Thursday, April 19, 2012


Yes, I unplugged for a few months.

The number one reason being: my little miniature schnauzer passed away. To tell you the truth, I just didn't feel much like blogging about anything for awhile.

My day to day activities stayed the same, I just didn't spend much time in cyber land! I even ate some junk food. "gasp" :) Gained some of those unwanted pounds back too. Note to self: Junk food does not comfort anyone!!! If anything, it makes one all the more determined to get themselves back on real food!! For me, sugar, refined carbs, chips, and other junk, just makes me lethargic, NOT comforted!

Fortunately, my junk food binge was short lived and I got back into my normal foodie routine. 

I also had a fun order to fill, for a "classy" diaper bag while on my blogging hiatus.  Sewing always is good therapy!  Especially when I have artistic licence to create whatever I want to.   (see photo on right)

While I was in the sewing mood, I sewed a bunch of sunglass holders, more purses, and diaper bags, in some fun new fabrics, to sell in my Etsy shop and at a local craft fair in May.  As I said, sewing truly is my therapy!

Well, my friends, I hope to be around more and get back into the swing of blogging.  Until then, many blessings,


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Real Chocolate Cake with NO flour!

"This cake is some sort of wonderful!"

"Really, there is no flour in this cake?"

"This is the BEST chocolate cake ever, Mom!"

These are some of the comments I have heard from my flourless chocolate cake. Really, there is no flour. But there is a half a dozen eggs, lots and lots of butter, some Rapadura, and of course, chocolate! And the secret ingredient is baking soda.

The original recipe is from my Suzanne Somers’s, SOMERSIZE Desserts book and for years I have made it with artificial sweeteners (Splenda -yikes!) or Somersweet (which leaves a weird aftertaste - kind of like a metal, need to drink water right now, taste).

Since changing our outlook on Real Food vs. food made in a laboratory, I have found Rapadura. Rapadura and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly, like movies and popcorn, and well, like birthdays and cake! Rapadura is unrefined and unbleached whole cane sugar. Here is a quote from the back of the bag, "This deliciously pure unrefined sugar, prized for it's unique caramel flavor and grainy texture, retains a beautiful golden color and offers unmatched nutritional value because - unlike other sugars - it is not separated from the molasses stream during squeeze-dried processing." Basically what that means is, it still has nutritional value, unlike white sugar (or regular cane sugar, even organic!) which has been stripped of most, if not all, of it's nutritional value.

Even though Rapadura is processed to a certain degree, it still retains it's place in my kitchen to be used on special occasions and always to replace white or brown sugar. (Though I do use organic cane sugar to make kombucha, which I will blog about soon! Also for another blog post(s) I will share how Grade B Maple Syrup and Local Raw Honey are used in our home as well.)

Back to the cake....I should probably tell you right now, I am the kind of girl that doesn't really follow recipes. Sure the first time I make something I might, and usually for any baking projects I do just because the chemistry involved has already been figured out for me. *smile* So my recipes might not look like what the "other girls" might share with you.

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. I melt one stick plus two Tablespoons butter in a heavy bottom pan, then I add one cup of Rapadura, and six, one ounce cubes of unsweetened baking chocolate. Stirring constantly, over medium heat, with a wooden spoon until smooth - not boiling! After this mixture is smooth, I remove from heat, stir in a Tablespoon of vanilla extract, and allow to cool slightly.

For the next step, I take six fresh eggs, at room temperature, or if you really want to do exactly as I did - just go out to the coop and collect them - crack the eggs into your mixer bowl and beat on high for about eight minutes. I used the whisk beater attachment and they doubled in volume. Then after the eight minutes, I added the secret ingredient a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and beat again for 30 more seconds.

Now, I temper the eggs in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture by taking about a third of the egg mix and stirring it into the chocolate. Then I fold the egg/chocolate mix into the rest (2/3) of the eggs. (see picture on right)

After incorporating all the chocolate and eggs together (it should resemble brownie batter) I pour into a well buttered spring form pan. Put it into the preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes.

When 15 minutes are up, I take cake out of oven, and cool, in the pan, completely.  When completely cooled, - note here: I have been known to stick the cake pan in the freezer if it is not cooling fast enough for my schedule -- not straight from the oven, of course - I put on a cake plate or cake pedestal, (depends on how fancy I am feeling that day) and frost. Sometimes I slice horizontally for a layer cake with frosting in between or sometimes I just frost the top and sides without making it into a layer cake.  Either way, the results are delicious!

For the frosting, I take 3/4 cup of heavy cream, I use pasteurized cream as I am heating it anyway, in a heavy bottom pan, with two Tablespoons Rapadura over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until Rapadura has dissolved.  Then I add one and a half squares of unsweetened baking chocolate, which I have roughly chopped up already.  I stir to just barely melt the chocolate but remove from heat before it can boil and continue stirring until completely smooth. Next I add one teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of the secret ingredient, baking soda!  Making sure I stir thoroughly.  Now I cool the cream/chocolate mixture completely.  Again, if I am in a hurry, I will take and put a bowl of ice under the hot pan, and continue stirring until it has become the consistency of soft butter.

While the cream/chocolate mixture is cooling I whip two sticks of room temperature butter in my mixer bowl until nice and fluffy.  When light and fluffy I add the cooled chocolate and continue beating until creamy. Then I frost cooled cake and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Finally, Enjoy! And perhaps you too will hear one of my favorite quotes, as said by Mr. Simply Elegant 101, "Honey, this cake tastes like something you would be served in some fancy expensive restaurant."

Here is a recap of ingredients:  (you know, so it looks more like what you might be used to.)

For the Cake
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup Rapadura
6, one ounce cubes unsweetened baking chocolate
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda

For the Frosting
2 sticks Butter at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. Rapadura
1 1/2, one ounce cubes unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

Until next time, thank you for stopping by and may you be richly blessed,

This post is shared at Simple Lives Thursday and Fat Tuesday

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today I am one year older!

Here I am with my handsome daddy.  I don't think I like my bonnet.
And here I am with my pretty mommy.  She likes her bonnet and so do I.  Especially since, I think, it looks like she took my bonnet off, and put it behind her back.

I just love vintage pictures. Now that I am in my 40's, I guess my baby pictures would finally classify as being vintage!



Monday, January 9, 2012

Real Food on a Real Budget - Salt

Did you know that the word salary is based on salt? In Latin, the word salarium is loosely translated as the payment an ancient Roman soldier received in salt, or the equivalent amount of gold to purchase salt. Even the word salad means salted vegetables!

Now, I am not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV, so this blog post is by no means making any diagnosis, or health claims. What I want to share with you is how we changed the way we looked at salt, as one of the very first steps to applying what I learned in researching Nourishing Traditions.

The salt we had been using at our house was Hain's Sea Salt with added iodine, because that is what I always thought was healthy. Come to find out, I was right about iodine being an important mineral, but, table salt with added iodine, from a laboratory, can be extremely dangerous! Yikes. Why oh why does something that worked just fine for thousands of years, need to be improved upon? For the past century, most table salt has been stripped of  any of it's natural occurring iodine and other minerals, so another form has to be chemically added back to it.

Your average (I am thinking the one with the girl holding an umbrella) table salt has sugar, fluoride, aluminum, bleach, and a plethora of other nasties added to it. To make it more what, I don't know. More profitable? More available? More easily able to come out of a shaker? It certainly is not more beneficial! Hence the reason everyone has probably heard of a "low sodium" diet. Hence the reason aliments from ingesting salt, that has been de-mineralized and chemically altered, are on the rise.

Where we live in the Rockies, we are fortunate enough to have a (somewhat) local salt quarry in Central Utah, called Real Salt .
So for the past two years, that is what I have been buying. 

Now for the real budget part -- Real Salt does cost more than Hains, or your basic everyday salt.  But because I feel it is that important not to buy salt that has lost it's worth, I do not even think twice about spending a few dollars more on a product that I can trust.  Plus, all the dollars I save by not buying anymore junk food, more than makes up the difference.  When my supply starts running low I will watch for a sale and/or free shipping, direct from the source, and purchase in a 25 pound bag instead of the smaller bags, which too will save me money.  Direct link to Real Salt

Have you changed the salt you were using? Know of any good sales on Real Salt?   I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, thank you for stopping by and may you be richly blessed,

This post is shared at realfoodforager's fat tuesday and Simple Lives Thursday

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Real Food on a Real Budget - Part 2 of the journey

Continued from Part 1 of My Real Food Journey found Here

As I read through Nourishing Traditions, I found I was fascinated. WOW, I can see what people mean by Nourishing Traditions being one of those books that changes a person's life! Not like the way that reading the Holy Bible changes a person for all eternity, of course, but it sure changes a way a person thinks about the food they are eating. It changes the way a person prepares their food, purchases their food, grows their food, and so on.

Being the Google Farmer I am and all, I started searching for more information on this "challenging" cookbook. Those of you who know (and love) me, know I usually never take anyone's word for anything, I have to find out the truth of the matter for myself. So it probably comes as no surprise that every spare moment I had was spent researching....

During this time I was blessed to find some wonderful, like minded homeschooling moms, like my self, who were much further ahead of me in their "real food" journey. One of these ladies was Wardeh of the website gnowfglins -- which stands for: God's Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season. Neat name, huh? There were lots of other websites I found as well, most of which I have links to on my sidebar, if you are interested in visiting them too. All of them helped me tremendously to apply what I was learning, and put it into practice.

By May of 2010 I had some *basic* real food knowledge, as I said, it was the beginning of my journey! And I was off to the east coast to visit with, and love on, my mom and dad. Who, as I also mentioned in part 1, had been diagnosed with cancer throughout his body. My dad had been undergoing chemotherapy, and by the time I arrived, had lost all of his hair. (He was still my cute Daddy though!)

I gifted them with their own copy of Nourishing Traditions! I also went grocery shopping and stocked up on all sorts of real food. Farm fresh eggs, coconut oil, grass fed beef, organic vegetables, kefir, etc. The one thing that made the biggest impression on my mom was the eggs. Normally, she has a hard boiled egg for breakfast one day a week. Normally, that hard boiled egg sends her to the little girls room immediately, or soon after eating it. Farm fresh eggs, hard boiled, did not cause her any discomfort what so ever!!! She knew, then and there, that there really was a difference in an egg that comes from a chicken who is raised in confinement verses one raised on a small family farm. To this day they still buy their eggs from a local farmer. Now the kefir...well...these are my parents we are talking about here, and we all know that a daughter can only make suggestions. wink, wink.

But, that does bring me to a point I want to make about Real Food...I have found in speaking with lots of people, food is one of those hot button issues, much like religion and politics. So, I would never want something like food of all things to come between me and anyone. EVER. Okay, now that I have that cleared up, back to my story....

For three weeks I was able to love on my mom and dad, as well as lots of my other family members who I love and miss dearly. It really was a great trip, even though the reason for going at the time was not so great. I had fun making giant meals for them and then freezing up small portions they could easily take out and eat after I was gone.

Even though my parents are not following the exact same food journey I am on, I am happy to report that my dad has been so welled prayed for that his cancer is gone!!! Praise the LORD Jesus for that. I can hardly wait until this summer when they come out west by train to visit.

Next week I plan on starting a series of blog posts going step-by-step on ways I have implemented Real Food on a Real Budget in my home, for you, my readers.  I also want to share that since beginning this journey my asthma symptoms have completely disappeared.  No more inhaler, no more cool mist humidifier, no more raspy chest congestion, no more gasping for air, that is unless I eat candies, cookies, or other junk food.  Interesting.

Until next time, thank you for stopping by and may you be richly blessed,

This post is shared in The Barn Hop and Simply Lives Thursday .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Real Food on a Real Budget - Part 1 of the journey

Organic. Grass-fed.  Free-range. Lacto-fermentation. Kombucha. Kefir. Beet kvass. Un-pasteurized, raw milk. Coconut oil. Liver. Organ meats. Bone broth.....Seriously, how many of these foods have you even heard of before? And if you have heard of them, were you like I was and just kept walking?

Okay, I had heard of "liver", and "organic", and even "free-range", but honestly, liver was really the ONLY one of these three that I am 100% certain I truly knew anything about.  I 100% knew that liver was yummy served with bacon and onions. I knew no one other than my mom, my dad, and my aunts loved it as much as I did!! A real liver expert. 

Anyway, let me just start at the beginning of my "Real Food" journey here on this blog post for you.

Two years ago for Christmas I received a gift certificate at Amazon.  I had been reading some posts, by other homeschool moms online, talking about a book called Nourishing Traditions. So I used my gift card to purchase this cookbook, along with some herbal remedy books.  When the books arrived, I dove right into those herbal books, and thumbed through the NT book.  Eww, raw milk?  Yuck.  Cookbook ended up on the bookshelf.

Less than two weeks later, in January, I got a phone call in the middle of the night, that my dad had had a heart attack!  Honestly, I could not even bring myself to answer that phone call.  Yep, when I saw it was my brother calling, and re-calling, and re-calling, in the middle of the night, I ran back into bed and put a pillow over my head.  I knew something had happened to one of my parents.  Thank the LORD for my knight in shining armor, Mr. Simply Elegant, who coaxed me out of under my covers (and pillow) and we called my brother to find out that daddy had been rushed to the emergency room...

The doctors discovered it wasn't a heart attack, but cancer in his lungs, his bladder, his kidneys, and a tumor which had caused a blood clot. Talk about a HUGE SHOCK to my whole family!  My faith was tested to the max.  

After the dust had settled a bit, and after much prayer, and crying, and prayer, and more crying -- that Still Small Voice reminded me of that cookbook I had shelved....

As you can imagine, this was my catalyst to finding out more about "Real Food".

To be continued....


This post is shared in The Barn Hop and Simply Lives Thursday .

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

So, if I was the type of girl that made resolutions each New Year, then I would make one this year to not neglect my blog!  Yep, my goal is to blog at least three days a week.   I hope you were sitting down while reading that.

A whole bunch of ideas are brewing in my brain and I am really looking forward to sharing all of them with you.  One little nugget of an idea I will leave you with is: How to eat real food on a real budget, even in the mountains, during the winter!

I am really looking forward to 2012.  So much has changed in our life over the past year, changes that have given me many "real life" examples that I want to share. 

Many blessings to you and yours,