Finding out you have a food allergy can be devastating.

Finding out you have a food allergy can be devastating. I think my first thought was, "What does that mean?" You ask your doctor and he says just avoid that food. It's just a skin test. They aren't entirely accurate.

I am going to attempt to give you ideas and recipes on how to avoid corn. It can be quite the challenge.

Sorry that my blog is evolving into a little bit of everything in life.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kale Powder

Recently I have been surfing other blogs.  I found this one FarmgirlCyn. I read the post under-pressure.  She dehydrated her kale, powdered it and sprinkled it onto other food.  What a great idea!  I have kale the size of small trees.  They have been growing all summer.  I blanched and froze some.  I have made kale chips.  Now I am going to dry and powder some.  I plan to get through winter with some greens on hand! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sliced Beef Bacon

I eventually smoked for 4 hours.  The final internal temperature was 150 degrees.  I decided to just go with that because when I had checked them a couple times before taking them off, there were small spots of fluid on the surface.  This made me fell I was drying them out and would end up with beef jerky instead of bacon.  After taken them off, I wrapped them in foil and refrigerated them over night.  The following morning I cut them against the grain at an angle.  I started using my favorite non-serrated knife,
then I tried the one serrated one pictured under the meat.  It didn't do so well.  I went back to the non-serrated knife.  I had to stop and sharpen it a few times.  I am so glad to have my grandma's sharpening stone in the picture.  After slicing I layered the bacon on a cookie sheet inbetween layers of plastic wrap.  After its frozen  I will put it in gallon size freezer bags.  This way I will be able to take out just what I want at any time.  I freeze just about everything in layers on a cookie sheet like this.

I fried up a couple pieces.  Tastes like the best smoked bacon or ham I ever had.  Be sure to slice it thin, because it is a bit chewy.  My cow was very young and grass feed, so he didn't have much fat at all.  Oh so good though!  I haven't had anything that even resembled bacon in a very long time!  I ate a couple slices with 2 fresh eggs that had very yellow yokes!  I have been letting my chickens out to roam lately, so they have been getting more greens, which make their yolks almost orange.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today is Bacon Smoking Day

This morning I heard that we may have showers tonight and again tomorrow, so I decided it was time to take the beef out of the fridge and rinse it for 20 minutes.  The meat is gray looking because I didn't use nitrites.  I would fill the sink swish the meat around until the water was frothy then drain and fill again.
I put the meat on racks in the fridge to dry.  I used a flour sack towel to get the excess water off.  I read that they are suppose to be dry when smoking.  The smoke is suppose to attach to the layer of dried film. 
I built a fire in the smoker box using an electric charcoal starter.
I closed the drawer a bit after I saw a little flame, so it would air draft the coals.  The chimney was wide open. Note the the grill has a temperature gauge on the lid.

  After the coals started flaming I took the starter out, closed the drawer, and made sure the vents were fully open.  When the temperature reaches 200 you can put the meat on. 

I soaked my Full Circle Hickory Chips in a bucket of water.  You should do this hours before.  You can even do this overnight.  I made a pouch of wet chips with foil, and put a few holes on top.  Then threw a few wet chips on top of the hot coals then add your pouch.  You might have to check that you didn't smother the fire with the pouch.  Keep the grill at 200 degrees.  
Here's what I used: 
On went the meat.  First I had it too close to the right side.  You can see the top of the piece on the right got a lttle browned.  Oops....   
Close the vents if it is to hot.  Lump coal burns hotter.  I had to open the top a couple of times to cool it down.  Open the vents if it starts getting to cold.  Add more coal if it continues to cool down.  I had to turn the grill around, so the natural breeze flowed into the smoker box to get the fire going again.  Then I turned it back around, and closed the vents a bit when it was back up to 200 degrees.  Constantly watch the grill to maintain your temperature between 175 and 200.

Continue smoking for 3 hours.  When the meat reaches internal temperture of 160 its done.  One site said that after smoking for 3 hours you can finish getting the meat to 160 in the oven.  I am guessing at 200 degrees.

I am listing a few sites that I used as a reference, but actually there are many, many, more sites about how to make bacon.  I read and read to try and get it right.:  http://www.deejayssmokepit.net/BeefBacon.htm, http://letsmakesomethingawesome.com/2011/03/home-cured-bacon-without-nitrates/, http://ruhlman.com/2010/03/corned-beef-how-to-cure-your-own/,  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!

I am so excited about making beef bacon.  I checked the meat tonight.  It was smashed into the bottom of my jar.  I picked it up and swished it around.  It has a couple darker spots.  I am thinking its pepper corn mashed to it.  It smells fine.  Yeah!!!  I am planning on smoking Wednesday, or Thursday.  I was really excited to remember that my Food City 10 mins. away carried the Full Circle lump coal.  I have 1 bag of Earth Fare brand lump coal.  I wanted to have a second bag on hand just in case.  The smoking part is 200 degrees until the meat reaches 160 degrees.  I also got 2 bags of Full Circle Hickory Chips at Food City.  Yeah!  I think the stores are coming around with the natural food movement!  I am so excited!!! 

My smoker:  We had a Chargriller with smoker box that we used a lot in AZ, but when we moved it wouldn't fit onto the truck, so we bought a new one at Lowe's after we got to TN.  We kept the rotisserie from the old grill.  I ordered another smoker box for the new grill 2 weeks ago.  My dh put it on last weekend, so now we are set to smoke beef bacon!  I am looking forward to smoking up and smelling up our whole neighborhood!  :-)  My neighbor hates me, so this will probably make her really happy.  I think I want to smoke in the middle of the backyard, so the smoke wafts right onto her back porch!  Eat your heart out!!  :-)  Drool all you want!  It needs to smoke for at least 3 hours!  Can't you just smell it????  :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Extra Watermelon or Cantaloupe

I chopped my extras and froze on a cookie sheet between plastic wrap.  Then transfered to a ziplock freezer bag.  You eat it still frozen or icey.  You can't thaw and eat it, it turns to mush. 

How to cut up a melon:  Cut off the top and bottom, so you have a flat surface.  Then slice off the rind from top to bottom all the way around.  They you just have to slice in half, clean it out, and chop it up.

Beef with vegetables

Start by cooking 1 cup of whole millet.  Brown 1 cup of whole millet in a bit of palm shortening, add 2 cups water, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.  I just leave it in the pan until ready to eat.

Slice cube steaks (about 1 lb) into 1 inch cubes.  toss with millet flour, or flour of your choice
Chop 2 cups of vegetables of your choice, I had okra, zucchini, green beans
1 sliced bell pepper and sweet onion.
1/4 chopped fresh spices basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano
3 chopped cayenne peppers
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry all vegetables including onions 1/2 of the spices in palm shortening until almost done.  Fry the meat with the other 1/2 of the spices until crispy brown.  Add the vegetables back to the meat and fry a bit more to mix together.  Serve on top of cooked whole millet.

Note:  everything came from my garden except the millet, and sweet onion.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Incapacitated? What does the corn allergic do?

Next!!!!!!!!  I finally got 150 lbs of grass feed beef in my freezer. My on going dilemma is what if I am incapacitated?  What if I have a stroke?  What if I get into a car accident and am incapacitated? 

I went to a general practitioner a year ago for a pap.  When I got there I told them they couldn't use their grease on me.  The young female doctor left the room came back and, said the office manager said, I would have to go see a specialist.  They didn't even want to accommodate my allergy.   Personally I find it easier to just not to go to the doctor.  My dad and step mom haven't been in years because they haven't had med insurance.  My med insurance has a 10,000 deductible, so I figure why go to the doctor if it is going to bite into my food budget.

My main issue is:  I am 45 years old, and how will I be able to survive contamination?  How are we going to survive?  We all have to find a way to get someone to hear us!  This is really scary!  I have finally found some beef.  I will post the recipe I made tonight.  Yum!  dh loved it!  What am I going to do tomorrow?  My garden wasn't big enough this year.  I have put up about 1/2 of what I will need until April or so.......  This is a new climate for me.  I lived in AZ 3 yrs prior, TX 5 yrs before that, N. Cal SF bay area where you could pretty much grow anything year round.  Here you can't grow anything from October until at least February.  But you won't get anything until April / May or so....  Since this is my first year planting crops here, I found out that I have to have everything in by April!  The garden will be 3 times as big next year!

So if I am not growing my own food, or buying a grass feed cow from someone, where do I find food?   Whole foods (Whole Paycheck) isn't an options for me because I don't have one and if I did I couldn't afford to buy their food! 

What are we going to do if we are incapacitated?  The convalescent home can feed you corn because it's not a top allergen.  They can play stupid that they feed me beef that was sprayed with citric acid.  Citric acid doesn't say corn, nor does alcohol, vinegar, salt, pepper, toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, and many, many, many more products.  We all know that all meat and vegetable products are sprayed with some sort of corn derivative like citric acid, vinegar, or lactic acid.

So again, what are we going to do if we are incapacitated?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beef Bacon

Got my grass feed beef today.  They didn't freeze the brisket.  The calf was small of half I got 167 pounds, which I think is enough for the 2 of us.  It fills 2 shelves of my 25 cubic foot freezer.  I figure the bottom drawer and shelf would equal one shelf together.  We definitely need to secure another one for next year. 

I created the curing brine after reading several different recipes this is what I went with.

Brine : Boil all
1 gallon mineral water (not tap)  I have a source of fresh mineral water.  http://houstonsmineralwater.com/
1 1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white sugar

Then chill the water to 38 degrees!  Very important.  I read some where to test the mixture by seeing if an egg will float. 

I got 2 briskets because the person that wanted the other 1/2 beef wanted it all ground, so the butcher was able to give them some of my ground for their brisket.

Kristy's idea to use marbles in a bag.  I placed them on top of a couple plastic lids.
 I added the inverted jar lid.
Everything I've read says leave it for 5 - 7 days before smoking.  Rinse for 20 minutes, put in the fridge to let the outside dry to a film.
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