Thursday, July 31, 2014

Terrific Turkey Meatballs ~ Paleo

You can't go wrong with a good meatball. I have a great recipe for my Marvelous Meatballs made with beef, but since I had gotten such a good deal on organic ground turkey at the store I wanted to make some with it.

Here is the recipe for some amazingly healthy and Terrific Turkey Meatballs

1 pound ground organic turkey
1/2 cup Almond Flour
2 organic eggs
1 tablespoon Organic Flax Oil
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard (I use Trader Joes brand)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Dash of crushed red pepper (can be omitted)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Line a 9x13 pan and a 9x9 pan with Parchment Paper . Form meat mixture into 1 inch balls and place in pans, just slightly apart but not touching. My recipe yields 33 meatballs.

Bake at 400F for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly browned and internal temperature is at least 170 degrees F.


As a meal suggestion, here we are enjoying ours with steamed local green beans, basmati rice and some homemade peach sauce.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Peaches, Peaches, Peaches

I spent last weekend in Southern Oregon with the main purpose of attending "Peach-a-palooza" at Harry & David's Country Village store. Once a year they sell their peaches amazingly cheap. This year they were 20 cents per pound.
My aunt, friend, brother and I all left my mom's house at 5 am to head over.

The peaches were plentiful and after waiting in line til 7 we started filling our totes. We got into a good rhythm and within 15 minutes we had loaded all 20 of our totes, a total of 677 pounds!!

We were home by 9 and ready for the first batch to hit the canners at 10:30 am. It was a LLLLLLLOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG day! My sister in law's baby shower was in the middle of the afternoon and we took the last batch out of the canners at 10:30 pm.

In 8 hours (we spent 4 at the baby shower) we managed to get done 41 quarts of sliced peaches (some preseved with honey, some with coconut sugar and some with organic cane sugar), 51 pints of peach sauce/puree, and 30 pints of jam made. It was crazy! That was only from half the peaches!
Be watching for more posts on recipes to make your own canned sliced peaches, peach sauce and peach jam.

Here is our set up that we used. We had two canners and a water bath set up. It is very strongly advised against for using propane or gas to heat your canner when you are pressuring it because the heat is inconsistent and usually way too many BTUs. We only used the water bath method for all of ours and all three canners were under constant supervision the entire time.

I also use and love my Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner . It is tall enough to double layer the pints and half pints so you can process a double batch and get twice as much done in the same amount of time. I have used it for pressurizing and water bathing and it works like a champ. If you are a serious canner, this is a must!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dilled Carrots and Cukes

We always go through a lot of pickles, but I noticed that some of the store brand pickles have a few carrots in the bottom of them. They are delicious so I threw a few carrots into a batch of my pickles.

Here is the recipe to make your own delicious dilled carrots and cukes (aka dill pickles with carrots)!

4 large carrots
5 large cucumbers (large ones, not pickling cucumbers)
8 Tablespoons dill seed
8 cloves garlic
8 teaspoons whole peppercorns
6 Tablespoons Pickling Salt
9 cups distilled vinegar (can use white or apple cider, just make sure it is 5% acidity)
8 pint jars, lids and rings

Have jars, lids and rings sanitized and ready to use.

Peel and wash carrots and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Wash and cucumbers and slice to desired thickness, 1/3-1/2 inch is what I usually do.

Split cucumbers evenly between jars. Split carrots evenly between jars as well. Use a plastic utensil to push the carrots down around the cucumbers.  Place 1 garlic clove, 1 Tablespoon dill seed, 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, and 3/4 Tablespoon pickling salt in each jar.

Heat the vinegar to boiling in a non-metal or coated pot. (Vinegar reacts with metal and turns cloudy) Pour it carefully into each jar leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.

Wipe rims and put on lids and rings.

Place in canner and cover with water to one inch over top of highest lid. Cover Canner and bring to a boil. Process for 15 minutes at a rolling boil. Let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing them from water bath and let sit on counter for 24 hours before removing rings and storing in a cool, dark place.

Enjoy these delicious dilled carrots and pickles!!

Yields 8 pints

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pickled Peppers

My husband loves spicy food and I do not! One of our solutions to this problem has been him adding hot peppers to his food. Have you ever bought a jar of pickled peppers at the store? They are ridiculously expensive for a small container!

This is the third summer I have been pickling hot peppers for my hubs. They turn out great, aren't soggy or spongy,  and have great flavor. Plus they are one of the easiest things to can!

Here is the recipe so that you can make your own pickled peppers to enjoy year round.

4 1/2 pounds fresh hot peppers (I use mostly jalapeno with a few Serrano or habanero tossed in)
4 1/2 cups distilled vinegar (either white or apple cider, they just need to be labeled as being 5% acidity)
4 1/2 cups water
8 Tablespoons Pickling Salt 8 cloves of garlic (optional and can be omitted)
8 pint jars, lids and rings

Wash the peppers. Put on gloves! (Pepper juice burns your skin!) Using either a knife, mandolin, or grater with whole slice option; thinly slice all the peppers into a large bowl. I use a mandolin and it goes very fast. Slice the peppers all the way to the tops but do not include the stems. Keep the seeds in the bowl with the slices.

Get your jars sanitized and the lids and rings ready.
Mix the water and vinegar together in a non-metal or coated pan. Vinegar reacts with metal and turns cloudy. Bring to a boil.

Fill jars with sliced peppers (including seeds), add 1 tablespoon of salt to each jar and one garlic clove. Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers in the jars leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Add lids and rings.

Place jars in your Canner and cover with water to at least one inch above jar lids. Place lid on canner and process for 10 minutes in water bath. Let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing to your counter-top. Allow jars to sit for 24 hours before removing rings and storing in a cool, dark place.

Yields 8 pints.

Hope that you enjoy these! Do not alter the recipe or you will throw off the acidity balance and make it unsafe. Always follwo safe canning practices to avoid botulism and other bacterial growth in your food!

For more fun and easy recipes, be sure and check out Gluten-Free & DIY Tuesdays page on Allergy Free Alaska's blog!  

Holy Kisses and Hugs

Last week at church an older woman I have only spoken to twice started to give me a hug as she was greeting me. She stopped midway and asked,"Are you a hugging person?" I smiled and responded, "yes!" and hugged her back. After we had gone our separate ways Matt asked, "So you two are on hugging terms now?"

When Matt said that it made me think; shouldn't we always be on hugging terms? We keep space between us and other people. Emotional space, intellectual space, and physical space. We have a few people we let pass our barriers, but if you really stop and think about it, how many more people are on the outside of every barrier you could possibly put between you and them?

I love hugs. Yes, they are a sign of affection. And yes, I get a million cuddley ones a day from my kiddos. But I very rarely get a strong, firm hug from someone who isn't my husband. To me, hugs are both reassuring and a sign of love. They say, "I love you, and I've got your back."

Paul says repeatedly in the New Testament, "greet one another with a holy kiss." During my time in Mozambique I got kissed constantly when greeting people. I even got kissed on the lips by a very old woman with no teeth! That was their custom, their culture, their way of showing respect and honor. Here in America I am lucky to get to shake hands with someone new I meet at church, and once we move past the hand shake there is no more physical contact at all.

Jesus said that the world would know we were His disciples by our love. But how are we showing the world our love? By smiling at each other from across the sanctuary on Sunday mornings?  By liking someone's Facebook updates but not speaking to them in person? I don't think those are the things Jesus had in mind when He was speaking of a love that would point people to Him.

Like I said before, I love hugs. I love the way they say, both verbally, physically and emotionally, "I love you, and I've got your back." I'm going to start hugging more people whom I have not hugged before. I want to be a person of love, a person who exudes a life changing love constantly. I want to be a person who says, "I am such a lover because of the One who gave everything to love me." And when I hug you, I will be saying, "I love you, I've got your back, I care about you, and I am here being Jesus' arms for you right now."

Be on the lookout, because the next time you see me, you will be hugged. You've been warned....

Friday, July 11, 2014

Raspberry Jam with Maple Syrup

I used the bulk of my raspberries to make jam with. We use jam everyday and love it! Usually I try not to put any sweetener in my jams and jellies, fruit is plenty sweet on its own. But raspberries are acidic and tend to get sour as jam, so I opted for maple syrup to take that acidic edge off.
12 cups mashed raspberries
2 cups 100% cranberry juice
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Low or No-Sugar-Needed Pectin
1/2 cup organic maple syrup

Wash the raspberries and then mash them in a large cooking pot. Add the cranberry juice and slowly sprinkle in the pectin, stirring as you add so it does not clump. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add in the maple syrup and then bring to a hard boil. Boil hard for one minute while stirring constantly. After the minute is up, remove from heat.

Skim off any foam and carefully pour hot jam into pre-sanitized and ready jars. Add rings and lids (that are prepared) and place in Canner . Cover the highest jar with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a hard boil and process for 10 minutes (for pints and half pints) with canner covered. Let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing from canner. Allow jars to sit for 24 hours before removing rings and storing in a cool, dark place.

Yields 15 cups of jam
*Note: You can make a half batch (or smaller) of this recipe. Just maintain ratios as listed above to have a safe canning experience. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Paleo Raspberry Crisp

Gabriella talked constantly about wanting to make a raspberry crisp (she keeps calling it cobbler and Xander called it berry pot pie) so today she and I made one together. This recipe calls for 2 types of sweetener, which normally I only use one. But we had already added the first kind and she saw the maple syrup jug and said, "mommy we can put maple syrup in so you can eat it!", so we added a little. 
This is Gabriella's first time helping make up a recipe and she did great!

4 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried
Crisp Topping:
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon organic maple syrup
3 Tablespoons organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
Pour berries into a 9 inch pie plate. Combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash together with a form until completely mixed.
Crumble the topping evenly over the berries.
Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Watch carefully not to over cook because coconut flour burns very quickly in the oven!
Remove from oven and enjoy once it has cooled a bit.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Berry Picking

The kids and I found a wonderful berry farm to pick at this year! We got up at 6 am (normal wake up is 8) and drove an hour to get to the berry farm by 8 am, but it was worth it!

It was practically the end of strawberry season so we only picked just over a pound of very tiny ones. Xander wasn't particularly helpful with those because he ate most of what he picked!

But isn't he just so cute?!

The real score were the raspberries! The bushes were taller than me, well maintained and in very long, straight rows. The rows were about 6 feet apart so there was plenty of space to roam, but nowhere foe the kids to run off to.

The farm uses "natural growing methods" which basically means no chemicals but not certified as organic (its pricey to do).

Gabriella was an amazing helper! I was pleadantly surprised at how well she did picking and staying focussed consudering she is only 4. I took both kids by myself and was not expecting to get a whole lot accomplished but was pleasantly surprised.  We picked 11 pounds in 50 minutes! 

Gabriella hard at work.

It always frustrates me when people complain about their kids, don't interact with them, don't do things because they have them, etc. Our kids are miracles and I LOVE having them with us!  I feel like they enrich and add to our lives, not take away from it. (Don't get me wrong, I love a good date night with the hubs!) At any rate, after picking I told Gabriella how proud I was of her and that she was now my official berry picking buddy. You should have seen the look on her face!

Be watching for lots of raspberry recipes coming!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Organic Blueberry Pomegranate Jelly with Maple Syrup

I had a few more bottles of the Santa Cruz Organic juices so I made some more jelly with them. This batch was made using 100% Blueberry Pomegranate Juice.
2, 32 ounce bottles of Organic 100% Blueberry Pomegranate Juice (64 ounces total)
1 1/3 cup water
3/4 cup organic lemon juice
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
6 Tablespoons Low or No-Sugar-Needed Pectin

Stir together juices and water in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Slowly sprinkle in pectin and stir so it does not clump. Bring to a boil. Add in maple syrup. Bring to a boil again and hold at a rolling boil for 1 minute. Then remove from heat.

Carefully pour into pre-sanitized and prepared canning jars and top with prepared lids and rings. Place jars into Canner and cover completely with water, to 2 inches over the highest lid. Process at a full boil for 10 minutes with lid on but not pressurized.  Let sit for 5 minutes after processing is done before removing jars. 

Allow jars to sit in a cool place for 24 hours before removing rings and storing.

Note: This jelly will not set up at room temperature and is more like a syrup. When placed in the refrigerator it will set up firmer to be more of a jelly consistency. 

Want more amazing gluten-free recipes and diy projects? Check out the Gluten-Free and DIY Tuesdays page on Allergy Free Alaska's blog.
Blueberry-Pomegranate jelly is on the left and my Organic Apricot-Peach jelly is on the right. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Organic Apricot Jelly ~ No sugars added

My kitchen was gathering a giant stack of empty mason jars so it was time to take action. I grabbed a few bottles of organic juice and decided to make some jelly with them.
You can make jelly (aka jam made from juice and not fruit) from any juice. I couponed some Santa Cruz Organic juices last year for $1.50 per bottle. Score!

Gabriella and I decided to make apricot jelly first. I had a few peaches so we chopped them up and added them to the apricot jelly, just for a little texture.

Gabriella is 4 and is actually at the point where she is more helpful than distracting, but just barely! I'm a big advocate of including your kids in everything you do, even if it makes it take longer to do. If you don't want them around, why have them in the first place? Also, I think it is important for kids to learn skills like canning,  cooking, chopping, etc. Healthy habits start young! Okay, end rant. Back to the jelly!
Here is the recipe so you can make your own.

64 ounces organic 100% apricot nectar
2 cups chopped organic peaches
1 cup water
1/4 cup organic lemon juice
1/2 cup of Low or No-Sugar-Needed Pectin

Peel and chop the peaches. As you can see, my helper was assisting me during this part with her butter knife. As a result, a lot of the pieces were quite large that got dumped into the jelly. If you are making this unassisted, chop the peaches into very small pieces. The idea was just to add a little texture to the jelly.

Pour the apricot juice, water and lemon juice into a large cooking pot. Put on medium-high heat. Add in chopped peaches and slowly sprinkle in the pectin, mixing as you add it so that it does not clump. Stir gently until it boils.

This was the first time I have ever let Gabriella stir a pot on the stove. She thought it was awesome. As soon as it started to boil I had her move back and I took over.

Stir the jelly constantly while it is at a rolling boil for 1 minute. Then remove from heat.
Fill your canning jars and leave 1/2 inch headspace. Put on lids and rings. Put jars in your Canner and cover with water until it is 1-2 inches above the highest jar. Process at a boil for 10 minutes. Then let them rest for 5 minutes before removing (carefully) from canner. Let sit for 24 hours in a cool, dark place before moving to storage.

My batch yielded 11 cups of jam