Archive | Food & Recipes

Butternut Squash Bisque

We have gone through a season of purging our excess belongings, and one of the things that I’ve purged is all my superfluous cookbooks. So I am surprised that one of the few cookbooks left in my library is a simple “Barnes and Nobles” book called Cook’s Encyclopedia to Soup, by Debra Mayhew. I love it because the recipes are simple and straightforward, the book is well organized, and there are pictures with EVERY recipe. You can find my handy little volume for a penny on Amazon. Yay for old editions!

book

Before I share the recipe (with my adaptations) I want to give you a few pointers:
– Always heat up your stock or water in a separate pot before adding it to the soup pot. You want the stock to be warm when it hits the other ingredients. This preserves flavor.
– When melting the butter (or heating the oil) put a pinch of onion in it. When you hear the onion sizzle, then you know it’s hot enough to add all the onions.
– When you add a new ingredient to fry in the bottom of the pot, always add a pinch of salt. This, too, helps preserve flavor.
– If you want to get the most zing out of your spices, it’s generally best to add them 10 minutes before the soup is finished. If the soup is too spicy, you can always leave it on the burner another 10-30 minutes to mellow out. In this soup, I have the spices added from the outset because I wanted less POW and more of an overall mellow taste.
– The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is with a vegetable peeler
– If you want a smoother soup, peel your potatoes. I don’t.

I like starting this soup earlier in the afternoon so that it has time to cool a little before running it through the food processor.

ingredients

RECIPE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
(Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash
  • 1 ¼ cups quarts chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons snipped fresh chives, plus a few whole chives to garnish

DIRECTIONS:
(1) Melt the butter. Add onions & cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
(2) Add squash, potatoes, paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. Toss. Cook 2-3 minutes.
(3) Add stock. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low, cover the pan & simmer for about 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.
(4) Pour soup into food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the cream.
(5) Season with salt, pepper and tabasco sauce. Reheat slowly.
(6) Stir in the chopped chives just before serving. Garnish each serving with a few whole chives.

Enjoy!

^_^ Erin
11-07-2013

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Rustic Summer Squash Soup: with zuchini, kidney beans, carrots, celery and fresh spices

Tonight we had soup for dinner. I threw it together based around the zuchini that we received in our CSA this week. It was a simple soup to whip up, and was a particularly tasty meal at the end of the day. I will share the recipe thet I used tonight, as well as some basic principles for cooking soups that I’ve picked up in my (albeit limited) experience:

SUMMER SQUASH SOUP
Quart chicken stock
Bowl of salt (to use for adding frequent pinches)
Olive oil
1 small onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
3 small zuchini squash (I used 2 yellow & one green)
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 bay leaves
Fresh herbs: I used oregano, thyme & mint

CUTTING THE VEGGIES:
Onion: mince (I like my onion pieces tiny)
Carrots: chop into disks
Celery stalks: chop, reserve the leafy tops
Zuchini squash: chop a little bigger than the carrot pieces, mine were in the shape of semicircles…it’s good for them to be thick because they soften significantly
Spices: for my soup, I minced the oregano & mint, but kept the thyme as little twigs

DIRECTIONS:
(1) You will use two pots. In the smaller pot, warm your chicken broth with the leafy tops of the celery. I typically try to get the pot to boil before it’s time to add the broth to the veggies. This reserves much of your flavor. Adding cold broth to a soup is ok, but not optimal.
(2) Heat olive oil in bottom of soup pot or saucepan. I put a pinch of onions in with the oil. When the onion pieces start to sizzle, add all of the onion with a generous pinch of salt. Stir/coat with olive oil. Turn heat down to low (a 1-3 setting on most stoves). Cook onions until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
(3) Add carrots & celery with a pinch of salt. Stir. Let cook about 5 minutes.
(4) Add squash, kidney beans & bay leaves with a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oils. Let cook about 1-2 minutes.
(5) Add warm broth to main soup pot. Add pepper to taste. Raise burner temperature to boil. Once pot boils, lower temperature again so that pot will simmer, with the lid on or cracked. Soup will be finished cooking in about 20 minutes, but you can cook it for up to 30 minutes without the squash getting too soft.
(6) Add fresh spices 10 minutes before you plan on taking the pot off the burner. Adding spices at the end like this helps bring their flavors out more.
(7) Remove celery tops, bay leaves & any other unchopped spices (such as twigs of rosemary or thyme) before serving.

The soup goes great with a simple bread. I love it with a rustic loaf or sourdough bread. Fresh fruit also makes a dessert-like accompaniment. Tonight we had a galia melon (I bought it thinking it was a cantaloupe…it was a delicious surprise!).

You can use the basic formula for this soup to make any rustic veggie soup. Substitute squash with green beans or peas or corn. Add quinoa or rice to the stock. Switch up the spices. The best elements to keep steady are the onion, carrots, celerey & stock. And the salt. Adding a pinch when you add each new item helps seal in the flavor!

Enjoy!

^_^ Erin
7/31/2013

Posted using Tinydesk blog app

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Sick of Being Sick

If you know me personally or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been getting sick. A LOT.

I went to see my physician yesterday. She believes that I have a medley of things that are making me vulnerable to illness.

(1) I likely have seasonal allergies.
(2) I may also have food allergies.
(3) My immune system is so taxed from fighting allergies, when I encounter someone who is sick, I don’t have enough defenses to ward it off.
(4) As a mom, I come into contact with lots of sickness that I may have avoided before Phoebe, and I’m simply unable to fight it.

So. Here’s the plan. I’m going to add several supplements to my diet, per my physician’s recommendation. Some of the following are things I have already been doing, and some are new things I’m adding per my visit. I share them with you in case some of this information helps you as it helped me. (Be sure to check with your own doctor to see if these are good things for you to take).

– RAW HONEY from local farms will help bolster my system against seasonal allergens specific to my area.
– VITAMIN D3 will aid in my overall health, due to living in a cloudy climate


– QUERCETIN with Nettle is an herbal supplement I should take daily during my allergy season. It will help boost my immune system.
– XYLITOL nasal spray will help give me relief when my sinuses start acting up.


– PROBIOTICS are important to get in a regular basis. Instead of taking a supplement, I’m getting mine through food. Fermented foods are rich with probiotics. The ones I eat regularly are:
– SAUERKRAUT, a tablespoon a day
– YOGURT (full fat and cream top yogurt…and I often make my own from raw milk), several times a week
– KOMBUCHA, a cup a day


When I feel a cold coming on, or if I’ve been around sick people, the following will help give my system a little extra to ward of the sickies:
– EMERGEN-C
– GRAPESEED OIL EXTRACT
– GARLIC
– COLLOIDAL SILVER
– ZICAM


And, once I have gotten sick, there’s nothing like some warm chicken broth & chamomile tea to nurse me back to health. Really. These traditional remedies truly help!

What homeopathic or natural methods do you use to ward off sickness or nurse yourself and your family back to health?

^_^ Erin
5/15/2013

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Old-Time Fudge (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 1962 cookbook)

Ive been spending a lot of time experimenting with making fuge from scratch. My basic recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (1962 edition), but I’ve started tweaking it. I have not yet arrived at The Ultimate Fudge Technique, yet, but I will share what tips I have under my apron belt. Old time fudge

RECIPE: Old Time Fudge

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
Pinch salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter (plus a little to grease the pan & pot)
1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Grease sides of heavy 2 quart saucepan with butter.

In bowl, combine sugar, cocoa & salt. Stir till blended (its ok if there are little “balls” of cocoa). Add milk. Stir gently to blend milk with sugar; you can even let it sit on the counter a few minutes to let the sugar disolve, but you don’t have to. Stir in corn syrup and oil.

Add entire contents of bowl to saucepan. Since you already blended the ingredients, you only need to stir occasionally. Do not scrape the sides of the pan. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Add thermometer. Cook to soft ball stage (234°), stirring only if necessary.
Immediately remove from heat; add butter and cool without stirring to apx 200°. And vanilla and beat vigorously until fudge becomes very thick and starts to lose its gloss (dont slack off…keep going strong!). Quickly spread in buttered shallow pan. Score when warm, cut when firm.

Ingredients

Boiling

Score

Fudge

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Our Allergen-Free Diet, Week Two

We recently found out that Matt is allergic to corn, tomato, egg, dairy, potatoes, wheat, baker’s yeast, rice and soy. In order to address these food allergies, we are removing them entirely from our diet for three week, then we will reintroduce each allergen one at a time to see what kind of symptoms it is associated with, and to see if he can handle each potential allergen if eaten in moderation or in isolation from the other eight. In addition, I know that I am addicted to sugar, so we decided to add cane sugar to the list of things we wouldn’t eat during this period. I blog more about it here.

The first week, I kept track of everything I/we ate and blogged an update to let you guys know how it was going. But I don’t want to do that long-term. With a busy toddler and a busy life, getting into the nitty gritty like that just isn’t a priority. I do, however, want to let you know how our journey is progressing.

First of all, Matt and I talked about our decision to have the whole family give up his allergy food. I have been craving all of the things we can’t have: cheese, chips, bread, eggs and part of my way of coping with the cravings is to complain about them, and complain with Matt about all the things we are longing for. This is my way of joining him in the journey. Well…after one such complaint, Matt turned to me and said, “I really appreciate it that you’re doing this with me, but you don’t have to be strict about it. I don’t care if you eat something that you’re craving.” I really appreciated his attitude and sincerity. So…when I went to hang out with my friend, Amberly, and she made nachos, I let myself enjoy her delicious hospitality. It was fun and it helped appease the cravings I had been salivating over. And that was 1 “cheat” after a week of going strong. I’m gonna call it a win. I still won’t buy any of the foods we can’t have and bring them into the house, but 1 cheat a week, with healthy versions of the allergen foods, that doesn’t seem so bad to me.

Another thing I have to mention: I have been feeling downright awful since we started the diet. I almost fainted one day, and have been lightheaded or with wacky blood sugar levels the other days. I assumed it was because of coming off the foods that Matt is allergic to, but I failed to recognize that another big dietary change happened recently, as well. A few days before our diet hiatus, I ran out of Glumetza (a medication I take to keep my insulin resistance in check). I have been on it for 3 years, so I decided to give it a little break and see if I still needed it. And. Oh. My. Gosh. I do. The awful symptoms I have been dealing with are most likely all related to my blood sugar levels. So, I picked up a new prescription yesterday and started taking it again. I’m not fond of the idea of needing a medication so persistently, but I sure am glad that it is available.

HOW IS MATT FEELING?

Mostly, Matt has just felt tired and hungry. The headaches have abated, or disappear once he eats some food. He doesn’t feel better yet, but there are a lot of other changes going on, so it’s hard to pinpoint what he should attribute to diet, and what is due to all of the other things.

WHAT WE ARE EATING?

Aside from eating lots and lots of ice cream, we are having fun exploring meals that free of our host of allergen-no-nos. Here are a few of the highlights:

Braising Mix Breakfast with mushrooms, onions and bacon, sprinkled with pine nuts:

Braising Mix Breakfast with Mushrooms, Onions and Bacon, Sprinkled with Pine Nuts

Homemade granola (honey & cinnamon toasted oats). With optional toppings: almond milk, nut/dried fruit mixture & freeze-dried strawberries:

Homemade granola (honey & cinnamon toasted oats). With optional toppings: almond milk, nut/dried fruit mixture & freeze-dried strawberries

Stir Fry: beef stew meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, and braising mix greens:

Stir Fry: beef stew meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, and braising mix greens

Spring rolls made with tapioca paper, filled with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, chicken leftovers & spring greens…and dipped in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

Spring rolls made with tapioca paper, filled with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, chicken leftovers & spring greens

 

By ekwetzel
2012-05-03

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Dairy & Sugar Free) – Strawberry, Peanut Butter & Mocha Recipes

Since I have a big sweet tooth, giving up most desserts is one of the hardest parts of our allergen-free diet. No wheat; no dairy; no eggs…so store bought goodies are pretty much out of the question. Thank goodness we have an ice cream maker! I’ve been experimenting with different coconut milk ice cream recipes. This is what I think of them:

STRAWBERRY COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM

This is the first one I made. Right after the ice cream maker stopped churning, I taste tested it and the ice cream tasted of both strawberry & coconut. After letting it percolate in the freezer for two hours, all hint of coconut was gone, and this ice cream had a smooth, strawberry creaminess. Fantastic!


RECIPE:

Combine the following in your blender till smooth, then pour into ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions:
1 lb bag Frozen Strawberries
2 cans coconut milk
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

HONEY PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM

Honestly, this one didn’t turn out too well. I used an entire jar of peanut butter and the ice cream was just too rich. And I guess I must’ve not been impressed, since I didn’t take a picture!

THE BAD RECIPE:
Blend then pour the following:
1 jar peanut butter
2 cans coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey

I WANT TO TRY THIS NEXT TIME:
1/2 jar peanut butter
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey

MOCHA ICE CREAM

From the moment the ice cream maker finished churning, I could not stop sneaking spoonfuls of this tasty treat. I’d open the freezer & spoon some right out of the center of the bowl, while Matt chuckled at me. Oh my gosh. It was sooooo good.

THE RECIPE
Blend then pour:
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup coffee*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*If your coffee is hot, you’ll want to chill this mixture in the fridge for two hours before churning it in your ice cream maker. Also: I used coffee made from espresso beans, leftover in our French press. 🙂 I think the stronger coffee flavor added an excellent POW to the ice cream.

INGREDIENTS

I bought all of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s, except for the honey, which I bought at my local CSA, Terry’s Berries. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry full fat coconut milk; if I used that I think my ice creams would be even creamier. I’ll have to check out other local grocery stores to find some.

I used the Bourbon vanilla from Trader Joes, instead of regular vanilla (which has a little sugar in it).

And, for peanut butter, I chose the creamy kind that had “just peanuts” in it.

– Posted by ekwetzel using BlogPress from my iPhone, 5/1/2012

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Adjusting to Our Allergen-Free Diet: Days 2-4

We recently found out that Matt is allergic to nine different foods. NINE! So we are going on a plan to eliminate the foods from our diet, and hopefully reintroduce them later, in moderation, in order to avoid getting sick from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I blogged more about our food allergies here. The allergen list includes: corn, tomatoes, egg, milk, potatoes, wheat, baker’s yeast, rice, and soy. Here’s how it’s going…

DAY 2

I’m so hungry.

I feel like I’ve been eating all day. Since I have a toddler, I’ve probably just been “half eating” all day. I admit this while sipping on the second half of my breakfast smoothie at 5 pm; I had to throw it in the fridge for a Phoebemergency this morning.

Regardless. I’m hungry. I’m sure it’ll take some time for my body to adjust to not eating ALL of the things on Matt’s allergy list…all things I love.

Today I had my first real craving, too. For eggs. Sunny side up with golden, farm-fresh yolks. Sigh. Someday. But not today.

What I Ate:
Breakfast smoothie (peanut butter, banana, frozen cherries, coconut milk)
Fruit leather
Banana
Turkey sausage
Avocado
Strawberries (but not organic ones…which is sad)
Smoked salmon
Roasted greens with walnuts

DAY 3

Dizzy from over-exertion & diet change. Possibly lack of sugar? Coming off of addictions is hard. I have felt weak, blurred vision & lightheaded for half the day.

Steamed Kale Raab (with garlic & drizzled bacon fat), Bacon & Sliced Strawberries

Steamed Kale Raab (with garlic & drizzled bacon fat), Bacon & Sliced Strawberries

What I ate:

Kale raab steamed w/garlic
Bacon
Strawberries
Apple w/Peanut butter
Grilled chicken
Grilled mushrooms
1 Slice prosciutto
A couple slices of turkey sausage
Avocado w/olive oil & salt (weird salt craving)
I made asparagus, but couldn’t stomach it.
Oatmeal made with almond milk, honey, cinnamon & strawberries
Fruit leather

What I’m craving:
Over easy eggs. Chocolate. Feta. Yogurt. Granola.

DAY 4

Feeling MUCH better today. Not dizzy at all. No light-headedness. It probably helped that I didn’t over-exert myself. And I took a nap. Everything is better when you nap.

The bad news is that I’m spending more on food than I’d like. But, to be honest, the blood sugar, dizziness and light-headedness worried me; so I’m opting on spending a little more on food while we figure out how to manage without our “allergy foods.” Which means more proteins and meats in the house. I miss eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter and milk. A lot. And adjusting to not having them as protein sources is awkward; however, today was a much more stable day, nutritionally, than yesterday. So there’s that.

Moorish-Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

Moorish-Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

What I ate:

Oatmeal with almond milk, cinnamon & fresh, sliced strawberries
Fruit leather
Smoothie: strawberries, banana, almond milk, coconut milk
1/2 cup Mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
A few freeze-dried blueberries
Grilled chicken leftovers…plus one mushroom and 4 asparagus
Shrimp
Artichoke hearts
Orange
Coffee w/Almond Milk and Maple syrup
Moorish-style chickpea & spinach stew (I substituted oat bran for the bread that the recipe calls for. Also, I used canned beans and chicken stock.)
1 slice bacon
Strawberry Coconut-Milk ice cream

Strawberry Coconut-Milk Ice Cream (sugar free & dairy free)

Strawberry Coconut-Milk Ice Cream (sugar free & dairy free)

WHAT ABOUT MATT?!?!

I know, I know…I’m talking all about me, and HE is the one that we’re making the diet changes for!

Matt has been feeling very tired these past four days, plus he’s been struggling with a constant headache. In addition, his joints have been very “crackly” when he gets up or sits down. The hardest part, though, is adjusting mentally and emotionally to all of the things he can’t eat…when friends offer donuts or he passes by the free Starbucks coffee and soda fountain at work. Self restraint is difficult, especially when adjusting to a new diet. We are still figuring out easy snack foods for around the house, so that’s another hurtle Matt is struggling with, in particular, right now. There are only “meal foods,” it seems…no “snacky” snack foods. No chips, crackers, popcorn, cheese or ranch.

Thank you for joining us on our journey! Feel free to ask any questions.  We are definitely learning as we go…always trying to pick up new tricks. Are you going through a similar food change? Tell us about it in the comments below; we’d love to hear about your journey and share in your experience!

By ekwetzel
2012-04-25

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Food Allergies and Our Diet Changes

This year alone, Matt has been sick three times. When he caught a cold, he would be out of commission for an entire week. Which is not normal. This clued us into the possibility that there might be something going on, health-wise, of which we were unawares. So, on the recommendation of a friend, Matt went to see a specialist who tested him for food allergies. As it turns out, he is allergic to A LOT.

food allergies post it

His allergies are as follows:

  • Mild allergic reactions to corn & tomatoes
  • Moderate allergic reactions to egg, milk, potatoes, wheat & baker’s yeast
  • Strong allergic reactions to rice & soy

We were given a program to help treat the allergies. Basically, we need to eliminate all these food from our diet for three weeks, so that the symptoms they are causing have time to disappear and we can get a grasp on what it feels to be like, normally, while not eating them. Then we will slowly test out each food to see if it causes allergies on its own, starting with the lowest allergens and testing one food at a time, every four days. So, for instance, after three weeks, Matt will eat a large portion of fresh corn to see if there is a reaction. A reaction could be any number of symptoms: headache, joint ache, acid reflux, gagging, gas, upset stomach, etc. We wait four days until testing the next food because sometimes symptoms can wait that long to show up.

The goal is to not only figure out which foods are the culprits, but also to “detox” from the foods long enough so that he can handle them again, in moderation, without adverse symptoms. In the long run, we hope to be able to eat all of these foods again, but they will have to be consumed in moderation and only after a long hiatus.

We still have a lot to learn about Matt’s food allergies, but this is just a post to let you know what’s going on in our lives and to share with you how we’re dealing with it.

I did not get allergy tested, but chances are that I share some (or many) of the same food allergies. So, I am going on the diet with Matt, as is Phoebe. And because I can tell I have a sugar addiction, we are getting rid of processed sugar in our diet, as well (honey and pure maple syrup is ok).

Today is the day we started our three week “detox.” And it was a little overwhelming. We are oatmeal cooked with almond milk for breakfast. But we didn’t realize that the snap pea crisp we brought for Phoebe to snack on at church has rice as an ingredient! So we’ll have to find something else. We snacked on a banana and some prosciutto instead (we went grocery shopping on the way home). Then we grilled asparagus, chicken and mushrooms for lunch. I got hungry AND started craving chocolate, so made an almond-milk-and-honey-hot-cocoa, then (an hour later) mashed up a banana with honey, shredded coconut and cocoa powder; however, the heaviness of the carbs caused my blood sugar to spike fiercely, so I polished off the rest of the prosciutto to help level it off (I struggle with insulin resistance and have to be careful about balancing carbohydrates with proteins). We also snacked on an avocado. Then, for dinner, ate lentils cooked in chicken stock and a salad with a homemade mustard dressing. And for dessert? I’m trying a crisp recipe that I threw together out of raspberries, pears, oatmeal, coconut oil, honey and maple syrup. It’s runny, but sweet. And the oats kind of help to soak up the juices!

raspberry crisp

Our next obstacle? The MOUNTAIN of dirty dishes. Oy vey!

dirty dishes mountain oh my!

There isn’t much in our cupboards or fridge right now, but I hope to pick up more foods this week: fruits, nut butters, meats and veggie snacks. Without spending money on dairy and grains, we have a lot leftover to indulge in more meats and fruits. I plan on making hummus in the next few days, and perhaps trying my hand at homemade almond milk!

By ekwetzel
2012-04-22

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The Great Pacific Northwest Garden Experiment 2012

I am a novice gardener.

crocks boots flip flops

Technically, I know how to garden well, but only in the Northeast. I was raised in upstate New York and even worked as a farm hand near Mechanichville, NY for one summer, a summer glorious with organic soil and heirloom tomatoes. But then I moved to Washington state, and everything I planted died.

This morning I had a hearty rhubarb harvest. Yum!

This morning I had a hearty rhubarb harvest. Yum!

My rhubarb patch is growing very well!

My rhubarb patch is growing very well!

The tulips started to bloom this morning, too. So full of the promise of Spring!

The tulips started to bloom this morning, too. So full of the promise of Spring!

Now I have a house with a rhubarb patch, an apple tree, a Rainier cherry tree, and some grape vines, as well as a big ole garden plot. It has been calling to me ever since we moved in two summers ago. Now the siren song has pulled me under and I have dirt under my nails once more.

I want to plant perfectly. I want to plant All Of The Things. I want up has good soil and weed appropriately. But I have been paralyzed too long by perfectionism. I have been leaving through gardening books and skimming blogs during Phoebe’s nap time. And today I finally wrote out a list of plants, went to my local greenhouse and took the plunge.

I am going to make So Many Mistakes this year. And next year. And the year after that. But I’ll learn from my mistakes. And I’ll get to eat SOMETHING that I grew in the process. And I’ll have the constant pride of dirt under my fingernails.

I love the idea of planting the Iroquois Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash.

I love the “Food Not Lawns” movement. I want to remove ALL the grads from my front lawn and plant a huge herb garden and flower garden.

I planted blueberry bushes and currant bushes.

I have so many dreams and plans. This big garden adventure both overwhelms me and fills me with pride and joy. Gardening excites me. It makes me grow outside myself. It forces me to be ok with gritty imperfection; to see that life is boundless and forgiving, surprising and unpredictable; to throw some seeds into some soil and steward them until they explode. Or so I hope.

People: I am a Gardener once more!

People: I am a Gardener once more!

A FEW DETAILS

My main plot is 13 x 13, with an adjoining 8 x 13 area that I could till and use.

13 x 13 garden plot

Today I spent $105 on the following:

We have terrible slugs. And last year bugs ate ALL our apples. Yuck.

4 strawberry plants, 4-pack broccoli, 4-pack romaine, 4-pack lettuce, rainbow chard & 2 gorgeous geraniums (for the patio pots).

4 strawberry plants, 4-pack broccoli, 4-pack romaine, 4-pack lettuce, rainbow chard & 2 gorgeous geraniums (for the patio pots).

One of the last asparagus packs! I'm almost too late!

One of the last asparagus packs! I was almost too late!

Lots of seeds. Lots of herb seeds.

Lots of seeds. Lots of herb seeds.

SCENES FROM THE DAY

Phoebe “helps” my mom weed.

Cherry tree. Dead Christmas tree. Family. Rhubarb patch. Lots of grass & weeds. And my garden plot. (Left to Right)

Cherry tree. Dead Christmas tree. Family. Rhubarb patch. Lots of grass & weeds. And my garden plot. (Left to Right)

Mmm. Dirt.

Mmm. Dirt.

A riveting picture of the row I planted today (my starter plants).

A riveting picture of the row I planted today (my starter plants).

An equally riveting picture: slugs dead in a jar of salty water. I plopped them in there as I planted.

An equally riveting picture: slugs dead in a jar of salty water. I plopped them in there as I planted.

What are you planting?
What are you planning?
What are you dreaming?

Any tips for gardening in the Pacific Northwest?

– Posted by ekwetzel using BlogPress from my iPhone, 4/11/2012

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Simple Cinnamon Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Last night, Phoebe woke me up at 4 am and decided it was time to play. I, needless to say, was exhausted. Exhausted the two hours she stayed awake. Exhausted when I nursed her back to sleep at 6:30 am. And exhausted when she awoke again at 8:30.


This is my little goofball, playing in the middle of the night.

When we get a clunky start to the day, like this, I always feel the urge to turn things around with a killer breakfast. I’ve been craving scones lately, so I looked up some basic scone recipes online, and altered one to suit my fancy.

Here’s a link to the recipe I started from, if you’re interested.


First bake the scones. After they cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet. I put mine on wax paper. Then drizzle the glaze on top.

Without further ado:

SIMPLE CINNAMON SCONES

Ingredients
3 cups flour (I prefer whole wheat white flour, but use whatever you have on hand. This recipe isn’t finicky.)
1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (plus a little extra)
1 teaspoon vanilla

directions

Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl.

Cut butter into smaller tabs about a tablespoon big. This will make it easier to work into the flour mixture. If you have a pastry cutter, use this to work the butter in with the dry ingredients. I ended up having to use my hands at the end because my butter was cold. There were clumps of butter left, about the size of peas, and that was ok. As long as the butter is mostly evenly distributed, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sour cream and vanilla, until smooth. The sour cream should have no lumps left.

Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry. Stir till moistened, then knead a little in the bowl (if your bowl is big enough). If the mixture is very dry, add more milk. (This will change depending on your climate & elevation).

Turn onto the counter and knead until mixture is smoother. It doesn’t need to be elastic-like or smooth, just well-blended.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the scone dough into a rough circle. Cut into 8 or so wedges and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.

BAKE in a preheated oven at 400 degrees, until scones are golden brown.

VANILLA GLAZE

Admittedly, when I made the glaze this morning, I just eyeballed all three ingredients. Here’s an approximation, though:

1 cup powdered sugar
4-8 T milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, a little milk and vanilla. Whisk together until sugar is dissolved in milk. Keep adding milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Drizzle over scones. The glaze will solidify. Scones taste great warm and fresh, or a few hours old at room temperature. If they manage to not get eaten after 12 hours, store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!!!

By ekwetzel
2012-01-04

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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