- Bread and Crackers
- Coconut Products
- Cookies and Bars
- Fats and Oils
- Flours, Grains, and Legumes
- Fermented Vegetables
- Fermented Food Starters
- Milk and Cream
- Salt and Spices
- Snack Foods
- Supplements & Superfoods
- Yogurt and Kefir
- Books and DVDs
- Kitchen Tools and Appliances
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Personal Care
- Simple Food
Tortilla chips are like the culmination of all things inflammatory. Start with genetically modified grain, add a heavy dose of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and you’ve got yourself a bag of heart attack.
Because, as we all know, it’s not the animal fats and cholesterol that are causing heart disease. Or, at least that’s what we think we know… for now.
Either way, I’m sticking with fats from animals you can raise yourself. And I’ll fry up whatever delicious goodness we can in these fats and feed them happily to my family because people ate that way for a long time before heart disease and diabetes epidemics and the modern insane way of living and eating.
Oh, and because they are just doggone delicious.
These shallow-fried tortilla chips are made very simply with a cast-iron skillet. Not only is that just the right size for shallow-frying, but when my skillet needs a good seasoning, why not get some delicious chips out of the deal?
As for the tortillas, I recommend anything non-GMO. Homemade are the best, but if you can find a local variety of non-GMO tortillas, like we did, then you can use those.
This isn’t exactly a complicated recipe, more like a technique. But for those keeping track here’s how I do it:
- Put your 10″ skillet over medium heat and add two big old spoonfuls of lard, probably 1/3 – 1/2 cup.
- Stack 10-12 tortillas together and cut them into quarters.
- Wait for your fat to get pretty hot. I test this by placing my open hand just above the lard coating the bottom of the pan. When it starts to feel pretty hot, it’s ready.
- Throw the cut tortilla triangles in one after another until the pan is full. This is about 7-8 triangles and I say throw because you don’t want your hand down in that hot mess if it splatters.
- Allow to cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and delicious. Move to a plate and sprinkle with some good sea salt.
- Repeat with remaining tortilla triangles. Towards the end you will have very little fat left in the pan. You can tough it out and try to push the tortillas down into the lard, or you can throw a bit more lard in there.
We like them served warm with some beans and lacto-fermented salsa. That’s just one serving suggestion, but it is an awesome one.
What do you like to fry up in lard?
I’m so excited to be talking about cultured foods every single day of the week over at the Cultures for Health blog. It involves two of my favorite things, after all – cultured foods and talking.
I thought I’d start a weekly feature here at Nourishing Days with a recap of the week’s topics. There you can follow along with my weekly food fermentation endeavors and hear from some other ladies who are teaching me a thing or two about fermentation.
Before we get to the highlights of this week I’d like to invite you to join the Weekly Cultured Gathering…
Maybe you eat cultured food because of the health benefits. Maybe you make it for the art and science involved. Maybe you believe that this age-old practice of souring dough, culturing dairy, brewing beverages, and fermenting vegetables is wonderfully sustainable. Maybe you feed them to your family because of all of the above.
Whatever draws you to the art of fermentation, The Weekly Cultured Gathering is a place where you can find others working towards the same goals as you are. It is a community.
You can join us every Saturday with links to your own cultured food blog posts or, if you don’t have a blog, let us know in the comments what you’re culturing this week.
This Week We Discussed…
We discuss the temperature parameters for culturing kefir and how to choose a culturing period based on your health and flavor preferences.
Bonni shares her trials and successes in creating a water kefir rhythm.
This is the recipe for our family’s very favorite big, fluffy sourdough pancakes. All the hearty, fluffy deliciousness of diner pancakes with a heavy dose of digestibility.
I share the three tips that have simplified the brewing process for us while making tastier kombucha.
Now it’s your turn!
See you there!
In the comments on how we got here someone said “You make this look doable.”
Good, I thought, because it is. We’re not special. We’re still in the infancy of trying to do this thing, and boy howdy if we can do it just about anyone can. Seriously. Just come watch this greenhorn rodeo for a day.
Then Susan pointed out a few details that you might not have picked up from my post. I’m a big-picture person, and true to form that post laid out the big picture of how we went about getting here.
There are a lot of things about that journey that you should know,though, like…
Sometimes it felt like we would never get here. There were physical and financial setbacks that kept us from moving forward as fast as we wanted to. Having a results-driven mindset could drive you batty. Just keep moving. Just keep trusting.
I had to do what I could where we were at. Before we moved onto the land, there was a period of time that I wondered what I should be doing. Stewart wisely said “Hey, why don’t you learn about some of the things you’ll be doing off-grid while we’ve still got electricity and running water.” Genius.
There are so many skills I tried and books I read before we got here that prepared me for the basics of growing and preparing food, hygiene & laundry, food preservation and old-time skills. All of those things are a bit different off-grid, but I am immensely grateful for that time of learning and studying.
We messed up… a lot. We have had bad ideas, executed things incorrectly, and completely botched a lot of things in big and small ways. All you can do is keep learning from those things, keep reading up on how they did things before industrial farming, and definitely learn to laugh at yourself.
Sometimes it will be one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes it will seem like you’re making great progress. Other times it will seem like you’re treading water. And other times you will get knocked back to square one.
We’ve made compromises we can live with… for now. Before we moved, the only disposable item in the house was toilet paper, and even that came close to the chopping block. I’ve used disposable diapers, napkins, paper towels, and even the occasional dishes since we’ve moved off-grid. All of these compromises have come about for different reasons, and while it grates on every fiber of my don’t-buy-stuff being, these decisions were made thoughtfully. And I am living with them… for now.
Things did not end up as planned. Almost nothing has turned out how we thought it would. The cabin wasn’t planned, the division of labor we currently have wasn’t planned, having a huge hole where a more permanent home might be wasn’t planned. We actually did have plans for those things, plans we discussed for weeks and months during late night plan-plan-planning sessions. But life doesn’t work like that, least of all an organic, raw existence such as this.
None of that really mattered. If we were doing this to fulfill an idyllic fantasy of lush gardens and cute cottages and dancing in fields of wild flowers then we probably would have high-tailed it a long time ago. We are here, trying our hand at this for a thousand incredibly important and deeply personal reasons. Anything but to keep on keepin’ on is just not an option.
Bumps, bruises, road blocks, and failures have all been a part of the not-so-simple journey to this not-always-simple life we have right now. We weren’t promised easy. We weren’t promised quick results. We have a sovereign God who is working on us through all of these seemingly difficult things.
In that, and only that, we find rest.
There are few things as fulfilling to me as heading out to the garden or the chicken coop and collecting food for a meal we will soon be eating. As we continue to learn about healing our land and producing food in a very different terrain and environment than we came from, there have been only a handful of vegetables we have been successful with.
Sweet potatoes, beans, lettuce, the few beets I skeptically threw into the ground which are now shockingly healthy and huge in our clay soil.
And then there are the collard greens. It all sounds very southern, but if we could just grow these nutritious leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and beans – all in abundance – that that could be a huge part of our food needs. A couple of calorie crops and some greens is all we really need.
That hasn’t stopped us from planting perennial trees and shrubs – 3 more apple trees, a couple of fig trees, and another blueberry bush are all going into the ground today. Oh and the cabbage, peas, red potatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, and peppers are coming along too… because we just can’t help ourselves.
But these collard greens have been a consistent source of nourishment for us over the past few months. From approximately 6 plants we have gotten a generous bunch of greens pretty much every other day.
- I have made big pots of greens with bacon and onion and garlic.
- I have made stir fry after stir fry with collards and carrots and all of that pork I canned this winter.
- I have made frittatas with homegrown eggs and a bit of bacon and a generous amount of greens.
- They have become pork stew and rooster soup and simply a delicious side dish when sauteed in lard with an onion.
I think we’ll be able to squeeze a few more weeks of harvest out of these guys before they bolt. When we ordered seed in January I found a couple of heat-tolerant heirloom varieties, Green Glaze & Variegated, that I’ll be planting as soon as the rest of those beets come out.
They say the Green Glaze variety could produce greens for us for years due to its heat and frost-tolerance.
I’m all for perennial collard greens.
So, I drafted this post over six months ago. That might tell you about the state of things in my inbox, comments, and the blog in general. When Anders asked the following on our facebook page I wondered if anyone else had the same questions.
Q: How did you do it? How did you get yourself to the point where you had a 300 sq ft home on land? Were you in any debt before hand? My husband and I are trying to get out of debt ASAP so we can live our dream of land and a small home…we feel like we are spinning our wheels and have no clue what to do first…I know this is a lot of questions..lol But I would love to hear your journey and how you were able to get to where you are….
In case someone does, and in case this might help or encourage someone, I thought I’d start a random Q&A series here on our journey.
Well, the short answer is by God’s grace because, looking back, sometimes it seems like it was impossible. But I will back up and start from the beginning.
We were in debt before hand. I had student loans from college which Stewart took on as a reverse dowry when he married me. I wish I was kidding.
We knew we needed to homestead and we prayed for a way to make it happen by the time our eldest son was five. We didn’t know if we would make it by then, but we tried to be as diligent as possible in paying off those loans and saving enough to buy a couple of acres so that we could avoid going into debt again.
So between 2005 and 2011 we paid it all off. During that time I predominantly worked as a stay-at-home mom. So, on one income we paid off $25,000 and saved enough to get started modestly.
I don’t think there’s one “right” way to do it, but I personally think paying off existing debt and avoiding any debt going forward is hugely important. If you can do that, minimize any expenses on things like electricity or other monthly bills, then you have the option of living on very little income.
And living on very little income gives you the option to do what you need to with your time.
That is what we have chosen to do. We were willing to live ruggedly and build from the ground up. We had actually planned to live in a tent for a little while to get started, but a camper came our way at a price we couldn’t refuse so we started there.
We have prioritized food production over a larger, more comfortable living space (for now) and we have prioritized our time over the things that we might be able to buy if we spent more of our time working off the homestead.
So, our four-part process has looked something like this:
- Pay off loans with one income while I scrimp and save by doing things like cloth-diapering, scratch cooking, gardening, etc.
- Buy only as much land as you can afford and can reasonably develop within a few years.
- Start your homestead from scratch with only the basics of water, shelter, waste disposal, etc.
- (What we’re currently in the beginnings of): Build up your food production through sustainable means, create infrastructure like water catchment and root cellars, and then eventually build a larger (maybe underground) home that will double as food processing area/homeschooling central/office & workshop area.
But, obviously, there is more than one way to skin a cat as they say.
So, how have you made the jump towards sustainable living?
my (grain-free) cookbook
All information found on Nourishing Days is editorial in nature and therefore meant to motivate and inspire rather than be construed as medical advice.
Any statements or claims about the health benefits of supplements or foods made here have not been evaluated by the FDA and as such are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease..
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