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S.c.o.b.y: Lesson & update

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What the Scoby looked like last week

 

Tomorrow would have marked 3 weeks since I started growing my own Scoby from scratch. I had two glass vases/containers that seemed to be producing…but the Scoby’s were forming at a very slow rate.

It turns out to get the mushroom to grow you have to use distilled water and either black or green tea. I used filtered water but the water must be free of fluoride and chloride…which won’t happen unless you buy distilled. If your water contains any trace of these, they affect Scoby growth.

I had also used Earl Grey tea because it is black tea. Turns out the way Earl Grey is processed it contains oils that affect the fermentation process.

I decided to take a closer look at the Scoby today and check out the tea. I didn’t get to take any photos with the sample I examined but will try to remember with the sample I have left.

The Scoby is a really cool little gem. The tea was still very sweet. There was no taste of vinegar since fermentation was halted from the water and oil presence.

Today I picked up some plain Black Tea and distilled water to give it another try. Since we’ve already had success making our own probiotic yogurt, I’m excited at the premise of having made a successful batch of homemade Kombucha!

Hoping your 1st Saturday of 2016 was restful…

Blessings to all,

Kenzel

 

Maximizing your Rotisserie chicken

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Pictured:
(L) a chicken leg/breast (& some meat that I should have put in bowl on right)
(C) crockpot with bones, etc
(R) remaing meat that I removed from bones.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t like to let anything go to waste.

In the case of a store bought rotisserie chicken, I like to get more than one meal out of it 🙂

What do I do? Our 1st meal we usually finish at least one breast & a leg, and maybe half of the other breast.

I proceed to de-bone the carcass and get all remaining meat off. Believe me when I say, there is a LOT of meat on one of these. More than you’d expect.

I refrigerate this meat & use it in enchiladas, sandwiches, etc.

Finally, the bones, wings and skin are left.

This all goes into the crockpot. I add about a tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar on top of the carcass

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And fill the crockpot with water. Depending on my mood, I might add bay leaves and celery, carrots and onions.

Let it cook for 24 hours and you’ve got homemade stock! I keep mine in the crock for more than 24hrs & keep adding water….this is the reason:

I like to serve myself a cup of broth fresh throughout the day and add salt to taste. Fresh bone broth is really nourishing and quite filling. I especially like it in between meals.

When I’m done with the bones, I pull them out, dump them in the trash and strain the broth into mason jars to cool,  then refrigerate and/or freeze in ice cube trays.

These are the three ways I use my  store bought chicken 🙂

Blessings,
– Kenzel

Homemade Candied Ginger

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The cooked ginger in sugar syrup

I developed an affinity for candied ginger sometime last year. I’d never considered trying to make it though,  until I went to my local farmer’s market and it wasn’t available….(cue the big ‘ole sad face! )

I like eating ginger and how it helps my digestion. But I discovered the most recent ginger I bought actually is made using sulfur dioxide (not such a good thing.)

Thus my inner cook kicked in!

I picked up fresh ginger root yesterday…and found myself peeling it earlier. After two rounds of boiling on the stove, it is now cooling in the syrup base – but not for long.

I plan on draining the syrup and saving it (ginger infused sugar syrup? Imagine the baking possibilities?!)

I have taste tested the paper thin strips and even without being “coated” & tossed with sugar to “crystalize,” these are already really good!

Catch you later!
Blessings,
– Kenzel

Kombucha: Waiting on my “Scoby”

For some people it’s all about coffee

For other’s – daily tea time is a requirement.

Because I am working through Adrenal Stress issues, coffee and caffeine is not my friend.

I don’t drink soda (pop/coke; depending on where you live in the U.S.) because one sip and I feel sick to my stomach.

Then last summer I picked up a bottle of Kombucha. I’ve tried several different brands and flavors. But, I gotta be honest…even if each bottle has two servings in it – these little glass bottle gems aren’t an inexpensive luxury at $3.oo a piece!

So, the cook and baker in me kicked into gear and I started to “wonder” if making Kombucha at home might be possible. I learned months ago it was, but was daunted by the idea of having to make a “Scoby.” Well, I finally took the leap over the weekend and took on the challenge.

I am in beginning process of making a Kombucha Scoby.

Supposedly the process can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks, depending on temperature of the room. I’m trying to keep temperature here about 70*

Kombucha is supposed to be great for Autoimmune and Leaky Gut issues. Which is exactly what I am working to improve. And I love the taste of the flavored Kombucha so I would love it if I could make this work.

Have a Blessed Monday,

-Kenzel

Easy & Kid Friendly – Spanish Rice

 

1 cup Rice

1 can of chicken chicken broth (14/15oz)

water

One small can of tomato sauce (I think this should be paste)

Season with Salt, onion powder, garlic powder

 

Heat oil in pan (one with a lid)

brown rice in oil, add broth, water (use the empty can and fill it about 2/3 of the way with water)

and tomato sauce. Season to taste.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes once it is evenly boiling.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Family Favorite

I have a picture to add of these, just got to find it and upload =)

 

1) Preheat to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat liner (depending on the size cookies you make, you will use 1-3 sheets)

2) In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set Aside (I use a sieve over a bowl for this – makes it SUPER easy)

3) In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until smooth. (this is part1 of the key, don’t rush the mixing process)

4) Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well blended. (here though is the second key, let this mixture mix for 3-5 minutes)

5) Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. (In this case – Do NOT overmix chips – just mix to get them incorporated)

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, 10-13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (6.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp (3 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) milk chocolate chips

 

Now, let me say one thing…I am not a fan of white chocolate. So when I make mine I don’t actually include the 3/4 cup that’s called for here. Yes, I am a recipe “tweaker”

So why do I LOVE these cookies and this recipe so much? Because after all the years of trying different versions…this one has the least tasting “greasy-ness” to it but is the perfect combination of crispy and chewy and mouthwatering-a-licousness.

Recipe from William’s Sonoma Essentials for Baking Cookbook. A much appreciated, much loved book from my friend Mary!

 

 

Green Lentils Braised with Rosemary & Garlic – “Delish!” – By Request

Truth be told I haven’t done that well with sharing posts regarding cooking on this blog. Probably because initially getting the page set up seemed really confusing at first. Hopefully now, it won’t seem so daunting. I’ve got tons of family favorites I could share. We are an “eat at home” family. They’d rather do that than go “out” – go figure?!  So, I’ve honed in on my cooking and baking skills, and now the kitchen is mine… hehehe 🙂

My first post was a kid friendly recipe and so easy to make your kids could make dinner for you.

This recipe is equally as “delish” but waaayyy healthier. Adding a dash (ok, maybe more than that!) of red wine vinegar on top is really the crowning glory to it. I guess I should tell you that this is actually “designed” to be served with Pan-Seared Scallops (and those are to-die for combined with this). But I don’t know how many of you might want to try those as well? If you do want to give them a whirl…leave me a comment and I’ll upload the recipe.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

So, now for the recipe!

 

Lentils Braised with Rosemary and Garlic

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. Rinse the lentils, but don’t soak them. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in an oven-proof pan that has a lid. Saute diced pancetta (bacon) for a bit, then cook the rosemary, onion, and garlic for a couple minutes using the bacon juices. Mix in the lentils to coat them with oil and heat them thoroughly. After a minute, pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover, and cook in the oven for 1 hour. (For once the oven time in a printed recipe was spot on!) Once the lentils are out of the oven, mix into them extra-virgin olive oil and the vinegar and maybe salt with pepper, to taste.The following amount will serve 6, at least:- 2 oz pancetta or bacon
– 1.5 cups / 3.5 dl green/Puy lentils
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 3-5 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
– 1 red onion or 2-3 shallots, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 3 cups / 7 dl chicken stock
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 0.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
– salt & pepper

And here is the link to the website where you will find the above repeated 🙂
Bon Appetite!

http://cucinabizzarra.blogspot.com/2008/03/lentils-braised-with-rosemary-and.html

The braised lentils recipe is actually from Jamie Oliver:

remember Food Revolution on TV back in 2008-09? Yes, that Jamie Oliver 😉

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada’s (Kid friendly)

Easy & Fast Enchilada’s – The kids can help with this!

If you like Mexican food, but you’ve been intimidated by the idea of making it…check out what we’ve been doing for more than a decade: Making them at home 🙂

In the case of Mexican fare…I have to have a very mild palate. I don’t tolerate spice and I’m not fond of pepper…that’s just me.

One of the very first home cooked “Mexican Style” meals I made 11 years ago was this, a Chicken Enchilada recipe. Yes, it has turned into a family favorite. Fortunately, don’t need to follow a recipe to make it and once you’ve done it once, maybe even twice…you’ll never forget it. What makes it so easy? Just 4 simple ingredients (plus optional additions for the dinner table)

First, get all your ingredients together

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I use flour tortillas, *MILD* enchilada sauce,  Mexican shredded cheese and Chicken breast. The first time I made this I used canned chicken breast (that I drained). If I don’t have fresh chicken breast or my chicken breast is still defrosting in the ice box then it’s time to break out the can.

What you see in this picture is fresh chicken breast that I already sauteed in a pan and fileted. What you didn’t see me processing it down from whole to shreds for the filling.

Here’s what it looks like, before I put it all together

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As it turned out, I cooked two chicken breasts and really only needed 1 to feed 4 people (even without side dishes!). Believe it or not, a little goes a long way! You’ll notice in the top photo that I actually used 2 cans of the enchilada sauce. One of them was a Value Mega size and then other is a regular size. I add a bunch of cheese and ~1/3 can of sauce and add them right to the bowl of chicken. The sauce helps keep the chicken and cheese moist during baking.

I used a 9×13 casserole dish that I greased well and put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom. We filled each tortilla with the mixture, rolled it and then placed them all side by side in the pan. Leave some room between each “wrap” so the sauce can fall between the cracks. If you cram them, they will get hard and not be pleasant to eat…take my word for it.

Here’s how they look before their “oven” time: Baking temp 350*

“without cheese”

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“with cheese” (sorry it’s a bit blurry)

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and “right out of the oven”

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With your oven pre-heated and since everything is already cooked, they should be done in 20-25 minutes. This time I did not get to cover them with foil before baking and I let them cook 5 minutes longer than I should have.

My personal condiment favorites are sour cream, diced avocado and tomato.  You could also easily add fresh cilantro to this that’s been washed and chopped. It could go in the filling or sprinkled on top of the sauce (maybe before serving it)

If you like “spicier” foods you can easily turn the spice factor in this up – A Lot!

Chow! 🙂

A Culinary Expedition

My (amateur) “Foodie” Background

Besides writing/blogging and crafting/creating my other favorite hobby passion is cooking and baking. I spend a sizable amount of time in the kitchen. For those that don’t know me well, I don’t eat out a lot – and my kids don’t get much fast food.

A Family Affair

Food was a huge deal in the house when I was growing up. Mom and Dad were both raised during the Great Depression; when you had no choice but to make do with what you had and stretch every last red cent…and then some.

Mom and Dad were both accomplished in the kitchen. While I considered Mom to be the resident baker, they could both cook and cook well. It wasn’t until the last couple years of Mom’s life when I decided to try her homemade sweet relish and their amazing turkey stuffing made with homemade crepes. Holidays were always a gastronomic delight and our daily meals were equally “delish” and her homemade, “scratch” chocolate cake was unforgettable.

The Curiosity Factor

More than a decade went by until I started venturing into the kitchen and decided to try my hand at family food prep. It wasn’t hard to find motivation. Back then, Food Network was already off the ground and the huge hit back then was Emeril Live with Emeril Lagasse. My other favorites were Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray and of course Gale Gand’s Sweet Dreams.

So, into the kitchen I went. Things were a bit bumpy. I’d kind of gotten used to eating out and fast food over the years and doing so was much easier than cooking for one. But I knew being in the kitchen: cooking and baking ought to be a good thing. The kitchen was designed to be the center of the home.

So, my first kitchen test was Jelly. I made homemade strawberry jelly. That was an exercise in futility. Not that anything went wrong but talk about creating a huge mess with dishes. I guess you have to start somewhere, right?

A Taste of Gourmet

Then I committed to taking a class at a winery in the region. Thornton makes a great champagne and they were offering a demonstration cooking class. It was a brilliant idea and I’m still so glad I went to this. It was more for observation on my part than anything but the “program” taught me that

  • Cooking food can be fun
  • Food should bring comfort
  • Making your own food is best
  • Knowing how to “work” a kitchen is the key
  • A good recipe is worth a LOT!

After the class was over I really wanted to learn more…but taking a class at a winery can add up – no matter how much you benefit. So, I became really good friends with Food Network. Course, I didn’t even have a “dvr” at the time. So, it was watch it once and if I needed more…I had to go online. Man, did I do a lot of “recipe printing” back in those days!

A New Generation

Then I found myself thrust into motherhood. Definitely not something for the weak of heart or mind! Yes, I am blessed beyond measure but when push comes to shove SOMEONE still has to “cook” the food we all get to eat.

So now, I have two or three BINDERs full of recipes I work from (most of which I’ve never tried) and create a collection of the tried and true selection we’ve all come to appreciate. A few have fallen by the wayside….but not many!

My goal here is to list recipes that I love, that my kids love and that we use regularly. Cause frankly, there’s no point in sharing something if it’s not a favorite. That doesn’t mean YOU will like it. So, please…cut me some slack if that is the case (Lol!)

Sharing is fun

Food is a common thread for all of us. We eat to survive, thrive, socialize, engage, meet others and explore new tastes. Since I’ve been asked often enough for some of the recipes I’ve made…I’m going to start collecting them here. Hopefully having them virtually stored online on this blog will make it easier in the long run. I can’t count how many times I’ve been looking through my binders for a favorite and I’ve spent 4x’s as long doing that as it would to get it mixed and in the oven!

So, stay tuned and if you’re so inclined, subscribe to the mailing list so you know when I “post” my first “recipe expedition.”

Thanks for stopping by and remember to keep “shining your light,”

-Kenzel

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV / 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.