Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Winter Gardening

First, I just wanted to wish all our Out in Them Sticks readers, friends and family, Happy Holidays and a prosperous, healthy New Year!  I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays combined with the exhaustion of the third trimester has meant that I haven't really gotten much other than the absolute must-do's complete and unfortunately, the blog just hasn't been on the must-do list. 
I'm very happy to report that we had a very enjoyable, peaceful Christmas this year.  Since having children, I have to say that the last few Christmases have been the best we have ever had.  In fact, the past few years have been the best years of our lives.  Sure, not every moment is peaches and sunshine, but the kids are at a great age and life is just plain good right now!  I just wish I could press the pause button.
The kids were really into Christmas this year.  Santa came into town and spoiled the kids rotten. Nick and I have been able to benefit fr…

Old Jars

Every year I give away some sort of homemade gift to the neighbors and those who provide services for our family.  I do this mostly because I want to show appreciation for them but also because I love getting my hands elbow deep in some project or another.  It gets me in the spirit of the season.

This year, I saved up some of my pasta sauce jars and in lieu of throwing them in the recycle bin I decided I would figure a way to use them as gifts.  The Classico Brand Pasta Sauce Jars are particularly pretty to me but they are only 24 oz. (3 cups) and most gift-in-a-jar recipes are for 1 quart jars (32 oz. or 4 cups).  I was in a bit of a quandary until I found this great recipe for seasoned bean soup here.



I'm hoping the soup mix will be a refreshing change from all the usual sweet gifts given out this time of year.  Sweet indulgences are great, but a savory gift is nice every once and a while too.  I made a few modifications to the recipe in regards to preparation to make it easier …

Turkey Leftovers

I love this time of year when it's easy to get my hands on a cheap turkey that I can then use the receipt to submit an awesome rebate on.  I paid $3.42 for a 14 pound bird this year that I will receive a $10 rebate on.  That's a $6 money making turkey!   Yeehaw.  I'm sure Micheal Pollan (author of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) and others of the anti-industrialized food movement would shake his head in disgust at me for not buying a local/sustainable bird but this money making bird is one deal that is just too hard to pass up!  Besides, we grow a good portion of our vegetables on our little homestead so we are doing what we can, where we can, with the budget we have.


I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year.   My dad and his partner is.  So that means, like last year, I have to figure out what the heck to do with the huge bird in my refrigerator.  No one wants to eat turkey for days straight, at least my family doesn't. 

Las…

Guess I lied... another Monday Garden Update

I thought there wouldn't be much going on in the garden after the last post but there is.  We had our first frost on Saturday night so we had to go out and get the remaining eggplant and peppers before they all shriveled up.


After Nick mowed down the garden last month some interesting things started to pop up when the plants didn't have a foot of grass to compete with.  Apparently, I failed to get a few blue potatoes and they have started to come up.


A second crop of musclun mix is coming up where we had it this season.  Gotta love nature!  These are so yummy and I love that I didn't plant them!  They are hardy through light frosts so we will be eating these babies quickly.


We also have a bunch of garlic coming up where it was planted earlier this year.  They are in concentrated bunches.  I'm not sure if I should just chuck 'em or if I should thin them out or not touch them and see what happens?
We planted purple onions two or three weeks ago and they have popped up.…

Don't Discard Your Pumpkin Seeds!

We are getting into the Halloween Spirit over here.  Yesterday we got in some early trick-or-treating at Nick's work.  Then, we spent this morning carving pumpkins, toasting seeds, and even baking some pureed pumpkin for baking purposes down the road.

I have never EVER roasted pumpkin seeds but after reading the recipe here I figured we'd give it a try.  I vaguely remember our family trying to roast them growing up but they tasted like little cardboard pieces.  We never made them again.  They were hardly worth the extra effort.

This cinnaminy pumpkin seed recipe is worth the extra effort!  I followed the recipe for the most part however I only baked them at 250 because there were complaints in the reviews that the temp was too high causing the sugar to burn.  Good thing I followed their advice.  These seeds were perfect and oooh-sooo sticky, sinful, and yummy!

Roasted pumpkin seeds along side Nick's carved pumpkin

Yum!

Cloth Diaper Clif Notes

It's time for a cloth diaper follow up.  Most of you will find this post too detailed but I'm offering this out to other moms who want an honest oppinion on cloth diapers and what is working best for our family.  **Disclaimer - I am a newbie!**
Flip Diaper
I have to say I'm so disappointed in myself for not having made the switch to cloth sooner.  I've had a week to try cloth diapers on Green Eyes and I am impressed at how easy it is.  At this point, he needs only an overnight diaper but that has allowed me just enough time to experiment on him before number 3 arrives.  My only regret thus far is not doing this sooner.
After an AMAZING amount of research on cloth diapers talking with friends and scouring the internet, I intially leaned toward the All-In-Ones (AIO's- are cloth diapers where the cover and insert are all sewn together). I thought AIO's might make sense because they seemed the most like disposable diapers.  Hubby hasn't been exactly supportive of…

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

My sister requested that I share the tandoori chicken recipe I have been using lately.  It's the easiest recipe EVER.  It requires only four ingredients.  You can find the recipe at Penzey's Spices here.

To make tandoori chicken you'll need to:
Mix 1-2 TB. [of Tandoori Seasoning] with 1 Cup plain yogurt and the juice of ½ lemon. Pour [the mixture] over a cut-up skinless chicken, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from marinade, bake 45 minutes uncovered at 325°, turning and basting every 15 minutes.  Note: I do not cook mine quite as long as the directions state and I sometimes use light sour cream in place of yogurt.  Add salt to taste.  If you thaw out some of the dough from your last naan dough making session while marinating your chicken you'll have a delicious meal in just minutes when you're ready.

I love Penzey's spice mixes because they save me a lot on time and money because I'm not buying several …

Naan - Delicious Indian Bread

It wasn't until I met my husband that I was introduced to Indian Cuisine.  Back then we didn't have kids and going to an Indian restaurant was doable.  Taking the kids for Indian these days is slightly stressful, not to mention costly so it's not something we do very often.  That doesn't mean we don't occasionally have cravings so I've resolved to making some of our own dishes at home.

An Indian dish is not complete without some naan, a traditional Indian bread.  Naan is available at most grocery stores for $3 bucks for two large pieces but it costs only cents to make your own. I find this recipe here to be a pretty good one though I do make a few modifications.

I grew up making mostly quick breads.  Yeast breads have always scared me because it was never something my mother made.  In teaching myself how to bake yeast breads I have learned that most yeast bread recipes require you to add a tablespoon or so of sugar to your starter (i.e. yeast allowed to sit un…

The Last Monday Garden Update of the Year

It is hard to believe it's October already.   I spent two of the last four weeks sick so it hasn't helped me get back in the garden as I had hoped.  Nick mowed the weeds down in the garden (that's how bad the weeds were) so I wouldn't be embarrassed when the neighbors went by.  When mowed, it at least looked a little tidier.  Things are getting back to normal, thank goodness. 

I was inspired by our farm tour this year and the use of lasagna gardening so we are now working on prepping our bed for next year by laying down cardboard and topping it with our homemade kitchen scrap compost in the hopes that it will naturally kill the weeds and seeds by the time we need to prep the beds again in Spring.  We have a ways to go before we are completely done.  There is a lot of area to cover.

Lasagna Gardening
We are still getting plenty of eggplant and peppers out of the garden everyday.  It won't be long before this comes to an end so we are savoring the last of nature's…

FRESH Peach/Apple/Pear Crisp

We are just past peek for peaches here and I finally got off my but to make hubby and the kids some seaonal peach crisp.  I know I posted my MIL's recipe for peach cobbler a while ago here.  While it can be used with fresh fruit, it really shines when using frozen or canned fruit.  That is exactly what I needed when I was dealing with morning sickness and first trimester fatigue... something easy, delicious and comforting.

Now that I'm feeling a little better and have a little more energy, I thought I'd share my go-to recipe for fresh fruit crisp/cobbler.  It is less sweet than my MIL's version which allows the fresh fruit flavor to come through stronger which I love.  It is also a lot healthier.  It is a very simple recipe requiring just a tad bit more effort.  I use the same recipe for apples or pears in the fall.  The only addtion I add to the apple/pear version is cinnamon.  It's a good base recipe that you can add your own flare too.

Yummy Peach Crisp
Fresh Frui…

Farm Tour 2010

We started our morning off really early today so that we could tour local farms as part of the Meet Yer Eats Event.  The first tour started at 8:30 in the morning so we rushed out the door to learn a little about sustainable farming in our area.  I thought I'd share what I gained from the tours.  Please note that the highlights below may or may not be entirely accurate as my memory is less than perfect!

Wolf Creek Farm

Wolf Creek Farm specializes in grass fed beef and was the first stop on our farm tour today.  It was incredibly interesting to see what it takes to run a medium sized cattle farm.  The owner discussed his difficulty finding good labor, the cost of  processing his steer, what it takes to keep his heard healthy without antibiotics, the roles of heifers vs. steer, as well as how the cows are selected and bred. I knew that most of our grocery meat was from feedlot cows but I wasn't aware that most of our grocery store hamburger is actually from spent milking cows.  T…

Experiments in the Kitchen - Carne Adovada

With the recent harvest of green chiles and New Mexico on our mind, hubby mentioned how he has been craving Carne Adovada since we left New Mexico.  He's had the dish at numerous reastaurants on the East Coast but they weren't the same as the kind you can find in Albuquerque.   I don't know what posessed me (maybe the crazy human currently habiting my womb), but I decided why not try to recreate it at home and bring the flavors to us?!

Pork marinating in a red chile liquid.
I visited the local Mexican market for a few key ingredients but I wasn't able to find the chimayo chile powder nor the chile caribe needed for the traditional version of the recipe I found here.  Chimayo and chile caribe are particular to New Mexico and it's not terribly surprising I couldn't find them locally.  I didn't let that stop me.  I perused the local Mexican market (consulting a market employee) and purchased some guajillo chile pods (for flavor) along with some arbol chiles (f…

Monday Garden Update (early, late? you decide)

There was no garden update or any posts last week because we left for Hatteras Island for a family vacation.  Unfortunately, there was a mandatory evacuation on Wednesday morning so we were forced to cut it short.  We were disappointed but we are making the best of it!   Since then, we've been back home doing a few day trips and enjoying the rest of hubby's time off.
When we got back, it was nice to find that we had a nice little harvest of eggplant and peppers.

I had enough peppers from my one meager plant that I actually decided to go ahead and roast them.  I also saved what I could of some of the seed for next years crop prior to roasting. 
I learned how to prepare New Mexican Chiles while living in New Mexico.  During chile season there you can buy a GIANT 25 lb. bag of roasted green Hatch chiles for a whopping 19 bucks.  It was such a great deal, I couldn't pass it up.  Of course, I soon learned why they were so much cheaper (by comparison a tiny, itty bitty tiny can of…

Eggplant Experiment #1 - Eggplant Parmesan

I've had eggplant only a few times in my life.  I think the last time I had eggplant, it was at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in downtown Orlando.  Unfortunately, the dish was not well prepared and I got a fried eggplant sandwich that was way too greasy and soaked with oil.  Yuck.  It must have been an off day for the chef.  I never ordered it again.

Having only recently researched this glorious ingredient, I've learned how important it is to not use too much oil with eggplant as it acts like a sponge and will absorb almost all of it.  So, use oil sparingly when dealing with eggplant!  Though I really wanted the sandwich I described yesterday, I ended up deciding I'd first go with something I thought I could connive my kids into eating.  I figured I couldn't go wrong with Cooking Light's version of Eggplant Parmesan.  You can find the full recipe here.

I was very pleased with the result!  The fresh garden basil really made this dish shine.  I didn't…

Monday Garden Club

Sorry for the lack of a post last week.  I have no real excuse, it just didn't happen.  :)
In Season Now: Carrots, Parsnips, Tomatoes, Peppers & Eggplant
I do have garden news to report.  The eggplants are finally in!!  I think this will likely be the last exciting bit of news for the year as we wind down the garden.  We "pulled the plug" on the broccoli under the house because I just don't have the energy to deal with prepping and planting beds right now.  As it is, I'm figuring next year we will have our hands a little too full to grow our tomato, eggplant and peppers from seed, let alone expand the garden as we had initially planned earlier this year.  We'll see what we can manage to fit in.  It will likely be more modest next year.

I thought the eggplant were going to get bigger so I left a couple of them on the vine and the few larger fruit I left on the plant rotted.  It seems like the size above (about 5"x4") is about the maximum size for …