Banana Oatmeal Chocolate 1

Ready for the freezer.

Well, I’m on the annual “try to take off some of the holiday weight gain in the month of January” ritual. For me, this is as much about getting off of the sugar indulgence band wagon and regaining some control over my snack cravings than anything else. Though seeing the scale move to a number higher than I’ve ever seen before was certainly additional motivation. I’ve been doing pilates at home and swimming three days a week. I started out doing a three day smoothie detox, mostly to clean out my system (the smoothies are basically a giant fiber bomb). We’ve been eating lighter, eating WAY more vegetables, and mostly eating much smaller serving sizes. Read the rest of this entry »

Kirby Curious

Camera strap!

We had been looking for a new cat for a long time. We have two cats. Both rescues of a sort. You can read Malcolm’s coming home story from September 2010 here. We have no idea how old he is, but he’s probably older than Butters. Read the rest of this entry »

LavenderLemon

Lavender 40/42 (a standardized blend), folded Lemon EO (for strength) and Litsea Cubeba (also known as May Chang)

Back when I started making soap, I wondered about using essential oils to scent it. But the only EO’s I had ever seen for sale were the Aura Cacia brand found at the natural food stores. The bottles were typically .5 oz (about 1 tablespoon) and expensive. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hot Chili Harvest

A mix of the last hot chilies of the year, picked two days before our first frost.

My husband is a hot sauce lover. I learned to like hot sauce while traveling in Mexico, and have been slowly liking it more and more as the years go on. As I’ve mentioned on here more than once, I LOVE growing chilies, and grow a lot of them. We dry our own paprika (smoked and plain), jalapenos (for pickling and for dried/smoked chipotles), and our own cayenne. We also do a lot of Hatch style green chilies for both roasted green chilies (on everything from eggs to pork stew to burgers) and dried when ripe for red chili sauce. Cool chili fact. Hatch is the name of a place in New Mexico, not an actual variety of pepper. Hatch peppers can be any number of varieties. This year I grew Joe Parker and Big Jim. They are all in the Anaheim group. I like serranos for Indian food of all kinds and occasionally added to a Mexican dish for extra bite. And of course, we make gallons of salsa every year. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20150703_093145watermark

A mix of carrots from early in the season, before they were mature.

Just a quick post about some carrot taste testing we did this year. I had a whole bunch of carrot seed left over from last year, and because I hadn’t had great germination last year, and had decided just to use the seed up, not expecting much to come up, I used my seeding wheel to plant them in 5 rows, one for each variety. Carrot germination is all about the correct soil temperature (not too hot, not too cold) and adequate moisture. The seed is small, needs to be planted fairly shallow, and dries out easily. It’s difficult to get a high germination rate, even using all the best tricks. Not expecting much, I planted about 250 ft of carrots (five 50 ft rows). The varieties were Danvers Half Longs, Nelson (pelleted in little clay balls for ease of planting), Yaya, Scarlet Nantes and Atomic Red. I happened to plant at the perfect time in mid April, right before we got a period of light rains and overcast days that didn’t dry out the soil quickly, and I had excellent germination on everything but the Nelson. Read the rest of this entry »

Striped German Heirloom, 1.8 lbs, 2015

Striped German – an Heirloom, weighing in at 1.8 lbs!

I’ve been on a search for the perfect 8 oz tomato. I grow a lot of lovely heirlooms. German Pink, Dester, Stripped German. Beautiful, huge tomatoes. Some well over 1 lb. But not everyone at market wants to pay $3 or more for ONE tomato. So I’ve been looking for a medium sized red tomato with excellent flavor. What I really want is a red version of Valencia, which is a fantastic yellow/orange heirloom that I’ve been growing for the last two years. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20151003_181626watermarkOver the years, I’ve tried to find a “go to” recipe for most vegetables. A recipe that takes the vegetable from “I should eat this, its healthy” to “is there any more in the pan” status. Cabbage was a tough one for me. Cabbage is inexpensive. It shows up on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15 List“. That is, vegetables that, even when conventionally grown, don’t have much pesticide residue. And, partially because it’s in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower and kale (the Brassica’s) its super healthy. Full of fiber, nutrition, and anti-oxidants. But, if cooked wrong, it can also be stinky and unappetizing. So, a few years ago, I was searching for cooked cabbage recipes that were not just good, but something I would look forward to. Read the rest of this entry »

Ripe SerranosThat moment when you realize you are almost out of garlic chili sauce. And then the dawning realization of “how hard can this be, really, to make?” given that you are staring at a pile of ripe serrano peppers on your counter. The ingredients on the side of the jar are chilies, garlic, salt and vinegar, plus preservatives to make it shelf stable. Read the rest of this entry »

ZestySalsa

For ALL canned foods, take off the metal ring holding the lid on after your product has cooled. This way, if the cap should come off in storage because the seal failed, or because something is fermenting in there and creating gas when it shouldn’t, you’ll know right away.

Original Ball Salsa Recipe

Original Ball Bluebook recipe.

We’re knee-deep into tomato season, and I’m putting up salsa 20 cups at a time. There are a lot of things you can do with home-grown tomatoes to preserve them for the rest of the year, from drying them to roasting them into fantastic freezer sauce to putting them up in pints and quarts to making barbecue sauce. But the number one thing we do with tomatoes (and chilies and onions) is make canned salsa. My husband thinks of salsa as a food group, so we go through a lot of salsa. Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial KitchenBeen a while since I posted. Late July into all of August is a marathon for us here on the farm. Not only are we doing 2 to 3 farmers markets a week, dealing with the heat, and trying to keep up with harvests and toiletry product production, but we’re trying to preserve food for our own consumption this winter. So batches of green beans and corn and kale get blanched and frozen, tomatoes get roasted, pureed and frozen or canned, rabbits get harvested for winter stews. It’s an abundant time. But its also a stressful time. Read the rest of this entry »

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