Our little piece of the world

A mother, wife, and teacher aims to make life simple

Archive for the tag “Cooking”

The best thing since sliced bread: fresh apple sauce bread (you have to slice it yourself though)

I mentioned on monday that my goal this week has been to make more of our own bread, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been accomplishing that so far! Not only have I managed to make raisin bread and whole wheat bread in the breadmaker for this week, but my son and I also tried our hand(s) at making apple sauce bread. As someone who’s constantly looking for healthy treats for my little guy, I’ve hit the jackpot.

Last night we made some apple sauce. Not a difficult process, but necessary because we had a bag of apples sitting in the fridge that weren’t going to get eaten before they went bad (I had a brain fart at the grocery store and bought a new bag before we’d finished the old one. The process of making the apple sauce was relatively painless, I peeled, cored, and cut 8 apples into chunks (you could also shread it if you want it to cook faster), put it in a large pot on the stove with 1/4 cup of water (about enough to cover the bottom of the pot) and a tablespoon of cinnamon, I put the heat on low and let it simmer there for a few hours. You can also do this in your crockpot (which I would have, but mine’s broken).

My son loves apples, so by the time the pot made it to the stove there was probably only 7 of them, but I digress.

Once the apples had cooked until they were mushy (probably about 2.5 hours) I squished them with a spoon and put it all into 2 years. It probably made about 3 cups all together.

Today my son and I made this apple sauce bread. Here’s the recipe for link-phobes:

Applesauce Bread:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rapadura or 1/2 cup honey
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add applesauce, eggs and butter.  Stir well.  Pour into a buttered bread pan or stone.  Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

First off: this stuff smells AMAZING. My son kept begging me to let him eat some as a snack before bed. Normally we don’t do bedtime snacks, but it smelled so good I felt horrible saying no. He gobbled down a piece and asked for more- but I opted to save the rest for breakfast for the two of us.

Best of all, this stuff is pretty healthy: not much sugar, salt, and the flour is whole wheat- what more could you ask for?

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Well said, Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food.

Jamie’s TED talk on why we should include educate children about the importance of good food.
I’m proud to say that my school does teach a “family studies” class to grade 7 and 8 students about healthy eating and cooking.
… not sure they’re getting it after I see them eating poutine every day, though.

Book review : Country Wisdom and Know-How

Amazon link

This was the first book that my husband and I read about homesteading so it was only natural that it’s the first book review I do on this blog. My parents actually bought this book as a gag-gift for my husband, but it quickly became clear how useful it actually was. This book has so much information in it, it took us a few weeks to fully process all the information and figure out how we wanted to use it to improve our lives. The book contains information on raising livestock, quilting, gardening, training cats and dogs, home brewing and so much more.

There are countless tables, check lists, recipies, and step-by-step instructions for making even the most inexperienced (ie. me) would-be homesteader feel comfortable living a self-sustaining lifestyle.

The only problem that I encountered (and was mentioned over and over in the reviews on Amazon) is the physical size of the book. It’s far too big, and it’s a soft cover, so it’s difficult to hold and read. My copy also seemed to be missing a few pages… I’m not sure what that’s all about (but it could have been a problem with how my mom bought it).

Regardless of those problems I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in homesteading, whether novice or experienced. There is so much varied information that I’m sure there is something that anyone could learn from it.

Cast Iron pans: Why they’re great and how to take care of them

While we’re waiting to move into our new house, I’ve taken to researching old fashioned household products that will stand the test of time. One item that I have tried and absolutely love is cast iron cookware. So far I have two skillets, one small (6″) and one large (12″). I started with the small skillet on a whim one day, and fell in love with how sturdy it was and how evenly it cooked. It’s also fantastic that I can use it outside on the fire, in the oven, or on the stovetop… oh, and the food tastes great too.

Cast iron is amazing for anyone looking to live life with as few harmful chemicals as possible. Cast iron is non-stick, but unlike Teflon it’s not that way because of chemicals, and the coating won’t come off either! Cast iron pans also have a reputation for lasting a very, very long time (as long as they’re well taken care of).

There are many articles online about the best methods to care for cast iron (this is one of my favourites), but for the most part the advice is the same:

  • Don’t use soap or harsh abrasives to wash them. Scour only with a metal brush. I have actually found very little to no need to scrub my cast iron as the non-stick coating is so great already.
  • Make sure that your pan is well seasoned. To season use a few tablespoons of flaxseed oil (or another oil, but flaxseed seems to be the favourite) and let it warm up gradually in the oven to 300 degrees, upside down. Let it heat in the oven for about an hour, and then turn the heat off- letting the pan cool gradually for about an hour.
  • When you’re cooking with your cast iron, use a small amount of oil in the bottom of the pan.
  • Once you’re done cooking, let the pan cool down for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water and scrape off the excess food. I then put a tiny amount of oil on the pan and let it cool down completely upside down in the oven.
  • If you’re storing your cast iron in a drawer or cupboard put a piece of paper towel in between the items to allow air flow. Once we’re into our new place I’m planning on hanging our cast iron items on the fireplace.

I’ve got my eye on quite a few cast iron items, including a dutch oven and a griddle. Someday I’d also like to get a cast iron waffle pan like this one:

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