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  • Blog Post: Got Cabbage? A Kraut Recipe Roundup

    So you’ve got fourteen cabbages leftover from the harvest and you’ve already made more sauerkraut than you care to admit. Or, maybe your local grocer has cabbage on sale for $.20/lb and if you make cabbage rolls one more time your family will revolt. Ditto more sauerkraut. Preserving cabbage by making kraut is an excellent way to keep it for longer without killing it through canning. Also, it’s tastier, at least in my opinion. There are myriad ways in which to make kraut interesting so today I thought I’d share a rundown of some of these ideas. Ya know, in case you’ve either got cabbages coming out your ears, or you simply want something new and interesting on the ferment shelf. Read More
  • Blog Post: Testing Out Sprouting Seed Viability

    One thing that we have to pay attention to here on our homestead is seed viability. After a few years of holding onto those seed packets, the germination rate in our garden begins to plummet. And so we generally only keep seed around for a year or two at the most, depending on our ability to keep it cool and dry. Sprouting seeds are no different. After exposure to certain elements and when enough time has passed since the original seed harvest, these seeds begin to lose their livelihood, eventually refusing to sprout under any conditions. Read More
  • Blog Post: Raw Goat Milk Yogurt (You eat with a Spoon)

    I really didn’t mean to write yet another post about cultured dairy today. It’s not like it’s the only DIY project I’ve got going on right now with melt and pour soap, fermented vegetables, beet kvass, goat cheese, kefir of all kinds, and sourdough all hanging out in my kitchen. But, raw milk yogurt is an elusive thing for those of us with a real food bent – like perfectly brewed kombucha and super-gelatinous bone broth. Before I get too nerdy on you though, let me just say that I tried out a new method, it was simple, and it worked. So this may be my new method for making homemade raw yogurt because it was thick and creamy. Read More
  • Blog Post: Nourishing Soups and Ferments for Cozy Winter Meals

    It’s time for cozy meals by the fire in our home and I’m guessing if that’s the case in Central Texas, it is where you’re at too. One of the most-oft featured meal on our table is soup. I usually make it more like a stew, allowing much of the bone broth to cook down into chunky vegetables, meat, and rice or potatoes. One pot? Yes, please! The only problem with this perfect scenario is that I also like to serve enzymes with a meal. Bone broth is incredibly nourishing, to be sure, but layering that with some enzymes throws it over the top. In order to keep that one pot meal simple, I don’t really want to get out the bowl, cutting board, and chef’s knife and besides, the more ubiquitous salad ingredients are not in season through the winter. Instead, I turn to ferments to jazz up our simple soups and stews. It’s like convenience food for a nourishing meal… and there are plenty of ways we keep it interesting. Read More
  • Blog Post: My Adventure with a Piesporter Wine Kit

    I was really excited to try one of our new wine kits. The problem was deciding which one to start with when there are so many great options! Initially I thought I’d try more than one kind, but I checked myself. There is only so much space in a house, right? To make the decision easier, I thought of some questions to help. How do I want to enjoy the wine? Is there a particular type of meal I want to serve it with? Do I want something different or tried and true? Do I want to share it as gifts, or keep it all to myself? Where will I be brewing? What is the environment like in my brewing space? I finally chose the Piesporter because it’s a light wine and fairly easy to make. Piesporter comes from the Piesport region of Germany. According to QbA (a certification that declares a food made in accordance to local governing boards) this isn’t a true Piesporter, since it’s fermenting happily in Oregon. However, it meets my criteria for a mild, white wine. It pairs very easily with almost any food. Seafood for dinner? Check! Takeout Thai food? Check! Leftover kids Halloween candy? Sure, why not! Read More
  • Blog Post: Incubating Yogurt: The Hot Water Pot Method

    There are many ways to incubate yogurt. Many prefer the simplicity of an electric yogurt incubator which allows you to start it and forget it. Others enjoy the many do-it-yourself methods of making yogurt, even if they aren’t as sure of a thing. Over the years I have made yogurt using many methods, but never have I ventured into using the electric incubators. This is for no particular reason other than perhaps a bit of an independent streak when it came to the need for electricity. Now that we’re off-grid, that choice is already made for me. Read More
  • Blog Post: Home Dairying Raw Feta Cheese

    From the moment I ate my first hunk of mediocre store-bought feta, I was hooked on this tangy, salty cheese. So you can imagine that once I tasted small-batch feta from a local farmer, I was sold for life. It’s one of my favorite additions to salads and is great in omelets or atop pizza. I also recently discovered, in my quest to find cheeses easy enough that even I can make them, that feta is another fairly simple cheese that can be made at home using raw milk. Once I found that out, I decided to move past yogurt, kefir, and chevre and give this personal favorite a try. It really is easy and our whole family is really excited about the results, so much so that I think it will become a regular staple so long as we have milk. Read More
  • Blog Post: Tempeh Soy Curls

    If you’ve never experienced the delicacy that is Soy Curls™ , you’re missing out. Quite often I avoid soy that has not been fermented, but the taste and texture of well prepared Soy Curls™ can be exquisite. Created in Oregon, Soy Curls™ are great in many recipes and according to their website they are: Read More
  • Blog Post: Simple 3 Ingredient Tooth Powder

    When you want to make sauerkraut and need to use up that goat milk in cheesemaking and you run out of toothpaste, what do you do? I am at a point in my life where in all things and in all cases I am embracing simplicity. It doesn’t have to look just like store-bought to work well and be a cleaner, better product. So this quick tooth powder comes together in two minutes flat when there are plenty of other DIY projects to handle. And it works and stores wonderfully. Read More
  • Blog Post: Home Dairying - The Everyday Basics

    Needing to use up an abundance of milk is a problem I never saw coming. Fermenting pickles makes a lot of sense when you’re staring down bushels of fresh vegetables and I’ve been there. But milk? Read More
  • Blog Post: Choosing Milk for Culturing

    Back before I began culturing frequently, I bought milk without much thought. I tried to get organic when it became available, sought out local dairies and looked for a good price. When I began to use dairy in culturing when I received milk kefir grains from a friend, I learned there was a lot more to milk! And more options have become available in the years since. Read More
  • Blog Post: Recipe Testing: Homemade Baking Soda vs. Clay Deodorant

    The Deodorant Recipes

    Cultures for Health has two different deodorant recipes on their site.

     

    My husband and I have always used the baking soda recipe and it works amazingly well (better than my store bought Dove antiperspirant actually!).

    Blog_Deodorant Making Part 1 Testing Two Kinds_erin_10.06.2015_1The only catch is that to keep it solid here in Hawaii (I like to keep it solid so that I can use the deodorant container for easy application), I always had to keep it in the refrigerator, which needless to say was slightly inconvenient.

    Today I decided to try a new method, and added 1 Tbs. of beeswax granules to the recipe to see if I could keep it solid and out of the fridge. If you would like to try it, melt the coconut oil with the beeswax before adding the other ingredients.

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    My other problem with this recipe is that when I use it right after I shave the baking soda can sting a little. Thus, I decided I would try the clay-based recipe to see if it could stand up to the power of the baking soda recipe while not stinging and also staying solid.

    (My husband, who does not shave, does NOT have this issue and LOVES this deodorant because its the only one that can keep him stink free through a whole day of humid, hot handy-man work!!)

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    Blog_Deodorant Making Part 1 Testing Two Kinds_erin_10.06.2015_4

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    Baking Soda vs. Clay Recipe

    The baking soda deodorant has far fewer ingredients. The ingredients are also much more common (and hence the recipe is easier to make.)

    The clay recipe does not have baking soda in it, so that is already one point in its favor. Both are equally hard at room temperature.

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    We both agree that the baking soda deodorant works the best for us in our hot humid environment. It keeps us both smell-free throughout the day!

    I also have found that with the addition of the beeswax (which I talked about in my last post), the baking soda deodorant is not nearly as irritating on freshly shaved under arms!

    The clay deodorant works, but seems to fade fairly quickly in its effectiveness and needs to be reapplied once or twice throughout the day.

    We have recently added a new recipe to our site (Simple Shea Butter Deodorant), so I will be testing that one as well and will once again report back on our favorites!

    Read More
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