterated.   we don’t need all these…

… back to recipes…. I find today’s recipes to be getting more and more complicated and I think it’s because of the fake flavours that have become the norm. What if we did away with recipes for a while? We could make some for special occasions… like Basteeya or Fellafel, or Oliebollen or for the western world hamburgers, sweet potato pie with marshmallows and green bean casserole (comment here or google the ingredients I WILL give you the recipe) or some of these other taste sensations that are SPECIAL! it’s not special if you have it every day, and I think this having to have a special recipe every day is destroying our appreciation of what is special… good, healthy, real food, with our families…and you may find, in the end, on your special family days that… no chemicals need apply.

Satisfying? yes. Picturesque? no.

Many of the things I’ve learned over the years had a romantic haze of Ingalls/Wilder fog obscuring the reality of the thing.   I read and dreamed about a pioneer life and thinking how wonderful it would have been to live on this continent when things were untainted and undeveloped.   Each time I learn a new thing I realize that it was a pile of non-stop hard work (which I knew in theory) the resources of energy and the drive of need just aren’t there to sustain.  I think we have devolved from these strong minded women who did what needed to be done with no other options to ones who run to the store for a frozen pizza when we just don’t feel like cooking.   I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s a far cry from our pioneer and immigrated ancestors.

Where did all our strength go?  Is it mostly in our thought process?  Our plethora of inundating paralyzing yet useless information and news?  Too many issues and not enough real life?

Anyway, this post started because I’m rendering pig fat into lard.   While most of you might think “YUCK”  I had a rosy wholesome glow in my mind about it.   It hasn’t been hard work, but it’s not been a “have to” it’s only been a “want to”.  I’m thinking about the women who HAD to to this in order to have soap to wash their family and their clothes, house, dishes.  They didn’t have the luxury of running to the store for detergents and/or even handmade artisan goats milk soaps that smell so lovely.   They had a pig, fed it the slops, and used every part of it in the fall when they butchered it.   They didn’t even buy feed.   Sometimes they would just let it go in the woods and eventually find it in the fall.  But if they couldn’t find it, they were out their lard for soap, and much of their fat for cooking.

With the lack of fridges, freezers and trucks making daily trips from Mexico and California, the fat was a very, very important and necessary source of calories, vitamins and minerals.   There’s a passage in Farley Mowat’s  “People of the Deer” where one of the guys is so sick from eating so much lean meat (ie. NO FAT as there was nothing for the elk and rabbits to eat except twigs) and no veg that the only thing that helps him is to drink a pound of melted butter or lard ( I can’t rightly remember).  The settlers had to have that fat to survive.  We have no such feeling of need.   Well, I don’t anyway.  My need is mitigated by the ease of running to the store.

While I love all of this pioneer, make-it-from-scratch, do-it-yourself stuff, sometimes it’s just not pretty and romantic (okay, 90 % of the time it’s really not romantic and pretty).  I’m driven to learn it though, so I keep trying.

so, here’s a pot of rendering pig fat… nice hey?


Cherry Season

nothing more luxurious than having SCADS of cherries at your disposal, for free.

until you have to pit them all 😉

any hints?  any recipes?

Homemade Pizza for Supper

Just to make you drool… it looks so good, can’t wait to dig in.


two things

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!



and super cute vintage pop bottle crate shelves.


Do it Yourself Backpacking Food

This is a lovely little recipe that I revised from “Simple Foods for the Pack” byClaudia Axcell, Diana Cooke and Vikki Kinmont.

“This is a great dish or, for a complete meal, serve it with cheese and pocket bread.”

1 c. quinoa

2 T dried onion flakes

2 T yellow curry powder

1 chicken bouillon cube or equivalent powder or my fav. “better than bouillon”

1 t garlic granules or 1/2 t garlic powder

6-8 sundried tomatoes chopped

At Home: combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag.  Write on the bag your in camp instructions.

At Camp: Empty contents of the bag into your pot, add 2 c. water and simmer for 12-15 min until all the water is absorbed.  Let sit for 2-3 min.  stir and serve.  This recipe serves two.


MEC.ca \

Pot assembly, stove and tank available at MEC.ca

I recommend a dash of salt over the bowlful of food 🙂


>Spicy Italian Beef sausage and Zuppa Toscana

>This is for RootandTwig, Cause for some reason I can never remember her email address and it’s not in my address book… Some day I’ll make these and take pictures of them.


1 lb ground beef
1/2 T salt
1/2 t sage
1/3 t summer savoury
1/8 t nutmeg
2/3 t marjoram
2 t fennel
2 t hot chili flakes

mix thoroughly and refrigerate all day or overnight.

Zuppa Toscana:

* 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage – crumbled
* 1/2 lb. smoked bacon – chopped
* 1 qt. water
* (2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
* 2 lg. russet potatoes – scrubbed clean, cubed
* 2 garlic cloves – peeled, crushed
* 1 med. onion – peeled, chopped
* 2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* salt and pepper – to taste


1. Brown sausage in a pan over medium to medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks.
2. Drain sausage and set to the side.
3. Brown bacan in a pan over medium-high heat. Be careful not to cook crispy.
4. Drain bacon and set to the side.
5. Place broth, water, garlic, potatoes, and onion in a pot.
6. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
7. Add sausage and bacon to the soup.
8. Simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Add kale and cream to pot.
10. Season with salt and pepper.
11. Heat thoroughly.

>Brussels Sprouts are not a swear word

>If they are fresh.  And you serve them with fryed (baked) chicken thighs.

so the key to these is to trim the hard stem and the outer leaves…. cut them in half and saute them.

But first prepare your chicken thighs by removing the skin and seasoning some  bread crumbs.

I used a milk dip (to make a good crust of crumbs) about 1 cup crumbs, and a lot of mrs. dash like seasoning except organic, salt, turmeric, cayenne …. that’s about it.

and bake at 350, for about 25-35 min.  depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

In the meantime prepare your sprouts … set the timer for 15 min before you throw your sprouts on to give the chicken a chance to cook by the time we are done with the sprouts.

then heat a pan with some oil… (I like grape seed oil)  and throw your sprouts in.

I used a sprinkle of  mustard seed, cayenne, salt, garlic and nutmeg.

and saute for about 10 min… depending on the heat, the higher the heat, the shorter the time, the crunchier the veggie.

Look at these beauties…

just delish!  and keep stirring the sprouts on low until the chicken is done (165-170 near the bone let it rest for 5 min)

and TaDa…. cheap and simple.