Have You Tried Making This Amazing Peanut Butter Yet?

You will love how delicious this Homemade Super Creamy Peanut Butter is.  If you haven’t tried it yet, do it!  Our family eats it by the spoonful. :)

Here’s what D’Ann said about the peanut butter this week:

I am truly in love with this recipe!  I simply scoop the palm shortening into the food processor with an ice cream scoop that equals 1/4 cup, add the maple syrup, salt and lastly the nuts.  I whirl it for 5 minutes, and the end result is pure yummy magic!  I make 3 jars at a time and just store them in my pantry.  I’ve never had an issue with it going or tasting bad.  I also store mine in the cabinet, and it spreads and acts like brand name pb.  My family is in love. :)

Super Creamy Peanut Butter

Sounds like a great kitchen project for this weekend, huh?  Find the recipe here.

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How to Make Beef Broth

There’s nothing very beautiful about pictures of soup bones and vegetables floating in water.  And yet, here I am again, just like the time I showed you all the pictures of my chicken carcasses.  Some people create adorable collages of their children.  Me?  I spent time yesterday crafting a collage of my beef broth.  Isn’t it precious?  Take note of the fatty bubbles floating along at the top of the jar.  I’m so proud.

Homemade Beef Broth

Beef Broth is as fantastic for your body as Chicken Broth.  There are so many minerals we need that we can get from beef bones, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, and potassium – all in their natural, beneficial, and digestible form.  The vegetables you add to the pot of broth are invaluable.  And the best part?  Making homemade broth is one of the most inexpensive ways to provide nourishment to yourself and to your family members.

Look into buying Beef Soup Bones.  There’s still a little meat on the bones (more on that later), but mostly you’re just going to pay a small amount for a package of bones.  Cook those mineral-filled-bones in a pot with water and veggies, and you’ve just created several jars full of nutritional goodness for a very tiny amount of money.

Here’s how I make Beef Broth.  As you can tell from my collage above, my process is very fancy and exact:

1.  Place thawed or frozen beef soup bones into a large kettle or stock pot.
2.  Add, to your heart’s content, chunks of onion, carrots, leeks, celery and/or any other veggie you enjoy in your broth.
3.  Fill your pot with water.
4.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
5.  Cover and simmer pot of water/veggies/soup bones for 4-6 hours.  Or more.  Or less.  Or whatever works for you.
6.  Remove soup bones from pot.  Pull cooked beef off the bones with a fork, and set meat aside for soup or salads.
7.  Blend liquid and vegetables together until smooth.
8.  Allow broth to cool, then refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use it to make soup, cook rice, or add it to a recipe.

That meat you’ll pull off the bones?  It tastes incredible because it’s right by the bone and has been cooked low and slow.  I love it in chef salads.  I also snack on it as I’m pulling it off the bones.

Why do I blend all the veggies into the broth?  Because after 6 hours of simmering, they are mushy.  When I blend them in, they just become part of the nutritious broth.  Depending on the number of carrots I use, my broth might turn orange.  No matter.  It’s delicious.

Once you’ve made Beef Broth, what can you do with it?  You can use it to make Beefy Vegetable Soup.  You can also use it in any recipe that calls for chicken broth – like my Cheeseburger Soup or Pizza Soup.  Cook rice in broth for extra nourishment and flavor in a side dish – or add that wonderful rice to Cheesy Beef and Rice.  Follow my instructions for Chicken Noodle Soup, but instead use beef broth and the meat that came off the bones for Beef-n-Noodles.

What other ideas do you have?  What ways do you use Beef Broth? 

Isn’t this a wonderful way to be healthy and save money at the same time?!

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Super Creamy Peanut Butter – Step Aside Skippy!

For everyone who can’t get their kids to break away from Skippy or Jif.  To all who can’t get used to the taste of plain, natural peanut butter.  To each person who doesn’t want to struggle to spread homemade peanut butter onto a piece of toast.  This recipe is for you!  (And for me, because while I love homemade, natural peanut butter – I can’t get enough of this new recipe!)

You’ve read the ingredients in Skippy and Jif, right?  Unreal.  Literally.  It does have some peanuts in there somewhere, but it mostly has hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.  Poor Peter Pan.  I doubt he wanted his good name tarnished like this.

And now, to replace that popular grocery store item, I bring you this completely real food, non-hydrogenated, nothing scary, all natural, wonderful, spreadable, smooth, creamy, delicious peanut butter.

The first day I made this, I licked so many spoonfuls I lost track of trips back and forth to the kitchen.  After one such trip to the kitchen, once I finished what was on my spoon, I actually found myself sucking the life out of the spoon, apparently in hopes that more of the deliciousness would secrete out of the metal?  Then I realized what I was doing and went back to the kitchen for another spoonful.  Someone just bring me the jar!

Super Creamy Peanut Butter

I was not alone.  Matt and the kids acted like this was candy.  Maybe we’ll make it into a sandwich someday, but for now, we’re getting our protein fix one spoonful at a time.  Ah-mazing.  Here is the recipe already:

Super Creamy Peanut Butter

1 cup natural peanut butter (I make my own because it’s so easy and deliciously fresh)
4 Tablespoons palm shortening
1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a medium saucepan, melt and stir together all four ingredients until smooth and creamy.  You can make this more or less sweet by adding more or less maple syrup.  Pour mixture into a pint sized jar.  Chill until thickened (about 2 hours).  Spread on a sandwich, eat with a spoon, eat with a spoon, eat with a spoon, or eat with a spoon.

Wondering where to get Palm Shortening?  My favorite source is Tropical Traditions.  Spectrum brand Organic Vegetable Shortening (which is made with 100% palm oil) is also good, and can be found at Amazon, or health food stores.  Just do not use regular vegetable shortening (like Crisco) – otherwise you’re right back at the not-so-good-for-you peanut butter.

Over the weekend, I made about 8 cups of this peanut butter.  I figured my food processor was already messy, my palm shortening was already out, so why not make this effort worth my while?  I now have 4 pint sized jars of this peanut butter in my fridge.  Well, 4 pints minus several dozen spoonfuls.

Alright – what do you think?  Will your family love this??  (The answer is yes.)  What kind of peanut butter do you like at your house?

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How To Make Almond Butter

I am completely addicted to these Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites.  They are made with such wonderful and healthy ingredients and are wonderful way to use your Coconut Flour if you have some.

What does my cookie dough bite addiction have to do with making almond butter?  A lot.  The recipe calls for almond butter – which is not something I keep around the house very often.  However, I do typically have a nice store of almonds stored in my pantry.  Therefore, I easily  make almond butter any time I need it.

If you’ve read my tutorial for making homemade peanut butter, you’ll find that you will follow the same basic instructions for making almond butter.  Nut butters are very easy to make in a food processor.  The biggest thing to note:  The process of making nut butter is a little bit loud.  Warn the family to plug their ears before you turn on the food processor.  Although the way I look at it – my family is always making a bunch of noise.  When I’m making nut butter – it’s my turn.  So there.

Step One:  Pour almonds into a food processor.  I have found that eight ounces of almonds creates one full cup of almond butter. I don’t recommend putting more than eight ounces of almonds into your food processor at one time.  The process takes a while, and the more almonds you have, the longer it will take.

Step Two:  Place lid on food processor and turn it on.  (Plugging it in is always a plus as well.)  ;)  Yes, it’s loud isn’t it?  Told ya.

Step Three:  After processing almonds for two to three minutes, use a spoon to scrape down the sides of your food processor and shift around the almonds.

Step 4:  Continue to process, but stop and scrape and stir almonds around from time to time to aid in the butter making process.

Step 5:  You’re getting closer!  Process, scrape, stir, and process some more.  Continue until the almonds have become the almond butter you’ve always dreamed of.  Because yes, we all do spend much of our time dreaming of perfect almond butter, do we not?

And there you go – lovely, smooth and creamy almond butter.

What other nut butters have you made?  Have you tried making Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites yet?

P.S.  I order organic almonds from Braga Farms.  They are a wonderful company to work with and offer high quality nuts.  Almond Butter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks.

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Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Just in case you lose count while reading the following sentence, I used the word ”cream” or “creamy” six times, because apparently I like these words and like to overuse them.  And also because once I realized I was doing it, I exaggerated on purpose:

When I shared my Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe, I told you that I don’t usually make cream soups to replace the canned cream soups called for in many creamy recipes, but instead substitute straight cream to make the dish creamy.

(Someone give me a synonym for “creamy” to enhance my future sentence writing creativity.)

However, I have a great recipe for an easy one dish meat and potato meal that I hadn’t made for years because I wasn’t sure how to make it without the cream of mushroom soup.  For this, straight cream just wouldn’t cut it.  I need to make the soup.

Therefore, for all one of my recipes that need cream of mushroom soup, here is how I make it:

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup organic corn starch or arrowroot powder
4 cups milk, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste

Begin by sauteing mushrooms and butter until mushrooms are tender.

In the meantime, shake the cornstarch or arrowroot powder in a jar with 1 1/2 cups of milk.  You probably could have figured out how to do this step without a picture, but when have I ever missed a chance to take a great photo of a jar?

Ooh, Ahh

Use a whisk to mix the milk mixture into the sauteed mushrooms, stirring constantly at medium heat.  Slowly add remaining milk, salt and pepper.  Stir with a whisk until smooth and thick.

This recipe will make around three cans worth of cream soup.  I haven’t done it before, but I would imagine you could substitute celery for the mushrooms to make cream of celery soup instead.  If you have extra soup that you don’t need, this can be frozen.

This recipe tastes great in my One Dish Meat and Potato Casserole!

What recipes do you make that require cream of mushroom soup?

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Homemade Peach Syrup (made with unprocessed sugar)

We usually top our pancakes with real maple syrup or homemade applesauce.  Sometimes peanut butter and jelly.  Or peanut butter with maple syrup.  Or honey.  Or if we sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips into the pancakes, we don’t really need syrup at all.

But last week when we had some fresh, local peaches in our kitchen, I made a quick and healthy peach syrup that is oh-my-goodness good.

You need exactly two ingredients to make this: peaches and sucanat.  The two together cook to form a syrup.  No water necessary.  :)

Homemade Peach Syrup

3 fresh peaches (or 2 cups frozen)
2 Tablespoons sucanat

Slice peaches into a saucepan.  Stir in sucanat and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the peaches are tender and the ingredients have formed a syrup.

You can add a few shakes of cinnamon if you like.

In case you need them, here is my Simple Soaked Pancake recipe and my Whole Wheat Waffle recipe.

What’s your favorite way to top pancakes and waffles?

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Making Homemade Mayonnaise (is not my gift)

 

Who knew making homemade mayonnaise for the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge would tempt me to say naughty words?  I held myself back though, and merely gave dirty looks to the ingredients in my blender that were not even trying to become mayonnaise and through gritted teeth hissed, “Would you guys emulsify already!?!?!?”

It wouldn’t have been such a big deal, except that I attempted to make mayonnaise at least four times before I could accomplish “mayonnaise emulsification”.  We went through a lot of olive oil in the process, and subsequently, a lot of tuna.

Why tuna?  Well, I wasn’t going to waste all those ingredients every time I had mayonnaise emulsification failure.  Instead, each time, I stirred the runny, stubborn ingredients into a few cans of tuna, added some of my home canned pickle relish and called it lunch.  It worked, all but one time.  Yes, there was one time I did have to throw the ingredients out.  That was the time I was so determined to whip the ingredients long enough and hard enough to become mayonnaise that the ingredients got so hot inside my food processor that the eggs got cooked, causing scrambled eggs to float in my olive oil.  Mmmm.  Gross as it is, I just had to take a picture – because I’m weird like that:

A perfect example of what not to do.  

Regarding a healthy mayonnaise recipe, I do have one to share with you, and I’m sure that after all my previous, inspirational statements, you’re all ready to jump right in and give this a go.  Based on all my trial and error, I have a few tips I think you’ll find helpful.

  1. I believe that if I had an immersion blender, this process would work much better.  But I don’t have one and I refuse to buy one just to make mayo.  If you do have an immersion blender, save yourself some frustration and use it for this.
  2. Pour the oil into the running blender so slowly you think you might fall asleep while pouring.  About the time you think you’re pouring slowly enough, slow down.  Slow dripping oil is key for making mayonnaise.
  3. Get your eggs at room temperature before starting this process. 

Homemade Mayonnaise

2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sucanat
1/2 cup olive oil

Place the egg yolks, salt, vinegar and sucanat into a blender and run on high speed for about a minute.  S-l-o-w-l-y pour the oil in while the blender is running.  I’m talking, let the oil drip into the running blender at a horridly boring pace.  Just stand there, with the blender running, dripping oil for several minutes.  Don’t get impatient or you’ll be making tuna.

My mayo turned out very yellow in color because of our lovely free-range chicken eggs, which are rich with nutrients. 

This mayonnaise did taste very good, as well it should have after all the work it took to figure out how to make it.  But I will never be known as the Mayonnaise Queen, nor will I ever be asked to speak at the Heart of Mayonnaise Convention.  I’m also pretty sure I shouldn’t be your ”I’m having trouble making mayonnaise” questions go-to gal.  I do not believe making mayonnaise is my gift, nor do I wish to become a professional mayonnaise maker. 

But, I am pleased to say that I figured out a healthy mayonnaise recipe and now I can move on to try and conquer the remaining recipes in the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge.

Have you conquered mayonnaise before?  What’s your favorite use for mayonnaise?  Ever given your mayonnaise dirty looks?

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Healthy Homemade Ketchup (finally!)

I think I’ve been working on a homemade ketchup recipe for about forty years. (I have actually not reached the age of forty yet, but I am rather fond of exaggerating and I feel like I’ve been experimenting with ketchup for like totally forever.)

It’s taken quite a bit of trial and error to find a recipe that we think tastes good.  So many recipes just don’t quite taste ketchupy enough for me.  This recipe I’ve finally settled on is one I found and adapted from Happy in Dole Valley.  I’m happy to say that this is a very easy recipe to make.  Tastes good…healthy…and easy.  Yes, this is the kind of recipe I like to share with you.

During my experiments, one of the toughest challenges was to sweeten the ketchup in a way we liked.  I didn’t want it too sweet, but it did need to be a little bit sweet - and not too tomato-ee.  (I’d like to see the words ketchupy and tomato-ee become a part of the dictionary someday, wouldn’t you?)

I tried making ketchup with raw honey to sweeten it, and found that the taste was too strong.  Regular ol’ sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar juice) is a little crunchy in this recipe, so I finally figured out a great way to sweeten our homemade ketchup:  Grind the sucanat in the blender like you’re making this healthier, unprocessed powdered sugar…then add it to your ketchup ingredients.  Easy and perfect!

Healthy Homemade Ketchup

7 ounces of tomato paste
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used distilled coconut vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup sucanat (ground in the blender to make it less “crunchy”)

Whisk ingredients together until mixed well and smooth.  Make french fries, get them nice and crunchy, salt them well with sea salt and give me a call.

Defining “a pinch”: When a recipe calls for “a pinch” of something, I usually put in about 1/8 teaspoon – an amount you could “pinch” between your fingers if you were to reach into the spice jar and pull some out.  I don’t really like putting my fingers in to pinch my spices.  But you go right ahead if you want to.

The true test with our Homemade Ketchup Experiment:  Did the kids like it?

All of my kids love ketchup, but one particular son of mine eats ketchup on everything:  eggs, green beans, broccoli…  He’s also my pickiest kid (which is why he eats ketchup to get his veggies down).  I  hesitantly put this homemade ketchup on his plate with a nice helping of homemade fries.  He ate it.  He loved it.  He said, “Is this the homemade ketchup?” and I said, “Yep” and he said, “Wow it’s really good!”

Score!  We have a winner!

Now that I’ve conquered ketchup, I’ll move on to some of the other recipes on the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge list.  I’ve gotta say, I’ve been working on mayonnaise and it is about to kill me.  I can not get a homemade mayonnaise to thicken even a little bit and it’s beginning to make me mad.  Those of you who make mayo…what in the world is the secret to getting the ingredients to actually thicken into mayo?  Ketchup took me forever to figure out, and now the mayo.  I apparently have condiment issues.

Well anyway, what’s your favorite use for ketchup?  Please tell me it isn’t green beans, like my son.

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Homemade Onion Soup Mix (with No MSG!)

So far in this Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge, we’ve come up with recipes for Homemade Tator Tots, Healthier Chocolate Milk and Teriyaki Sauce.  I attempted a recipe for corn tortillas and while they tasted pretty good…they were NOT easy to make, they fell apart and looked ugly.  I’m going to keep working on that one until I come up with a corn tortilla recipe that doesn’t take the whole afternoon to make.  :)

This new recipe in The Challenge was super easy to put together!  Vicki, one of our readers, sent me an Onion Soup Mix recipe to try and WOW is it simple!  I tweaked it a teeny tiny bit, but really, this recipe is more Vicki’s than mine.

What I love about this recipe is that I didn’t have to look high and low for the ingredients.  Many onion soup recipes I found call for some sort of bouillon.  Almost always, bouillon has MSG.  There are MSG free bouillon varieties out there, but what if they aren’t easily accessible to you?  And so…I was very happy to see this recipe that contained just dried herbs and spices!

 

Onion Soup Mix

2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sucanat (or sugar if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake.  I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.

Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix.  (I actually found that 2 Tablespoons was plenty in a beef stew recipe I tried.)  Store this in a dry, cool place.

onion_soup_mix

I used the Onion Soup Mix in this simple, one dish stew and YUM!
I’ll be sharing the recipe eventually!

And with that…I have to ask:

SO many of you requested this recipe that I’m guessing you all must have tons of wonderful ways of using Onion Soup Mix?  I would LOVE for you to share what you do with this mix!!!  I have exactly two recipes that call for Onion Soup Mix .  I’m so excited to use this mix in those recipes because I’ve not made them for years.  But what else???  What do you make with Onion Soup Mix??

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Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (No MSG or HFCS!)

Ever noticed how tough it is to find dressings and sauces that don’t have MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) and HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)?  MSG, by the way, is a flavor enhancer that is made up of a bunch of chemicals I can’t pronounce and a bunch of scary stuff I don’t want to know about.  You can read all the big words here

I’ve been so excited each time I figure out how to make a new homemade salad dressing or condiment (see the whole list of healthier condiment recipes on our site)!  Making your own condiments is not only much healthier, it’s often quite a bit cheaper too.  And, lo and behold, these items are easy to make. 

Shall we now all take a moment and enjoy a collective sigh of wonderment?  Yes indeed recipes that are healthy, cheap and easy.  All at the same time.

The beauty of homemade condiments too is how delicious and flavorful they are…all by themselves.  We do not need to add MSG and HFCS or BGNJ to make our food taste good.  (I made that last one up just for kicks and it was very fun.) 

Well, apparently that was my little “rant” for the day.  Try homemade condiments.  They taste so good and pure. 

And now for the Homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe!

Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce (I use Organic Tamari Soy Sauce from OliveNation which is gluten and MSG free!)
1 cup water
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or dry ground ginger (more or less to taste)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 minced garlic clove
2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Combine 1 cup water, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water and add to sauce.  Stir constantly and allow the sauce to thicken.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water or soy sauce to thin.

We LOVE this Teriyaki Sauce on chicken wings. 

And with that, the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge continues.  I’ve almost got another recipe ready to share.  I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will tell you that it starts with chocolate and ends with milk.  Otherwise, I’m not giving any hints.

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