Sunday, April 9, 2017

9 April 2017 - Bread Making

One of my foals taken many years ago in my barn in the winter sunlight

I made a discovery at the local Charity shop (where you can buy second hand clothing, toys, books, videos, kitchen items and many other things donated), a Bread making machine.  it cost a whopping $5!!!!  Considering that you can pay hundreds for one today it was a steal.  It is an old machine but in very good condition.

In my quest to eradicate preservatives, high fructose corn syrup (found in many foods and a carcinogenic ie can cause cancer) and chemicals I decided to give it a go to bake my own bread.  I used to do it by hand many years ago while I was still in Zimbabwe (35 years ago!!!).  I have to say this machine is amazing.  You put the ingredients in and it does the rest and 3 hours later you have a wonderful baked loaf of bread.

So far I have baked Cinnamon Raisin Bread, White Bread and Whole Wheat Bread and all are delicious.  Today I used the dough cycle with the white bread recipe, which stops after the first rise so that you can remove it and make your buns or bread rolls and bake them in a conventional oven.  It worked a treat and I froze a few unrisen rolls to thaw, rise and bake later.  I used a small Toaster Oven, which is an energy saver in itself and I can cook smaller quantities at a time.

I also baked a whole wheat loaf today, the only adjustment I have found in this recipe is that it needs a few tablespoons more water than the recipe calls for.

I will share the basic white bread recipe later.

Hoping to post at least once a week, summer is an incredibly busy time with my vegetable garden
and baling hay on top of the usual activities.  I will share more on the veggie garden soon and do some photos of everything as I do it.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

1 April 2017 - Discovering Ingredients - Nutritional Yeast

A Blue Heron at a small lake a mile down the road

A friend of mine posted today that she is suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency.  She has been struggling with food "allergies" for years now and is seriously restricted on what she can eat without becoming seriously ill and living with a lot of pain.

Nutritional Yeast (also called Nooch) is one of the products that I discovered early on in my quest to go meat free.  I did not really look into it in great depth until today as she was not sure if she could use it as she cannot eat active yeast products (the type you use when baking bread).  Nooch is not an active yeast.  It has a high B12 content, is a wonderful tasting flake or powder that can be used to sprinkle on popcorn, on top of baked potatoes, in soups and stews, in fact in everything.  It has a nutty cheesy flavor.  I use it in and on everything. It is NOT a product that is only used in a Vegan or Vegetarian diet.

A few things I discovered that were interesting and you should check the lables for are that -
* the B12 is not naturally found in Nooch, it is actually fortified by the manufacturer along with a few other ingredients like niacin (B3), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), riboflavin (B2), thiamin hydrochloride (B1), folic acid (B9).
* If you want to be sure that it was not grown on a dairy product like Whey or on GMO filled Beets, make sure that it is labelled Vegan or clearly marked GMO free or Organic.  it is mostly grown on Molasses.  If in doubt when buying it in bulk, ask your supplier what brand it is and what the nutritional values are and whether it is Vegan or not.

When storing Nooch use a sealable container and refrigerate.  I use a large Ball Canning Jar and store in the freezer.  This will give it a longer shelf life as heat will kill the B vitamins and light will make it turn a dark yellow and give it a stronger bitter taste.  Some people like to store it in a non see through, sealable container for this reason if they are keeping it in smaller quantities on their counter top for shorter periods of time.

I have been buying my Nooch from a local health food store in bulk in powder form but after reading all the pros and cons I have decided that I am going to order the flakes (which apparently have a better milder flavor) from Bob's Red Mill who I buy many other items from in the stores.  I cannot find thie Nooch in store so I will be purchasing it online.  One of the great things about ALL of Bob's products as I have said before, is that they are GMO free, click here to read their GMO Free Pledge and here is a link to their FAQs.  Some of their products are also Organic and are always labelled so.  Here is a link to the information on the processing of their Nooch  and here is the link to the product itself for online ordering.  I do not in any way represent this company, all of this has been collected from my personal research in my quest for healthier eating. I am passing this knowledge on to anyone reading this and I hope it will save you many hours of computer time.

I love egg salad sandwiches so here is one easy recipes that I use Nooch in as a teaser.

Egg Salad Sandwich

2 hard boiled eggs peeled and mashed
2 Tbs Mayonnaise (I use Veganaise)
Half Tbsp Nutritional yeast powder or flakes
Dash Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce or raw spinach leaves

Mix all, except the lettuce/spinach, together well.
Prepare two slices of toast or bread
Put a layer of spinach or lettuce on one slice of toast/bread
Slather the egg mixture on top
Close the sandwich with the second slice of toast/bread
Consume, YUM!!

If you like open sandwiches, just put lettuce/spinach on both pieces, there should be plenty of egg mixture to put on the second slice.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

29 March 2017 - Vegan Butter

A Dodge truck nearby that has been deserted and nature has
taken over!!

3 days ago I was saying that I had trouble giving up butter, one of my last dairy products that were hanging on for dear life.  Well I am pleased to say that I have found a fantastic alternative that satisfies all of my dairy butter cravings!!

I found a recipe at this site A virtual Vegan and will highly recommend it, YUM!!!!

Give it a try you will not regret it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

28 March 2017 - Discovering Ingredients - TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)

Gee (registered name Geared) my 15 year old 16.2 hh TB mare
She rules the herd!!!

The road to my new lifestyle has been a long and time consuming journey.

One of the first items that I learned about was "beef" crumbles which is a soy (for the most part) product in crumble form which can be used to replace ground beef (minced beef for those in UK and SA).  There are many ready made ones on the market, Morning Star (which I avoid as they are a Kellogg owned company and not GMO Free), Boca, Litelife, Gardein, St Yves, Quorn (this is the one non soy crumble which I use a LOT and is a UK imported product) and more.  I have mostly used the Boca and Quorn crumbles.  Meat replacers have come a long way in the past 15 years, they are awesome.

In my quest I also learned about TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) which is like the crumbles but with no added flavors etc. and in dry form, so whatever you put them in they take the flavor of.  .   My choice for this product is from Bob's Red Mill.  This is an amazing company, it is employee owned, ALL of their products are GMO Free and some of them are organic (they are labeled when they are) which means no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used on that product.  I find it at various supermarkets like Meijers, Marsh or the local health food store, here in Indiana or you can order it online at the link provided above.  It is not expensive and goes a long way.

There are a lot of sources of information on how much protein a person needs in their diet.  This is one of the cliches that meat eaters use ... if you don't eat meat how do you expect get your daily protein? ....  Well there are many sources of protein, beans,, nuts, soy to name a few, all of which are cruelty free and don't involve animals being killed.  Here is a link that states we need about 42g of protein a day, but most of us, whether vegetarian or not, get way more than that in our daily diets so this is not a problem

One of the dishes that we love here in Indiana, especially in the winter months, is Chilli.  This can be made as spicy as you like, I like it on the milder side and here is the recipe that I have adapted from various sources and is cooked in a slow cooker or crockpot.  The beans and the soy make it full of protein.  Serve it with crackers and grated vegetarian cheese on top.  I use Townhouse Original crackers ( a researching a vegan version that I can make myself) and Daiya cheese shreds, cheddar flavor to give you a few ideas.

Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time: 8 hours

Ingredients :
1 cup dry TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
1 Onion chopped
2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
15oz can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp chilli powder (this is a mild version if you like it hot add more)
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 (15oz) cans red kidney or pinto beans, undrained
1  (15oz) can tomato juice
1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 medium red sweet bell pepper chopped

Preparation :
Combine all ingredients in 3-4 quart slow cooker.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on high for one or two hours and then low for 6 or 7 hours (total cook time 8 hours)

That's it for today.  Let me know if you try this and what your think.  Thanks.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

26 March 2017 - My journey to healthy eating

(Phoenix, rescued from a barn fire in 2015 in which his 3 siblings perished)

It has been a long journey which started back in 2007 when I started learning about the chemicals and preservatives that we were being fed in out diets.  In 2009 I gave up beef cold turkey.  My reasons for this were personal and were linked to the welfare ranching program in the West and how it was affecting our American Mustangs.  It is long and complicated, maybe I will get into it in more depth as I go along.  For now I am going to try to share some of what I have learned about a healthier lifestyle.  It is evolving every day but every change that I make is a step in the right direction.

Am I perfect? NO.
Am I a Vegan? NO.
Do I judge others by what they do and believe?  NO,
but if I can open just one person's eyes to what is happening right in front of us, it will be worth it. I am what is called a Pescatarian (someone who does not eat beef, chicken or pork, but does eat seafood and fish).

I avoid foods that contain GMO's and preservatives and when I can I buy products that are labeled and certified GMO Free and Organic.  It is not always easy to find these products but where there is a will there is a way, unfortunately they are not always cheap, but then how much is you health worth to you?  We are finding more and more products that are certified and labeled GMO free and USDA Organic on the shelves.

I have also started cooking from scratch as often as possible.  I read product labels and refuse to buy products with ingredients lists a mile long with unpronounceable names.

I drink home make green tea and filtered water and in the mornings I drink coffee, I gave up all other drinks (other than dry red wine in the evenings!!)

To add these are my personal beliefs and they have been formulated by the research that I have done over the past 10 years. I have made changes one at a time and every change has been easier as I have gone along.  It is amazing what our bodies have been addicted to, but once I broke each addiction, I was amazed at how ill my previous food lifestyle made me feel if I  fell off the wagon and took the easy route (fast food, instant meals full of chemicals and preservatives).

I also gave up dairy, first milk, and then cheese and now I am battling butter. I drink Almond milk (vanilla or chocolate flavor) instead and occasionally cashew milk.  The cheeses I buy are vegan alternatives too and I found an amazing ingredient called nutritional yeast (which is not yeast as in the stuff you use to rise bread, but is grown on molasses). I add it to everything, soups pies, sauces the works, it has a cheesy nutty flavor and can be found in flake or powder form at health stores.  I have a few recipes for cheese made from raw cashews which hopefully I will try soon and give my verdict!  I also have recipes for ice cream made from coconut milk, again I have not tried them but I will and will report back.
Bacon and cheese were two of the hardest things to give up but I did.  Don't expect the alternatives to be the same as what you were used to because they aren't, they are similar in many cases and there are always alternatives, it is just a matter of finding the ingredients to make the comfort foods we used to love, adapt them and create new comfort foods.

I also want to share recipes that I have adapted, these will be for one or two people, I am constantly adapting recipes to suit just me and perhaps one other person so I don't always have tonnes of leftovers and it is hard to find recipes for just one or two portions.  I don't like very spicy hot foods, and am learning to use herbs and mild spices to get the flavors that I like.

My vegetable garden is also a work in progress and something I love to do in the summer, it is ever expanding and I am hoping to get a few chickens for eggs next year when I have built a secure coop for them (we have a lot of Raccoons and possums here and they kill them if you don't have a secure roost for the chickens at night).

I hope you will take this journey with me and hopefully I will be able to keep it up, I have not been very successful in the past!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Wow already badly behind.  How time flies!!!  I have seen many blue herrons around, but always only single birds and have been wanting to get close enough to get a good shot.  I got this opportunity last summer of one fishing on the White River in Muncie Indiana.  I was pretty pleased with the result.  He/she was facing in the opposite direction and in the blink of an eye had reversed and caught this fish which had been behind it.

I will try to post more regularly.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday 20 January 2013

I have become a staunch anti horse slaughter advocate and an advocate for saving our symbol of freedom the American Wild Mustang.  It is a heart wrenching fight with these horses being stampeded (they call them roundups) using helicopters to the point of extinction.  I went trail riding a while back and came across this little guy, his name is Fred and he is the first mustang I have had the privilege of meeting.  I rode him and it was a bittersweet ride, he was "gathered" many years ago when he was a young horse and he is now in his late teens.  I did read his brand but can't remember the specifics of where and when right now.  I offered the owners a home for him when he was due to retire and I meant it.  The fight for these icons sometimes becomes too much to bear.  If anyone would like to know more let me know.  I support and help raise funds for Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education and am a volunteer on their team for fund raising in our fight for press freedom and access and humane care standards from the BLM during these roundups.  If you would like to read more or donate to our efforts here is the link to the website, I can vouch for their credibility.  Thank you!!! Wild Horse Education

9 April 2017 - Bread Making

One of my foals taken many years ago in my barn in the winter sunlight I made a discovery at the local Charity shop (where you can buy se...