8 cups blended tomatoes
1 large red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup minced onion
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 tsp. salt
1 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons real butter
¼ cup water
¼ cup flour

Combine tomato, pepper, onion, celery and salt in large pot.  Bring to boil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender – about 30 minutes.  In a 5 cup blender container, blend 2 cups of mixture at a time (no more), until smooth; return to pan.  Combine water and flour, slowly add to soup.  Add sugar and butter, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, boil 1 minute.  Milk or cream may be added right before serving, if desired.

For canning:  once soup is completely done and simmering, fill clean jars with hot soup and attach clean lids.  Process in boiling water bath:  35 minutes for quarts, 30 minutes for pints.  Time is counted when water is at a full boiling roll.  Do not add milk before canning.

Makes 8-9 cups of soup

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A new look at bad Cholestorel

February 23, 2010

I read an interesting article last week about cholesterol. According to this article and other linked articles, we can enjoy butter, eggs, lard, beef, and more, in moderation – with a new understanding of cholesterol.

‘Bad cholesterol’: It’s not what you think

It’s a relief to read information that supports my healthy cooking theory – if God gave it to us, it can’t be all that bad. I smiled when I read the recommendation about eating an omelet every morning for breakfast to lower your cholesterol; it supported the theory about eggs and cholesterol that I first heard from Cletus about ten years ago.

Cletus was an old timer who looked like a mountain man, we met him at an organic gardening class and he made quite an impression on us. Cletus’s most memorable contribution to the class was his advice for lowering cholesterol; eat more eggs! According to Cletus, his cholesterol level had been elevated and his doctor had suggested that he restrict eggs from his diet. According to Cletus, he KNEW that the home-grown, free-range eggs laid by his own chickens were not the culprit as his doctor suggested. So he ate more home-grown, free-range eggs – like to the tune of three to six eggs EVERY DAY. And his cholesterol went down.

It seems about every 20 years the health specialists change their mind about what is good and what is bad for us to eat. I think I’ll keep on doing what I’ve been doing; growing what I can, cooking from scratch, and eating food as close to what nature intended. My idea of prepackaged food is an egg in a shell, and convenience food is a quart jar of spaghetti sauce that I canned last summer. I’m not sure how to classify those Chocolate Seven Layer bars I blogged about VERY recently, but I know they were made with real butter and real chocolate, so they can’t be all that bad.

Farming organically has its challenges, and managing weeds is one of the greatest challenges.  While we have not found a way to eliminate the weed pressure in the fields, we have discovered a way to use them as a beneficial by-product on our farm.

During the Summer and Fall months we raise pasture fed hogs to sell; they have free roaming in a pasture that was seeded in a mix of rape seed, kale, and barley just for them.  In late Summer and early to mid Fall they are turned out into a section of  sweet corn and field corn, where they feast, feast, and feast – you have never seen such happy hogs!  About the time our field harvest is done, they have entirely rooted up their pasture and the corn field, and it would appear that their hog heaven days are almost over ……. but here is when and where the weeds come in.

During the process of combining and storing the crops from our fields, the crops are screened to remove weed seeds, and the weed seeds would normally be considered waste.  But we have found that our hogs consider foxtail (millet) and pig weed (amaranth) seed to be five-star dining, and knowing the seeds are packed with rich nutrients and minerals has us happily serving them by the buckets to our spoiled pigs!  I love it when nature gives a bonus along with a challenge.

FOR SALE:

All natural, free range, pasture raised pork for sale.  Pastured in a hog pasture mix of rape seed, kale, and barley; additional feed consisted of chemical free, non-GMO ingredients.  Hormone and antibiotic free.  Processing done by award-winning French Lake Butcher Shop.  Sold as a whole or half.  Call 320-286-5384 for more information.

Applesauce technology

October 15, 2009

apple mill

Why did I not hear about this invention 20 years ago?  Apparently this type of food mill has been around for some time, and I’m glad I finally found out about the handy, dandy applesauce maker that has taken the chore out of making applesauce.  Not even close to work.

This easy:  wash apples, cut in half, cook until soft, put in hopper and turn handle.  No peeling, no coring, no removing seeds or stems.  The applesauce comes out one side, and the peels, stems, and seeds come out the end.

We purchased this food mill from Lehman’s on the internet, but I’ve seen other brands out there that appear to do the same thing.  I really like the suction base that allows you to attach it on any solid surface.  The only downfall I can think of, is that it doesn’t wash itself.  Good thing I have teenage girls that love to wash dishes!

An interesting article about organic food by TIME, sharing the obvious and hidden benefits of food raised organically.  Take a moment to view this slide show about What The World Eats.

Article here.

Slideshow here.

eggs

I recently read a report in Mother Earth News about the healthy benefits of  eggs produced by pastured poultry.  Recent nutritional testing of eggs from pastured hens gave some remarkable results.  Compared to the official USDA data for factory-farm eggs (raised conventionally), free range eggs contained:

1/3 less cholesterol

1/4 less saturated fat

2/3 more vitamin A

2 times more omega-3 fatty acids

3 times more vitamin E

7 times more beta carotene

Now that’s a pretty healthy egg!

To follow Mother Earth News ongoing pastured egg research, go to www.MotherEarthNews.com/eggs

TEN GRAIN MIX

1 cup farina
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rolled barley
1 cup rolled wheat
1 cup cracked rye berries
1 cup cracked wheat berries
1 cup corn meal
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup millet
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup quiona (optional)

Mix all ingredients, store in airtight container.

ten grain bread

TEN GRAIN BREAD

Pour 4 cups boiling water over 1 ½ cups ten grain mix (above).  Stir every ten minutes three times.  Cool approximately 45 minutes.

To the warm soaked ten grain mix, add the following ingredients

3 1/2 cups warm water
½ cup honey
½ cup oil
½ cup apple fruit juice concentrate, undiluted and thawed if frozen
2 cups rolled oats
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tablespoons yeast
6 cups freshly ground wheat flour
6-8 cups bread flour, more or less, until dough cleans sides of bowl or is easy to handle

Mix dough and knead well.  Let dough rise twice before putting into bread pans.  Raise in pans and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Makes about 8 pounds of bread dough.