How I cook A.k.a Learn to be flexible!

Originally posted here.

Lets face it. Only in a perfect situation are you going to have all the ingredients you need on hand for a recipe. Hubby is always amazed at how I can sometimes come up with my best meals when theres no food in the house. I like to pride myself in being imaginative and not letting something like being out of eggs stop me!

I will have to post tips and tricks as I go but for now Im going to show you an example for our breads that I made two days ago. I have decided not to buy bread unless absolutely necessary. Its much cheaper if you buy your flour and yeast(Store in the freezer) in bulk. As long as you store your flour properly it wont go bad too fast.

I had a few issues… I was out of salt,eggs and did NOT have enough flour!

The easiest issue to resolve first was the eggs. Until my chickens start laying for me this is a quick trick that I learnt from some of my vegan friends. 1 tbsp of flax seed(We always have flax as we use it as a supplement for our horses) ground up with 3 tbsp of of water let stand for 15 minutes will make a great egg replacer. You can do the same with chia seeds as well. My friend does the same with soy flour Im not sure if the mix is the same. Im pretty sure it is though.  I really like the flax as it gives a nice nutty flavour. Chia is better for things you dont want flavored but it can be more expensive.

For the salt well I did something not very conventional. If I had celery salt I might have substituted for that as some people do use this for a more natural salt option. But the only kind of salt I had in my kitchen was garlic salt so in it went!

As for the flour. I threw all my white flour in(About six cups) my mother gave me half her bag of whole wheat flour last time I visited so I threw that in there hoping it would be enough(It was about 24 cups) and it STILL wasn’t enough. So into my non conventional flours I went! I threw in the last of my vital wheat gluten(Its something that helps whole wheat behave more like white flour if your cooking exclusively with whole wheat. And threw in a few cups of Sorghum flour that I had. The bread came out great. The only thing is the sorghum is gluten free so the bread doesn’t toast as good as just whole wheat or white would.  but neither of us have complained. And it isn’t overly garlic flavored(Which wouldn’t have bothered me funny enough)

I followed Perbains recipe as my basic recipe. Here is her video. She is an amazing woman and I love her videos. Hubby and I have been watching her videos for a long time now and they always bring a smile to our faces.

Here is my dough all raised(I did a double batch!)

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Punches down and ready to go onto the counter to portion

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What a huge piece of dough!

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Here are a few loafs and rolls done up.

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And a few hand loafs as well.

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And into the freezer. Once their frozen solid I move them to ziplocks.

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We decided to do one batch of rolls up and cook them right away

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All cooked

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Served with butter and mozzarella they were delish

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This morning we cooked up a loaf as well and it was great. The sides did like to crumble just a tiny bit when toasting but not so much that its not edible

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Cut up nice not too dense not too fluffy

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And toasted for breakfast with eggs 🙂

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In total this double batch recipe made 10 loafs of bread and two pans full of rolls. So hopefully I have encouraged you to go out there and experiment! Recipes are to learn Once your mastered a recipe you can make it your own 🙂

Enjoying Your Backyard, Even On The Hottest Days of Summer

beach side resort

Turn your Backyard into a Beachside Resort

Through the long winter months, your backyard may have turned into a patchy, yellow collection of various weeds and grasses. However, as summer returns, this is an opportunity to turn that wasteland into your own getaway, a five-star resort just feet from your house. 

Think of the all the amenities of a beach resort: the warm sand, the sound of the water, the long chairs, the covered patios. These can be recreated in your backyard without too much hassle. To create a beach-like atmosphere, let’s start with the water and sand. Like visiting any resort, you can go for a 1-star atmosphere or a 5-star atmosphere. It would be possible to transform your backyard into a pool with sand along the edges. But let’s stick with the cheaper options here, aiming for a 3-star resort atmosphere. 

Sand

sandIt’s easy to buy sand in bulk. Sand is available at any home improvement store. They will even give you tips on how to create a play-sand area. You won’t have to tell them that its for the grownups. Then, in your own backyard, you can dig your feet into the sand, feel the sun on your face, close your eyes and image the sound of waves crashing. 

Water

poolWhile you might not be able to re-create waves crashing in your backyard, there are other options. Part of the appeal of a beach resort is the ability to wade through the water, with the hot sun on your back and cool water around your calves. This is possible to replicate with a small plastic wading pool. If you’re a more adventurous type, a collection of duct-taped garbage bags with a hose running over them can become a mini-water park in your backyard.

Chairs

pool chairsThose long, lounging pool chairs always make people think of a resort on the ocean. But those chairs are available to purchase for the rest of us as well. To save money, you can check out Craiglist for old patio furniture. There are also do-it-yourself options. With a chair buried in the sand and the sound of hose water filling your pool, you’re on your way to enjoying your backyard resort. 

Shade

shade sailAlthough the sun is a staple of summer, one of the best things about resorts is the ability to escape it. Those giant sun-stopping umbrellas are everywhere. Your backyard resort can have those too. But, the real resorts have employees that put up and take down the umbrellas everyday. You can save yourself some time by purchasing a more permanent option, a shade sail (like the ones we saw on our vacation in France by https://voiledombragefrance.fr/). String a shade sail across your porch or between two trees and you’ll have a permanent sun escape for the whole summer.

Sure, it’s always fun to go to a beach resort. But some summers are better spent in your own backyard. Why not mesh the two, and create a beach retreat, complete with sand, water, chairs and shade, only a few feet away from your house?