Posts Tagged ‘real food’

If I’m not working, you’ll usually find me either gardening, cooking or blogging. We talk often of our gardens and what we’re growing here and you’ve seen many images of the fruits of our labor. I thought this week we could show some of what we’ve been mixing up in our kitchens, or over the fire on some days. The REAL food challenge continues all year long for some of us. Here are a few things that I’ve been cooking up at Chiot’s Run. If I have posted a recipe for the food in the image you can click on the image to head on over to my post that includes the recipe for that dish.


I (Xan) did all my cooking last week for our Lammas party–we’ve been subsisting on fresh fruit and leftovers this week! I’m going to send you over to Mahlzeit to see what I’ve been cooking; what I’ve been doing in the kitchen mostly this week is figuring out garlic braids, and I think I nailed it. Only took me, um, years.

What have you been cooking up this summer?

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One meal that The Kid, Hubby, and I can agree upon is roasted chicken. It’s one of my favorite meals because it’s easy to prepare, the flavor is great, and I can make several meals out of one bird. The first meal we make is usually served hot out of the oven with carrots and potatoes. The second is a freebie, and the third is made of leftovers – plus there’s always broth to make from the bones, leftover meat, and skin.

Chicken Pie is our most recent favorite freebie meal. It can be made with any seasonal vegetables, and with dairy-free alternatives. You could also substitute beef, pork, or skip the meat altogether. I’m personally looking forward to mushroom season, and am thinking of a topless tomato and zucchini version for summertime. Right now we’re fortunate that peas, carrots, early potatoes and spring onions are in.


  • 1/2 roasted chicken (we roast with onion, carrot, rosemary, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper. Feel free to eat your veggies. You’ll make more for this recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 minced onion
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped. Save leaves for seasoning.
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables, salt & pepper, and thyme to pan. Tuck rosemary and parsley leaves to the side of a pan and do not disturb. If you have any remaining juices from baking your chicken feel free to add them for flavor. Cook vegetables until softened, but not done.

Add chicken, cream and milk and cook long enough to reheat chicken and flavor dairy.

Remove rosemary and parsley, then pour mixture into a large bowl. Once cool enough, add flour to bowl and mix in with hands. Set to the side and prepare dough.


  • 3  cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus some for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp Demerera sugar or about 1 Tbsp granulated cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt.

Pour in 3/4 cup melted butter and mix with a spoon. Add 1 cup water and use hands to incorporate everything together loosely.

On a flat surface, sprinkle extra flour and pour your dough out to work. Mix dough by hand for at least 30 seconds making sure that the dough is smooth, but not overly wet. If it seems too wet add more flour.

Cut dough in half and roll out to fit in bottom of 8-9 inch pie pan. We use a round cake pan.

Add filling, roll out top crust, and crimp closed. Place on a lined cookie sheet to prevent dripping.

Cut several slits in top crust or use a pie bird, then brush remaining butter on crust, and bake for 1 hour. The interior should be good a bubbly.

When it’s done, allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes prior to serving – if you can wait that long.


You can also find Jennifer blarging along about life in rural Tennessee over at Unearthing This Life.

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It used to be all that I’d preserve was tomatoes. After a few years of that I started freezing apples and peaches that I’d purchased by the bushel. When we moved to our current property we were loaded with wild blackberries, so preserves and jams obviously had to go on the list.

Now, after almost 10 years of canning, freezing, and putting by for the winter, we have a pretty good stash of goodies that help us get through until it’s time to start harvesting wild and gardened foods again. This year we put up tomatoes, chow chow, several types of fruit preserves, honey & pecans, chutney, pear and lemon preserves. We froze roasted red peppers, squash, and pumpkins, as well as a half of a pig we processed ourselves. We have onions, potatoes, winter squash, and sugar pumpkins in dry storage, and we recently joined a meat CSA. We also have dried herbs for seasonings and teas – things like sumac berries, lemon balm, and mints. And finally, I managed to save some of those wines that I brewed (hic). 

I almost feel like we’ll be cheating for this year’s Real Food Challenge (Don’t forget to sign up if you’ll be joining us)!

So, of those of you that will be playing along this next month – what will you be falling back on that you “put by” this past year? Do you mainly can, freeze, use a dry storage system like a cellar? Or will you have to start from scratch and pick up your supplies from stores and growers?

You can also find Jennifer blarging away at Unearthing This Life. There she rambles on about chickens, organic food, gardening, and living in rural Tennessee.

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Here at Not Dabbling, we’ve been discussing whether or not we’re going to do the Real Food Challenge again this year, it seems like a lot of you are interested in it. If you’re interested in participating again this year, we’ll once again spend the Month of March once again focusing on Real Food.

No doubt you’ve all got some great stories and tips as some of you tried to incorporate the Real Food Challenge throughout the year. I’ve even spent some time this winter reading up on a few thing about pet food, and I might do a post or two about that during the challenge, after all, pets thrive on Real Food too!

Are there any specific things you’d like us to focus on during the Real Food Challenge this year? Do you want to join us again this year?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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I was supposed to post the winner yesterday, but Kim’s Righteous Rant stirred such a lively conversation that I didn’t want to interrupt it. So, without further ado, the winner is Stacy from the Little Blue Hen. Email me your address (my email is on the contact us page) and I’ll get the book in the mail to you. I hope you enjoy it. I’d love to hear about the breads you make. For the rest of you who wish you won the book, you can get it here (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes), or you can try your library. (I tried that, but had to wait weeks to get it and couldn’t keep it long enough.) I thought I could copy a few recipes and be fine, but the cost of copying almost the whole book was more than buying it. If you dream of great bread, but don’t have the time, this is a book you should own! (AND USE!!!)

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My family and I recently watched Food Inc.

Even though I was not surprised by the facts that were presented, I was still left with the feelings of anger, disgust, but most notably a deep feeling of  hopelessness.

The problems within our food system are so big and so egregious that as an individual it seems pointless to try to fight to fix it.  Why should I care about something that seems likely beyond my control to influence?

I pondered this question over the next few days and have finally came to some sort of conclusion…

Why care? Why try?

I had to look not farther than the two small faces that sit across from me at the dinner table.  The food system that we are putting in place now will be the food system that my children and grandchildren will be nourished by for the foreseeable future…unless we do something about it now.

I can eat as responsibly as I know how for my family’s sake.  But for real change to take place it will take many people to come to the same conclusion. A large contingent of those willing to forgo the convenience of prepackaged foods, factory grown meats, and industrialized dairy…to insist on real food that is neither genetically modified or chemically laden.

It will take the extra step of going to the local farmers markets to buy our produce or the farmer down the road who is raising his chickens in the open air and sunshine.  It will be asking our local grocery store if they sell local organic produce…and if not, why not?  Making our food choices known and then voting with our dollars.

This is a choice that is not quick or convenient when we are used to buying things already prepared and packaged for us.  How can we find the time to prepare and eat real food?

My question today is how can we not? There is nothing more basic to life than food, how can we ignore what is happening to our food system? The very system that is supposed to sustain us is slowing killing us.

I cannot…

So starting March 1st and for the whole month I am challenging myself to eat nothing commercially processed that I cannot make myself. No more canned beans, or spaghetti sauce, no more pre-made pasta or tortillas.  Gone will be the crackers, chips, and store-bought cereals.  No meat or dairy that is not local and organic for my husband or pre-made veggie burgers for me. Just real food made from ingredients in their simplest forms…no added corn syrup, fillers, or preservatives.

I cannot change the system by myself, but if enough like-minded people come together I must believe that we can and will make a difference.

So that is where you come in…

I would love for you to join us!  Come back March 1st and see what we have in store…there will be ways for you to take part and link up.  This will be an opportunity to learn from each other as well as encourage one another to make a difference!

Come ready to share your plans here and with your own blog posts on March 1!

I would also highly recommend you rent or buy Food Inc…you will never look at food the same.

Here is a link to the first 3 minutes of the movie.

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