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So, as you probably remember from my last blog, I have gone on a mission to reduce or eliminate the consumption on packaged and processed foods in our household.

The other day when I went through my cupboard, I realized how often I give Avery crackers... and she loves them! I love them too, because honestly there is almost no easier way to get her to quiet down once in a while!

So I checked out the ingredients to see just how bad it was... it started with enriched wheat flour... ok not so bad..... then went on to canola oil... could be worse.... next came sugar....... hmmmmm ........ then we got to ammonium bicarbonate, protease, amylase and papain. Things I don't really recognize and things that certainly don't sound like food to me.

So I decided to try my hand at home made crackers.That way I know exactly what is in them and I know what I am feeding my baby girl (and myself). I used this recipe from allrecipies.com for Cheddar Cheese Crackers. I made no changes to the recipe except I used black pepper instead of white... because do people really have white pepper on hand? I know I don't.

First I made the dough.


Then I wrapped it and set it in the fridge for a while as the recipe calls for. Next was rolling it out and cutting it into pieces. I suppose you could use a cookie cutter or a glass if you wanted round ones, but I used a pizza cutter because I like my crackers to be asymetrical and random sizes... ;-)
After that they were placed on to lined baking sheets and I pricked them all with a fork. They were baked at 350 for about 20 minutes even though the recipe calls for 10-12 minutes. (note my obvious dis-reguard for precision in baking, harharhar!)
So what did I think of these crackers?

I would give them a 2 out of 5. Unfortunately. But only because it is supposed to be a cracker. They don't really taste like crackers to me- they taste more like pie crust... and when you look at the recipe they are pretty much pie crust.

Don't get me wrong, they taste fairly good, just not exactly like cheddar cheese crackers to me.

I will have to do a little bit more searching for another cracker recipe this week until I find one that is perfect.

What did my number on critic thing of them?
I think this photo of her shoving the entire thing into her mouth means she likes them.
 
 
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Late last week my mother in law stopped by with a large bucket of fresh strawberries that she had picked up.

Since I am on a jam kick these days, I decided to try my hand at making my own. Plus I had a ton of strawberries and didn't want them to go bad!

So I searched online for a simple recipe for strawberry jam. Because I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store for pectin, and since I didn't have any on hand, I narrowed down my search by looking for pectin free jams.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.

 
 
This sweet, no stress sauce tastes like it simmered all day! It was a fresh alternative to normal tomato sauce and was super easy and quick to make.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 pound ground beef (I used elk as it was what we had on hand)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup red wine or additional beef broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary (I had to use dry)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 package refrigerated ravioli

 
 
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I stumbled upon this recipe about 1.5 years ago, and have made it numerous times since- I just cannot get enough of it!!

I found it on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, and I love that it is so versatile- I can make pizza buns, french bread, baguettes, pizza crust, focaccia bread, or any combination of these things with this recipe- wow!

To get started on the pizza buns, first we start with the basic french bread recipe.