Grit Blogs > Rural Legend

A Homemade Food Retrospective

Brent and LeAnna Alderman StersteAfter a super busy holiday season (visit LeAnna’s Blog) for a glimpse of what we were up to), we’ve taken the sweet lull of January to reflect on the past year. Last year was the first time we ever made anything resembling resolutions. For us, it was a list of goals and dreams for the coming year, scrawled out on a steno pad and magneted, totally ignored, to our refrigerator.

While our actual goals were varied in nature, the essence of most of them was that we wanted to learn more old-fashioned skills and move toward a greater level of sustainability for our family. The good news is that even though we never checked back in with last year’s list, we actually achieved a fair number of our goals. While not everything we did was food related, it sure was a recurring theme. So here are some highlights from our year in food:

We baked all of our family’s bread.

We started making our own yogurt.

We learned to make mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and butter.

We made pizza from scratch (crust, sauce, and cheese).

We started making our own granola.

We turned half of our backyard into a garden and ate or canned the produce.

We canned tomato sauce, apple butter, pear caramel butter, huckleberries, wild blackberries, strawberry jam, marmalade, and peaches.

We made a lot of sundried tomatoes and pesto.

We froze gallons of wild blueberries.

We made really hokey apple wine.

We made our own marzipan from fresh almonds and marshmallows from scratch.

And we failed repeatedly at making an edible bagel.

Here’s a little collage of our yumminess:

A yummy summary of Brent and LeAnna's homemade year, or a year in food

Two pounds of yeast and a bunch of canning jars later, we’ve discovered that we had been duped into believing that the homemade lifestyle is far more difficult than it actually is. Rather, we found that it was not only enjoyable but empowering to take control of our family’s food, that the end-product was far better than its processed equivalents, and that spending time in the kitchen with our children was easily the highlight of the day.

You can expect more homemade updates in the future as we continue to expand our old-fashioned, made-from-scratch lifestyle. In the meantime, if any of you have a good cracker recipe, we’d sure be grateful if you’d share it!

Did you learn or try anything new this year? What are your goals for the coming year?

livingnatural
3/20/2014 1:06:55 PM

Hi Rural Ledgend, Here is a great bagel recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bread-Machine-Bagels/ I have made them several times. I let them rest 20 min instead of the 10 minutes recommended. I also make them with 50% white whole wheat flour. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar before baking. Give them a try LivingNatural :)


susan_7
2/12/2010 6:20:23 PM

I love the photo collage! Business/work seems to be all about NOT reinventing the wheel, but maybe life is more satisfying when we learn and live by scratch once in a while. I know whenever I figure something out for myself, even if it takes me longer, it feels great, and I've learned from my own mistakes. Susan (Close the the Earth in Alaska blog)


s.m.r. saia
1/27/2010 5:50:06 AM

Wow, that's really great. Good for you!!!! Love the collage!


brent _1
1/25/2010 10:45:50 AM

Thanks for your encouragement -- and for sharing your own adventures. We've also found that since this became what we do for fun (versus other entertainment), prioritizing is no trouble at all! I'd rather be in the kitchen than on the couch. Except for when we get sucked into a TV series (such as the British "The Good Life" -- which you should all watch! It's about a self-sufficient couple in a London suburb. Very funny!).


chiot's run
1/24/2010 10:20:36 AM

It's so true that homemade versions of items are so much better. And you're right, it's not more difficult to make or more time-consuming. I find I find far less time because I never had to go to the grocery store.


oz girl
1/22/2010 9:46:57 AM

What a great photo collage of all your food efforts and successes! I'm looking forward to a new year of gardening and food - a new garden no less, as we did not have time to put one in last year. Safe fencing for the horses was our top priority last spring and took tons of our time. My list is ambitious - herbs, cukes, tomatoes, peppers and of course, lots of flowers everywhere! I probably need to be more realistic and get it all out of my head and make a refrigerator list like you did! :)


susannah
1/21/2010 10:16:10 PM

My goal for this year is to eat more of your homemade pizza. I have other goals, too, though. You gonna pony up with that cheese workshop?