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Monday, October 28, 2013

Arkansas


Welcome to The Natural State

Arkansas is located in the southern region of the United States. It boarders Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana.

In 1541, Spaniards were the first Europeans to enter Arkansas. They spent a couple years exploring the area in search of gold. What they found instead were well populated villages and fields of Maize. That group of explorers eventually left in search of New Spain (now Mexico) and were the last Europeans to see Arkansas for 130 years.

Most early pioneers moving west would pass around Arkansas, the Land of Opportunity, because its rocky terrain and poor soil discouraged people from homesteading there. However in the late 1700's early 1800's farmers from Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee weren't deterred. They were used to farming under difficult conditions. With them they brought their cooking style. Cured ham, pork ribs, chicken, baking soda biscuits and molasses cakes were a frequent traditional meal. Arkansas cuisine was also influenced by Native Indians who farmed corn, squash and beans.

  • Arkansas became the 25 state on June 15th 1836
  • State Capital is Little Rock


Chicken and Dumplings



Ingredients:
  • 1 (3 3/4-lb.) whole chicken 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme, parsley, basil, oregano and marjoram. 
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  2 cups almond flour (or regular flour and omit the tapioca flour)
  •  1 cup tapioca flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • *1/3 cup butter for regular flour dumplings
  • 2 teaspoons bacon drippings (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk for regular flour dumplings
  • *4 large eggs for grain free dumplings
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
Instructions

Put chicken with enough water to cover entire chicken in a Dutch oven.

Add following 6 ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken; reserve broth.

Cool chicken 30 minutes; skin, bone, and shred chicken before returning it to  the broth. Return to a simmer.

If making grain free dumplings:
These dumplings are heavier than regular flour dumplings. I've been told they have the texture of Matzah balls.

Whisk together almond flour, tapioca flour. *Whisk in eggs and bacon drippings until mixture comes together. Place in very cold fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove mixture from freezer and form into small bite size balls. Place on a plate and return to freezer for 10-15 minutes until firm.

If making regular flour dumplings:

Combine flour and poultry seasoning in a bowl. *Cut in butter and bacon drippings with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in almond milk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Carefully drop dumplings, a few at a time, into simmering broth, stirring gently. Cover and simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes until dumplings have puffed and floated to the top. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Traditional Southern Style Cornbread
made in a cast iron skillet


Personally, I'm not a big fan of corn. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE corn! I just don't like what Monsanto has done to corn grown in the U.S. And since GMO is so invasive, I avoid all corn products in general. Up to 2% of organic corn is contaminated with GMO's. However, in spirit of learning traditional style meals I have included a cornbread recipe using organic cornmeal. 

  • 2 Cups cornmeal (white corn meal is traditional but yellow will work)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups almond milk (want to keep to true tradition? Use buttermilk instead)
  • 2 tablespoon oil (I used expeller pressed coconut oil which has no coconut flavor)

Preheat oven to 450F. Put the skillet with coconut oil in the oven while preheating.

Put the the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk or sift until well-mixed.

Put the eggs in a 4 cup bowl or measure and whisk until uniform. Add almond milk (or buttermilk) to make two cups and whisk to mix.

When the oven reaches 450 degrees, pour the buttermilk and egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir to mix.

Pour the hot oil from the skillet into the mixture and whisk in.

Pour the mixture into the skillet, return it to the oven, reduce heat to 375, and bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

When the cornbread is done, invert the skillet over a plate. A golden round of cornbread will fall right out. (If it doesn't, either it's not done, so pop it back in the oven for another five minutes, or your skillet wasn't properly seasoned, and you'll have to dig the cornbread out with a spatula.

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Molasses Cake


Two hundred years ago sugar was scarce. The average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. Today, according to the USDA, the average American consumes 156 pounds of sugar per year! That's equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in just one week. 


Ingredients:
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups almond flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (omit if your using all-purpose flour)
  • 1  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten (unless using all-purpose flour then only use 1 egg)
  • 1 Cup molasses (I used sorghum molasses since regular molasses still comes from sugar canes.)
  • 1/2 Cup hot water
  • 1/4 Cup softened butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, grease a square 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan. Sift flour, soda, spices and salt, set aside

In a large bowel with electric mixer, beat egg, butter, molasses and water until combined.

Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour into greased pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes our clean. Cool and serve.


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Printable Grocer List

If any of the links no longer work please post a comment so I can update the blog.

Arkansas State Flag Adopted on March 16, 1924

 Color the Arkansas State Flag
http://www.world-free-printable-flags.com/images/arkansas-flag-coloring-pages.jpg




State Seal adopted 1864


Color the State Seal


State Flower

Apple Blossom was adopted as State Flower 1901




Did You Know

Arkansas contains over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers. 

Located just outside of Murfreesboro, Crater of Diamonds State Park allows dedicated prospectors to search for precious gems including diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, and quartz. 

Clark Bluff overlooking the St. Francis River contains chalk to supply the nation for years.  

Little River County Courthouse is world famous for it's Christmas lights display.

The average temperature in July is 81.4 degrees; January it is 39.5; and the annual average is 61.7 degrees. The average rainfall is 48.52 inches and the average snowfall is 5.2 inches. 

The Arkansas River is the longest stream to flow into the Mississippi-Missouri river system. Its total length is 1,450 miles.  

47 hot springs flow from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain, at an average temperature of 143 F. 


Silly But True:

It is strictly prohibited to pronounce “Arkansas” incorrectly.

It is against the law to honk your car horn at a sandwich shop after 9 PM.

It is unlawful to walk one’s cow down Main Street after 1:00 PM on Sunday.

It is against the law for dogs to bark after 6 PM.


Digging Deeper:














Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Arizona

Welcome to the Copper State


Arizona, The Grand Canyon State, is located in the south west region of the United States. AZ touches Colorado at the Four Corners, shares a border on the Colorado River with Nevada and California, has borders with Utah, New Mexico and the Mexican International borders of both Sonora and Baja California.

The Four Corners area is named after the quadripoint (point on the earth that touches the border of four distinct territories) where the boundaries of the four states meet. It is the only location in the United States where four states meet.

Arizona's culinary heritage is strongly influenced by Mexico. Just across the boarder lies Sanora, Mexico a wheat growing country that tends to make wheat tortillas instead of Indian corn tortillas which are more popular throughout the rest of Mexico. When the Mexican Revolution sent thousands of people into southern Arizona they brought the food traditions of Sonora with them.

Aside from Mexico, food was strongly influenced by Slavic and Cornish immigrants who frequently made crisp pasties, a turnover made with a pie dough and filled with meat and vegetables. Beans, a staple food of the Indians, also became an everyday dish for settlers. Later, Spanish missionaries came further influencing modern fare. 

Indian and Spanish dishes are still prevalent in Arizona's cuisine. However with the huge number retiries moving there, typical meals are rapidly becoming Americanized. Our recipes will focus mainly on Spanish influence.

  • Arizona became the 48th state, and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912.
  • State Capital is Phoenix. 

 Chicken Enchiladas



Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (we purée tomatoes and cook them down to make our own sauce, feel free to use canned tomato sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 3 cups shredded jack and or cheddar cheese; reserve 1 cup (we make our own hard cheese from goats milk but if your avoiding cows milk you probably already know where to buy hard goat cheese)
  • 1 (10 oz) jar enchilada sauce. Frontera Foods sells it in a jar (16 oz) but it has sugar in the ingredients! So, we made our own. Its' super easy and way yummier than anything you can get out of a can: http://www.krystaslifeinfood.com/2010/11/authentic-enchilada-sauce-base-used-2.html
  • black olives (optional) 
  • 9" flour tortillas (or make your own, see recipe below)

Directions 
Boil chicken in water. Then rinse and shred with fork. Put in large mixing bowl and add next 8 ingredients (chopped onion through black pepper).

In 10x13 baking pan, pour just enough enchilada sauce in the bottom to coat the bottom of the pan.

Fill each tortilla add a spoonful of meat mixture (cheese, onions, and/or olives can be put inside each enchilada at this time, if desired.)

Roll tortilla and place seam side down in pan. Continue with remaining tortillas.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas and top with cheese (additional olives may be added if desired).

At this time, pan may be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (30 minutes if refrigerated).

Top with sour cream if desired.

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Spelt Flour Tortillas (optional)


Why spelt?
As an ancient grain, like quinoa, millet, amaranth, and others, spelt has not been manipulated to meet manufacturing needs. Rather, it is a food that our body recognizes as food, not one that was created for modern conveniences. Although spelt does have gluten, spelt’s relatively fragile gluten is easily broken apart during the chewing and mixing action which allows the enzymes and acid secreted during the digestive process to work on the surface of the food. During the digestive process, wheat forms a bolus which remains a ball making it harder to digest.

Ingredients:


Instructions:

In a bowl, blend flour, salt, baking powder, and lard until it resembles fine meal.


Add warm water, a little at a time, to the flour mixture and mix until dough is smooth and tacky but not so much water that the dough sticks to your fingers.

Form dough into a ball and kneed on floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic.


Divide, and make 12 small balls. Cover and let stand at least 30 minutes.

cover with damp paper towel
Roll each ball of dough on a floured surface to make 6 or 7 inch sized tortillas.

Place on a pre heated griddle or cast iron skillet and cook till medium golden on both sides.

Remove to a basket lined with a cloth towel or put between a towels until cool.

After tortillas have cooled completely, store in a plastic bag.

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Authentic Mexican Corn



Ingredients
  • 6-8 Ears of Corn, husked
  • 1/4 cup Mexican Crema (can't find? use sour cream instead)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cotija Cheese (can't find it? use parmesan cheese instead)
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lime
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)



Instructions

In a mixing bowl add all ingredients minus corn and set aside.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat and add the corn.

Grill on each side for a few minutes until some of the kernels begin to look darker, and a little charred.

Remove from the grill and immediately spread the cheese mixture, top with extra cilantro if desired and enjoy.

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Bizcochitos


Bizcochitos were originally introduced to to New Mexico by Spanish explorers of the 16th century. The original Mexican wedding cookie was cut into diamond shapes because the diamond signified purity for the wedding party. The cookies were dusted with white powder sugar so that everything would be white.

Anise seed's flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. So if you're like me and have a hard time finding it you can either buy from Amazon like I did or you can use fennel instead. Fennel is very similar in taste and will save you a bit of trouble.
Ingredients
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour (feel free to use all-purpose flour) 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small food processor. Add honey, and anise seeds; cover and pulse several times to combine.


In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add honey mixture. Beat until fluffy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour and salt until combined. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out dough. 


Place cut outs 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are firm to the touch. 


Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; sprinkle with cinnamon (and powder sugar if desired) and let cool.



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Printable Grocery List
http://printablegrocerylist.blogspot.com/2013/09/arizona-grocery-list.html


Printable Resources

If any of the links don't work please post a comment so I can update the blog.

Arizona state flag became official state flag on January 25, 1917
Color the Arizona State Flag 



Arizona State Seal

Color State Seal  



Saguaro became the state flower in 1931

Color State Flower
http://www.coloring-pages-book-for-kids-boys.com/images/flowers_03_saguaro-cactus-blossom_az_coloring-pages-book-for-kids-boys.gif


Did You Know:

Arizona leads the nation in copper production.

The Castilian and Burgundian flags of Spain, the Mexican flag, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the United States have all flown over the land area that has become Arizona. 

Four Corners is noted as the spot in the United States where a person can stand in four states at the same time. 

Arizona, among all the states, has the largest percentage of its land set aside and designated as Indian lands.  

At one time camels were used to transport goods across Arizona. 


Silly But True:

It is against the law to refuse someone a glass of water.

It is against the law to hunt camels.

It is against the law to let your donkey sleep in a bathtub.

There is a possible 25 years in prison for cutting down a cactus.

A decree declares that anyone caught stealing soap must wash himself with it until it is all used up.


Digging Deeper


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alabama

Alabama, 22nd state, December 14, 1819
Welcome to the Heart of Dixie.

Alabama, the Yellowhammer State, is located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west.

The Spanish were the first settlers to come to Alabama in 1505. They reported Indian cuisine consisted of wild turkey, game, fish, melons, and squash. 200 years later slaves brought in African cooking techniques, seasoning’s, and sauces to their owners' recipes. Settlers often ate native squash baked and candied, and Gulf shrimp were used in bisques and jambalayas.

As we cook our way through The States we will bounce between what was popular to eat 200 years ago and what is popular to eat today. For Alabama, my focus is on what is today's popular cuisine.

  • Alabama became the 22nd US. state on December 14, 1819.
  • State Capital is Montgomery


Famous BBQ Chicken


Over 15,000 people come to celebrate Alabama's Chicken and Egg Festival in Molton, Alabama. Here is a famous recipe that's sure to please the family.

If making chicken and beans at the same time, start with the beans then when the beans are in the oven start prepping the chicken.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sorghum molasses (don't stress... regular molasses or brown sugar works too)
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (we use Kerrygold grass fed butter, it's our only cheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large chicken, cut into pieces
Instructions:

Mix vinegar and next 10 ingredients together in a sauce pan over medium heat. When sauce is heated coat the bottom of a baking pan with some of the sauce. Add chicken and remaining sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.


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Southern Style Baked Beans



This recipe is one of my all time favs! Best baked beans you'll ever have. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked medium well, drained and cut into pieces. Save bacon grease.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 quart mixed beans (canillini, navy, azuki, or mix and match what ever type you like, soaked and cooked according to directions on package. Strain water and they will be ready to use. No time to soak? For a quicker easier version buy 2, 16 oz cans of beans rinse and drain).
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/2 cup sorghum molasses, regular molasses or brown sugar... your choice.

Instructions:

In a medium frying pan, sauté the chopped onion and green pepper in the bacon grease until limp.

In a large bowl, mix everything together well until completely blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with foil and bake beans for 1 hour, remove foil and stir. (*add chicken to oven now) Bake an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beans are cooked. Stir occasionally.

(in case you're wondering, since it's impossible to find sugar free bacon we started curing and smoking our own bacon years ago. It's surprisingly easy to do. Not only is it way cheaper than buying it at the store but it's better than any store bought bacon!) 
 
Side note: We made the pecan bars the day before. *We put the beans in the oven, baked for 1 hour. Then put the chicken in the oven to bake with the beans. When the beans were done, we took them out and let the chicken bake another 15 minutes. It turned out just fine.
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Alabama Pecan Bars 



Alabama State nut is the pecan. The following recipe is refined sugar free and grain free. Feel free to use regular flour for the recipe listed below.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups butter
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Dash of salt

    Filling Ingredients:

    1 3/4 Cup chopped pecans
    1/3 Cup maple syrup
    2 Tablespoons honey
    1/4 Cup coconut oil
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch
    2 Tablespoons almond milk

    Instructions:
      Preheat oven to 350F
      To make the crust, grease an 8×8″ pan.

      Mix ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined.

      Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

      For the filling: In a small-medium sized pot, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract.

      Bring pot up to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently.

      Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

      In a small bowl, mix together the egg, tapioca starch and almond milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.

      Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooler, whisk in the almond milk mixture until combined and smooth.

      Mix in the chopped pecans and mix until combined. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and distribute evenly.

      Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

      Before serving, chill in the fridge for at least an hour – the colder they are, the easier they are to cut and serve!

      Or for a more traditional dessert recipe, Fried Pies are said to have originated from Alabama. To make a fried pie, a small amount of fruit filling was heaped on a round piece of rolled-out pie dough. Then the pastry was closed in the shape of a half moon, sealed at the edges, and deep fried in fat (personally I'd use coconut oil). The pies were dusted with powdered sugar and eaten hot.


      Printable Grocery List
      Or get your kids to make their own.

       

      Free Printable Resources:

      If any of the links no longer work please post a comment so I can update the blog.

      The Alabama State Flag was authorized by the Alabama legislature on February 16, 1895.
      Color the Alabama State Flag

      Although Alabama has had 2 other state seals, the current seal was approved in 1939.


      Goldenrod became the state flower in 1959.

      Did you know:

      The Spanish were the first Europeans to reach Alabama in the 16th century.

      People from Alabama are called Alabamians. 

      The word Alabama means tribal town in the Creek Indian language.

      General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians in 1814. Following the event the Native Americans ceded nearly half the present state land to the United States. 

      Alabama workers built the first rocket to put humans on the moon.

      Hitler's typewriter survived from his mountain retreat and is exhibited at the Hall of History in Bessemer.

      Silly But True:

      It is illegal to sell peanuts in Lee County Alabama after sundown on Wednesday.

      It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.

      It is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church.

      It is illegal to flick boogers into the wind.

      Digging Deeper:

      http://www.bigorrin.org/alabama_kids.htm

      http://www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/states/alabama/

      http://michaelshane.hubpages.com/hub/The-38-Alabama-Indian-Tribes

       

      Tuesday, October 8, 2013

      Alaska

      Welcome to The Last Frontier

      The great state of Alaska is one of our country's most unique natural treasures. Home to the kodiak bear, caribou, trumpeter swan, polar bear, mountain goat, dall sheep, coyote, bison, ground squirrel, red fox, beaver, artic fox, porcupine, black-tailed dear, muskox, short-tailed ermine, and snowshoe hare.

      Alaska is situated in the north-west extremity of the North American continent, with the international boundary with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south.

      Traditionally, Eskimos dietary staples were seal, whale, caribou, walrus, polar bear, Arctic hare, fish, birds, berries, leaves, roots, and seaweed. They didn't suffer from a lack of vitamins, even though they consumed very few vegetables, because they ate raw food and every single part of the animals they killed with the exception of the gall bladder because it was bitter tasting. 

      • Alaska became the 49th U.S. state on January 3, 1959.
      • State Capital is Juneau.

      Lets get cooking!

      Teriyaki Salmon


      Native Alaskans did not farm since seafood, as well as berries and roots, were plentiful. They depended on salmon as the mainstay of their diet. Currently, the harvest in Alaska represents about 80% of the total wild-caught North American harvest of salmon. It's best to buy wild caught salmon. When shopping for this weeks menu be sure to check the labels. Wild caught salmon will say "wild caught" on the label.

      I must admit, I hate fish! Especially fishy fish like salmon. So I only bought 2 fillets. One for my husband and one for Samantha. I regretting only buying 2. It was really good and super simple to make!

      Ingredients:
      • ½ Cup soy sauce
      • ½ Cup maple syrup ( or brown sugar if you prefer)
      • ¼ Cup Orange juice
      • 4 chopped scallions
      • 1/2 Tablespoon ground ginger
      • 1 Tablespoon 5 spice powder (Chinese)
      • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
      • 4,  3 oz salmon fillets   

      Instructions:

      Combine and Mix first seven ingredients.
      Place marinade in freezer bag and add salmon.
      Marinade at least an hour (flesh side down) *save some marinade.
      Set oven to broil.
      Place fish in a baking pan (single layer).
      Cook flesh side down for 8 minutes (under Broiler).
      Flip and coat salmon with marinade, cook for 8 minutes. 
        
      _______________________________________


      Wild Alaskan Low-Bush Cranberry Sauce 


      Ingredients:
      4 Cups cranberries
      1 Cup water
      Sweeten to taste using honey, maple syrup or sugar... your choice.

      Instructions:
      Mix the cranberries and water in the pot and set over a medium heat. Stir frequently. Cook until berries pop and sauce thickens. The longer the berries cook the more jam-like they will become.

      Try adding some of the following flavor mixes into your sauce:

      Honey and fresh rosemary (honey produces a runnier sauce because it is a dense sweetener and it does not gel the fruit as nicely as sugar does due of a difference in reaction with the natural pectin).

      Brown sugar (or maple syrup, be sure to add less water from the start though) 3 cloves, a few chunks of fresh ginger and an apple or pear chopped into small pieces (sugar will make sauce more jam-like).

      Maple syrup and a whole orange, peel included, chopped into small pieces, a dash of cinnamon.

      A substantial amount of ground cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove (plus brown sugar as the sweetener) results in a subtle but distinct chai-flavor.
      _______________________________________


      Wild Berry Cobbler

      Alaska is home to many varieties of berries and the wild ones always taste the best. Common Alaskan berries include: raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Even though the growing season in Alaska is very short, the days are long and cooling making fruits and vegetables much larger than usual. 

      Ingredients:
      • 2-3 Cup blackberries (if frozen, allow to thaw)
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 2 Tablespoon melted butter
      • 1 1/2 Cup almond flour/meal
      • 1 egg
      • 2 Tablespoon honey

      Instructions: 

      Preheat the oven to 350.

      Put berries in a bowl, add 1 Tablespoon honey and mix till all berries have a light honey coating. Distribute fruit evenly in a medium baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.

      In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until it makes a thick paste.

      Using a spoon drop teaspoon size amounts of the topping, over the fruit. 

      Sprinkle the top with a bit more cinnamon if you want, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until the topping is golden brown). Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly; serve warm.
       ______________________________________


      Free Printable Resources:
      If any of the links don't work please post a message to me so I can update the blog. 


      The flag was designed by a 13 year old Native American student, Benny Benson. Seven gold stars represent Alaska's gold-mining industry and form the shape of the Big Dipper on a field of blue. An eighth star, represents the North Star and symbolizes Alaska's far north location. The gold color of the stars represents the state's enormous mineral resources. The flag was adopted as official state flag on May 2, 1927
      Color State Flag

      The official state seal of Alaska was originally designed in 1910 when Alaska was still a territory and not a state.
      Create your own State Seal:


      The alpine forget-me-not became the state flower in 1949.
      Color State Flower

      Did you know:
       
      The USA paid Russia $7.2 million (2 cents per acre) for Alaska on March 30, 1867. Below is a copy of the original check!



      Alaska's most important revenue source is the oil and natural gas industry

      Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States. 

      The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. 

      Most of America's salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska.  

      Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle. 

      Alaska is the United State's largest state and is over twice the size of Texas. Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide. 

      17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska. 

      The record low temperature was -80 degrees Fahrenheit at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971.

      Eskimo children enjoy chewing on raw walrus kidney just as much as a chocolate candy bar.

      Silly But True:

      It is against the law to tie your pet dog to the roof of a car.

      It is against the law to live in a trailer as it is being hauled across the city.

      It is against the law for owners of flamingos to let their pet into barber shops.

      Tuesday, September 24, 2013

      Introduction


      When I was a kid my parents loved to cook. We always had a big family dinner each and every night. In spite of growing up in a household with a mother that always had something stewing or simmering or sizzling on the stove top I never learned how to cook. By the time I moved out, my culinary skills were limited to scrambled eggs and soup from a can.

      Don't get me wrong, my parents didn't intentionally keep me out of the kitchen. It was purely by choice. I had zero interest in cooking. Probably because my palate was very limited. I could list the food items that I would eat on one hand. That certainly made my mom irritated but it didn't stop her from making all her favorite meals.

      Fast forward many years, I had a family of my own and decided it was time to feed us real food with real home cooked meals. We were surviving on canned soup, spaghetti (by then I figured out how to boil noodles) and boxed meals you add hamburger to. Not having any clue that chicken actually came cut into pieces I bought a whole chicken and as soon as I brought it home I called my mom to ask how long and at what temperature to cook a chicken at. After rinsing the chicken carcass, salting it and baking it to perfection (ok, maybe not perfection but it was cooked all the way). I couldn't bring myself to eat it. By the time we were sitting down to eat I was sick to my stomach. All I could see on the table sitting before me was the raw headless chicken carcass I handled before letting the oven do it's magic. I had done such a stellar job of staying clear of the kitchen all those years, prior to that day, I had never seen a chicken before it was cooked!

      I'm glad to say that I have come a long way since then. Not only do I make my own meals from scratch but I seldom ever shop the inside isles of the grocery store. Boxed meals, prepared/refined processed foods never see the inside of my grocery cart.

      My goal with this blog is to give others inspiration to get their kids not only in the kitchen, but to get them cooking! Cooking is fun and exciting. It can even be a bit adventurous. I believe if given the chance, even the kids that don't want to learn how to cook will end up have a great time as they learn valuable life skills. Following this blog you will be teaching them necessary skills to feed the family they will have some day and they will expand their palate as they try new things.

      I get bored really easily and as a result I am making new recipes all the time. In spite of that there are still certain foods that I don't like so I tend to steer away from them. Cooking Through the States With Your Kids has forced me to expand my palate and try new things as it will your children. If your like most people, you have a list of ten or so recipes that you make over and over which is great but it is limiting. Come along with me as we try new things. Search for foods we as adults may not have ever tried. You'll be glad to give your kids the experience and when they make it themselves they'll be more likely to try it!

      As I stated above, I cook from scratch. We also have a no refined sugar rule in our house for many reasons but most important is because sugar does crazy things to my youngest, Samantha. We use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, sorghum molasses and fruit. Samantha and my husband are allergic to dairy so all the recipes will be dairy free. We use almond and or coconut milk in place of dairy. Feel free to use either real milk or an alternative as we do. We also don't use anything canned because of BPA's. What are BPA's? See this link: http://www.naturalnews.com/BPA.html We also don't eat a lot of grains. If a recipe calls for flour we will use almond flour or coconut flour. With that said, please feel free to use what ever you are comfortable with. I'm not here to judge you or change the way you eat. I simply want to give you an explanation as to why most recipes wont call for ingredients from a can. When it's unavoidable, like tomato sauce or tomato paste, I have an alternative mentioned but you can use what ever is easiest. 

      I tried to pick recipes that are tied to early statehood traditions. Some recipes are what's popular today because some traditional recipe ingredients are hard to find. For example, Alaska was and still is fond of using whale fat, seal fat, and fish heads with nearly all recipes including dessert! Since I don't expect most people to have access to whale blubber I aimed for a more recent recipe that has ingredients tied to what early settlers had access to. With that said, I am not a historian. Which is to say, I could be wrong. I am human and I have done the best research available to me at the time of the blog posting.

      I am not a dietitian. I am posting recipes I truly believe to be prepared the best and most healthy way possible. Again, I certainly could be wrong. Feel free to tweak the recipes to fit your families needs. Everyone is different and has different opinions on what's healthy. As a family we don't subscribe to the low fat fads. We believe appropriate amounts animal fat is important part of a healthy lifestyle along with other healthy oils like coconut oil, nut oil and olive oil. We never incorporate vegetable oils like rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean oil, etc. However, feel free to use whatever suits you and your family.

      This blog doesn't guarantee that your children are going to become the next top chef but it will teach them valuable life skills:
      • How to read and follow a recipe.
      • Make a grocery list and become familiar with the grocery store layout (and if your frugal like me it'll also teach them price comparison).
      • Practical, real-life application for math skills.
      • How to use, clean and store away kitchen gadgets.
      • Knowledge, and hopefully appreciation, of foods from other time periods and places.
      • Geography and history along with fun facts about each state. 
      •  Last but not least....a love of cooking! I fully expect your children will enjoy cooking with you and be proud to see the family enjoy a meal they prepared!
      My sincerest hope is that you and your children make memories that will last a life time and maybe even start a new family tradition. Thank you for taking time to join us in our journey as we travel and really experience the history of our great nation!

      Bon appetit!

      Saturday, September 21, 2013

      Coming Soon!

      From one homeschool parent to another. Lets make geography fun and exciting by getting kids cooking in the kitchen. Each week we will focus on 1 of our 50 great states making meals that are popular to that state. In addition to a main dish, side dish, and dessert you'll find interesting facts, silly but true laws, and digging deeper links to make geography come alive.

      What better way to instil in them confidence and a sense of achievement by encouraging them to make a nice home cooked meal once a week. Not to mention the added benefit of reinforcing U.S. geography.

      Come back soon, or better yet follow by email, to see the first blog entry cooking Alabama style!