Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Poultry Swap in Troy, OH; Ever been?

Here is the link for the Troy Poultry Swap on Sept. 24: http://troyswap.com/.

I'm interested in attending and picking up my flock of ladies that day. I'm also hoping to hear from some others with chickens. I have a tiny backyard. I'm a bit concerned about the space we have though I know they are pretty self-contained I plan to let them out each day. I have a strong desire for them to eat all of my slugs and bugs. Plus they provide amazing stuff for the compost pile. Not to mention the ability to turn bugs, feed and scratch into amazing tasting eggs.

 Share if you have a love of backyard poultry.

Never did use my turnip greens and northern beans...

I did have some semi-success with an almost vegetarian meal that had only salt pork to flavor the green beans. Green beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread, and fresh melon. Its a traditional summer  dinner for us but without a main dish. Nobody missed it, at least that I heard about.

 We had a couple of mini-crisis events around here so I hadn't been cooking or blogging much. BUT I wanted to mention something I've been fretting about a little in the back of my brain. BEETS. I've harvested many this summer. I have had enjoyable beet experiences. Not this summer. I've tried baking them instead of the peel and boil method and it just doesn't seem to work for me. We did make a beet and mayo salad one day that I've enjoyed in the past but we (1st grader A and me) did not enjoy it this year. I've seen some recipes for beets with citrus and it intrigues me as a salad component. I need some beet inspiration please.

 One other thing I want to work on is whole grains. I want to start including them more often and in greater variety. We use whole grain rice and occasionally barley or bulgar wheat. I've been known to use quinoa. This is the whole extent though. I also find they take forethought. So, I've been thinking about soaking up some early in the week like I do any beans I'm going to use. Anyone have a magic bullet for whole grain prep?

 My ace in the hole for this fall is sprouts. I've done some experimenting and I think they will work out well for fresh salads and stir-frys. I'm not ready for tofu yet (have tried frying in the past and didn't love it). But sprouted almonds, soybeans, and salad sprouts do sound yummy on a cold day when not much else is green.

Speaking of green, I'm a little psyched about adding row covers and plastic to keep my salad greens at least going over the winter. HOWEVER, I haven't gotten spinach to germinate in the soil here EVER so my winter green selection will probably be limited to kale, turnips, and any salad I can keep alive. I have a lot more ideas for winter veggies but I also don't mind giving the soil some rest (or green manure should I be able to get an order in to Bountiful Gardens).

I do have some more harvesting to do: soybeans. Oh how I am looking forward to parboiled and salted (AKA edamame) soybeans. I pulled a handful today but I have plenty I can freeze up for a taste of summer all winter. BTW soybeans are extremely easy to freeze up. Left in their pods and parboiled they go straight into freezer bags after cooling and patting dry. Out of the freezer you boil again and eat from the pod with some pretzel salt. A not as bad for you snack.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My first purposeful vegetarian dinner and what's up next

So, I went for a Greek themed dinner for my first venture into my 10 vegetarian meals from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I made homemade pita bread and pita crackers, hummus and tabouleh. It took a little prep work to have the dough pre-made and get all the needed ingredients. All the planning was worth it. This meal was BEST FOOD I  HAVE EVER EATEN. I'm not usually crazy about my own food. I don't always like hummus from the store and tabouleh I have to be in the mood for. I'm not sure if it was the freshness of the herbs from the garden or the lemon juice but it was excellent.  Definitely going on the list. The pita recipe was from Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day (Algerian Pita with seeds). The cracker recipe was from More with Less.

However, I caved and made Hubs some roasted chicken to go with. He stuck it in the pita with the tabouleh and really liked the hummus. So, overall a good attempt.

This week I have some turnip greens I need to use. So I was thinking about a tomato based soup with northern beans, wilted turnip greens and romano cheese.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Update: Leeks and Seeds and what to eat

Finally! Some recently replanted rows germinated. Took a lot of watering though. I also put some leeks in the ground yesterday. I'm hoping they'll grow.

I'm roasting tomatoes today (again) and putting bread in the oven. Pulled cracker dough out of the freeze too. I also started soy and mung bean sprouts yesterday. Yogurt is on my list for tonight or tomorrow.

Trying to decide which recipe to try from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian this week.  I have garbonzo beans so I could make my own hummus and pitas. I've also been wanting to make tabouleh. So a greek night might be in order. He also recommends a pepper and onion sandwhich. Although I'm thinking mine could include cream cheese or goat cheese, that is an option too. Two other options are black bean burgers and vegetable pancakes. Any thoughts?

Also I did make fried zucchini this week but I salted it first to remove excess water and then cooked in a little olive oil instead of breadcrumbing and deep frying them. So, one simple switch that was easy and delicious. Still dipped them in ranch though!

I also made chocolate pudding from scratch and now I am so annoyed that I ever bought a mix. So ridiculous! Instead of teaching people cooking skills, we teach them how to cheat on things that are way easy to make! The pudding was a hit and next time I'll make a double batch.

My Book List

What I'm reading right now:
Organize Now
Made from Scratch
Extreme Simplicity: homesteading in the city
Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
How to Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty
Suddenly Frugal
Just in Case
200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes
The Vinegar Book
Back to Basics
Homestead Year
This Organic Life
Four Season Harvest

Ongoing favs:
Anything by John Seymour
Carrots Love Tomatoes
More with Less (Cookbook and accompanying book)
How to Raise Chickens & many other chicken books
Homegrown Whole Grains
Because we Love Him
Fresh Food from Small Spaces
Garden Companions
Good Poems

The ongoing favs I have to re-read many, many times before stuff sinks in. I think I'm becoming more of a hands on learner as I get older.

Our Family's Team Sport

First Grader A who started school today (BTW), told me yesterday that our family team sport is feeding Toddler A. So True! We clap, applaud, distract, play along and are otherwise cheerleaders to her. We work together for the goal of getting food enough in her to keep her growing. We lament the bad meals (less often now, though, unless she is sick). We have drumroll moments.

No her limited menu is not ideal. We don't want her to struggle with eating or possibly choke. But we're making the best of it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summing up the week! Way too busy!

Just coming down with a cold. 1st grader A starts school Monday. Working on a project for baby shower on Sunday. Finally finished my own diaper bag project yesterday. I also made yogurt and granola this week for the first time. Both were to-die-for. DH wants the yogurt sweetened but I think it is perfect plain or with a touch of  honey. I also have kefir in the fridge - time to make pancakes. Toddler A is sicky too a chest xray this week and echocardiogram next week. Plus we're already starting on her winter meds. So, yuck! Not a way to end the summer. I'm starting to dread winter.

My good friend Nat is encouraging me to get in the spirit this fall and enjoy some football. I usually feel like a deprived football widow without a hiking partner so I'm looking for some ways to slow down the weekends, get outdoors and still get projects done at the house. Any ideas?

Our to-do list is not huge but can be hard with our schedule and toddler A: repour concrete front steps, fix a post, rake and clean yard(leaves to compost), clean gutters, dig a hole for grapevine, get backyard chickens (several mini-steps there).

I picked up peaches and apples today at Monnin's fruit farm. I'll head back in a couple of weeks to get winesap apples (I'll probably pick those). We may hit the pool tonight. And, I did get a lot put up this week. And although my beans and zukes have been less than desirable, I have a good stock of butternut squash, kohlrabi, and beets to come. I'm hoping my seedlings at home in raised beds will catch hold. I have been watering a ton to help with that!