Recipe, Recipes

Lilac Simple Syrup

Lilac blossoms are not on the tree very long, but you can preserve their lovely fragrance with a simple syrup which is fabulous in cocktails. In fact, you can make this simple syrup with almost any great smelling edible blossom. Just do your research to ensure the blossoms are edible.

Gather 2 cups of blossoms
Remove any sign of green as it tends to be bitter.
Give it a good rinse.

In a small pot bring 2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar to a simmer. Add blossoms and stir well. Let simmer 10 minutes.

Take off heat, cover and let stand 4 to 6 hours.

Pass through a sieve and bottle or pour into ice cube trays. Bottled, it will last in the fridge approximately a month. It’ll be great for up to six months in the freezer

Recipe, Recipes

Buttermilk Biscuits

Juice 1 Lemon and pour it into 1 1/4 cups of milk or cream. Keep in fridge until ready to use.


Preheat oven to 425


Sift 2 cups of flour with 2 tbsp baking powder


Add 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp salt. Whisk well.

Grate 1/3 cup frozen butter and put it in freezer with buttermilk until ready to use


Blend all ingredients together by hand folding over a few times but handling it as little as possible. Pat to a half inch rectangle and use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out biscuits without twisting – this is very important in order for them to rise. Just press down. Gather up unused batter to make more biscuits.


Brush with melted butter
Bake them for approximately 20 minutes until golden

Recipe, Recipes

Sweet Baked Pork & Beans

Preheat oven to 325

Grease a baking dish or Dutch oven

Add:

2 cans of beans
4 strips chopped bacon
2 cloves garlic
2 Bay leaves

In a bowl make sauce:

1/2 cup each of molasses & brown sugar
3-4 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp each: pepper, paprika, steak spice, allspice, clove
2 dashes each of Worchestire Sauce & Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 tbsp ketchup

Stir well.

Add 3 cups of water stirring well

Pour over beans

Add a pork shoulder and turn to coat

Roast for 3 hrs

Recipe, Recipes

Rainy Day Soup


Cut a squash in quarters, scoop out seeds and roast with a bit of butter at 375° for one hour. Let cool, scoop out flesh and mash.


In a soup pot caramelize chopped onion, celery, carrot & a bay leaf with the following spices:


Italian Spice, Allspice, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, Thyme


When caramelized, deglaze pot with a big splash of white wine


Add squash and mash some more
Add chopped potato, tomato and some frozen peas.


Simmer approx 2 hrs.
You can add a splash of cream at the end to make it creamy

Recipe, Recipes

Butter Rum Bananas

Make a simple dessert, fancy in 5 minutes
Of all the things I make for Paul, this might be his favourite:


In a small skillet:


2-3 tbsp butter

2 bananas sliced

Cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla


When it starts to sizzle add a big splash of dark rum (or brandy) Let simmer 1 min


Add a big drizzle of maple syrup.


Sizzle until alcohol has evaporated, the sauce has thickened and bananas are soft


Paul loves this served over a chocolate brownie & whipped cream, but it would also be fabulous over ice cream

Lifestyle

Bread-Making Is A Meditation

My grandmother used to say that making bread was a meditation. Not just the quiet repetition of kneading that put you in a meditative state, but it keeps you in the present moment all day as you wait for it to rise and remembering steps in between prep and bake.

Yes, there are no-knead quick recipes that work like a charm in a pinch, but there is something to be said for slow food. The preparing of ancient staples like bread is at this point embedded in our cellular memory that we inherit from our ancestors – you can almost feel like you are tapping into them if you focus enough attention on it.

Then there’s the peace of process we take for granted. I love watching my milk turn into thick buttercream or watching the yeast poof. ‘Instant’ everything has robbed us of these little delights in the process. We live in this instant gratification get-to-the-destination obsessed world. We have forgotten the joy of the entire process. As a matter of fact, prior to Covid 19 we were all too busy for processes. Everything was about speed and convenience as if the process was a burden instead of acknowledging the medicine that it actually offers.

My to-do list is long. My bread skills are lacking. I should be ashamed of myself given that I was raised by an expert bread maker. I have made bread with my grandmother a million times so there’s no reason mine fail..and yet… This morning I tried my hand at egg bread.

I was out of bed at 5am. Paul was fast asleep. It was dark and quiet as I slowly measured ingredients. My pets watched me knead in fascination. It was slow, quiet and peaceful. It was ancient. Even tidying up while sipping coffee in silence was a cozy putter. The bread is rising in my warm oven. You would never know by looking in the kitchen that bread was made this morning. Paul will have no clue until mid morning when I pull it out to knead and boy will he be excited thinking of it for supper!

Recipe, Recipes

One Pan Sausage Supper

This recipe is amazing with our quick & easy skillet cornbread recipe: https://neighbourhoodhomestead.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/buttermilk-almond-flour-cornbread-2/



Combo of:

Chopped Sausage
Yellow, Green & Red Pepper
Onion
Fresh Garlic
Mushroom
Green Beans
Tomatoes
Bay Leaf
Italian Spice
Garlic Powder
Hot Red Pepper Flakes
White Wine
(If you are eating carbs, potato would be excellent)

Drizzle with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and then toss to coat. Roast at 365 for 1.5 hrs



Serve with fresh bread for a perfect hearty supper.

More great recipes, lifestyle and DIY tips at www.NeighbourhoodHomestead.com

Recipe, Recipes

Buttermilk Almond Flour Cornbread

Sneak preview from our upcoming book, The Cast Iron Kitchen coming soon!


The most important part of this recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place your cast iron skillet with 1/4 cup of butter or bacon drippings in the oven as you prep to preheat. You want the butter sizzling when you pour batter into the skillet. Don’t pull pan out of oven until you are 100% ready to pour batter into pan to bake.

In one bowl sift the following dry ingredients together:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a separate bowl whisk wet:

1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (1 cup milk or cream + 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon)
1 heaping tbsp sour cream

Pour wet into dry and whisk until well blended.

Pull skillet out of oven and pour in batter. Put back into oven immediately and bake at 400 degrees for approx 22 -25 minutes

Let cool 10 min before serving

More great recipes, lifestyle and DIY tips at www.NeighbourhoodHomestead.com

Paul loved it!
Lifestyle, Personal

Decluttering Is Emotionally Healing

No one likes to vomit, but sometimes it’s the only thing that will provide relief. Once you finally get that ghastly experience over with, you can then finally move on from whatever it is you should not have consumed.

Yet, we all hate vomiting so much, we’ll do everything to delay it, even if it’ll help us feel better. Clutter is the energetic/emotional equivalent to eating too much bad burrito.


Over the years we accumulate so much stuff and some of it, when it no longer serves it’s purpose, is not so easy to dispose of either logistically, financially or emotionally. That’s where you end up getting a basement full of clutter to the point that you often forget what you have down there.


Each piece of clutter is the last vestige of baggage from the past. Some is casual (like my stack of used furnace filters) but others have massive emotional connections. Even though it’s out of sight and mind, it’s still there, like unresolved baggage. Add to that, it’s yet another thing on your to-list that has haunted you forever because you never seem to get around to it. Sound familiar?


When I split with my ex, there were certain possessions that really triggered me – one of them being his recliner. It was putrid and every time I walked in the room it was in, it triggered me as I had been quite traumatized at the end of our relationship. My friend Tia showed up one day like a hero and helped me separate it from the sectional and drag it to the far side of my property behind the shed where I never had to look at it. It was transformational.


The local critters have turned it into a popular nest over the last couple of winters. That shed is also full of old clutter from our old house that I never got rid of.


My basement is as full of shit as my garage. Clutter everywhere! There’s a lot I could do to fix up my basement quite quickly, but not while it’s full of crap.


Getting rid of all the stuff has been part of a to do list, and I have been chipping away at it slowly with Paul taking small loads to the dump almost weekly. All that’s really left is the big heavy stuff like old furniture and other bulky stuff.


I have the opportunity at free equipment (an assembly line for my creams & potions) With a garage full, I have nowhere to store it and did not want to pass up on the opportunity.
There’s a company in Welland called Urge To Purge. They’ll haul it all away and do the heavy lifting. It was all arranged within 48 hrs. Thank you!


When Paul came into my life I was overwhelmed and behind on everything having to do everything to maintain a large property on my own while building a business to support it. With his help, everything is getting fixed and caught up. Everything is suddenly manageable.


Tomorrow at 9am the last of the x’s stuff and other stuff from my old life is being hauled away for good. I feel like with it comes a huge emotional liberation. A lot has healed in me since that life transcended and with all the last reminders and useless space taking cleared away, I am free to develop the space (and myself) to its full potential.


How would decluttering change your world? What would you do to that space if it was suddenly empty?

Lifestyle, Personal

Front Porch Alchemy

Front Door Alchemy 

I truly believe that how someone keeps their front and back entrance says a lot about their personality and emotional life at the time. This is perfectly true when I analyze the evolution of my front porch in the last five years since I moved into this house. The same is true when I look at pictures of my grandmother’s front porch from my childhood home. 

Once I had that aha moment, I started using my porch almost as a form of hypnosis. Whenever I want to change the energy of my home/life I redo the front porch to be a reflection of what I want to attract. I do this seasonally as a conscious exercise.

For example after being single for a couple of years I was ready to share my life again. A few months before I met Paul, I wrote a list of the perfect man and then hung a heart shaped piece of decor by the front door hoping the perfect man would come my way, and he sure did!


Let’s look through a few pictures so you can see what I mean to inform your own front door analysis and evolution:

The contrast between her front and back door was an exact replication of her personality. Like most northern Italians the exterior is cold but perfect. Northern Italians are very stoic and emotionally quite reserved in public. This is perfectly reflected in the sterile aesthetic of her front yard. But if you look at her back door, it’s warm, vibrant and lovely. When northern Italians are around their circle of trust, their personalities shine and they are a funny and colourful people. The front yard was kept pristine and bland and we kept all the beauty and life exclusive to our inner family in the backyard, where no one else could see.

Can you imagine that I actually liked this at the time? To me now the porch seems so drab but at the time it resonated with me, likely because I felt drab. You will notice the front porch except for a few non-flowering pots is quite empty but there is a ton of life growing in the front yard. What does it reflect? The front porch was not inviting because my home at the time was not inviting as I was in a terrible relationship. The front yard however turned into a small farm growing lots of food mostly to keep me busy so that I could be outside and not indoors where I was miserable. All the potential for me was outside my home and that was well reflected.

When I was freed from that relationship and began to recover, that was reflected on my front porch with a brand new door colour and plants that symbolized joy and renewed energy. Learning to find joy after so much trauma and years of abuse was very difficult, so I specifically chose plants like geranium which are powerful anti-depressants. Notice how busy and lush it is? I had felt so empty for so long, I needed that flurry of energy to wake me up again. I craved lots of life around me.


Life has changed a lot since then. I am now in a beautiful and very peaceful relationship and everything in my life has soothed. My front porch now is not about attracting anything but instead basking in gratitude. I have added spots to sit and enjoy the space, and I chose colours that were calming and reflected cozy peace because that’s exactly how home feels these days. I chose plants like mint and lavender that are refreshing and soothing. But just like my grandmother always had red geraniums, so do I. I always have at least one red geranium on my porch to remind me of her

TIP: Google symbolic meanings of door colours and plants/flowers to help your creative juices start flowing!