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Some Tips on Wine Drinking

Wine is an sprituous intoxicating grape juice. It is the perfect party and entertaining beverage, offered in white, red or rose. It is also an investment and, like a  jewel, it really does get better with age. This is the reason behind bottles turning into collectors' items and vintage orchards are tout le rage.

Buying wine is one thing, appreciating wine is an art but once you've got the knack of it you won't mind adding 40 per cent to your meal expense to have the beverage.

Some basic rules:

NEVER drink prior to eating anything. If you do, and you're with a man, it suggests that your date did not take you dinner and considers you a cheap date, or only wants you to get drunk, which is definitely not a good sign, but this is a totally different issue.

NEVER mix and match. You  must not mix styles and particular labels, and the same rule must apply with alcoholic beverages. Go for beer, hard spirits, or wine.  Choose one type of beverage and stick with it.

NEVER go past the tipsy, light-headed stage. At the vomiting and passing-out phase you cease to appear even remotely charming, and the hang­over will thwart any pleasure.

DON'T try to compete with a man drink for drink if you don't know your limits. A woman's capacity is typically lower.

Don't  take the challenge of drinking contests, except if it is your intention either to  collapse, or be dragged home.

Appreciating Wine Tasting Events

Wine tasting, sniffing and spitting may hit you as exaggerated but, before you mock, there is a sense of style in this hobby. A wine-tasting event is resembling a trip to a shoe store, with plenty of different designs and brands offered. You want to try a few to work out what best fits you, your taste, and your  mood. That said, the spitting part should not be done in restaurants, bars and any non-wine-tasting gatherings.

Carry the open wine bottle and pour a small sample into the glass.  Bring the glass to your lips. Close your eyes. Gradually move the glass under your nose and inhale deeply. Allow your mind to transport you on a journey to that aroma: to the rich terracotta of the wide landscape, the rolling terrain, the women's shirtsleeves pushed up, and their skirts trailing along the winding path . . . Wine tells a tale, you have to listen and indulge it to experience it at its best.

A really fine bottle can tickle your taste buds and mind. This is why wine it is so intoxicating and addictive, and so potentially expensive.

A Beginner's Guide to Wine Tasting Events
© Athena Goodlight

How to Cook Pumpkin

Large pumpkins are perfect for carving faces and Jack-O-Lanterns.  For cooking, however, smaller pumpkins are most preferred because they are less stringy, smoother textured, darker colored, and sweeter.  Pumpkins can be used for just about everything – soups, muffins, pies, or purée for winter use.

•           To bake: Cut in half and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down in greased pan and bake in 375F (190C) oven for about 1 hour or until tender.
•           To microwave: Cut in half, scoop out seeds and prick skin with fork. Place cut side down in microwavable dish, cover with vented plastic wrap and cook at High for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.
•           To steam or boil: Cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks and cook in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes or steam over boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
•           To make pumpkin puree: If cooked pumpkin looks watery, drain in sieve for 10 minutes. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in airtight containers for up to 1 year.
•           Canned pumpkin may be substituted for homemade pumpkin puree in recipes; be sure to buy plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin Recipes:

Pumpkin Bisque 

Curried Shrimp Recipe-Shrimp and Pumpkin Curry

Thanksgiving Side Dishes and Pumpkin Soup

© Athena G

How to Store Jerky and Other Dried Meats

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Home-dehydrated meats such as jerky don't store well for extended periods of time because of the high fat content; they turn rancid after several weeks. However, meats could be dried and stored in the freezer till you're ready to set off on a trip and could stay good for a week or so.

Types of meat to dry
Lean beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, fully cooked boneless ham, venison, and other lean game meats may all be dried.

Preparation for drying
Fully cook the meat or poultry and remove any excess fat. It's also possible to use leftover meat that has been cooked to a tender state. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes.

Store dehydrated meats in airtight containers or plastic bags in the freezer until ready to use.

Reconstituting Dried Meats
Allow meat to soak in broth or bouillon until plump; can be cooked with other ingredients.

How to Make Jerky

Jerky Marinade Recipes

© Athena G

Jerky Marinade Recipes

Marinate the sliced meat in one of the following recipes overnight in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container. You may also decide to smoke it if you have a meat and fish smoker, but generally, you marinate it first.  If you are new to making homemade jerky, you may wish to read the detailed instructions for jerky making HERE>>> How to Make Jerky

Marinade Recipes for Jerky

The following recipes are given for 2 pounds of sliced lean meat.

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon A-1 steak sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove crushed garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Hot 'n' Spicy
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke VA teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves crushed garlic

Sweet 'n' Sour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove crushed garlic

© Athena Goodlight

How to Make Homemade Cheese (Hard Cheese)

2 gallons fresh milk (preferably raw)
1 cup cold water
3/4 Hansen's cheese rennet tablet, or 8 junket rennet tablets
2 tablespoons sea salt

Allow 1 gallon of the milk to ripen overnight in a cool place (50 to 60F). The next morning, add the other gallon. In a big, enamel or stainless-steel pot, warm the milk to 86F. Add tablet to the cold water, and stir until dissolved. Set the pot in a bigger vessel of warm water (88 to 90F), away from drafts. Add rennet solution, and stir well. Let stand undisturbed until a firm curd forms—about 30 to 45 minutes. Test the firmness by delicately putting a finger into the curd at an angle and lifting it. If curd breaks neatly over your finger, it is ready to cut. If not, let it set 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Take out pot from larger vessel, and cut curd into 3/8-inch cubes. Use a knife with a blade long enough to cut through to the bottom of pot without the handle's touching the curd. Stir curd cubes carefully but thoroughly using a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes; use long, slow movements so curds are not crushed. Put the pot in a larger pot with water (forging a double-boiler effect), and heat gradually, raising curds' temperature about 1 1/2 degrees every 5 minutes until it reaches 102F. Stir with a wooden spoon to hold on the curds from sticking together. Remove from heat when curds start to hold their shape and easily fall apart when held, but not squeezed, together.

Stir every 5 minutes for about 1 hour (you read that right!) to keep curds from sticking. Leave them in the whey till the mass becomes so firm that a handful of pieces, when pressed together, will shake apart easily. Place the curds on a double layer of 3-foot-square cheesecloth, and pull corners of cloth together. Swing gently, allowing curds roll back and forth so whey drains without squeezing. Sprinkle curds with half of sea salt, and mix thoroughly with wooden spoon. Sprinkle on remaining sea salt, and mix in by hand.

Tie the cheesecloth so curds form a ball; hang up, and allow the whey to drip for 45 minutes. Remove cheesecloth; fold it into a rectangular bandage, 3 inches by 3 feet, and wrap tightly around the ball. Using your hands, press down on ball until top and bottom are flat. Put three or four layers of cheesecloth under and over the cheese. Place in press; adjust pieces of wood; put a heavy object on the press; let it sit overnight. Turn, then press overnight once more.

Take out the cheese from the press, and remove cheesecloth wrapping. Allow to stand in a warm room (70 to 75F) for 6 hours while rind forms and dries out. Then coat using hot, melted paraffin. Holding the cheese with tongs, dip one half and then the other half. Or paint on paraffin with a basting brush. An alternate to paraffin coating is rubbing vegetable oil into the cheese. Ripen in a cool place (50 to 65F) 3 to 4 weeks; turn two or three times each week.

Makes about one pound of cheese

© Athena Goodlight

Cottage Cheese Dip Recipe

image credit: Elaine Eppler

2 cups homemade cottage cheese        
1 teaspoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon celery seeds           
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 teaspoon dill seeds                         
Pinch paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • Blend cottage cheese with celery, dill, and caraway seeds. 
  • Add the parsley and chives. 
  • Chill for a few hours. 
  • Before serving, sprinkle lightly with paprika. 
  • Serve with crackers or bread rounds.

Makes 2 cups.

Cheese-Based Dessert: Coeur a la Creme

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A delicious and simple dessert known as Coeur a la Creme—Heart of Cream—can be made using Yogurt Cream Cheese or Basic Cottage Cheese. Any fresh fruit may be used to garnish it. It's molded in a heart-shape basket

Coeur a la Crème

4 cups homemade cream cheese or cottage cheese       
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pint fresh berries, sliced
1 cup Basic Yogurt
Granulated sugar to taste

  • Stir the cheese, at room temperature, with yogurt and 2 tablespoons sugar until smooth.
  • Line your heart-shape basket with cheesecloth; set on soup plate.
  • Pack the mixture into basket; drain and chill several hours, or overnight.
  • To serve, unmold; garnish with berries; sprinkle with sugar to taste.

Makes 8 servings.

© Athena G

Basic Cottage Cheese Recipe

image via Wikipedia

1/6 Hansen's cheese rennet tablet, or 2 junket rennet tablets
1/2 cup cold water
2 quarts skim milk
1/8 cup commercial cultured buttermilk

  • Dissolve the  rennet tablet in the cold water. 
  • Combine the skim milk and buttermilk. 
  • Heat the milk mixture to 70F. Add rennet solution, and stir thoroughly. 
  • Cover with a towel, and allow to stand at room temperature 12 to 18 hours, or until a smooth curd builds up. 
  • Using a long knife cut the curd into 1/2-inch pieces. 
  • Slowly heat the curds using a double-boiler top over hot water, until temperature reaches 110F. 
  • Maintain this temperature 20 to 30 minutes, stirring around every 5 minutes so curds heat uniformly. 
  • When the curds are firm, pour into a colander lined with cheesecloth, and let the whey drain off. 
  • Shift the curds around by slowly lifting the corners of the cloth. 
  • After whey has drained off, get corners of cloth together, and soak up for about 2 seconds in cold water. 
  • Work the curds using a wooden spoon to free them of any excess whey. 
  • Stir; chill.

Makes 8 servings

© Athena G.

Cheese Making and Homemade Cottage Cheese

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There are numerous legends regarding the discovery of cheese-making, most of them having elements in common: Somebody sets out on horseback on a journey, bringing along some milk in a pouch made from a calf s stomach. After a while, the traveler finds out that the milk has turned into a palatable sour curd.

Rennin, an enzyme present in the lining of a calf s stomach, turns milk into curds and whey and is used almost universally in cheese-making. The primary milk protein, casein, is curdled, or coagulated, by the enzyme action of rennet or pepsin, or by lactic acid manufactured by bacterial action, or by a combination of these.

Cheese is produced from the milk of various animals, including cow, buffalo, camel, ass, sheep, goat, mare, llama, reindeer, yak, and zebu. Like with yogurt, the flavor and consistency of cheese are dictated by the type of milk and the conditions under which it is transformed. And like wine, cheese has a myriad of varieties. Essentially, it is either soft or hard. Soft cheeses normally contain more moisture than hard cheeses. The homemaker can readily make soft cheeses, many of which have a cottage-cheese base.

Basic Cottage Cheese Recipe 
Coeur a la Creme Recipe
Cottage Cheese Dip Recipe

Recipe for Cheese Sauce in 20 Minutes or Less

 Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich Melt

 © Athena Goodlight

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

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4 tablespoons unrefined oil
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, sliced thin
2 onions, sliced thin
2 cups hot water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
2 cups hot milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Heat a large saucepan. 
  • Add the oil, Jerusalem artichokes, and onions.
  • Cover and saute on low heat, stirring often until vegetables are almost tender. 
  • Add the water or stock and salt. 
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft. 
  • Mash the vegetables or blend in a blender. 
  • Add the hot milk and nutmeg. 
  • Heat through. Jerusalem artichokes are mild and sweet. They make a delicate creamy soup.


Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

image via Wikipedia

2 tablespoons unrefined corn germ oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
4 cups hot tamari broth or vegetable stock
sea salt
Garnish: toasted croutons, grated cheese

  • Heat a large saucepan. 
  • Add the oil and onions and saute until tender and golden brown.
  • Add the flour and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  • Add the hot broth and simmer 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Season to taste with sea salt. 
  • Serve hot with the garnish.

Turkey Soup Recipe

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Do not throw away the bones and the stock of Simmered Turkey (recipe here), and use it to cook a nice turkey soup. Add chopped celery, car­rots, and onions to the pot together with all the bones and some added pepper.  You may put some rice if you wish when the soup is cooked. It will be finished as a delicious side dish.

Preparing a Juicy Turkey Stew (Simmered Turkey)

  • Have a completely defrosted turkey. 
  • Take out the neck and giblets.
  • Place the whole turkey in a large pot. Cover entirely with cold water, then remove the turkey, leaving the water inside the pot. (This will let you know how much water you will use for the cooking.  Normally you will need about a 20-quart pot to cook a 10-pound turkey.)
  • Bring the water to a boil. 
  • Cut off the wings and legs from the turkey, and set aside. 
  • Put the body of the bird in the pot, and bring the water back to a boil. 
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot, and allow the water to simmer lightly for 45 minutes. 
  • Then add the wings and the legs to the pot. Cover the pot again, and simmer for another 45 minutes. 
  • Then leave the lid on the pot and the pot on the burner. Turn off the heat, and allow the bird to stay in its own liquid for 2 hours. It is now ready to remove and be served or used. 
  • At the end of the 2-hour period refrigerate everything and chill until the next day. 
Turkey tips

  • Don't store the turkey in aluminum, but stainless steel ware is OK.
  • Do not season the turkey while cooking. Salt dries out the bird. If you wish to add salt, add it afterwards just prior to serving.
  • Low-salt/low-fat eaters will love this turkey. Just remove the skin from the bird after cooking (this holds in most of the fat) then eat without guilt!
  • Remove the meat from the bone, and serve with a light gravy for a lovely meal. The meat will be very moist and freshly flavored.
  • Prepare giblet gravy by cooking the chopped giblets in some of the stock for at least an hour before the bird is to be served. Season to taste. 
  • You may add a bit of sage or thyme if you wish. 
  • You may refrigerate the bird in its juice, and slice it the next day for a light dinner.

Recipes Using Cholula Hot Sauce

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Cholula hot sauce is a brand of sauce from Jalisco in Mexico that has so far not received the world wide recognition as other brands such as Tabasco. Cholula is available in four distinct flavours, original, chipotle, chili lime and chili garlic. Here are two recipes shared by John Smither that use this hot sauce to add to their fiery taste.

Get recipes: How to Make Two Recipes Using Cholula Hot Sauce

Tips on Preparing Tossed Salads

Wash your greens and vegetables speedily in cold water and dry using paper towel. Chill if not used right away. Tear the greens and chop other crisp vegetables. Toss at once in enough unrefined oil to cut edges. Only then you should add your chopped wet vegetables, like tomatoes, and your choice of dressing. This process will avoid vitamin loss and will keep the salad crisp.

Use all types of colorful crisp vegetables to lend nutrients and beauty to your salads. Rely heavily on sprouts, as growing your own sprouts ensures you cheap, fresh, unsprayed greens all the year round. They add excellent variety in taste and texture and abundant vitamins. Raw vegetables are a necessary part of a good diet.

Recipes of Tossed Salads

1 cup finely shredded cabbage
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 /2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon raw honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Mix the veggies and raisins. Mix the mayonnaise, salt, honey and lemon juice. Stir all ingredients well.

4 ounces of dried apples
12 ounces of mixed, dried fruit juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup raw honey
Chop fruit into little bite sizes. Toss with lemon juice, then honey to coat every piece. Cover and refrigerate or keep in a cool place until moist.

5 to 6 Jerusalem artichokes, grated
2 carrots, grated
stalks of celery, strung and chopped fine
1/3 cup chopped parsley
homemade mayonnaise or other dressing
Garnish: carrot curls and black olives
Wash and grate or chop the vegetables. Mix lightly using desired dressing. Serve on top of a lettuce leaf. Garnish each plate or the salad bowl prior to serving. Other raw vegetables could be added. If desired, add a bit of spicy or hot sauce or seasoned sea salt to the mayonnaise.

2 cups mungbean sprouts 2 cups shredded cabbage 2 tablespoons dulse
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons unrefined oil
Toss vegetables with the oil. Then add dulse and a favored dressing.

2 cups lentils, rinsed
6 cups boiling water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup unrefined safflower oil
minced garlic
sea salt or tamari soy sauce paprika
Add lentils to water and cook around 30 minutes Or till tender. Drain and cool. Mix oil and vinegar and stir lightly into lentils. Flavor with garlic, salt, and paprika. Refrigerate and serve chilled having tomatoes and lettuce or alfalfa sprouts.

© 2011 Athena Goodlight

Stuffed Tomato Salad

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It's a stuffed fruit and it's a salad. It's a stuffed tomato salad!

6 large tomatoes
2 cups cooked garbanzos
4 tablespoons unrefined oil
2 tablespoons dulse
2 tablespoons roasted soy flour
2 tablespoons grated onion

Scoop up tomatoes.
Mix remaining ingredients.
Fill up tomato cavities.
Chill and serve on lettuce or raw spinach leaves.


Taboolie Salad Recipe

image via Wikipedia
Tabouli, is a healthy and yummy Mediterranean food, commonly prepared with cracked wheat, garlic, mint, green onions, tomatoes,olive oil and lemon.  It is an excellent choice for picnics and quick snacks.  It tastes best  when chilled, but may also be served at room temperature.

2 cups cracked wheat cereal
1 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup chopped onions.
2 tomatoes, chopped 1/2 to 1 cup lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cup unrefined safflower oil salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cracked wheat in 1 cup warm water for about an hour.
Add all the ingredients and toss together.
Chill prior to serving.
Don't miss this taste treat.

Flakes and Fruit Breakfast

3 tablespoons unrefined oil
2 cups flaked wheat, rye, triticale or rice (or mixture)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 to 6 cups boiling water
1/4 cup soy flour
1 /2 cup raisins, chopped dates, or other chopped fruits
Sauté the flakes in oil.
Put in water and salt.
Cover and simmer until tender, around 15 minutes.
Stir in soy flour and fruit.
Simmer a couple of minutes more.


Easiest Way to Cook Rice or Grains During Camp

brown rice, whole grain wheat, or other whole grains
pinch of sea salt
boiling water

Use a thermos or heavy sauce pan with a heavy, tightly fitting lid.
Fill thermos 1/3 full of whole grain.
Add a pinch of salt.
Fill the remainder of the thermos with boiling water.
Seal right away and let sit all night.
The grain will be set for breakfast.
You can't ask for an easier breakfast than that.
Grain could be eaten cold or reheated.

Homemade Granola Recipe

Granola bars are yummy and healthy snacks. What's even better is that you can make your own granola at home. Here's a simple recipe on making granola bars.

5 cups mixed wheat, rye and oak flakes
1 to 2 cups mixture of seeds and/or chopped nuts
1/2 cup unrefined oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw honey, molasses or maple syrup
5 cups wheat flakes

Stir first 5 cups of flakes, seeds or nuts, oil and sweetener.
Spread thinly on cookie sheets.
Bake 2 to 4 minutes in a hot 400 degree oven till lightly toasted.
Stir into left over flakes and fruit to cool and hold from lumping.
Cool entirely and store in air tight containers.

Organic Recipes: Grandma’s Country Mush

Rye flakes are actually steamed and flattened rye berries which is native to Southwest Asia. Prior to the 4th century B.C., rye was considered a weed.  Now it is a very popular grain used for making bread and brewing beverages. The flakes are commonly used as cereal for porridge or baking.  Here's a mush recipe using rye flakes.

6 cups boiling water
1 cup currants
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or salt to taste
2 cups flaked rye, or other flaked grain

Add altogether the ingredients to the water. Cover and simmer on low heat approximately 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.

SERVES 4 - 6

Bulgur Breakfast Recipe

image via Wikipedia
Bulgur (also known as bulghur, burghul or bulgar) is a cereal product made from different wheat varieties, but mainly from durum wheat. Its commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine, including Turkey, Armenia, Greece, and Bulgaria.

1-1/2 cups bulghur-soy grits
1 /2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups boiling water
1 /2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped almonds

Stir grits and salt into water. Bring down heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until almost tender. Add other ingredients and simmer a couple of more minutes. Add chopped dried apples with other ingredients if you want. Top with a bit of honey.


Buckwheat Mush Recipe

image via Wikipedia
Buckwheat groat porridge was a common dish of the peasants in Western Asia and Europe especially during the 20th century.  It was brought to America by the Russian and Polish immigrants and it is commonly called "kasha."


2/3 cup buckwheat groats
2/3 cup oat flakes
1/2 cup non-instant dry milk powder
1/2 cup raisins
4 cups boiling water

Mix the buckwheat groats and oats. 
Add the dry milk and raisins. 
Pour boiling water over the whole mix and bring to a really low simmer. 
Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or till the grains are soft. 
Add honey to taste and serve!

Eggs in French Toast Recipe

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6 eggs
6 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons unrefined oil

Take out a 3 inch diameter center from each piece of bread.
Oil hot griddle.
Toast bread on one side.
Flip bread over (maintain griddle oiled) and break an egg carefully into the hole in every piece of toast.
Season to taste.
(Toast the center portions for the children to snack on while breakfast is still cooking.)

Scrambled Eggs With Sprouts

8 to 10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 green onions, including tops, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt or
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 cup mung bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts
1 tablespoon of unrefined oil

Beat the eggs with the milk and seasonings. 
Stir in the sprouts. 
Heat a big skillet on medium heat. 
Add oil. 
Next add the beaten egg mixture. 
Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are barely set.
Season to taste.

Recipe for Sourdough Pancakes

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Feed your starter an extra measure the night before.
2 cups sourdough starter, having the consistency of a heavy pancake batter
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons low-sodium baking powder
2 eggs
4 tablespoons unrefined oil

Dissolve the salt and honey in warm water. Add up the baking powder, then stir this mixture in the starter. Beat in the eggs and oil using a spoon until the mix is smooth. Bake on a medium hot, oiled griddle.

Sourdough on a Stick Recipe

Ready the dough. Roll pieces of dough into long thin sausages around 1/4 inch thick. Wet the green stick and heat it over the coals. Enwrap the dough on the warmed stick. Hold the dough on top of the coals until baked, turning now and then to avoid burning. Dunk the dough in a mix of melted honey, butter, and cinnamon before baking when desired.

Tips on Taking Your Sourdough to Camp

1 cup sourdough starter
Whole wheat flour — bring a lot

Knead enough flour into the starter to produce soft dough. Sprinkle the dough using more flour. Bring the dough in a plastic bag bearing a cup of dry flour. Keep the bag tightly shut. Sourdough starter should be mixed with flour because it could only be stored in liquid form in glass or ceramic containers, which are so heavy and inconvenient for camping. The starter would keep a week or more. Maintain the starter fresh by feeding and using it once a week or more.

To use this starter: put the soft dough starter in a bowl. Add 2 to 4 cups of warm water and 2 to 4 cups of flour. Put the bowl in a warm place 3 to 4 hours or overnight (close to a warm fire in the winter). Now the starter is ready to use with whatever sourdough recipe.

Making a Starter for Your Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread takes probably twice as long to rise as yeast dough, but it's in fact easier to make as well as quite tasty, based on the quality of the starter. Sourdough also makes great pancakes and rolls. A lot of campers have taken some starter with them and had a good breakfast working for them through the night.

So here's how to make your own sourdough starter:
1 /2 package dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
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Dissolve yeast in water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Gradually add the flour and mix well. Put in scalded jar. Allow to sit at room temperature for a few days, till fermented and foamy. Stir thoroughly and refrigerate. Starter is now set to feed for making bread. It's best to feed starter each week or so, with an equivalent amount. If the starter ferments longer and liquid divides, just stir it back in, feed it and use it.

Feeding your sourdough starter:
1 cup of starter
2 cups warm water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Always employ earthenware bowl to let starter rise in. Don't use metal. Beat all the ingredients together using a fork. Remove fork. Sit overnight. Bring back 1 cup of the starter to the refrigerator. This leaves around three cups of starter to use — adequate for some pancakes and two loaves of bread (see sourdough bread and pancake recipes).

Sourdough Bread Recipe

YIELD: 2 loaves

1 cup sourdough starter  (starter instructions)
2 cups warm water
1 to 4 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup unrefined oil
6 cups whole wheat flour

Feed your starter the night before. Allow it to sit overnight. Use a huge ceramic or crock bowl. Beat all the ingredients except the flour, together. Add the flour. Mix well, using your hand if necessary. Cover the dough and allow it to rise 3 to 4 hours or until doubled. In summer it could take less time. Shape the dough into 2 loaves, kneading a little bit as you are shaping them. Place in oiled loaf pans. Allow to rise 1 to 2 hours, until doubled. The bread would rise a little more when cooking. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn out on a rack to cool.

Sourdough Batter Bread Recipe

image via Wikipedia

YIELD: 1 loaf

2 cups sourdough starter
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon unrefined oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons soy flour
3 to 4 cups whole flour

Feed the starter the night before. Mix all ingredients together except the flours. Mix dry ingredients and gradually beat into the batter. Beat for about 5 minutes. Place batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise until batter is just over rim of pan. Bake for at least 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

How to Make Yogurt At Home

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The greatest use of milk, whether it's coming from the cow or goat, is to turn it into yogurt, except, naturally, for an infant that cannot get enough milk at its mother's breast. Yogurt is readily digestible, and the beneficial bacteria in it reproduce at body temperature, creating B vitamins and overcoming a lot of mild stomach upsets. Yogurt is particularly important to rejuvenate intestinal flora after use of antibiotics. It can be consumed plain or with fruit or honey. It could be used in place of sour cream dressing for a lot of uses. Granola and yogurt go great together.

How to make your own yogurt:

1 quart fresh milk
3 tablespoons or more of yogurt

Make sure all utensils are scalded. Heat the milk to scalding. Cool to lukewarm. Mix in a little non-instant milk powder if thicker yogurt is desired (optional). Stir yogurt into the lukewarm milk. Pour the mixture into scalded glasses or jars. Place jars in huge pan of warm water. Maintain at about 110 degrees for 3 to 5 hours till the new yogurt thickens. Refrigerate until used.

© 2011 Athena Goodlight

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Benefits of Sprouting Your Grains, Beans, and Seeds

How to Sprout Beans and Grains

To get the maximum benefit of the living foods known as grains, beans and seeds, anyone can sprout them according to the following chart. There is an increase in vitamin content, as well as enzymes activated which would give good health along with only a few other foods. It is crucial that the grains, beans, or seeds be cleansed thoroughly.
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A wide-mouthed glass jar is appropriate for sprouting. One tablespoon of seed in a pint jar covered with water for 12 hours or so gets you started up. Next, put a piece of cheesecloth or nylon netting covering the mouth and fasten it with a rubber band. You could then drain off the soaking water, rinse using warm rinse water, drain well, and leave jar tilted with its mouth down. Room temperature and indirect light works very well. Rinse and drain every morning and evening — and do it more often when humidity is exceedingly low.
 One Quart Glass Sprouter Jar w/ Sprouting Strainer Lid: Grow Sprouts: Includes 2 Oz. Organic Alfalfa Sprout Seeds & Sprouting Instructions
Later on, when the sprouts have achieved the desired length, put in direct sunlight for a couple of hours to produce chlorophyll, rinse using cold water, drain and keep tightly covered in refrigerator. Eat them as soon as possible, ideally within 2 or 3 days. Sprout just enough seeds for this usage, and you could be setting forth a new batch each day or so. Be sure seeds are found from a reputable company and haven't been treated. Don't eat potato sprouts since they are toxic. Sprouting is an excellent activity for children. You'll be surprised at how much life can come up from these small seeds. Here are the sprouting times and the optimal length of sprout in inches for each of the seeds commonly sprouted for food:

Though most of the above seeds are quite easy to sprout properly, soybeans become moldy readily. It is crucial to rinse them very well every time, drain them thoroughly, and not crowd them in the jar. Soybeans sprouts and Garbanzo sprouts are best cooked as they're still big and tough.
 Sprout Garden 3 Tray Family Sprouting Kit - Includes: Sprouter, Drainboard, Covers, 3 Sprouting Trays, 2 Oz of Certified Organic Alfalfa Seed, Instructions. Grow Healthy Fresh Sprouts in Your Own Kitchen!
Sprouts can be added to salads, casseroles, soups, sandwiches — or munched on as is. They can be ground and used in bread recipes or cooked with vegetables or eggs. They'll accelerate the leavening action of yeast breads and assist unleavened breads to rise. Most significantly, they'll improve the nutrition of any meal. If a person had to endure a year on, say, 300 pounds of food — grains, beans and seeds for sprouting will make up most of the supply list for the survival. Do they taste good, too? Alfalfa sprouts are excellent in salads and sandwiches. The heavier bean sprouts are truly tasty when sautéed with onions and other vegetables.

© Athena Goodlight

Swordfish in Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce

flickr image by comprock

Swordfish is among the favorites of both first timers and seasoned seafood eaters. It can be broiled, grilled, 
poached, baked, or kabobed.  Its meaty texture and mild flavor are two of the reasons why swordfish is so popular. Apart from its good taste, swordfish is a low-fat, low-calorie food choice. It is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals.

Swordfish in Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce

2 lbs                 tomatillos
1 large              jalapeno chili
3 -4 gloves       garlic, minced
3                      shallots or ¼  onion
1 cube              chicken bouillon
1/3 cup             cilantro, chopped
12                    mint leaves (optional)
6pcs                  4-oz swordfish steaks
1 Tbsp             oil
Fresh ground pepper

  • Wash and peel tomatillos.
  • In toaster oven, roast first four ingredients for 15 minutes, or until tomatillos are tender.
  • Remove seeds from chili.
  • In a blender, puree roasted ingredients with bouillon, cilantro and mint (if desired).
  • Pour into a saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • In large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Sauté fish for one minute on each side.
  •  Pour sauce over steaks, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness.
  • Season with pepper.

Serves 6
Per serving: 170 calories; 32-percent fat, 20-percent carbohydrate, 48-percent protein.

Note that this low-calorie dish is more than 30-percent fat. Try to limit your daily fat intake to 30 percent of your total calories.

Salmon Sauté Recipe

flickr image by adactio
1  tbs    olive oil
6  4-oz salmon fillets or steaks
2  cloves garlic, minced
½         red onion, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 tbs     fresh basil, chopped (1 ½ tbs dried)
1 tbs     capers
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet.
  • Sauté the salmon on each side for two to three minutes.
  • Remove fish from skillet and add garlic, onion and tomatoes.
  • Sauté for two minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salmon, basil, capers and pepper;
  • cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until salmon is done to taste.

Serves 6
Per serving: 170 calories; 26-percent fat, 52-percent protein, 22-percent carbohydrate.

Baked Catfish Parmesan

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½  cup dry bread crumbs
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs chopped parsley
½  tsp paprika
¼  tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp pepper
1 lb skinless catfish fillets
1/3 cup nonfat milk
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil

  • Preheat oven to 450° F.
  • Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, paprika, oregano, basil and pepper.
  • Dip fillets into milk, then roll in bread-crumb mixture.
  • Coat baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
  • Arrange fillets in pan and drizzle with oil.
  • Bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.

Serves 4
Per serving: 231 calories; 25-percent fat, 40-percent protein, 35-percent carbohydrate.

Broiled Halibut Recipe

flickr image by Charles Haynes 
This beautiful seafood dish is not only pleasing to the palate, but also a nice-looking dish that can be served on Valentine's day.

6 4-oz halibut steaks
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbs low-calorie margarine, melted

2 tbs low-calorie margarine
1          cup minced onion
2          red peppers, sliced in thin strips*
16-oz can tomatoes, undrained and cut into small pieces
1/8 tsp red chili pepper
1/8 tsp salt (optional)

  • Sprinkle halibut with pepper; brush with margarine.
  • Broil or barbecue five inches from heat for five to eight minutes.
  • Turn carefully and cook for another five to eight minutes, or until fish is firm and turns from translucent to opaque.

In a saucepan, melt margarine. Add onion and red peppers, and cook until tender, about four minutes. Add tomatoes, chili pepper and salt (if desired). Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon sauce over halibut steaks.

Serves 6
Per serving: 165 calories; 27-percent fat, 51-percent protein, 22-percent carbohydrate.

*For Valentine's Day you can use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut red pepper. Use the trimmings as well.

Clams Marinara with Pasta

Flickr image by Edsel L

Here’s a low-calorie seafood pasta recipe from Southeastern USA.

1 Tbsp             olive oil
1cup                 chopped onion
2cloves             garlic, minced
8-oz can           tomato sauce
28-oz can         whole tomatoes, undrained and mashed
1 tsp                 dried basil
1 tsp                 dried thyme
1 tsp                 dried marjoram
1 tsp                 dried oregano
1                      bay leaf
1/4 tsp              fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsps            parsley, minced
1 lb                  clams, shucked and drained (16 clams in shells or 2 6V2-OZ cans,
12-oz package fettuccine noodles

  • Heat oil in large saucepan.
  • Add onion and garlic, and sauté until onion is tender.
  • Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, spices and parsley.
  • Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove bay leaf and discard. Add clams; cover and simmer for five minutes.
  •  Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Serve clams and sauce over noodles.

Serves 6
Per serving: 316 calories; 6-percent fat, 29-percent protein, 64-percent carbohydrate.

Scallops with Chives and Peppers

flickr image by adactio
 Here’s a low calorie seafood recipe from Northeastern USA.

½ t       olive oil
1 T       low-calorie margarine
2 pcs   dried hot chili peppers (optional)
¾ lb     fresh scallops
3 T       fresh chives, chopped
½         red pepper, thinly sliced
Pinch of ground cloves

  • Heat oil and margarine in skillet.
  • Add chili peppers and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add scallops and saute just long enough to heat through, about two minutes.
  • Stir in chives, red pepper slices and cloves. Cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Serve over pasta or rice.

Serves 4
Per serving: 115 calories; 16-percent fat, 81-percent protein, 3-percent carbohydrate.

How to Make Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

flickr image by Jamison_Judd
 This recipe is similar to Ben & Jerry's Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies. Enjoy!

1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1 Large egg
1/2 teas Vanilla extract
1 cup (+ 2 teas) All Purpose Flour
1/2 teas Salt
1/2 teas Baking Soda
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Beat the butter and the sugars in a large mixing bowl until fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well blended.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Drop the dough by small scoops 2 to 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • With the back of a spoon, flatten each to about 3 inches in diameter.
  • Bake for about 11 to 14 minutes until the centers are still slightly soft to the touch.
  • Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Makes 12 to 15 cookies.

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