Friday, October 25, 2013

New Baby, Azure Standard and Applesauce

Hi All!,

Firstly, I know that I've been MIA for a while. A brief update on what's been going on in my life: I got pregnant and had another baby! I now have two children under the age of 2......actually I have two children under 18 months because Tres is only 16 months, crazy I know.

Introducing my second son: Nehemiah

Have any of you heard of Azure Standard? If not, it's a organic and natural food grocer that does monthly drops to various communities across the country. They've finally made it to Michigan and we're SUPER excited at my house. So excited in fact that I volunteered to be the drop site manager. (So if you live in/near southeastern Michigan and would like to join us please contact me, here's a link to our Facebook Group). Azure coming to my community is really going to help me get our kitchen the way I want it (read organized and functional). Additionally it'll give me some fresh material to post about, especially while I work on the organization part.

If you're interested in seeing Azure has a drop near you contact the trucking company they use, Covenant Ranch Trucking, 785-380-0034. They'll be more than happy to let you know what's near you. If there's not one, start raising awareness in your area and maybe they'll expand to you.

Today was my community's first drop and it went pretty well. I bought a pretty good haul, it included oats, basmati rice, broccoli florets, strawberries and gala apples. LOTS AND LOTS of gala apples..............20lbs to be exact. What do I plan to do with all those apples? Make applesauce of course!

Strawberry Applesauce
adapted from Family Feedbag

5 lbs apples (I used organic gala but whatever tickles you is fine)
2 lbs strawberries (fresh or frozen)
3 cups of water

Special equipment: chinois


  1. Wash fruit
  2. Quarter apples (If you're not using the chinois then you'll probably need to peel core the apples as well........sorry)
  3. Add apples, strawberries and water to a large pot. Cook on high until water begins to boil, then turn down to medium and simmer for about 35 minutes.
  4. If you using the chinois, then spoon into the the chinois and press through using the wooden dowel. If you're not using the chinois, then process with whatever you have (food processor, blender, immersion blender).
  5. Chill and enjoy

If desired, you could can whatever excess you/your family is not going to eat right away, which I was going to do. HOWEVER, I did not have the correct size Weck jars on hand to do so. I only have large mason jars but I have gotten away from canning with regular mason jars since I found out that there's BPA in the compound used on the sealing lid. Due to this I ended up freezing my excess applesauce in the mason jars instead which is quicker and less labor intensive. I have an upright freezer in my basement, if you don't then eat quickly. LOL.

A word on organization: I didn't mention previously that I purchased 25 lbs of oats and rice, so I'm searching for cute jars to store it in on my counter. I've been thinking about the Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill jars, the question is what size? I'm torn between the 1 gallon and 2 gallon for oats, flour, rice and wheat berries. What do you guys think, would a 2 gallon glass jar be to big?

Until next time, 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt (or top)

One of my all time favorite snacks is yogurt, especially fruit on the bottom strawberry Chobani. Only problem is that I feel guilty every time I eat one. Why? Basically they go against a lot of the new guidelines that I set for myself. In the grand scheme of things Chobani is one of the better yogurt option on the market but I still felt bad for the following reasons:

  1. Chobani is non-fat yogurt - I don't do non-fat, low fat or skim anything for a number of reasons but they all break down into 3 main categories: if it was suppose to be fat free God would have made it that way, fat makes everything more delicious and fat is necessary to absorb a number of vitamins and minerals. (So all you guys eating salad with fat free dressing, it's not doing ANYTHING for you)
  2. Too many ingredients - I looked up the ingredients here. I'm always skeptical when a label says "natural flavors". What exactly does that mean? Also, groupings such as, fruit and vegetable juice concentrate, makes me leery. Why can't they just say what fruit and vegetable juice concentrate it is? And what is locust bean gum? My new rule is to try to stay under 5 ungrouped ingredients that I can readily identify. 
  3. It's expensive - I don't know about where you live but in Southeastern Michigan, Chobani yogurts are usually retail for $1.50 each. We eat a lot of yogurt, $1.50 adds up rather quickly.  
So I set out to make my own fruit on the bottom yogurt that was just as tasty, cheaper and better for my family. I think I did a pretty good job AND it's super easy. 

Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt

Makes a dozen 5.6oz yogurts
  • 20 oz frozen fruit (preferably organic), I used strawberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 quart yogurt (preferably raw and/or homemade)
Just as an FYI 20 oz of frozen fruit is usually two of the smaller bags.

Dump the frozen fruit and the yogurt in a sauce pan, pour on honey. 

Cook for about 40 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally. It will get frothy.

Let fruit sauce cool completely then divide evenly amount containers.

Top with yogurt and either enjoy now or store and enjoy later!

It's that simple. I recently discovered Weck jars, which are what I store my yogurts in. They're canning jars typically used in Europe but, like our beloved mason jars, have lots of other uses. I really like these because they have glass tops. I don't know if you heard but apparently there's BPA in the lids used for mason jars (depressing, I know).  

I think this will work with any fruit. We like strawberry so that what I made but you might like something else. Let me know how it turns out.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Soaked Pancakes for Now and Later

I've decided that in 2013 I am going to work on getting rid of all processed foods. In order to do that I need to make large batches and freeze the extras. Now the real question is how am I going to achieve that feat, considering the first quarter of the year is always a hectic time for me. My plan, do 1 or 2 recipe conversions a week and freeze the extras. This week's recipe: PANCAKES!!!!

I love pancakes. Love. Love. Love. Pancakes. Here's how I make them:

Soaked Whole Wheat Pancakes

11.2 oz sifted whole wheat flour
2.5 cup filtered water
3 tbsp whey
1.3 oz sugar
0.2 oz baking soda
0.4 oz baking powder
0.2 oz salt
0.5 – 1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
2.7 oz butter

Sift whole wheat flour to remove most of the bran, discard bran.

Weigh out 11.2 oz of the sifted flour. Add water and whey. Mix and cover with towel for at least 8 hours. You should have something that looks like this:

After the soak, strain all the extra water off the wheat.

Mix in remaining ingredients and make pancakes as usual. 

This recipe makes about 20 LARGE pancakes. To freeze for future eating, just place the pancakes on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put in the freezer for a few hours. I didn't have enough cookie sheets for that so I separated my pancake layers with cling wrap.

(My sad empty freezer) Once fully frozen bag as you see fit. I'm able to fit 2 pancakes in a quart size freezer bag. To reheat put in a 350 degree over for 10-15 minutes.

The real question is if the pancakes taste the same and have the same texture after being frozen. The honest answer is yes and no. Yes, they taste just as delicious but no they don't have the same texture initially. I found that after being reheated in the oven they were a little crisper then when I originally made them but once I slathered on the butter I couldn't tell the difference.

I forgot to take a pic before I started eating............don't judge me.

Overall I would say this experiment was an awesome success. If you'd like to read more about the importance of soaking grains please check out this post by Sarah the Healthy Home Economist.

Until next time,