Homemade Cream Cheese

February 13, 2010

Making your own cream cheese is so easy, super scrumptious, and inexpensive. This is the softest creamiest cream cheese evah!!!
All you have to do is get a quart (or two- because believe me, you are going to love this stuff) of full fat plain yogart. Do not skimp and go for the low fat- and don’t even get me started on the low fat craze. In fact, The Man just told me that he needed to go back on a low fat diet so that he would gain some weight. Ha!!!! This time I am using greek yogart, but regular yogart makes creamy deliciousness as well.
Spread cheese cloth over a bowl, and dump the yogart on top. Allow the liquid to drain out, and voila… what you have left is cream cheese. For certain varieties of yogart, you may need to tie the cheese cloth to a wooden spoon and place it across the top of a deeper bowl to allow more liquid to drain. I have not had to do that yet, but may need to with the greek yogart.
The liquid that is left is whey. It will last in your fridge for 6 months and is perfect for soaking grains with excellent health benefits. Your cream cheese will last in the fridge for 2 months (if you don’t eat it in a week).
After you make your cream cheese, I highly recommend making some caramel popcorn and dipping it into the cheese. I think I’ll go have some now.
In joy, troye

Mindful Menu Monday

February 1, 2010

Here is our menu plan for the week:

Sunday- chili with bread

Monday- Girl’s Night, and I still have no idea (I am typing this at 10am on Monday morning). Great plan, huh?

Tuesday- Sweet Potato Quesadillas, recipe from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover

Wednesday- Ezekiel Stew- stew recipe using whole grains traditionally used to make EZ bread, with cornbread and salad

Thursday- Baked Chicken, Millet Casserole, and salad

Friday- Pizza and family movie night (sundried tomato, feta, spinach, mushroom pizza)

Saturday- open

Here is my chili recipe- with plenty of liberties. It is different every time I make it:

Brown 2 lbs ground beef with 3-5 cloves minced garlic in large stockpot. Sometimes I grate raw carrots and add at this point to pump up the nutrition. In small bowl, stir together 1 can tomato paste with 1 cup water. Once combined add to meat mixture along with 2 tbsp chili powder, 1-2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp oregano. Stir together. Roast a jalapeno pepper on your stove (if you have gas stove top) until black, then dice and add to meat mixture. Add 1 can diced tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes). Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour or more. Add 1 diced onion about 45 min into this hour.
Add 1/4 cup masa corn flour to 1/2 cup water in bowl, and combine thoroughly. Then stir into meat. Add beans to your liking (I’ve used kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, or a combo of the three).
Heat an additional 15 minutes.
This is a very hearty chuncky chili. I also like a bite to my chili, so you can adjust the spices to your liking.

In joy, troye

December 26, 2009

I’ve been making bread at home for well over a year now. I have used one recipe for all of my bread needs- loaf bread, cinnamon rolls, french loaves, hot dog buns, etc. It is good bread, but it is very dense, and not a great sandwich loaf. This week, thanks to Susannah, I found a new recipe, and I’ll never look back. This recipe is pretty heavily adapted from this post over at Passionate Homemaking. It makes four loaves (you can freeze them so that you don’t have to make bread as often), and it is soft and delicious. It really tastes like deli style bread.
Yumm-oh! Here is the recipe:

Troye’s Bread (adapted from Homemade Bread- Lindsay’s Way)

4 1/2 cups water, HOT from the tap
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup honey, raw
1/3 cup flax seed, ground
2 1/2 cups rolled oats, optional (if you don’t use this, you will definitely need more flour)
1 tsp rice lecithin (if you have access to dough enhancer, you can add 2-4 tbsp instead of the lecithin), optional
11-12 cups flour (I use a combination of fresh ground flour here- hard red wheat, hard white, wheat, kamut, spelt)
2 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
Combine water, salt, egg, oil, honey, and half of flour (about 6 cups) in mixer. Place lecithin, flax seed, and oats on top of flour and knead on low speed until combined. Turn mixer off, and add other half of flour. Place yeast on top of flour. Knead on low speed. Once the flour is incorporated, begin to add flour one tbsp at a time until dough pulls away from side of bowl. *the goal is to use the least amount of flour possible for the softest loaf, so add slowly here* Knead for a total of approximately 10 min.
Remove to a LARGE greased bowl, and cover with a towel. Let sit until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. *I let mine sit in the oven with a roasting pan of hot water underneath, and the light on*
Punch down and divide into 4 loaves. You can roll each loaf out with a rolling pin and roll up into a loaf for perfectly shaped loaves.
Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again until doubled (about 30 min). *For this, I turn the oven on the lowest setting while I shape the loaves, and then turn it off prior to putting the loaves in. And, remember to remove before preheating oven.*
Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 3o minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest in pan for 10 min before removing from pans.

The dough makes fantastic cinnamon rolls…
Also, a DELICIOUS sandwich thanks to the amazing mind of amythecook is to spread pesto on the slices, and melt a thick slice of whole milk mozzarella- grilled cheese style. Shut Your Mouth!!!!!!!!!!! I want to eat this sandwich everyday. And, as you can tell, there is no photo of it because I could not stop eating it long enough to take a pic. 🙂 Sorry! Just make the sandwich, and then you will be able to see its beauty.

In joy, Troye!

You Gotta Make Dis!

December 14, 2009

Guinness Beef Stew

3 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck
2 tbsp butter
2 onions
4 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cups Guinness Draught, Divided
1 tbsp lt brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 oz, weight bittersweet chocolate, chopped (take my word for it- sounds, weird, but so worth it!)
5 whole carrots, peeled and cut
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut
1/4 cup flour
Cut beef into cubes, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in cast iron dutch oven. Brown beef over medium-high heat. Add broth, 1 1/2 cups Guinness (reserve remainder- refrain from drinking- especially if, like me, you are preparing this before you leave for church Sunday morning), brown sugar, thyme, and chocolate. Bring to boil. Add carrots, onions, and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for at least two hours. In a small bowl, whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup Guinness until smooth. Stir mixture into stew. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes on medium heat or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper (lots and lots and lots of fresh ground pepper!!!).
And, try not to slap yo momma!!!!!
In joy, troye


November 17, 2009

Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli dish comprised of a spicy tomato veggie sauce with poached or sunny side up eggs. I experienced amazing shakshuka in Miami a couple of months ago, but have yet to attempt to conquer the dish on my own. I did, however come up with a dish inspired by Shakshuka.
Saute 1 clove garlic, minced and 1/2 red onion, diced in oil. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved, and fresh diced basil. Saute for approx. 1 min, and add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Poach eggs and serve hot on top of tomato mixture. Salt and pepper to taste Serve with hot pita or crusty bread.
Om nom nom…
In joy, troye

November 11, 2009

These buttery rich scones combine pumpkin and spices that will knock your socks off. I made them for the boys’ teachers for a fall treat, and had to immediately make a second batch for myself.And, while we are here, check out the results of the AWESOME gift that Kimberly gave me for my birthday. How fun is that? Thank you, Kimberly!

Pumpkin Spice Scones:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cardamom
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp. sucanat (brown sugar, if you prefer)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut butter into small pieces, and put in freezer. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and all spices. Whisk together well, and place bowl in freezer. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, sucanat, and vanilla. Whisk together well, and place bowl in freezer.
Cut butter pieces into flour mixture using a pastry blender or a food processor until it resembles course crumbs.
Pour liquic mixture into flour mixture and stir until just moistened. The dough will be very crumbly. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and push together with your hands. Knead just a couple of times and pat into a circle about 3/4 to 1 in thick. Cut like a pie into 8 pieces. Place on baking sheet so that the sides are not touching. Brush tops with heavy whipping cream, and sprinkle with honey granules or course raw sugar. Bake for about 15 min.
In joy, Troye

Fall Foods

September 15, 2009

There is no time of year that I love better than the fall. I love the smells. I love the weather. I love the activities. I love the colors. I am more reminded of God’s appreciation for beauty at this time of year than any other. What an amazing artist He is, and He chooses to share His masterpiece with us.
Another one of my favorite parts of fall is the flavors of the season. I made this Chicken Butternut Squash soup last year, and I cannot wait until it is cool enough to make is again.
One of my standby favorites is Pumpkin Soup that I first learned how to make in an Apples of Gold class years ago. Oh, and the apples!!! I love any recipe that includes mounds of brown sugar with apples. What is not to love?
I also love when Starbucks introduces their fall lineup- which occurred a couple of weeks ago in our area. Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Mmmmmmmm……
I posted a variation of this recipe a couple of years ago, but I have since made some modifications, and it is one of my most requested recipes, so here it is again. Bake up some muffins and ENJOY! The secret to this recipe is the heavy spices, so don’t skimp. These will be darker than the Starbucks version, but just as delicious.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of cardamom
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
4 eggs
2 cups honey granules (can sub white sugar here or 1 cup liquid honey)
2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin (it is so easy to make your own)
1 ¼ cups extra virgin coconut oil
8 oz package cream cheese
1 egg
1 cup powdered evaporated cane juice or powdered honey granules
*Chopped nuts** (walnuts, pecans, pepinos) (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ingredients together except cream cheese and nuts. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) half full. Beat the cream cheese with the egg and powdered sugar. Put 1-2 tsp cream cheese in the middle, pressing down. Sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped nuts. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part (do not touch the cream cheese!). Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools, as it is very very hot. Makes 24 muffins. I like to make the jumbo muffins.

Dry Rub

July 8, 2009

This somewhat coastal, somewhat cajun dry rub is fantastic on EVERYTHING- fish, chicken, veggies, beef.
Mix some up and hang on to it as long as you can. You’ll want to use it often though, so you might want to double up.

2 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp sucanat (brown shugah)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp dried tarragon

Rub meat or veggie with oil and then rub a generous amount of this mixture, and grill to perfection! We used this for sweet red, yellow, and orange peppers and salmon last week… DELISH!!!!!

Dinner Caramel Apples

June 26, 2009

No photo here guys…sorry, we ate it before I even thought about it, but this is a yummy side dish for chicken.

Dinner Caramel Apples
2 tbsp butter
3 apples, diced (I used gala and i did not even peel them, but any firm apple will do)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup sucanat (may sub brown sugar)

Melt butter in med saucepan over med-high heat, add apples and saute. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add vanilla. Stir in sucanat. Reduce heat to medium and heat until apples soften, approx ten min.

Eat up, yo!

This recipe shall forever be dubbed…
Kristina’s Strawberry Shortcake

you must try it


2 cups soft white wheat flour (aka wheat pastry flour)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp honey granules (can sub white sugar)

1 stick butter, chilled

2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream (use cream- why not?)


1 quart strawberries

1/3 cup honey granules (can sub white sugar)

Whipped Topping:

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Rinse berries under cold water; drain well. Hull and slice berries; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with honey granules; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Whip the cream (sweeten with 2-3 tbsp honey granules if desired and 1 tsp real vanilla) until it holds a soft peak. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In food processor (you can use a pastry cutter or fingertips) combine the flour, baking powder, salt and honey granules and pulse to mix. Cut butter into about 8 pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer to large bowl and make a well in center. With fork, stir in cream until dough is just moist. Do not overwork. Let stand for a minute. Turn dough out on floured surface. Knead 2-3 times until dough holds together and is less sticky.

Gently pat the dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle and cut into 8 (3 inch) biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Brush on some cream and sprinkle with honey granules. Bake for 10-15 min.

Remove to a platter and split each biscuit horizontally with a serrated knife. Top with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops and top with a tbsp or so of berries. Serve with whipped cream for topping.