Food and Cooking… How Long Should You Cook Acorns?

If you have reached the point where you are about to cook up some acorns, congratulations. It means that you have probably hiked out into the yard or countryside and bent over many times and picked up acorns. Then you shelled them (which isn’t always easy). And you must have ground them and leached them and now you are ready to cook them so you can add them to your favorite recipes.

Acorns do not need a lot of cooking and I would not cook them at high heat because they will stick to the bottom. Just a little simmer, for about five or ten minutes will do the trick. Don’t overcook them, you may lose flavor that way.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Genealogy: Indians Hidden in Our Family Trees

When Americans study genealogy, they find all kinds of things they weren’t expecting. That’s what makes it fun. One of the surprises in your family tree may be a branch of American Indian ancestry. But how can you tell? How can you find out for sure? It’s not always easy, especially when their Indian names have been changed. But there are things you can look for and surname lists you can check. A lot of Americans have Indians in their tree and they are not aware of which ancestors they are. A little study of Indian territory maps and a look at Indian removal rolls might send your genealogical sleuthing in a whole different direction. 

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

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History: Imagine… Arrested for Celebrating Christmas… in America!

Would you believe that in the early American Colonies it was a sin to express happiness? Especially religious joy? (Sounds like Iran where the young people were arrested for dancing to Pharrell William’s song “Happy.”) In Puritan America, if you were caught celebrating Christmas you were arrested and punished. Public displays of merriment were forbidden, including Christmas. Religion was not something to be happy about. Skip forward three-hundred years. Have we changed or what? People are knocking each other over in malls rushing into stores open at midnight. Today, for many Americans, Christmas isn’t about religion. Yet for others it’s a very religious holiday. Whatever Christmas means to you, religion, family, gift-giving, festivities, we can all be thankful that America progressed and we can express ourselves through a variety of religious, ethnic and/or pagan holidays and not get arrested for it. Suellen Ocean is the author of The Last Quadroon. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Quadroon-Lions-Trace-Volume/dp/149283999X

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

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Using Polenta for Baking Corn Muffins and Throwing in Some Unusual Spices

One of my favorite wintertime pastimes is making biscuits and muffins. Today I made some cornbread muffins and used polenta (coarse ground corn). I wasn’t sure how it would turn out because I usually use cornmeal but the polenta was delicious. They were crunchy and the unusual spices I added gave them a tasty kick. The basic recipe was whole wheat flour adding one-third polenta. Of course I added baking soda, baking powder and salt, and I used water to moisten it. To the dry flour I added powdered orange peel and turmeric. Between the turmeric and the bright yellow polenta, the muffins had a great color. Because there were no eggs or milk added, these muffins would be considered vegan. It’s probably my mother’s love of making cornbread (she grew up on the Kansas prairie) that makes this a comfort food for me. But because of my desire to keep calories to a minimum, I have changed the recipe quite a bit. I would be lying if I said my corn muffins are better than my mother’s but I need to keep the calories down and still enjoy a good muffin. Let’s just say they are so tasty… I could eat a dozen.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Dieting Is Painful This Time of Year… Let’s Eat Pie

This time of year our self-control gets put to the test. Believe me, I know. I’ve got a box of Sees candy in the fridge given to me as a gift. If I open it, all hell will break loose. I’m the one who went through two boxes of Tofutti Cuties in about four days. I bought them for some teenagers who were coming to visit but didn’t show up. If you haven’t tried non-dairy ice cream sandwiches, you are missing out. But I can’t do that all the time. But I can still enjoy desserts, one of my favorites is pumpkin pie. In the summer I grow lots of pumpkins but you can buy pumpkin in the can and still make a nice pie. Where I save on calories is in the crust. What crust? That’s what I should say but hey… it works. I take a glass pie pan and sprinkle the bottom with about 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour. That’s it. I pour my pumpkin pie mixture into the pie pan, over the flour and I bake the pie. It’s really good. I keep the filling ingredients low calorie too. It makes a wonderful dessert, especially with a hot cup of tea. Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

 

America Was a Little Slow to Notice but it’s Not Too Late…

North American forests began their decline when Europeans viewed trees as something to exploit. Land was cleared for farming, wood was for ships and home building. Fortunes were made selling American lumber to Europe. About 1681, a well-known American historical figure, William Penn saw that the colonists were insensitive and unwise about their forest practices. The Indians had been here for thousands of years and saw nature in a different light. William Penn must have seen that same light because he required his colony (Pennsylvania) to save an acre of forest for every five acres logged. Unfortunately, this requirement was ignored. But ten years later, in 1691, Britain understood the seriousness of clear-cutting New England and enacted a law that all of Massachusetts’s white pines were to be saved for British ship masts. That didn’t work too well either, it only angered the colonists, who resented English rule. Probably many a white pine was downed in defiance to the monarchy. It wasn’t until 1876 that Congress created the Division of Forestry. Compare this with Switzerland. They have preserved a forest called Sihlwald Forest since 1291. And France started preserving their forests in the early 1700s. Planting trees to replace those logged has been a practice of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany for many years. It’s almost impossible to imagine that in North Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia, where the desert is now, was once a thick, beautiful forest. Not only do tree roots hold water but trees create their own environment and draw precipitation. They bring the rain. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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What’s the Taste Difference Between Real Cream Cheese and Fake Cream Cheese Made From Tofu?

What’s the Taste Difference Between Real Cream Cheese and Fake Cream Cheese Made From Tofu? Honestly, when it comes to cheesecake… a big difference. I bought some Tofutti brand cream cheese before Thanksgiving because I wanted to make my award winning (brag, brag) Acorn Cheesecake and I thought it was time I tried making it dairy free. When I got the Tofutti cream cheese home I tasted it and was impressed with the flavor, thinking it would be perfect for the acorn onion dip I make. But it just didn’t cut it flavor wise for the cheesecake. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have the rich flavor of a real cheesecake. But I do look forward to trying Tofutti cream cheese to make my acorn-onion dip. That’s on the menu for the coming holiday! Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Cooking and Baking: Acorns Add Texture and Are Gluten Free

Acorns are good for baking because they add texture. And they don’t have gluten in them either which is why I add whole wheat flour when I bake them into bread. When I made acorn cheesecake for Thanksgiving, the acorn meal absorbed the egg whites in the baking process and it came out very nice. You definitely need to add flour to acorns though, if you are making bread or cookies. You don’t need a lot of acorn meal to make a batch of muffins or a loaf of quick bread. One half a cup of leached acorn meal is plenty. Using a smaller amount is a good idea for beginners and be sure to mix the flour and acorns well. The way I use acorns, they are wet so I would add them to the batter after I add any liquids, including eggs.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Mistletoe and Dancing Around the Oak, Would it Be Better on the Full Moon?

It appears that Joan of Arc was fascinated with Pagan Druidism, trendy during her era. The church put her through an inquisition. One of the questions Joan was faced with, was about an oak tree in the village where nature worshippers hung mistletoe. Joan admitted to joining in that tradition. She may have believed in the little people that the Druid’s believed lived in their sacred oak trees. If you can imagine an oak woodland with people dancing around an oak tree and hanging mistletoe on its branches, you’re picturing the Druid ceremony. If you let yourself get carried away, you may even envision the little people, the fairies and the elves that the Druids believed lived in the branches of the great oak that provides so much to both the human and animal kingdoms. In the spirit of nature… relax and let yourself go. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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