Copy-Cat Campbell’s Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes!

My family gave up Campbell’s soup years ago because of the additives, and then we gave up canned soup altogether when we became more aware of the BPA in the lining of the cans. I make soup from scratch now, and I must admit my children still prefer the flavour of Campbell’s soup to my own soups. While this is disappointing, it must be said that kids LIKE Campbell’s soup. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t spicy and it tastes good. Why fight a losing battle my making soup they won’t eat in the first place? So my next step was to try and copy it, but with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

I started with pure tomatoes and no added water. This year I have had 100+ lbs of my own tomatoes so I am thrilled to use them any way I can. I seasoned with salt, then I added one of my own onions, some celery stocks, and handful of my own fresh basil. After letting simmer for a bit I put the whole lot through a food strainer, then threw in some organic cane sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and presto! I have a healthy version of Campbell’s tomato soup! I then pressure canned it and it is now shelf stable for many months. It can also be served fresh, or it can be frozen.  A quick, healthy lunch is just a jar away! And the best part is, the kids love it. Makes 16 pint sized jars (or 32 servings).

4.5 from 4 reviews
Copy Cat Campbell's Tomato Soup for kids with Fresh Tomatoes!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32
 
Ingredients
  • 20lb Fresh Tomatoes (Washed, stemmed and halved.)
  • 1 Onion (Peeled and halved.)
  • 6 stalks Celery (Whole.)
  • 5 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 12 leaves Fresh Basil (Including stocks.)
  • ½ cup Organic Cane Sugar
Instructions
  1. Add tomatoes to a large soup pot and mash with a potato masher to release juices.
  2. Add onion, celery, salt and basil. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Pour through a food mill or food strainer. Alternatively, you can use a fine, wire sieve, pushing the vegetables through the sieve until all that is left are the skins and seeds. Compost the skins and seeds.
  5. Pour soup back into a pot. Bring to almost a boil then turn heat off.
  6. Add sugar and stir well.
  7. Serve fresh or freeze or can the soup.
  8. For canning, pour into prepared jars, wipe rims clean with a clean cloth, add prepared lids and rings and pressure can according to your pressure canner's instructions. My Presto required 11 lb of pressure for 25 minutes for pint jars.
Notes
This recipe is made to be canned, but can also be served fresh, or can be frozen. If you want to make it a cream of tomato soup do not can it with milk in it. Add milk to taste when you are reheating. For cream of tomato soup do not bring to a boil: boiling milk will curdle the milk.

 

Amazing Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns With Maple Pecan Glaze!

Cinnamon buns are a family favorite around our house. We don’t have them on a regular basis, but when we need a warm, sweet treat I often whip up a batch. I used to make cinnamon buns with, at most, 50% whole wheat flour and 50% white flour. I couldn’t imagine a cinnamon bun tasting good with just whole wheat flour. Until now.  I have had the good fortune of being given a Wondermill Grain Mill. I have tasted the difference and I’ll never go back!

I finally have discovered the secrets to getting 100% whole wheat flour to rise as well as white flour, without any additives. I have been making my own 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for years now and have been employing secret number 1. It is quite simple, really: you soak half the flour in the liquid the recipe calls for, for half and hour (or more). This helps release the gluten from the whole wheat and enables it to rise beautifully. Secret number one is vital. Secret number two is the icing on the cake.

My children eat the bread dough raw from the bowl. I remember doing that when I was young, and loving it. Now, as an adult, I actually don’t enjoy the flavour of raw bread dough. There is a bitterness to it that I don’t remember being there when I was a kid. When I received my grain mill from Wondermill I expected a difference, for sure. How could there not be a difference between flour that was milled who knows how long ago, and flour that was milled minutes ago? What I didn’t expect was that the bitterness I was tasting in the raw dough would disappear completely. That bitterness, then, must have been a slight rancidity that is in previously milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour contained none of that bitterness. This could only make the bread taste better! And so, secret number two is the freshly milled flour.

When I received the Wondermill I decided I would attempt 100% whole wheat flour cinnamon buns. I began playing around with my recipe, and quite frankly, I have created THE perfect whole wheat cinnamon recipe for you. It is sweet, moist, tender and full of whole grain flavour without any bitterness. They rise like white flour, they have the nutty flavour of whole grains, and they are soft and incomparable. I am in love! And you will be too.

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
Makes 2 batches, or one can be made into a bread loaf.

Ingredients

  • 8 c. freshly milled whole wheat flour, divided into 3 cup and 5 cup portions.
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. honey, divided.
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 egg

Cinnamon bun filling (per pan of buns):

  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. demerarra sugar or other dark cane sugar

Glaze (per pan of buns):

  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1 c. toasted pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. To make sponge add yeast to 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tbsp. honey in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Add 3 cups flour to 2 cups water. Mix well and set aside.  This is your flour soaking, releasing the gluten.
  3. Melt butter and 1/3 c. honey together and set aside until room temperature.
  4. In half an hour, add yeast mixture to flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Add butter and honey mixture and mix well.
  6. Add salt, egg and remaining flour (one cup at a time) and mix well.
  7. Once dough is of the right consistency (neither wet nor dry but tacky) kneed dough for 10 minutes.
  8. Set dough aside in a large bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to double in size. (1-2 hours).
  9. When dough is doubled, kneed it briefly, divide into two, then roll out onto floured counter top.

For cinnamon bun filling:

  1. Spread butter over the dough with your fingers or a pastry brush.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar evenly over the dough.  Roll dough up and pinch closed.  Slice into evenly sized buns
  3. Place buns in greased baking dish with a small bit of space around each bun. Cover with a damp tea towel.
  4. Allow to rise until doubled in size: 1 hour or so.
  5. Once buns have doubled in size, bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

For glaze:

  1. Melt butter and maple syrup together.
  2. Toast pecans in oven on broil for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. WATCH CAREFULLY! It is really easy to burn them on broil!
  3. Add toasted pecans to butter and syrup.
  4. Drizzle liberally over the cinnamon buns.
  5. Serve warm!

How to Make Kombucha Tea: A Fermented Probiotic Beverage

Kombucha is a fermented tea made with tea, sugar and water, using a SCOBY (Or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) to start the fermentation process. It is naturally carbonated, has a sweet and sour taste, and a low alcohol content. [Read more...]

Probably originating in Manchuria, kombucha is just another way a beverage was preserved without the relatively new invention of refrigeration. Food preservation, in the past, consisted mainly of dehydration, candying, salting and fermenting.  Without the modern convenience of refrigeration it was challenging to store food and beverages, and so fermentation was often used for beverages.

SCOBY:  The SCOBY is similar in some ways to a MOTHER in apple cider vinegar.  A scoby is best acquired from another person who makes kombucha.  Once it is placed in the tea, it feeds on the sugar and ferments the tea.  The SCOBY culture produces a bacteria that ferments the yeast, also from the SCOBY.  This increases the acidity which keeps the alcohol content minimal.  It is the acid and the mild alcohol content that inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria or mold.  When brewing your kombucha, the SCOBY will make a second SCOBY.  You will have one to give away to a friend, or to start a double batch with.  You can also just throw it out (although if you are like me you will become oddly attached to the thing as if it were alive). The chickens like it too!

Where To Find A SCOBY: Your best bet is to get one from a friend or acquaintance.  You can often find them advertised on craigslist.  Some people have had success making them from a bottle of original GTs Kombucha, which is a commercially prepared kombucha purchased at many health food stores.  You can also find them on Etsy and they can be shipped by mail.

Health Claims: Kombucha contains active enzymes and amino acids.  This means it may be good for the intestines by providing it with beneficial probiotics.  Others have made more specific health claims which haven’t been scientifically proven, so you can do your own research on that matter.

Alcohol Content: Kombucha is undeniably alcoholic.  That said, the acidity keeps the alcohol content from being over 1% and in many cases in only about 0.5%. (Similar to a dealcoholized beer.)

How to make Kombucha:

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 L (Quarts) Water
  • 1 cup white sugar (I use organic white cane sugar)
  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1 SCOBY in 2 cups of kombucha

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from heat.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add 8 tea bags.
  4. Allow to cool until tea is room temperature (several hours)
  5. Remove tea bags.
  6. Pour tea into a large, glass (not metal!) jar.  A large pickle jar is perfect.
  7. Dump SCOBY and kombucha into the tea (only at room temperature!).
  8. Cover with cheese cloth and hold cloth tight with an elastic band.
  9. Place in a cool, dark location for 7 -10 days.
  10. After 7 days, taste the tea.  If you would like it more sour (which would mean less sugar content) let sit longer.  If you are happy with the flavour, remove SCOBY, separate the new SCOBY from the old, and store both in 2 cups each of kombucha in the fridge, covered with cheese cloth, or start a new brew.  Be sure to reserve 2 cups of kombucha with the scoby for your next brew.
  11. You can strain the kombucha if you wish to remove the strands and lumps.  I usually do.  Pour into bottles and cap tightly.  You can use mason jars.  Cap tightly.
  12. Let sit on the counter in the same cool, dark location, for 2-4 days.  This is a second fermentation, and an anaerobic one, so the alcohol content may increase during this process.  This will also increase the carbonation content.
  13. When you have finished the second fermentation, place bottles in the fridge.   This effectively stops the fermentation process and your tea is ready to drink!  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • The SCOBY will store in the fridge for several weeks before it starts to break down.
  • When you choose your tea, make sure it is black tea, WITH caffeine.  It won’t work without caffeine.
  • DO NOT USE EARL GREY TEA!  The tanins in it may destroy the SCOBY.
  • You can substitute several of the bags with a flavored tea or a green tea, but make sure your main tea is black tea (for example, English Breakfast).
  • You can add fruit juice, fruit, ginger, herbs and more to your second ferment (when you bottle it).  Play around with it!
  • When choosing bottles, look for ones that can be capped tightly.  You can use mason jars if necessary.  The ideal bottles are home-brew style bottles with reusable caps that clamp down.  Find them at U-brew stores.
  • The longer you let your kombucha ferment, the more vinegary it gets, and the less sugar content it will have.  Go by taste!
  • When you place your SCOBY in the tea for the first time it may float.  It may sink.  It may line up vertically in the jar.  That’s ok!  Let it do what it wants to do.  The new SCOBY will form on the top of the jar.  You will then peel them apart if they are attached.
  • A healthy SCOBY is thick and peach colored.  An unhealthy SCOBY is thin, frayed looking, darker in color and looks…. sick.  It may still make a new SCOBY but it needs to be fed!
  • If your SCOBY or your brew ever shows mold on it discard it.  You have an imbalance of yeast and bacteria somehow.
  • Don’t mistake your newly forming SCOBY for mold on the top!  It will be whitish and thicker in some spots than others.  Over time it will get thicker and form a new SCOBY on top.  If you are uncertain, just wait a few days and you’ll know for sure.  Also, your brew should smell a bit fermented but not moldy.

This post has been shared on From The Farm Blog Hop.