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Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Making pumpkin pie from scratch is the most delicious way, and not as difficult as you might think. This is our family recipe. Perfect fall comfort food!

How to Make Old-Fashioned Ginger Ale

How to Make Old-Fashioned Ginger Ale

This is a perfect drink to both replenish the body after an afternoon in the sun, and to help heal digestion, which is so very important to our overall well-being. The best part? It tastes GREAT!

Harvest Comfort Food

Harvest Comfort Food

Two yummy fall recipes: Apple Pumpkin Soup and Easy-Peasy Cheesy Garlic Biscuits.

Curried Carrot Soup

I do not enjoy curry powders. I find the combination of spices that some non-partisan or inexperienced factory owner chose to be quite acrid and unpleasant. So, when I make something "curry," I combine spices to my own taste.

You may feel free to adjust percentages to your own taste as well. Also, raw cow's milk may be substituted for coconut milk if it is not available, but you must then be very careful to not let the soup boil while the carrots are cooking. This recipe is not spicy at all--very mild. For a spicier version, double or triple the chile powder, or add a 1/4 tsp. dried chile flakes to the onion mixture. (Warning: substituting cow's milk for coconut milk will make the spiciness much more noticable, so take that into account.)

Curried Carrot Soup

Makes about 6 cups.

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
½ tsp ginger powder (or 2” piece, pressed)
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp anise seed

Sauté in large saucepan until onions are soft and clear. Then add:

4 c. carrots, finely chopped (a coarser chop will just result in a longer cook time.)
2 c. coconut milk
2 c. homemade chicken stock

Heat over medium-low until carrots are soft—about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Run through the blender in batches & return to saucepan, or blend in pot with a hand-held blender. Add:

½ c. whipping cream
1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Heat through. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs, if desired.


We had this for supper tonight, and it is always a hit in my house. Also, I usually double this recipe and freeze the leftovers.

You will want to make sure your carrots are peeled and chopped before starting the recipe, otherwise your onions will be charred little crisps in the bottom of your pan--and the idea is to contribute as few carcinogens as possible, not create them!

Tip for moms: If your little guy/gal has a hard time eating soup, blend it up and let them drink it through a straw. I was shocked the amount of soup my kids could consume this way!

Shingles, New Job, Rice Pudding and Rice Pilaf

*Long sigh.*

Well, our house is our own again. My mother and her husband were staying here since Sunday night, visiting from ye olde U. S. of A. In that time, Mike re-shingled the entire back side of our roof, which covers about 1000 square feet. Mom helped him, and I spent most of my time cooking for the crew.

What a blessing that was. When we purchased this house, we knew that the shingling needed to be done sooner rather than later, and our insurance company would not even give us full coverage until the job was completed. Well, in addition to the free labour, Mike also blessed us with about 2/3 of the shingles required for the job, which he had had taking up space in his barn in Montana. This saved us mucho grando casho! Thank you, a million times thank you, you guys!
 

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Something I forgot to mention in my "Lifemarks" post on Saturday is that Jason started a new job on Monday--again. This is his third job since moving up here in December, and even though it is just covering a maternity leave, the 30% increase in pay for the year he will be there was too tempting to turn down. And you never know, a lot can happen in a year--perhaps the job will become permanent. That's what we're praying for, anyway.

He's working at the DMI pulp mill about 25 minutes out of town, in their computer department. His job description has nothing to do with the side of the computer industry he was working in before, or even what he trained for in college, so it is going to be interesting to say the least. He will be running new software through its paces before it is released into the company, finding every flaw possible, and then training the staff how to use it. A total desk job. He's hoping he likes it, but I guess the advantage of it being temporary is: If he doesn't like it, in a year, he can go back to fixing hardware and computer networking!

The other perk of this job, besides the jumped income, is that he can work a schedule that allows him to get off early on Friday half the time, and get every other Friday off. Bonus! Long weekend with my honey every other week! 'Course, the days are a little bit longer, and he is getting up at an hour in the morning that should be reserved for robins and worms, but I guess you can't always have your rice pudding and eat it too.

Speaking of Rice Pudding, I've been promising this recipe to a friend of mine, among others, so here you go. My famous, modified-to-be-Maker's Diet-friendly-Rice Pudding:

Talena's Awesome Rice Pudding (I'm so modest, eh?)

1 c. uncooked or 4 c. cooked brown or white rice, preferably basmati (see below for how to prepare)

In 2-qt. casserole (stoneware is best), mix:
3 eggs
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. whole milk or coconut milk

Add cooked rice and 1/3 c. unsulphured raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook for one hour in 350 degree F. oven, or until a knife inserted in the top comes out clean. Stir and serve with cinnamon and cream.

Serves about 6-8 as a dessert or 3-4 as a meal. (Sunday nights are "Rice Pudding Night" in our family, a tradition that dates back to my grandparents.)

Brown Rice

I usually use basmati rice, but you can use regular brown rice, too. Basmati just has such a wonderful nutty flavour and texture.

Melt 1/4 c. butter in medium saucepan. Rinse 1 c. of rice twice in cold water, then add to butter. Stir on medium-high heat until rice takes on a milky appearance. Then add 2 c. filtered water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Cook, uncovered, on med.-high until water reduces to just above the level of the rice. Cover and put on lowest heat for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.

For a more flavourful version, to be served as a side dish to a meal, saute 1/2 cup chopped onion in the butter before adding rice. Substitute homemade chicken stock for all or part of the water.

For Rice Pilaf, add spices (dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil) and sliced mushrooms to onion when sauteing. Add vegetables (peas, carrots) along with the rice.

For Coconut Rice Pilaf, add dried cinnamon stick, a few cloves, nutmeg, minced garlic and crushed ginger to the onion when sauteing. Substitute whole coconut milk for about 1/2 - 2/3 of the chicken stock, and add 1/4 c. unsulphured raisins with the rice. You may want to add a little more liquid (stock) with this one, as the thicker liquid tends to disappear faster, allowing this one to burn rather easily.

Soaked version: To speed up the actual cooking process, rice can be soaked in advance to remove phytates. (Rice has a very low phytate count, and most of them are neutralized during a long slow cook, but soaking works, too.) Soak rice in a medium saucepan with 2 c. water and 2 tbsp. kefir, plain yogurt, buttermilk, whey, lemon juice, or vinegar for 7 hours or overnight in a warm place. Without removing lid, bring to a boil and skim. Add 2 tbsp. butter and 1/2 tsp. sea salt, cover tightly and simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing lid and fluffing with a fork.

Happy cooking!

After this rather eclectic post, I would like to leave you with this:

Quote of the Day:

"Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius." - Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)