Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sourdough Tortillas

I did not take pictures to show you about this, but still want to report. For dinner I made bean burritos and this is the first time I've made sourdough tortillas for them. Soaking whole grains, nuts and seed deactivates the "anti-nutrients," such as phytic acid, that interfere with the absorption of minerals. I am on a quest to improve my cooking in this way, so thought I'd give this a try. They turned out very nice. Flexible, strong, soft and delicious, all at the same time!

Sourdough Tortillas

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon RealSalt
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil

Mix that all together well in a bowl with a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 7 hours.

Turn onto a surface floured with unbleached all-purpose flour and knead until it is smooth.

Divide into 8 equal pieces and form them into little round things.

Heat up a cast iron griddle on medium heat.

Roll each piece quite thinly and bake them, one at a time, on the hot griddle. Bake the first side until bubbles appear on top, flip over and bake a little longer.

Stack them on a plate, covered with a dish towel until ready to eat.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sourdough Noodles

Here is my little pot of sourdough starter that lives in the refrigerator:

Before I went to bed last night, I combined the following:

1/2 cup sourdough starter
3 eggs
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 teaspoons salt

Stir that well, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest all night.

In the morning, knead the dough, with a little unbleached all-purpose flour for 2 minutes.

Divide into 8 pieces:

Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add 2 Tablespoons salt:

Of course, you can cut these out by rolling out with a rolling pin and cutting them with a pizza cutter, but this time, I used my handy-dandy pasta machine. First, I rolled the dough pieces through on #1, then on #3.

Lastly, on #4. I tried #5, but that was too thin.

Here are some of the noodles, waiting for the water to boil:

And here is my granddaughter, cutting the noodles for me with the pasta machine:

This is what they look like coming off of the machine:

I added them to the boiling water and cooked them for about 4 minutes, with 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil added to the water, and then drained them in a big colander:

Here are two little videos. One is of the boiling noodles, and the other shows you how I knead the dough

These noodles are delicious, by the way. We ate some with grated cheese and they were wonderful. They would also be good with pasta sauce or in soups or....

This post is hooked up with the amazing Hearth and Soul blog hop!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I love "Spring Break"

When our children were school-aged, during the years they were in public school, (we home schooled for a while) and "Spring Break" would come, I would sometimes think, "break for whom???" During the home schooling years, we were together most of the time, and I loved that, so it's not that I didn't enjoy being with my children. There was just something about the disruption of the 1 week school break that was hard on me. Now, however, Spring Break is something I look forward to, as it often affords time to spend with various grandchildren. This week, two different days, we'll have 3 of them here, and then the next two weeks we'll have 2 more visiting for the whole time. It is so fun and something I really look forward to. The picture is of my granddaughter, Hanni. She is making cookies. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ewwwwww ?

Have you ever heard of "Manure Tea?" What you do is fill a big bucket with fresh animal manure, cover it all with water and let it "steep" for at least a month. The bucket you see in the picture here is left from last year. I filled it with horse "apples" and water and it has been sitting in the greenhouse for months!

It is not to drink (although our dog might beg to differ on that point.... ewww...) What you do is ladle out the liquid, dilute it with water in a watering can and use it to fertilize your garden vegetables. It's very effective, and truly, it doesn't smell particularly bad.

However, there is another kind of "tea", a green manure tea that smells awful. It is made with comfrey leaves. Here is the comfrey, just starting to grow:

When it gets big, I will stuff a lot of the leaves into a bucket, fill it with water, put a cover on it and leave it out in the sun for at least a month, and then use it the same way as the animal manure tea. This is fabulous for potatoes, but very very good for other plants as well.

Comfrey also makes a wonderful salve. I make salve most years. Here is what I posted about it last year. I combine the comfrey with plantain leaves.

So many things are coming up now. I will post more pictures soon.

Spring Foraging begins!

And so it begins... It was about 45 degrees F outside this morning. I decided to make one of my most favorite things. Here you can see a little clump of wild onions:

And some dandelion greens that volunteered enthusiastically in the greenhouse:

Here is my basket with the onions and the greens I gathered. Don't worry, there are plenty more of the wild onions where those came from and I can guarantee that the clump I dug will grow back as there are undoubtedly a few left in that spot.

In 1989, I ran across this wonderful book, Wild Food Plants of Indiana and Adjacent States, in our local library. It was out of print, so I contacted the publisher and they gave me permission to copy the book for my own use free of charge:

See? And it has since been reprinted!

Here are the wild onions all cleaned up. Aren't they cute? :)

And chopped:

Into the cast iron frying pan goes a good dollop of bacon grease:

The chopped wild onions were sauteed for about 30 seconds on low heat:

I carefully picked over the dandelion greens, washed them thoroughly, put them through the salad spinner and chopped them up:

The next thing was to add them to the skillet and, stirring once in a while, I sauteed them for 5 minutes on low:

Here they are all done. I added Realsalt and freshly ground pepper.

Half of them (I had to save some for the DH) in a bowl, ready to eat:

That didn't take long!

If you are inclined to forage for wild foods, be CERTAIN you know what you are gathering, because plants can be toxic if you inadvertently gather the wrong thing.

If your dandelions already have flowers, it is too late. They will be very bitter.

Please don't gather dandelion greens or anything else where toxic chemicals have been sprayed on lawns. We don't do that here. Our "lawn" is, uh... eclectic..... we live on what was a forest floor about 40 years ago. I do not fight the "weeds" in the lawn. I like them. :)

And you can see why :)

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursdays!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Starting to garden for this year...

I was very happy today to be able to go and buy most of our seeds for our vegetable garden. We will be simplifying our plantings this year, emphasizing the things we really use, and not planting so many different things. Here is what I bought:

24 pounds of seed potatoes
3 pounds onion sets
2 varieties of tomato seeds
green bush beans
sweet corn
pickling cucumbers
winter squash
yellow summer squash
Swiss chard

I also got 6 broccoli and 12 cabbage plants

I still need to find pepper seeds, but they didn't have any of those. I'll look elsewhere soon.

We hope all of this translates into an abundant harvest this year. I will start my own tomatoes, peppers and sweet potato plants in the greenhouse.

We have had lots of rain recently, for which I'm grateful. As soon as things dry out enough, we'll start getting the garden ready and put out the potatoes and onion sets.

It still remains to be seen if the rhubarb we put out last year survived the drought. The garlic is up and there is lots of it!

I'm looking forward to it! I would love to hear from some of you about your gardens and plans and hopes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brown Bagging It.

Pay no attention to what I spilled on the stove top. I grocery shop only about 6 times a year, so when I do it, it takes most of a day. Remember the soup I posted yesterday? I mentioned it would serve 3. There are only two of us here, so when I packed my lunch to take along today, I heated the last portion and put it in a thermos. I also took a small jar of homemade yogurt with a little maple syrup in it. Oh, it was all so good!

We have a membership in Sam's Club and there are some items that I buy there because the prices on them are the lowest I can find. I needed to get some of my husband's favorite bath soap (Irish Spring - I use homemade soap, but I'm not going to take his favorite soap away from him!) I went into that section of the store. There are long, double-sided isles, packed with all kinds of things from toothbrushes, to supplements, to diet aids, protein powder, power bars...etc. I got to thinking about how most of the stuff there is purchased by people who don't know how to eat in a healthy way. It's very sad.

I had a good trip. I even picked up a few items of clothing in a thrift store for myself. It is Wednesday. On that day, Senior Citizens get a 30% discount. There ARE some advantages to aging! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh, Deer...

Some time ago, a friend gave me a pint jar full of canned venison (deer meat.) It has been sitting on the shelf patiently waiting for me to think up a way to use it. For supper, I decided to make soup. Here are the ingredients I gathered. The venison, a pint of chicken broth, some of the basil that I preserved last year in raw apple cider vinegar, a small chunk of cabbage, two skinny carrots, some Swiss chard, a scallion and fresh kale from the greenhouse, and a garlic clove. You can also see in this picture a small bowl that contains 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour, combined with 1/4 cup yogurt:

I made this soup in the morning, and finished preparing it right before dinner time. During that time, I let the whole wheat flour soak in the yogurt.

To my cast iron Dutch oven, I added a Tablespoon of butter and a Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and heated that on low heat:

The scallion and garlic are minced:

and then sauteed for 2 minutes, stirring constantly:

The carrots were scrubbed and sliced:

I removed the ribs from the kale and then chopped up all the green things:

When the saute was finished, I added everything (including a teaspoon of the basil) except the flour to the pot:

I brought it to a boil, reduced to simmer, put the lid on and let it cook for 30 minutes:

I put the soup into the refrigerator to wait for suppertime and then added some of the juice from the pot to the soaking flour and stirred that well.

The cold soup was transferred to a stainless saucepot and I brought it back to a boil and gradually stirred in the soaked flour, then stirred and cooked it until the flour had slightly thickened the broth. I like my soups to have more "body." I then put in RealSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

It was delicious, and would serve 3 nicely.

Little Dresses for Africa

Not long ago, an internet friend who blogs here, mentioned that she had made "some of the little pillowcase dresses for Africa." I had never heard of it, so I looked online and found this wonderful charity! For me, it is a perfect fit. I often have small lengths of cotton fabrics left from various projects, and I like to do some ongoing charity work. I used to knit and crochet things, but had to give that up because it hurt my hands too much. But I can still sew with no trouble! I've been working on the little dress project for a few weeks now, and here is the result:

You can find instructions on just how to make them here:

If you mail them here: , Nancy's notions will see to it that they are shipped where they need to go.

They also ask for "britches for boys" which are little shorts. I plan to make some of those next and then start on more dresses. The dresses are very easy to make and I enjoyed it immensely thinking about the pleasure for the little girls.

Here they are, ready to go:

Day 1 - :)

Last night before I went to bed, in a saucepan, I put the following:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tablespoons yogurt
2 cups water

I covered the pan and then this morning I added the following:

1/8 teaspoon RealSalt

Then I brought it to a boil, simmered and stirred for a little while until it was nice and thick and then served it up with:

real maple syrup (from the maple syrup festival not far away!)
goat milk

YUM. My poor husband doesn't care for oatmeal, so I certainly don't make it every day, maybe once a week. But he does care for ME so he generally eats what I put in front of him.

This little post is hooked up with the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's That Time Again! :)

Laundry Day (Hip-Hip Hooray!)

“Laundry Day” is said with ease,

But I am moved to differ.

Because of e-lec-tri-ci-ty

Our joints are getting stiffer.

“What can we do?” My heart doth cry,

Are we all doomed to suffer?

With all our faculties awry

Because of power’s buffer..

Between us and the need for work?

We sit and use our thumbs,

For texting, email and the like.

We’re turning into bums.

“No! No!” I cry, it cannot be!

We need lots more activity!

Get up, get out, oh see it there?

There’s swaying clothing in the air!

The sun is out, it’s warm, it’s free!

I’m moved to can it be

This simple labor I have found

Is possible the whole year round?

My limbs and joints quite happily

Engage in this activity.

I reminisce and contemplate

Beloved Earth’s eventual fate.

If we are very circumspect,

And treat Her with devout respect,

Our grandchildren will join the throng

Of happy launderers who prolong

Their own lives, and the lives of friends.

We will accomplish the good ends

Of clean air, land and water too.

I think this is what we must do!

-Yolanda 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

March in the Greenhouse

It's 47 degrees F. outside, but a beautiful sunny day here in southern Indiana. I knew it would be getting really warm in the greenhouse, so I went out to have a look around. Here is the view from the door:

And you can see the temperature inside of the greenhouse!

It is time to take off the floating row cover. Look at how lush the bed looks today!

The Mache (corn salad) is starting to go to seed. It is definitely a cold weather green:

See the rampant chickweed growing amongst the bunching onions?

One variety of kale:

The other variety of kale:

The Swiss chard is making a comeback.

There are a few green onions left:

Even one lonely leaf lettuce that survived!

A view from the other end:

We will use up what's left as best we can before it all goes to seed. I keep the Swiss Chard through the spring and early summer, just by cutting off anything that looks like it is trying to bolt. That works very well.

I cleaned out most of the Mache, and will turn that end of the bed into a hotbed to start vegetable and flower plants for the garden, very soon.
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