Posted in Back in the Day, Country Treasures & Landmarks, Food Facts, Herbicidal Hens, Uncategorized

It’s Almost Time to Hunt Ramps!

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This, is a Ramp and if you live in the South, you already know what these are. If you don’t, they’re a cross between an onion and garlic. You find them in the woods. And believe me, there are lots of folks out there findin’ them!

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So, maybe you’re wonderin’ what to do with them? Anything and everything. People fry taters with em. Grill trout with em. Anything that you would normally put onions or garlic in, well, that’s what folks use a Ramp for.

They are strong, though and not many people can handle them. My father-in-law’s wife, who is from up North, won’t even allow him to cook em in the house, lol. Our Uncle Eddie, though, will cook them from sun-up till sun-down and most folks will dry em or preserve them tryin’ to make em last throughout the season and even into the winter.

Like I said, they are a cross between an onion and garlic and will start to pop up in the Spring. They’re easy to find and easy to dig.

Ramps are high in in Vitamin A, C, Selenium (antioxidant), Chromium (important to metabolize fats and carbs).

For those of you who are ready to go, happy Ramp huntin’! Maybe we’ll see ya out there!

Posted in Bread, Rolls & Such, Food Facts, The Hungry Hen

Not All Flours Are Created Equal

 

Below, there are different kinds of Flours. I didn’t list them all, just some basic ones that I think you will easily run across. There are other kinds, at Health & Specialty stores, but what I have listed can be found in most Grocery stores. I’m not going over every single flour out there, but these are some of the most common.

All Purpose Flour — (See, also, self-rising) This is the most common and cheapest of flours on the grocery store shelf. This seems to be the bad stuff our mothers are weary of. If it doesn’t say “Unbleached” then it has been bleached. Plus, chemically, stuff has been added. Not that “unbleached” can be considered the Ghandi of all flour. It still lacks the chemical warfare “bleached” has undergone.

Self-Rising — It’s basically bleached All Purpose flour (unless it says otherwise) with baking powder and salt. It’s an easier step when people want to skip a few ingredients. I’d rather add my own ingredients. *winks*

To make Self-Rising Flour if a recipe calls for it and if you don’t have it on hand, simply add 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. People worry about the “shelf-life” of self rising flour that is bought in the store. if it has sat for too long, it won’t rise as it should.

Unbleached Flour— This is usually an All Purpose flour lacking the bleaching process and the adding of chemicals. While it doesn’t have the wheat germ or bran, it does have a higher protein count when compared to the general All Purpose kind. In fact, when you bake with this one, as far as texture, there really isn’t that much of a difference from the flour we have become accustomed too. (If you want the bran and germ back in, you can always add it.) This flour will cost you a bit more but not so much it will break the bank.

Stone Ground Flour — Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a land that we have forgotten, all flour was ground by stone. What once started as a woman grinding away with a rock (I’m assuming here) ended up leading to bigger facilities called Grist Mills. The Grist Mills use bigger stones and a more efficient way of grinding down grain. This is probably the healthiest form of flour. It preserves the bran and germ, keeping all the vitamins and nutrition. Believe it or not, there are still a few Grist Mills standing and operating today.

Whole Wheat/Whole Grain — Has all the good stuff a grain should have although you want to be careful because now a days, flours are processed quickly, which means chemicals and such are sometimes added to it. Enriched Wheat — bad. So make sure it is whole grain/ whole wheat. The texture is slightly grainier and if you are using it in place of a recipe that calls for regular flour, expect the batter to be thicker.

Soy Flour – a Flour made from roasted soybeans. (Gluten Free)

Almond Flour – A Flour made from Almonds. (Gluten Free). The Almonds have the skins removed and are blanched before grinding. Almond MEAL is a flour made of ground almonds with the skin ON.

Posted in Bread, Rolls & Such, Food Facts, From Scratch, The Hungry Hen

A Few Facts about Bread

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I’m going to keep these as straight to the point as possible. Meaning, I will try my best not to pull out my predictable Southern habit and ramble. Because I’m going to keep it as simple as can be, I’ll throw links at the bottom to other websites who have done some very impressive research — full detail research— if you want to do your own.

We live in a world where our food is basically fashioned for convenience. No one has the time or patience anymore and the companies that make our food have tapped into a cash crop because of it. The problem is, though, the basics of a meal — natural preservatives and such— have been tossed right out of the window. Bread is a perfect example of this. A basic bread recipe should consist of these few ingredients: For those who love bread and can eat it, enjoy. I can’t have it – cursed with an allergy to wheat—but I make it for my family which means, I wanna always dissect the information.

Flour, Yeast, Salt, Egg and a Fat.

This is all you need to make bread. If only the store-brands stuck to that recipe. Unfortunately, not only are those ingredients corrupted by the way they are processed BEFORE they reach the bakery-end,  but if you buy a plastic bag of bread, a lot more has been added for a whole list of not-so-great reasons.

Fresh Baked Bread

Even if you go to a bakery, most of the time, the breads there are just as unhealthy as the ones wrapped in plastic. They are not, made from scratch, but rather from prepackaged bread mixes. This is particularly true when it comes to “chain” bakeries that are located in many department stores.

Healthy Prepackaged Breads

Breads in plastic that claim to be healthy are not really healthy. If you see enriched wheat or flour of any kind then raise the red flag.

The Ingredient List

These are some of most common ingredients found in breads wrapped in plastic. dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, mono- and diglycerides, calcium peroxide, calcium iodate, DATEM, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, azodicarbonamide. Links are at the bottom, which will give the depressing details. Can you say, yuck?

The Gluten Man

The man who claimed Gluten was bad, may have made a mistake. Personally, I am living proof that he didn’t but since they shove wheat into everything – from candy to even dressings – how would one really know. Even if you set out to have it in moderations, thanks to everything on the shelves, whether you meant to or not, by the end of the day, you will be well beyond your daily portion limits. Wheat is in everything – from seasonings to MSG!

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Gluten Intolerance May Not Exist – Forbes
Gluten Sensitivity And Study Replication – Business Insider

 

Summing up….

We do this as a society, constantly, you know. We scream one thing is bad, a new product is made to replace it, we all run to the stores and shovel it into our mouths and then years later, we say, “Whoops, that may not have been bad after all.”

Butter is a perfect example.

It was replaced by Margarine. We’ve done it with Eggs, Milk, Fat (the birth of Fat Free) and God knows what else. Is it possible we are doing it with bread? Is it possible that if the problems with the main ingredients can be corrected — Flour (use a whole grain, correct the funky lab-created strain of wheat that is causing such a fuss,  and ditch the bleached bag of crap), Salt (one that hasn’t been stripped or processed to hell and back), Yeast and a honest to god, real and true fat (that hasn’t been made by whatever poison they are shoveling)— would it then be possible for us to actually have some – BREAD— with the recommended serving? Could we have a sandwich at lunch again?

Wheat Belly—Beer Belly, some of us just. can. not. stomach. bread. Its creating a universe of problems that are not just limited to obesity. But for those who do eat it, who can eat it, who will refuse to do anything but eat it, hopefully these facts start you off on your own field of research. And, of course, as days go on, I’ll have more information and bread recipes.

Links for further reading . . .

http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-eat-commercial-bread/

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011109-10-ingredients-always-avoid-bread-plus-7-bread-brands-bets/#slide=2

http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/scary-ingredients-used-in-bread-manufacturing

Posted in Food Facts, The Healthy Hen

The Lo’ Down on Honey

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More and more people are getting back to the basics. Some have resorted to changing up ingredients, such as Sugar to Raw Honey while others are actually growing or raising their own of all sorts of goods— honey, eggs, milk, and meat. Whatever the choice or how far someone is willing to go, I think we can all agree on the reason— health. People are fed up and no longer trust where our commercial food comes from. Other folks are just getting picky as to what they put into their bodies. They don’t trust certain processed foods such as sugar.

 

Here are some interesting facts about Honey. I gathered them up from a pamphlet called, Honey Acres *Beekeeper’s Best*, and I hope you find them useful.

 

First off, let’s break down what Honey is. All Natural Honey is made of two key ingredients called fructose and glucose. Glucose is all about energy. Fructose is all about that very original flavor Honey can lay claim to all on its own. There are also minerals, vitamins and other enzymes that can be found in this delicious nectar considered worthy of the Gods.

 

Types of Honey (this means, what those little bees ate to make it):

Ever hear that saying, “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice?” Well, the same can kind of be said for honey, except, “The Darker the Honey, the stronger the flavor.” That’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing.

Buckwheat — Honey that is very dark, reddish brown. It is strong in flavor but actually considered to be one of the healthiest.

Brasswood — They say that this is the perfect honey for tea. It is light and mild but don’t let that fool you. It also has a very distinct flavor.

Orange Blossom— Amber, light with a hint of citrus. If you dig honey on hot rolls or biscuits, then grab a jar of this.

Wildflower — Hearty and full of flavor.

Clover — Great for ice cream and cereals, a light and mild flavor.

 

They say if you suffer from allergies then take honey made from your area.

 

 

Keep honey is a dark, dry place. No moisture. If your honey starts to get a white grainy film in it, like sugar, then that means moisture got in. Don’t worry, though. If this happens, just heat it up by sticking the jar in water. Don’t bring it to a boil, though. Just slowly and lightly heat the sugary stuff away. And don’t become depressed if this happens. It’s actually a good sign—means the Honey you have is pure.

Honey has more calories than Sugar BUT don’t panic— it’s sweeter so you end up using less.

 

How to convert sugar to Honey in a recipe— generally, to every cup of sugar, you will use 2/3 or 3/4 cups of Honey— depending on your sweet tooth. When using honey, though, reduce the baking temps by 25 degrees.