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Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 2: Jam Making

Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 2: Jam Making

A few days ago I posted about our strawberry picking and how we froze and dried the berries.  We have been snacking on the dried berries all week and they are delicious!  On top of drying and freezing our berries we also made two batches […]

Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 1: Drying and Freezing

Strawberry Picking 2017 Part 1: Drying and Freezing

When my husband and I first started really looking into our food many years ago one of the first things we looked at was high fructose corn syrup.  We discovered it was really difficult to buy jam without out it so we decided to try […]

Family Day- Fishing and Farm Visit

Family Day- Fishing and Farm Visit

My three year old developed a sudden interest in fishing last week. She somehow brought it up and was asking all about how fishing worked and if we could go.  We had a birthday coming up in our family (plus Father’s Day) so my husband looked up some places and found one that would be perfect for us, you know, because the only one of us that has done any real fishing is the oldest daughter and that was when she was little with her grandparents.  Needless to say we are as a whole, inexperienced when it comes to pulling wiggly fish out of the water so we chose a place that was all in one, guaranteed a catch and would gut and clean the fish for us.  We are not squeamish about the whole gutting and cleaning part (we break down most of our own meat) but it was much more convenient for them to do it for us than to bring our knives and set up a station on our own. This place also had a separate pond for the fish that were to be caught so that they would taste cleaner and less muddy. I am not a fan of trout because every time I have eaten it all I can taste is pond water and it is really off putting so having the fish be cleaner tasting was something I was looking forward to.

 

Fish Pond

 

The place we went to was pretty small, just a couple of ponds, and obviously family run.  It was mostly for little kids to have the experience of catching fish without much of the waiting.  There were a bunch of other little kids there shrieking and hollering every time they caught a fish and it was hilarious.  The owners were genuinely happy that the kids were having such a good time which was awesome to see.

 

The girls checking out the fish.

 

The girls walked around the pond deciding which fish we would catch while the owners explained the rules to us.  Our son was too little so he just watched but he had a great time. He loves people watching and there was definitely new things for him to see.

 

 

My husband helped our daughter at first and they had a ton of fun. She is a total foodie and not squeamish at all when it involves where her food comes from. Since she was little she has known where her favorite food (chicken) comes from and she loves to eat all parts of it. I know when we get chickens if we ever slaughter them for food she will want to be involved in the whole process.  Nevertheless we talked about how fishing would go for a couple of days before hand and went over how we would pull them out of the water and the people would cut them open for us so we could eat them.  The whole possibility of catching her own food and cooking it was very exciting.

 

Success!

 

After a few tries we got the hang of it and caught our first fish!

 

 

We caught a total of three fish, the last being the biggest. They were feisty so I had to keep the net over the bucket so they didn’t escape. My son was a little nervous when the fish were jumping around but he was super curious.

 

 

While the lady gutted our fish we headed over to the feeder ponds to feed the little fish.

 

 

 

 

Our son loved feeding the fish.  He very carefully picked up a couple of pieces of food and tossed them in over and over again.  He is a total animal lover and is always trying to take care of our pets at home.

 

 

 

After picking up our fish we headed to a farm we had passed on the way to the fishing spot.  Their gardens were open and we were able to walk around and look at how they were growing food in a sustainable manner. The kids loved to run around and show us all of the plants.

 

 

It was interesting to see some of the farming practices they used like this field. They did not till it but just dumped mounds of dirt over the grass and planted their seed starts.  I would think the weeds would take over but it interested me enough to go back later in the season to see how they are doing. The farm also offered tours and maybe we can go back another time and learn about some of the things they are doing.

 

 

Our son was fascinated with their chickens.  He loves animals so he spent a lot of time staring at them and telling us about them. It was really cute.  Please ignore my finger in this photo. I was juggling a toddler, snacks and listening to our preschooler tell us about how people eat chickens while taking a picture…

 

 

At the end of our walk we went into the market and bought some local food.  We bought asparagus for our fish dinner, some strawberries that we ate for snack and some pickled beets for my Dad for Father’s Day next weekend.  It was a really nice end to our morning.  We had a lot of fun and had some new experiences for the family. We love that we were able to show our kids where their food comes from and have the entire experience from farm to table. So many people do not understand the whole food chain these days although more people seem to be learning about it than when we first started cooking as much as we could from scratch. People thought we were slightly crazy for U-picking and making our own jam but now it is much more common.  I am really excited for this year’s garden since it will be our first year of growing vegetables and our kids will be able to see the whole process from seed to table. Every day we go out and check on our plants and it makes it so much more real to our kids than just buying them in the store.  I highly recommend growing even one or two plants in pots to everyone if a full garden seems overwhelming.

 

We grilled our fish and asparagus and ate it for dinner and the fish was cooked wonderfully by my husband.  The asparagus was much better than what we usually get from Costco, probably because it had been picked that morning instead of however many days before.  Today was a great experience for our family and I would definitely do it again!

 

What sorts of activities does your family do on family day?

 

Mom’s Night Out

Mom’s Night Out

Last fall one of my good friends called me up wanting to know if I was interested in seeing New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) with her and a few of her friends. I was pretty hesitant since I am not a late night, crazy […]

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Science Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar

My daughter loves to play with baking soda and vinegar. She always helps me deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring the vinegar down the drain and making bubbles.  Today my son got to watch and he was fascinated.     We were talking about how […]

Hummus from Scratch

Hummus from Scratch

We have always been big fans of hummus. For a long time we bought organic canned garbanzo beans and made hummus from those but we have been trying to make as much of our food from scratch as we can so about a year ago we switched to this recipe from Serious Eats and it is honestly the best hummus I have ever eaten! In a pinch you could still use canned garbanzo beans after the cooking step but the fresh ones are really much better tasting.  We buy our garbanzo beans in bulk off of Amazon from a local company called Palouse Brand They are made in Washington, non-GMO, organic and the best tasting garbanzo beans we have tried so far.  We also order our Tahini in bulk from Amazon as well but I think you can find it in any grocery store.  We just eat a lot of hummus so buying in bulk is much cheaper.  

 

 

A few months ago we decided to both eat healthier and try to cut back on our grocery expenses so we could spend more money fixing up the house. One of the ways we have tried to accomplish this is to add beans to our diet.  We tried refried beans, baked beans, adding canned beans to our dishes and hummus.  Although we love all of the bean options we tried, making a batch of hummus every week was the easiest way for us to be consistent about it. We just soak the beans overnight on Saturday night and then my husband cooks them when we have time on Sunday.  It doesn’t take long to cook and you can have it on another burner while you are cooking dinner to save time.  I eat a hummus wrap for lunch most days with leftovers on the inside (to reduce food waste) and the kids love eating it with a spoon for an afternoon treat. You can also put it on crackers, toast with a runny fried egg for breakfast, dip vegetables in it or even add a little hot sauce and use it as a healthier dip for chips.  We love hummus!

 

 

Put your beans into a bowl with double the volume of water and let soak overnight.

 

 

Soaked beans looking a little fluffier!

 

 

Drain your beans and place them into a pot with the baking soda. Cook for a few minutes then add your water and bring to a boil.

 

 

Skim off any foam or skins that pop up and cook for about 20-40 minutes until the beans are very tender but not mushy.

 

 

Drain your chickpeas and put into the food processor. Run it until you get a stiff paste.

 

 

While it is still running add your lemon, tahini, garlic and salt. Then slowly add your ice water and run for another 5 minutes until the hummus is smooth and creamy.

 

 

And there you have it! Super smooth hummus ready to eat! This week when we made it the kids ate a bunch of it still warm from the food processor with spoons.  It was great to see them enjoying such a healthy snack!

 

Happy cooking!

 

Hummus by Serious Eats

June 6, 2017
: 6
: 12 hr
: 45 min
: 12 hr 45 min
: Easy

Make delicious hummus from scratch!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6.5 cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp light tahini sauce
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons/100 ml ice-cold water
  • salt
Directions
  • Step 1 The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  • Step 2 The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  • Step 3 Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  • Step 4 Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Gardening Update June 5th 2017

Gardening Update June 5th 2017

We had a really busy week this week with playdates for the younger kids and prom for our oldest.  There were errands to run and the one year old didn’t nap all week. Both little kids must be growing through a growth spurt because I […]

Gardening Update May 30, 2017

Gardening Update May 30, 2017

I haven’t posted an update about the garden in a while since we got really busy and I ignored it for a bit…I am definitely paying for it now with weeding and chopping back, I mean pruning, the massive growth on our many ornamental bushes. […]

Marshmallows by David Lebovitz

Marshmallows by David Lebovitz

My husband and three year old made these marshmallows by David Lebovitz a few weeks ago. He has made them in the past and they are delicious!  Our three year old loves to cook and she is obsessed with marshmallows so it was a fun activity for them to do together. We got the recipe from David Lebovitz’s website and it can be found here.  It seems like a lot of steps but it really was easy to make, most of the time was spent waiting for things to heat up or cool down.

 

 

First step dissolve the gelatin. We used standard Knox gelatin which can be found at your local grocery store or online. We usually can find it pretty cheap at Fred Meyer.  It doesn’t really go bad so it is a good idea to stock up on it when it goes on sale during canning season or around the holidays.  You can also use this gelatin for making homemade jello or if you are into synchronized swimming for putting your hair up into an elaborate bun that will stay beautiful under water.  Just don’t ask me how long it will take to remove the gelatin from you hair…

 

 

Here is where you mix your sugar and corn syrup and cook it on the stove.

 

 

You add water and bring it to a boil while you are also completing the egg white step with the mixer.

 

 

While your sugar mixture is heating up, add your egg whites to the mixer and beat on low until they are frothy.

 

 

Yay! Frothy egg white goodness!

 

 

Once your sugar mixture has reached 245 degrees slowly add it to the egg whites.

 

 

Slowly now! Try to keep it from hitting the beater and splashing all over the sides.  Add your gelatin to your warm sugar pan to dissolve it and then slowly pour that into your egg whites as well.

 

 

Add your vanilla and whisk until the outside of the bowl is cool.

 

 

Sift your mixture of potato starch and powdered sugar evenly over a pan.

 

 

Make sure to cover all of the surfaces with no gaps or your marshmallows will stick.

 

 

Pour your marshmallow mixture over the pan.

 

 

Quickly spread it so that it is even.

 

 

Let cool completely.

 

 

You can also spread the potato starch/powdered sugar mixture over a plate to make blob type shapes if you don’t want to cut out sheets of marshmallows.

 

 

We did this for the kids so that they could “sample” them sooner.  Next up, cutting!

 

 

Before he cut the marshmallows my husband sprinkled more potato starch/powdered sugar over the marshmallows so the blade wouldn’t stick.

 

 

Then he peeled them back and repeated spreading the mixture on the other side.

 

 

My husband used our handy kitchen shears to cut the marshmallows into rectangles.

 

 

And a cookie cutter to cut out one Mickey Mouse one for our daughter.

 

 

We stored them in a Tupperware container in a cool, dry place but we had some friends coming over so they didn’t last long!

 

That’s it for our fun marshmallow project! They would be great to take to a summer party or you could dip them in chocolate when they are cool and make marshmallow pops as another fun activity with kids!

 

Happy cooking!

 

 

Marshmallows by David Lebovitz

May 28, 2017
: 25-50 Marshmallows
: 10 min
: 1 hr
: Medium

Delicious Marshmallows by David Lebovitz are an easy candy to make.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoon teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Directions
  • Step 1 One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)
  • Step 2 In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.
  • Step 3 In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
  • Step 4 (Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).
  • Step 5 In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
  • Step 6 When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
  • Step 7 When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), while the mixer is running on high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Step 8 Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
  • Step 9 Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
  • Step 10 Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
  • Step 11 Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.
  • Step 12 Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.
  • Step 13 Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.
  • Step 14 Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post.
  • Step 15 Storage: The marshmallows can be made up to one week in advance, and stored in an airtight container
First Fire Pit S’mores!

First Fire Pit S’mores!

My husband has wanted a fire pit ever since I can remember and once we moved into our house we knew we would get one.  Last year we never got around to it but a few days ago we decided to take the plunge.  We […]