Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Pie Time

After our weekly "foraging" trip to the farm, I'm always trying to figure out something new to try. This week, my vegetable of choice was butternut. I usually just cut a butternut open and bake it, serving it in a lump as a side dish. This week, I was going for dessert! After all, if pumpkin can make a pie, it would stand to reason that you could do the same with butternut.

I found this recipe doing a quick google search. Because Noah has an egg allergy, I'm gluten free, and Nathan has to watch his refined sugars, I had to make some significant changes. Here's what I did:

1 butternut squash
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup yogurt
2 T brown rice flour
1/3 cup sucanat
1/2 t salt
1 t allspice
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg

Cut the butternut in half, place facedown in a shallow pan with a cup of water and bake for an hour at 350F. Scoop the flesh of the butternut into a large bowl. Add wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to wet ingredients. Mix well. Place in a pie plate, and bake for 45 minutes at 350F.

I preferred the pie warm, but hubby preferred the pie cold. I also served it to the kids for lunch today, and they loved it. They thought they were getting a treat, when it was a glorified vegetable! As another option, you could serve it with fresh whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book Review!

I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Mineral this week. It chronicles her family's decision to eat only locally produced food for one year. Instead of heading to the grocery store each week, the family grows their own vegetables, slaughters their own poultry, and frequents the farmer's market. Thanks to freezing, drying and canning produce at harvest time, the family is able to live out the winter on the literal fruits of their labor.

While this isn't the first book I've read along these lines, I did enjoy it. As always, Kingsolver is an excellent writer, and her prose is effortless to read. She includes numerous details about family and farm life that had me rolling on the floor with laughter. For example, her youngest daughter sees the jonquils blooming in the yard and calls them "tranquils."

The passages that kept me glued to this book, though, were the ones about modern farming techniques: the patenting of seeds, the removal of seeds from circulation, the genetic modification of turkeys to prevent breeding, and the poor regulatory controls of commercial beef. If I hadn't already made the choice to eat only grass-fed cattle, pork, and poultry, this book would have caused me to make some major changes. As it is, it was just confirmation that my instincts regarding feeding my family are correct!

As far as detractions go, there were relatively few in this book. I don't think Kingsolver addressed the nutritional aspect of local eating adequately, but her audience may not be aware of (or interested in) the way the USDA has "bought" dietary guidelines in this country. She did get a little preachy on her politics in the book, too, and I thought it would have been better had she left that out. Unfortunately, she is the successful writer, and I am the chick who can't update her blog frequently enough!

Overall score: A

Monday, August 17, 2009


In the last few weeks, I haven't been blogging as much as I thought I would. On the one hand, my DH has been out of town, and on the other, I have been addicted to reading other blogs and haven't had the time to concentrate on my own. Oh, well. We do what we can, I guess!

In any event, a blog I've been following,, has a recipe for cheese crackers using whole wheat flour. Since the family could eat their weight in cheese crackers if I let them, I made it my mission to rework the recipe to make it gluten-free. Here's what I got:

1/4 cup butter
1 T sea salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato flour (not starch)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 T water
2 T olive oil

Beat the butter and salt together until creamy. Add the cheese and mix well. Slowly add the flours and baking powder. Mix in the water and olive oil until the dough begins to form a ball. Since it's gluten-free, the ball may never completely form. Use your hands to gently knead and shape into a ball if needed. Place the ball on a cookie sheet between sheets of wax or parchment paper and roll out to cover the whole cookie sheet. It will be a very thin layer of dough. Score into squares and bake at 350F for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cookies crisp up.

The recipe baked very well. In retrospect, I suppose I could have just added another two tablespoons of butter instead of the olive oil, but I didn't realize I would need it until I tried to get my dough to form. I may try it that way next time. Also, be sure to roll the dough out very thinly, or you get some "cake-like" cheese crackers. Not quite the right texture for the taste :).

On the whole, though, the DD gave the crackers a "Belicious," the DS ate them like they were going out of style, and the DH gave them an "A".

Monday, August 3, 2009

Barbecue Sauce

One of my favorite summer activities is grilling out on the deck, and nothing tastes as good on the grill as ribs. Unfortunately, commercial barbecue sauce is full of msg, food starch, and other gluten-containing additives. Instead, I have started making my own sauce, and I've refined my recipe over the last few months. The following recipe makes enough sauce for two racks of ribs. We usually use half the sauce and store the other half.

1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder

Cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until bubbly. Add the vinegar, and stir until smooth. Add ketchup, mustard, and garlic and onion powders. Cook over low heat, stirring periodically, until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. Baste meat while grilling.