Making your own stock is a beautiful thing.  For one, anyone who’s had anything fresh from the garden knows it hardly compares to what you could buy in the store. Stock is the same way.  Add to that the fact that you can make your own stock from items you already have and items you’d normally discard: onion skins, carrot tops and peels, bits of discarded celery (I’ve made a habit of freezing these as I  go along so they’re ready when I need them), and if you’re making chicken stock the carcass left over from the roaster you bought or that big dinner you had the other day.  Other than that you need a large soup pot, some water, a strainer, and a stove.  Easy.

For chicken stock set aside any remaining meat, break up the carcass and add it to the pot, for vegetable stock skip this step, then add the vegetable bits you’ve saved to the pot as well.  Cover with water.  Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  Leave uncovered at a simmer for several hours, occasionally straining off any film that forms along the top.

When the stock has reached the desired consistency (generally you want it a bit more compact if freezing/storing to save space) remove from heat and strain the contents of the pot.  I like to add a layer of cheese cloth or a paper towel to the  bottom of the strainer if I used carrot tops in my mix as they tend to produce more sediment within the stock.

Once strained allowed to cool a bit, enjoy or store as desired.


Last week I put some beans in the fridge to soak overnight to facilitate their cooking.  I came back the next day and found them frozen in the bowl.  Getting them out proved easy enough, even still I think next time I’ll be checking the refrigerator temperature from the start,

I’ve got a couple of book/movie posts coming so I figured I should post something a bit more typical of me before I got started with all that.  I’ve made mention to several people that I’ve started making my own crackers.  This tends to be met initially with surprise and then curiosity.  When I first came across the recipe I was quite surprised myself; I’d considered making pretzels but had completely skipped over crackers.

The recipe I’ve included in this post is one shared by an Alberta 100-mile dieter with a knack for picking out some awesome recopies.  The original post for anyone interested is here.

I’ve learned a couple of things having gone through this process quite a few times now:

  • When using whole wheat flour add the extra liquid required (I use about double) but hold off on adding extra flour until after you’ve let the dough set for 10 or so minutes.
  • Do chill the dough.  It makes rolling it out immensely easier.
  • I prefer my crackers crispy and golden, rolling them out thinner than not helps with this.
  • Using a dough scrapper works better for removing and transporting the crackers from where you’ve rolled and cut them.  Using a knife works well but it tends to fatten up your crackers which is counterproductive to my above objective.
  • Make lots and lots of these crackers at once.  They don’t stick around very long.

Flax Crackers
1/4 cup whole flax seed
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp butter or non-hydrogenated margarine (I used organic, 20-mile canola oil)
1/2 skim milk (I made the milk from dehydrated skim milk powder left over from camping trips)

1) Preheat oven to 325F (160C)
2) In a bowl, combine whole flax seed, ground flax seed, flour, baking powder, salt and butter/margarine. Using a pastry cutter or a mixer on low speed, mix well.
3) Using a mixer, or by hand, sitr in milk and mix until mixture forms a soft dough.
4) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
5) Divide the dough into quarters. place one of the quarters on a lightly floured board and using a rolling pin, roll it into a very thin rectangle, about 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.
6) Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.
7) Repeat steps #5 and #6 with the remainder of the dough.
8 ) Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until crisp and golden.

I keep waiting for things to slow down but as they haven’t in the past year and probably won’t in the next I’ve decided to revive this blog despite all that.  For my first entry, because I’m in the middle of Little House in the Big Woods I bring you maple snow candy, or really just snow because there’s lots of that around here this morning.  If you’d like to make some snow candy Quaker Hill Farm has a great set of instructions.  For those of you in warmer places, shaved ice and ice cream are great substitutes for snow.

Falling Snow


Snowy Footprints