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December Afternoon

Knitting a few rows on some Toasty mitts , Daily checks on fermenting veggies.  Jalapeno Purple kraut all finished and getting jarred up for gifts.  Plain sauerkraut coming along nicely.  It will be ready to serve with Christmas dinner. (The weight goes back on top when I’m done checking, so all cabbage is submerged below the brine.) Vying for space in front of the heater vent to thaw frozen fingers and toes, Enjoying the ever-rotating display of Christmas decorations the children arrange and rearrange as they play with them. Back tomorrow with a recipe for the coming Solstice, and some

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From the Fig Tree

A cascade of very fresh, very ripe figs the kids poured out onto the kitchen table.  They are from a neighbor’s tree.  She doesn’t know the variety (they are actually her next-door neighbors, but a large portion of the immense tree overhangs her driveway, and no one family can consume the vast quantities of fruit. The figs are pale green with a pink flesh, and very soft and sweet.  I think they may be “Desert King”, which does quite well in our climate, and typically produces a large good-quality breba crop (we have a young one in our yard, and

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Elderberry Kombucha

A few folks have asked for the recipe for a recent batch of elderberry kombucha.   There isn’t much of a recipe – it is simply kombucha put through a secondary fermentation with fruit added.  Here is the process: I am currently brewing my kombucha using the Wild Fermentation group‘s method of 3 black tea bags, 2 green tea, and 1 oolong for each gallon of water.  You can also set up a continuous brew system, which I hope to set up in a crockery dispenser very soon. Once the kombucha has reached the desired level of tangyness, remove the

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The Best Dilly Beans EVER

Lately I’ve been getting back to making home fermented foods, for our health and for simplicity’s sake.  I routinely make sourdough, yogurt, and buttermilk, but had gotten away from cultured vegetables (life gets busy).  But the past several weeks, I have re-discovered how much we love lacto-fermented veggies. Lacto-fermentation is the process of using beneficial bacteria (primarily Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus) to create lactic acid and ferment raw fruits and veggies into foods that are more easily digestible and have more bio-available nutrients.  The process also preserves food for many months. The garden is bursting with produce, but my

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Tzatziki

  My favorite no-cook summer recipe is Tzatziki…or maybe it’s Raita…it’s a toss up.  These similar nutritious dishes are delicious, and their subtle differences complement other foods so well that we make and enjoy both frequently.  Serve some with a handful of kalamata olives and a little block of feta and a mint iced tea and you have the perfect summer lunch. Right now there is a lot of dill in the garden, so today Tzatziki it is!  (Whip up a batch of falafels and we’ll call it “good” for dinner.) Here’s my recipe: Baker Family’s Favorite Tzatziki 3 Tbsp

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Peonies and Raspberries

Well, I’ve been knocked down somewhat with a summer cold, and didn’t make the Yarn Along this week.  I finished a pair of socks for a friend, and hope to post photos next week. We have company visiting, and volunteers in the garden, and swim lessons and so much summer goodness and fun.  We’ve been baking and playing with the neighbor kids and cutting posies in the yard.  And stuffing ourselves full of raspberries on a daily basis. I had volunteers here this morning, and together harvested loads of organic produce for BCS – baskets full of Spanish shallots, raspberries,

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This and that

  After a weekend full of hiking and trips to the playground and ice cream cones, we are launching headfirst into a busy week.  The three older kids start swim lessons, my folks come to visit, and summer is in full swing. For now, a few pictures from our weekend:   Ruth sorting a 25 cent bag of bias tape she picked up at the thrift store. Making kraut. I’ll be back later in the week for the Yarn Along.    

Gratitude

  Joining Taryn of WoolyMossRoots for her Gratitude Sunday: -Very glad to have a little free time to return to blogging, and catch up on some of my favorite blogs. -And grateful to return to some much-beloved routines and habits (like baking bread nearly every day, knitting, reading aloud to the kids in the afternoon, making pickles).   -Grateful for the intense and much-needed rain this week, followed by a bolt of growth all over the gardens. -Feeling very blessed to have such kind and thoughtful neighbors, who lavish such unconditional love on my kids. -Bittersweet to see my youngest,

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Making Butter

I made a bit batch of beef stew for dinner this weekend – enough to last for two meals.  We rarely eat beef or pork (other than a small amount of ham or bacon to flavor veggie dishes), so it was a real treat for all of us.  All day long, the kitchen was full of the aroma of leeks, smoked paprika, merlot, allspice, and cinnamon. Ruth suggested we make butter and loaf of bread to go with dinner.   I happened to have 2 cups of organic heavy cream in the fridge.  Okay, let’s make butter! To make butter take

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Applesauce

Joining with Amanda for her weekly This Moment post. Here’s my recipe, which makes 4-5 quarts finished sauce: Brown-sugar Applesauce Enough apples, washed, cored and cut into eighths, to fill an 8-quart pot heaping full.  (I used about 24 med-large apples). 1 cup apple cider 1 Tbsp ground cassia cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground mace 1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 3/4 cup packed brown sugar Juice of one lemon Directions:  In a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, combine all ingredients except lemon juice.  Cover, and cook on med-low until

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Nature Play and a Lunch Recipe

The past two mornings, the kids and I have worked on harvesting the end-of-summer lavender, which we will use for winter craft projects.  (More on that next time). The lavender plants are all in the front yard, which is unfenced, and we are along a bus line.  Keeping a busy toddler safe and occupied while we work on front yard projects is a must. George was kept very happy by his big sisters, who were dead-heading dahlias for me, and bringing him the spent blossoms to play with.   He had such a grand time shredding the flowers, flinging petals in

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Yesterday evening, while pulling weeds, I discovered several hands of elderberries that had been overlooked by volunteers.  They were far back in the shade, and just now ripening, weeks after the rest had been picked. The mini-harvest yielded just enough to make a batch of elderberry syrup, which is delicious on ice cream, stirred into tea, etc.  It is also a traditional medicinal plant, and the syrup is taken to prevent and help fight off cold and flu-like viruses. The fruits of the Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) are extremely rich in vitamin C, and are also high in vitamins A and

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Bea’s Favorite Quick Bread

The neighborhood school is off today, so my 3 older kids are out with the neighbor boys, running amok.   In about an hour, a hungry horde of 9 or 10 ravenous children will descend on my house, so when they went out to play, I figured it was time to hurry up and bake them a snack. Here’s my recipe: Bea’s Favorite Quick Bread (Also known as Banana-Yogurt-Hazelnut-Chocolate Bread, but that’s a mouthful!) Ingredients: 1/4 cup hazelnut oil (or you could use a light olive oil) 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup

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Hard-cooked Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs that aren’t actually boiled?  There’s no water involved?  I think the proper term is “hard-baked eggs”.   A few versions of the recipe have been making the rounds on Pinterest for a while.  I remember my grandfather doing something similar when we visited during my childhood, and thought I’d give them a try to see if the recipe lived up to the hype. Hard-baked Eggs 12 or 18 raw eggs, placed in muffin tins or a jelly-roll pan so they cannot roll off. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Place eggs on center rack and bake 25 minutes (30 min

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Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

This post originally published in  October 2009.  I’m baking a raspberry batch for homeschool co-op and a peach butter batch for the neighborhood kids/my kids today.  I make this recipe several times a month, even for breakfast, and the recipe is frequently requested, so I thought it was worth republishing. PLEASE NOTE –   I no longer make it in a 9×13 pan, but instead on a large jelly roll pan with the parchment on the bottom – I freeform a rectangle in the middle (it will not fill the entire pan).  This makes it easier to cut and serve

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Oatmeal-Honey-Molasses Bread

I let the kids sleep in, and worked on tidying up a bit since the neighbor boys are coming over this morning for a play date (Bend-a-roos and Playmobils and sofa-cushion forts are on the agenda, according to the girls).  Chickens and ducks were let out and fed a breakfast of mashed, roasted pumpkin, scratch and oatmeal.   It was too rainy and cold to do any yard chores this morning, so after poutry-duty, I got to come in and have a few minutes to get a nice breakfast going and read my book. Breakfast this morning is a new recipe

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A shared meal

A quick update after Sunday afternoon chores are done.  Spinach-parmesan puffs (above) are cooling, a pot of 3-bean soup is simmering on the stove…looking forward to bringing them to our Sunday night homegroup in a bit, where we share a meal and fellowship with friends, and dig in to our new book together. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. – Acts 2:46

Snackin’

(This post originally published in Oct 2008, but we’re making a batch again this morning!) My favorite fall snack as a child – roasted pumpkin seeds.  Growing up, we only got this once a year, when we carved pumpkins at Halloween.  Now that I’ve got my own pack of kiddos, I cook pumpkin many many times in the fall and winter and always save the seeds for roasting.  They make the perfect thrifty, tasty, healthy snack. Larksong’s Mother’s Roasted Pumpkin Seeds All the seeds scraped from the inside of a pumpkin, washed, and arranged in one layer on a pie plate or

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A good, quiet morning

…reading a few chapters in Ann Voskamp’s book before the children were up… …enjoying granola in the breakfast nook after morning chores, watching chickens, ducks mucking happily around the yard  (Cran-Walnut Granola recipe at the bottom) …quilting for a neighbor’s baby, due in 2 weeks, while the children had breakfast. A welcome reprieve before tackling the general chaos of the day. Larksong’s Cranberry Walnut Granola Preheat oven to 325F, and get out two large jellyroll pans. In a large bowl, combine: 6 cups old fashioned oats 2 cups unsweetened, unsulfured coconut 1 cup wheat germ 1 heaping cup sesame seeds

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Persimmon Cake

I hope you had a peaceful and restful Thanksgiving.  We had a very nice time, with my mother-in-law hosting for all the extended family.    I was relieved to not have to make the turkey, since I didn’t think I could handle the smell of roasting turkey filling the house for hours and hours, but the day before, I felt a little better than I have the past several weeks, and managed to make some desserts to bring.   I made chocolate-pecan and regular pecan pies, an apple-cranberry puff-pastry tart,  and a gingerbread (I usually make this version, but this year, I

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Ripe, with a recipe

The tomatoes are starting to ripen!  Can’t wait to take them in to BCS on Friday!!  Families have been asking for the last month when we’d have fresh, ripe tomatoes. 90 percent of the tomatoes are still green, including many gigantic beefsteaks, like this Brandywine (look at that sucker in my hand! HUGE!).  If you’ve got a moment, say a quick prayer that they’ll all ripen before the cooler weather sets in, or I’ll be sending out lots of green tomato recipes with the week’s harvest (green tomato chutney, green tomato pickles, fried green tomatoes…). The first of the tomatillos

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Rustic Summer Dessert

Ah, summer dinners in the backyard… Here’s one of my favorite summer dessert recipes – we’ve been making a lot lately, with whatever fruit we have on hand: Larksong’s Farm Stand Fruit Pie For the filling: 5 peaches, peeled and sliced or 10-12 apricots sliced 4 big handfuls of raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries 2 Tbsp cornstarch 1/2 cup white sugar For the crust: 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour 1/3 cup cornmeal (I like Bob’s Redmill‘s medium grind.  If you use their blue cornmeal, the crust will have a pretty lavender color.) 1/3 cup white sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for dusting

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Hippie Snack

Just a quick post to share the recipe for my favorite childhood snack. We were given 40 lbs of honey (albeit, crystallized, so I’ve had to de-crystallize it in batches), so I’ve been trying to come up with ways to use it in my cooking.  We’ve made several batches of jam, substituting honey for a portion of the sugar (more on that later this week.), and tomorrow we’ll be canning peaches with honey instead of sugar and also starting a batch of mead. I wanted to pass along a recipe that my mom used to make me for an afternoon

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Black Currant Jam

Little Hen’s new favorite jam:  Black Currant! I’ve always loved a little Cassis in my hot tea in the winter, but this is the first year we’ve tried jam made from these relatives of the gooseberry, which have a distinctive, smoky/ musky flavor. Black currants are full of pectin, so they are perfect for jam – all you need is currants, sugar, water, and a little lemon juice.  (Although, next time, I think we’ll try adding some cardamom or cloves, as Sarah@ UrbanMamas suggested). Here’s what we did: Sterilize jars, wash lids and rings and get them hot.  Have canner

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Sour Cherries

A bit late, but here are some pics from our drive out to Sandy Farms last week to pick sour cherries.  (A big thanks to Chris at Lost Arts Kitchen for letting me know about the good cherry picking there!) This was the first time I’ve cooked with sour cherries, and we made sour cherry + brandy jam, and sour cherry + rhubarb jam.  Both were delicious!  We also started some cherries in brandy and some in vodka, for liqueur making next month, and froze a LOT of cherries for pies this winter. It seems like the girls and I

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