Granola Breakfast Cookies with Dried Fruit and Crispy Nuts

Granola Breakfast Cookies with Dried Fruit and Crispy Nuts @ Common Sense Homesteading

Cookies for breakfast?  You bet!  I’m not talking about a certain boxed cereal with fluffy little bits that leave you hungry an hour later, I’m talking about chewy, crunchy go anywhere granola cookies with all the stuff you want and none of the stuff you don’t.  These easy granola cookies can be gluten free if you use certified gluten free oats (oats do not naturally contain gluten, but can be cross contaminated).  They are also casein free (when the oats are soaked with vinegar) and soy free. [Read more…]

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Emergency Cooking – 10 Ways to Have a Hot Meal When the Power Goes Out

Emergency Cooking - 10 Ways to Have a Hot Meal When the Power Goes Out

There are a number of different options for heating food without electricity.  In this post we’ll cover everything from simple heating to large scale cooking for emergency situations. Before we get started:  For those who are new to preparedness, using an emergency generator to power an electric stove or microwave is not a good allocation of resources.  Stoves and microwaves use a lot of power in a short amount of time.  It’s much more practical to use other means to heat/cook your food.

  • Always be careful to use options inside or outside as appropriate.  Don’t end up asphyxiated from cooking fuel fumes or burn your house down while trying to make a hot meal.
  • Make sure you have cooking equipment suitable for your heating option of choice.
  • Practice with your method(s) of choice until you can reliably produce a meal.  Don’t use it for the first time in an emergency (except for the “heat themselves” food items). [Read more…]
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The Best Pancakes …er… Waffles Ever! – Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles

Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles @ Common Sense Homesteading

Looking for a recipe for homemade whole wheat waffles that’s easy, tasty and kid-friendly?  You need to try this!  It’s great for using up a bit of leftover yogurt, buttermilk or milk kefir, too.

I’ve been making Katie from Kitchen Stewardship’s Soaked 100% Whole Grain Pancakes for over a year now, and they are some of the best pancakes we’ve ever eaten.  The cakes are moist and filling, and one batch makes enough pancakes for our family of four for at least two breakfasts.  I often freeze extras and reheat them in the toaster oven as needed.

Last Friday night I put my batter to soak for pancakes on Saturday.  When morning rolled around and I told the boys I was planning pancakes, my youngest said he really wanted waffles.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I tried out the pancake batter in the waffle iron.  Success!  Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these waffles were wonderful with organic butter and local maple syrup. Sometimes I make cherry-berry sauce, too.

Here’s the recipe (please visit Kitchen Stewardship to see how Katie makes these up as pancakes for camping):

Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
1 c. buttermilk or milk or yogurt or milk kefir**
1 c. water
¼ c. apple cider vinegar

Whisk together flour, milk product, water, and vinegar in a medium bowl (ceramic or glass preferred, no metal, plastic okay in a pinch – I use my 8 cup Pyrex measuring  bowl) and leave on the counter, covered, to soak 12-24 hours.

Just before cooking, add:

¼ cup melted coconut oil
4 lightly beaten eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

I placed about one cup of batter in my waffle iron, closed, flipped and cooked for about 3 1/2 minutes.

*Katie says:  This recipe works with all regular whole wheat, is much better with half whole wheat/half pastry flour, and is best with all pastry flour.  Pastry flour is more expensive, so I like to go 1/2 and 1/2 most of the time.  Laurie says:  I use freshly ground soft white wheat flour most of the time and it gives these a great texture.

**Because you’re adding vinegar to the milk, it’s a “fake” buttermilk of sorts and hasn’t had a problem sitting on my counter overnight.  Raw milk would be safest for this though if you choose to use milk.  You can also use the dairy choice in place of the water for even richer pancakes.  I have tried all three options, and I think the milk is the best one, but I often use homemade yogurt.

Makes about 6 1/2 waffles using 1 cup batter each.  If you’d prefer to make pancakes, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 batter per pancake.  Both are delicious.

waffle and maple syrup

Cherry-Berry Sauce

  • 4 cups mixed fruit, mashed, or frozen and thawed – I usually use cherries and raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, non-GMO
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Place fruit in medium heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Make sure there is juice from thawing or mashing the fruit.  In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch.  Mix into fruit (mixing sugar and cornstarch before adding will prevent lumps).  Heat until bubbling, stirring regularly.  Cook gently until thickened (mixture should turn glossy).  Remove from heat and stir in extract.  Serve warm (will thicken as it cools).  You can add more sweetener or less as you like.

My family liked these better than the standard white flour waffle recipe that came with the waffle iron.  We also thought they were better than the soaked flour waffle recipe from Nourishing Traditions.  (I had problems with those burning on the outside while being doughy on the inside.)

I bought my Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker about a year and half ago, upgrading from a small rectangular iron I used to have, and I’m glad to have made the investment.  If you’ve even ordered Belgian waffles at a restaurant, you know they charge an arm and a leg for them.  It paid for itself in a couple of breakfasts (plus, of course, I know what’s in my waffles).  My waffles cook much more uniformly, and any spills are much easier to clean up.  Yes, it has a non-stick surface, but I don’t rub anything against the surface and it stays at a uniform temperature, so the coating is much less likely to come off than in a frying pan.  The iron has a timer, which helps avoid burnt waffles.  Waffles are still a bit of a treat, but they are so much easier to make with the right equipment (and the BEST WAFFLE RECIPE EVER ;-).

My sister brought her granddaughters to visit last summer, and they agreed, these were the best waffles they had ever tasted (even better than mom’s – shhhh…).

Best Waffles Ever @ Common Sense Homesteading

“Aunt Laurie makes the Best Waffles Ever!”

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How to Cook a Beef Tongue, With Photos

I DID IT!  (But I had some help.)  I finally cooked up the tongue we got with our quarter of grassfed beef.  This is one of my “catch up” posts – one where I took pictures but didn’t post when it actually happened.  You can see it was bright and green outside in the photos.

My sister Lois visited last fall, and what are big sisters for if not to help you eat strange things.  That said, we dragged the tongue out of the freezer.  Mmmmmmmm….

raw beef tongue

Lois gave it a good washing and held it up for a nice shot.

lois with raw beef tongue

Cooking it couldn’t be much simpler.  The tongue gets a lot of work, so it’s all muscle (no fat – mo marbling).  Mom always boiled it when we were kids, so that’s what we did, too.  We put it in a kettle of water with about an inch of water over the top, and added plenty of aromatics – garlic scapes, onions, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and some celery.

beef tongue in pot

Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours (I think we did 2 1/2).  Once finished cooking, place the tongue in an ice water bath to chill it enough to handle.

beef tongue in ice water bath

Once you can handle the tongue, peel off the skin.

This will give you an excellent piece of lean meat.

beef tongue cooked

Slice thinly and serve with your choice of condiments.  My brother Rich suggests horseradish.

cutting up beef tongue

And that’s it!  It was very tender and delicious, and the boys couldn’t tell it wasn’t “regular” roast.  (Personally, I found it to be more tender than the roast we had cooked the day before.)

So,  what unusual meats have you enjoyed recently?  I’d love to hear from you.

This post has been added to Simple Lives Thursday,
Real Food Wednesday,
Real Food Weekly,
and Pennywise Platter Thursday.
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A Day in the Slow Life

A Day in the Slow Life @ Common Sense Homesteading

Annette at Sustainable Eats tagged me in a meme that asks participants to share “a day in the slow life”.  I have to say, from what I’ve read so far, most of the “slow life” folks have pretty busy days.

In an effort to get this posted in time for Simple Lives Thursday, I’m going to try to recollect this past Monday.  The days sometimes seem to run together.  There’s always so much I’d like to do, and then there’s what can reasonably be accomplished (at least by me, an individual who requires sleep). [Read more…]

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