Friday, October 12, 2012

oh shit soup. ( or also, put up soup)

Someday's I want soup for lunch. Someday's I look at the clock and realize that Ashley is going to be home for lunch in 30 minutes. Someday's I say, "oh shit" and then frantically make this soup using some fresh but mostly canned, frozen, and dehydrated foods ( items that have been 'put up'). This soup does not need to be made frantically. it can be made slowly with fresh ingredients I have made it a trillion times slowly. I have to admit I love it made this way more. (Note: you do not have to have preserved all of the items for this soup yourself,  but it feels kinda neat when you have. )

4 cups  organic chicken stock ( boxed or from your post dinner frozen stock stores)
2 cups water
8oz to 1 lb cubed fresh cooked turkey breast ( optional)
15 oz organic diced tomatoes
1-2 cups  organic spinach or kale whatever you have frozen ( fresh kale will add a little bit to the "oh shit" cooking time unless its been cooked and frozen.)
1 handful of organic green beans ( frozen)
1-2 shredded or finely chopped  organic carrot. ( I don't like the taste of frozen carrots because you have to blanch them before freezing and it gives them a sweeter cooked taste, so I use fresh shredded carrots here.)
1/4 to 1/2 a head of cabbage depending on what you like.
2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes ( I use more)
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon Italian blend or oregano
Black pepper ( I like a lot of black pepper)

Throw everything together, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for at least 20 minutes.
Longer is ideal of course...but hey. To make this vegetarian you would obviously use vegetable stock and omit the turkey. Easy Peasy. This will serve 2 people for 3 days. Why am I only feeding 2 people at lunch time and not 6? Pssshht. I make those fuckers dinner every night. They can make their own lunches.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

i was busy. cooking.

I have been away...

Was that an understatement? I'm sorry. The good news is that I have been busy. So busy in fact I'm having a hard time deciding where to start and how to find my "voice" again. Meh. I suppose I will just use the one I have and worry about the rest later.

garlic is good
I have a series of posts ready for you revolving not only around the original premise of this blog, which was eating whole, fresh, often homegrown foods, but also posts that expand out into a more paleo ( I'm loathe to use it that word but I did it- shut up) direction. Ashley is allergic to wheat. Not in a gluten intolerance, tummy issue, kind of way. It's more like a terrible psoriasis on his face and scalp kind of thing. For years he treated the problem areas with medication and then I got a bug up my butt after one of our seasonal fasts that we should go wheat, grain, and dairy free. He was reluctant about giving up beer and bread but gave it a shot. The change was immediate. The man is I began my search for ideas and recipes. The best part about this is the amount of my favorite fats we eat now. Avocado, olive oil, butter ( more a fat than a dairy- I swear) Now. Before I go much further I have to make sure you understand this is really a 90%/10% thing. Sometimes 80%/20%. We aren't completely round the bend. I think. I'm going to start us with a staple. Garlic Confit. I use this daily. You should use this daily. SERIOUSLY.

First thing I do is pick a mason jar for storage. I also use this jar to measure the amount of garlic I will need.
mine looks like this
Then I pack it with garlic and put garlic into a sauce pan.

this is going to smell amazing

Cover the garlic with an organic olive oil. Just barely cover it, don't worry about being to perfect or making sure everyone is submerged.  Turn your heat on medium low and when it starts to simmer gently turn it down to low. Let this simmer for about 40-45 minutes. Then remove from heat, let cool, pour into jar, lid it, and stick it in the refrigerator. This is going to come in handy. If you want to try it immediately- smash a tablespoon of garlic confit and a dash of salt and spread on some bread.

It's going to look funny in the jar in the fridge. Don't be afraid. You can scoop it cold or let it come to room temperature if you want. 

I will be back tomorrow to show you the first of my favorite ways to use this. It will be the second in a series of easy, few ingredient posts .

P.S. You don't have to grow and peel your garlic. You can get that done for you in giant bags at costco. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

to kill


–verb (used with object)
to choose; select; pick.
to gather the choice things or parts from.
to collect; gather; pluck.
act of culling.
something culled, esp. something picked out and put aside as inferior.

RIP Rosabelle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

how my chickens made me a feminist

I have never called myself a feminist. It seemed silly to me to allow all the women who came before and fought the good fight down by not taking full advantage of what I had. No point naming it or drawing lines in the sand, right? I can learn what I want, work where I want, live where I want, vote for what I want, fuck who I want, I have kids if I want, not have kids if I want...
This isn't to say I wasn't an angry girl. Until recently, I was pissed. I didn't do "injustice" well, or quietly. I loved my riot grrrls. I fought back every time and without out pause. I surrounded myself with good, strong people, women and men, who probably consider themselves feminists. I still did not.

I was at the market the last week during the middle of the day, which is unusual for me. (Ash and I generally do the shopping together.) I had wandered a little aimlessly, puttered about the garden section, picked up a movie we didn't need, put back a bra I totally did... When I checked out something else unusual happened. The checker asked me if I had the day off work. (and he also carded me for those three bottles of wine and the one bottle of Belgian beer...sweet, right?)
"No, I don't work." I replied.
He looked a little confused and embarrassed, handed me my receipt and said,
"Well have a nice day anyway!"
Huh? Anyway? This made me remember a text that I received from a male friend just a day before. He asked me if I wouldn't feel better if I had a job and "lessened the burden" on my family. Huh? I'm a burden? I immediately sent the text to Ash who laughed it off and called the guy a dummy. I asked the kids if they thought I should go to work. My oldest responded, "only if you want to". My daughter said, "who would do everything"? My youngest son, "Why?". These responses set me at ease. My daughter was right. Who would do everything? I make our daily bread, I grow our food, I do our laundry and hang it on the line, I clean the bathroom, I make the meals from scratch (almost every single night). I make most of our decisions in regards to daily life. I do these things because I want to. Everyone helps out. My kids don't have assigned chores. We have a "do it" rule. If you're asked to do it, do it. I don't care whose turn it is, I don't care who did it last, work that out between yourselves and go do what I fucking asked. It works really well. They are responsible, mature, hardworking kids. Well...except Ethan. He's a clown. Are they going to get the wrong idea about women because of the amount of work I do in the home? No. I don't think so. They know I do this by choice. They know mommy can be whatever she wants and she chose to be self-sufficient.

I was bringing in the recycle bins from the curb when my neighbor came out to get in her car. She waved and said, "Isn't that mans work?". To be honest I was dumbstruck. I hadn't heard anything so overtly stupid and sexist in a really long time. To hear something so wrong come from a woman, a mother, who considered herself a successful business owner was sad. I know you may be thinking it was innocent and she was just kidding, blah blah blah. This is my story not yours, shut up. I regretfully said something equally stupid back to her, "well, I guess it depends on when you want it done." What the fuck did I just say? See,I know that my husband walks right past those recycle bins without thought because he knows Elliot will bring them in when he gets home from school. I would normally leave them out myself. I was only doing it because I happened to be out there. I thought I'd help him out. Did I say any of this to her? NO. I implied that my husband was incompetent and I was shouldering the burden. He didn't seem as disturbed as I when I told him. I am pretty certain he called her a dummy and made a lurid joke about mans work. I didn't really let it go. It got me thinking about these jobs, these boxes that still exist and why.

I was cleaning the chicken coop yesterday. I had fed them some snacks and I was happily scooping the poop from the hen box and tossing it into the compost when I realized I had it all. I at that moment realized that up until then some part of me had felt guilty for staying home. They were all right. The guy at the market, my dummy friend who called me a burden, the neighbor and her "mans" work, the women of my life who had asked when I was planning on going back to work for a decade before they finally got the hint. I didn't feel I was contributing. I felt guilty for not being a better Capitalist!
All along I had thought this was a Womans issue but it wasn't at all. It was a conformity issue. Deep inside I felt I wasn't doing the things current society dictate I should be doing. I hadn't realized I had found ways to deal with it, this guilt. I wasn't writing so I started cooking, I wasn't sculpting so I started growing, I wasn't seeking out your attention and approval and I started to breathe. My half done stories were playing out complete amongst those clucking, bitching, soothing chickens. Every poem I had scrapped was wrapping itself around the pea teepe's. The music was there too. It was the dogs tag as he jumped the asparagus bed, a cat landing on the rain barrel. I was taking care of myself. I was taking care of my family. I found what I need to do this now. I am not a consumer. I am a woman. I am...sigh...a feminist.

Friday, April 16, 2010

maybe its time to change our mission statement

It's amazing how much has changed. I'm sure, my dear only reader, you've noticed I've been gone for most of the last year.I left you with promises of Coq Au Vin and stories of train sex... Alas, I have obviously failed. (Not with either of the latter, I assure you, I just mean I failed to uphold my promise to share.)

We took a good portion of the last year to make some really solid and permanent changes, changes as a family that make us feel better about how we live our lives and the impact we're having. I find myself slowing as I type, reluctant to bore you with all the details. I don't want to come off as preachy or ranty about our move back to a simpler life so I guess I'll just let it unfold naturally. Perhaps with each new post you'll get a better idea of our new found fulfillment.

We've decided to try to keep a journal or some record of what we plant from year to year since I tend to forget. I suppose this is as good a place as any. The size of our gardens have increased considerably. This is what we're growing already (inside the house and out): peas, onion, garlic, radish, carrot, chard, spinach, lettuce, rocket, shallot, potatoes- about 6 types, aubergine, broccoli,artichoke, cabbage, tomato, jalapeno, brussels sprouts, dill, cilantro, thyme, basil, strawberries, raspberries,watermelon, asparagus,rhubarb and of course all of my various perennial herbs and edibles. Not so different from last year, I think. Still to go in the ground: green beans, corn, black beans, pinto beans, cucumber, pumpkin, okra, am I forgetting? Something I'm sure. As usual I'm off to an excellent start with the documenting. Bah! This is why Ash keeps the egg journal. Not only would mine be illegible, it'd be severely lacking. We've put in a few new raised beds for perennial food stuff. We've made some great potato bins, whose plans I'll share with you soon.

I leave you with some peas. getting ready to climb the teepee's. Scarlett runner beans! That's what I forgot, phew!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chickens are for lovers

I've been gone along time. Meet the girls. Demeter, Artemis, Rosabelle and Foghornabelle are the laying hens. An Australorp, an Americauna, a leghorn, and a Gold Lace Wyandotte.

Alana came over and took some pictures of the girls.
She was there just in time for our newest, arrival!

This is Hera. She's our little Bantam. Black Cochin to be specific.
That's Chrysanthemum.

Ash and I all cooped up...

You won't believe what we've been eating. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

heirloom tomatoes provencal on spinach and basil pesto pasta

With school heading towards full swing and the weather getting a bit chilly it was time to take what garden food I still had and make it comforting. All summer long we've had fresh clean options using these same ingredients and I'm soooo over it. I wanted a big ass bowl of happiness that will leave me with a vague sense of guilt and a huge sense of fulfillment.

Check out those tomatoes. With some creative pruning I finally started getting a decent yield. I really love the little round orange ones. The pink have been a big hit, they're really meaty, firm, and totally look like genitals. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, goes over well in house full of tweens and teens.

I cut my tomatoes to about an inch, inch and a half, set them in a sheet pan, drizzled with olive oil, a little fancy balsamic, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, Italian oregano, and some thyme. Sprinkle each tomato with breadcrumbs and put in a 375 oven for 25-30 minutes. (I deviated from my normal breadcrumbs at this point and used panko this time, something I won"t do again.)
Panko regret:

I cooked my pasta and made my pesto while the tomatoes roasted.

The pesto was a few spinach leaves and a bunch of basil, some pan toasted pine nuts, a few cloves of the garlic confit I recommend you always, always have on hand, a dash of cayenne, and a little pepper blended in some olive oil.

At this point you start beating people back out of the kitchen...

When the tomatoes are about done sprinkle them with a little parmesan and basil chiffonade and set back in the oven for a few. I wouldn't typically let my parmesan get crispy but that's the way the pesto zombies wanted it. (It was alright...I guess.)

Then you take your tomatoes and set them over the pasta.
Like this:

no really, do it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

summer goods

Hiya. I'm back. It's been awhile, huh? Sooooooo long in fact that I'm way over discussing the Coq Au Vin I was going to lead into from the last blog post. Its far too hot to bother with now. Instead I'll talk about what Ethan and I made for his class was compiled into a cookbook and given to mom's for mother's day. Back when school was still in we had to haul our butts all the way across town to the market to pick up the goods we'd need for this dinner but now we just hop straight out the back door and pick whatever we need. It rules. The garden has been a wonderfully productive learning tool for all of us this year. We have a better idea of our lot. We know how much more space we'll need next year to keep us in the green. We have a better idea of what crops grow in which location. And I think most importantly, we know what we have far too much of and what we desperately wish we had more of. ( like artichokes, YUM)

Ash and I have been scavenging materials to build the bottle walled chicken coop. I'm excited to try this out. I don't have this one completely planned as of yet. I really want to build something that I can use for chickens and/or squab. A rabbit idea is being tossed around as well. The issue I have is that I have no desire to have rabbits as inedible pets. We have enough pets, too many maybe. What we need is a nice steady food supply. Convincing the kids of this was easy. Its the husband who has difficulty with the idea of killing flopsy, not that he has any issue when it comes to eating him (go figure). So...that is where I've been- collecting materials, growing food, adjusting our lives a little everyday. The good stuff.
Back to the food! Ethan and I sauteed some onions/shallots, (whichever you have) with one jalapeno and a few cloves of garlic in some oil until soft. I like to put in a pinch of cayenne and a little, say a teaspoon , of chinese five spice here and cook it for about 30 seconds. Then we added some ground turkey and cooked through. Ethan shredded a few carrots while I chopped cabbage.

I had thrown a cup of rice into the rice cooker when we started so it'd be ready to add by the time I needed it ( I always cook my rice in stock). We cooked down the cabbage and carrots in the spicy meat, added a cup to a cup and one half of rice and stirred it all together. We seperated the leaves of romaine on a platter and viola! We were done. Everyone has a bowl of spicy meat and veggies and access to as many leaves as they like. Its fast, try it. The jalapeno and cayenne don't add much heat so its kid friendly and you'll want to serve with sri racha for sure. Unless of course you're a bunch of that case you could probably sub the jalapeno for a bell pepper and skip the cayenne. Either way...

It's really good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

eff the potatoes

I have decided that I must have dreamed my potato purchase. There is no other explanation.
I have never lost my keys much less a fucking TWENTY POUND bag of potatoes. light of the pathetic nature of my recent dreams, I am going on vacation.
I have never been on one before with a husband and kids. I'm excited. There will be a train and sneaky booze, and maybe even some illegal transport of produce. At the very least I wanna have train bathroom sex. ( plug your eyes mother) Wish me luck! I'll explain the photo when I return.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I know I bought a bag of russet potatoes at Costco two weeks ago.
Now where the hell is it???