Homemade Tortillas

Homemade Tortillas

 

There is nothing like fresh flour tortillas (tortillas de harina)! I was lucky enough to be taught how to make tortillas by my wonderful neighbor in Arizona. This recipe is easy and so good with the result being thin, soft and delicious. You will never want store bought tortillas again. Please note that you need super hot water to make soft tortillas so don’t skip the step for heating water!

 

Tortillas

 

6 cups All Purpose Flour

1 TBSP salt

1 TBSP Baking Powder

1 cup Vegetable Shortening

2 to 2 ¼ cups HOT water

 

I usually make up my dough in my stand mixer but it can also be done by hand. First, combine the dry ingredients. Next, mix in the shortening until well blended and crumbly. Last, slowly add in the HOT water and mix until well combines. Knead the dough for 10 minutes and then rest it for at least 15 minutes in a plastic bag. It can be frozen for later use, or rolled into tortillas right away.

 

To make the tortillas, Heat a skillet to medium heat and sprinkle your surface with flour (you will need to do this for every one).

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Roll a piece of dough into palm sized balls and flatten with your fingers.

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Place the flattened dough ball onto the floured surface and roll as thin as possible. The shape does not have to be a perfect circle! They all taste the same.

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Now, carefully place your thinly rolled tortilla into the hot skillet. It doesn’t take long for it to begin bubbling up. Let it get nice and bubbly and then flip to cook the other side for about half a long as the first side took. You will need to do a little trial and error but once you get it you will have it for good.

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I usually flip mine onto a plate lined with a thin clean cloth to absorb and condensation. They can be reheated for later use or enjoyed right away!

 

Bone Broth: Good For What Ails You!

          November is here (and almost gone!) and even way out here on our little piece if paradise, the ick can get us. We get exposed when we meet up with friends, travel, and even just running errands as usual. I know, I know exposure is good! Your immune system is being strengthened! Really though, who is cheering on these biological facts when they are run down, and stuffed up with the cold or flu? So what is it about this time of year? I firmly believe that these viruses begin to take hold in the late fall for a few specific reasons. First, the days are getting shorter and we are getting less sunlight. Unless you live on the equator you fall victim to the waning of daylight in the fall. Even if you aren’t a human solar panel like me, less sun means less vitamin D. Then there is the fact that as the weather cools we may be less inclined to drink water all day like we all know we should. Now the kicker, nutrition has a way of slipping at this time of year, the garden is sleeping,  good produce gets hard to come by, and we may start to lean on more empty calories. Even though I try to always eat healthy, my plate looks a little less fresh in the dead of winter. Ok, winter never gets that bad here in Tennessee, but Did I mention that I require lots of warmth and sunlight to function?

            Ever since I started raising free range meat chickens, I have discovered a wonderful way to not only treat colds, flu, stomach bugs, aches and pains, etc… but actually strengthen your immune system to prevent them. This is my version of liquid gold (OK, colostrum is the REAL liquid gold, but here is a version for those of us who have weaned already). The golden goodness I speak of is bone broth. I came across this nutrient dense shot of pure goodness kind of by accident. I found a recipe for it when trying to figure out how to use the whole chicken. When you raise your own and are part of your food giving you the ultimate gift of it’s life (sorry vegan friends!!) you don’t have any desire to waste a bit. Once I made a batch I started researching all the amazing qualities it has, and also noticing the bolstering effect it had on our own immune systems. I have since created my own recipe that adds a few more super food veggies than most to enhance the overall nutritional value. I use my 18 quart roaster oven to make it a large batch. Feel free to leave out or add in according to your dietary needs or preferences. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week, or frozen or pressure canned for long term storage.IMG_7359

 

Bone Broth Recipe

Bones from 2-3 whole organic chickens (free range is best)

3 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar

1 whole onion

3 cloves garlic

5-8 whole carrots

4 sticks celery plus leaves

¼ cup fresh parsley

2 TBSP Turmeric

Filtered Water (enough to cover ingredients)

*2 peeled chicken feet (optional)

Herbs and seasoning to taste (basil, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, and salt can be used fresh or dried and to suit your tastes)

 

Instructions:

First add bones and feet (if using) to the roaster oven. Next chop veggies into large chunks and add to roaster. Cover completely with water and add desired herbs, spices and salt and ACV. Bring to a hard boil, then reduce to simmer for 8-12 hours. You may need to skim debris off the top every hour or so and discard. Once your broth is done cooking, discard all solids and filter broth through a metal strainer lined with doubled cheese cloth. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the broth. You may also choose to can the bone broth in your pressure canner according to the manufacturers directions. If you can it, let it cool completely and remove any fat from the top of the broth prior to canning.

 

*Chicken feet add great nutrients and texture to the broth but are totally optional. If you do use them make sure to peel them first. To peel, drop them into boiling water for 25-30 seconds then promptly dunk them in ice water. The skin comes right off, even the nails have a cap that comes off leaving a totally clean surface for your broth.

 

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Tennessee, Tennessee, Ain’t No Place I’d Rather be!

Sunshine Daydream farm has passed it’s first birthday in the great state of Tennessee! To celebrate I have decided to start a website and blog to share all the excitement with whoever may be interested. My adventures in homesteading officially started in Hidden Valley, AZ where I had my little 2 acre start to self sufficiency. I had a blast trying to cultivate that little piece of dirt but alas, I missed the green and trees of my youth in Wisconsin, and felt I needed not only more land but more rain. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t hack the climate of the great white north except in June, July, and August. But, I began looking at relocating somewhere just as green but much warmer. Before long, the forest and streams of Tennessee called. Never having been to the state I was fairly confident it was going to be perfect. After all, The Grateful Dead had told me for years in  “Tennessee Jed” that there “Ain’t No Place They’d Rather Be”. Good enough for the Dead is good enough for me! Ok a little more thought went into it than that but thats boring stuff. So, we sold a lot of what we owned and most of our livestock, bought a house and land sight (and state) unseen, packed up 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and six chickens (who I couldn’t bear to part with) and headed East.

The drive to Tennessee took a total of 2 days. We left out around 5 a.m. and hit Dallas TX around 2 a.m. the next morning. We stayed at a nice place in Dallas that was a converted apartment complex. I highly recommend this when traveling with animals. We had our own entrance which is very nice when you are trying not to look like the Beverly Hill Billies. I am not sure you can really avoid people getting this image when you roll up with a trailer full of farm equipment, 2 cages of chickens and one of your 2 dogs is a Bloodhound, but I tried. This attempt at covering up my farminess in the city all came crashing down at 4 a.m. when both the roosters I brought decided to crow and wake up rest of the guests. Did I mention 2 of the chickens I couldn’t leave behind were roos? So we didn’t get the much needed sleep we planned for and headed back out after letting the kids swim for a while. The rest of the trip saw us crossing the state line for the first time ever at Memphis around 8 p.m. and getting to our new homestead around 11.pm. The rest is history. I feel like I belong on this land in a meaningful way. The beauty of Tennessee is something to be marveled and life here can be challenging but, it rains and things grow which is pretty much all you can ask for sometimes.

Now that you have a blow by blow of our moving adventure, let me tell you a little about the current Sunshine Daydream Farm and the family. I am a 32 year old mom of 2 humans and many fur and feather babies. I have been working toward self sufficiency and off grid living for the past decade. I am still a long way off but along the way I have managed to teach myself how to raise livestock, garden, can, and much more. I try to do as much as possible from scratch. I homeschool my 2 boys and we love to learn and teach others. I hope this site will help someone, somewhere whether you live in town and want some farm fresh recipes, or are starting your own homestead and want to learn how to harvest meat chickens. If nothing else, you can laugh at my mistakes and think I am a crazy person like 90% of my friends and family do. Welcome, and enjoy a little Sunshine Daydream!