Sun Brewed Coffee

The heat is slowly coming to the PNW! A few days ago I put out the kids pool and started some lemonade and cold brewed coffee and fridge green tea. Then in a post of a group I admin a question about sun tea was brought up. We love sun tea in this house! 

Check out my blog on sun tea: https://theheathenhomesteader.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/sun-tea-and-reusing-jars/

It got me wondering about about sun brewed coffee. I make a big batch of cold brewed coffee on my kitchen counter every few days. I also use a French press when it’s cool out to make hot coffee. Sun brewed was never something I considered until yesterday oddly enough. 

So I tried it. I used the ratios for my cold brewed coffee (link below) but set it in the sun for 2 hours. It’s not very hot here yet or I might have done an hour. I only made a two cup batch or else I would have left it longer as well. Further experimentation is in the works to see if longer brewing effects the flavor. 

https://theheathenhomesteader.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/cold-brewed-coffee-recipe/

I did everything the same as the link above except I had a smaller scale version of 2 cups water to 1/4 cup coffee. Then I shook it up and sat it in direct sunlight. I moved it once to keep in the light and away from neighbors pets. 

It worked! It tasted less bitter than both my coffee machine (when I used one) and French press produced. 

It wasn’t HOT however so I plopped in cold creamer and a few ice cubes for a nice drink. Quicker than cold brew and still tasty and smooth! 

I think one needs to take into account where they are (altitude), possibly humidity and definitely the temperature. I think 2 hours at least is a safe bet to brew but you may try shorter if it’s over 100 degrees or longer if it’s under 80. 

Enjoy! 

Kitchen Experiments – Sourdough Beet Bread Recipe Testing 

Sometimes I feel like I should share more of my failures. From praising comments and negative reflections on ones self I get the feeling people don’t know just how hard I can fail. I fail a lot! I am absolutely terrible at making food look pretty, I experiment constantly and that doesn’t end well frequently and I make food from random things we have to avoid going shopping which sometimes comes out weird. A big factor in my fails is that I am a mother. I’m often exhausted and overworked but my desire to make things pushes through. This recipe took me four days to finish writing but I stuck with it. 

 This bread recipe below is an example of something I desperately wanted to do and messed up a bit. It’s ugly and flatter than expected but I made it and I’m still proud. I still wanted to share in the hopes that you’ll help me make it great! 

A few months ago I stumbled upon a recipe for sourdough beet bread. Seeing as I LOVE both sourdough and beets I quickly saved it for later. When I finally came back to it I realized the recipe was measured out using the metric system. *sigh* So I looked for another instead of converting measurements. No luck. The two decent recipes I found were both metric. Converting them turned into odd standard measurements. So experimentation began. Here is my journey! Please try it out and help me test this recipe! 

You will need: 

*Two large beets (I used red)

*3 1/2-4 cups flour

*1 cup warm water

*1/2 cup fed sourdough starter 

*1 teaspoon dry active yeast

*1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher)

I had boiled and peeled the beets for dinner the night before so I had them already cooked and refrigerated. You can use roasted, boiled, etc beets. Prepared differently may result in a slight change in flavor. 

I put the beets in our Vitamix and it took no time at all to purée. You may want to cube them for a food processor or other blender. Two beets yielded roughly 1 cup purée. Mine were cold but warm beet purée would work as well. Hot may negatively effect the yeast. Set aside once finished. 

Mix the sourdough starter and dry active yeast with the warm water. The recipes I found didn’t include dry active yeast but I wanted a fluffier bread. Feel free to exclude the dry active yeast and let me know how it turns out! Let sit for 5-10 minutes. I waited about 10 as I tended to my kids.

Add the rest of the ingredients! I started with 1 1/2 cup of flour like the recipe suggested but ended up more than doubling it. I used 3 1/2 cups for mixing and almost one more half cup for kneading and flouring the dough. It took quite a while to mix in my Kitchen Aide and I had to use a medium high setting to get it decently mixed. 

I almost always knead my dough a little by hand even after using a mixer. It gives me a better sense of the texture. I only kneaded it until mixed together.

Set in greased or floured bowl for 12-24 hours. I waited 6 before putting it into a floured proofing bowl but waited a full 24 to bake as I didn’t want to be up at nearly midnight making bread. There’s no need for the proofing bowl. I just forget I have it and wanted to use it more. Cover and let sit. 

NOTE: I think kneading at intervals would have helped this bread a bit. Every few hours kneading a bit more before letting sit overnight. A warner room than what I had would have been best as well. 

There are two ways you could bake the bread. Here’s what I did: First I moved my dough into a greased cast iron skillet and let sit while I prepped the rest. 1-2 hours would have been best to let rise again but I want to get lunch going so it only sat about 20 minutes. I also slashed it a few times with a serrated knife for aesthetic purposes that didn’t pan out. 

I put a container of water on the bottom shelf of the oven then preheated it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Then I set the skillet in and baked the dough for 20 minutes. Then I lowered the temperature to 400 for 25 minutes. 

Alternatively, for a crusty crust you can try putting the dough in an empty but greased Dutch oven in for 20-30 minutes, take it out to add dough and cover before baking for 30 minutes then removing the lid and baking for 15-20 minutes or until fully baked. Tap it with your knuckle to test if it’s hollow. 

At one point between a teething baby and a toddler grabbing at my shirt asking for crackers I brushed the bread with oil. I immediately regretted it. It severely diminished the beauty and made me want to rush out and immediately buy more beets. Fortunately, it turned out alright. Just ugly. As usual.

The flavor once completed was amazing despite multiple setbacks. I especially loved it with overeasy eggs and then later with a kalamata olive tapenade. It came out flat but wasn’t dense as I thought it might be. Some color faded inside but the crust stayed lovely. I would definitely make this again but with more kneading and a warmer room. 

3 Ingredient Flourless Banana Pancakes 

My toddler has started to love bananas. Before she’d only eat them if someone other than myself offered them to her. Kids are weird. She still only will eat them from me if she’s actually hungry and if they are not very ripe. So when we don’t get to them fast enough I turn them into other goodies! Here’s one recipe we’ve been playing with! 3 Ingredient Banana Pancakes!

This recipe includes optional add ons but the main ingredients are baking powder, banana and eggs! Some recipes we’ve tried are even just banana and eggs but you need to add half a banana more to the recipe to replace the baking powder. We prefer them the way below:

You will need:

*2 eggs

*1 banana (the more ripe they are the sweeter they are!)

*1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Optional add ons:

*dash if cinnamon

*1/8 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

*1/4 cup crushed nuts

Etc

Peel and mash the banana! I used my clean hands because it works faster. Most recipes will suggest mashing with a fork or the end of the whisk you’ll be using in the next step.

Crack and whisk eggs well in a separate bowl! 



If you’d like you can add other ingredients now such as vanilla and cinnamon to the bananas. If you add heavier ingredients like nuts, coconut shreds, chocolate chips, etc it makes flipping them a little awkward but food doesn’t need to be pretty to be good!

Add these to the eggs!

Whisk/mix well then add the baking powder. Mix again fully.

Heat a pan to medium low and add coconut oil or butter. You can skip this if you want to keep it light and have a nonstick pan. I think butter boosts the flavor however. 

Add 1/8 cup of the liquid to the pan. Repeat for other Pancakes. 


Let cook until edges bubble. About 2 minutes. 

Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. 

Serve hot! They taste fine cold but get kinda mushy in texture. 

Feel free to add syrup, fruit, whipped cream, etc but they really don’t need it! 

Calendula Tincture

I have always had an interest in herbalism. Over the years I have made healing foods and drinks, natural bath/body and home products, blends for various uses, etc from store bought, Wild harvested and home grown goods. My husband says plants are my thing (his are crystals/stones/minerals). I tend to focus on certain skills and crafts for extended periods of time and recently pulled out of a crochet mania to study and “play” again. A really great herbal magazine and family herbalism course came into my life at the same time my mind started to wander back and I took it as a sign. 

One of the first things I did was start making tinctures. Inspired by the course I started first with vanilla extract. I want that to brew for a longer period than the minimum suggested so instead I am turning to what I started next for my first blog on the subject. A calendula tincture. 

I have various skin issues that have been with me for much of my life. It’s a combination of genetics, diet and potentially other issues such as inflammation. I looked into breastfeeding safe herbs I could ingest as part of a regime to heal myself and calendula came up as an option. I had just enough for a small batch and got towork! 

Some uses of calendula can be found here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/draxe.com/calendula/amp/

I took my dried calendula I put in my tea and crushed it a bit in one of my mortar and pestles. 

It came out to just over 1/2 cup not being pressed down or fully powdered. I considered it half a cup. 

I then added a full cup of 100 proof vodka (80+ is best though some say 90+ proof). For this particular plant it was suggested to do a 1:2 ratio. Others may be different so look into different information on plants if you plan to make a tincture. Some dried herbs suggest adding distilled water but for this I decided not to. 

I put the ingredients in a jar and stored in my herb cupboard. It is preferred not to have air space like mine but it wouldn’t fit into any other jars I had so I took a chance. It turned out fine. I probably wouldn’t risk it again however. 

I shook it every day for the period I had it brewing. Then I let it sit undisturbed 24 hours before straining. The minimum suggested is 2 weeks of shaking plus 1 day of rest. I left mine for almost a month and strained right before the New Moon. I may be a Heathen but I have a witchy side as well. The longer the better is a general rule for tinctures. 

Once done I strained it in a plastic strainer. I have seen suggestions not to use any metal so I take that advice. 

The herbs really soak up a lot so I would pressed it out well, let it rest then go at it again. 


My funnels have not yet arrived so I placed the amber glass bottle in a bowl to catch any of the tincture that might spill and used a measuring cup to pour. 

I put the tincture in several smaller bottles (2oz) but any size or amount works. I bought mine off of Amazon but usually buy locally despite the large price difference. 

Label with the name and date bottled! My handwriting is awful. I use tape to stick paper on mine but you can get fancy with special labels! 

Tinctures last several years if stored properly. I’ll be adding a few drops a day to coffee or tea daily. Starting off small and building up to more drops as this is a new-to-me tincture. You can take directly on the tongue or add to food or drink like I do. 

Be sure to look out for future tincture and herbalism blogs! I’m only an aspiring herbalist so please do your own research!

Banana Oat “Cookies” Two Ways 

When our bananas get a bit overripe I almost always use them to make banana bread. Today, I decided to put them to use in “cookies” instead. Based on a recipe for diabetic cooking that consisted of only three ingredients. They are less friendly now but great for people with certain allergies. 

I had four bananas and the cookie recipe I have asks for two. So I made two different batches! One of course inspired by banana bread. Both have the same handling and baking instructions though which makes it easy! 

Cookie One – Banana Bread Inspired
You will need:

*2 ripe bananas (the riper they are the sweeter they are)

*1/2 steel cut oats 

*1/2 cup crushed walnuts

*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cookie Two – Double Chocolate
You will need:

*2 ripe bananas

*1/2 cup steel cut oats

*1 tablespoon Dutch cacao powder

*1/3 cup (or 1/2 if you’d like) chocolate chips

*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

This recipe shows instructions per batch:

Wash hands thoroughly. 

Peel and break apart the bananas. 

Add oats to bananas and mush together as much as you can. 

At this point depending on what batch you are making add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. 

Bananas Bread:


Chocolate:







Cover or alternatively place in Tupperware or a jar and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Many recipes suggest baking immediately but the oats taste too hard to me when I do that. So I let them sit. Overnight is best. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a cooking sheet with grease/oil/butter/nonstick tin foil.

Take out and use a tablespoon to scoop out individual bits that you will form into cookies. I used a mini ice cream scooper and set them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. 

Bake for 10 minutes before taking them out to press down gently with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for another 5 minutes.

Let sit on sheet for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack. If you do it earlier they will likely break apart.

Enjoy when cool! 

Cheesy Potato Bread Rolls

I love potatoes. When people say “bread is life” I think: “right after potatoes.” When combining the two I feel as if I am creating pure joy. In this blog post I’m sharing one of my versions of potato bread but I’m making it into rolls then adding a bit of cheese to the mix. Because cheese too is life. Unless you’re lactose intolerant and also gluten intolerant. Then maybe not.

I was very surprised I had not posted a blog about potato bread yet as I make it fairly often. Growing up one of my favorite sandwich breads from the regular grocery store was (is) potato. Homemade potato bread isn’t quite the same unless perhaps you are using potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes) or spend time breaking down potatoes into a thin liquidy purée. Even then the texture is different. I like my potato bread with some small clumps because I am a fan of the feeling. 

You can easily double this recipe but I use this as is generally due to my husband being gone frequently. So my toddler and I gobble these up over a few days span (sometimes). 

You will need:

*4 1/2-5 cups flour (1/2 cup for kneading)

*1 1/2 cups shredded cheese 

*1 cup warm milk (I used cashew in these pictures as it’s what I had)

*1/2 cup mashed up potatoes (I use red for the sweetness)

*1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)

*2 tablespoons sugar

*2 teaspoons salt

*1 tablespoon dry active yeast

*1 egg 

I like to boil or bake potatoes for meals but generally make extra for other meals or bread. Here I had three small boiled red potatoes in my fridge. Mashed up they made half a cup. The picture shows more but I just had not smashed them into the cup fully. I mash what I have first to see if I should double the recipe or not. It depends on the amount of potatoes I have made generally. You can also use leftover prepared mashed potatoes. 

Add the yeast, sugar and milk together. Stir well and then let sit for 5 minutes. 



Add the butter, egg, half a cup (at least but hey…go crazy) of shredded cheese of your choice and salt. I also added a pinch of dill, a pinch of turmeric and a teaspoon of nutritional yeast. You definitely don’t need to add these but I like it. You could add other herbs and spices for a more complex flavor to the bread if you would like however! Rosemary is also great.

Mix by hand with a wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment of a mixer.

When fully mixed add half a cup of flour at a time up to 4 cups. 

Remove the paddle attachment (use a spoon to pull any dough off) and add the dough hook if you are using a mixer. Add another half cup regardless of hand mixing or using a mechanical mixer. 

After mixing if the dough still looks sticky you can add up to another half cup. 

When fully mixed by the mixer I still like to knead by hand. It gives me a better idea of the texture of the bread and what it may need. Use up to half a cup of flour for this. The weather, temperature in your kitchen, etc can all effect the dough. 

Place into a greased bowl and cover. Let sit 1-2 hours. Some recipes suggest placing it in the fridge for 24 hours then letting it come to room temperature and rise. I’m too impatient for this. Though I have tried it before and it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference. Do what feels right to you! Experiment! 

When the dough has risen pull apart into desired sizes. I generally don’t pay attention to numbers and just pull apart to size. Be aware they will puff up so make them a bit smaller than you would like. 

Use both hands to pinch and tuck the dough into itself to form the rolls. You can alternately just roll them into balls.


I stuffed some with extra cheese because why not?

The best way to make these rolls is to put them in a glass dish like this. Grease and add rolls with room to spare.

I also put some on our ugly old cookie sheet to show the difference in baking coming up…

Let rise 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Brush with oil or butter if desired then bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove and add cheese! Then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 


With the glass dish you are able to add much more cheese. The pieces are closer together and the sides keep cheese in.

With a cookie sheet a lot of cheese falls off so you both need to add less and also watch for burning. You can stick the rolls closer together but some may still miss out.

This is what happens with the cookie sheet. Some bits were too cooked and I had to crumble them off. The upside is you’re not pulling rolls apart and leaving softness exposed.

Here they are with the glass. They are much more moist!

Let cool for 5-10 minutes or so before serving. You don’t want to burn your mouth with hot cheese! With the glass you let let the rolls sit in the container before removing. With the cookie sheet use a spatula to remove right away and set on a cooling rack. 

Enjoy! 

Homemade Bounty Bars Recipe

Most of the time when I feel like making something in the kitchen I want to make it immediately. So I go in and rummage through cabinets and the fridge to see what ingredients I have and start from there. I wanted to make something that didn’t require too much energy so I decided on a chocolate treat with minimal work involved. I decided to make Bounty bars. For those of us in the states it is like a Mounds bar. A Bounty bar is typically found in the UK and Canada but can be found in specialty shops, etc internationally. I am lucky enough to have had them and was happy to make some at home. I also didn’t have the corn syrup and marshmallows needed to create the base for Mounds or an Almond Joy so I kinda had to go this route. 

You will need:

*7 oz bag of coconut flakes

*14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

*2 cups chocolate (I used chocolate chips but you can buy chocolate specifically made for candy)
You’ll also need wax paper and either a double broiler or a microwave for the chocolate. 
Optional: extracts for the coconut blend and sea or kosher salt for the chocolate to enhance the flavor. Though these are not used typically. 

Mix the condensed milk and coconut together. Use 1/4 cup less condensed milk for not so “milky” bars if you prefer that. 


I added 1/2 a teaspoon of almond extract but coconut or vanilla work too. They are not needed or required however. I added it for my personal tastes. 

Form into bars with your hands and set on wax paper. Freeze for 30-60 minutes. I put mine in the freezer then cleaned the house a bit. Leaving them longer doesn’t hurt them. 

Melt chocolate! Either in a microwave with a microwave safe bowl or in a double boiler. I didn’t temper mine as I had a toddler helping and forgot. You can temper yours by melting in increments before adding more chocolate and then setting the bowl or pan in cold water. Seeing as I don’t have pictures of this I would refer to a YouTube video for help if you need it. If you don’t temper it you will run into the issue of it cooling fast and making not so pretty bars. 


I used two forks to toss the bar around. Use whatever you have handy. Spoons, chopsticks, etc. I had also added raw almonds for a crunch in some pieces as you can see here.

Set to cool. Wax paper would have been best but you may get a pooling of chocolate so I went this route of using a greased cooking rack. 

Let the chocolate set for a few hours then enjoy! 

Steel Cut Oat and Honey Bread

If you have read some of my older blogs you would know we like to buy in bulk and store food in glass jars. My husband bought me the “Outlander Kitchen” (http://outlanderkitchen.com) book last year and with it a ton of oats. Then he went to sea and I had no one to cook and bake for. I was pregnant and had no appetite most of the time and even though my family loves my food I felt insecure in giving it away to others with different tastes. So I didn’t use much. I had my baby at the start of the year and decided to finally start using it up. Here is one recipe I wanted to share (not from “Outlander Kitchen” just FYI)! Steel Cut Oat and Honey bread! It’s a bit crumbly but delicious! You can easily add to it as well. Add in raisins, chocolate chips, spices such as cinnamon, etc. You can top it with a glaze, honey butter, chocolate drizzle, etc as well. I made mine “plain” to show you a good starting point. It doesn’t taste plain at all though! You can easily use this blend in muffin tins as well for individual treats. 

You will need: 

*2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

*1 cup steel cut oats (I used quick cook but both work)

*1 cup boiling water 

*1 egg

*2/3 cup milk (I used cashew)

*1/4 cup honey (at least!) 

*3 tsp baking powder

*1 tsp salt 

*1/2 stick butter (or 4 tablespoons oil of choice)

*butter, cooking spray or whatever you prefer to grease your bread pan

Take oats and add boiling water to them in a heat proof bowl. 



Let sit for an hour for quick cook or two hours for regular steel cut. 

Start to preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit as the next steps will go quickly. 

Melt butter and honey on low while stirring continuously. I used a whisk (my tiny one ran off with my toddler).

When the honey and butter are fully melted and combined add the mixture to the oats and blend together. 

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients fully.

Add milk to the oat blend before dropping in the egg. Mix well. 


Add the wet and dry ingredients together.

Here I used my Kitchen Aide as my kid likes to watch it work) but you can mix with a spoon. Mix until just fully blended. Do not overwork it. 

Grease bread pan and pour in mixture. 

Shake gently and then slap against the counter to even out the dough and have it fill in any gaps. 

Bake for an hour on the center shelf. Some ovens may require a little more time. Use a knife to check to make sure the dough is baked through. 

Immediately take out of the pan to cool. You can top it now if you wish or don’t top it at all. I used salted butter as it brings out the flavor. 

Let cool fully then slice and enjoy! 

Candied Pumpkin Spice Nut and Seed Medley Recipe 

Every year one of my aunts sends around treats of candied nuts. I have been dreaming about tasty candied nuts and seeds so I decided to make some because I couldn’t wait. Impatient much? This is a large batch for entertaining, big families, gifting or saving to eat all by ones self. Teehee! The recipe is easily cut in half. They are spicy, sweet and salty all in one. I used almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), walnuts and pecans. You can use any blend you would like or just one but or seed! It’s super easy and tasty!

You will need: 

*2 lbs of raw unsalted nuts or seeds. I used 8 ounces each of almonds (about 1.5 cups), pepitas (about 2 cups), walnuts (about 2.5 cups) and pecans (about 2 cups). It’s easier to weigh it all but if you can I gave approximates for measuring. 

*2 egg whites 

*1 cup white sugar 

*1 cup brown sugar 

*2 tablespoons water 

*1 1/2 tablespoons salt 

*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

*1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two baking sheets with non-stick aluminum foil.

Measure out nuts and seeds. 

Blend nuts and seeds together. 

Measure out sugar, salt and spices. Blend well. 

Whisk egg whites and water until frothy. 

Add egg mixture to nut and seed blend. Mix with spoon or with hands.

Scoop everything into the bowl with the sugar mixture. Toss together until everything is coated evenly. 

Evenly place ingredients onto baking sheets.

Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Stirring every ten minutes. 

Cool completely and then enjoy!

Crispy Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Pumpkin seeds are probably my favorite thing about taking apart pumpkins. Sure, purée is amazing when you are using sugar pumpkins but making Jack O’ Lanterns and other decor you won’t be eating makes the work somewhat of an unrewarding job when cleaning them…except for the seeds! It is a long and time consuming process but so worth it! I might have cried when I burnt a batch before. Seriously. 

The other day, I cleaned out the “guts” from a sugar pumpkin destined to be purée. To start you simply need a pumpkin and to use whatever method you decide on to remove the guts. It depends on what you’re doing with your pumpkin. So we will start with the guts. 

You will need:

*Pumpkin guts! These are the stringy fibers and seeds. 

*Salt

*Oil

*Seasonings of choice. You can make salted, cinnamon sugar, cayenne, pumpkin spice, etc. Here I am making salted because they are my favorite. 

*Tools such as bowls, strainer, spoon, etc. Read the entire recipe before beginning to make sure you have everything you need! 

Pull seeds out of pumpkin fibers. Toss or compost the fibers. This is time consuming, slippery and messy so take your time. They don’t need to be perfectly clean. 

Soak seeds overnight in salted water. This is a method my mom taught me. They somehow create crispier and more flavorful seeds as well as helping prevent sticking a bit. 

Strain seeds. Rinse if you are making sweet seeds to remove salt. Most of the extra fibers should slip off of the seeds and stick to the strainer as well. Thanks salt water! 

Place in a flat container to dry. This can take several hours depending on the amount of seeds in the container, temperature in the home, etc. You can see some extra fibers here. Remove them or leave them. They don’t hurt the seeds. I wouldn’t use paper towels or a rag to help. The seeds will stick to it! Which is a PAIN to deal with later. I prefer waiting over using the oven to dry the seeds. 

Once dry cover with just enough oil to wet the seeds. I prefer to use my clean hands to massage the oil in and around. 

Add seasonings and toss the seeds. 

Roast in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or so. Stirring halfway through. Be sure to get the seeds on the sides especially. 

Let the seeds cool completely after removing from the oven then enjoy!