Saturday, March 19, 2016

Old Log Inn Bar Soap

Spring is coming. It is time for planning, planting, and cleaning. One of the things I need to clean out are all the drafts of articles I started to write but never got to finish. Today, I want to tell you about some amazing local soap I have been using for almost a year: Old Log Inn Naturals.

I discovered them at the farmer's market last year and have been hooked. At first I enjoyed the Peppermint and some other scents. Then I found her Honeysuckle and Plumeria. After that, I only use this soap and Dr. Bronner's Organic Unscented Baby Soap.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Loco Moco: A Hawaiian Pork Recipe

Some days I am at a total loss for what to do for dinner. I realize that most people seem to be pretty good at this with their weekly meal plans and shopping lists. I have tried it before and it never seems to work out for me. Seriously, never. I will make a weekly plan and pull out meat and then all it takes is one late night or busy day and the whole schedule goes crazy. Now I just don't bother. I pull a couple of packages of meat out of the fridge and then decide the day before, or the afternoon of, what I am going to cook.

You know what I don't know what to do with? Ground pork. I have some great recipes but you can only have pork burgers and pork and pasta so often. And with two pigs a year, we get quite a bit of ground pork. Needless to say, I needed something new. Thankfully, Just One Cookbook had just what I needed: Loco Moco. I had never heard of Loco Moco but it sounded interesting and different so I figured, why not?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bootstrapper

I have no idea what I expected when I read the cover of Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm but it sounded intriguing. I ordered it from the library and then forgot about it.

Total side note: I don't know how it works for you but I swear there are a handful of people out there who read exactly the same books as me. They take out a bunch from the library and return them all at once. I, in turn, then get them all at once. I can go a week or two with no new books, then BAM! Ten books show up at the library in 24 hours. Crazy but true.

The new books to arrive for me were BootstrapperThe Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus, and The Soil Will Save Us. Now I had been waiting for The Soil Will Save Us and fully expected to start reading it once the kids went to bed. I was having a quiet evening and thought, well I should check out Bootstrapper in case I don't want it; I am going right by the library tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Chicken in Milk

We drink a lot of milk. I mean a lot. We love it and between the five of us, we consume about a gallon a day. We drink it raw and organic, just the way the cow intended. Okay, not really. We drink it chilled but otherwise it is just as the cow made it. As Joan Dye Gussow once said "As for butter over verses margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." In general, this is a guiding principle.

The week after Christmas we were fortunate enough to find a new farm that follows organic practices selling raw milk: Jersey Meadows Farm in Ghent, NY. (Check out this cute picture of their cows.) Now I don't have to drive far to get our milk.

Anyway, after having amazing success braising our pork chops and pork steaks (one of the owners of Jersey Meadows gave me the pork chop recipe!), I decided that braising is something I need to do more often. My recipe research turned up an odd recipe for chicken in milk. After checking out the ingredients I decided to live dangerously and give it a whirl.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sweet Black Bean Dessert

I know you have all ready about using black beans in brownies and hidden inside other dishes. Let me assure you, this is not one of those posts. In fact, I too have been skeptical and have not yet tried the black bean brownies. Call me a crazy purest but let's not mess with my brownies, ok?

That said, one of our goals is to eat more beans this year. Not only to the kids love them, they are great for us and relatively easy to grow. Plus due to all the fiber, they keep you (and kids) full a long time. This past year we experimented with growing four different kinds and I purchased a 25 lbs bag of organic black beans from our distributor at the very start of last year i.e about a year ago. We didn't grow a lot but we grow enough for us to sample the different kinds. This year, beans will take up a lot more real estate in the gardens.

Friday, February 19, 2016

On the Bookshelf - Feb 2016

One of my goals for this site this year is to share more books with everyone. One of my favorite things is learning what other people are reading. Each month, I am hoping to share what I am currently perusing. This month is mostly cookbooks. The next two months will probably be heavy on gardening books. I am always looking for recommendations so feel free to leave a comment about what you are reading.

Books I really love, I will do separate reviews on but for now, this is what I am currently checking out, in order of appearance above.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Perfect Pork Chops

I feel like I am finally back to the land of the living. I don't know about everyone else, but this past winter has been crazy. First a head cold, then the stomach bug (that lasted a week!) and then -20° F... and now today it was 56°F... so weird. I hope that everywhere else is faring much better. Before all the craziness started, I had lunch with a dear friend. She cooked one of the most delicious meals. I seriously considered licking the plate once the kids had run off to play and she took her toddler to the bathroom. Not the dainty lick, either, the furious "must get every last drop" kind of lick. When I again expressed my appreciation, she laughed and told me how easy it was, and that this was the leftovers.

Needless to say, I had to learn to make it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Maple-Glazed Carrots

I have a weakness for cookbooks. Inside, there are so many recipes and techniques. Here's the thing, by owning them I am able to aspire that some day, hopefully, I will be an amazing cook (who can host dinner parties with ease and have a perfect, Martha Stewart house). I realize this isn't true but to this day I remain hopeful. For the last year though, I have been purging my cookbooks. I have been reading them and guess what? Most of the ones I have owned don't contain recipes that are so amazing that they are worth the space on my shelf. I know, go ahead and pause as you think, no duh silly! It's okay I realize other people already know this. I take no offense. Cookbooks offer hope and don't we all need a little hope every now and then?

Sorry, I digress. Even as I have purged cookbooks, I have still had quite a few on my shelf that I haven't gotten around to reading. Recipes from America's Small Farms is one such book. So this evening when I was trying to come up with yet another way to prepare beets (our winter CSA is great but I picked up too many beets and carrots), I checked the index.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday season. We have been spending lots of time with family and being outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather, although this week it is getting cold. Now that the new year is here, I am hoping that things will slow down a little. E2 is crawling and decidedly not slowing down but I figure I can let him do all the zooming and I can just sit back and watch. What do you think the chances are of that happening? Yeah, probably zero but it's a new year so hope is everywhere.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Honey Glazed Beets

As part of our winter CSA, we got a bunch of beets. The kids love beets and I had planned to pickle and can them using the recipe from Preserving by the Pint but... well, life got busy and I only got them half made. How do you half pickle beets you may be wondering and trust me this wasn't some kind of weird science experiment. Instead it was a delicious accident caused by being too busy one night and refusing to let anything go to waste.