chicken sausages

We raise beautiful Buff Orpington chickens, a dual purpose bird. The hens don't lay as many eggs per year as some other breeds, but they are gentle and quite large. When the hens stop laying at about three years old, we have them butchered, and I bone them out to make sausages.
Use all the meat and skin, but you won't need too much of the fat.

5 lbs boned chicken, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons pickling salt
2 teaspoons fine ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 teaspoon savory
1 cup cold chicken stock or broth
Mix the meat with the seasonings and grind with medium disk on your meat grinder. Add broth and mix well. Chill and grind again, using a smaller disk on the meat grinder.

Stuff into casings or just freeze in 3/4 lb packages to use as patties or in other dishes.
This was the best chicken sausage recipe I've ever made.

bear fat soap

I have been making simple soap using ingredients that we are able to get easily, like lard, tallow, and beeswax, as well as essential purchased ingredients.

In the table below is the list of ingredients and amounts that I used. Because I have no desire to make lots of different kinds of soaps, I make lots all the same kind, and then store it in an open paper bag in the pantry.

I had the use of a great little scale from my friend Doug, so I could be somewhat accurate.

My settings on the soap app, Soap calc started with this:
Water as percent of oil weight
Super Fat/Discount

And then I started weighing out the oils:
Coconut Oil    
Olive Oil
Tallow Bear


The app then told me what amount of water and Lye I would need to mix to have the right reaction:
Lye - NaOH
lemon grass organic essential oil (the good stuff) I used about 30 drops

What the quality we were aiming for was:
Soap quality
Your Recipe
29 - 54
12 - 22
44 - 69
14 - 46
16 - 48
41 - 70
136 - 165

As you can see.... the soap quality is expected to be right in the green zone all the way! The soap calculator says to use just over 25 oz of water, but I only used 23 oz of water to make it a slightly dryer soap. My instructor told me you can cheat by as much as 10% on the amount of water.

  1. place a cookie sheet in the bottom of your oven (in case of boil-over) and a rack just above it. Make sure the pot you will be using isn't too tall to fit in the oven. (don't laugh, I have some that won't fit) preheat the oven to 170F.
  2. Prep some molds. I use silicon mini loaf pans. finished soap can just be cut into four slices.
  3. spread out newspapers on your work surface. put on a long sleeved shirt, gloves, goggles (or safety glasses) and ensure you have LOTS of ventilation. I turned my stove fan on supercharge and opened a big window behind me, so the fumes would blow into the fume hood, not my face.
  4. measure the water into a large glass bowl. weigh the lye in a separate glass bowl. Slowly stir the lye into the water, taking care not to breath the fumes. It will smoke and get hot. keep stirring until it goes clear. Leave it there while you prep the rest. DO NOT add water to lye!
  5. measure melted oils by weight into a very large very clean stainless steel pot. Warm them a bit until the bees wax is also liquid. Exact temperatures don't really seem to matter, but I had the oil mixture at about 135-145 F.
  6. Very carefully  add the lye mixture to the oils and mix for a few minutes. Next, with a stick blender, taking care not to splash, thoroughly beat the mixture until it is about as thick as pancake batter.  By the way, make sure your pot can hold at least twice as much liquid as you put in. This can foam up seriously.
  7. place the pot in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes and keep an eye on the soap. I stirred it every time i checked, but apparently it's not necessary. Couldn't help myself.
  8. When the soap has turned translucent and looks like petroleum jelly, take it out of the oven. You can test the pH by mixing a tablespoon of soap into a cup of hot water and testing with a pH strip. should be below 10 or put it back in the oven for a bit. When you stir the soap, it should be about as thick as mashed potatoes.
  9. Immediately add your essential oil and stir in. pour into molds and leave overnight. Cut into bars the next day and let this soap cure a bit to get hard. I suggest at least a couple weeks. 

This was a really big batch at nearly 100 oz in weight. and I had originally thought I was going to do this in the slow cooker. Would have been all over the counter! So this ended up being done in the oven using this site for inspiration on the method

Clean up with vinegar. and use the soap left in your pans & on the spoon for washing the dishes. it's amazing stuff.

my first batch ever I added poppy seed as an experiment, but it's hard to rinse out of your hair. I used the slow cooker as in this recipe: and it was great too, but would only use that method if I was making about half this much soap! 


venison ribs

We live near Texada Island, where the tiny black tail deer are just everywhere. Will was able to get hunting this year and so we had ribs last night!

 rack of deer ribs, trimmed of all fat cut into pairs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup citrus juice (we used mandarin oranges)
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp salt (approximately)
pepper to taste
1/2 cup spiced jelly

Heat oven to 300 F. Warm the butter with juice, ginger & oregano in a small pan.
Lay the ribs meat side down in pans. Brush ribs with the sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn and brush & sprinkle the meat side as well. Bake at 300 F for three hours, brushing with the sauce, and turning every 1/2 hour.
When the ribs start to brown up, cover with foil and continue baking to the end of the three hours.
Remove the pans from the oven, if you had to use more than one pan to cook the ribs, you can now combine them into a single pan.  Using about a cup of hot water, scrape all the browned bits into the one pan with the ribs.
Heat your jelly until it melts (I use a grape jelly with cheyenne and chili peppers).
Brush the jelly all over the meat, cover with foil and put the pan back in the oven. Cook just 15 minutes and then serve. Ribs on a platter, and the juices in a gravy jug.

perfect scalloped potatoes

I can't believe how good these turned out. Absolutely delicious and great reheated in a frying pan the next day (if there are any left!) This made a very large tray of scalloped potatoes, but they did not last long.

1/4 cup butter (or better still, use bacon fat!)
1⁄4 cup potato flour
1 3⁄4 cups chicken (or veggie) broth
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced very thin
(optional and NOT for low FODMaP's diet: add 1 onion, sliced thin)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a very large flat baking dish. I used my largest glass pyrex dish.
Slice your potatoes very thinly into a large bowl. I used a mandolin set at 3/16".
Melt the bacon fat or butter over low heat. Stir in potato flour and let it get bubbly. Add broth, mayonnaise, salt & pepper. Stir until heated over medium heat.
In the large bowl, mix sauce into the potatoes. If you are able to eat onions, stir them in now.
Spread evenly into buttered dish and sprinkle generously with paprika. I like to use hot Hungarian paprika, but if I'm cooking for Caty, I go with the wimpy stuff.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender, the top ones are browned and bubbly. Give it 1 1/2 hours to be perfect!

Spaghetti squash curry style

We are trying to avoid too many of the sugars that set off Will's IBS, and have found very few spaghetti squash recipes that don't sound like lasagna! too much cheese & tomato! So we worked this delicious number up and it is stunning. Perfect for the low carb diet me, and the low FODMaPs diet Will and the curry-loving AJ.

1 medium spaghetti squash (or suit your family)
1 pound ground meat (I used breakfast sausage meat)
2 tsps finely chopped ginger
2 tsps dried hot pepper flakes
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 - 3 sliced mushrooms
1/2 chopped red pepper
2 cups Chinese greens cut into 2" lengths (I used Yue Choy Mue this time)
1 can organic coconut milk (full fat)

Heat oven to 400F.
SQUASH: Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with salt & pepper and place cut side down in a baking pan with about an inch of water in it. Bake at 400F for between 30 - 35 minutes or until getting soft. Remove from oven and let it cool down so you can scoop it out without burning your hands. Leave the oven on.
SAUCE: Meanwhile, cook your ground meat or sausage in a deep frying pan until browned a bit. Add the ginger, hot pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cook a couple minutes.
Stir in the vegetables in order, finishing with the Chinese greens. Add the coconut milk and let it melt into the veggies. Simmer while you prepare the squash.
By now the spaghetti squash should be cool enough to handle (or use oven mitts!).
Butter a casserole dish generously. Scrape the strands of squash out of the shell using a fork, and layer in the bottom of the casserole. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti squash and place in the oven to heat through only. Just 15 minutes should be perfect.
Serve with butter for Will, garlic butter for me, and hot sauce for AJ.

Tropical Dream Gelatin Dessert

My sweetie isn't feeling really well so I have been trying to tempt his appetite with flavours he loves, thus this delicious but very light dessert, served with raspberries or dessert sauce, it brings a smile to their faces!

1 can pineapple chunks (undrained)
1 can coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut (unsweetened)
3/4 cup water
3 pkg unflavoured gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut, toasted

Blend the cans of pineapple & coconut milk and 3/4 cup coconut until somewhat smooth.
In a small saucepan, pour gelatin over 3/4 cup water and leave for a few minutes. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and mix well. Heat over low heat a couple minutes, then add 1/2 cup sugar, mixing until completely dissolved. Stir this gelatin mix into the pineapple mix and pour into a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate about 2-3 hours until firm.
Scoop into pretty bowls, top with toasted coconut and dress it up with raspberries or raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat until thick. Push through a sieve to remove most of the seeds.

best banana cake ever

I have tried a LOT of gluten-free banana bread and banana cake recipes looking for the magic combination texture, lightness and taste and with only a few modifications from "Gluten-free Homemaker" I think we have a winner!

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/2 cup tapioca starch (or tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients: GF flours & starches, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder & salt in a small bowl and set aside. 
Cream the butter and add the sugar, creaming until light. Add in order: eggs, banana, vanilla and finally mayonnaise.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan and place in the middle of preheated oven.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick in the middle and see if it comes out clean.