Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Juice Pulp: Doubling Down

Ken and I started a juicing regimen late last year.  We were inspired to eat healthier after watching Food Matters and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix.  We had made the switch to buying organic and cutting out a lot of processed foods from our diet six years ago after watching Food, Inc., but we wanted to take things up a notch.  We wanted to make sure we were getting the recommended 6-8 servings of fruit and veg every day.

While my husband is a little more hardcore about his regimen, I mainly have juice at breakfast with toast or oatmeal, and occasionally as a mid-morning or afternoon snack.  If I've eaten a heavy lunch, I might also have green juice in place of a meal at dinner.

While I like the idea of juicing, there is the dilemma of what to do with the pulp.  When we first started juicing, we composted the pulp in our barrel composter.  After that filled up, we stopped composting and felt bad about throwing out the pulp every day.

Pinterest has been helpful in solving the dilemma.  Ideas for juice pulp abound, and I've found some pretty interesting things to try.  Like adding it to mac n' cheese.  Or making fruit leather.  Today I've made this bread.

The pulp is a mix of strawberry, orange and grapefruit from my mid-morning snack, plus kale, apple and carrot from Ken's lunch.   Verdict:  A little too much kale, but with a bit of honey drizzled over the top, it's actually pretty good.  I'll definitely try my hand at this bread again, with a few minor adjustments.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

In the absence of family scattered across the US, my husband, children and I celebrate the holidays with dear friends we met while our children, now in middle school, were in pre-school. It's so nice to have a family-away-from-family!

Every Thanksgiving, my clan converges on these dear friends for a gathering of good food and good company. And a viewing of Nacho Libre, which has become our Thanksgiving tradition.

In years past I've been responsible for the baked sweet ham. This year, I'm responsible for the dessert and a side dish. Cheese lover that I am, I've opted to bring a honey chevre cheesecake and cheddar/gouda mac and cheese with a panko crust. Both recipes were cobbled together from various other recipes. I should write down my modifications so I can reproduce these dishes!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy happy mail day

I've been collecting vintage kitchenware for years.  Pyrex, Fire King and Federal Glass are favorites, but I don't do vintage pieces at crazy expensive prices.  It has to be practically a steal so I can feel triumphant about how I got it for next to nothing.

Recently, my sisters and parents got in on the act.  Thank goodness we're in different parts of the country so we don't have to compete with each other for stock!  Here's what arrived from my lovely sister, Donna, to round out my Atomic Flower luncheonette collection:

After the postman dropped these pretties off this morning, I immediately dug out some prints that were stashed a while ago for Donna's quilt.  I promised last year to make one for her birthday (didn't specify which birthday though, hehe).  This package is surely quilt-worthy, so let the cutting commence!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blog Revival

Goodness, it's been a while since I've posted here.  I got a little distracted (one might even call it obsessed) by other things.  That distraction can be found at my other blog.  But I'm back here, and changing things up a little.

It's June and it feels like summer, but summer won't officially begin until next Thursday.  Until then, we are sending the kids off to school where they do things like have reading day field day, and go on field trips.  Like summer camp, only not.

I certainly don't blame the teachers... I think everyone is antsy for the school year to be over.  I read a funny post here that pretty much sums it all up for me.  So glad to know I'm not the only one who "tapped out" a while ago!

We've been pretty busy trying to get an organic garden started.  Here are the fruits of our labor thus far:

We actually have had a few more berries, but a certain little strawberry-loving three-year old keeps picking them as they ripen.

The garden was started with both seeds (non-GMO) and organic starter plants.  We seem to be gardening by trial and error, and I wish I had taken the time to do a little research on how to grow the different types of vegetables and fruit we've selected.  We didn't analyze any further than "Does it need full sun" and "How deep do we need to dig." 

We did make one decision that affects the garden.  When we moved into this place in November, we realized we had company:

A colony of honeybees in the bottom half of an old utility pole.  At first we thought to give them to a beekeeping friend, but we will keep them where they are for now to help propagate the garden.

Now that I have taken the trouble to read up on gardening, I'm finding that the soil is poor- very  compacted with a clay-like texture and with bits of concrete mixed in (!).  Ken says the concrete was most probably thrown into the soil when the fences were put up.  After this growing season I'm going to try my hand at lasagna gardening to amend the soil for the next growing season. 

Anyone out there with organic gardening tips, please feel free to put in your two cents.  I'm a newbie at this, and any tips or info would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slow down!

      I can't believe the little guy is almost two years old!  Come December, the big guy turns ten (!!), and little momma turned eight back in June.  How did this happen?  They are growing up way too fast.
     It's been fun for all having a baby in the house.  Antonio and Martina have been amused and amazed at the developmental stages that Kieran has gone through, and Ken and I have had a wonderful time re-living them.
     This poor little blog has been badly neglected the past few months.  I've been a bit busy with the older kids back in school and enrolled in soccer.  Martina's Brownie troop starts meeting again this month as well.  Plus, I've been blogging at Little Ms. Sew-Unsew, where I discuss my sewing, quilting and knitting projects.
     It will be a challenge to have fresh homemade dinners every evening with soccer practices twice a week for both older kids, but luckily I have a few dishes which are quick to make with a little pre-planning.  The quinoa recipe below is a family favorite.  It was inspired by Weight Watchers' Santa Fe Rice frozen dinner.  [Note:  I grill the chicken, cook the black beans, and roast the corn in advance so all I have to do is throw everything together right before dinner.]

Mexican Style Quinoa

1 cup black beans
salt (optional)

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
salt, to taste

1 grilled chicken breast, cubed
roasted corn kernels
diced red onion
diced tomatoes
grated cheddar
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
plain yogurt

Soak the black beans in a pot for 6-8 hours, then drain and rinse with water.  Add water until the water line is 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Salt the beans towards the end of the simmering process.  Drain, then set aside.

Soak the quinoa in a bowl for 15 minutes, then rinse with fresh water a couple of times (this is to release and wash away the saponin, which can give the quinoa a bitter taste if not removed).  Drain and place in a pot with 1.5 cups of fresh water and salt.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

To serve:  Spoon some quinoa on a plate and add chicken, red onion, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, corn and avocado.  Top with yogurt (or sour cream if desired).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

     After a few days of playing in the snow near Bear Valley, we are now back home and settling back into our old routine.  It was quite an experience taking the new guy on vacation.  Some of our activities were cut short to allow for Kieran's nap time, and now that he's mobile, much of the vacation was spent keeping him out of trouble.  Still, the kids had a great time (I think), despite a few meltdowns (parents included).

    One drawback to the cabin we rented was there was neither trash nor recycling services.  We had to haul our garbage to the "refuse site" in the next town, and our recyclables came home with us.  Other than that, we liked the cabin and would consider renting it again in the spring or summer.  It sleeps up to 12, so we may do a joint trip with some good friends with kids the same ages as ours.
    Of course I had to check out the local thrift shops.  The shop in Angel's Camp huge, but the selection wasn't great, and it was overpriced for thrift shop merchandise.  I scored big at the Humane Society thrift shop in Arnold- small shop but a better selection and even better prices. 

Thrifted finds

    I've been looking for a big-ass glass juice reamer, and this one's the size of a boat (a gravy boat, that is).  And, yes, that is a vintage Vera Neumann scarf, as well as vintage Trifari Crown earrings.  Love! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New dishware

Canonsburg Temporama

     Like my new vintage dishes?  This dinner plate was purchased at an estate sale last weekend.  It will be joined by three more from an ebay battle I won last night.
     I just discovered a wonderful blog near and dear to my heart (see previous post).  Jennie at Wedgwood Tulsa blogs about the return of her 1955 ranch house to it's former glory.  I want a ranch house!  Anyway, she's having a giveaway of a platter that matches my new dinner plates.  Sigh... I never win stuff.  Get the scoop here:

Wedgwood Tulsa: Temporama Giveaway
    Fingers crossed :)