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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On HOLD

OK I am so sorry. I am not able, right now, to participate in the Dark Days Challenge. I am hoping in two to three weeks, to be back in the kitchen cooking. But for now, I broke my left ankle in a few places and had ankle surgery on Christmas Eve and just can't be up and about much. I am looking forward to digging through the seed catalogs that have been coming in the mail lately, and being up and about as soon as I can.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bread Recipe

Here is the recipe for the savory sweet potato bread I used for the wish bread. The wish bread has a little more honey in it, and is rolled into balls and the balls are rolled into a cinnamon/sugar mixture and cooked in a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan. Same recipe though. And delicious.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dark Days of Winter/Solstice Bread

We made our solstice wish bread today. And other than the spices and oil, it is all LOCAL. I added some mashed sweet potato to the recipe this year, and local honey. It looks so delicious. Tomorrow morning we welcome the sun and then have a breakfast of wish bread and hot chocolate. If you have never made wish bread the idea is to roll the dough into balls, with each ball the person makes a wish for the coming year, either silently or spoken aloud. So the bread is full of good thoughts and prayers. Can't be any better than that. I use a bundt pan and top with Cinnamon and sugar. YUMMMMM.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dark Days of Winter

I am a little late with this post. We had friends over for a holiday party this weekend, and time just flew by. I made this meal earlier in the week. It was so delicious. I love finding new ways to use sweet potatoes.
This meal consists of pasta with a sweet potato sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, S&P. The sweet potatoes have so much flavor that they really need no seasoning, but the milk makes them really creamy. I will admit that I kept some aside and added canned coconut milk for myself as my stomach just can't handle dairy. And the side dish is cooked Georgia Collard Greens, frozen from our summer garden, with onion and just a little S&P. And also some savory sweet potato bread. Non-local ingredients include the pasta, I just didn't have time this week to make pasta. I have some of the sauce in the freezer and looking at the picture now, I think I will have it for lunch today, YUM!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dark Days of Winter

I have found my potatoes. And bought some local sweet potatoes this week as well, enough sweet potatoes to take me though the winter I hope. This meal consists of roasted sweet and white potatoes, and fake chicken breast topped with sauteed red peppers, yellow peppers, onion and spices. Non local ingredients include the fake chicken, and olive oil. From our (former) garden include the white potatoes, peppers and onion. It was delicious. I just love sweet potatoes. Think I will cook some up tomorrow and make a savory sweet potato bread, YUM!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dark Days of Winter

This week has been such a busy week. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, and also Jackson was on call, so we used what time we had together to work on our living room. Just repainting and hanging all the art work we have been collecting over the years. Actually we are still in the process so I don't have a whole lot of time to write now about the living room but will in another post soon.

I do have a local meal. Lately meals have been quick and on the go, so this is my Dark Days, local meal for today. A cheese sandwich. Local goat cheese, homemade bread with local flour and honey, local lettuce from a friend who was harvesting the last of the lettuce from her garden before a freeze took it all, and my homemade mayo, with eggs from my chicken. So the non-local ingredients include, yeast, oil and salt for the bread, spices and oil for the mayo.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Dark Days Challenge

OK this year I am participating in the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge. Getting a slow start this week as it has been a busy week with a lot going on but here is my eat local meal.

We had collards that were frozen from the summer harvest, along with beets that were frozen as well. I was trying out freezing my beets this year as I do not like the texture of canned beets, much prefer the frozen ones and think I will do this again next year as well. We were supposed to have roasted potatoes with this meal, but dh moved my bin of potatoes in the garage, so I have no idea where my potatoes are. :-) I will find them eventually. I also made a loaf of bread, local flour and honey in that. And as vegetarians we had fake chicken with some spices.

The nonlocal ingredients were the oil and yeast in the bread, and the fake chicken. Some of the spices came from my garden some did not.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wood Heat

I blogged a while ago about our heating struggles, wanting a more eco friendly option, but settling for a new heat pump because no one around here will install something different. Well I do not like forced air heat/electric heat. IT IS NOT WARM!! I grew up with wood and oil heat, and we have a furnace here. We really want to get away from burning oil in our home.

So we added an insert into our fireplace. This added another source of heat for our house. And I am totally enjoying it. I can really keep the thermostat set low (for us that is around 65 degrees), with the wood stove burning it keeps our large living room nice and toasty. Our kitchen also stays warm. We spend most of our days that are inside, in the living room so this may just work out. We will have to see. We have bought some wood this year as we were not anticipating burning wood for heat, so did not cut any from our woods. But we bought from another homeschooling family, that gets most of their wood from trees that neighbors are cutting down etc. So NO clear cutting.

We are truly blessed.






Apple Sauce Cake

I made some apple sauce a couple of weeks ago, so this morning I decided to make some applesauce cake. The flour is local, applesauce and fig preserves are ones I made. Older, depression era recipe:
1 cup applesauce (this time I used 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup fig puree)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening, I found a nice organic vegetable shortening 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour

325 degrees for 45 minutes, use a greased and floured 10 inch baking pan.

You can ice this cake but my family does not really like icing so we just eat it plain like a coffee cake.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Apples

Apples, apples and more apples. We just love FRESH apples. And there is an orchard near us, like 30 miles, that has the most delicious apples. We have been going here for 5 years now to pick our own apples. One of the only orchards left where you can actually go through the trees and pick your own apples. They have so many different varieties. Our favorite this year, as in the past, is the pink ladies. Now I have fresh apples to cook with as well. Made an apple cake. Recipe was from the Internet and it was OK, although I have made better. Need to still search out the best apple cake recipe. Also have apple butter to take me through the winter. YAY!! Can't beat it, and we so enjoy spending an hour together picking apples, tasting apples and chatting with the owners.

Maybe tomorrow I will have time to blog about the reactions of other families to the bumper stickers I have on my care. ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Up on the Roof

OK so we have put off finishing our roof for a year now. The house is finished it is the garage we have been putting off. This weekend we ventured back up on the roof and worked. Actually have it almost finished. It has been hard. Finding a contractor to do the roof for us was impossible. We have so many different peaks and angles. And our roof is not all the same pitch. So contractors, once they saw the roof, didn't even want to touch it. They charge by the sq ft, and our house wasn't worth it. I even offered to pay extra for the difficulty, but no. So we tackled the job ourselves. It has taken time because we are working around Jackson's schedule.
While I was up there I was just looking around at all the beauty. Fall is such a lovely time and you can see everything from the roof. It was a chilly morning so the boys wanted to start a fire, in the fireplace. It was fun watching the smoke curl up around the chimney. Here are a couple of pics. Hopefully we will finish the roof next weekend and be done. Yeah!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Popcorn

We planted popcorn this year. Unsure how it would grow, develop, we tried it anyway. And we were so pleasantly surprised. We bought the kernels from Southern Exposure Seeds. And just harvested the ears a couple of weeks ago. This was a wonderful crop, we just planted it and forgot about it. It grew with the weeds, and we had so many ears, we just let them dry on the stalk. Then when we were ready to till up the garden we harvested all the ears.


Haven't had a chance to try any, since we have been away ever since. But last night Jackson brought out the ears and we shucked three, took off the kernels and popped it. The kernels just fell off the ear with just a little encouragement. It was so nice and tasty and ours. I think we will grow more next year.
Did manage to get a picture before the boys ate all the popcorn.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Harvest of Fall

It has been a cloudy, overcast weekend here. But in the break between showers Jackson and I started to harvest the remaining veggies from the garden. I hope to till the soil and seed some greens before we go on vacation next Friday. But before that happens I have some lovely vegetables to process. I think I am going to make a delicious pasta sauce out of the eggplant. Chop and freeze the peppers. Oh and we will just eat the watermelon. We have been having one a day, and they are just so sweet and nice.

We do still have onions and potatoes to retrieve from the garden but those can wait another day. Ahhhh, it is so nice to have such wonderful produce, fresh from home.
The gas shortage has been hitting us hard here in North Carolina. It should be easing up shortly, but in the mean time Jackson and I were talking a bit about not having gas. He could always bike to work in reality. The road is curvy and hilly and there is no side walk or even shoulder for most of the way, so it is more dangerous that we are willing to risk at the moment. But he could bike to work if need be. We are talking strictly about the gas shortage now and nothing else, none of the repercussions from that shortage if it were a permanent thing. My addition was that right now I am not concerned at all with groceries. I have so much already stored away, and with out chickens we could last quite a few months on what we have. It does make you stop and think about what you have, and what you need, what you could do without. Of course there was more to our conversation but it did make us grateful for what we do have in our lives.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Self Preservation

OK the season is winding down. I still have some veggies in the garden. We are back home so I really need to take care of them. Yesterday I picked the last of our beets and cooked them up this morning. Just waiting now for them to cool so I can freeze them. Don't they look beautiful. And now the house is full of that wonderful earthy smell of beets. I have saved the water I used for cooking, want to see if the beet juice will make a good dye for the wool I have. Of course I need to wash the wool first, but will let you know how it turns out.


I do still have onions and peppers in the garden I need to freeze and also potatoes. I know the potatoes will keep over winter in the garden, it just doesn't get cold enough here for them to freeze. And I kept them in the garden last year, digging them up to use when I needed them. BUT I need to start amending the garden, compost needs a home. So I am debating digging up my potatoes. Not sure where I will keep them if I do dig them up. I have wanted to get an old refrigerator into the ground for a root cellar of sorts, have even seen directions on line to take out the motor etc. Just haven't had the time to "make it happen". We are also still eating watermelon out of the garden, and I have egg plant to preserve as well. Lots to do, not enough time, LOL. But oh so yummy!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back on Track

OK we are home. Seems like it has been a long month, and the month isn't over yet. But we had a wonderful time at the FLT gathering. Of course I brought my camera, but as usual, did not get it out for the entire weekend. Having too much fun to think about taking pictures. So you will have to imagine the wonderful food we had at the eat local pot luck meal. And it was delicious, we had so many different dishes, and each was yummy and local!!

Sitting in the hot tub last night I saw the most amazing bug. It was huge. Well huge as far as bugs in this neck of the woods go. I have a couple of pictures. It was just over an inch long. With very long legs. For such a creature it moved so S L O W L Y. I watched it moving along for at least 20 minutes, then would check in from time to time to see where it was ending up.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eat Local

OK we are home for a few days to do laundry, sleep a little and then pack up and on to the FLT Gathering on Thursday. We have planned an eat local meal for the gathering, a pot luck of sorts. It is so nice to hear what everyone is planning to bring, contribute. It sounds delicious and will be loads of fun!! I have no pictures now but will surely take some and post them here when we return.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Figs

Oooooo a friend gave me a pail of figs yesterday, don't I have such wonderful friends. They were delicious. I ate some just fresh, but needed to do something with the rest before they were overripe. So I just added a little sugar, a tad of lemon juice and cooked them down, and canned them. Now I have some nice fig preserves, can use them on bread or in a cake. We will see what I come up with when I have a bit of time. I realized as I was putting them away that I hadn't taken a picture yet. So here is the picture of the last jar of figs that was sitting on my counter just waiting to join his friends in my cupboard. ...The joys of friendship are many.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One Local Summer

I must admit to not doing a local meal for this challenge 2 weeks ago. Well we might have eaten local but I just don't remember. That week was a blur, the Love to Learn Conference, that I co-coordinate, was yesterday. So 2 weeks ago was so many last minute preparations, confirmations, scheduling etc. I ate out a lot, while working on the details. I relied on Jackson for meals at home. He is a wonderful cook, but my mind was just not on taking photos.

Last week was a bit easier, all the details had been worked out ahead of time, and although it was busy, it was not as buys as the previous week. So we had a nice all from home meal. All except the fake chicken breast that is under the tomato, veggie mixture. This meal was a fake chicken breast, topped with tomatoes, onion, peppers, basil all from our garden cooked in a little amber wine that my husband fermented. We had steamed beets (I love beets) and roasted potatoes, with a cup of wine from my husbands selection of home made wines. This is a nice rich amber wine. A little sweeter as I enjoy a sweet wine. But not as sweet as some has has fermented.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

One Local Summer

This week just flew by. We actually ate our local meal toward the beginning of the week, like on Monday. But I had all week to get it posted on my blog. Now here it is Saturday already. Whew. Everything in this meal comes directly from our garden except the fake chicken cutlet under the tomato sauce I prepared.

What you can see in the first picture are the beets, green peppers and onions under all the tomatoes and potatoes. But this is tonight's garden harvest for supper. I love going up into the garden and grabbing supper. Just LOVE IT!!

I steamed the beets and green beans, roasted the potatoes (yum roasted potatoes are just so delicious), and I made a sauce for the fake chicken out of tomatoes, onion, peppers, and basil. A little S&P and a little of our homemade wine. It was so good. Everyone here thoroughly enjoyed this meal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canning

I have been canning foods for a long time, my mother taught me about canning when I was young. Although we did not have a separate freezer when I as growing up so that was the primary way we preserved foods. I have a large freezer so I can about 1/2 of what I preserve. I freeze some and also things like potatoes, beets etc I leave in the ground. It does not really freeze here so I have had no trouble with leaving things in the ground. I have mentioned before that both of my parents have crossed over, so it brings me joy to be using the canner she used. Something special about that connection to my mom.

Anyway back to the present. We have had a great green bean crop this year. I planted one row for us, and the deer ate some of that row :-) so I planted a second row that is doing wonderfully. And if you have been looking at the pictures from this summer we have been eating green beans with quite a few meals. DELICIOUS!!

So yesterday I picked what needed to be harvested and canned green beans. I had to take a picture because they just look so good. And it is so satisfying to know that not only do I have enough in my garden to feed us through the summer but I have enough to put some away for winter use.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Delicious pasta

OK this meal was delicious, so I am going to share the recipe. I took it from the food network site, it is called Babganoush-Hummus Pasta . I have been looking for recipes for eggplant. It is not one of my favorite vegetables and yet I planted two plants in my garden this year, hmmm not sure why. Maybe some sense of obligation, doesn't everyone have eggplant in their garden. Well I just don't like the texture when it is cooked.

So in searching I found this recipe, like I said, and it was delicious it is:
1/4 cup EVOO
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves finely chopped or grated garlic
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested
1 cup vegetable stock
2 to 3 tablespoons tahini paste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

I cooked up the egg plant in a large pan until it was soft then added everything else and stirred it up (I deleted the red pepper flakes) added it to my food processor until it was a nice sauce consistency, had to add a little more vegetable stock, and served over pasta with a nice salad. Just delicious. I had a few eggplants so I tripled the recipe and froze some for another meal. Then used the left over sauce, cold, as a dip. Just like humus. When it cools it thickens.

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Local Summer


I really need to post more on this blog. I have some great photos to post about, just too busy with the garden and house to do it. I did take a picture of our local meal for this week.
OK this is meatless loaf, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, steamed beets and green beans. Only non local ingredient would be the soy crumbles in the meatless loaf. It was delicious.

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Local Summer

This week is more of the same really, just in different form. The garden is producing so much of our meals comes from the garden. This week we had soft tacos of sorts with berry short cake. I have difficulty with some dairy so no whipped cream for the short cake but it was so delicious.

The soft tacos have home made flour tortillas with local flour, home made salsa from our garden, TVP with tomato sauce. The TVP is the only thing not local. The short cake has local ingredients. The berries are black berries and blue berries from our property, cooked up with local honey. YUMMM!!!







Delicious.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unexpected Salsa

OK so not totally unexpected. I have intended to make salsa this year. But my tomatoes are not producing as well as previous years. It has been a challenge and I am not sure we will have enough to make sauce for winter, we will see. So I picked some this past week, YUM. They were delicious, and I had some left over. So I picked a few peppers of different types, onions, cilantro and added a little lemon juice and some S&P and dh and I came out with the most delicious salsa, like 8 cups, LOL. YES a bunch of salsa. So we ate some and canned the rest, now I have these beautiful jars of lovely salsa. They look so nice. I am hoping to make some more in another week. YAY!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One Local Summer

Tonight we had bruschetta. Delicious:

tomatoes
onion
cucumber
basil
All chopped up together in a delicious mix, add some balsamic vinegar and olive oil and you are all set

Home made baguettes cut and toasted.
The non-local ingredients include the vinegar and O Oil in the bruschetta and the yeast and salt in the bread.

Again can I say how delicious it was, we had bruschetta and watched the movie "Over the Hedge", together as a family. It doesn't get any better than that, good food, good company.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Recycled Bag

OK I don't have a whole lot of time to post, but wanted to share this recycled bag I made out of the plastic grocery type bags. It took me...man I really don't know....maybe 40 or so bags. I just kept cutting up bags until I was done. Here is a link to the hows of making the "yarn" then I just used a large crochet hook and worked up a bag. This one is holding socks, hats etc that I need to upload to my etsy store...someday... I will say one thing I learned this time around, the heavier plastic bags worked poorly, they seemed to "stick" together and stick to my crochet hook making it difficult to work with. I now know I prefer the cheaper bags, you know the ones that rip as you are walking out of the grocery store ;-) those ones.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One Local Summer

Busy time of year. Been working around the house getting ready to have a few pool parties coming up. But still have time for the garden. We are considering moving the garden next year to take advantage of our rain water collection. Moving it down the hill below the house, instead of up the hill above the house. Up the hill is closer to the house, easier to get to, making it easier to weed and care for. BUT having the garden down the hill we can gravity feed our garden when the rain barrels are full and free up space above the house for my medicine wheel. Can't wait to get that started.

Anyway back to our local meal. Most of our meals during the summer come from our garden, with a few added ingredients we can't get locally. This week we had stuffed zucchini, steamed beets, and bread. All from our garden/farm with the exception of the cheese in the stuffed zucchini, and the honey in the bread (which are both local) and the rice (I could have used bread crumbs in the stuffing to make it all local, but really wanted the texture of rice...which is not local).

Stuffed Zucchini:
2 zucchini halved and the seeds scooped out
1 cup goat cheese
8 cherry tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup snapped green beans
2 eggs
1 cup cooked rice :not local :-(
S&P to taste

Mix the last 6 ingredients and stuff into the zucchini shells
bake 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (you may need to
blanch the green beans a bit if you don't like them crunchy)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

One Local Summer

I see in my blog that I haven't posted since my One Local Summer meal last week. Sorry about that, I have been so busy in the garden that I haven't had time to take picture and blog. We have been eating most of every meal from the garden, and of course from our chickens. This week I am posting a breakfast request from my boys. They wanted to use the new potatoes from our garden so I roasted the potatoes and some green beans from our garden and made biscuits. I have found a local source of flour but not sure I will continue to purchase from them. Not an organic source, so I am pondering the never ending question of organic vs local.

I wanted to add a nice egg in there on the side, but the boys did not want egg this morning. So there you have it. The only non local ingredients would be the bak powder in the biscuits and the Olive Oil I used to roast the potatoes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

One Local Summer

OK so this is One Local Summer week 3. Let me post the picture first and then talk about it:

OK this year I am so enjoying our garden, well I do every year. But this year it is three times as big, which had me worried in the beginning, would we be able to care for such a large garden. Not to worry, it is turning out just fine and we are enjoying the abundance of food. This week I am choosing this meal for the challenge, although last night we had some green beans which were delicious so I almost changed my mind.

Here we have a frittata with eggs from our chickens, greens and onion from our garden, and goat cheese from a friend. This friend lives in Georgia but her neighbor makes the cheese and the friend happened to be coming this way for a visit and brought some with her for me. So I am calling this local as it is local for her and there was no additional shipping involved. Steamed beets, gotta love beets. And these ones are so pretty, when they are raw you can really see the wonderfully colored rings. I will have to take a picture of that one of these days. Also we have a salad from the garden as well.

What did not come from our property was the cheese (local) and the salad dressing. It was so delicious both of my boys enjoyed it as well and we will certainly have it again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One Local Summer

This year I decided to join "One Local Summer", where the object is to make one meal a week with all local ingredients. We do this as much as possible anyway so I decided to take up the challenge. Of course we have been on vacation for the past two weeks, part of the time out of the country, so what I ate was dictated by where we were, and I did no cooking at all. So this will be my first submission this year, for One Local Summer.


We arrived home at around 4:00 yesterday from vacation. Got to work weeding in the garden and decided, as I looked around at everything that was growing, to grab supper from the garden. We had a salad of mixed salad greens, including my favorite this year...Drunken Woman Lettuce, as well as onions, tomatoes out of the garden and eggs from our chickens. With that we steamed up some beets. Here is what it looked like all finished, the only thing not from our own home was the salad dressing.



Monday, May 26, 2008

Birthdays and such

Yesterday was Jackson's birthday. Happy Birthday sweet husband, I am so blessed to have you in my life.

He was on call so that was not so good. We spent much of the day in the garden, that was good. We love working together and harvesting the food we grow, a passion we share. I made a rhubarb crisp. We grilled out in the afternoon and swam in the pool and soaked in the hot tub.
The garden is growing so well, with lots of love. Yesterday we planted another row of beets as our first row is almost ready to harvest. We planted another row of radishes and this first row is almost gone. I pulled the remaining mustard greens as they have bolted, and last but not least we planted another row of green bush beans. I can see so many things getting ready to just burst into delicious edible glory. I can't wait. Of course on Friday we are leaving for two weeks on vacation to BC. Have a friend coming over to take care of our animals, the ones we are not boarding that is. And she will benefit from a few gems from the garden. We may have a few zucchini ready before we get back, will have a few tomatoes, lettuce and greens of course, may have a few green beans and will have beets as well. A yummy treat for her as well.