Joyous Little Steps on One of Many Paths Up the Mountain- Update

Today’s Venture:
Homemeade
Pickles, Relish, Coconut Almond Milk and Pumpkin Breakfast Cake (all Paleo, GFCF)
milk and cake

This is for folks who think they don’t have the ‘massive’ amounts of time that is supposedly required to invest in Real Food.

Think of yourself as a production line and do tasks that can be efficiently multi-tasked together in a coordinated work flow or production line. Make things at the same time that have coordinated work processes, or that require similar ingredients or equipment that you don’t need to clean between recipes (sweet to savory usually goes better than savory or spicy to sweet!).

Pickles and Relish (similar ingredients and equipment)
Boil in a large pot: apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar, honey (optional), pickling spice, fennel seed, garlic powder, salt, and turmeric (mustard seed, celery seed, and dill are good too, but I was out). I also added a bunch of fresh mint. Boil until vinegar mixture has reduced by about half.

While it boils, thinly slice regular cucumbers (so-called pickle cucumbers are not required). A food processor works best for this, but this time I used a box grater. For relish, I again used the box grater using short strokes to get relish-like chunks. Yes, of course you could take the perfectionist route here and demonstrate your fine knife skills. I opted out this time. For the relish, I also grated a purple onion. I would have included a red pepper for the relish, but we didn’t have any on hand.

Fill jars with sliced cucumbers, and for relish only fill about two thirds full, and add vinegar mixture to fill jar. I lid and date my jars and keep them in the fridge. They get better over time.

Coconut Almond Milk and Pumpkin Breakfast Cake
(shared ingredients and equipment)

  1. In a blender or food processor (Vitamix is amazing for this, or I use a Breville blender), grind about 3 cups of unsweetened coconut and about 3 cups of almonds with however much water your equipment will hold, and blend until smooth.
  2. Strain through a nylon mesh bag into a large mixing bowl. Yes, you can buy a ‘nut milk bag’, but the best of these are $2 paint strainers from the hardware store. I have also found nylon mesh bags as reusable produce bags. Yes, you can use cheesecloth, but it’s a real pain and so really? Why?
  3. Squeeze out all the ‘milk’ into a bowl. Return dregs to blender and add more water, blending again until smooth. Again, drain through the mesh bag.
  4. Repeat this process until the milk is to your preferred concentration/weakness. For us, creamier for eggnog, medium for coffee, and lighter for drinking.
  5. Add a pinch of salt, vanilla and stevia (all optional) to taste.  Refrigerate in jars and shake before serving.
  6. Place coconut and almond dregs from the mesh bag into the mixing bowl.
  7. Blend with 1 large can of pure pumpkin, 1 cup of raisins, molasses (optional), cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger and ground cloves, and about 1 cup of beaten whole eggs, yolks or egg whites.
  8. Beat ½ cup egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees in loaf pans or a Bundt pan or a muffin pan. I use silicon. The baking time is really long compared to conventional recipes, and variable depending on your oven and your pan choice. Approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours for a full Bundt pan. Test for doneness is when a knife comes out clean and dry from the middle.

Combined Work Flow

  1. Put vinegar and spices on to boil
  2. Blend coconut and almonds with water
  3. Compile ingredients for breakfast cake
  4. Finish making coconut almond milk. Jar and refrigerate.
  5. Grate cucumbers and onion, and put into jars
  6. Pre-heat oven for breakfast cake
  7. Pour reduced vinegar into pickle and relish jars. Lid, label and refrigerate
  8. Put egg whites on to beat (if you use a stand mixer, otherwise do this later)
  9. Combine ingredients for breakfast cake
  10. Fold in egg whites, and bake breakfast cake

All in All
So how much time all together? Well, I drank my afternoon coffee at the same time, and I finished just a bit after the time it took to play Yes’s 90125 album (not including clean up). And we’ve got breakfast cake, milk and coffee creamer for the week, and we’ve cracked the evil sugary green of commercial pickles and relish. A worthy effort as far as I’m concerned.

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