In the Kitchen with Grandma Jo

I have been baking and cooking for the upcoming Holidays. Nope, definitely not good for the waist line as I do test them all.   This ritual reminds me of my Grandma Jo’s kitchen, always full of fantastic smells and always cookies in her cookie jar. There are times when I feel her in my kitchen shaking her finger at me for taste testing.

My latest culinary creation was “Cranberry-Ginger Chutney”

The ginger gives the cranberries a little kick. Here is a single batch of the yummy goodness. I double the recipe and bottle then freeze (leave room at the top for expansion) so I can have some all year around.

1 bag cranberries

2 cups spiced apple cider

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 tsp grated FRESH ginger (please remember to peel first)

1/2 tsp lemon, lime or orange zest (optional, I use lime)

1/2 tsp salt

In a medium sized pan, boil the cranberries with the apple cider 6 to 7 minutes until you hear the berries popping. Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes. Then add the brown sugar, ginger, citrus zest and the salt. Let all this goodness simmer for another 20 minutes. Transfer to containers and refrigerate.

If making a large batch, pour the hot liquid (careful not to burn yourself) into canning jars. Invert (set jar on lid) so it will seal correctly. Store again in the refrigerator and give as gifts.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Handmade Gifts – Crock Pot Apple Butter

Again this year I am making my Home Made Apple Butter.  Great gift idea!

Crock Pot Apple Butter

6 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (add when finished cooking)

  1. Core and slice apples. I do not peel mine.
  2. Put the apples in a 4 quart or larger crock pot, then add the sugar and spices. Stir the mixture the best you can then cover and cook on high for one hour.
  3. Cook on low (stirring occasionally, I stir every hour), until the apple butter reaches a spreadable consistency and is dark brown in color. This takes 12 or more hours depending on your crock pot.
  4. Transfer to hot, sterilized jars (aproximately 8 half pints), I boil my jars and lids and imediately fill as I take them out of the boiling water. Take care not to fill past the headspace line. Refrigerate any jars that fail to seal properly.

 

To Freeze: Allow the jars to cool. Then, place in the freezer. Use within a year, for the best quality.

 

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Yield: 4 pints

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

Directions:

Notes:

– I used a combination of Granny Smith, Red Delicious and Honey Crisp apples for this recipe. I also increased my recipe to 9 pounds of apples and adjusted the rest of the recipe accordingly. This yielded 12 half pints.
– The sweetness of your apples will depend on how much sugar you use. I used mostly brown sugar as I try to stay away from white sugar. Adjust according to your apples and preferences.

– You can speed up cooking time by keeping it on high but you MUST stir every hour.
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What a Beautiful Morning

Morning Journaling

It is cloudy out this morning, which makes it a good time to sit down and journal. Although any time is a good time to journal. Day, night, rain or shine, journal and feel the stress leave your body.

Why journal? It clears the heart and soul of things that get in the way. Sorrow, fear, hate. Write them down and close the journal and walk away. Better yet, tear out that page and burn it. You will be surprised how much satisfaction and cleansing this will bring.

THEN, journal about the things you are thankful for in your life, be it either the past or the present. Your family, friends, the animals in your life, there is no limit of people or things that bring you great joy. There is so much to be thankful for each and every day.

I am thankful for the clouds and rain as they are rare where I live. The beautiful sunrise I got to see this morning because my cat Thor Kitty insisted I get up. Now, because I got up, I get the witness and enjoy the rare quiet of my house, as I sit here journaling with coffee in hand and my cat curled up at my side.

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Grow, Live Life

Things do not change; we change. ~Henry David Thoreau~

Unless we are willing to grow, change, challenge ourselves we will never become the person we were meant to be.  The best way to chronical our every changing lives is to journal.  You don’t need to journal evey day, try three times a week.  You will be amazed what you find out about yourself.

Spontaneous Natural Growth

1.Ignore negative input from family and others

2.Read

3.Study, Search, Investigate

4.Meditate

5.Discover Yourself

Developing and writing about our personal insights and thoughts can help us recognize our goals and passions in life.

Establishing and understanding our personal independent nature, uniqueness and our place in the design of life – past, present, and future – is an ongoing quest.

Learn from the past, live for today, and plan for the future.

“You should live every day like it’s your last day because one day you’re gonna be right.”   Ray Charles

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Allergy Journal

Allergy Journal

I have found over the last few years that I have more food allergies then you can shake a stick at!  It all started when I could not keep any food down and the doctors could not, with all their tests, figure out what was wrong with me.  This is when I started keeping a food/allergy journal.

A food journal is not a substitute for the guidance of your physician. Rather, it is a supplement.

Food allergies are quite common, especially in the young and as you start aging.

Begin by eliminating the most common triggers of food allergies:

  • Berries
  • Buckwheat
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Egg Whites
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peas
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pork
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat
  • Yeast

Then after one week, with none of these foods in your diet, start introducing them back into your diet, slowly, one by one and write down, in your food journal, how you react to them.  Jot down if you seem tired, irritable, happy.  How do you feel, what is your mood, grumpy etc.  Do your joints burn, do you have dancing legs, sleepless nights.

Each time you eat, mark the time and write down every food you eat, (in a single colum) including brand names, beverages, and frying oils. Note any additions, toppings, sides or additives. The goal is to be as complete and truthful as possible. Do update your journal immediately after eating; this is one of those tasks that is easiest to do after each meal or snack. Write it down while you still remember.

If you experience symptoms, in the colum next to the foods, write down a brief discription of your symptoms/reactions. While your physician is in the best position to determine whether the most recent meal or any snack item has actually caused the symptoms, this is a good way to keep the journal organized.

A lot of people are allergic to the additives in processed foods.  I now make my own bread in order to avoid these additives.  I also grow a lot of my own vegetables to avoid GMO’s or Genetically Modified Foods.

Nightshade Allergy Symptoms

The first symp­toms of the affects of night­shades are sleepi­ness, abdom­i­nal cramps, diar­rhea, dancing legs within the first hour after ingest­ing and often migraine headaches within 24 hours. Many peo­ple suf­fer with chronic joint pain due to a sen­si­tiv­ity to night­shade plants, which will even­tu­ally lead to arthri­tis if ignored.

The nightshade family of plants are eggplant, peppers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplants, pimentos, huckleberries, tomatillos, paprika, ground cayenne pepper and hot sauce and yes . . . even blueberries and tobacco. These plants have alkaloids which can cause inflammation and cause allergic reactions. If a person is allergic to one nightshade food, then there is a 75% chance they will be allergic to all nightshades.

Nightshade allergies seem to have more symptoms than other food allergens. Here is a partial list of symptoms which can result from a nightshade allergy:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin swelling

Treatment

MayoClinic.com states “The best treatment for an allergy to nightshade vegetables is to eliminate them from your diet. If you accidentally consume nightshade vegetables, use an antihistamine to treat minor allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes and hives. Over-the-counter digestive medications will have no effect on digestive symptoms until the proteins pass.”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/320713-allergies-to-nightshade-vegetables/#ixzz1tS6qr5FF

Eliminating foods in the nightshade family may provide pain relief for arthritis sufferers. Research suggests that some people may be sensitive to the alkaloids found in nightshade, or Solanaceae, foods. Along with joint pain, the nightshade foods may cause muscle spasms and digestive upset. You may find some common substitutes for the nightshade foods helpful.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/265055-list-of-foods-for-those-allergic-to-nightshade/#ixzz1tS7SrSc8

I am not an expert, but this is what helped me determine my food allergies!

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Milk Free Cheese Cake- A Year of Living Cheap

What did our parents ever do without the internet?  I use the internet every day to research prices and products I need.  I also use the internet for recipes for thing I want to make, bake and create.  I have a lot of food allergies and this is such a huge help in finding substitutes of items in the recipes.

I love cheese cake but am lactose intolerant.  A lot of people can not have milk products and their symptoms range from simple gas to those of us that have to run quickly to the bathroom!  Since I want to take a cheese cake to our family Thanksgiving dinner and I can find no bakery in my area that makes dairy free cheese cakes that don’t cost an arm and a leg, I did my research and here is what I found!

PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

COOK TIME: 1 HOUR

TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR, 30 MINUTES

YIELD: 1 9″ CHEESECAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cup finely ground dairy-free graham cracker crumbs (from either store-bought or homemade graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 5 T. melted dairy-free soy margarine
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 8-ounce packages dairy-free cream cheese, such as Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • Egg Replacer for 4 eggs (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer) or, alternatively, 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free sour cream, such as Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • For the Topping:
  • Several tablespoons of dairy-free sour cream, such as Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • 1 21-ounce can cherry pie topping
  • Vegan Whipped Cream, for serving (optional)

PREPARATION:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9″ spring-form pan well with dairy-free soy margarine. Set aside.

2. Make the crust. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and white granulated sugar until well combined. Add the melted dairy-free soy margarine and mix until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up 2″ of the sides of the prepared pan. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack while preparing the filling.

3. Make the filling. Using a standing mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the dairy-free cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to mix until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the Egg Replacer, beating until well combined, followed by the dairy-free sour cream and pure vanilla extract, beating well with each addition and scraping down the sides periodically to ensure even mixing. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cheesecake is lightly browned. Spread several tablespoons of dairy-free sour cream over the surface of the cheesecake to fill in any cracks. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely for 1-2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill completely. Top with the cherry topping, then return the cake to the refrigerator for 1 more hour. Serve the cake cold with Vegan Whipped Cream if desired.

And here is the link I used. http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/cakes/r/Cherry-Cheesecake.htm  

Enjoy!

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Thank You, I Appreciate That

Thank You, I Appreciate That

Tell someone you appreciate them, today!  Why?  Well first it will make them smile and smiles are the most beautiful things in the world.  It will make them feel good which in turn will make you feel good.  Don’t be insincere.  There is nothing worse than being insincere.  You are lying to them and that is bad karma and that will come back to bite YOU in the butt.  Just a simple “thank you” acknowledging your appreciation is the first step.

The dictionary describes appreciation as “gratitude; thankful recognition”.

Look past the surface of the person before you, find the worth of that person.  Then, express to them your appreciation of what they have done or are doing.

If you are not comfortable saying “Man I really appreciate what you’ve done for me” a simple “Thank you” goes a long way.  Feeling appreciated, genuinely appreciated, lifts peoples spirit and it gives a boost to their self worth, their value not only to you but to others.

Tell your children  how much you appreciate their help every day.  Even if it is a chore around the house they started out doing it willingly or not.  They will be more apt to help you the next time or will even help without even being asked!  Saying “thank you” once is not enough.  Make it a habit when you appreciate what someone else has done whether it was for you or for someone else.  Acknowledge their thoughtfulness.

Practice appreciation by starting with yourself.  Acknowledge when you have accomplished something good.  You have the right to feel good.  Pat yourself on the back.

Hey, Great Job!! Now doesn’t that feel good!

“Every time we remember to say “thank you”, we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.”Sarah Ban Breathnach

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