Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…

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Revisiting the Roasted Whole Chicken

Since my last post on the crockpot roast chicken, I have adapted my technique a bit.  Check it out, complete with new pictures.
To start, I stack the whole chicken on top of some veggies.  Onions are my favorite, but carrots are good, too.  Potatoes and celery also fit the bill.
I season the chicken with salt, pepper, and whatever other flavors I am in the mood for.  This one was paprika.  I cook it on low for about 8 hours.  Once it is done, I now crisp up the skin.  To do that, I place it on a roasting rack and broil it in the oven for a few minutes.
That is it!  Easy and it tastes great.  Now, I like to stretch out a chicken as much as possible.  The first night, we eat the legs (most recently, with onions and hyssop salad).
Then, I save the breasts for something else.  I usually use it on salads or in leftover cooking.
Then, I pick apart the rest of the chicken for scraps.  There is typically about a pint, sometimes more.  That is best suited for stir fries, soups, salads, or leftover cooking.
Now, I put the bones, skin that wasn’t eaten, and other scraps into the crockpot with all the veggie scraps I have saved in the freezer for this very occasion.
I fill it with water and apple cider vinegar and let it soak.  It is said that doing this extra step helps the nutrients in the bones become more available.  I’m not sure if it is true, but I figure it can’t hurt.  After it has soaked for a while, I cook it on high for a long time (usually until I have time to strain it).
Once it is cooked, I pour it through a mesh strainer into a big bowl and stick it in the fridge.  If a thick layer of fat forms, I skim it off.  Not because I don’t want it, but because I can then cook with it.  Free cooking fat!!
I typically end up with more than a half gallon of stock!
All in all, I get a dinner for 2 the first night, a dinner for 2 and lunch for 2 with the breasts, lunch or dinner for 2 with the scraps, cooking fat for a meal or two, and broth for a while!  Not too bad for one chicken, huh!This post was shared on Make Your Own Monday and  Simple Lives Thursday!

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Pancake Mix

In preparing for the arrival for our new baby, I have been making as many things to freeze as possible.  This pancake mix is one of them!  It can be used for waffles and biscuits, too, but I usually make pancakes with it.  
The hardest part of making the pancake mix is cutting the butter into the flour… and even that isn’t that hard.  Nonetheless, I felt compelled to make it easier on myself.  I took a whole chunk (1 cup) of frozen butter and popped it into the food processor.
I let the butter go until it formed little butter balls.  In the meantime, I mixed together the dry ingredients (5 cups of flour, 1/4 cup baking powder, 2 T coconut palm sugar, and 1 t salt.
The butter was done, so I added it into the dry ingredients and stirred it together.
Now, the mix is ready to store!  The pancake recipe uses 2 cups of mix at a time, so that is the amount I freeze in each bag.

How do I use it?  Bacon Pancakes!!!
This post was shared on Your Green Resource!


Makeshift Pizza

Here at Crest Cottage we have a few traditions.  One of my favorites is “Pizza Friday.”  Now, we don’t have Pizza eeevvvvvery Friday, but we have it often enough.  When I’m meal planning and out of ideas, sticking Pizza Friday on fixes everything.  
This past Friday I didn’t plan for what KIND of pizza we would have.  John likes a traditional pie, with tomato sauce and mozzarella, while I usually just throw whatever leftovers we have in the fridge on top and cover it with whatever cheese scraps are lying around.  The dough is easy, I make a lot of it and keep it in the freezer.  John defrosted it the night before and we let it rise while we were at work.  What we didn’t defrost, however, was the tomato sauce. So that takes care of John’s pizza… and we had no leftovers in the fridge because we didn’t overcook this week. 
Solution?  John took some canned unseasoned tomato sauce out of the pantry, mixed it with some seasonings and goat cheese, and topped it with mozarella.  I put a layer of goat cheese on the dough, sliced up some tomatoes, and added herb garlic cheddar on top. 
They were both so yummy I forgot to take a picture!  Bad Blogger!
I guess the point of this rambling post is that, with a little ingenuity and a LOT of creativity, a pizza full of nothing can turn it to a meal full of yum. 


Chinese Food Take-Out Chicken ::UPDATE::

After trying to make the Chinese Food Take-Out Chicken last week, I decided I wanted to try it fried.  You know, see how close it was to the real deal.  
I coated the chicken with an egg, flour, cornstarch mixture.  
Then, I fried it in coconut oil.  
When it was done, I let it drain and then tried it.
This was it.  It was a more delicious version of take out Chinese Food.  It had a crispy outside and a moist, amazing inside.  
The sauce I used was nothing to write home about, so I will not be sharing it.  The chicken without the sauce could have used some salt, but soy sauce has enough as it is, so if you are using a soy sauce-based sauce, don’t salt it!


Chinese Food Take-Out Chicken

After I made the veggie lo mein, I got a little ambitious.  I decided that Chinese Take-out chicken would be a great next experiment.  I wasn’t sure what type would be a good idea.  Sesame Chicken is my favorite, but I liked the looks of this recipe.  General Tso’s Chicken is a little hot for me, so I just toned it down a bit.  
First, I chopped up some chicken thighs into bite sized pieces.  Then, I mixed together 2 eggs, 2 T corn starch, and some salt.  
Then, I mixed in the chicken pieces and cooked them in a pan full of butter…. YUM!
When they were done, I set them aside to prepare the sauce.  
I mixed together 1 T cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, lots of grated ginger, 3 T brown sugar, 2 1/2 T soy sauce, and a FEW sprinkles of red pepper flakes.  
I mixed it all together and let the flavors melt together.  
After a bit, I mixed it in with the chicken.  
It was great!  The chicken was moist and juicy.  Since I didn’t fry it, it didn’t have that take-out crunchiness.  Maybe next time I will fry it.  
I served it with the lo mein and ginger carrots.  YUM!


Veggie Lo Mein

One of my favorite take-out foods is Chinese.  In fact, part of our New Years Eve tradition is ordering in Chinese take-out.  Unfortunately, now that our bodies are no longer used to junk, and it wreaks havoc on our digestive systems.  I have made it my mission to make it at home, and make it well.  
The first thing on the list?  Veggie Lo Mein.  
This recipe looked like a good starting place. 
I needed to make enough for us to have for lunch, so I doubled the recipe right off the bat and cooked a full box of spaghetti.  While that cooked, I started cooking up the veggies that would take the longest (celery, onion, garlic).  
When they were partially cooked, I added in the faster cooking veggies (red cabbage, scallions, mushrooms).
While that cooked up, I made the sauce. 
1 cup soy sauce, 2 t. sesame oil, 2 T rice wine vinegar, and 2 T Coconut Oil.
I poured it into the pan with the veggies and mixed it in with the spaghetti.  
While it didn’t taste like take-out Lo Mein, that wasn’t a bad thing.  I really enjoyed it, and it reheated well.  I liked that I can adapt it based upon the veggies I have around the house. 


Granola Update

Hello Again!  Happy Monday!!
I have posted about granola before.  I have been using the same recipe for quite a while, and although I love it, I have been feeling the need to experiment.  Last weekend, I took this recipe and ran with it. 
First, I melted down 1/2 a cup of maple syrup, 1/4 cup home made peanut butter, and 1/4 cup coconut oil.  
While it melted, I mixed together 1/2 cup of coconut, 4 cups of oats, LOTS of cinnamon, and a few pinches of salt. 
Soon, the first pot was all melted.  I added in about 1 1/2 t of vanilla extract.  
 I mixed it allllll together and spread it out onto a silicone baking mat. 
Then, I baked it at 350* until it was light brown.  
It was really good!  I love the maple/salt combo.  This recipe gave me the confidence to experiment a bit more with my granola!

John keeps granola at work with him to eat for breakfast.  Every morning I pack him up with some raw milk and fruit and he is is set!

This post was featured on Let’s Do Brunch! with the life and times of the 21st century housewife!


Lacto-Fermented Lemonade

I am on a fermenting roll!!
Last week I set up a whole slew of things to ferment, and many of them are ready!  Yay!  The Ginger Carrots were ready first, and this Lemonade was ready second.  Here’s how I made it!
I gathered up 6 lemons, some local honey, whey, and filtered water.  I used 4 Meyer lemons and 2 regular organic lemons.
I juiced the lemons first.
Then, I added in about a half cup of whey and 1/4 cup of honey.  I didn’t add too much honey because the Meyer Lemons were already pretty sweet.  
Into the jars they went!
The jars were then filled up with the filtered water, closed, and left to ferment!
A week later…
Bubbles galore!
I strained it out before I drank it. 
It was delicious!! Subtly bubbly, tangy yet sweet.  When John tried it, his eyes opened wide and he said, “AWEsome!”


Fried Homemade Ravioli

A long, long time ago, I made macaroni by hand.  It was actually pretty easy.  Cost-wise, I knew I wouldn’t make the plain stuff again (I can get it for a great price with minimal ingredients), but the ravioli was a dream.  It was cheap to make, and I could do it any number of ways.  
Then, I never made it again.  
That changed this past weekend.  
First, I mixed together flour, water, salt, and an egg.  
I started with 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, and just kept adding water and flour until it was a dough-like consistency.  Once it was ready, I rolled it out.  
Then, I pulled out my handy-dandy ravioli cutters.  Last time, I used glasses to make the circles, but since then, I treated myself to ravioli sealer/cutters.  I feel so fancy!
I filled it in with a little butternut squash puree.  
Then, I sealed it!
Now, normally, I would just boil them.  This time was different.  This time… was fried!  John just discovered that I had never experienced fried ravis and set out to remedy that.  He breaded them…
Fried them up in coconut oil…


Burger Pockets

John invented the coolest thing ever!!  I am calling them burger pockets, but if anyone has a better idea for a name, let me know in the comments.  
First, he took some grassfed ground beef, formed it into burgers, and seared them on the grill pan.  
 While they were cooking, he rolled out my home made pizza dough and added a layer of grassfed raw milk cheddar cheese.  
When the burgers were seared on the outside (but really raw on the inside), he took them out of the pan. 
Then, they went onto the dough.  
He rolled it up, sealed it, and put it in the oven.  
He baked it for 350* for about 10 minutes.
It was so delish!
Check out the side of saurkraut!