Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Pops

The strawberries we have been getting from our CSA are so delicious.  I probably eat a pint on the drive home!  Luckily, they are having a great year for strawberries and there are always plenty to go around.  
 I wanted to make some into frozen yogurt.  I didn’t really make a specific recipe.  I just put a bunch of strawberries into the blender with yogurt…
Blended it…
Poured it into the ice cream maker…
And froze it!
Unfortunately, I found it a little too icy for my taste.  I still wanted to eat it, though, so I let it melt in the fridge.
I poured the melted no-longer-fro-yo into ice pop molds and refroze it…. Perfect!  It was a great pre-work snack!


Most Complicated Raisin Bread. Ever.

I posted on Facebook about a month ago that I was attempting a complicated (for me) bread recipe.  I am finally recovered from that experience to write about it.  
Before I jump into the story, let me just say that I’m sure the original recipe is fine, and I don’t have the patience or the eye for detail to make it correctly.  
 I should have gotten the clue when I assembled the ingredients that I was out of my league. 
The recipe made 3 loaves-too much in my opinion. I decided to cut it in thirds.  Given the fact that original amounts were things like one and seven-eighths cups, it went against all common sense. But, I didn’t listen to common sense.  
I stayed on course, soaking the raisins to make them nice and plump.
Soaking the oatmeal…
Proofing the yeast…
and THAT was all before I even started the actual mixing!  Picture me, with my calculator, desperately attempting to make something happen.  I mixed the yeast together with the other ingredients.
Then, I added in the soaked oatmeal and kneaded it.
And kneaded it and kneaded it.
Have I ever mentioned that I am terrible at kneading?  I am terrible at kneading.  Anyway, I tried to mix in the raisins at this point.  Oh yeah, and the cinnamon, which I had forgotten about. 
Then, I let it rise… and rise… and rise.  Nothing really happened.  Let’s just say that it didn’t rise or look anything like the original photos. 
I baked it anyway, and it was dense, obviously.  I was also surprised by the dull flavoring.  For all the ingredients, math, and work, it was very blah.  
Lesson learned.  When a recipe is WAY TOO HARD, it is probably not worth it.  In my world, the recipes have to be user-friendly.

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Cheesey Broccoli Bite Fail!

So.  This isn’t really a faaaaiiiill per say, because it is still really yummy.  It is more of a “failure to read” on my part.  I just realized this as I re-read the recipe in order to post it.  Let me explain…
You may have noticed my love for our new freezer.  We keep it well-stocked with all kinds of goodies and are always on the lookout for new ideas.  I stumbled upon this recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Nuggets and I was sold. 
First, I shredded up lots of raw milk cheddar cheese.  

Then, I added in 3 eggs.

1 big bag of frozen broccoli got chopped up and added in.

Then, I mixed it all together.

The mixed up yumminess was formed into nuggets and frozen.  The problem was, they didn’t really stay together.

We did bake a few of them to see how they were.  They were supposed to bake at 375*  for 15 minutes, get flipped, and bake for 10 more minutes.  Check out the original recipe to see what they were SUPPOSED to look like.  Ours didn’t look like that.  In fact, we couldn’t flip them at all.  They just cooked for about a half hour on one side and we called it a day.

Tasty like crazy, yes.  Nuggets, no.  Not at all.  In fact, they tasted like this!!

As I read the original recipe, I realized that we didn’t add the breadcrumbs!  The original recipe called for BREADCRUMBS.  I feel so silly, but I had to share it.  I can’t be the only person that does ridiculous things like this, and I want you to know, you are not alone!


Teriyaki Salmon with Noodles

So, this recipe?  Kind of a fail.  Not a HUGE fail, like this or this… or this, but a fail nonetheless.  Part of the problem, I think, was the marinade.
You see, I was sort of following a recipe and it called for marinating salmon in teriyaki sauce with extra ginger and scallions.  I was happy because I wanted to finish up the teriyaki sauce we had since it had some ingredients I wasn’t crazy about. 
So, I threw the salmon on a dish and covered it with teriyaki marinade, some grated ginger, and some scallion-ish things.
Then, since I didn’t read the directions, I cooked it just like that.  I baked it.  In the oven.  With all the sauce.  
Then, I read the directions and found out that the marinade was supposed to turn into the sauce.  Oops.  Lesson learned?  Read the recipe and retain it before you begin. 
So, I had to use more of the teriyaki sauce to make the sauce itself.   I added ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, scallions, and some garlic to the teriyaki and brought it to a simmer.  
 Next, the yummy step!  I shredded up some cabbage and carrots and added it to the sauce with peas!
Yayyyy!!!!!!!  Hahaha, sorry I was just excited about something working!  Anyway, that deliciousness got mixed together with some macaroni.
Ehh.  It was okay.  The sauce was too thin even after I thickened it up with some corn starch.  



I thought it was about time to take a break and bring you up-to-date on some of our ongoing projects. 
1.  Shave Oil– Since I last posted, I got my hands on some essential oils and started experimenting.  I used:
  • Tea Tree Oil- Chosen for its antibacterial properties.  The goal of tea tree oil is to prevent anything that gets into the open, fresh skin from causing or exacerbating breakouts. 
  • Chamomile- Chosen for its soothing properties.  The oil is still on the skin after the razor passes over it, and the chamomile is ready to soothe it. 
  • Lavender- Also chosen for its soothing properties.  Skin that just had a layer taken off by a metal blade needs all the help it can get!
  • Peppermint- Cooling, and makes his skin feel better.   
  • Jojoba Oil- Known to be good and nourishing for the skin, so I added in a bit as another carrier oil.
The verdict?  He loves it!  He has had way less inflammation, and less breakouts on his neck.  In his words, “The best shave EVER!”  Sometime he doesn’t even need to use any aftershave (which is good, because I haven’t managed to make that at home, yet!)

2.  Hot Dog Bun Disaster– I wish I could say that I made them again and they were wonderful.  I didn’t.  I didn’t do anything like that.  But, I did turn them into breadcrumbs.  So, win.  
3.  Saurkraut–  WAS A SUCCESS!!!   Finally, I was able to lacto-ferment something!  Check out the bubbles!
It was so tasty!!! Even John liked it!!!!

This post was featured on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegades and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS!


Help my Hot Dog Buns!

It is with a heavy heart that I share this with you.  My buns were a complete and utter failure.  They look like dog biscuits and taste like dust.  But, I need to share it with you and beg for help.  
It began innocently.  The saurkraut looks like it is ready to eat, and John picked up some nitrate/nitrite free hot dogs up to try them with.  I just kneeeewww (sense the sarcasm?) that I could make the buns, so he didn’t get them.  Sigh.  If I only knew.  I grabbed this recipe and thought, “Hmm… Easy and Perfect?  GREAT!”

First, John melted down 1 cup raw milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, and 1 T honey.

 While it cooled down to 120*, I mixed 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1.25 t yeast, and 1 1/2 t salt.  
When the liquid was cooled, an egg was beaten in. 
Then it was all combined.
I added another cup of flour as I mixed it.  
I rolled it out and cut it into 16 dog-sized pieces. 
Each piece was shaped into a bun-type shape.
So far so good, right?  Well.  It never rose.  At all.  I know the yeast was good, because as I was making this, I used more of the yeast for another loaf of bread (which actually worked really well).  Our house is cold, so I had it in the oven that had been preheated for a minute and then I left the light on.  I waited a LONG time, and it never changed.  I baked it anyway, hoping for a little oven spring.  
Nothing.  They still look like this, only a little darker.  We both had a bite, and couldn’t even choke them down.  
So, I ask you: 
1) What do we do with them?  Breadcrumbs?  Any other ideas?
2) How the heck do I make hot dog buns?!?!

This post was featured on the Hearth and Soul Bloghop!


Southern Fun!

Somehow this whole meal came together like something out of the south.  Granted, the only southern state I have ever been to is Florida, which is not exactly the stereotypical south, so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge.  Everything in this meal just SOUNDS so southern.
Black Eyed Peas, bacon, and spinach baked with a side of cornbread!  WOW!  I don’t know how it came together, but I am sure glad it did.  
The night before I made this I soaked 1 cup of black eyed peas in water with a splash of whey
In the morning, I rinsed and drained the beans, and then boiled them in fresh, salty water until they were soft.  While that was going on, I cooked up about 7 strips of nitrate free bacon, chopped unto pieces.  
 In the meantime (can you say, “multitasker?!), I got together the ingredients for the cornbread:  Cornmeal, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs.
First, 2 pastured eggs were beaten.
Next, 1.5 cups of cornmeal, 1 t baking powder, and 1/2 t sea salt were added.  
When they were well combined, 1/4 of souring milk and 1 cup of raw milk were mixed in. 
By this time, the bacon was cooked. 
I saved the bacon grease and put it into my cast iron pan.  It was about 2 T worth of grease. 
The pan then went into the oven for 5 minutes. When it was hot, I poured the excess grease into the cornbread batter, and sprinkled cornmeal onto the greasy pan.  
When the cornmeal was brown, the rest of the batter went in over it.
It baked for 25 minutes at 400*.

Looks perfect, no?
While the cornbread baked, I sauteed an onion in the pan I cooked the bacon in. 
When they were all nice and soft, I added the black eyed peas, 3 minced garlic cloves, a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes, the bacon, and 1/4 cup of turkey stock.
I let them all cook up together for a few minutes, and then transferred them to a baking dish.
It baked for an hour at 350*.  When it was done, I added a bunch of organic baby spinach, a little at a time.  It wilted into the baking dish. 
When it was all in, fresh Parmesan cheese was shredded allllll over it. 
Into the oven it went for another 15 minutes.  At that point, I broiled it for the last 5 minutes to get it nice and crispy.

The finished product?

Not bad.  At least, the casserole wasn’t bad.  The cornbread?  Not so great.  Apparently I didn’t read the recipe carefully. 
It called for:

  • 1-1/2 cups corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

I used:

  • 1.5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t sea salt

They didn’t rise correctly and they were dry and flavorless.  FAIL!

Also, this meal did not reheat well.


Turkey Stock without a Crockpot

In case you missed it, I broke my crockpot.  It was a sad day, not only because I use it for, oh, I don’t know… EVERYTHING, but also because I had a Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass frozen waiting to become stock.  As I finished my last jar of stock from the last time, I knew I needed to try making it in a Stockpot.  I mean, it is called a STOCK pot, it is MADE for making stock, no?  No.  Not for me, anyway.  
I threw the carcass into the pot and frowned.  It was too big, but it was frozen, so I couldn’t make it smaller.  
I decided to up the water temp and melt it down.  Then, I could break it into pieces and it would fit. 
Once it was all melted and fit in the pot, I added the frozen produce I save for stock.  Celery leaves, carrot tops, onion tops/peels, and garlic nubs got thrown in.
Since the turkey was already cooked, I didn’t add any other seasonings.  I let it simmer for a few hours, and then got ready to sort it.  
Did you happen to note all the yummy extra meat?  My family knew it was for stock, and didn’t pick it clean at Thanksgiving.  Being the cheapskate that I am, I get TWO sets of stock out of it.  The first one, this one, is made and the meat picked off and saved.  Then, I throw the bones and skin back in to make a second batch. 
This is the meat from the first batch.
The leftover bones/skin:
The stock:
This first batch made all this:
A little over a gallon!
While I succeeded in making the broth without the crockpot, it was NOT enjoyable.  I like being able to throw in the ingredients and just let it cook overnight.  This I had to watch!  It required me to be HOME!  In fact, after this, I went out and bought myself a new slow cooker.  I don’t ever want to have to to this again!

This post was featured on the Hearth and Soul Bloghop!

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Crock Pot Collard Bean Stew

I feel like I need to come clean with you.  I haven’t meal planned in weeks.  Therefore, my cooking has been haphazard at best, and it feels like work.  Hopefully, I will get it all together soon.  The reason I am sharing this is because this meal could have been so much better and more complete had I planned it in advance.  In all fairness, however, this meal probably wouldn’t have happened at all had I planned.  Let me explain.
I had a slew of collard greens in my fridge from our produce delivery service.  They had been in there for over a week, and really needed to get used up.  I was Googling recipes for it, and they all were cooked with either a ham hock or bacon, neither of which I had.  (On another note, don’t you love the new trend to make nouns verbs?  Texting, Googling, etc.).  Eventually I saw one for a Cannellini Soup that used them.  It was also in the crockpot.  WIN!
I started by chopping up an onion, 4 celery stalks, 1/2 a small head of garlic, and 2 carrots and throwing them in the crockpot with a thick pat of butter.  
I thought my crockpot was stovetop safe, so I cooked them up on the stove top. 
When the onions were translucent and everything smelled good, I added in 3 cups of beans.  I had 2.5 cups of 16 bean soup mix, and .5 cups of Red Kidney Beans to finish it off.
Then 6 cups of Turkey Stock, 1 cup of white wine, and 3 cups of water went into the mix, along with some thyme, sage, and oregano.  Lots of Sea Salt, too!
Now at this point, there was quite a bit of liquid dripping onto my stove, but silly me, I assumed it was just condensation.  Into the crockpot it went.  In the meantime, I chopped up the collards.
I cooked it all day on low (without the collards) while I was at work.  Before I left, I noticed that the actual Crockpot was leaking, so I stuck a washcloth under it and left anyway.  It usually leaked a little, so I wasn’t worried.  
I came home to a white washcloth that was now brown and a HUGE puddle on the counter.  Fail.  The food, however, looked great!  I sauteed some onions in lots of butter, and added some mushrooms to the mix as well.
They went into the pot along with the collards and cooked on high for about 15 minutes.
I added another splash of wine and lots more sea salt.  It was so delicious!
I would have been MUCH better had I made some crusty bread, or biscuits, or something, but like I said, I didn’t plan.
The end of the crockpot story?  The insert is cracked beyond repair.  I’m not sure if it is because I put it on the stovetop.  I mean, I read the manual (after the fact) and it is NOT stovetop safe, but it had been leaking for a while.  I wonder if it already had a few small cracks and the stove just exacerbated the problem.  
In any case, I want a new one.  Any suggestions?

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Egg Rolls Part 2- Filling and Cooking

Part 2 of 2 in Egg Rolls.  For Part 1, click here!
When we last left off, we had created the wonton wrapping and rolled it out.  It was waiting somewhat patiently to be filled.
The filling was made of things I had lying around the house.  I started by slicing… 
…and dicing some celery. 
Carrots were also sliced and diced.  They were added in with more or less 2 cups of shredded up turkey.  Chicken, pork, beef, or other veggies would also work.  I just happened to have massive amounts of turkey left from a stock-making escapade. 
All of those chopped up thaaangs were combined with 2 eggs and 1 egg white.  I probably should have used the yolk instead, but I wasn’t paying attention and the white slipped out. 
IMPORTANT NOTE!!  Add seasonings here.  Especially salt.  I forgot to, and while the end product was still super duper awesome, it would have been enormously less bland with seasonings.
Now comes the fun part!  Scoop out the filling, and add it to the wonton wrappers.  I like to place it toward the bottom of the wrapper. 
To wrap it, I fold in the bottom part, then the sides, then roll it all up.  Seal the edges up with the remaining egg.  I used the yolk ’cause I am silly, but the white would work better, most likely. 
They are now ready to be cooked.  I placed them in a pan with veggie oil and lightly fried them.  That gave them a great color.  I forgot to take photos, though, because they were so yummy.