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Friday, September 30, 2016

Yellow Lard Cake with Butter-Cream Frosting (For a Crowd)



Lard (fat from a pig) has been used for thousands of years as a culinary ingredient.  Indeed, the fat from any animal was considered just as important as the meat (as well as the organs).  During the early 20th century, something changed in the United States however; delicious lard, along with other saturated fats, were labeled as being "bad for you."  Things like shortening and margarine became the new healthy fats of choice.

Friday, September 23, 2016

DIY Rose Petal Extract

My interest in roses, and maybe medicinal herbs in general, probably got started way back in my middle school years (this may sound unrelated to roses, but bear with me).  I did a report on the famous scientist and supposed predictor of the future, Nostradamus.

You may have heard of Nostradamus, and his famous book Les Propheties, which supposedly predicted future events. Why am I rambling on about Nostradamus? Because whether or not he predicted the future, he did indeed create something called a "rose pill," which was a lozenge he made using rose hips. These rose pills were used during the time of the plague, and helped many people, probably due to the high vitamin C content. I remember learning this as a kid, and finding it fascinating that something so simple as a rose plant could heal a case of the plague!

Many years have passed since that middle school report, but still, I like to experiment with plants and herbs. We moved a couple years ago to a farmhouse that has several rose bushes on the property:

One of our rose bushes, an old garden variety.



















Friday, September 16, 2016

Eggs a la Suisse: A Delicious 3 Ingredient Breakfast

I am in love with another old cookbook (I think this is #2,759).



This one is called Farm Journal's Country Cookbook, and I found it at a garage sale buried in a box of old books.  It was marked for $2.00; normally, that would be too expensive for a used book, because I'm such a cheapskate.  But, it's not just an old book.  It's an old COOKBOOK.  The cookbook itself was published in the 1950s, but all the recipes in it came from Farm Journal Magazine editors and readers, which has been around since the 1800's.

The recipes in this cookbook come from a time when most food was still "real," and things like butter, cream, and egg yolks were considered nutritious.  Personally, I fell off the "low-fat" bandwagon some years ago, and I fell hard.  I now eat all kinds of butter and cream (plus lard, tallow, avacados, and coconut oil), and of course, plenty of eggs, since our pretty hens share with us.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea


According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) contain plentiful amounts of Vitamins A, B, C and D, iron, potassium, and zinc.  The entire plant has an active biochemistry that has made it a valuable medicinal for centuries, from flower, to leaf, to root.  The root in particular is high in phenolic acids (which protect against oxidative damage) and inulin (a prebiotic that encourages beneficial bacteria to grow in the gut).1

Monday, April 25, 2016

Homemade Pasta

Few things can top the taste of homemade Fettuccine Alfredo, made with fresh noodles.  It is one of my family's staple meals.  But we eat all kinds of fresh pasta here, from spaghetti and meatballs, to lasagna, so pasta is something we make frequently.



Why make pasta when you can just buy it?

Good question.  It takes more time than picking up a box of it at the grocery store, doesn't it?  My reasons include:

1.  Fresh pasta tastes better.
2.  We like thick noodles.  Thick and chewy, slathered in a sauce of some kind.
3.  We can use healthier flours (whole grain, sprouted, freshly ground) and avoid unhealthy additives (synthetic vitamins, like niacin, iron, and folic acid).
4.  We just like making our own stuff.

Whatever your reasons are, I'm sure that you will find pasta easy enough to make.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Homemade Window Cleaner and Vintage Cookbooks

There are three shelves in my kitchen overflowing with cookbooks. Many of these cookbooks are what I call "old church cookbooks." They are generally found at garage sales and thrift stores, and most of them that I find are from the 1950s-1960s (though I have many from as early as the 1920s, and plenty from the 70s and 80s). 
 


These cookbooks are real gems, and whenever I see one, I make sure to snatch it up.  Religion has nothing to do with it, so it doesn't matter your faith or lack of; these cookbooks made by the church's "Recipe Committees" are full of vintage wonderfulness.  They are a real snapshot of American housewives in the mid-century 1900s.  Often times, the previous owner of the cookbook has made notes in it, or has saved other recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers and tucked them inside (as seen in the black cookbook above).  There are always a few surprises to be found.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Homemade 100% Lard Soap

This post is written especially for my homesteader friends--maybe you are raising pigs, or going in on a pig with someone--make sure you get that lard, and render it!  Not only is it great for cooking, but it also makes a nice bar of soap.

Lard is useful for cooking and soap-making.
Properly rendered lard should be white and fairly odorless.