One of Matt’s buddies from the P-patch (our community gardens in Seattle) grows mushrooms. Together they made some mushroom growing kits: a substrate and oyster mushroom spores in a plastic bag. Cut a few small holes in the bag, spray with water and keep it moist, and the mushrooms just grow out the openings. Matt has three of these bags and keeps them in a plastic storage bin. He played around some with how much sunlight they get - some but not too much.
Aren’t they cool looking? These photos are all from different times. They grow really fast.
Pretty tasty too. We cut some off and eat them, and then more grow! Unless Matt forgets to keep them moist. Then they kind of shrivel up. But start taking care of them again, and they come right back.
Matt and I have both been craving cookies lately. On a recent trip to the grocery store, Matt bought bulk semi-sweet chocolate chips in the hopes that I/we would make some cookies. On Saturday after running some errands and having dinner out with friends, we decided we just had to make the cookies. Chocolate chip, obviously. But which ones? I have a few recipes which I’ve used in the past. Matt indicated that in the past there was a time or two I have made chocolate chip cookies that were “flat” (referring to their thickness, not taste) and that he would prefer fluffier ones this time. He suggested adding extra baking soda, which I said was a bad idea. So we just went with my favorite recipe, which I did not think produces the flat cookies, and hoped for the best. They turned out fantastic; we both agree they’re the best ever. We doubled the recipe, so we had extras to give away to our neighbors and to freeze for later.
Here’s the recipe, which I got from a friend in college and it’s still the best:
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tspn vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour (we used whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 tspn baking soda
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 1/8 tspn baking powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup (to taste) dry oatmeal (we used more like 2/3 cup)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup (to taste) shredded coconut (we used a good 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup (to taste) chopped walnuts (we skipped this because we didn’t have any)
Preheat oven to 375. Cream together first five ingredients. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, then add to creamed mixture. Stir in everything else. Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden, turning cookie sheet midway. Makes 2 dozen. Cool before eating. Enjoy!
I found this recipe in a recent issue of Whole Living magazine. I tore it out because I knew we had squash that needed to be eaten and the recipe looked pretty simple. I can’t find it on Whole Living’s website, but it is online here. We were out of onions, which is unusual for us, but we had a lot of leeks from the garden so I substituted those. With tomatoes and potatoes from the garden, plus Matt’s yellow squash, this unintentionally became a dish made almost entirely of foods Matt grew. Just olive oil, spices and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese were from the store.
We loved it. We ate half of it on the first night and finished up the rest as leftovers the next day. Easy, healthy, and delicious.
Last weekend our friends Sarah and Arnie came over for a potluck dinner. They brought ingredients for hot chocolate made without sugar (sweetness comes from ripe bananas) and made it for dessert. They invented this recipe and not only is it delicious, but it is actually quite nutritious. Mmmmmmm. I’m going to make it sometime soon!
Matt found this recipe in Mother Earth News recently and for some reason really wanted to make it. No complaints here; it was some amazingly delicious coleslaw! Last time it was with this gorgeous purple cabbage. Right now he is making another batch with green cabbage, which reminded me to share this photo of the cut purple cabbage - doesn’t it kind of look like a fractal? Matt substitutes yogurt for the buttermilk (makes it nice and lactose-free for me) and almonds for the pistachios (just ‘cause we always have almonds on hand). Yum!
[This, like almost all of our posts, is very out of date, but that’s the way it’s gonna be. I have several posts half written and then I realize I don’t have the right photos to show. I started one about a quick sewing project and another about the ceiling fans we installed. But I have some pictures of kale so that’s what you’re getting right now.]
Kale chips: So easy, so tasty, so nutritious. I followed this simple recipe from allrecipes.com and adjusted the baking time to whenever they seemed crispy. We used Tuscan Kale…
and Russian Red Kale (the photo of which refuses to stay rotated - arg, sorry).
While the Tuscan looks prettier baked…
I thought the Russian Red was tastier. And it was from Matt’s garden. The Tuscan was from the store.
We snacked on both kale chip varieties almost compulsively until they were gone. Even the dog liked them as a treat.
My cousin has a three-week-old baby girl. I’d been dying to meet the little one, and on Friday evening the stars aligned and Matt and I paid a visit.
[my new baby cousin! She fell asleep while I was unsuccessfully trying to burp her. So precious.]
We live very close by, so I suggested that we bring over a home cooked meal as a small help to the new parents. I decided on a nutritious meal that was quick and easy to make.
[lentil and tomato stew with carrots, celery, some random spices - hold the garlic and onions for nursing mama, as this may help avoid colic for baby]
[quinoa, a fast cooking substitute for the usual grains - we put the lentil stew on top]
[big salad with lots of stuff in it]
Everyone enjoyed the food and we had a great time. Thanks for having us over!
Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes, were unknown to me until a few years ago. They’re great roasted or in stews, such as the one Matt made last week. They’re fun to grow in the garden because the stalks get really tall really fast and they’re nice and leafy with some pretty flowers on top. But watch out ‘cause word on the street is that they will take over your garden if you don’t control them.
We wanted to make some gifts for Christmas this year (uh, yeah this post is kinda late, but this did happen before Christmas) for people we were going to be visiting over the holidays. We made and canned applesauce and baked two kinds of cookies. The almond crescent cookies were a big hit! They’re dusted with vanilla sugar, which is made by putting sugar in an airtight jar with one or two vanilla beans for a few weeks. There is so much left over vanilla sugar that I put it in the freezer and will have to make the cookies again soon.
Getting their vanilla sugar coating.
Matt working on the applesauce.