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Book Review: The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods by Teresa Marrone

Dried Foods by Teresa MarroneSpecial thanks to Storey Publishing for sending a review copy of this book.

Book Overview:

Drying is a simple and easy way to preserve fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and herbs. This comprehensive guide includes everything you need to know to get started, whether you are using a dehydrator, your own oven, or the sun. Expert Teresa Marrone thoroughly covers the basic techniques, all the way through storing and rehydrating your dried foods. From apples to watermelon, asparagus to zucchini, basil to beef, you’ll find solid instructions that will ensure great results every time. Marrone also includes recipes for using your dried foods in a wide range of delicious dishes, from pies and cookies to stews and casseroles. There are even instructions for drying fresh pasta and making vegetable snack chips and baby-food purees.

Teresa MarroneAbout the Author:

Teresa Marrone is very active in her local food scene, writing profiles and features for Edible Twin Cities. She has also written many regional books, field guides, and cookbooks. Her interest in drying foods began with her passion for camping and her desire to eat well in the wilderness. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Book Details:

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612121799
ISBN-13: 978-1612121796
Retail Price: $16.95
Digital Editions also available

My Thoughts:

From using the sun to building a homemade dehydrator to using the oven to using a store bought dehydrator, Teresa covers the various methods of dehydrating, and she even goes over how to build your own dehydrator. In other words, she starts off the book with an introduction to dehydrating foods including tips on equipment and methods utilized in the process of food dehydration.

From there, she jumps into dehydrating

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Leathers, Baby Food, and Prepared Foods
  • Snacks, Cereal, and Specialties
  • Dried-Food Mixes for Pantry, Gifts, and Camping

Each chapter includes instructions for dehydrating a variety of items using a dehydrator/convection oven, the sun, or a regular oven. It describes how to test for doneness, the expected yield, and suggestions for use of the dehydrated item. The most unique aspect of this book is that it goes beyond simply dehydrating food to actually using the food that you dehydrated. It has a wide variety of recipes for using your dehydrated foods. It even includes a section on other ways to use your dehydrator such as using it to make yogurt.

I’ve been dehydrating foods on a regular basis for a couple of years now, but I’m not always creative when it comes to using those beautifully dehydrated foods. You can tell you dehydrate a lot of food when your niece looks into your pantry and states that you have a lot of dried food. When she asked what I did with it all, I allowed her to sample some of the dried fruit which was a hit, but I knew that I wasn’t using the food to its fullest potential. The recipes in this book helped me to think outside of the box for using those dried foods in my pantry.

Did you know that dehydrated eggplant actually works better in an eggplant dish as it retain a firmer texture than its fresh counterpart? I didn’t know until I read this book. Little tips like that make this book a valuable resource for any kitchen. If you’re looking for ideas on how to use some of your dehydrated food stores, you’ll want to check out the recipes in this book. If you want healthier and better tasting alternatives for camping/backpacking trips, this book is probably for you. I can’t wait to try out more recipes as I put away more of our summer bounty.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to help facilitate the writing of a frank and honest review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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A CA Family Adventure

Girls by Water Fountain

Last week, we had the opportunity to hang out with family (my Dad, Stepmom, nieces, and Grandma) who decided to spend some vacation time with us in CA. Palm Desert was our base camp for the week, so our adventures stemmed out from that point.

I haven’t seen my Grandma since Munchkin was quite little, so that was an extra special treat. She’s a few years shy of 90, and I was rather pleased at how well she did during the entire trip. Whether it was time in the pool, hiking in the desert, exploring rocks and mountains, enjoying the antics of dolphins, or anything else that was on the agenda, she was game and joined right in on the adventure. While she may not have been able to do everything she could in her younger days, she was still able to participate in a more careful, slower pace. It just made me smile and warmed my heart to see her doing so well. We all created some wonderful memories.

I’ll share a few pictures from our various adventures over the next few days. I took a bunch of pictures as I wanted to capture as many of the memories as possible. At the same time, I didn’t spend all my time behind the camera as I wanted to enjoy the moments and be in the here and now.

We said goodbye to family on Saturday evening. The house is now quiet, and we’re missing the sweet laughter of my nieces and the interaction with Grandma, Grandpa, and Great Grandma. It was fun to have 4 generations together if only for a week.

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Book Review: The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGrutherSpecial thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a review copy of this book.

The Nourished Kitchen Book Description:

A cookbook from the author of the popular website Nourished Kitchen, featuring over 160 recipes based on the “traditional foods” philosophy of eating, which emphasizes whole grains, dairy, red meat, organ meats, and fermented foods.

Jennifer McGrutherAbout the Author:

JENNIFER MCGRUTHER is a food educator and the author and creator of the award-winning traditional foods website, Nourished Kitchen (www.nourishedkitchen.com). She teaches workshops on traditional foods, fermentation, and food activism. Jennifer lives with her husband and son in the central mountains of Colorado where she and her husband started and managed a farmers market for seven years. Her work emphasizes traditional, from-scratch cooking with a focus on farm-to-table recipes. Find Jennifer on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

Book Details:

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607744686
ISBN-13: 978-1607744689
Retail Price: $27.99
Digital editions available

My Thoughts:

The Nourished Kitchen begins with Jennifer telling story of her traditional foods journey and then dives into some important information about the traditional foods movement. The book is then broken down into 8 main sections:

  • From the Garden
  • From the Pasture
  • From the Range
  • From the Waters
  • From the Fields
  • From the Wild
  • From the Orchard
  • From the Larder

Each chapter begins with a tale from Jennifer’s life relating to that chapter’s theme. She’s welcoming you into her life, her home. You can’t help but feel like a guest or maybe an old friend as her story unfolds through the pages of the book. Details about the topic are revealed before you dive into the mouth watering recipes. The gorgeous full color pictures make you want to dive right into preparing the recipes.

The tips and helpful hints, once again presented in a conversational manner, help you prepare the best meals possible. For example, in the first chapter, she talks about seasonal greens, finding the best olive oil, cooking with seasonal veggies, and adding fat to your veggies. Each recipe has a short narrative before the actual recipe. If you’re looking for nutritional breakdowns for each recipe, you won’t find them here. There is no calorie counting with the recipe book – just real food ingredients as close to their natural state as possible.

While I won’t be using every recipe in this book as we don’t eat organ meats or gluten, there are tons of recipes that will grace our table. Some of the recipes are a springboard for my own ideas as she really encourages the reader to use seasonal items. Jennifer has created a beautiful recipe book for those who want to eat a real food, traditional diet. It’s warm, conversational style allows you to learn about this lifestyle while creating healthy, delicious meals for yourself and your family.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Blogging for Books for this review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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Book Review: The Case for a Creator Student Edition by Lee Strobel

The Case for a Creator Student Edition by Lee StrobelSpecial thanks to Zondervan for providing a review copy of this book.

The Case for a Creator Book Details:

Based on the bestseller The Case for a Creator, Lee Strobel, along with Jane Vogel, gives students the evidence they need to point to a Creator.

When Lee Strobel was a high school freshman, science convinced him that God didn’t exist. Since then, however, incredible scientific discoveries have not only helped restore Lee’s faith, but have strengthened it.

In this student edition of the bestselling The Case for a Creator, Strobel encourages teens to challenge the “facts” that say there is no God and to weigh the evidence for themselves. Readers will be astonished by what some of today’s most respected experts have to say about the birth of the universe, Darwinism, DNA research, and the astounding fine-tuning of the cosmos. Ultimately, they must consider the question: Could it be that the universe looks designed … because it is?

About the Authors:

Lee StrobelLee Strobel (www.LeeStrobel.com), with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School, was the award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and a spiritual skeptic until 1981. His books include four Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Christian Book of the Year (coauthored with Garry Poole). He and his wife live in Colorado.

Jane VogelJane Vogel, a writer who has been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years, wrote The Case for Christ Student Edition and The Case for Faith Student Edition with Lee Strobel. She lives with her husband, Steve, and their two children in Winfield, Illinois.

Book Details:

Series: Case for … Series for Students
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Student edition (June 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310745837
ISBN-13: 978-0310745839
Retail Price: $9.99
Electronic Version also available

My Thoughts:

The Case for a Creator begins back in Lee Strobel’s high school days when a science class gives him the final little nudge he needed to walk away from his faith. Later on, as a young, married journalist, he finds himself looking at whether it was possible that God was real and that He was the Creator of the universe. In typical journalist fashion, he takes a methodical, detailed look into science to see if science and God can both be true.

He looks at 4 main scientific areas: Cosmology, Physics, Biochemistry, and Biological information. While a lot of the information in this book is really good, he really has gone the route of Intelligent Design rather than Creation by God. He has taken from evolution (millions of years and Big Bang) and used that as the basis for his study. To me, this makes his study flawed as he never looked outside of his belief that evolution – at least to some degree – is true. Lee Strobel holds the view of an old earth Creationists and believes in the evolutionary theory of the Big Bang. Depending on your belief system, this may or may not be okay for you or your child.

Because of this, I have a hard time recommending this book to a student who is still trying to figure things out for him/herself. It would be okay for a student that has more knowledge of evolution vs creation as it has a good deal of interesting information about how science and God are not mutually exclusive.

 

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Gluten Free Peach Crisp

Gluten Free Peach Crisp

Yes, we have lots of peaches and other stone fruit right now here in CA. We’ve been enjoying delicious peaches from both our local co-op and our CSA. I love that they are a naturally sweet, refreshing treat. Daddy really likes crisps/cobblers, so I thought it would be nice to make him a twist on a traditional peach crisp.

As usual, I sort of winged it when it came to ingredients, so the measurements listed below are approximate. I like my peaches a little firm, so I don’t cook my crisp as long. If the topping doesn’t crisp up quite as much as I would like, I just increase the temperature to 400 degrees for a few minute at the end of the baking time.

If your peaches aren’t sweet, you may want to add some sweetener to the peaches themselves. Personally, I don’t mind if the peaches aren’t super sweet as it balances out the sweetness in the crisp. If you don’t want to use honey, you could use another sweetener. You’ll need to add a little more liquid if you use a dry sweetener.

 

Gluten Free Peach Crisp

Gluten Free Peach Crisp Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 large peaches, sliced or in bite-sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup milk (coconut or almond milk work for a dairy-free version)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place peach slices or bite-sized chunks in a baking dish.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine almond flour, vanilla extract, gluten free oats, salt, baking soda, butter/coconut oil, cinnamon, honey, and milk for topping.
  4. Crumble topping over peaches
  5. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes depending on desired softness of peaches. If topping is not golden brown and you’ve reached your desired softness for peaches, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for a few more minutes until topping is golden brown
  6. Serve by itself, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with some whipped cream.
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