Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Simple Slow Cooker Pork and Cabbage

This simple slow cooker pork and cabbage recipe is quick to throw together and delicious to come back to after a day at work. It’s appealing to a broad range of tastes, and perfectly warming and comfortable on a chilly autumn or fall evening.

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When I was a kid, I wanted nothing to do with cabbage. Even in my college years, I turned my nose at the stuff. I remember one occasion when a family who didn’t have many worldly possessions invited us over for cabbage soup. They were so excited to share their favorite meal. I am ashamed to say that I gagged down a bowl and didn’t accept a second helping. I just couldn’t bring myself to get over the fact that it was cabbage.

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Healthier Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is one of my favorite winter treats after chilly morning chores or an afternoon of snow-day play. However, the sugar-ridden packets of hot cocoa mix probably aren’t an ideal way to enjoy the drink. Hence, the need for a healthier hot chocolate!

Healthier Hot Chocolate

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You’ll find a gamut of hot chocolate mix recipes on the internet, usually full of sugar and powdered milk. It’s nice to have something pre-made on occasion, but to me, it’s not all that much more convenient than making it fresh. (Besides, fresh just tastes better!)

Here’s the guilt-free recipe that I make for our family.

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Apples, Apples Everywhere

It’s officially fall, and apple season is in full swing here in Pennsylvania. Our trees have apples. We bought apples from an orchard. Our neighbors have brought us apples. My mom brought us apples. My friend offered apple picking from her tree. I think I’ve been dreaming apples.

Apples, Apples Everywhere!So what does one do with so many apples?

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How to Make Homemade Chicken or Turkey Stock

For many of us, there’s not much more nostalgic or comforting than a delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup. Condensed soups, and even higher-quality commercial canned soups, can hardly compare to the taste of the homemade chicken or turkey stock. And if you didn’t know it already, there are many health benefits to homemade stock as well. It’s so much better than bullion!

How to Make Homemade Stock

The good news is that making your own stock is simple, delicious, and almost free (once you’ve bought the bird, of course). It takes a few minutes to get it started, and maybe another 15 minutes to strain it and store it at the end- but that’s a small price to pay compared to purchasing stock at the store.

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How to Make Homemade Yogurt

There are a gazillion and one “how to make homemade yogurt” posts out there, so I don’t offer any new knowledge here when I write this. However, I may bring the knowledge to a new audience, and that is what I care about!

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

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Homemade yogurt is really simple to make, at least half the cost of store-bought yogurt, and healthier because you can control what goes in it. In only has 2 ingredients, and takes only a couple minutes at each step. It’s also a perfect way to help me get in some inexpensive, healthy protein and gut functionality when I’m on my $25 grocery challenge to myself.

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Strawberry-Honey Preserves (No Pectin or White Sugar)

Strawberries are one of the few fruits we reserve for an annual U-pick farm trip. Why we haven’t grown them ourselves yet, I’m not sure! However, the trip to our local farms makes for a fun tradition. What’s more, the kids are getting better at actually getting some in the bucket each year.

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The Craft of Herbal Fermentation: A Course Review

Foraging for plants in your neighborhood. Fermentation and bubbling jars. Homemade concoctions and kitchen experiments. Community. Joy! Can the combination get any better?

I received a free copy of the Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

If you’ve been reading for the past few months, you may know that I was gradually working my way through the Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course from Herbal Academy. Today, I wanted to follow up on my previous posts and sum up my experience with the course.

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Roasted Asparagus & Almonds

Asparagus grows more like a shrub than a quick garden plant. If you plant it from seed, it takes about three years before you can harvest it. But once it’s coming- oh my!- those fresh stalks are so delicious and tender. I hardly get them inside because I’m usually eating them straight from the ground.

If you happen to have some fresh asparagus in your yard, count yourself blessed and go pick some for this recipe. If you don’t, take advantage of seasonal sales to bring some home from the store this spring!

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Fermentation: Building Culture & Community

Lacto-fermentation is a hot trend right now. However, though it may seem like a new thing for young, health-conscious weirdos, the practice has  been around for thousands of years. In fact, for about as long as there have been people, there has been fermentation. As it turns out, it’s also been a huge part of culture and community for all that time.

How fermentation has played into culture and community for thousands of years.

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Preservation & Food Safety

Fermentation is a fantastic way to preserve food without refrigeration. How does it work? While methods vary from food to food, generally the process  is the same. Fermentation occurs when the naturally occurring bacteria on food is combined with some sort of culture: whey, wild yeasts, or, in modern days, a purchased strain of starter culture. Keep the fermenting food away from oxygen and leave it at room temperature. The good bacteria will grow, and the food will transform into a tangy, bubbly treasure that can safely be stored in a cool environment for months.

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Fried Dandelion Heads

My husband and I rarely see weeds as mere yard infestations. Usually he’s the one asking, “Can we eat it? Make something from it? Use it for some medicinal purpose?” It’s no different when dandelions begin popping up everywhere in the spring.
Fried Dandelions Feature
(By the way, the violets in this picture are edible too.)

Dandelions are one of the most common intruders creeping into yards everywhere. While many people spend time, work, and money trying to keep their lawns free of the brightly colored visitor, others spend just as much time and work (though rarely money) to find uses for the golden weed.

Dandelions have been used for human consumption in many different ways. Dandelion leaf salad, dandelion root tea, and dandelion wine are just a few examples to get you started. Today, I will share a recipe with you that my good friend Alexis taught me how to make: fried dandelion heads.

They taste very much like fried chicken cutlets- only the “meat” inside is free from your yard!

dandelion2Ready to get started? You will need:

  • About 2-3 C Dandelion heads
  • White Vinegar (just a splash)
  • Olive Oil as needed (try starting with about ¼ C)
  • 1 Egg
  • About 1 C Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp each Garlic, Italian Seasoning, & Parsely (or to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Unfortunately, the above amounts are just estimates. Depending on how many dandelion heads you have, you may need to alter this recipe accordingly. The nice part about breading & frying is that you can always add more oil to the pan or more bread crumbs & seasonings to the mix if you run out.

1) Collect and Wash Dandelion Heads! This is a great time to get your kids helping you. J loves it when I send him on flower-picking assignments.

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* Make sure that you haven’t been spraying your yard with anything toxic if you’re out foraging for weeds!

Pick just under the bloom, where the head easily snaps off. Rinse them off well through a colander if you’re not into eating bugs.

2) Coat your dandelions. First, mix your dandelions with a splash of white vinegar. Next, set up your assembly line for coating. Beat egg into one container. Combine dry ingredients in another. It should look something like this:

dandelion4Heat oil on stovetop over medium heat until it’s shimmering. Dip your dandelion heads first into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, making sure that they get completely coated at each step.

3) Fry ‘em up! Carefully place the dandelion heads into the hot oil using tongs or some other such tool. (Or jump back as you drop them so you don’t get splattered.)

Turn them partway through frying to get both sides nice and golden brown. This step won’t take more than a couple of minutes if your oil is good and hot, so watch them carefully to avoid burning them.

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4) Drain and enjoy! Remove the dandelion heads with tongs and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil. Once they’ve sat a couple minutes, you can eat them up immediately!

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You’ll most likely keep popping them til they’re gone. If by some chance you don’t finish them, it’s always fun to pack leftovers for lunch and relish in telling your co-workers you’re eating fried weeds. And besides, they’re yummy, I promise! Hope you give them a shot. 🙂

Make these delicious flower poppers with weeds and just a few ingredients you already have in your pantry.