Category Archives: Recipes

A purple sweet potato pie

Our friends grew some purple sweet potatoes this year, and we were blessed to receive some of their harvest.☺️ [click here to read more about Ipomoea batatas]

After we brainstormed a bit for possible choices, Mike’s mom chose a “purple* sweet potato pie for her birthday “cake!”πŸŽ‚

*Some funny behind-the-scenes-trivia: we actually thought these were called “BLUE sweet potatoes,” so the whole time we were working with them, we kept remarking about how PURPLE they looked!πŸ˜‚ Glad to learn they are, in-fact, PURPLE!😏*

I have two sweet potato pie recipes in my collection. Decided to do the simpler one here, so we could get a better appreciation of the purple color. First I washed, and then boiled 1.2# pounds of taters for about 40 minutes.

After that, I ran cold water over them and started by peeling skin off with a knife but ended with just using my hands and rubbing the skin off. Came off SO easy!πŸ‘πŸΌ

Had about 50 grams more than the one pound of sweet potatoes the recipe called for, but decided to just use it all.

Added 4 oz. of our butter and was struck by the color contrast of deep yellow & vibrant purple!😍

Mixed above well, and then added the rest of the ingredients:

1c (145g) sucanat, 1/2c (4 oz.) milk, 2 eggs, 1/2t ground nutmeg, 1/2t ground cinnamon, & 1t vanilla extract. Mixed on medium speed until mixture was smooth, and poured it into the single pie crust I made before I started.

For it, I added 140g of unbleached flour to 4g of sea salt + 78g of butter and used my pastry blender to pulse it up. Added 2.5T cold water and blended it a bit more until it formed a ball. Rolled it out and formed my crust.

Baked it for about 1 hour and 5 minutes at 350Β°.

And here you can really see the purple vs. blue color next to this blue lid…πŸ˜‰

Tasted great and was fun to celebrate Mom’s birthday with this pie!❀️

Thank You, Lord, for the gifts of family, friends, harvests, sharing, and celebrations. You weave everything together in amazing ways…Amen❀️

Scraping marrow into beef broth – a new level of weirdness

Used up our last quart of broth last week, so its time to simmer another 4 roasters of broth. As I was straining the first two batches of broth on Monday, the strangest thing happened. All the bone marrow was STARING at me! I know, I know. I’ve seen it before, and I acknowledged it, but that was it. “Too weird. Not ready for that yet.” (I distinctly remember thinking that and even saying that to several people when it came up in conversations.)

And then it happened. Guilt. “Those articles (like this one and this one) you read a couple weeks ago DID make sense… And look at the marrow sticking out of those bones…” πŸ˜‰

So, I did it. I took a narrow knife and scraped out the marrow. Whisked it up, poured it into the broth, and whisked it again… Funny thing is, I KNOW bits of marrow have fallen in it every time I’ve made broth. But (for me) there’s just something about taking the effort to actually do it on purpose, lol… 😏

I feel like that’s what happens in my walk with the Lord, too. I can be sooo stubborn. I get into my “autopilot” mode and completely miss the open door in front of me. Or worse, I see the open door, but choose to do what I’ve always done, and miss an opportunity to grow. The cool thing, though, is that EVENTUALLY, I catch on. Autopilot goes off, and I quit fighting change. It’s always hard to see just how much pride I still have in “my way”, but it’s so freeing to finally “see it”, seek forgiveness, and continue forward with a renewed spirit to let the Lord keep me off of autopilot. Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me. Keep making me more like You!❀️

Search me, OΒ God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (‭Psalms‬ ‭139‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

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Dilly Beans – a family affair

We all worked together yesterday to make a family favorite – dilly beans. They are basically green beans that taste like spicy/dill pickles. They are pretty labor intensive to make, so a cooperative effort is much appreciated. I actually thought I had already done a blog post about them, but a search proved me wrong. So here goes… πŸ‘

We set aside about 7 pounds of the straighter beans as we picked to can or freeze – they fit down in the jars better… (I like the bean tips to all be up so it’s easy to pull them out of the jar.)

Once filled with beans, we added a clove or two of our garlic that has been drying. (It’s pretty potent, so we didn’t put the full amount of cloves in as the recipe says.) Paul went out and picked some of Grandma’s dill heads to add – 2 to 4 heads/quart. Then we added 1/2t of Michael’s ground hot peppers. For the brine, we heated up 3Q+1/2c of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of water. (Wish we could have used our homemade ACV, but we didn’t have enough made.) Stirred in 1.25c of Celtic sea salt, and brought the brine to a boil. Poured the brine over the filled jars to 1/4″ headspace. Had extra brine, and needed 3 more quarts to fill the last canner, so we played with cuke slices and spears, too. Made sure the tops of the jars were wiped clean, placed the sterilized lids on top, tightened the rings around them, and water-bath canned them for 10 minutes. Only had two jars’ lids “crinkle”, so we’ll just use them first. (They DID seal, but I’ll probably just keep them in my fridge.) We normally let them sit in the pantry for at least 6 weeks before we dig into them. 😊

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Apple cider vinegar – parts 2 and 3

On January 21st, we checked our ACV that had been fermenting in our cool basement since 12-20. [Click here to read about our first stab at making our own apple cider vinegar from raw cider.]

It grew another, really nice and thick “mother”. πŸ™‚

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We strained it and poured it into two new jars…

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Then we poured new, fresh raw cider in with the two “mothers” to begin a new batch. πŸ™‚

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And then we had the bright idea to actually TASTE the finished product to make sure it tasted like vinegar… WHICH WE SHOULD HAVE DONE FIRST, lol. And determined that it, in fact, was NOT ready yet. Grrrr. Guess we are learning a lot from our mistakes in this adventure, lol… πŸ™‚

Our solution was to top the 2 jars of “almost vinegar” off with 1-1/2c of last batch’s “finished vinegar”, and let it sit another month…

MORAL OF THE STORY FOR PART 2: Just because you grew a nice sized “mother”, don’t assume it’s done fermenting into vinegar – TASTE IT FIRST. πŸ™‚

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And here is Part 3 from yesterday, February 28th. You can see how thick the “mothers” are in the two half gallons we gave more ferment time to on 1-21. And YES, they tasted like vinegar this time around… πŸ™‚

The gallon jar on the left was not ready yet (Yep – tasted it first, lol!), so we are letting it sit another month. You can see it’s grown a third “mother”… πŸ™‚

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We strained the two half gallons that were ready & added “mothers” to new batches. I think we finally have the hang of this now. Fortunately for us, it is a very forgiving process! πŸ™‚

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If anyone ever wants a “mother” to make their own, we are always happy to share. πŸ™‚

Click here to attend a “Barn Hop” at The Prairie Homestead. πŸ™‚

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Savin’ the sweet taters

{sigh} Our poor sweet potatoes… They have had to really work hard here this season. Not the actual “growing” part, just the “storing” part…

Mike’s mom was given some starts of a friend’s authentic, West Virginia, sweet potatoes a couple years ago. We all LOVED them! So each year since, she’s grown some starts from the previous year’s crop, and we’ve enjoyed learning how to incorporate them into our menus. πŸ™‚

Last year was another wonderful harvest – I think we measured some in at 6+ pounds! The thing about sweet potatoes, though, is that they need to “cure” before we wrap them individually in newspaper & place them in cold (pantry) storage. Normally, they last fantastically for us – like until May or so… HOWEVER, last year, a well-intentioned helper, decided to WASH the “dirty” potatoes that had been curing on a screen. So basically, that super-important-protective-layer got scrubbed off… Not much you can do to fix that once its happened, so we let them sit a few more days to dry, wrapped them in our newspapers, and hoped for the best. Sadly, we found mold on some in January. But for-the-most-part, most were doing ok. Until yesterday morning. {double sigh} Basement flooded as all our snow & ice has been melting… And if you are too lazy forget to place your precious cargo of wrapped sweet potatoes up in crates because YOU KNOW this has happened before… You get wet wrapped sweet potatoes. DUH. 😦

So yesterday turned into: sweet potato 9-1-1 AND shop-vac the basement day, lol. πŸ™‚

Here’s the crate I filled up of sopping wet taters…

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Took two canning pots & two 8-qt stockpots to fit all of them…

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Fortunately, there were only two small ones that were moldy…

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Next I boiled them for a l-o-n-g time. Like an hour and a half… Didn’t mean to, but I forgot about them as Mike & I were having so much “fun” cleaning up our basement, lol! Didn’t seem to matter, though. They weren’t too mushy to peel & they mashed up really easy… πŸ™‚

I dumped the hot water off and rinsed them in cold. Then I let them sit a bit so I could finish the basement…

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Many people ask us why our sweet potato dishes are “greenish” instead of orange colored. I’ve heard it’s because many confuse yams and sweet potatoes as the same thing… But they are definitely different, lol! πŸ™‚

My yield was five 4c containers and four 2c containers. (Every two cups weighed a little over one pound.) Wish I would have weighed all the potatoes before I started, but I forgot.

The reason I chose those sizes to freeze in, is because our two favorite uses for mashed sweet potatoes are a double batch of “Sweet Potato Puff” {I do tweak it a bit and use evaporated cane juice (ECJ) instead of white sugar, make my own brown sugar using ECJ & molasses, and usually omit the pecans as they are a luxury ingredient around here…} and sweet potato pie. (I sub white sugar with ECJ and my pie crust recipe is in this post…) πŸ™‚

It wasn’t exactly how we planned to spend our day, but it appears as though the rescue effort was a success! And a good kick in the pants reminder to keep valuable items off our basement floor, lol! πŸ™‚

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{This is the first time I’ve tried to “link up” to a blog-hop… For some reason, I can’t get the pic below to link to The Prairie Homestead Blog, but I CAN GET these words to link to it. Sooo, click this paragraph, lol, and you can “barn hop”. Please don’t hesitate to tell me what I’ve done wrong – advice is always welcome!}

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Homemade apple cider vinegar success (sorta)

During the summer, we had bought a pint of Alander’s Acres raw apple cider vinegar+”mother”. Then this past fall, we bought some raw apple cider from down in Amish Country. We had read several different articles on how to make your own ACV, and after we were completely overwhelmed, decided to “wing it”, lol… πŸ™‚

So we let two gallons of raw apple cider ferment for 4 days on our countertop. (This was our attempt to turn the cider into hard-cider, like one of the articles we had read said to do…) Transferred the cider from the plastic jugs they came in into glass gallon jars and added the rag + rubberband on top, so it could “breathe”. On the 4th day, we added one cup of the “mother”+ACV to each batch. Re-covered them & waited… Here’s the end result after 2 months. πŸ™‚

First, there’s the “sorta” successful batch. Rubberband had broken, so it was a fruit fly magnet. 😦 We were able to filter out the fruit flies and the vinegar was fine. But we threw the new “mother” or “scoby” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) away. Figured there were probably fruit fly eggs that had been laid on it. 😦

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Fortunately, the rubberband didn’t break on the other jar! πŸ™‚

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This is the “mother” we threw away…

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Here’s the “mother” from the good batch in the new raw apple cider – I forgot to take a pic of it when it was on the plate, but you can see how much nicer/thicker it grew… πŸ™‚

For this new batch that is fermenting right now, we decided to skip the part where we try to turn the cider into hard-cider. Just threw the new “mother” in the fresh gallon of raw cider along with 1c of the raw ACV from the previous batch. Perhaps a future blog post will reveal that outcome… πŸ™‚

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Moral of the story: always back-up your rubberbands, lol! πŸ™‚

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Oh – and what do we do with all our ACV??

Canning and pickling…

Healthy salad dressings (I prefer oil & vinegar as a salad dressing, but the boys prefer this ranch dressing)…

In our roasters as we cook down our beef and chicken broth (it helps to draw minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium into the broth)…

And in a tonic we drink to help keep our immune systems strong:
2T honey + 2T raw ACV + 1/2 gallon water all blended together. We each drink maybe 1c every other day or so… Click here for more fun beverage ideas. πŸ™‚