Friday, October 11, 2013

Forty Pounds of Chicken

I placed my first order from Zaycon Foods and the pick up was this morning. I only ordered one case since I don't have an extra freezer. I was very happy with my chicken and will order from them again. Since I don't have a freezer and I am out of canning jars, my MIL offered to let me keep my chicken at their house. I was able to get it all vacuumed sealed and in her freezer this morning.

I think that will last us for a while!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Taco Seasoning

I have been making my own taco seasoning for a while now, even before I started trying to make as much as I could from scratch. I like to add it to other ingredients sometimes and would often only need a small amount from a package, then would have a package that wasn't enough to make tacos, and then it would get stuck in a drawer and I would forget about it until I cleaned out the drawer.

One day I was making tacos and realized that I didn't have any taco seasoning and didn't want to run to the store either. Google to the rescue! I searched for a recipe and found one, made it and loved it. I have tweaked and added to that original recipe and have some up with this version that I really like.

This recipe does make quite a bit, but I like to have it on hand, so once I have filled my spice container (like the ones above), I put the excess in a mason jar and vacuum seal it so that it stays fresh. 

You can also see my high tech way of labeling jars--I use painter's tape to write the contents and the date on the jars.

Taco Seasoning

1/2 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
3 tablespoons black pepper 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon chipotle chili pepper
2 teaspoons beef bullion

Measure all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Store in an air tight container.

To Use: When I use this for tacos, I add 3-4 tablespoons to a pound of ground beef that has been cooked and drained. Simmer seasoning mix, ground beef and 2/3 cup of water for a few minutes.

Other ways I use taco seasoning:
Salad Dressing: Add a teaspoons or two to ranch dressing for a southwestern ranch
Dip: Mix a couple of tablespoons to about a cup and a half of sour cream
Chicken: Sprinkle on chicken breasts before baking
Soup: Add some to a tomato based soup for a taco soup

I have lots of ways of using this seasoning, it is probably the seasoning mix that I use the most so even though it seems like a lot of mix, I go through it pretty quickly. 


Friday, October 4, 2013

CSA Basket

Not the best photo, but the batteries in my camera are dead so I took a picture with my phone. This week's basket included lettuce mix, various squashes, some peppers, onion, green beans yellow beans, broccoli, cabbage and some greens that I already have in the sink to be washed,. 

I was happy to see that broccoli!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Flavored Oatmeal

I am a old fashioned oats oatmeal eater. I married a flavored, instant oatmeal man. 

He would eat it when I made it but he didn't really enjoy it. I liked adding dried fruit to my oatmeal, but couldn't handle the texture and the sweetness of instant oatmeal. 

Ahhh, the internet! I went searching for some quick oatmeal ideas that would suit both of us. I found several versions of "do it yourself" instant oatmeal packs so I decided to give it a try.

I started with 10 cups of oats, a cup and a half of brown sugar, a cup of powdered milk, and a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon.

Half of the oats went into the food processor and I hit the pulse button a few times to break it down and then added the remaining ingredients and mixed them all together to form my oatmeal base.

At this point, I pulled out a bunch of fruits that I had dehydrated, some nuts and some other seasonings. I measured  about 1/2 a cup of the oatmeal base into a jelly jar (you could do this in plastic bags, but I like vacuum sealing these in jars). I prefer the jars because they last longer and they are easier to deal with in my pantry that is full of other mason jars.

I added about a tablespoon of nuts if I was using them, and a couple of tablespoons of the fruit. Spices were added in 1/4 tsp increments.

These are the varieties that I made and the additions:

Apple Cinnamon--I added an extra 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and some chopped pieces of apples that I had dehydrated.
Apple Pie--a little cinnamon, some apples, a little nutmeg, golden raisons, and a small amount of walnuts.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon--a little extra cinnamon and a little more brown sugar.
Strawberries and Cream--an extra 1/2 teaspoon of powdered milk, some dehydrated strawberries.
Cranberry Almond--some dried cranberries and slivered almonds.
Pumpkin Spice--pumpkin powder (dehydrated pumpkin ground into a powder) and pumpkin pie spice.
Banana Nut--Chopped up dried bananas, a touch more cinnamon and some walnuts.

We have both tested most of the flavors and have pretty much been pleased. I made a couple of notes to change for the next time, the biggest being to make sure I added enough of the pumpkin powder in the Pumpkin Spice--you could taste it but is was very subtle. 

When I do things like this, I make a ton of them so that I don't have to do then that often--I doubled this recipe so I have about 35-40 jars of oatmeal vacuumed sealed in my pantry. They make a great quick breakfast and can be tossed in a lunch box for a snack or breakfast at our desks at work.

I love that these have real fruit in them, I can control the sugar, it has a heartier texture for me than commercial packets, but a smooth enough texture for my husband. Pretty much a very tasty win-win!