Monday, September 26, 2011

I Am Despicably Unobservant

In my defense, I was simultaneously making these incredible cookies and watching Two For The Money.  However, in the mean time my front yard looked like this:

Mustard Watermelon Rind Pork Loin

This one goes out to all those doubters who said Pickled Watermelon Rind was useless!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 3D

Final installment this week, and I PROMISE next week won't be ANYWHERE near as long-winded.

I Bought that basket of apples, intending to make applesauce with them.  *Sidenote, Am I the only one that gets disappointed each time they dump the contents of a basket into a plastic bag instead of handing you the basket with the fruit, no matter how many times it happens?*  Anyways, they did indeed become applesauce (3 quarts and a pint of it).  But just like last week, I was stuck with a bowl full of peels and cores.  I still had last week's saved in the fridgs 'cuz I had hoped Nick would boil them down and make wine of them (he's done that with pears before) but I had no such luck.

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 3C, this 3 part series is now a 4 part series...but we're 3/4 there!

Canning tomatoes is one of those extreme controversies in the canning world.  Forever, conventional wisdom stated that tomatoes were acidic enough to be canned on their own without added acid.  Maybe that was true at the time, maybe it wasn't but a lot of people bought into it and very few of them died.  A recent article I read actually said that the prevalence of heirloom tomatoes in the 70s introduced a lot of less acidic tomatoes into our diets and gardens and todays tomatoes are actually less acidic than those of days gone by.  Whatever the case may be, the USDA recommends adding 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar or 1/2 tsp citric acid to each pint of canned tomato product (half that for pints).

I can't say I follow those guidelines to a T, but I come close and I'm comfortable with my canned tomato products.  The USDA link above has all of their tomato guidelines tho, if you've got any questions.

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 3B

Last week, my friend Jennifer sent me to see if I could pick up a few things for her at the farmers market.  Her schedule just had too many things in it and the farmers market had to go.  She wanted a head of french garlic, an heirloom tomato and a basket of romas all from "The Hydroponics Lady".

I arrived at the farmers market 15 minutes before closing time and was instantly flustered.  I had a big list of my own plus Jennifer's list and the vendors were starting to pack up already!  Guess that's what I get for always going at the end of the day.  I set out looking for the hydroponics lady.  Found her pretty quickly, asked for a head of French garlic, an heirloom tomato (she was out), some romas and 2 jalapenos for my salsa and grabbed everything else from one of the big stands and was on my way to the local high school to eat my dinner in the car before yoga.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 3A

This week's FMC will be brought to you in three parts because I actually got a chance to hang out and take pictures and talk to folks this week.

First Thing's First:

I went to the farmers market with $27 (notice how the number keeps going up?  I swear it's not intentional) and I bought:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I was chatting with a regular patron in the library yesterday afternoon.  She also keeps chickens and commented that she was stockpiling her eggs in anticipation of her girls moulting.

... I knew they did that, but I kinda forgot.  Oops.  Would I hafta start buying eggs again for a while?

*Research Time*

Apparently, Chickens stop laying and then loose all their feathers before resuming their egg laying again.  This happens every year. Usually in the fall, but it is technically a response to extended egg laying or other stress on the chickens nutritional needs.  As such, young hens who just started laying usually don't moult their first fall (whew!) because the egg laying has yet to take its toll on their bodies and because chicks moult 3x in their first 6 months.

So, I'm in the clear this fall.  I've learned something new, and HOPEFULLY, I'll remember in time to do some stockpiling of my own come next fall.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Consistency Confusion

I'm (already) scheming for next year's county fair.  What can I say? I got a taste of ribbons and I can't get enough.

Actually, I'm just so pumped about banana butter and it's possibilities.  Spiced Banana Butter?  Walnut Banana Butter?  Bananas Foster Butter?  But the thing is, I quickly find myself bogged down in consistency matters.  First, what banana butter (and the variations I'm considering) aren't:

Sunday, September 18, 2011


We got our first green egg on Monday.  We didn't really expect a second on Tuesday or Even Wednesday.  There's no use rushing a new layer.  But when there was no egg on Thursday or Friday, I was starting to get concerned.  Chickens can get "egg constipated" and it's something I was hoping to never have to deal with.  Then on Saturday, she brought forth EGGZILLA!!!!

Run for your lives!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Beurre au Citron... on Broiled Spanish Mackerel

I'm not a huge fan of fish.  As a matter of fact, as far as I've been concerned, if it isn't beer battered and fried maybe it shouldn't be eaten at all.  Now, admittedly, today's recipe prolly is just as fattening (thank you, Julia) but my hope was that at least it'd help broaden my palette.  At least Beurre au Citron only calls for 1 stick of Butter, Beurre Blanc calls for 4!  You heard me, a whole pound of butter.

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 2

I went to the Farmers Market with $20, and I bought...

Umm, I guess I went to the farmers market with $30 and picked up $5 worth of stuff for a friend and forgot I had that other $5... (oops)

I went to the Farmers Market with $25, and I bought...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Green Eggs!

I'm starting to notice that there's a pattern to first eggs.  They're small, thin shelled, a little funny shaped...and NOT LAID IN THE NESTING BOXES...aka: covered in poo.  The good news is that can be wiped off.  

I'm excited to report that, while we still have 5 girls who aren't laying yet, we now have 3 hens laying... AND I'm pretty sure it's one of each breed.  Today we got out first green egg!

It really is green, the colors just hard to capture. 

Goats Milk Soap... Fail

I realized this week that I haven't made soap since last December.  I had made so much soap last fall that it was hardly a hardship, but it's getting time to start thinking about Christmas presents.  I really wanted to try fancy, luxurious soaps...with nice moulds.  No more little miss countryfied soaper.  And what is the most classic luxury soap I could think of? Goats milk with Oatmeal and Honey.

Farmers Market Challenge: Week 1

The farmers market here is on Thursday afternoons from 3-6.  Last year, I went every-other Thursday.  This summer, I worked every Thursday, so no farmers market for me :(  But now that the school year has started, my Thursdays are my own again and I actually Have a 6:30 yoga class right down the street from the farmers market (how convenient).  My plan/challenge to myself (and you can take it up too, if you like) is to head to my farmers market every week my schedule allows through the end of the season (our market goes through October) armed with $20 and see where it gets me.

Last week, I went to the farmers market with $20 and bought:

Handmade Basil Linguini: $4

3 Beautiful Eggplants: $2
(sorry no more pics of the items straight from the market...thats what happens when u don't think of a post 'til after you've already done the work)
2 Big Baskets of Tomatoes: $9
8 Green & Yellow Bell Peppers: $4
Half a basket of Jalapenos: $1

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Preserve Swap Reminder

Don't forget about the preserve swap deadline on September 15th.  just email me at if you want to participate.

And don't give me any of that "I didn't make much variety" or "I don't think anyone will like what I made" crap.  I had a friend last week tell me she was leerie to participate cuz all she made was Strawberry Jam and I'm allergic to strawberries.  A. Unless only one person signs up, I won't necessarily be the person you're swapping with and B. Nick eats most of the jelly in this house and he'd consider it quite the delicacy cuz not only don't I make it, but cuz I can't make it.  Moral of the story: give your work more credit and quit doubting!

Vacationing the LFS way

Wow, sorry for the significant gap.  It's crazy how much life gets backed up when u take a break from it for a while.

We headed down to Emerald Isle on Aug. 27, just as Irene was Hitting the Island.  No, we didn't drive straight into a hurricane, we kept a respectable distance... but we DID drive 12 hours from home hoping in good faith that our beach house would still be standing and suitable for human habitation.  We hung out in Myrtle Beach (us poor babies, I know) while the storm passed and by Sunday the Island was open and our place (thankfully) was too.  I'm not exaggerating when I say it's the nicest place any of us had ever stayed (there were 9 of us, so it was huge!).  The first couple days, we had to drive through 6in of water on the road near our unit (good thing we all had SUVs), there were plenty of downed trees and closed businesses but thankfully Irene wasn't quite as strong as originally anticipated and most of her impact on our vacay, slight delay aside, was positive... blue skies, empty beaches, lots of cool shells washing up.