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Archive for April, 2013

“B” is for…

“B” is for….

BUTTER!
I made it myself!
With cream, in a jar that I keep on a shelf.

The cream comes from cows
Oh so gentle and mellow
Their milk’s always white, but the butter is yellow!

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No matter how many times I see it, the transformation from white cream to bright yellow butter is always amazing. It is incredible that simply agitating the cream for a while causes that thick, white liquid to separate out into a yellow solid and a thin, clearish liquid! You can experience this wonder of God’s design in your own kitchen, without any special equipment! All you need is cream and a jar. I used about 2.5 cups of cream, and a gallon jar. Pour the cream into the jar, put on the lid and shake! (This is fun for kids to take turns shaking, and see who will have the jar when the cream “breaks” into butter and buttermilk!).

If you have a stand mixer, you can use that if you prefer. It will take a while, so be prepared to let the machine run 10-15 minutes. Make sure to use the splash guard, if you have one (and to stand by and watch closely if you don’t!) because the butter breaks suddenly, and the resulting buttermilk is Very sloshy!

After you have butter, you need to squeeze out all the leftover buttermilk, and wash the butter. If you leave a lot of milk in the butter, it will go rancid quickly. Form the butter into a ball, and submerge in cool water. You can work it around with your hands or a paddle or spoon to squeeze all the milk out. Keep changing the rinse water until it runs clear–then you know all the milk is out! Now is the time to salt your butter and knead the salt in. You could also add honey or herbs at this point, for fancy butter!

Enjoy!

The milk used in this butter is from 100% grass-fed cows; they never eat anything else. It is also fresh, unpasteurized, so that it retains all its vital nutrients. That is why the butter turns such a nice shade of yellow. If you try this with store bought, pasteurized cream, the butter will usually turn out white (and not nearly as tasty!). I am blessed to have access to fresh-from-the-farm milk, which makes it possible for me to enjoy dairy! (I cannot drink pasteurized milk without ill effects.)

For more information about fresh milk, http://www.realmilk.org is a great resource!

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Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

Le Fou, I’m afraid I went shopping.

A dangerous pastime….

I know.

Especially GROCERY shopping, when one has food allergies. This particular trip was fraught with more-than-usual peril, for a couple of reasons. First, I was hungry. We all know the Most Important Rule of Shopping, right? Well, I broke it. Second, I was craving pizza. No, not craving pizza, CRAVING PIZZA!!!. And doughnuts.

My sensible brain knew that this meant I needed to examine what I’d been eating lately and see if some gluten had accidentally slipped in. (Later, I did just that and discovered the culprit: a snack bar I’d bought for grab-and-go mornings without reading the label carefully enough! This is my number one reason for not shopping while hungry or tired.) But my sensible brain was out to lunch or otherwise not functioning, due to those selfsame cereal bars, no doubt.

As a side note…I read a fascinating article in the most recent issue of Living Without magazine on the topic of gluten sensitivity and depression. As mentioned in the article, unreasonable sadness and lethargy, brain “fog” and body aches are some of my first indications that I’ve accidentally eaten gluten, but I often don’t notice them until the more obvious symptoms show up. I found it an interesting read, and a good reminder of things of which I should be aware.

Anyway…back to my shopping trip. See the verse up there at the top? I firmly believe it! And I believe that it applies to little, everyday things as much as to big, life changing things. We are “worth more than sparrows” and our Heavenly Father cares about our daily lives. My “heart’s desire” at that present moment was Pizza. At least, I thought it was. Another wonderful thing about God, though, is that He knows us better than we know ourselves….

I could tell you a long story about all the things I found in the store that I considered special blessings for my frustrated heart, but it would take a loooooooong time. I shall give you, instead, the condensed list:
1. Red grapefruit, which is one of my Favorite things, was on sale!
2. A lovely ranch dressing for my salad
3. Many of the things on my shopping list were on sale.
4. Salted Caramel Häagen Dazs bars…require no comment.

And the pièce de résistance…..

5. When I got to the specialty frozen foods section, whence I meant to buy a frozen pizza from Udi, if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I found……

Not only were the pizzas ON SALE (and you and I both know what a rare occurrence that is!), but they also had a NEW item from Udi…….Flour Tortillas!

Almost overcome with excitement, I checked out and hurried home!

If you are eating gluten free, you’ve probably experienced several attempts at a “flour” tortilla; those frozen brown things that crumble when thawed, or those stiff ones that wouldn’t even dream of rolling up. Maybe, like me, you’ve even made your own. Homemade ones can be pretty good, but only fresh out of the pan. What you don’t eat, you may as well make into chips because they’ll be chips tomorrow whether you like it or not, amiright?

Not these. These are Amazing. They came frozen, but I stuck them in the fridge to thaw, and tasted one as soon as I could! I couldn’t believe my mouth…chewy, dense, flexible….exactly as I remembered gluten flour tortillas! (and no, I don’t work for Udi)

I made this….

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See how they folded over without cracking?!??!!!? I put those under the broiler with cheese sprinkled on top, then folded them as I put them on the plate!!!

They are amazing to eat. So….real. And “real” is what I was really wanting, that day in the store.

Does it surprise you to hear that I haven’t yet eaten the frozen pizza?

That guacamole on top is easy-peasy, too. I’ve been seeing a lot of über complicated guacamole recipes lately, and I just don’t understand.

“Oh, Bert! Why must you complicate things that are really quite simple?”

Why, indeed? Try this one. Mary Poppins would approve.

1 avocado, peeled and pitted, mashed or diced just as you like (or more than 1, to have enough to share!)
Some:
Cilantro
Lime juice
Salt
Pepper

Optional:
Tomatoes, diced
Onion, diced
Jalapeño, diced finely

I say “some,” because guacamole is really a matter of taste. Start with a little. Taste. Add more. Taste. Repeat until it’s good! The “optional” ingredients are all good, but you can make good guacamole without them. I like tomatoes, but my last batch didn’t have any and it was still mighty tasty! If you’re feeling Really lazy, throw in a jar of salsa!

Thanks for sharing my day of delightful blessings!

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (Psalm 37:3 NIV)

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