Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe: Tortilla Soup


Tortilla Soup
modified from Eatwell Farms Kitchen recipe

2 T fat (bacon grease, lard, coconut oil, or butter)
2 sliced onions
1 c diced peppers
2+ cloves garlic, smashed
4-6 tomatoes, quartered
1 c summer squash, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 qt. bone broth
1 t cumin
1 T diced fresh oregano
2 t chilie powder
1 t smoked chili salt
pepper to taste
red chili flakes, optional and to taste
cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
cooked meat, optional
1 T lime
avocado chunks
corn tortillas

Heat fat.  Add onion and garlic.

Add peppers.  Let them soften.

Add squash, tomato, kale, and spices.  Cook for a little bit, then add the stock.

Bring to a boil and add cooked meat and heat through.  Turn off heat.  Add lime juice.

Serve in big bowls and top with tortillas and avocado.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

This is How we Roll


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why I'm Quitting Blogging and Facebook

On Facebook, you see frequent "goodbye" posts, then the person appears again slowly. What is it about Facebook that is so compelling?

Let's start with me. What do I like about Facebook?


1. You have "friends" without any real effort. Went to high school together? Friends. Joined a mom's group that met half a dozen times then flopped? Friends. I can spend all day with my kids and still have friends. In real life, you need to call and see each other.

2. Someone cares about my daily tasks, feelings, and emotions. And if they don't? They scroll right on by.

3. Likewise with photos. I now have something to do with my really cute digital images I am never going to print.

Cute, huh? Maybe I should post it to Facebook.

4. I actually find scrolling through statuses relaxing and a decent source of news (don't judge me). I click through and read some interesting stories and blog posts. Some people are funny, too.

5. When I first got an account, I found it really neat to find all of the people I had connected with in the past, then lost. It's also fun to find some who you know the same as someone else but not through the same thing.

6. Birthdays! The first few were cool. Now I have stopped wishing everyone Happy Birthday and feel bad when I selectively post.

7. Life events. This is my actual favorite. I love reading about pregnancies, babies, marriages, moves, deaths, new jobs, etc. This was what made Facebook so interesting when I first joined.

That being said, what don't I like about Facebook? Why am I quitting, and why do people post they are quitting all the time?


1. It is organized funny and keeps choosing what to show me by what it thinks I want. So I scroll and click on what is interesting then an hour goes by with me having done nothing but read about someone's sandwich or kid's tooth and some blog posts or news articles.

2. Did I say an hour? Yes. Which keeps me awake at night when I should be sleeping or reading a book. Though it could take longer if I wasn't tired.

3. It is tempting to try to "keep up" on Facebook, and then you check it multiple times per day. It doesn't take as long in the evening, but you are constantly on your phone or tablet. Hate it.

4. Really? Do you love your life/ girlfriend/ baby/ job/ lunch/ dog every day? Even when you get spit-up on? 'Cuz that's what it sounds like to me.

5. I spend my "friend energy" on 300-something people who slightly care instead of using it on the 10 or so who actually care. I could (and should) write actual emails back to people with sentences and information and make actual phone calls to people who want to talk to me. If I have limited resources (in this case it is energy after being with the kids all day, getting a workout in, keeping the house and bills and animals in order, and talking to my husband- oh, and bookkeeping part time), why should I be using it reading snippets of information about people who I may or may not recognize on the street?

Which brings me to the blog.


That was the other half of the "snippets of information" bit. I read other blogs and have learned a lot and tried a lot but it's really just snippets and blogs are nice because you get to know the writer. But not too much. And not too deeply. And for goodness sake, not in real life.

My blog has stayed steady at around 150 hits per day for a while now. I have a few posts that get most of the action, and I think the rest must be people I know checking in on me. Again, we are skipping the actual interaction in favor of one through the computer.

I started the blog as a way to keep track of sewing projects and links to patterns and sewing blogs that were useful to me.

As my older son (who will be 6 this summer) got older, I have been doing less sewing. He started napping less, and staying the same size for longer. We have plenty of stuff. I don't need to sew anything else except a dozen pairs of pants twice per year (mostly).

So I started blogging about other things. It was a nice place to post pictures and get into a detailed description. I added garden posts and food posts. I started writing for the local mom's newsletter (it's on real paper and comes in the mail every month) and I would post those on the blog so I wouldn't lose them.

And, like sewing projects, I am out of stuff to share. My kids are aging out if this and it is time for me to spend my free time elsewhere.

Maybe I should pick up sewing.


+++++ NOTE: I WROTE THIS IN MARCH, AND HAVE DECIDED NOT TO QUIT EITHER-- BUT IT IS A NICE ESSAY I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ++++++++

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Primal Wild Plum Torte

We have talked about our wild plums before, as we have a number of trees around our house that are generous.



This year, I have been making a delicious torte with them (this photo is of it, uncooked).



Primal Wild Plum Torte

2 cups wild plums (can use regular red plums), pitted (I use a cherry pitter)
1 cup almond flour + 1/4 cup
1 cup other flour you are comfortable with (Einkorn, coconut, etc.)
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened (can sub coconut oil), split into 2 portions
1 teaspoon sea salt, split into 2 portions
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup rolled oats (wait, did I call this recipe Primal?)

Crust
Mix 1 cup almond flour, other flour, egg, half the butter, half the salt, and vanilla.  Press into torte pan.  If you want to use a pie tin, double the recipe.

Filling
Spread plums onto crust in a decorative pattern.

Topping
Combine oats, salt, butter, and 1/4 cup almond flour.  Spread/ crumble over plums.  Option- add 2T honey for sweetness.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25+ minutes.  It will be bubbly when finished.  





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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Xtracycle 2 Kids Seating Arrangement

We changed the Xtracycle Edgerunner into yet another seating arrangement.   This is how it had been for a while (two kids with hooptie and homemade seat as a divider and water bottle/ bag holder).  The new arrangement  is quite similar to how it is shown in the ads (kids in hooptie on back). 

Then my older son, who is almost 6, started doing this:



No training wheels!

And now he wants to do a lot of that.  So I don't need the extra weight of the homemade seat to divide them (his brother is just 3), especially if he is doing a lot of riding and a little sitting, and when he sits, I drag his big bike in the back.  So I need my bike to be as light as possible (because it gets heavy quick when I have them both up top and a bike dragging along in back).


It's nice- with just a pad and the hooptie.  We moved the kids' water bottle holder to the front of the hooptie.  It is zip tied on.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Amy Butler Blossom Handbag

This is the free Amy Butler Blossom Handbag Pattern for her "Blossom Handbag."  The photos of hers are gorgeous, and it din't seem as, er, hefty as mine turned out.  It's just a lot of fabric all in one bag.


It's just ok.  In addition to how much is there before you fill it, the top flap doesn't close nicely unless it is full.

I added a side interior zipper for my wallet.


I like the detail where the straps attach to the bag (where it looks like a larger hook).


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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monthly Garden To-Do List: Year in Review (School Calendar)

September
Dry your hot peppers, eat figs and zucchini, prune blackberries, plant lettuce and snap peas and winter veggies, plant garlic, make sure narrow trees are protected from deer.

October
Clean gutters, mulch garden with fallen leaves or start a leaf mold compost bin, eat kale and chard, harvest winter squash (pumpkins!). Prune the raspberries after you eat them all (twice annual task).

November
Eat persimmons, store winter squash, order bare root trees, prepare veggie boxes for winter (plant winter veggies or mulch them), plant bulbs for spring.

December/ January
Make applesauce, sauerkraut, split the strawberries and plant bare root fruit trees.  Pay attention to the nighttime temperatures and cover your citrus and avocado trees with frost blankets or tarps. Turn off your irrigation.

February
Last day of frost: February 18th: take your frost blankets off then.  It's also time to start seedlings inside, and do spring pruning of fruit trees (but take the cuttings inside to enjoy the flowers).

March
Eat green garlic, plant your summer veggies into your boxes (turn the compost then also add some extra), enjoy the magnolias and the flowering bulbs, plant wildflower seeds and poppies before the last rains.



April
Pick (and possibly eat) those dandelions, enjoy the California Poppies, strawberries, and perhaps some wild plums, make your last cabbage sauerkraut of the year. Turn back on the irrigation. Prune the raspberries after you eat them all (twice annual task).

May
Plant sunflowers, pick lavender.

June
Pick then braid garlic, pick little zucchini so the plant keeps producing, start that summer harvesting.  Strawberries!

July/ August
Harvest Time! Eggs, Basil, Tomatoes, Figs, Pluots, Cucumbers (make pickles!).

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monthly Garden To-Do List: July/Aug


Finally!  Harvest time: Tomatoes, Basil, Cucumbers, and Zucchini!  Try to keep cool out there!

One of our favorite mid-summer meals is steak with a Cal-Prese salad (Tomatoes, Basil, Avocados, and an Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette).  Nothing beats garden-fresh tomatoes (and having a use for all that basil!).

We also love making our own full-sour dill pickles.  We use the recipe from The Joy of Pickling but there are a ton of recipes out there. 

Our wild plum trees are ready just about this time of year.  There are at least three varieties: deep red, yellow/ green, and red.  We use a cherry pitter to get the pit out, and eat these by the handful.  They also make fabulous jam, sorbet, and torte.

HOT out there!

This was our 3rd year harvest from our Dapple Dandy Pluot tree, the most fruitful in the garden.  For perspective, we planted a dozen trees that same year, and the next most fruitful had 6 fruits.  This bowl shows less than half of what the tree produced that summer.  And they were delicious.

The kids debated the peaches from our Saturn Peach tree's harvest (which didn't "Saturn" but was delicious)-- which was best.  

We have had great luck with alpine strawberries, both in red and alpine (white) varieties.  These don't travel well, but fall off the plant in the garden and are delectable out of hand.

Both pf these buckets are full of August apples- from an early-season tree.  Keep an eye out.  Also look for the sunflowers and their varieties.

Our chickens love the long days and reward us by laying almost daily.  Here is a mid-summer cucumber and zucchini as well.  Make sure to pick both before they get too big.

Figs fruit twice per year- once on old wood in late spring, and once on new wood in late summer.  We like to plant our trees and use live mulch; in this case, we used strawberries on rocks with lavender at the corners.  The strawberries crowd out weeds, and the rocks make a nice landing place for the berries (to keep the slugs at bay).  The lavender helps attract bees for pollinating.



What's Ready?

  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Melon
  • Nectarine
  • Onion
  • Peach
  • Pepper
  • Plum
  • Pluot
  • Radish
  • Strawberry
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomato
  • Turnip


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Monday, June 30, 2014

Kids' Art Idea: Flag-Making

   It's almost red-white-and-blue time!  

This was a self-directed activity for my almost 6-year old, but it adds another use for old cloth diapers (though this is a single-use activity).

 

He took a little flag we had as a model, and cut a piece of muslin cloth (aka cloth diaper) to size.  Then he decorated it with fabric markers.

Then he asked for some help and I ironed it flat and ironed the edges under, then --he is totally capable of sewing with my machine but asked me to do it-- I sewed a zig-zag around the edges.




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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Old Mailbox into Kids Playhouse Mailbox

We just got a new mailbox and thought it might be fun to let the kids have the old one for their playhouse (it is white, on the left in the photo).  To give it to them, we cut it down using the circular saw (I had to turn the post a few times to get through it).  Then we dug a hole and stuck it in.  I am debating if we will cement it in or not.  It is a bit wobbly in the ground, as I just patted the ground in around it.


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