I’m an expert on clicking the Like and Heart buttons (and judging my food and drink in a similar manner) but every once-in-a-while I find it extremely refreshing when I think deeply about the experience of consuming food and drink.  This chart made me think of that so it must be good.

I’m an expert on clicking the Like and Heart buttons (and judging my food and drink in a similar manner) but every once-in-a-while I find it extremely refreshing when I think deeply about the experience of consuming food and drink.  This chart made me think of that so it must be good.


(via mauricesmall)

How do you like them apples?

Remember last summer when I put socks on our apples?  No?  Maybe you’ll remember how I modeled them after Bodie’s do rags


Anyway, I liked that solution so much that I did it again this year.  We ended up with a few good sized apples from the columnar apple tree in the back yard.  The socks did a great job of protecting them from insects; they didn’t have any blemishes or bugs inside (always appreciated).  They were crisp and delicious too.

The socks also created interesting patterns on the apple skins.  It appears that areas exposed to some sunlight turned red, while shaded areas stayed green.  The star burst pattern is from where the stocking was gathered into a knot.  You can even see the weave of the nylon!

I like them apples a lot.  Maybe next year we’ll have a few more.


Fall harvest casserole

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.


Fall harvest

The grass may be dead and brown, but Matt has been nursing his home and P-patch garden plots along, and we have some lovely fall produce.

Leeks, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and meets.  We eat the beets (cooked, then chilled in the fridge) in salads.  Matt made a delicious leek and potato soup.  We need to make some zucchini bread, and I’d also like to try a simple recipe involving yellow squash, tomato, and potato that I recently ripped from a magazine.


Homemade popsicles: dos and don’ts

We have been scarfing down popsicles all summer.  Store bought ones (we love FrutStix) and homemade ones.  I heard some buzz on the internet recently about one ingredient ice cream, and though I haven’t tried the recipe yet, it seemed natural that if you can make ice cream from bananas and nothing else, they would make a good popsicle too.  Matt is a bit of a banana fiend; it is his #1 item on our regular grocery list.  I grabbed a few slightly overripe ones, mashed them with a fork, and started filling my popsicle mold. 

So far so good.  I had filled 3 molds with plain banana.  Then I thought “You know what would be great?  Banana popsicles with a chocolate coating.”  Kind of like this one made by FrutStix but apparently not carried by our smallish co-op grocery store.  Mmm.  Note to self: shop around for these things.  Anyway, for some reason I thought I could melt some chocolate chips, smear the chocolate on the inside of the popsicle mold, fill with creamed bananas, and it would pop out of the freezer with a nice chocolate shell.  Well, I thought that up until I smeared the chocolate inside the molds using a chopstick.  About 5 seconds later, I realized there was no way that chocolate was going to slide out of the mold after freezing the pops.  It was too late though, so I forged ahead.

"Hm, maybe this was not such a good idea."

And then I ran out of banana so I filled the remaining chocolate-smeared popsicle mold with actual ice cream, just to see what would happen.  Fast-forward to the next day, I removed the popsicles from the freezer.  As expected, the simple banana pops came out great.  They were pretty tasty, too.

The chocolate ones… disaster!  Well, at least a little chocolate stuck to it.  The ice cream pop came out badly too, but after a little while longer in the freezer, it stayed together long enough for Matt to eat it.

I think the chocolate coated pops could be achieved by first making the inside of the pop in the mold and freezing, then applying the coating and re-freezing.  I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort though.

In better popsicle-related news, I made a batch of Lingonberry pops after our trip to Ikea the other day and they are fantastic.  Best ever, maybe.  Of course, I had to clean all that chocolate out of the molds first, which was kind of a pain.

My popsicle making advice is this:

Do get a set of popsicle molds.  I find the ones that use good old fashioned wooden sticks (as opposed to plastic sticks) work best for me. 

Do use fruit juice and/or blended fruit in your popsicle mold.

Don’t use melted chocolate in the popsicle mold.  Save it for after-mold use if you must.

Do straighten out the popsicle sticks if needed (i.e., in juice) when the pops have just started to freeze.  Otherwise, the pops come out crooked and with my setup, it’s difficult to remove the pops from their molds.



Banana mint hot chocolate

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!


Plant of the Day: Parsnips

Yellow flowers of parsnips going to seed in late June with raspberry canes, leek seed pod, and rosemary in the background.  The flowers look like dill but develop pencil diameter sized flat seeds.

This variety is open-pollinated (OP) so the seed is good to keep or to let volunteer wherever it wants in your garden.

Parsnips I just cleaned up Friday afternoon.  I grow parsnips like they’re going out of style. They’re super hardy, very productive, and unique.  I might let them go a little long before harvesting them or maybe the soil-clay horizon (or depth to hard pan) is too shallow in my garden so the parsnips grow to that depth and then rather than elongating/growing deeper they swell to the size of my calf in diameter.

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Pickled green beans

We have been eating some divine pickled green beans Matt canned in the fall.  So good! 

I am getting excited for spring.  Fresh veggies galore, playing outside, long days, change of scenery…


Fractal cabbage & delicious coleslaw

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!


Local Hands On skills workshops

I mentioned Sustainable NE Seattle’s day of Hands On Skills Workshops in my last post.  Matt and I attended on Saturday and so did a couple of our friends.  I was inspired with some new ideas about reusing/repurposing clothing and reviewed the basics of electricity and small appliances (my philosophy is you cannot review electricity too much if you’re working with it).  Lauren and I also learned (or in her case, reviewed) how to make cheese, got some great tips for container gardening, and learned some basic Tai Chi movements.  Matt learned how to install a water cistern and peeked into cheese class.  Lauren also made a delicious loaf of bread that we dug into before the day was done.  Her husband Barrett made a huge block of rosemary soap and then joined us for Tai Chi.  Matt wasn’t feeling well and went home early, but we all still had fun and learned some valuable skills. 

What a great event!  It was well organized and well attended.  Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered their time to organize the event and to share their skills and knowledge with their neighbors!  Does this exist in other cities?  Do you have something like Transition Seattle?