Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake becomes an easy and wonderful pastry/cake to bake in the evening and serve in the a.m. with a hot cup of Jo or tea. This recipe is easy to manipulate to your taste. Want to make an apple butter, strawberry or pumpkin coffeecake? Easy peasy, just insert the sweetened preserves, jams or butters where I have my blackberry preserves listed. Done.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white cane sugar, divided
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, divided
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup powdered cane sugar
10 to 15 drops vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan. Yes, you should use this, it will make your life easier.
Fork together flour, 3/4 cup cane sugar and butter until well-mixed and resembles small peas. Remove 1 1/4 cups of mixture, set aside.
To remaining mixture, add baking soda, baking powder, salt, sour cream, almond extract, vanilla extract and 1 egg. Mix until just combined.
Spread batter into prepared pan; be sure to get up the sides at least two inches. You want to create an edge or crust for the filling to sit inside of.
Beat cream cheese, remaining white cane sugar and remaining egg. Spread on top of batter, try to get some up to the edges.
Now spread your preserves on top. Don't mix it in, just lay it evenly on top. And don't be perfect, that's what makes this 'cut' look so pretty. Imperfections.
Combine the reserved crumbs and almonds, spread on top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Top should be a light shade of golden brown.
Cool 15 minutes, then take the spring form sides off. STARE it down and let sit another hour in the fridge. Drizzle top with combined powdered cane sugar and drops of vanilla extract. Delish! Be sure to stun someone with your awesome creation.
Be sure to checkout my natural homesteading blog at modernroots.org and 'like' on Facebook at facebook.com/modernroots.org for more recipes and fun homesteading projects!
I go through a lot of essential oils with the products I make and sell at my Modern Roots Store. I grow my own medicinal herbs and plants to get the best quality and highest yield without the use of pesticides or other nasty who-knows-what 'Big Ag' uses these days. Much of my herbs go directly into my soaps, lotions, conditioners etc. But I want to extract the precious oils from them too. So, on this blistery winter day – with dreams of summer lavender, I came up with a contraption to do so ... and the Modern Roots Essential Oil Still was born.
I was pressure cooking some chicken stock when I was watching the pressure gauges thinking ... the steam that escapes and that's inside the pressure cooker could really be used to steam anything, but what could I attach it to to get the job done – and in a smaller quantity? Simple really. Other than blowing myself up, of course.
What you need:
– 10 feet of 3/8-inch copper tubing. Wound into two coils – you can easily manipulate this or buy it pre-rolled.
– 1 smaller pressure cooker (4 quart to 6 quart); you could use bigger but quality, effectiveness and time are all important so I like to control it in smaller amounts. *NOTE: I LOVE me some thrift shops but in this case I bought a new one to make sure all the safety valves, etc., work well to prevent me and my kitchen from getting blown to smithereens. Of course it would smell lovely, so that would be a positive, but let's try to alleviate problems like this from the get go.
– plastic container, or wash tub for cold water – tall and skinny so your copper coils fit into it. It's better to have your coils at the bottom of the container because cold water is heavier or denser than warm water.
– plumbers putty
– 3/8-inch clear or threaded tubing
– glass jar to catch lavender water and oils
–Syringe – meat syringe works good
See slideshow below for more in depth descriptions.
Plastic tubing – a small piece, about 3 to 4 inches will be needed from this.
Plastic tubing, cut and fitted over one end of the copper tube.
Metal fastener/tightener to tighten down to the pressure cooker – you may or may not need this.
3 to 6 quart pressure cooker
Oblong pail (if your copper coils fit into a pail you already have, use that).
Lavender buds (or any plant you want to extract oil from).
Tea pot – to pour hot water over the plant/buds.
Jars to catch lavender oil and water
Assembly is pretty straight forward. Attach the tube (there is a video below to watch) – which you've attached to the copper pipe – to the pressure cooker. Cut this to size. It should fit snug and erect but not too long so that it bends over. Tighten with the small clamp. Add lavender or plant you want extracted to the pressure cooker, add boiling water (about 3 times the amount of plant you have – 4 cups lavender = 12 cups boiling water). Keep in mind dried plants or herbs will require more than fresh plants.
Place the coils in the tub of cold water with ice – as this warms you will need to add ice and/or replace the water with cold water as it heats. Place catch jar at the other end to catch the oils and steamed essential water. Set up as in picture below. Cover and set heat to medium high. If it begins to leak once started, seal with plumbers putty around the tube/pressure cooker area. Placing a bit of downwards pressure on the copper pipe attached to the pressure cooker helps it to seal better as well.
See video on how it works here!
Now you can syringe the oils off the top or siphon them away from the water underneath. The lavender water or essential water you have left is great when used in vinegar for an all-natural fabric softener, as a room air spritzer, or as a sheet and bedroom freshener. Most essential oils are anti-microbial and anti-fungal so they actually kill the nasty in your homes.
When I distill in my house. I know that the air is getting a nice cleanse and it leaves a wonderful scent throughout the house. Talk about some spring cleaning!
Checkout my blog at modernroots.org – like on facebook at facebook.com/modernroots.org
And be sure to check out my Modern Roots Store for all natural body products that I have created!
Best Oils For Consumption
Come on, who doesn't know that olive oil is great for you? But who knows why?? Polyphenols are present in olive oil from harvest until about 1 year old. After that the health benefits associated with olive oil diminish almost completely. You get olive oil from pressing the olive seeds. Most olive oil sell by dates are 2 years from pressing the seeds and, in the United States, most olive oils that are on the shelf are already over the 1-year mark. It doesn't mean that the olive oil isn't still good for you but the health claims decrease such as heart disease risk factors by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing blood clotting and improving the health of artery linings has a direct link to the polyphenols in the olive oil. Polyphenols also reduce cancer risk by lowering inflammation and cellular proliferation. They act as antioxidants, reducing oxidation and cell damage, which leads to many degenerative diseases. Yay! They even reduce microbial activity and infections.
There's regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. There is actually four types, but these two are most readily available. Regular olive oil is a blend of refined pomace oil and virgin olive oil. Pomace is produced by processing the leftovers of the virgin olive oil extraction. The blend (which usually contains as little as 5 to 10 percent virgin olive oil) is cheaper to produce. It doesn’t have as strong a flavor and is best for frying or high temps. I use this in my natural soap and body products because it has a high heat temp, but it's also equally good in baking or cooking in which your pan will reach medium to high temps. Extra virgin olive oil, which has a low heat temp and more distinct flavor, is more suitable for salad dressings, light sauteing, drizzled over bruschetta or fresh breads. Look for cold pressed because a heated press takes some of the health qualities out if it.
Fantastic for high heat because over 90% of the fatty acids in it are saturated, which makes it very resistant to high temps. Stores easily as a semi soft solid allowing it to keep for months without going bad. Coconut oil also has wonderful health benefits. It is particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol and help kill bacteria and other pathogens. What a work horse! This is the fatty acid breakdown: Saturated: 92%; Monounsaturated: 6%; Polyunsaturated: 1.6%. It is important to note that saturated fats used to be considered unhealthy, but new studies prove that they are totally harmless. Saturated fats are a safe source of energy for humans. The fats in coconut oil can also boost metabolism slightly and increase feelings of fullness compared to other fats.
Grass fed butter is epic, no? yea I don't know about using the word epic either. Not really sure I'm as cool as the teeny boppers out there but it's true- butter is truly amazing. It contains more Vitamin K2, CLA and other nutrients than store bought GMO grain fed butter. All unaltered butter contains Vitamins A, E and K2. It is also rich in the fatty acids Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyrate, both of which have powerful health benefits. CLA may lower body fat percentage in humans and butyrate can fight inflammation, improve gastrointestinal health and has been shown to make rats resistant to becoming obese. Fatty acid breakdown: Saturated: 68%; Monounsaturated: 28%; Polyunsaturated: 4%.
So skip the margarine, smart balance and other human made fats and stick with the real deal ... butter. Butter is best used for baking with or spreading, but not high temps unless you make Ghee or Clarified butter which takes out the proteins. The proteins are what burn when sauteing causing a burnt bitter taste.
Animal Fats, Lard & Tallow
Remember when Crisco and Shortening were/are such a hit? The manufacturers attacked natural animal fats for being 'bad' for you. On the contrary, animal fats are recognized by the body as natural and are therefore processed by our bodies differently than man made GMO oils. You can buy lard from the butcher or buy it rendered from the grocery store. I like to render my own animals fats from my own animals because I know how they were fed (NON-GMO). If you'd like to render your own fats checkout my recipe/instructions by clicking here.
Palm oil is derived from the fruit of palms. It's great for cooking because it consists mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. I get my palm oil unrefined, in fact I try to get all my oils unrefined. Why? Because the process in which refining takes place can remove the natural vitamin E qualities, Coenzymes, and other nutrients while adding unnecessary trace chemicals.
The breakdown of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated, with some saturated and polyunsaturated fats. This oil is best suited for the same things you would cook or make dressings with like Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It's more delicate in flavor and does not have a high heat temp. I use this in my body care as well as it has great softening and moisturizing qualities.
Most people think peanuts are an actual nut but they are in fact a legume. Peanut oil is great to use as long as you pick a brand that the ingredients include, ahem, Peanut Oil and that's it. It contains Omega 6 linoleic acid, which helps to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increases HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood.
It also has a great shelf life, so stock up and save!
What Oils Are Worst For Consumption?
I call it the naughty liar list because the companies that market these oils to consumers are straight up liars. They know consumers are not stupid and have to play the game of trickery to get them to buy these 'oh, so healthy, manmade oils.'
Yes, Canola. Capitalized you see because it actually comes from Canada (location where it was created) and Oil. Canadian Oil. The manufacturers will have you believing it's great for you, but it is a horrible oil for consumption. Canola is made from the rapeseed which is a great insect repellent. I mean, I guess I wouldn't want to name it Rape Oil either but making up a name to represent something else really is not, well honest. Do a quick search on how Canola oil is refined – with chemicals, Hexane, bleach etc. – and it will be enough to make you never buy it again.
Vegetable Oil or Soy Oil
Just look at the contents of "All Natural Vegetable Oil" the next time you are at the grocery store. It is 100% soy oil. Yes, the same soy that is raised by mono-crop farmers **most typically seed that is genetically modified from companies such as Monsanto. Yum. :/
When people ask me how I eat, or if I'm gluten free or vegetarian etc. My answer is simple, I try my best for me and my family to eat 'closest to nature' or things that have not been altered. Things you would find naturally without human input or modifying chemically. Hybrids are very different than genetically modified. If you ask yourself, could this have naturally happened in nature? And the answer is yes, generally speaking, then I believe it has a natural viability and health that is good for us. If we all tried to eat more like this, or supported people that did these things by purchasing from them, think of the health of not only our country ... the world and our environment! We think we are so smart but in fact, mother nature will outsmart our every move.
Recipes and more information at www.modernroots.org & 'like' on facebook for homesteading chaos and new articles at www.facebook.com/modernroots.org.
I ferment everyday. These are three fermented drinks that are highly nutritional and beneficial for all: Kombucha, Water Kefir & Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
(search blog for how to make or buy at your farmer's market!)
Kombucha is high in B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids, which is helpful in preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
Help to detox the liver: One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.
Joints: Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.
Helps Digestion: Because it’s naturally fermented with living bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic. This has a several benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida, a yeast overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood booster/stabilizer. Kombucha has also been known to eliminate symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety.
Immune Booster: Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, therefore, helping boost your immune system and energy levels.
Fruity, fizzy, sweet drink. Super healthy probiotic even diabetics can drink without spiking blood sugar levels. Many have found kefir helps them digest foods better, get colds and viruses less often, and have more energy.
Kefir is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir is also generally suitable for some diabetics. It also is a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink, especially one that's fizzy. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some store-bought probiotic foods or supplements can help, but they are not as potent, and do not contain the beneficial yeasts usually (just bacteria). Your internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has thus long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. Folic acid (and B vitamins) increases as the length of the ferment increases.
RAW APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
It is important to note that "the mother" can only be found in raw organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and not in conventionally processed vinegars. Raw organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is packed with vitamin C, B1, B2, and B6 and contains nutrients and minerals such as potassium, pectin, calcium, ash and acetic acid that work together to establish a disease resistant environment which helps our bodies to maintain a healthy pH level.
Raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has been shown to lower the spike in glucose (sugar) after meals.
When consumed regularly, ACV helps:
-Lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol
-Rids joints of uric acid, easing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis
-Promotes strong bones and teeth
-Aids weight loss
Raw organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can be easily made into a fantastic, healthy salad dressing.
Raw ACV Dressing
Yields 1 cup.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves
Dash of salt and pepper
Serve immediately on salad OR use as a marinade for veggies or meats!
Check out more recipes and blogs from Meg with Modern Roots at www.modernroots.org & be sure to 'like' on Facebook at www.facebook.com/modernroots.org for more natural homesteading ideas and tips!
I love fermenting. I love the amazing health benefits and also the process of making it! I make milk kefir almost daily. It's super healthy for many reasons but it just makes you feel good too. Milk kefir is a probiotic cultured milk drink that originated in the northern Caucasus Mountains hundreds of years ago. It is noted that shepherds fermented milk in leather pouches creating grains that could be used for future fermenting. In labs and in tried replication, no one has been able to re-create kefir grains without the use of existing grains.
Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish. It has a thick creamy sticky consistency, tastes a bit like yogurt, and has a milky, yeasty smell. After a few days in the same container, the smell can become pungent but is NOT bad or rancid. Kefir has a slight natural carbonated effervescence. Kefir is not like other dairy products since it is easily digestible and contains little sugar (lactose), especially if you let it ferment for a long periods. The proteins in the milk also break down, and are virtually in a pre-digested state. Many people who are lactose intolerant can drink milk kefir made from unaltered raw cows milk. I love drinking it with honey or a combination of honey and fruit. Makes an excellent and nutritious breakfast smoothie or snack during the day.
If you let milk kefir ferment more than 24 hours you will see a separation of kefir and whey. The whey makes a great starter for sourdough breads, cakes, and other forms of baking. Starting other fermented foods like sauerkraut or fermented apricots, whey is needed so keeping it in the fridge on hand is always handy. Kefir can heal digestive systems, and make your stomach feel better, more stable and settled, within minutes of drinking.
You make milk kefir by adding 1 tablespoon kefir grains to 1 cup milk and letting it ferment on the counter for 12 to 24 hours between 68 and 74 degrees F. Some people like to ferment it to its strongest for 48 hours, but I like mine at about 24.
Strain out the grains and start a new batch or cover with milk and store in the fridge. Try not to go longer than two weeks without adding milk or starting a new batch.
After straining, add any fruit your heart desires or honey or even cane sugar if you like. Agave syrup works great too. Though kefir resembles a runny yogurt, it contains around 30 strains of bacteria and yeast, including lactobacillus bacteria. The culture comes in 'grains,' though more specifically they are a complex bio-matrix structure of soluble gel-polysaccharide, organic acids, yeasts and bacteria. This polysaccharide called Kefiran is made from two mono-saccharides, glucose and galactose in almost equal proportions. Kefiran has anti-tumor properties, preventing the development of metastasis. It is an anti-inflammatory and is an excellent stimulant for your immune system. The grains produce their own antibiotics. Kefir is rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly the B group, and vitamin K2. Kefir has been known to have many healing properties therefore slows the aging process. It also is beneficial in helping with heart and artery disease, lowering cholesterol levels and regulating hypertension / blood pressure. It assists your digestive system, healing the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder, stomach ulcers, and soothing your digestive and urinary tracts. That's amazing!
I have been drinking milk kefir for some time now and love that it makes my hair grow faster and thicker. I could really do without the thicker part but hadn't noticed as much until Mr. Hunky asked me if I had been cleaning out the shower drain. Gross, he knows that's his job ... even though it's my hair. But of course, no I hadn't. He said, "You've been losing lots less hair." I just have the normal shedding that most women do mind you, but once he said it I thought ... 'milk kefir!' I had read that it is super great for healthy skin and hair, as most naturally fermented products are, but I can actually see and feel a difference in my overall body health. And what's going on behind the scenes that I can't see is great as well (ie digestive, heart, blood pressure, all the nutrients/vitamins me and my family are getting).
You can purchase kefir, flavored or unflavored, at most grocery stores now but it will never be sold as raw (unless in CA?) milk kefir. The best in my opinion because the grains produce the best kefir from full unpasteurized fat just as they were created. You can also use the kefir grains to make a coconut kefir. You should only do this with the extra grains that you produce because it will eventually kill the grains because they are not getting the proteins they need to multiply from the coconut milk proteins.
Going to be in the Buffalo, Minnesota, area in April? Learn how to make fermented kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut from 3 to 5 p.m. on April 12, 2014. See the Buffalo Community Ed booklet for Spring 2014 and get signed up!!
Check out my blog www.modernroots.org & 'like' on facebook at www.facebook.com/modernroots.org for recipes and homesteading mayhem!
Learn how to gut and cut up a whole chicken in this demo from Meg with Modern Roots Homestead.
Photo: Jennifer Sartell, CommunityChickens.com
More homesteading mayhem at modernroots.org :)
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Christmas Lemon Loaf
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 tablespoon butter, room temp
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F, mix all ingredients in a bowl, whisk good at the end to incorporate well. Pour into a 9x5-inch greased bread loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes.
Remove from pan when it has cooled for 20 minutes. Continue to cool. Drizzle top with following icing.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon water
Combine until water incorporates and icing drizzles from a knife or fork easily.
Enjoy more recipes and natural homesteading tips and ideas at www.modernroots.org
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