Weekend Homestead Happenings

This weather is just crazy!  One day it’s cold like winter should be and the next day it’s warm like spring.  Friday it was cold and windy then by Sunday it was sunny and warm.  But the wind was awful, I swear I thought I was going to end up in Kansas walking the babies.

By the way, these are our babies.

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Because it was dry and warm this weekend I finally got the chance to start on my butcher block.  It’s an old butcher block island that needs to be sanded down and refinished.

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I got the top sanded down pretty good, but this is not going to be a quick task.  I also have to rely on the weather because I’m doing it outside.  But, I don’t want to rush this, it needs to be done once and done right.

Weekend eats:

Some brunch: sauted chicken with mushrooms, peppers and kale with fried eggs.

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Some dinner: Beef short ribs with mushrooms and a side caesar salad.

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Some sweet treats:

These look like truffles, but they are actually frozen sweet black cherries, topped with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of good life chocolate chips.  It was quite tasty and not too bad for the waistline.

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However, I did make truffles this weekend.  I used a recipe from the Primal Blueprint cookbook.

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Photo credit: The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.

I used the idea of the Primal recipe, but I ultimately had to add some peanut butter to help thicken the truffles because I used a bit too much milk.  Still, they are very tasty and they are Z Man approved.

If you aren’t familiar with the Primal Blueprint, it’s by author Mark Sisson who writes about reprogramming your genes and eating a paleo based diet while allowing for an 80 / 20 ratio for those who love (perhaps) chocolate and red wine 😉  Yes, hello that would be me.

What is the Paleo diet?  The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts.  Anything that comes in a box, jar, or bag should be avoided on the paleo diet—as should anything that just wasn’t consumed back then. That means no grains, dairy, added salt, or legumes.

I’ve been following the Primal Blueprint for a while now and I’m working on a post about it that I hope to complete next week.

If you’re interested in the Primal Blueprint, Mark has a great website  www.marksdailyapple.com

I have to admit that I also made some brownies for the Z Man.  I didn’t and wont be eating them because they are not allowed in my diet (right now), but clearly I was craving the sweets this weekend.

And thanks to the warm weather I was able to get some meal prepping done on the grill for meals this week.  Grilled chicken and mushrooms and sliced sweet peppers.  By the way, right now sliced sweet red peppers are my “chips” giving me that crunch I want.

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How was your weekend?

Till next time, y’all stay safe out there!

Lori

Weekend Homestead Happenings

Some people may think it a bit smug to blog about grocery budgets, meal planning and prepping, or homestead happenings right now because some in this country are amidst protesting and expressing their opinions over the newly elected president.  And, I suppose there are more important things right now than my meal plan or the number of eggs the chickens laid yesterday, and believe me, it’s not that I don’t care.

But…. the sun will rise tomorrow, the chickens will need to be taken care of and we will have to eat, so here we go…

Weekend happenings…  well first I’m sorry I’m late with this post, but yesterday was a very busy day of snacking and lounging because it was a “snow” day from work for me.  😉

I made yogurt, but I also made coconut yogurt with coconut milk.  Yep, I just took a couple cans of coconut milk and used the exact same process that I always do for making yogurt and it turned out perfect.  My coconut yogurt does contain dairy, because I used a dairy culture (dairy yogurt) to make it.

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I’ve loved adding it to my morning smoothies.  I had those two cans of coconut milk in my pantry for quite a while, so it was time to use them.

Last weeks “eat the freezer” went good.  But, we decided to carry it on into this week because well um…..

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As you can see, there is still a lot of eating to be done.

I did do some meal prep this weekend.  I cut up veggies for meals and snacks for the week.  There is two containers of veggies for us, a bag of veggie scraps and pieces for the freezer for making stock and a nice bowl of snacks for the chickens.

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Other than that the Z Man continued on stockpiling wood for next year and I pretty much spent the weekend piddling in the kitchen.

Oh, and by the way we got 5 eggs yesterday, just in case you did want to know. 😉

How about you, how was your weekend?

Till next time, stay safe out there y’all!

Lori

 

Happenings On The Homestead

The Z Man bagged another nice buck last weekend which fills his tag for bucks this season.  I can tell he is a little melancholy about being finished with deer season, but I am so happy that we have P-L-E-N-T-Y of meat in the freezers.

I’m so proud of the Z Man.  I swear he is like the deer whisperer.  It’s almost as if the deer come to him.  He enjoyed his hunting this year.  He bagged a 10 pointer, a 8 pointer and a 7 pointer.  I canned one and the other two are in the freezer.  We are so very blessed.

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I was not able to help Z Man with the processing because I’m still pretty limited with the use of my left hand from cutting my finger.  He did a fine job with it.

We got the bacon from hog #2 smoked.  This is one of the most beautiful sights…  I wish you could smell it!!!

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This bacon will be sliced, packaged and frozen.  No nitrates or unknown ingredients here, just pure pork goodness.

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When smoking bacon it’s not necessary but it is best to leave the pig skin on the meat to keep it from shrinking up a lot.  Last year I removed the skin prior to smoking the bacon, but this year I left it on and look what we ended up with.  I know this can be used for something great, I’m just not exactly sure yet what that is.  I think I’m leaning toward dehydrating it a bit for dog treats.  Lucky dogs!

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I needed to bake an apple pie to take to work for a birthday present…  The Z Man requested one too 😉

I decided to add some dried cranberries for extra zing.  Delicious, especially with a big scoop of ice cream.  It’s the holidays, we’re supposed to indulge a little bit.

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I made a batch of yogurt because we always have yogurt in the fridge.  Yogurt, fruit, granola and a drizzle of maple syrup is almost as good as that cranberry apple pie. 😉

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Right before thanksgiving I bought a large bag of carrots and potatoes.  I know, I know, but I wasn’t about to let them go to waste.  They will make an easy, quick, and lovely stew with the canned venison.

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Hello, my name is Lori and I’m addicted to canning.

What fun things did Y’all get into over the weekend?

Till next time,

Lori

Oh My Lard!

My go to fats that I use most frequently are coconut oil, olive oil, leftover bacon grease and rendered and skimmed chicken fat.

When you raise and process your own hog you end up with a lot of fat, which normally I just portion out in packages and freeze.  Sometimes I salt it, and sometimes I don’t.

This hog season I decided to try rendering down the fat into lard.

These pictures really don’t do it justice because you can’t see the actual snow white color of the lard.

There is absolutely no piggy smell to it, which just amazes me.

I’m so pleased with the results of our first time rendering lard.

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It was so easy to do…

  • start with very cold fat
  • grind fat through meat grinder, or cut into small cubes
  • add 1/2 cup of cold water to your crock pot
  • put “cold” fat into a crock pot (no more than 1/2 the size that your crock pot will hold)
  • cook on low 1 to 2 hours depending on how your crock pot’s temperature runs
  • make sure to stir fat quite frequently
  • once you see all the fat melted and little beige/brown bits appear then strain the very hot fat through a fine colander.  Use caution here, it is hot.
  • Strain liquid fat again through cheese cloth then pour hot fat into jars for storage.

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I’ve mentioned before one of my favorite blog sites is The Healthy Home Economist by Mary Enig.  She is also the author of Know Your Fats.  Here is some of what she writes about lard.

Lard is the second highest food source of vitamin D, after cod liver oil. One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D. Also important, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it requires fatty acids – including saturated fatty acids – to be absorbed and utilized in the body. Lard provides the perfect package of vitamin D along with the required fatty acid cofactors.  Other food sources of vitamin D, including pastured egg yolks and liver, pale in comparison to the amount of vitamin D in lard.

There is a catch, however: only lard from pastured hogs contains vitamin D, since the pigs must have access to sunlight to synthesize the D and store it in their fatty tissues. Grocery store tubs or sticks of lard are from confined, antibiotic-laden pigs and should be avoided. Purchase your lard from a butcher or farmer who can tell you how the pigs are raised.

What are some examples of fats that don’t fit these guidelines? Canola oil, corn oil, fake butter, cooking spray and reduced-fat dairy products. Lard, however, was enjoyed by your ancestors thousands of years ago. My great-great-grandmother, a hard-working Danish woman who lived to the ripe old age of 107, grew up on copious dollops of lard, homemade sauerkraut and gallons of fresh milk from the family cow. You won’t see it advertised on TV, either, because large corporations won’t make money promoting the products of your local farmer.

I love learning and adding another homesteading skill to our know how toolbox.  I think back to my Grandmother and my great Uncle Jimmy and I believe they would enjoy knowing that their traditions and lifestyles are revered in a healthy light and becoming the lifestyles of later generations.

I believe it’s important for us to remember the traditions of our ancestors and get back to the old fashioned way, the right way, the sustainable way of life.

Till next time,

Lori