Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…

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Chicken and Rice

John loves chicken and rice.  I am trying and trying to perfect the recipe, but I have been failing.  This try was pretty close to perfect.  Check it out!
First, I sliced up some chicken thighs.  I made sure they were really thin so they would cook quickly.  
Then, I had to create a marinade.  It was supposed to be made with barbecue sauce, but I wanted to make my own.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think of this in time, and didn’t have a good recipe ready.  I ended up just winging it.  How?  With one small can of tomato paste and an equal amount of vinegar.  
I mixed it up and added in brown sugar, salt, and garlic.  
I mixed it with the chicken and let it marinade.  The next day, I threw it all in a pan to cook.
In the meantime, I melted down chicken stock.  
When it was melted, I added 2 cups of brown rice and the cooked chicken (and the sauce it was cooking in).
Then, it just cooked and cooked on low.  Occasionally, I stirred it. 
John liked it with toasted slivered almonds…
… But I like it just plain!

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Thoughts on Allergies.

Recently, I have had some thoughts on seasonal (namely, spring) allergies, and I want to share them with you.
My whole life I have suffered from allergies.  In addition to indoor and pet dander, I had a multitude of outdoor allergies.  Pollen and freshly cut grass were especially bad, and most of the spring was spent battling itchy, puffy eyes, a clogged yet runny nose, a scratchy throat, and sometimes asthma. 
This year they are just about gone.  Sure, I sneeze a little.  My nose was itchy a few times.  But basically?  They are gone!  For the first time in my life, I am smelling the roses… literally!  When I drive home from work with my windows open, I am shocked by the amazing aromas of the flowers.  I never realized it before, but my nose is always so clogged during this season that I have never had the ability to smell it before.  The other day, I was at a traffic light near a home that was having its lawn trimmed.  In the past, I would have held my breath to prevent breathing in the allergens.  This time?  I inhaled deeply and enjoyed it!
I haven’t figured out why I am immune this year.  I mean, rumor has it that this year has the highest pollen levels in ages.  I do have a few theories…
1)  Our diet.  This spring marks nearly year in which we have been eating in this way.  Happy animals, raw milk, and local honey may have contributed.  Each of these foods has been attributed with healing allergies.   
2)  Our location.  We moved last summer.  This is the first spring that we lived here.  Maybe the plants are different!   I’m not sure how much this contributes, though, because I still work in the town that we were living in before.  I am still there every day with no problem.  
3)  Our cleaning products.  We really only use anti-bacterial products for really germy messes… toilets, raw meat juices, and things of that nature.  Maybe my immune system has to fight more environmental germs the way it was designed to, and it stopped wasting its time on pollen and grass?
4)  I outgrew them.  Doubtful, but possible.
Yes, I know that by posting this, I am basically ASKING for a major allergy attack.  It’s like when you say “It can’t get any worse!” and it does.  Well, I’m ready for it.  
What are your thoughts?  Where did my allergies go?

This post was shared on Your Green Resource and Simple Lives Thursday!


Easiest Side Dish Ever.

This has to be the easiest side dish ever.  Well, at least if you have a food processor it is.  
Step 1- Shred a whole bunch of carrots.  Forget to take a picture.
Step 2- Melt coconut oil in a pan.  Add a little bit of smashed up garlic.
Step 3- Add in the shredded carrots.
Step 4- Enjoy with dinner!  Grassfed beef and home made garlic bread, perhaps?
This post was shared on the Hearth and Soul Bloghop and Simple Lives Thursday!

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Freezer Sandwich Bread

I’ve already shared a few bread recipes with you, but I have another one!  This one is meant to be frozen before it is baked, and then it can be defrosted and baked whenever.  This is perfect for crazy busy weeks when I still want home made bread.  
To make this bread, I started by heating up 4 cups of whole milk with 1/4 cup of butter.  The original recipe called for water and dry milk, but I am not a fan of dry milk.
While that heated up, I mixed together 4 packages worth of active dry yeast , 1/2 a cup of rapadura, and 4 t of salt.
Next, I stirred in 4 cups of flour.
Once the bowl was hooked up to the stand mixer, I slowly mixed in the milk/butter mixture. 
As the mixer turned, I stirred in more flour.  The recipe called for a total of 11.5-12.5 cups.  I think I used a total of 8 cups.  I knew it was done when it looked like, well, dough.  I let the stand mixer knead it for 10 more minutes.
It was a HUUUUGE chunk of dough.  This recipe is supposed to make 4 loaves of bread, so you can imagine how much dough this is.  
I kneaded it by hand for a few minutes, and then let it rest.  After 15 minutes, I split it into 4 equal pieces.
Then, I shaped each into a loaf, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and froze them.
I took one out this week and baked it (at 375 for about a half hour) after letting it defrost and rise.  What did we use it for?  You’ll just have to wait and see!

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Leftover Casserole Supreme

If you know my kitchen habits at all, you know that I love to cook with leftovers.  Combining our limited finances with my love of experimentation, leftover cooking is the very picture of why I love to cook.  This week, I invented a casserole that John wanted to marry.  No, really.  He said that it was so good he wanted to marry it so he could have it all the time.  I replied that he married ME, and I made it, so he COULD have it all the time.  His reply?  “Not ALLLL the time.” 
The leftover elements in this?  Macaroni from the liver meal and seasoned ground beef from the quesadillas.  Oh yeah, and bacon grease.  The other easy ingredient was Cream of Nothing Soup.
I started out by defrosting some Cream of Nothing Soup
I shredded in 1/4 lb of raw pecan jack cheese and sprinkled in some salt.
The night before I sauteed 3 shredded up onions in bacon grease leftover from breakfast
I added in a ton of home made breadcrumbs to the onions and let them brown up. 
Once the “cooking” was done, I mixed together the leftover macaroni and the leftover ground beef.
I poured the now-cheesy cream of nothing soup mix on top and stirred.
Then, the onion/breadcrumb mix was smoothed on top.
John baked it at 350* for about 20 minutes.
Then, the finishing touch!  Extra cheese grated and sliced on top, then broiled.
With a little salad on the side?  MmmMMm!!!


Taste of Yum (John Style)

I always show you what I cook, but I rarely share John’s recipes… mostly because he doesn’t like me to take pictures while he is cooking.  Regardless, I snap away at the finished meals.  
By snap away, I mean quickly grab a photo before he notices.  
Some of John’s recent creations:
Pizza with vodka sauce and raw milk cheddar (with cookies on the side)
Hake and balsamic roasted asparagus
Sardine, tomato, cheese, and other stuff salad
Lacto-Fermented Daikon Radishes
I need to get better at snapping pictures of things that he cooks.  I mean, he is in charge of dinner on Thursdays, and all meals on the weekends.  I help out, but he is the boss.  Everything he makes is really tasty, and I want to share it with you!


Ground Beef Quesadillas

Last week we made quesadillas!  
The filling was simple.  I sauteed onions and garlic in butter.  Don’t most good things start with butter, garlic, and onions?
Then, I added in ground up beef. 
As it cooked, I added in salt, cumin, and parsley.  Then, I accidentally poured in a ton of red pepper flakes.  I opened the wrong side of the container.  I was able to scoop a ton out, but it was still a bit too spicy.
Once the beef was cooked through, we stacked it onto my home made tortillas and then sprinkled it with cheese.  It went onto the tortilla maker and was ready in no time at all.  
It was delish and served with cortido/curtido and an artichoke from my uncle.


Freezer Waffles

I realized the other day that I don’t use our waffle maker enough.  I loved waffles, and so does John, so I decided to make a bunch and then freeze them for our weekend breakfasts.  
The recipe I used I had jotted down AGES ago, but never made.  I started by melting down 3T of butter and 3T of coconut oil. 
While that melted, I beat together 2 eggs and added in 2 cups of milk. 
Next, 2 cups of WW pastry flour, 1 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt, and 1 t baking powder jumped into the bowl.
By then, the butter and coconut oil had melted.
Finally!  The batter was done!  I sprayed the waffle maker with olive oil (with our Misto sprayer… LOVE it!)
1/2 cup at a time, I poured it into the waffle maker.  It created the world’s more perfect waffles.
After they cooled, I put them on a baking sheet to freeze.  When we were ready to eat them, I stuck them in the convection oven until they were ready.  Check them out (with an orange and bacon).