Tuesday, April 8, 2014

april feeding our families (gardening for our families!!!)

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(I had myself some fun making these little collages of past garden photos…)



When I first wrote to my friends with the "feeding our families" idea, I offered the following broad suggestions for possible topics…

I think the topic of "feeding our families" leaves lots of room for interpretation. We could share simply, or we can ramble on about our passions in the kitchen. Ideas I am having include...
a favorite meal,
a menu plan for the week,
seasonal menus,
holiday food traditions,
snacks for our children,
(are your children hungry all day long?)
food sensitivities,
food fears (gmo's!)
food memories,
picky eaters (my girls like almost all vegetables. not so big on fruit. particular about sweets (chloe), don't like chocolate (chloe, and me) (thinks bacon and eggs together sounds like one of the craziest things, and especially would have no interest in eating it for breakfast)
breakfast!
and I imagine as we approach garden season then that might play into how we approach and express food love to our family.
and budget stuff, probably many of us face the challenge of feeding our families well on a limited budget.


Each month now I think to myself that perhaps I will take the easier, simpler approach. Though if you look back at my other posts you will see that I actually kept taking the more random, rambling approach. Hmmm, maybe that is how things will stay. 

I have never felt inadequate or even slightly concerned about my blog posts until starting this project, with such a wonderful group of talented, inspiring women, most of whom are much more prolific with their blog writing than I am. Then I unfortunately had feelings like… oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into, I have nothing to share, there is a reason I never wrote much about food in the past (even if the reason is nothing more than a lacking of time) (and a lacking of photos)…

Neverthless, I really am enjoying this series so, so much (despite my occasional gasps of "oh no!", usually occurring while I am busy in the kitchen and then suddenly realize I am supposed to be photographing and writing about all this food stuff too…)

Back to the simple idea though… 

Were we are at in the kitchen this week…

Shared the results of Saturday's bread baking morning with a kind neighbor. I like the way she held it close, inhaling, before carefully wrapping back up in cloth.

Uhmmm...

I don't think I can get anything else into my head other than thoughts of gardening and food growing!!!

We have trays of spring greens started… just Swiss Chard and kale for now, probably we will direct seed some spinach soon… tomatoes started indoors, a few varieties, some peppers too…

We garden for love, but also out of necessity. If we do not grow enough vegetables then really we do not have enough to eat. So while early spring is all about those good greens, we are also looking forward to getting our storage crops planted… onions, potatoes, cabbage (sauerkraut!), beets, various varieties of winter squash…

We even just had our first little garden harvest of the season! A teeny tiny bundle of chives, snipped from awakening plants, giving us a little taste of fresh green goodness!


I guess I have decided to skip the link gadget thing for now, but if you have a food post of your own to share then please do leave a link in the comments. (Did you all see that Heather from Beauty that Moves is doing a weekly kitchen series? All kinds of gorgeous kitchen inspiration over there!)


Enjoy visiting these lovely friends for more good food stuff...






Saturday, April 5, 2014

some sewing…

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I try to get some specks of sewing done during my free moments. Yes, sometimes only specks at a time get done. Eventually it adds up. Making, mending, finishing, done. A new dress for Elsa. A mended dress for Chessa, who is kind of rough on her clothing. (I mean, who so loves her handmades that she wears them to pieces…) A forgotten project found. Baby bibs in progress, two are now finished (but then I had to move on to the dress. Had to. Really.) And belated photos of my finished swap items (sent way across the country to Sarah in Maine, and again thanks to Amanda. And I forgot to mention my swap gifts, but the whole thing was neat and fun, and especially surprising when my package arrived from someone living only about an hour away from us (because about an hour away from us is still in the middle of nowhere) although she has now moved far far away… thanks again Dawn!)

Well, as much as I would love to get all chatty about sewing right now, I have a food post to be writing also. I sure didn't mean to be here so infrequently, but wow, the time just slips away! Lots of good things happening! (And that's an understatement. Some incredibly wonderful exciting things happening here!!!)

Hope the days have been happy for you, dear friends and kind readers…
See you soon…
Renee


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Monday, March 17, 2014

moments from the last weeks of winter

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Peek-a-boo!
It's almost spring!!!
Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

feeding our families - march

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Hello again to all of our "feeding our families" friends. How fun and exciting it has been to be sharing with everyone through these first months of the year. Even if the kitchen and pantry are feeling less than thrilling at the moment. It is still winter here though, and probably that, plus garden yearning, really add to kitchen blahs? What a time to start up this project!

I am afraid I am only going to talk about cabbage. Raw, sautéed, fermented. It really is a very handy winter vegetable. And everyone here loves it. So yay. But I will try not to subject you to too much more cabbage-ness.

But a favorite recent lunch was sautéed onions and cabbage on toast. I think any vegetable simply sautéed and served over toast makes a good lunch.
Oh, and my girls really love onion too. If I am chopping onion for a meal then they will came and take big chunks off the plate for raw snacking.

I would like to start making more varieties of lacto fermented vegetables besides the usual sauerkraut. I do not use a culture for our cabbage/sauerkraut, just whey and sea salt, or no whey and extra sea salt. Anyone else having success fermenting other vegetables, with or without a special culture?

I would also like to start doing some soaked grain baked goods. Perhaps the buttermilk biscuit recipe in Nourishing Traditions would be a good place to start. Baby Elsa has not had any grains yet and I would prefer them to be soaked to begin with.

A couple questions answered from last time…

What do we do with our cultured cream? Well, the main reason I like to have it on hand is to add some cultured probiotic goodness to our meals. I will stir it into soups or stews just before serving, or drizzle it on top of a bowl of beans. Really good with any dishes were you might use sour cream. Very similar to sour cream, just not as thick, a little less sour. Also called creme fraiche. Also good on fruit. Served on biscuits with honey. Good for baby while we are waiting for our raw milk share to begin again, as I would prefer for her to have only raw or cultured dairy.

How do we make our rye porridge? Coarsely ground, soaked overnight if I remember, cooked in three times as much water on stove top, stirring very frequently as it has a tendency to stick and burn if you're not careful. We do the same thing with other grains, barley being another favorite. We used to do a "grain of the day" (Waldorf) porridge rotation throughout the week, which is useful for menu simplifying, plus if someone isn't so fond of one grain then at least it's not coming back around for another week.



Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

My recipes of course have to come with notes and rambling…
These cookies are very rich. You can make them with other nut butters (maybe seeds too? sunflower? sesame tahini cookies?) but I warn you that then they become even more rich. Peanut is my favorite, followed by walnut (in photo) which I made recently when we were out of peanut butter. (Used hand blender to make walnut butter in a jar, worked well.) I want to try them with pecans soon.

You can make them less rich by substituting 1/4 cup of sugar for 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. But then they have sugar. We use organic sugar.

We use all organic ingredients. Always. Because we are very afraid of gmo foods.

For fats/oils in baking we use coconut oil or butter. We do not use the extra virgin super coconut flavored oil because some people here do not like coconut, and also it will change the taste of these cookies, which is fine if you like the coconut flavor, but we use the milder version, expeller pressed and organic. And organic butter, because dairy, yikes, add 100 other concerns besides gmo's to the list of reasons why we won't eat conventional dairy products.

Also I have made these with kamut flour.

Now we shall try to get on with the recipe...

1 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter) (ours is fresh ground peanuts. do not use one with sugar added)
½ cup coconut oil or softened butter (or melted and slightly cooled butter)
½ cup maple syrup (careful it is not so cold that it hardens your oil/butter, but I never go so far as to actually warm it)
¼ teaspoon salt

Oven at 350 degrees (F)

In a medium bowl add peanut butter, coconut oil or butter, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well. Add flour. Mix well again. The dough will be fairly wet. In general it is very forgiving. I rarely even measure the ingredients exactly, but then again I have been baking these for about 15 years.

Place tablespoon size balls (I use an actual tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop up the dough) on cookie sheet with an inch or so between them. They will not spread too much. Then make the cute little criss cross peanut butter cookie prints with a fork. If dough is too sticky then dip your fork in cold water  occasionally while making the marks, no more stickiness…

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on tray for a bit before trying to move as they will be delicate while still hot. Makes about 2 dozen-ish.

And remember, I told you that these are very, very rich.
(Which is why I am leaving out the adding chocolate chips option. Jason likes them that way but it is too much for me.) (Also because I am not fond of chocolate.) (Yes, I know that is crazy.) (But also, when well cooled, and for a very special occasion, you could dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate!)


Okay, recipe done now, in case you were wondering.

Those delicious peach tarts were made by the girls. Chloe sometimes gets consumed by the desire to bake a surprise something. I was not allowed into the kitchen at all.

And finally, after saying for more than 10 years that he wanted them, Jason made onion rings. Wow, they were really, really good!

So what is going on in your kitchen lately?
It has been suggested that maybe we can do one of those linky things (like for ginny's yarn-along) so that more of you can join us in the sharing. I will look into that, but for now if you would like to then please feel free to leave a link in the comments to one of your recent food posts.

I'm so late with my post this month that perhaps you have already visited everyone else…



Thanks again to my inspiring mama friends!!!


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Monday, March 3, 2014

soon… feeding our families...






Hello all… I am very much looking forward to this months "feeding our families" series with my lovely group of mama friends, but it will probably be a day or so before I get my post done. Not that it is anything spectacular, I am just lacking time for the computer lately (always? lacking motivation to be at computer? always.) 

I will share a really yummy cookie recipe with you when I return. It is even vegan, gluten-free, sugar free, etc… You can consider it a kind of apology to all my gluten-free friends for all the yeasted wheat bread I post about.

Previous "feeding our families" posts with links to participating friends are here

And beginning this month we will have Heather here as well, which makes me very happy, and will surely be very beautiful and delicious… (I may even read her post before I finish mine, which goes against the rule I made up for myself about finishing my post before visiting everyone else...)

Wishing you a happy day! I'll be back soon…


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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

bits of makings...

































I told you she loved her little book! Loved to pieces, it has now been taped and glued back together, will hopefully stand up to more kisses and cuddles.

Do you know Piecework magazine? It is a love of mine. I first came across it at a california bookstore when I was in my early twenties (age determined by the date of my first issues which are from 1996) I carried around my few precious copies for years and years, somehow never thinking to see if the magazine continued publishing more wonderful issues. Then a few years ago I happened upon such an exciting find, a whole stack of free back issues!! Since then more old copies have been collected (I think most back issues are now archived digitally and only available that way, which I have no interest in, so I seek out used print copies…)

Handwork and history, old photographs, inspired projects. The Ellis Island issue in the photo is Chloe's favorite. Perhaps I can show peeks of the magazine over time, there is so so much to love…

Oh, and another special thing is my current knitting project, a cardigan for myself. Crocus, but plain, no stripes, long sleeves, buttons all the way down the front. I am maybe 2 inches below the arm dividing. I have no idea if this sweater will be finished spring, summer, autumn? No matter when, the weather around here is almost always suitable for cardigan wearing. The cardigan I have been dreaming of knitting forever... (probably since around the same time as my piecework magazine discovery, california thrift shops, a hooded orange cardigan, with pockets, it was so perfect, and very likely the time when the seeds of knitting dreams where planted in my mind…)

(I just did a quick search and see that I have mentioned that thrifted orange sweater before, and it didn't have a hood, I just wished it did.) (Only one out 4 cardigans that I have knitted ended up with a hood…)


Other bits of making…

Fun sewing for my swap match (joined Amanda)…

And!!! Tiny cabin making!!! (Or starting at least…)


There is no need to apologize for posting excessive amounts of baby pictures on ones own blog, is there? I hope not…


~ Joining friends Nicole and Ginny ~


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