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Posts Tagged ‘grind wheat’

A new toy!

I have been fairly indecisive about what type of grain grinder I wanted to get. Do I get a manual hand-crank one? How about a Nutrimill? Then there is Vitamix. Well, I don’t like to jump in to a big purchase like that, so I have been thinking about it for over two years now.

At first I wanted the manual hand-crank variety. It made sense to me. I wouldn’t need electricity (even though I have it.) Then there was the Nutrimill. I have taken a few bread classes from a wonderful woman who used a Nutrimill to grind and a Bosch to do all the kneading and mixing and I was instantly attracted to both! She has a large family and bakes many loaves of bread at a time, where at my home there is usually just 2 of us. Then came the Vitamix. My neighbors have one and we make smoothies throughout the summer with it. I am always amazed at how well it does on those big ice cubes. My blender just laughs at me if I try something like that.

Not only does the Vitamix do a fantastic job of the ice, but if I purchase a dry goods container I can grind grains. Hmmm. A two-for-one.  That makes sense to me. However, the price tag on any of these options stops me dead in my tracks and makes me really think (and look and think and look.)

I have several friends that have a Vitamix and they use them a lot, but none of them have the dry good container to give me any feedback on grinding grain.  The one piece of advise they did give me was to watch Costco and QVC for their sales.  I do get to Costco every now and then, and I never watch QVC.

One day I was sitting down to eat lunch and turned the TV on. I was flipping through the channels (all 9 of them) and I was stopped in my tracks at the sight of a Vitamix on the screen. Wouldn’t you know, it was QVC. Q V C ? I didn’t even know we got that channel. Yikes. I was glued to the TV, watching every move, reading all the words on the screen and all of a sudden I saw a blip in the upper right hand corner that mentioned a dry good container. Before I could read it and have it go to my brain to process, it was G O N E ! What?!  I flew out of my chair and into the office telling my husband I needed the computer to look something up and I also still needed the TV at the same time, so don’t change the channel. “Yes honey, I know it is on QVC, just give me a second and I will explain.”

I pulled up the Vitamix website and found the unit and containers, then pulled up the QVC’s website to compare it all. Then back to the TV, then back to the computer. Now dialing the phone number. Reading off the credit card number. Done! What just happened?  I’ll tell you what happened. I just got my Christmas present, birthday present and any other present all in one. What a neat deal. A few years ago I asked for a pressure washer for my birthday – and got one. I don’t ask for the “normal” type present and normally we don’t do the present-thing. If we make a big purchase throughout the year, we just say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Birthday” to each other.

The Vitamix arrived and it sat on the counter a few days before I needed it. First up was grinding some oats into oatmeal flour and wheat berries into flour for pancakes. I was SO excited I forgot to take photos. All you get to see is the finished product – the pancakes. Next up was a Orange and Carrot soup for a culinary group I get together with. I’m pretty sure most people would be making smoothies and other beverages, and here I am grind oats and wheat berries, and pureeing soup.

Still no smoothie, but it was now time to make a barbeque sauce to go in the crock pot to make baked beans.

Is there a smoothie in my future? I’m sure there will be, eventually. Right now, I am having way to much fun grinding grains and blending other things. I do need to use the dry goods container a bit more to get a feel for it, but for now, I am having fun with it.

Do you use a Vitamix for grinding grains or other things? Do you have any advise for me? Or do you use another type of grinder?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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This week we have our third mini-challenge for the Dark Days Challenge. Vegetarian Theme.  For some of the carnivores participants this is a big challenge, for other carnivores it isn’t. And it will be interesting to see what the vegetarian and vegan participants cook up as well. Did they challenge themselves to try something new and different?

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West Region (CA, CO, TX, UT, Mexico) with Emily from Sincerely, Emily

Lynda (CA) from Cortina Creek made some wonderful looking sourdough pancakes this week. Lynda grows and grinds her own wheat and the sourdough starter has been growing for 3 generations originating with her grandparents (what a treat!) She used cherries that she had preserved from a farmer’s market last summer, she used eggs from her chickens and she made the cheese using local milk & cream. The oil came from her son who grew and pressed the sunflowers himself. I would say, not only was this a local and vegetarian meal, but it was mostly from family grown and raised ingredients.

This wasn’t much of a challenge for the vegetarians over at d.i. wine & dine.  Instead of just another “normal” meal for them they decided to challenge themselves and make blue corn tortillas using local blue corn meal. The local ingredients go on and on with anasazi bean, spinach and potatoes. They also added another layer of flavor using a mostly local homemade peach salsa.  Head over to their blog to see more photos and read more about their challenge.

Teresa (CA) from Not from a Box wasn’t super challenged by the vegetarian meal this week, in fact eating vegetarian meals is a normal occurrence around her place. Coinciding with the DDC was lent and as she had done in years past, she gave up meat again this year. She prepared a flavorful parsnip and apple soup and paired it with a nice looking grilled cheese sandwich. Her list of local ingredient is long and impressive. Visit her blog to read more.

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Amusingly, the first post I opened for our vegetarian challenge, from the entertaining WoohooTofu (ironic name there)  boldy proclaimed “Crazy for Chicken.” She gets them by the boatload, something I may try for the summer when my freezer isn’t full of frozen veggies. She made a lovely family heirloom chicken soup. Oh course it wasn’t Woohoo that I was worried about. After her gorgeous celeriac a gratin two weeks ago, I’m fully confident that she can whip up vegetarian with one hand tied behind her back. I was a little concerned with game-loving Sanborn Sanctuary, but they came through, although not without editorializing meat. 😉 We’ll have to award flying colors here, for sweet potato latkes with garlic aioli. I am making this for dinner tonight. My other meat eater, at Backyard Farms, also stepped up to the challenge, with that vegetarian staple food, pizza.

Dave at Happy Acres checked in at the last minute. Another inveterate meat eater, they made some lovely meals nonetheless. He caught this season of bookends perfectly with spinach (new and fresh and grown in spring) and a lovely roasted sweet potato (preserved from last year’s harvest). I won’t spoil it by mentioning that they served it with steak. (oops) And vegetarian theme notwithstanding, I have to bring up their amazing “southwest chicken pot pie” made with tortillas and green tomato salsa.

UPDATE: Thank goodness I went looking for the wonderful, thoughtful MNLocavore.com this morning. I wanted to see why she had dropped out of the Challenge. Turns out no such thing. She’s in it and as thoughtful as ever. Her post reminded me of my daughter confessing that she’d made breakfast for a vegetarian friend, but had first made some bacon for herself before cooking eggs. She didn’t think to clean the bacon grease out of the pan. “Wow,” her friend said, “why are these eggs so delicious?!” Yeah, bacon. Here also is her post from February 8, another vegetarian option.

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Northwest Region  with Miranda from Pocket Pause

Up here in the blustery Northwest my blogging neighbors have been cooking up some yummies. It seems crustless quiche were popular for our veggie challenge. Along with my fritatta, Farming Mom got back into blogging action to tell us about her yummy “egg cake” for the veggie challenge, a chocolate mousse for the dessert challenge and a bunch of other local fare. If you’re in the NW, check out her post for some great local resources of SOLE foods. Be Creative snuggled up with some delicious looking tomato soup after a chilly walk in the rain, and it may not be long until she shows up with a quiche or fritatta as well: her chickens are laying!

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