Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finding My Niche

I am sensing a new era in my life.  I am not sure those are the right words but I am making some changes in my routines and other areas of my life.  I really feel like God is nudging me to move beyond where I have been.  One of those areas I feel the push in is teaching.

I have been teaching things on and off for most of my adult life.  I love to teach and share with others.  Sometimes these go in cycles.  I know there was a time period while we still lived in Florida, that I had people calling me like crazy with herb questions.  Joshua wanted to know if I was a doctor.  :)  And before any of you say it, I did not tell people what to do.  I shared information with them and asked them to do research and make informed decisions. I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on television.  I have taught people the basics of good nutrition, whole grains, bread making, cheese making, butter making, soap making, sewing, crocheting, knitting, painting, herbs, food storage and I am sure there are other things as well.  It is not that I am an expert, but people would see or hear of me doing something and want to learn.  They would ask me if I could show them and I was happy to.  That is really how we started our store.  I was teaching people all these skills and then sending them other places when they wanted to buy things.  

I have some things to schedule in my life in the near future....  a tooth extraction and hernia repair surgery are 2 of them.  Once I know where they fall in my schedule, I will be setting up my first class I am going to teach.  I am giving a class on making feta cheese.  I have people interested, but obviously scheduling will play into how many take the class.  I think my first class will be limited to 6 to 8 people.  I am also talking to someone who would like some help with starting in cooking and basic nutrition.  In other words using whole foods.  

I seem to have my own place in the whole foods and traditional cooking arena.  I love the Weston A. Price group and Nourishing Traditions.  I love trying new ways to preserve our foods.  I am also a realist though and know that for me to try and raise and grow as much of our own food as possible, I have to use some methods that they don't "approve" of.  I am also a realist in the fact that not everyone can afford to buy everything organic.  I try to be balanced in my approach and that is what I will teach.  

One of the blogs I read shares pictures of some of their readers "real food kitchens".  You can get some really weird stuff in a real food kitchen.  Here are some pictures from our house.  

Don't you love my backdrop in this first picture?  That was a map that I used when Joshua was young.  There are no names on the states, just numbers.  I would say a number and he would tell me the state, its capital and the nickname.  :)  It serves a purpose here to block a pass through window into a very cold porch.  We have insulation stuffed in the window.  This covers that on the kitchen side.  :)  The chamber pot on the left is the bucket I use for scraps I give to my chickens.  Next to that is my electric yogurt maker.  I use it to make my yogurt mother.  I make the mother out of heated milk so it will last.  I then use the mother along with raw milk that is not heated above 115° to make my raw yogurt.  Next to that in the jar with the little red cap on it is my kombucha scoby or as some call it mushroom.  It is waiting on some more tea to be put in.  The little jar with the amber colored liquid is my super tonic or "gack" as it is called in our house (that is the noise Michael makes when taking any).  :)  It is made from garlic, ginger, horseradish, onion and cayenne peppers in a raw apple cider vinegar base.  I use it in cooking and take it by the spoonful.  I love the taste.   
 Here is my compost bucket.  Our coffee grounds and egg shells make up a lot of our compost.  If it is edible we give it to the chickens, if not it goes in here.  Compost can really be beneficial if you plan on gardening.  I also use a lot of fresh garlic.  The little crock with the cork lid is my garlic cellar. 
Here is my non-electric yogurt maker (Yogotherm).  I make my raw yogurt in this and love it because I can make 1/2 of a gallon at a time.   

The jar on top of the warming oven is my whole grain sourdough starter.  I was told to keep the 2 starters at least 5' apart.  I have a San Francisco sourdough starter on the counter.  I keep a thermometer up by the whole grain one to make sure the temperature stays right for it.  You can also see some of my herbs I dried hanging from the ceiling. 
Here, I am starting to rehydrate some milk kefir grains.   
I cooked down a whole chicken to make my Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas for Sunday. 
Here is the broth from that. 
Speaking of broth, I have a bunch of broth in my fridge.  This is one area where I am different than the traditional food people.  I will be canning this instead of freezing it.  I don't have the freezer room to keep everything there.  I can pressure can it and put it on my shelf.  It is still better than what I am able to buy in the store.  You can see my homemade butter in the mold on the top left.  Then look right below the broth on the right and you will see a roll of butter from a local dairy that keeps their cows on grass and don't give them a bunch of junk.  I bought that butter through the food co-op I run. I use it as a back up, if I run out of butter.   It will be going in the freezer.  The bowl in the middle with the dark stuff in it is my coconut bark.  This is the best way I have found to get coconut oil into me.  It tastes just like chocolate candy and is totally good for you. 
I also make most of our cheese. 
I make most of our bread.  I am really enjoying all my experimenting with sourdough. 
Here is my cheese cave.  The bucket on the top is a brine I use for some cheeses. 
We are blessed to have milking animals.  Here is some grass fed, Jersey cow milk. 
The cream is so thick that you can mound it up. 
This is a cheese spread I made to take somewhere.  It is my easy ricotta recipe and I have added Italian herbs and spices. 
Here is butter made from grass fed Jersey cream. 
This soft cheese I made with jalapeños and garlic and onion.  It was so good. 
I hope to share more on here about cooking with real food and also about the classes I will be teaching.  I am moving slowly, because I truly want God to lead in this. 


Sharon said...

That is wonderful, Marci! You are blessed to have your own resources for the wholesome foods you prepare. I believe our country would be much healthier and happier if we had more farm families again. :) I love reading your posts when I get a chance.

Rebecca said...

I think this wonderful, Marci. I wish I lived closer, I'm sure you could teach me a lot. I will pray that the surgerys go well. Hugs from West Virginia

Anonymous said...

Ohhh! This is so awesome. I cannot wait to read and learn. Thank you for all you have taught already on this blog; I have learned and benefitted SO MUCH!! May God's hand be on it all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marci~ Would you be willing to teach us your crockpot chicken enchilada recipe, and how could I obtain the coconut bark? I know how fabulous coconut oil is for us, but I have never heard of the bark. Many, many thanks! :)