Saturday, July 16, 2011

Food adventures - Whole Foods, blueberry picking, cheese making, homemade ice cream and more!

A flower from our garden on our freezer
We ended up going to Whole Foods a couple Fridays ago. We were given a great price per pound on grass-fed ground beef and purchase 28lb for ourselves and picked up 10lb for friends of ours. We also bought 4 fresh chickens that were $1.99/lb which seemed like a good deal for fresh, no water or salt added, and free range and "enhanced environment" (not sure what that means for a chicken) chickens. Regular chicken from our supermarket is $3.99/lb not on sale. When I did a search for cheap organic butter, I found an article that rated Whole Foods brand organic butter the best tasting and the best price, so we picked up a case of that (15 lb) so that we could get the 10% off deal. We bought unsalted even though we usually prefer the salted but we love this butter more than any other butter we have ever had! This should last us a year or so. We got some bulk honey and a few other small things that we couldn't find around here like arrowroot powder, but there really wasn't anything else that was cheaper than our local Co Op and Guidos.

After this totally successful trip, I was pumped and ready to do more!

The next day we went blueberry picking and froze 3 1/2 quarts. I compared them to store bought blueberries and there is no competition. They are like candy when they are frozen.

cheese for a snack
I told you before that Joel loves the yogurt we make and wanted granola to go with it. I love granola and was definitely on board. I have done some research on the value of soaking oats and grains and recently started soaking our rice for several hours before cooking with it. I love this because it is so easy and I'm prepping for dinner at lunch time. For dinner, I just have to turn on the burner and let the rice go! I didn't think soaking was a big inconvenience and the benefits of soaking make sense so I wanted some whey to soak the oats in before I made oatmeal. "Naturally", that lead to cheese making. My mom sent me a Healthy Snacks for Healthy Kids book that is awesome, so we got our cheese recipe out of it and used the left over whey for the oatmeal.

soaking the oats and almonds
I only have two racks, so I made this contraption.
13 cups of crunchy honey almond granola

Frozen yogurt or ice cream?
I just LOVE going down the road to pick up some fresh milk for all our food. Along with the cheese, we also wanted to make some ice cream to stock the freezer with, so we picked up 3 half gallons. We made the cheese and granola earlier in the week but yesterday was another big cooking day. I was wiped after VBS but really wanted to make some chicken broth which snowballed into blanching and freezing squash and green beans, making dinner (obviously), and making ice cream and frozen yogurt! I love our freezer right now! We got 16 cups of broth, a half gallon of lemon vanilla frozen yogurt and peppermint ice cream combined, and about 5 quarts of frozen vegetables.

saving the meat after making broth
16 cups of broth
A happy freezer

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