Tortillas

I would choose a tortilla over a piece of bread every time. Actually, almost every time. I’ve come across a few brands of tortilla that I would never buy again. However, after finding this recipe, I don’t know that I’ll ever buy another tortilla.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 2 T coconut oil (use expeller-pressed variety for this recipe unless you want a coconut flavor in your tortillas)
  • 3/4 c warm milk

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.

Cut the solid (NOT melted) coconut oil into the flour, much like if you were making a pastry or pie crust.

Mixing with a fork, slowly add the milk until the mixture begins to form a ball. Knead for 2 minutes, and then cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

Pull off a piece of the dough and roll into a ball (about the size of a golf ball).  Roll out into a circle or using a tortilla press to form the tortilla.  You can make these as thin or as thick as you like.

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Heat your skillet over medium heat.  I recommend using a cast iron skillet.  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, go out and get one now 🙂  Seriously, I’m really not sure why it took me so long to regularly use cast iron.  It rocks!!!!

Place one of your flat tortillas on the hot skillet.  If you’re using cast iron, you won’t need to oil the pan.

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When it begins to bubble, turn it over.

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When it begins to bubble on the other side, pull it out of the pan.  Repeat with the rest of the dough and then serve warm.

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I get about 12 tortillas from this recipe and typically double it so we are sure to have left-overs.

If you try out this recipe, leave me a note and let me know what you think.

Weeks Style Zuppa Toscana

One of the many changes we’ve been trying to make is eating out less often. It really shouldn’t be that difficult considering we live in a small town with one restaurant that is mediocre at best and two gas stations where we can get pizza or microwave foods. However, we became skilled in finding ways to eat meals away from home or meals that I didn’t prepare with my own two hands. Driving 20-25 miles to meet hubby after work to run a couple of errands and grab dinner. Having hubby stop on his way home from work and bring something home for dinner was a regular occurrence. Not that those things are necessarily a bad thing, but since we’re trying to make healthier choices and cut back on expenses, eating out is one of the things that had to be reduced.

One benefit of not eating out as often is trying some new recipes. I get really excited when I find a recipe from a restaurant that was a somewhat frequent place for our family to eat-out. And oh the excitement when I try out the new recipe and it turns out to be really, really good. One such meal made it to our dinner table last night. It was so good in fact, that my 5-yr-old requested it for lunch today.

On the menu last night was Zuppa Toscana soup and garlic bread sticks. This is a meal that my hubby and our 5-year-old typically order when we go to Olive Garden to eat. That’s right folks, only the best places for our family!! It really was good though and I was the one in control of what went into our soup. Sausage and bacon from antibiotic free, free-range pigs, organic veggies, etc. It will now be a regular meal on our menu here at home and one day the majority of the ingredients will come from our own backyard!!!

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Finished product!

This recipe made enough to serve me, my hubby, our 3-yr-old and our 5-yr-old.  Hubby and our 5-yr-old had additional servings and I had 1 1/2 quarts left-over.  I did change the recipe a little and will tweak it next time I make it.  I’ve included those changes in the recipe below.

Weeks Style Zuppa Toscana Soup

1.25 lb Italian Sausage
7 slices of bacon, fried crisp
5 medium russet potatoes
2 1/2 c kale, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 qt water
2- 14.5 cans or 29 oz. chicken broth
1/2 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes (If you like more spice, add an additional tsp)
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Crumble the sausage onto a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes or until no longer pink. Place on paper towels to drain.

Fry the bacon and crumble into small pieces.

Slice the potatoes between 1/8″ and 1/4″. I used the thick setting on my v-slicer. Just make sure the slices are about the same size so they cook evenly.

Dice up the onion and mince the garlic.

Throw the potatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and water into a large pot on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.

Add the sausage, bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

During this time the potatoes will start breaking apart into smaller bite sized pieces because they are so tender.

Chop kale into bite sized pieces.

Turn the heat to low and add in the kale and heavy cream. Let the soup heat through and serve.

Add a salad and/or bread sticks for a yummy meal!!!

Bon appetit!!!

Seriously Excited!

Do you know what I’m doing right now? Right this very minute?

I’m making homemade yogurt in my crock pot!!!!!!! And I’m seriously excited about this project!!!!!!!!

I’m also a bit nervous about this project! The instructions seem way to simple to actually work, yet it seems to have worked for others, so it’s got to work for me too, right?!!!!!

Stay tuned for the results!!!!

Finding Me Again

I can vividly remember learning how to cook spaghetti in my local 4-H club. I remember how excited I felt about cooking my first spaghetti dinner for my family and even more excited that my dinner actually turned out to be pretty darn good. Cooking and baking was something I really did enjoy as a child and into my adult years, but somewhere along the line I allowed convenience to stand in the way of doing something I enjoyed. I got in a rut.  It became easier to throw a frozen pizza into the oven, drive-thru at lunch or have hubby bring dinner home from the nearest Chinese restaurant.

Gardening was another love I discovered in my early adult life – digging in the dirt, sowing seeds, planting starter plants, watering, weeding, watching things grow and enjoying the tasty fruits of my labor – it is so satisfying and rewarding to me, yet it was something else I allowed to be pushed aside for a lifestyle that is more convenient.

Unfortunately, by trading in the things I enjoyed for convenience, I became someone else. I became someone I didn’t know and someone I didn’t necessarily like a lot.  I became lazy and unmotivated.  I honestly believe that homesteading will allow the real me to emerge. Living the homesteading lifestyle is like finding me again.

To prepare ourselves for a life that is going to be very different from the one we’ve been living, I am making changes now.  Instead of convenience, I am working harder and trying to be more creative. Instead of buying a loaf of bread at the grocery store, I’m making my own.  Instead of having hubby stop for some take-out on his way home, I’m using what we have at home to create meals.  I’m trying things I’ve not done before and setting goals to try more new things as the year progresses.

Here’s a great example.  Yesterday, Naomi asked for graham crackers.  I haven’t been to the grocery store in about a week and didn’t have any graham crackers so she was out of luck.  Or was she?  I did a quick search on-line, looked in my cupboards and discovered I had everything we needed to make our own graham crackers.  So, we got out the mixer and prepared the dough.  After lunch I rolled out sheets of graham cracker dough, pulled out 3 cookie cutters and let the girls cut out different graham cracker shapes.  After 12 minutes in the oven they were done.

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They took about 45 minutes of my time, were fun to make and cost a fraction of what I would have spent on a box of graham crackers off a grocery store shelf.  The girls and I did something we’ve never done before and we used ingredients I already had on hand.  That’s homesteading and homeschooling at its finest 🙂  But the icing on the cake is the satisfaction and enjoyment I got from creating something fresh and tasty with my own two hands.

There is so much to look forward to!!  Like the day I can actually dunk my fresh, homemade graham cracker into a big glass of  goat’s milk from our very own goats.  That will be pure satisfaction and enjoyment for me!!!

It feels good to be finding me again and you know what?  I think I might actually like me!