Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Here I Go Again with the Food

I wanted to share one of my new delicious, healthy, money saving cooking secrets.  If you already know this trick, don't bust my bubble.  This has revolutionized my cooking.  I should go on for a bit in the name of suspense, but I won't.  To start with I have always used the words "stock" and "broth" interchangeably, but as it turns out they are to different things.

From wiki answers here's the long and short of it:
"While they're both the liquid results of boiling animal parts, stock tends to be made with bones and inedible bits, while broth is made by boiling meat. Both can contain vegetation as well, with whole vegetables like celery and onions more common in stock, and simple herbs more common in broth. Stock is often richer in mouth feel because longer cooking time renders more of the connective tissue into gelatin. It should also set up like a tasty meat jell-o in the fridge for the same reason. "

So what I have always done is get a whole chicken, placed vegetables in the pot with it and boiled it to make a broth by definition.  I would then stain off the broth, clean the meat off the chicken and us it for soup or enchiladas or something and discard the vegetables.  Sometimes I would do this in the crock pot.  While it's healthy and good, it's not really ubber flavorful.  

So here's my new revolutionary method.  I noticed that at the Mexican markets you could get chicken bones with almost all the meat cleaned off, they are super cheap.  We're talking less than a dollar.  So I put the bones, about a dollars worth of vegetable(onion,celery, carrots), maybe two dollars and water in my dutch oven.  I just recently got a dutch oven and I am not sure how I lived without it before.  Lot's of dutch oven love going on in this house.  Anyway, I also throw in peppercorns and salt and maybe some dried parsley and/or basil.  This goes in the oven at about 300F until it looks and smells - well - awesome!  Talk about flavor explosion!  Something about the oven roasted, dutch oven method just really deepens the flavor.  So for probably less than $3, I get 3 and a half pints of delicious stock.  That's a whopping 14 cups!  In the U.S. you pay $2.50 or more for 4 cups.  That's 3x the saving and twice the flavor, plus no overload of sodium or MSG.  Also the stuff at the store is shelf stable, and what you have made has leached all the vitamins from the bones and veggies into this yummy, vitamin rich liquid.  I can't even get premade chicken stock in Mexico.   The only thing available is the powdered stuff.  This may fulfill the cheap requirement, but it doesn't fulfill the healthy or flavorful part.  

So there you have it, go make some yummy broth and then serve your family the best chicken soup they have ever tasted.  Seriously, it will knock their socks off!

And while I'm obsessing about food.  Here is a yummy meal I made this week.  I was shooting for brisket, but what I ended up with was either skirt steak or brisket sliced up Mexican style.  Either way it came out super tender and yummy.  I paid a little less than $20 for the meat, which is a lot for us, but this makes two meals and this whole meal is only around $2 per person, so that's not too bad.  I balance it out with a meal of beans the next day to keep us with in budget.  The first meal (pictured below) is slow-cooked brisket in onion gravy and the second meal you make from it is brisket sloppy joes.    Click on the link for the recipes. 

I can not describe how thankful I am, that I am able to feed my family healthy nutritious foods.  It is overwhelming how many mothers around the world would love to be able to provide any type of nutritious foods for their children and simple have no means.

Sam make greens as a side and Lena stirring the gravy.

A little "how to cook greens" demo.  Start with fresh greens, heat pan to really hot, add olive oil and greens.  Sprinkle in some pepper flakes and one clove of garlic towards the end.  That's a Carie original, you can also do it with green beans!  Yummo!

I'm not sure what it means if you can not restrain yourself from taking pictures of the food you cook...hmmm....

These babies are the first from the garden.  I planted them near the zucchini, but had to pick them early because the zucchini grew so fast it was shading them too much.  I also thinned out the turnip patch and used some of the young tender greens in the salad.

And finally, in the name of just going way to far, we are taking just ignoring the line altogether. I mean isn't it bad enough with all the green smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch!  I went and made a raw green dessert!  In my defence it was a school project.  It was in our book called "A Trip Around the World".  We are studying South America and apparently this is a Brazilian recipe.  Any of you folks from that area of the world can feel free to either affirm or deny this.

Here I am taking pictures of food again, geez!

Abacate Batido

4 avocados
1/2 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup powder sugar*
6 tablespoons line juice
*the second time I made it I replaced about half the sugar for 3 tablespoons of honey and it worked great, the fam didn't even know. ;)

Put it all in the blender and your done.
I don't know if you folks in the States can make this.  I saw the prices of avocados last time I visited...YIKES!  But here they are very reasonable, even cheap and limes are plentiful, so what a great recipe!  It was a huge success.

A little skeptical even for my clan, can you blame them?

Now that's what I call a culinary success!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Last Two Weeks in Picture! How FUN!

Baked bread for the first time THIS YEAR.  In my defense, our house in Cuernavaca didn't have an oven.  I tried a new method, it's with sour dough starter and doesn't use any "leaven".  It works great.  My next goal is to teach Hannah how to make the bread, which she's very excited about.

This is one of the secrets to perfect bread; an oven thermometer.  Want your bread, not too dry, but not too gooey in the middle, get an oven thermometer.
Found this guy and several other creatures around our house.  We are now the proud owners of a black widow.  When we found the spider and were all standing around looking at it trying to decide what to do with it, K stated that she did not know why we were having a discussion when the obvious thing to do was kill it.  Then she suggested I culture it since, I have things from kefir, to bread, to kombucha, to veggies all over the house "culturing".  Too Funny!
I taught children's class in Spanish for the first time!  

Slurped my blog into Blurb!  Insta scrapbook!  YES!  I'll let you figure that one out on your own.  I sure do like my Mac!

We had green desert and it was a huge hit.  I'll post more about it later.

We visited with friends in Zacatecas for Josiah's birthday.  Aren't these two adorable little hams.

Zip-lined 380 ft, upside down, cast and all.  It doesn't get much better than that!  Happy 12th Birthday Josiah.

Hosted our first youth night.  Everyone had a blast.  Of course, it's hard when you're the little ones in the family and have to go to bed with all the excitement going on.  

Can you say NO FEAR!  YIKES!

Hannah made yummy tomato soup.  We got the recipe from Pioneer Woman's web site.  We just omitted the alcohol and used homemade stock instead of bunion and water.  Sided it with grilled shrimp from the market. 

Bro H said he wanted to see some green coming from where he harvested all those rocks.  So here it is, I'm planting seeds in Oct!!  Love !! This is my solution to the dogs getting in my garden and it works really well.  Although, I have gotten my own foot twice now.  OUCH!!  Also yes, I'm using knitting needles for spikes.  They were given to me "used" (so yes I'm using vintage knitting needle as spikes in my garden *gasp*) as a gift and I was going to use them to teach with since I never knit back and forth on straight needles....who does...knitting in the round is what it's all about, baby!  Anyway, I think they make very cheery lovely garden spikes, I'm also all about the square foot.  I like to balance my round knitting with my square gardening. Hahahaha!  Surely someone will think that's funny. :P

Happy Birthday J and isn't our friends little one absolutely a doll!  She was so inthralled with the whole candle process.

This one repelled when he was 4, so no surprises here!  LOL!

I repaired a laceration on a cow heart and aren't those good looking sutures....good technique too!  :)  Brushing up on my suturing skills and working on some new techniques.

I married him for adventure, he never disappoints!  :P

Preschool, Means style.  Haden looks at book, then says, "I need some help."  "Can you please read this too me."  Then someone reads it to him.  He also watches Leap Frog letter factory sometimes and colors lots of pictures, it's kind of his thing right now.  Then he goes outside and plays, eats lunch and takes a nap.  What a rough life!

Haden tried to use the clothes line for a zip-line.  Whoops!  It's quite high, I'm glad no one got hurt!

Hannah's turn.  She did flip upside down too, I just didn't get a good shot of it.  She'd want me to say that.  :)

The brave ones, minus K and R who still hadn't decided if they wanted to go or not.

And I saved the best for last.  K did it too and I think she's glad she did!  Although I think she closed her eyes and prayed most of the way.  Next time she'll enjoy the view more.  

Currently, Zacatecas has the 3rd longest zip line in Latin America, second only to Costa Rica and Cancun. 

Hope you've had a great few weeks too.  We got permission to do a "Movie in the Park" in our town center this Friday and will be showing an evangelical movie.  Everyone is very excited.