Mexican Coleslaw – three different ways…. Plain, Creamy, and Fermented

Sometimes your best meals come for what is lying around in your pantry waiting to be used.

Such is the case with this recipe.

I had leftover pinto beans and hamburger to use up for lunch one day this week, and I was trying trying to think of how to make it a little different or special since we had just eaten the same meal for lunch the day before.

What do I have I asked myself?

I had a Napa Cabbage that needed to be used up. What could I do with that. Well, I could make coleslaw, but traditional cole slaw doesn’t really fit with this meal, and only one of my kids really likes it.

Cross that off the list.

What about Mexican Coleslaw. Yes. That might work.

What can I put in it.

Cabbage, red onion, garlic…. The recipe started formulating in my mind. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Mexican Coleslaw:

Cabbage (green or Napa work well), chopped or grated. Grate the amount needed for the dish you are serving this week and the number of people in your family.

1 cup red onion, chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/8 cup salt for every 4 cups of cabbage

Black pepper, a few good shakes

1/2 tsp chili powder for every 4 cups of cabbage

1.5 tsp cumin for every 4 cups of cabbage

Juice from 1 lime, or 2 tbsp of bottles lime juice per every 4 cups of cabbage

Throw it all in a bowl and toss together.

Now this is where your options come in.

Mexican Coleslaw Three Ways:

1. Plain: Eat it as is. This is what we did. We used it as a topping for our Mexican lunch in place of lettuce. If you find it a bit dry, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to distribute the spices and moisten it up a little.

2. Creamy: Add mayonnaise. If you want a creamier slaw, add a little Mayo at the end and mix in. This would be wonderful on top of Mexican food as well.

3. Fermented: If you haven’t added oil or Mayo, this is where it gets interesting. You can add more salt and turn it into a Mexican lacto-ferments sauerkraut. This could be done with any leftovers that didn’t get eaten at your meal, or with the whole batch if you desire. Add about 1 tsp of good sea salt per every 4 cups of cabbage. Go by taste. It should be salty, but not so salty so that you don’t want to eat it. Taste as you go when adding salt. Once salted, pack into a clean jar, cover with a follower (glass weight, sterilized rock, ziplock baggie filled with marbles). Cover with filtered water so that all the food contents are submerged. Cover loosely with a lid. Label and date. Loosen the lid at least once a day to release any gases. Eat at any point, but allow it to ferment for 1-2 weeks or until the taste is to your liking before transferring to cold storage.

I enjoyed mine with a taco bowl topped with my homegrown, fermented cherry tomatoes (see lead photo).

For more information on fermented foods visit the Pantry. Or for a more thorough resource, I highly recommend Shannon Stronger’s Traditionally Fermented Foods book (affiliate link).

Extra Cranberries? Try this yummy relish….

Do you have extra cranberries to use up after Thanksgiving? Try this Lemon Cranberry Relish. It couldn’t be easier. It works for Thanksgiving, but I’ll tell you a secret. I made extra this year so that I have some for Christmas too. That beautiful red color will be lovely on my Christmas table.

This recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Here’s what you need:

1 package whole fresh cranberries

1/4 cup chopped lemon peel or 1-2 tbsp lemon zest


Simply chop the cranberries in your food processor (or leave them whole if you want), cut up your lemon peel into little pieces or chunks (you could use lemon zest too if you don’t want the chunks of peel in there), put in a jar, and cover with honey to 1” above the fruit level. That’s it!

Swirl the cranberries around 2-3 times per day or whenever you pass by the jar to keep them well coated as submerged. After a couple of days you’ll notice that the honey becomes more liquid as the fruit release their juices into it. You can begin eating it at any point, but the flavor is best after a week or more of fermentation time.

Amazingly this is a fermented relish. The anti-microbial properties of the honey are acting as a preservative for the fruit long enough for the liquid to be released into the honey which then allows the honey to ferment. After fully fermented, which takes about 2 weeks (more like 4 weeks if you use whole cranberries) the this will last indefinitely in the fridge. If kept at room temperature it will continue to ferment and eventually turn to alcohol if left out long enough. I keep mine out on the counter, but it never lasts long enough to bother putting it in the fridge. We eat it up.

And feel free to play with flavors. I’ve also tried adding orange and cinnamon, but the lemon is my favorite. 

This recipe makes a great jam substitute if you are trying to avoid sugar. I also use it in baking to make flavored biscotti or scones, or even as a flavoring or sweetener in my morning tea.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Birthday Cookie

The six-year-old requested this for her birthday this year. We are mixing them up now! Give this recipe a try. 😊

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie:

1 stick butter and 1/4 cup tasteless oil (I use light olive oil), melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Whip the sugar, honey, and butter several minutes until light and creamy (this step is important, don’t skimp on the mixing). Then mix in the egg, salt, and vanilla.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Stir together.

Mist your skillet(s) with cooking oil. You can either use one 10″ skillet, or three mini cast iron skillets. Fill with cookie batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble

This is similar to Apple Brown Betty which is baked, but this is a quick, allergy-friendly skillet version, and can be made in small batches. It’s a great way to use of stale ends of sourdough bread, but regular bread works great too.

Btw, Carolyn at Homesteading Family (affiliate link) as a great Apple Brown Betty recipe.

Apple Crumble:

This recipe is dairy, sugar, soy, nut, and egg free, and can be made gluten free as well.

1 medium apple, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp avocado oil, or butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

1/4-1/2 cup water

2-4 slices of stale bread, coarsely crumbled (for a GF version use gluten free bread)

Peel and chop your apple, heat skillet over medium heat and add your oil and apple. Sauté for a couple of minutes or so, and add the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until all the apple pieces are coated. Next add the honey and vanilla, stir quickly so that the honey doesn’t burn, and gradually pour in some of the water to make a sauce. Don’t add all of it unless you need it. Add the crumbled bread and stir until coated and heated through. Serve with ice cream or heavy cream if you can have it. Makes 2-3 servings.

Gingerbread Cake Pan Cake

This recipe is moist, delicious, allergy friendly (nut, egg, dairy free), and it can be mixed straight in the pan which maximizes cleanup.

Gingerbread Cake Pan Cake:

You can certainly mix this in a bowl or a mixer and add the batter to two regular round floured cake pans, or you can grab a 9×13” casserole and a fork and get busy.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

Add all of the following into your bowl or directly into your 9×13” casserole and mix with a fork until all the dry ingredients are combined.

Then add…

1/3 cup oil

1 cup water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup molasses

Add all of the above ingredients into the bowl or cake pan and stir with the fork until all the lumps of flour have been mixed. Be sure to scrape to the bottom.

Bake 350 degree for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


Sourdough Banana Bread

Moist and flavorful, and a great way to use up excess sourdough.

3 cups sourdough starter (fed or unfed)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup sugar

3 very ripe, mashed bananas.

Mix all of the above together and then add…

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1-3 cups whole wheat or whole grain spelt flour. Add 1/2 cup at a time until the batter is about the texture of softened cream cheese.

Pour into greased loaf pans.

Ready to go in the oven.

Cover and let it rise for about an hour or until it almost reaches the top of the pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Internal temp should register 190 degrees.

Remove from pans immediately and place on cooling rack to cool. Makes 2 loaves.


Vegetarian (or not) Instant Pot Black Eyed Pea Soup

This is a hearty, savory soup good for an easy weeknight dinner.

Start by sorting 1 pound of black eyed peas. Add to the Instant Pot liner.

Chop the following and add to the IP:

4 carrots

1 cup onion

1/2 cup celery

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Add 8 cups of water. Lock the lid on the pot, seal the pressure valve, set to high pressure, 38 minutes, warm setting off. Quick release when finished.

When finished cooking, add 4 cups chopped kale, chard, or spinach.

If you would like to add meat, add cooked chicken, sausage, Turkey.

Serve with my Sourdough Cornbread, and garnish with fresh cilantro and dehydrated Jalepenos.


Sourdough Cornbread

This Texas girl grew up on good southern cornbread. It was a staple alongside a big pot of pinto beans.

Since I’ve been doing sourdough a lot lately, I thought I’d give sourdough cornbread a try. This is based on my grandmother’s cornbread recipe with a few tweaks. It’s delicious and moist, not grainy at all. You should all try it.

Sourdough Cornbread:

1 cup cold sourdough starter

1 tsp salt

1 cup water

2 tbls honey

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

Mix all the above ingredients together. Then add…

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 whole wheat

3/4 cup corn meal

1 tbls baking powder

Mix and pour in a greased cast iron skillet 8×8 casserole dish.

Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Vegetarian (or not) Instant Pot Ramen

Similar to my IP Lo Mein of recipe, this is a vegetarian recipe but can easily be served with leftover meat if desired.

This can also easily be a one pot meal if you sauté the veggies in the IP liner before and remove them before cooking the noodles. If you are short on time though, set the noodles to cook in the broth and sauté the veggies on the stovetop to mix in once the noodles are done.

Vegetarian Instant Pot Ramen:

If you want a one pot meal, start by sautéing the vegetables of your choice. Today I used the ones listed below. This is a great recipe to use up little bits of a variety of vegetables that need to be eaten.

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup chard or celery stems, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 cup diced mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, diced

4 cups chopped kale or chard

Sauté veggies in the liner of the IP and remove before adding noodles. Or sauté in a separate pan on the stovetop.

After the veggies have been removed if you sautés them in the IP liner, add….

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos

8 cups of chicken or beef broth, or 8 homemade bullion cubes and 8 cups of water (the liquid should come a little less than halfway up the sides of the pot)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds thin spaghetti (I used regular spaghetti noodles the day I made this and took the pictures as I didn’t have think spaghetti on hand.)

Break the noodles in half alternating directions. The noodles don’t have to all be completely covered by the liquid but they should all be moistened. Do not stir or compress the uncooked noodles.

Lock the lid on the pot and seal the pressure valve. Cook on High Pressure, Warm setting OFF, for 3 minutes. Quick Release.

Immediately stir the noodles and add in the cooked veggies. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the past to absorb some more of the liquid.

Add meat if desired. We like to serve this with chicken strips on the side.

Iced Chai Tea

Though rare for me, I found that I wasn’t in the mood for coffee one day this week. But I wanted something cold, bold, and flavorful. This glass hit the spot.

Iced Chai:

Start with 8 ounces of cold water in a sauce pan and add…

3 tsp loos leaf black tea

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 knob or 1 tbls fresh ginger

3 cardamom pods

5 black peppercorns

2 tbls brown sugar

Simmer on high for 10 minutes. You want to the liquid to reduce slightly making a strong infusion. Let it cool completely.

Pour through a mesh or cloth strainer into your glass filling 2/3 full.

Add some cold milk or dairy substitute to fill the glass and enjoy!

Homemade Dehydrated Refried Beans

May seem counterintuitive to go to the trouble to go to the trouble of making refried beans only to dehydrate them, but this makes a great, shelf-stable convenience food, or is excellent lightweight, easy to carry, protein packed food for a backpacking or camping trip.

I used to buy the Santa Fe dehydrated refried beans for many years. I would use them when I needed a quick lunch. But prices went up and we couldn’t afford them any more. So, I had to figure out how to make my own.

If you’re going to make these, you might as well make a lot. You can presoak and cook the beans on the stovetop, but cooking dried beans in my Instant Pot is one of my favorite uses for that appliance.

Cooking Dried Beans in the Instant Pot:

Sort 2 pounds of dried pinto beans.

Add the beans to the IP along with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 8 cups of water.

Lock the lid and set the valve to the sealed position.

Set the Instant Pot for Pressure Cook, High Pressure, 48 minutes, Warm setting OFF.

Quick release the pressure and stir the beans.

Mash the beans using your potato masher until they are the desired texture.

Drying in the Dehydrator:

Spread them evenly on dehydrator trays as thin as possible, about 1/4” thick.

Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 12-24 hours until they are completely dry and will crumble to a powder.

Drying in the Oven:

Alternatively you could spread these on parchment paper and dry on cookie sheets in your oven on the lowest heat setting. Aim for no warmer than 150-170 degrees. You want them completely dry with no moisture left. They should crumble to a powder


You can store in portion sizes appropriate to your family size in plastic zip-lock bags or in glass jars. 1 cup = about 2 servings.

To rehydrate:

To rehydrate the beans for a meal, add 1 cup of dehydrated beans to 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer about 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Estimate about a 1/2 cup dried beans per serving per person.

Do not use a bag or jar of beans if you open them and they have a strong musty smell. If this happens it is likely that all the moisture was not dehydrated out of them and that they have spoiled.

Fried Rice Skillet Dinner

This meal works best with cold leftover rice. If you don’t have leftover rice make your rice a few hours in advance and let it cool to room temperature.

Leftover Fried Rice:

3 cups cooked and cooked brown or white rice

Start by chopping the following…

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves minced garlic

4-5 peeled and chopped carrots

Heat a skillet until hot. Add 4 tbls of olive oil. Sauté the onions and carrots in the skillet until the onions are soft and the edges are beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.


1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Stir in the cooked rice until it is incorporated and coated with the oil. Add a little more oil if needed.

Now add…

Frozen peas

Frozen corn

And any other veggies of choice such as chopped kale, mushrooms, etc. Cook until everything is incorporated and heated through.

Make a well in center and add 4 egg yolks if desired scrambling until cooked. (Optional)

Make another well in the center and add 1/4 cup honey and 3 tbls of soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos.

Stir util combined.

Add cooked meat of choice like leftover chicken or beef. This would option if you prefer to this dish to be vegetarian.