Roasted Garlic in Olive Oil: My Favorite Seasoning

I’m dreaming of spring.

We had one day that enthusiastically stretched into the high 60’s for a short hour and now I can’t stop thinking about days in the sun. And because I’m desperately dreaming of spring, I’m dreaming of fresh garden veggies: vine ripened tomatoes, fresh cut herbs, homegrown lettuce, zucchini, all of it.

Unfortunately, it will be a few months before I can enjoy such luxuries.

In the meantime, I’ve been satisfying my cravings with this roasted garlic marinated in olive oil. I’ve taken to adding both oil and cloves to just about everything: stuffed it in meat, sprinkled on salad, sautéed with greens, and even at times, I have been known to spread it on crackers.

Making this takes a few short steps and produces enough goodness to last over a week. How could a garlic lover not indulge?!

Roasted Garlic in Olive Oil
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 garlic bulbs
  • ~ 1 cup Olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the loose outer peels from the bulbs. Be careful not to remove so much the cloves fall loose.
  3. Cut the top ½ inch off each bulb.
  4. Place in a baking dish base side down, cut side up.
  5. Generously drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake 45 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Once cooled. Push individual cloves from the bottom to pop them out. Place in a clean jar.
  10. Add enough olive oil to cover all cloves.
  11. Store for up to two weeks and enjoy generous helpings of garlic on just about everything!

Want to make this extra special? Add fresh herbs. I added a sprig of fresh rosemary in the garlic jar above, which I plan to use as a stuffing for a frozen mule deer loin I’m planning to grill.

Have you taken to dreaming of warm spring days- what is keeping you going during these last winter weeks?

Posted in Clean Eating, Recipes | 1 Comment

Bringing Chicks to the Farm

It has finally started- we have begun to expand the Ranch!

This past weekend I told my husband I was headed out to buy a pooper scooper- I came home with 6 chicks and all the supplies to keep them thriving indoors.

Clearly, I can be a bit impulsive. But in my defense, this was something we had been planning to do for quite some time.

I brought these cute little things home knowing full well I was breaking the rules. We don’t have their coop finished, much less started, and until this weekend, we didn’t even have a solid plan of how they would fit into our garden and farm.

I’ve spent the last weekend reading countless how-to articles on chickens, finding the best food, and getting them used to me and the pups.

When they arrived 4 short days ago, they didn’t have any feathers. Now, they’re all losing their fuzz and trying to flap around. The ladies [or what we are hoping are all ladies] are incredibly skilled at spreading cowboy shavings already. And they love to chirp when we walk in. We’re in trouble!

We have ambitious plans of housing our oversized compost in their oversized pen. And after finishing up some house projects next weekend, we’ll be out in the sun mending their fence and building their coop. It’s all such an exciting adventure!

Do any of you raise chickens? Can you suggest any great advice or resources?

I’ve been reading a great deal from Mother Earth News, the Chicken Chick, and various links I’ve found trough Pinterest. I’m hoping to purchase a book this week to give me a more solid foundation in chicken raising education and would love some suggestions.

 

Posted in Chickens | 2 Comments

DIY Natural Essential Oil Soap

Over the past year, I have revisited the art of soap making several times now.

Each time, the results get better. It began with getting over my fear of lye. Followed by my need to understand the technique. And eventually, I was able to play with ingredients. I have now found both a recipe and technique that I enjoy.

I’ve settled on a more affordable grape seed blend rather than a pure olive oil. I’ve also adjusted my technique to transition from hand mixed to mechanically blended. This change not only sped up the initial soap making process, but also the process of solidification.

Before beginning, gather your materials and set up the work stations. Below are my work stations.

Station 1: This is the first station. It consists of the scale, measuring cup, and oils. Everything should be next to the stove top equipped with a large stock pot. Also, have a thermometer near by.

Station 2: This is a mixing station for the lye and water. Use a well ventilated space away from pets and children. I use a secluded bathroom with the door open and fan on. Be sure you have a disposable mixing dish and chemical proof gloves.

Near your mixing station, have a larger soap mixing bucket and spoon or immersion blender ready to use.

3.0 from 1 reviews
DIY Natural Essential Oil Soap
Author: 
Recipe type: Home Product
 
Ingredients
  • 40 oz. Grape seed Oil Blend
  • 10 oz. Coconut Oil
  • 16 oz. Water
  • 6.9 oz. Lye
  • 1 oz. Tea-tree Oil
Instructions
  1. Set aside all of the ingredients and prepare the work stations.
  2. Measure the water and lye. Combine in a disposable plastic container. Set aside.
  3. Measure the grape seed and coconut oils. Heat in a stockpot over medium-low heat until combined. Be sure not to allow the oil to exceed 110 degrees.
  4. Pour the heated oils into the prepared mixing bucket. Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils.
  5. Gently mix until the mixture becomes cloudy.
  6. Once the mixture becomes cloudy, begin to pulse the mixture in bursts with an immersion blender. Slowly begin to blend consistently.
  7. When the mixture begins to thicken, add the essential oil.
  8. Continue to blend until the mixture has thickened.
  9. Pour the mixture into molds.
  10. Place the molds where they will not be disturbed. Allow them to sit for 3-4 days or until solid.
  11. Once solid, remove from the molds and allow to rest undisturbed 3-4 days more.
  12. Cut the soap into bars and allow to rest 1 week more until hardened.

 As a note, be careful to wear your chemical proof gloves when working with the lye until the mixture begins to thicken.

Feel free to try a different essential oil. I enjoy using tea-tree oil, but lavender or mint are popular choices as well.

What is your favorite essential oil?

Posted in DIY, Self-sustaining | 2 Comments

Prepared Horseradish Recipe

Becoming self-sufficient goes far beyond living off the grid. There is the hope that by choosing more traditional, less modern methods we will be doing what is best for the environment and our own health.

So something small, such as a homemade condiment, carries benefits far beyond the superior flavor and knowledge of experience.

This weekend, I was excited to find a few sections of horseradish at the local supermarket. This popular American root carries many overlooked health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, a high fiber content, detoxification properties, and many anti-oxidants. How could I not bring some home to prepare some home-spun horseradish?!

The process is easy and the uses are plenty. Prepared horseradish can be used to make a creamier horseradish sauce, add some kick to your favorite cuts of meat, or to spice up your favorite winter stew.

Prepared Horseradish Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Quick and easy prepared horseradish.
Ingredients
  • 1- 8 inch section horseradish root, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T White Vinegar
  • 1 T White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 t water
Instructions
  1. Combine the first two ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Process until finely shredded.
  3. Pack into a small canning jar.
  4. Combine the remaining 3 ingredients.
  5. Pour over the packed horseradish in the jar.
  6. Refrigerate.

It seems to be common that people either love or hate horseradish. If you’re a lover of this condiment with a kick, what are your favorite ways to use horseradish?

Posted in Clean Eating, Recipes | 1 Comment

Garden Apron Tutorial

Back when I shared this fantastic Warm Cider Recipe, I mentioned that I had been working on some fantastic Secret Santa gifts. And although the holiday season has come and gone, I wanted to share this fabulous garden apron.

Now that I see February in the not so distant future, I’m gearing up to do some serious garden planning. Working on this apron was just a little something to put me in more of a spring-building-and-playing-in-the-dirt kind of the mood.

I love this project because it is so easy. If you keep it simple, it’s a no sew kind of project. If you want to get fun and creative with it, you can do some light sewing. Making this from start to finish took me a total of about 30 minutes.

So to my dear Secret Santa Pal, Jayme, and to all the rest of you, enjoy and happy garden planning!

Begin with a pair of men’s pants or shorts. I used an old pair of my husbands shorts.

Cut 1: Cut up along the side seams, keeping your cut edge in the front of the pant and as close to the seam as possible.

Cut 2: Cut across the waist, just below the seam, in the front of the pant only. You’re left with the back of the pants and the full waist band.

Cut 3: Cut across the back, just above the crotch, to make a solid sheet of fabric for your apron. Mine was approximately 6-7 inches.

Remove the button. Add a row of buttons across the side of the waist band that you removed the original button from. I added four buttons across. Remember, although this waist band is larger than your normal size, it will be going over the pants you wear when you garden, so you need extra space.

To jazz it up a bit, add a patch, fun buttons, embroidery, colorful end stitching, etc. I added a patch and some end stitching along the bottom to match the patch.

The end result is a fun apron for all the days in the sun you have been dreaming of this winter. I added some heirloom tomato seeds for my secret pal and a silly riddle note, just for giggles.

Have any of you started garden dreaming…or better yet, garden planning?

I know I’m not the only one!

 

Posted in DIY, Garden | 2 Comments