Friday, March 28, 2014

Maple Flavored Meringues

I have a BIG sweet tooth. Almost obsessive kind. So much that I went to Culinary School for a focus on Pastry and Baking. And yes I graduated.

I learned to appreciate good, quality ingredients and how that can make a dish completely over the top in tastiness.

One of my favorite and easiest things to make is French Meringues. I could seriously eat them like potato chips lol. They are super easy to whip up and a good way to use up eggs before your next pickup lol. We get our eggs when we pick up our milk so when I noticed we had 4 extra eggs, I knew exactly how I wanted to use them.

I have been experimenting with a few new ingredients that I had added to our daily pantry supply. Sucanat or Rapadura is essentially raw dried cane sugar. Unrefined, it keeps the molasses content and is a purer, less processed form of sweetener. We've slowly been switching over to this sweetener adding it to our coffee and tea. I must say it tastes so yum! And I love that it is minimally processed.

These meringues have a faint maple flavor without being over the top sweet. They melt in your mouth and are so light! Some I accidently had under cooked but they were just as tasty as they had a more marshmallowy texture. SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!

Maple Flavored Meringues

You will need:

4 pastured egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter (optional)
1/2 cup Sucanat or Rapadura
1/4 cup pure maple syrup


1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.) Add cream of tarter to egg whites and whip in stand mixer with whisk attachment (or by hand) till stiff peaks.

3.) Slowly add sucanat. Once that is completely incorporated, slowly add maple syrup.

4.) Pipe onto parchment lined baking sheets with piping bag and tip OR you can use a freezer bag with a small cut out of the corner. 

 I have very little hands so its hard for me to fill my pastry bag, so I find if I place it in a large pint glass, its easier to fill ;-)

5.) Place in oven and once door is shut, drop the temp to 250 Degrees. Bake for 1 hour. Remove and let cool a bit before removing to a plate.

TRY not to eat them all in one sitting. There is nothing better than popping these bad boys in your mouth when you are having a serious sweet attack!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Love of Raw Milk

Its not easy raising a family on one income. When we decided to have children 6 years ago I neverwould have pictured myself as the "Stay at home Mom" kind of person. But then my two bundles came along it became apparent that being with my children (and my home) is where I was meant to be.

So the hubs and I sat down and really crunched the numbers. It would be tight but if it meant being with our children and raising them the way we had wanted, then penny pinching was the way to be. Bottom line......we were going to make it work.

I painstakingly plan out our budget every month of food and bills. I feel this is part of my job. And yes its not a secret that we go a different route when it comes to the food that we choose to provide for our family. Some things are cheaper in the long run and others are a bit more pricey. But I feel some things you just cannot compromise when it comes to your family.

One of the foods that is top on our priority list is milk.

We go through a TON of milk in this house. While my husband and I aren't big milk drinkers ourselves, our children can put away a gallon quicker than a blink of an eye. And add the dairy foods that come from that milk and it adds up.  

So considering how much goes into our family, finding good, quality milk is of big importance. Raw milk in our house is a must in our budget. I add it on with all the other main bills because its just not something I'm willing to compromise anymore.

I know it sounds crazy that we drink Raw Milk, but I promise you, with a little research and a reputable source, its worth every penny. I can guarantee organic, hormone free, wholesome milk that I know will fill my family with healthy enzymes, vitamins, and protein that pasteurization kills in conventional milk. I'm not saying that Raw Milk is the only way to go. I know its not readily available in a lot of places. For example even here in Kentucky. It is illegal to buy or sell raw milk here. I don't "buy" raw milk. I bought shares in a herd of cows. This is the product that my herd gives in which I am entitled too. I pay a maintenance fee every week which goes towards the care of our animals and in turn we get gallons of milk from our cows. Its simple but tricky. lol. Check your local laws. We own three shares so we get three gallons every week. And yes we use up all that milk.

Its not just milk that comes with it. Its the cream as well. Liquid, healthy fats. And with that I'm able to make our butter, coffee creamer, ice cream, and whatever else we need for the week. I'm even dabbling in cheesemaking! So in the long run those shares go along way!

I also love the fact that I know exactly where this product comes from. I even know the cows names!! White face, Black face, and Red. lol. The kids named them :-). Its such a religious and wonderful feeling driving out to the homestead every week to pick up our supply. To see where our cows eat, sleep and breath. Its magical. And so rewarding! Worth the 25 miles one way every week. Of course I hope to one day raise our very own milk cow, but until then I will gladly drive out there. Its my little slice heaven every Thursday. Thursday is now my favorite day of the week. Thursday is Milk Day <3

I'm not saying that Raw Milk is the only way to go. If its not available where you live, by all means, go find yourself some good organic milk. Please make sure you are drinking organic though. The hormones and process they go through is just not good. For you and the cows. But if it is available, do yourself a favor and check it out!

For more information on: Raw Milk
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring is here!! almost....

This weekend was filled with warmth and dreams of the future months. There is nothing better than waking early and the sun is shining. How can one not want to go out and get hands dirty?

I was finally able to start my garden. After discussing with our landlords, we got the ok to plant a small garden as long as we fill it with seed or sod upon moving out. So I started with 10 x 10 as a starter.

I'm going to purchase the bulk of my seeds and starter plants from my farmstand store to insure heirloom. I also have a few planter pots that will hold other plants. Since I'm a full time Homesteader and SAHM, I know I'll have the time to tend to these responsibilities like never before. I've kept a small garden and plants over the past few years but nothing this big. And last year really only consisted of a few potted plants. So I'm excited to really start my gardening going for the summer.

This is my perfect time to practice my skills so that we can (hopefully) live off our land in the future. I know that there will be a lot of mistakes and mishaps and that is ok. What better way than to learn from experience.

This years garden will consist of my typical squash, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. But I will also be trying my hand at corn since we go through so much. And also want to try some peas. Broccoli will also be making an appearance albeit small as Beanie and I are really the only fans. And then some spinach, carrots and butter crunch lettuce (Greg's Favorite). I also plan on purchasing another blue berry plant to hopefully produce berries for my sweet Papa. They are his favorite!!

Big plans for sure!

While today is snow covered again, I know that is only for today and tomorrow will be warmer. I cannot WAIT for only warm days and to be able to spend the majority of our days in the garden and outside.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Big Dreams

Oh how I miss owning our home. We actually are blessed with a really great rental home in a very nice neighborhood. Even a bit of land. But its hard when you know its not yours. When something breaks you have to call the "Landlord" and wait for them to get around to fixing it. Living on two acres of land is such a great concept EXEPT when its not yours and you can't do much with it. Although we are able to plant a garden, I would love to have more than "my neighbors chickens".

And then there is the gas fire place. Whoever thought these were a good idea?? Especially when its never been hooked up! Ugh. Wood burning for me. I love the smell and I also never like the idea of relying on a company to heat my home. We had a brutal winter with lows that dipped under 0 degrees. So gas was in high demand and at a premium. For something so basic as staying warm. And having a propane fireplace.....not hooked up......just mocking me. Ugh. Our furnace broke this winter which caused it to run constantly and never getting above 67. Also causing the bill to sky rocket as you could imagine. So sitting in a freezing house.....staring at a fireplace you can't use.....ugh.

This brings us back to our dreams. I am constantly on the craigslist ads perusing back and forth from the "Farm and Garden" section and the "Real Estate for Sale" ads. Just dreaming. We had to short sale our house when we left Washington so that, legally, does not allow us to buy for 3 years. In August we will be starting our second year. So when I came upon two (almost) perfect houses, it hurt like no other.

First house was the perfect Homesteaders house. 15 acres with a pond and homemade firing range. 3 bedroom house almost completed but nothing we couldn't handle. and OFF GRID. $50,000. Le sigh. Just not the right time.

Second house was a bit more promising. Lease to Own. 2 Year contract. Which would buy us the time we needed. 3 bedroom brick home with detached garage. Only 15 minutes or so from our current rental. BUT only 1 acre. 1 Bathroom. And REALLY close to a highway. As Greg puts it "One of the girls would wonder into the road, get hit by a semi, then he would have to go find an Indian Pet cemetery, bury her, she would come back to life and kill me and others." Ok that was a bit of a stretch but just not a good situation for us. And I really want more land than 1 acre.

So we sat down and really talked about what was important to us. We loved our first home.....until we had children. Then it was just too small. And we couldn't do anything with it. We don't want to get into a situation like that again. Where we "Settle". And we are willing to search for it.....and wait if needed.

I want 5-10 acres so I can have my animals and garden. I want a wood burning fireplace. Greg wants 10 acres and some wooded so he can hunt and have trees for our fireplace if needed. He wants a pond. He wants to NOT be on a main road. A house that is set back a bit. These, we've decided, are things that are just so important to us. And we aren't willing to settle anymore.

While its frustrating to know that we will be living in a rental for a while longer, it seems a little less painful to know that the next home we own will be ours. And what WE want. A place for our farm and our children to grow. A place for us. And then I know we will have finally arrived and we can live our dream of the Trupp Homestead.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Warm Comforting Taco Soup

Wow. Just wow. Such a week we had. That's really why I haven't written. I've said just hard. I mean really hard sometimes. It seems sometimes when trying to do the right just kicks ya where it counts. And all you can do is pick yourself up. Dust off the dirt. Truck on.

The problem I have with this is I'm not easy to do that sometimes. I am after all human.

It was a very busy and stressful week for us. I do not want bore you with the details. Just that we tried to adopt a dog and it didn't work out. And it played on my heart and soul. Sometimes life just doesn't work out the way you want it to. The good thing is I have such an awesome family. And an awesome husband.

Coupled with some other troubling news it was just a rough week.

By the time supper rolled around on some of those nights I was left completely aghast that I had left nothing out for supper.

Time to pick up and remember some of the awesome things in meat in our freezer.

One of my husbands favorite meals has pulled us out of jam too many times to count. It does take a bit of preparation (as in crockpot) but not much. And I've made it on the stove before with the same results. The recipe was given to me a while ago and it just screams comfort food now. Something we crave when the nights are cold and endless and all you need is something warm in your belly to remind you of the good things.

Taco Soup

you will need:

  • 1 lb of ground meat of your choice (we have beef but I've made it with turkey for a lower fat version and its just fantastic)
  • 1 can of corn (or frozen preferable organic)
  • 1 can rotel (tomatoes with chilies)
  • 1 can black beans (I always prefer organic but this is what I had lingering in my pantry from the great purge)
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix (organic or homemade are preferable of course)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning or equivalent amount homemade

1.) Brown meat in a large skillet and add to your crock pot.

2.) Add all of your other ingredients as well and give it a big stir making sure all ingredients are incorporated nicely.

3.) Now turn on your crock pot to low and walk away for the day. Alternately you can turn your crockpot on high and walk away for a few hours. Alternately Alternately you can throw all in pot and simmer for a bit on the stove stirring every now and then. I've done all three.

4.) When you return it will have turned into this yummy flavorful stew like mixture that fills the house with aromatic goodness.

Scoop into a bowl and add your favorite cheese. You also could serve this with sour cream and chives for an added kick. We just like ours with cheese. My whole family LOVES this meal and it screams warmth and comfort. You should definitely give it a try.