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Tag Archives: cooking

Nothing like procrastinating until the last day of the month but here we are. Earlier this month I did buy two large boxes of produce: one box of bell peppers which we chopped and put in the freezer; and a mixed box of avocados & tomatoes, which we ate fresh. No other appropriate for canning deals were presented to me! 😉 I really did not think I was going to make it.

Then today, I got a call while at work from my friend Barbara. IGA had boxes of mushrooms for $10 each. So I splurged and got two for us and two for Mo! She even delivered them to me! What a deal!

Once home I put the kiddos to work helping slice up one full box. They a took a turn slicing & dicing. Thing 1 had prepped jars for me and got the kitchen in order for canning. A big help!

Once prepped I started blanching them and filling jars. I ended up with 21 half pints in the canner. I’m going to process at 11# for 45 mins.

Blanched ‘shrooms in the jar.

A case of canned mushrooms, in the little cans, is about $14 here. So $24.50 if I had bought them the same amount, and my jars are larger than the little cans. Basically I got a 1 3/4 cases of ‘shrooms for $10, less than half price. Great deal!

Besides canning this evening I made some farmer’s cheese with a gallon of fresh goat milk I also got from Barbara! I’ve got friends with the goods!!

Cheese with spices, ready to mix.

All mixed up: chipotle, garlic & parsley. This will be great on tacos or enchiladas! Fresh from the farm cheese.

Besides all this food prep I made dinner. Whew, I’m tired. It feels good to have put up an entire box of mushrooms. The other box will be used divided up between fresh use and dried. Many thanks to my kiddos & Barbara for helping me achieve my March OAMC goal!!

Pretty mushrooms in jars
This is *the* best seasoning for butter chicken!! You've got to try it!
Still not feeling well, needed something quick, easy and dairy free for dinner. Potato soup it is.
I'm making all the spicy foods today.

I’m not sure yet if it’s just wishful thinking but it feels like I’m breathing easier with less sinus congestion (aka mucus). I’m hopeful that’s a positive change from my little experiment. Time will tell.

I’ve been reading as much as I can on inflammation and how to reduce or eliminate it from my body. There’s a plethora of info out there and from trusted sources! That’s a plus!

Most of what I’ve read says less meat and dairy, no processed foods, more leafy greens and bright colors, more plant protein, more fruit, and lean animal protein. Lots of Omega-3 and fish, healthy seeds and nuts. And a little red wine daily. 🍷 The Mediterranean Diet is often sited a proven anti-inflammatory diet.

Pretty much our entire diet is on the “don’t eat it list”… Lol Wonderful! I may exaggerate a bit.

I’ll be spending the next few weeks working on getting back to basics and returning to the healthier diet that I used to consume. Implementing some gradual changes so my crew doesn’t mutiny.

Fish is an easy start. We eat a lot of salmon, but not always in regular intervals. It’s often consumed for lunch. It’s in our diets weekly, sometimes twice a week or more. I can start making sure we eat at least two salmon meals a week, every week.

We eat quite a bit of poultry but red meat is Dean’s favorite and consequently we all have grown quite accustomed to it, regularly. This will be the main challenge to try and adjust down.

Some “experts” say it takes 8 weeks without added sugars to really notice changes in your health. Hmmm. That’s a long time. Lol

Here’s a few links if you’re interested in more information.

Harvard Health Foods that fight inflammation.

Very Well Health Anti-inflammatory diet.

Eating Well Anti-inflammatory Meal Plan

Eat This Steps to stop sugar cravings

You Bake! Lil Mister's cookie designs.

Living in the far North is not only a beautiful and majestic experience but it’s a lesson in working with what you have, especially with food.

Our climate here in South Central is mild compared to other parts of Alaska. With our long daylight hours in summer we can grow a vast array of vegetables. Some of which can get quite large, huge cabbage anyone? Cruciferous vegetables do very well here as do potatoes, carrots, rhubarb and others. What doesn’t do well here are long season and heat loving growers like pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes and okra.

We can grow tomatoes, in greenhouses, and I have friends who do successfully each year. Usually there’s a sample of tomatoes and cucumbers from our friends Jane & Marion each summer. The taste of those fresh veggies just does something magical to my soul. There’s just no comparison with grocery store veg.

The one thing I haven’t been able to grow, and I haven’t found anyone else who is either, is okra. I tried one year, got some blooms. But just as the blooms were falling off and baby okra buds were appearing we had a hard frost and I lost everything in the greenhouse. A real bummer.

Locally okra is available two ways: pickled and frozen. The pickled okra is $5 for a small jar which is reserved for special occasions and not regularly purchased. I do buy the frozen quite often though. I make do. Sometimes I bread it frozen and fry it but usually it just goes into a gumbo or my “good & plenty” southern casserole.

The price has gone up!

I once saw fresh okra at a local store about 7-8 years ago, and I got excited! But as soon as I got close enough to examine it all hope was lost. It was already too far gone to eat. Boo!

So I’ll continue to make do with my frozen okra and whenever I’m outside at the right season I’ll gorge myself on fresh okra and tomatoes!

Here’s a great resource about okra and some recipes to try. Not only is it tasty but it’s really good for you. And I’ll walk you through my hot dish recipe.

Good & Plenty Southern Casserole

You will need 2 cans of black eyed peas, or equivalent of home-cooked, 1 can Rotel or similar style tomatoes with chilies, I pkg frozen okra (or fresh if you’re so lucky), Cajun seasoning, 1 lb sausage, (I use chicken, turkey or homemade moose) and a batch of cornbread batter. You can use a box mix or make it from scratch.

Fry the sausage until cooked through. Add the cans of veg, Cajun seasoning to taste and frozen okra. Mix well. Pour into a large casserole dish (13×9) then top with the cornbread batter.

Mixture before the cornbread.

Bake in a 350° oven until the cornbread is golden and filling is bubbling hot.

To serve: cut into portions and serve it upside down, cornbread on bottom and filling piled on top. A little hot sauce on top and enjoy! It’s great as a main course or as a side.

Use pre-cooked sausage for a super fast and easy casserole.

After a busy day of craft showing and lots of high energy kids I need a super easy dish! Let me know if you try it!

Back in September when Niki was here, we foraged a lot of food. We picked abundant low-bush cranberries, rosehips and crabapples. I found the perfect recipe on Pinterest to make with all three them!

Over at The Backyard Forager I found this gem, Cranberry, Rosehip & Crabapple chutney. It’s amazing and very simple to make. One variation I made was to leave the rosehip seeds in and then put the cooked mixture through a ricer to make a smooth sauce. So much simpler than seeding those little hips.

It’s amazing with turkey.

Cooking the chutney.

I cannot wait to use it to top a latke with cream cheese & smoked salmon, it’s gonna be delicious!

I bet it’s wonderful on top of salmon croquettes too.

It’s going on some grilled chicken soon.

The possibilities are endless.

I can’t tell how good it feels to eat delicious food that you foraged yourself. Alaska feeds us so well.

Head over to The Backyard Forager, there’s a plethora of information there, recipes, online classes, and much more.

Half eaten meatballs & tomato gravy. So very good.

The high was a balmy 29° F today so we decided it was a great day to smoke a turkey.

Dean got the grill going with an indirect heat set-up. I spatchcocked our little turkey. Oiled it up and put on a a Spice Island turkey rub. And then we smoked it for 4 hours.

Naked and oily.

After four hours I put it in a moderate oven for about 45 mins while I finished the sides.

Smoked spiced turkey.

I made a potato salad reminiscent of Grandma’s but not quite as much mustard and not totally mashed. Then I worked super hard to open the can of Bush’s baked beans to round out the meal. BBQ sauce and an olive/pickle tray and bam, dinner’s ready!