Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

a gift to my future self

The children of my future self ALWAYS want a snack. The minute I sit down. Or when we are in a hurry to get out the door. Or anytime when I REALLY do not want to make a snack. Sure we have designated snack times at our house. Growth spurts and incessant whining don't care about the clock, though. Also, my kids LOVE prepackaged snacks because they are fun and at their eye level in the grocery store. I like them because they are easy and (sometimes) good portion control. I hate them because they are more expensive.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a box of Ziploc snack size bags. Then I divided the boxes of goldfish crackers, Graham crackers, and almonds into the bags. I cut up all the fruit and vegetables and did the same. I ordered some Squooshi bags from Amazon, too. Every few days I fill them up with applesauce and green smoothies. (I also use them for oatmeal and savory purees, too.) And, guess what? My future self loves it. It takes me about 20 minutes every week and is priceless when my kids (or me) are DYING for a snack. It has made packing lunches and after school snack a breeze. Also, kids are kinda gullible. Mine are, anyway. So guess what snack size Ziploc bags are in my house?? Kid Size Bags. Duh.
Green Smoothie for Squooshi
2 cups of frozen berries
1 banana
1/2 cup of chopped kale
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of OJ
Squirt of honey
Blend until smooth. Divide into Squooshi bags. Serve or Freeze for future self. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

february: month of meals

i'm sticking with my monthly meal planning.  it seems to really work for us and is super awesome on the days when i have no desire to cook.  it's much easier to throw something together when you already have a stocked kitchen and plan.  since, the baby is due at the beginning of may i have started working on my postpartum meal plan.  you know since when we brought hendrix home we had nothing to eat.  this time will be different, though, since we don't really have air conditioning in the kitchen and it can get quite warm already in may and june i am focusing on premade meals that don't require the oven.  you can check out some of my ideas on my pinterest board.  this month i am also testing or retesting a lot of these recipes to see how quick they really are, as well as, testing out some of the quick, premade freezer meals from costco and trader joe's that other folks have suggested.
1. crockpot shrimp + bacon corn chowder
2. italian chicken bake
3. spaghetti with costco meatballs
4. crockpot beef + broccoli
5. beef + scallion skewers with bok choy
6. zuppa toscana soup
7. crockpot asian pork + mushrooms
8. rueben bake
9. roasted veggie tacos
10. sour cream chicken enchiladas
11. crockpot salisbury steak with potatoes & veggies
12. stromboli
13. crockpot frank + beans with slaw
14. philly cheesesteak sandwiches on bretzel rolls
15. pot pies
16. pork schintzel with sour cream mashed potatoes and sweet + sour cabbage
17. beef + snow peas
18. fajitas
19. chicken cutlets with salad
20. sausage + latkes
21. sloppy joes
22. greek burgers with greek cous cous salad
23. mini meatloaves with taters and veggies
24. crockpot chili
25. crockpot stuffed peppers

chicken wrap
creamy kale salad
black bean + quinoa salad
salad with melty goat cheese crouton

cut veggies
bread with nut butter
bran muffins

Friday, December 14, 2012

boredom busters

cloud dough

tis the season for stir crazy kiddos.  either it's too cold, windy, or rainy out or worse...the kids are sick AND the weather sucks. anyone knows that oftentimes when the kids are sick they are still mobile and extremely stir crazy.  which makes parents crazy. at least it makes me crazy.  enter my tried and true ways to bust boredom in the balls.  i'm sharing them with you today, but also recording them for i can look them up and implement them instead of having a meltdown.

cloud dough 
slightly messy, but worth it. store it on one of those "under the bed" storage containers. (found here)

fish for letters
fill the tub up and throw a bunch of those magnetic numbers or letters in it.  have your kid fish the letters or numbers out with a kid fishing pole that has a paperclip attached to the end of the line.  older kids can spell stuff out or practice math.  younger ones can identify the numbers or letters.

shaving cream
this cheap stuff is your friend.  in a tub, cover a toy in it and have your kid shoot water at it until they find their "prize".  OR put some on baking sheet and let them add color with those water tubes that come with flowers.  just dilute food coloring in some water.  then let them go to town.  very easy to clean up.

tub painting
strip the kids to their underoos.  cover the tub walls in paper and make some edible finger paint or just color some cool whip with food coloring.  let them create a masterpiece.  when they are done, remove the paper and start bath time. OR make your own bath paint by coloring shaving cream with food coloring and let them paint during bathtime.

rice game
fill a bowl up with uncooked rice and hide things like magnetic letters in it.  have the kid dig around until they find all the treasures. give them some smaller containers and let them transfer the rice from container to container.  keep it all contained on a large, rimmed baking sheet for easier clean up. (i used this one for all of hendrix's 2nd year so that i could get dinner made)

pompom game
find some unbreakable container with a lid and preferably clear.  cut a smaller hole in the lid.  give your kid some pompoms and have them stuff the pompoms in the container.  use different colors and sizes then have them practice colors and sizes.  (this was also great when hendrix was about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2)

balloon pong
things can escalate quickly but it gets a lot of energy out. see here for how to.

make granola or animal cookies
easy recipes for kids to help with and they freeze for up to 3 months.  granola recipe is here and animal cookie recipe is here.

clean up relay race
at my house, everything that is supposed to be upstairs is always (somehow) downstairs.  so i get a tub and set it by the bottom of the stairs.  i go through the downstairs and collect everything that needs to go back upstairs.  while i do it i have hendrix RUN the items to the box.  gets energy out.  sometimes he falls, but he loves it.

paper highway
tear off a big piece of kraft paper.  draw roads and a town on it.  give your kids some crayons and cars.  have them add to the town and go for a drive.

what are your boredom busters? let's all share so that we have some arsenal this winter and upcoming rainy (hopefully!!) spring.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

i love it when i'm clever

the bathroom in our house was a total afterthought.  like sometime in the late 50s, early 60s someone looked around and saw that EVERYONE else now had indoor plumbing and thought they should go along with the trend.  so they put up a wall on a porch and some drywall in the now "bathroom".  no insulation, though.  it is about 25 sq ft. with a full sized bathtub, sink, toilet, wall storage cabinet and a full sized water heater.  so, yeah.  it's kind of the bane of my existence in this house.  i love this house, but that bathroom. oh my god.  as you can imagine, there are no towel bars or places for towel bars, or wall space. so....after 3 years i have actually figured out a cute, easy option.  yes, it took me 3 years to be clever.
remember these from our wedding?

well, since i am not planning any dinner parties anytime soon. they are now cute, monogrammed towel hooks.

weird thing is...mike still used hendrix's towel this morning instead of getting a new towel.  why? boys are gross.  that's why.  new "systems" take awhile to take hold in our house. so, hendrix should have it down by yesterday and mike by next year. ha!
up next...turning an old door/entrance into a craft corner. sounds weird.  but it is going to be awesome.  let the nesting begin!!!  

Monday, December 10, 2012

feeling festive

this weekend we saw santa and got a christmas tree.  i even wrapped all the presents we have bought so far.  it's beginning to feel very festive around here.  now if only it would snow.
christmas will come a little earlier this year for our family.  my MIL is going to get to come home from the rehabilitation facility tomorrow and we have our ultrasound on thursday.  send us lots of positive energy and love for a nice, healthy, happy growing baby.  i am 19 weeks along now.

i got some cooking and prep done this weekend, too.  i made some granola, breadcrumbs, hard boiled eggs, and marinara.  i think i will start on holiday baking and homemade gifts this week since our christmas cards arrived last week.  what are you all making for the holidays?  i am going to do some of my hot cocoa mix, applesauce chocolate chip cake, granola, rosemary olive oil bread, and everyday bread with compound butter.  i don't have a giant list of i like to mix it up. i am also looking at doing some of these busy bags and this hand scrub for some folks.
i hope your weekend was grand and your week is even better...
if you are in the omaha or lincoln area and would like to make the holidays brighter for some families, consider donating soup or pop to PLaiD's 2nd annual holiday souper supper.  PLaiD will be providing soup, rolls, dessert, and drinks to sick kids, their families, and the staff that takes care of them on friday, december 20 at UNMC. check out PLaiD's website for more about what they do.  go here to sign up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

homemade runzas

an actual runza.  

last week i posted runzas on my must haves for the freezer and had a few folks ask me what a runza is...besides telling them that they are bread stuffed with deliciousness, i thought i would share my go to recipe.  these are definitely a weekend kitchen project. however, they freeze/reheat great and are pretty fun to make. kids can easily help fill and fold the runzas, too.

homemade runzas
2 lbs of ground meat, preferably beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
american cheese, optional
4 1/2 c. flour, divided
1 /2 c. sugar
2 pkgs. (4 1/2 t.) of active dry yeast
1 t. salt
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs

{make dough} combine 1 3/4 c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.  heat milk, water, and shortening to 120 degrees.  pour over flour mixture and add eggs. beat with standing mixer for 4 minutes.  stir in remaining flour. knead, with standing mixer,  until smooth and elastic. about 6-8 minutes. cover for 1 hr.
meanwhile {make filling} in large dutch oven, saute onion in a bit of oil or butter.  add meat and brown.    add cabbage and cook until wilted.  season very well with salt and pepper.

{assemble runzas} on a large floured surface, roll out dough.  you want the dough to rolled out to a little more than 1/4 inch thickness.  this is where it can get now need to divide your rolled out dough into a even number, same sized rectangles. they should be about 8" x 6".  fill half of the long side, of each rectangle, with your meat filling.  add cheese if you so desire. fold the dough over the meat filling and pinch the sides to make sure nothing delicious escapes. repeat.

{to eat immediately} place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

{to prepare for freezing}  place on a baking sheet and  par bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for no more than 10 minutes.  cool completely and individually wrap in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer bag.  good for up to six months.

{to heat from freezer} wrap runza in foil, bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

diy hot cocoa

it was the para-teacher's birthday at our preschool this week.  so hendrix and i put together a quick, season appropriate gift for her.  i typically give hot cocoa to our friends and family during christmas.  usually i do it in brown bags or waxed bags tied with baker's twine and a tag with the prep directions. this time, since i was only doing one, i took a cue from pinterest and used a mason jar and added some marshmallows.  this recipe makes about 1 1/2 pint jars.

clementine's hot cocoa mix
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of salt
whisk and combine thoroughly.  store in an container.

to prep...
1 tablespoon of hot cocoa mix
8 oz. milk
warm in pan until hot and mix is dissolved. ENJOY!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

homemade animal crackers

mike came home with the cookie cutters that his grandmother bought at the town grocery store in the 1930s when she lived in this house we now call our home. mike's mother had made cookies with her mother, in this house, with those exact cookie cutters.  then he made cookies with his mother and grandmother in their house in another town.  now the cookie cutters made their way back to this house.  i was so awe struck with the bag of cookie cutters that mike's mom had saved all of these years.  there are ones for every holiday.  i knew which one hendrix would like the best.  an ax shaped cookie cutter.  so hendrix and i made animal crackers with the lion, owl, bird, horse, dog, and alligator shaped ones.  and the ax shaped cookie cutter. 
homemade animal crackers
yield 2-3 dozen depending on size of cracker

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 heaping teaspoon of baking spice
1/8 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 cup of rolled oats (can grind them up if you like)
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour

cream sugar and butter.  add egg and vanilla, mix well. in a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  add to sugar mixture and mix well.  form dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight. 
preheat oven 350 degrees.  take a hunk of dough off your dough ball and warm up with your hands.  roll out onto a floured surface.  cut out shapes and bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 5-8 minutes.  store in an airtight container at room temp for up to one week.

Monday, August 27, 2012

monday mail + being brave

hendrix got a postcard in the mail today from his favorite book store owner.  he was so blown away by the fact that he was old enough to receive mail and that it went into a mailbox all the way downtown and ended up in our po box all the way out here.  3 year olds and their awe and their story telling are pretty great. 
hendrix starts preschool next week.  i get pretty emotional when i talk about it.  there's parent teacher conferences, field trips, writing your own name, learning phonics...this is the real deal, folks.  i know he is a little nervous so i am going to try to reign in my emotions.  also, i am planning a back to school dinner.  i have seen some other mommas do them around the internet and like the idea.  this year our theme will focus on being brave.  i'm going to pick up a few new books and a writing tablet for him to open at the dinner table the night before school.  then we can talk about how all sorts of people need to be brave in all sorts of situations.  i am working on making him this cape, too. 
so, if you don't hear from me much this week, it's because i am taking advantage of our last week of summer and getting ready for a new chapter.

Friday, August 24, 2012

GSW {menu plan} :: thirteen

elegant dinner at our house

1. grilled chicken with avocado & grilled corn salad

2. pork ragu over noodles serve with green salad topped with apples, almonds, and bleu cheese tossed in a simple vinaigrette {weekend dinner alert!}

3. salmon with chickpea, feta, and parsley salad {salad keeps well in fridge for lunches or snack time}

4. grilled pork tenderloin with peaches

5.  black bean stuffed peppers

going to a party? bring dessert and a hostess gift...
fruit crisp + place mats

put aside cleaning your house and freeze some tomatoes...
how to freeze tomatoes
we'll be finishing our {play}barn this weekend and hoping for rain.  thankfully, our friend, tony, is coming to help and his daughter will be here to play with hendrix.
if you are looking for something to do this weekend in the omaha metro, try...millard days, shopping the furniture sale at oh darling!, dundee day on saturday, take a road trip to the nebraska state fair, or go to the world O! water festival at chalco hills on saturday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

placemats repurposed

once upon a time, i collected strawberry themed stuff.  oftentimes, collections lead to bad choices and hoarding. like these placemats. 

so, i revamped them with a little help from hendrix. the idea came from the say yes to hoboken blog. i love how they help hendrix set the table at dinner time.  you can read all about how to do it here.


if kids are helping...i would go ahead and cut out the stencil ahead of time.  also, make the stencil one sheet of freezer paper that is slightly larger then your placemat.  that will help keep the paint only where it needs to be.  

really make sure your paper is ironed on and stuck on your placemat before you start painting. otherwise, the paint will bleed.

you can only cut one sheet of freezer paper at a time.

i used this for my utensil template and just traced my plate. 

iron the waxed side of the paper onto the placemat.

use fabric paint.

let dry completely and wait a few days before you wash it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

monday jumpstart

photo via bhg

hello! did ya'll have a nice weekend? we did, but towards the end got pretty sneezy. ick.  however, we are plowing ahead because who has time for such things.  here are some things to jump start your {food} week...

peanut butter banana bread with quinoa flour - yum!

let's open the conversation between farmers

preserving {food + friendships} house

the mornings feel like fall around here.  which always makes me want this one dish dinner.

these placemats are on the "craft to do list" this week

overloaded on cherry tomatoes? make this!

mike got a fire ring to cook food on. we're having a halloween party to unveil it's greatness!

garden inspired food + drink ideas for the last days of summer

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

on a schedule

photo by cami rawlings

i'm sure you have all seen the schedules on pinterest.  there's one for SAHMs or cleaning or menu prep, etc, etc.  they are enough to make anybody feel overwhelmed.  who has the time for such schedules? apparently i do.  apparently my organization skills are just borderline ocd.  i've talked about breaking up the cleaning duties and keeping up on the daily messes before and when i talk with the women of the pathway program during our "managing a home" discussions, i tell them the same thing.  something about cleaning your entire house in one day, while children run underfoot, is soul crushing.  and, really, aren't there other things to do.  in general, i don;t mind housework.  i even kind of like it.  see the line about possible ocd above.  however, i do not like it while i am doing it and hendrix all sudden needs me to do one million things for him.  also, a toddler's help is cute and all but let's fact is not really all that helpful or realistic . he has his own chores like picking up after himself and feeding the dogs so i am not too worried about him learning about cleaning. so, i decided to come up with daily must dos along with one chore a day that would help me keep up on the actual cleaning of the house, as well as, the picking up, dishes, etc.  that way i can spend most of hendrix's naptime doing more important things like staring at a wall and building up my energy resources. i've been doing it for a couple of months now and it really has been working. who knows how it will work in the future or if we add more kids to the mix, but for now it works. and that is all that matters. the house is clean and i have time for my ever growing list of projects and more time in the garden.

MON: purge traffic areas (these get cluttered over the weekend) &
help hendrix pick up his playroom (the rest of the week i don't care where the toy is as long as it is in the play room, but on monday we re-organize and throw away any broken toys or trash) | 30mins

TUES: dust | 20 mins

WED: clean bathroom | 15 mins

THURS: do floors | nap time (it's all wood floors or tile in my house)

FRI - SUN: off or time to do projects

DAILY: dishes, laundry, pick up the house, and sweep (we have 2 large dogs and 4 cats)

what do you think? do you clean when the feeling hits you or do you break it up over the week? am i crazy? don't answer that.  i'm off to clean to clean the bathroom. however, i don't think i am only one that is struggling to find ways to keep the house together while teaching the kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves.  and still finding time to spend with our families and doing the things we enjoy.  it's a conversation i have often with my friends who are mothers. so, perhaps a schedule isn't the worst idea?
also, i leave you with this quote for Design Mom's Living with Kids post yesterday:

Motherhood is such a demanding career, yet it makes me restless. I felt trapped in the early months caring for an infant both times. I wanted to get things done, to be on the go, but I was needed to sit, nurse, and be still.
and check out this article for some discipline problem solvers.  i have put some of them into practice and let me tell you...they are working. for now.

Monday, August 13, 2012

play barn

a few months ago my friend, amy, posted a link for a slideshow of play houses.  they are amazing.  we were already planning on building hendrix a sandbox, so i thought he needed a little barn to go with it.  except play houses can be pretty pricy.  then mike found this cheap framer kit for a garden shed that with a little customizing on our part...would make the perfect play barn for hendrix...for much less than a play house.  then when he and any other children are done with can be a garden shed or drinking barn (in mike's dreams). this weekend, we gathered our materials, picked the paint colors, built the base and leveled the ground.  by the end of the week, hendrix should have a play barn that is painted orange on the inside and red on the outside.  orginally, he wanted the outside to be painted both red and orange, but mike looked like was about to faint at the thought of that.  something about all the "other farmers" driving by and seeing that.  so, we compromised and will paint the interior orange with some leftover paint from hendrix's bedroom.  hendrix informed me that he would be putting all of his tools in it, so he "could do his work".  oh sweet boy.  he's still under the assumption that "work" is fun. ha! the barn is 7 ft x 8ft with 8 ft high ceilings so i will put in some shelves for his outdoor toys and a solar powered light because he will never go in it if it is dark in there.  next to it will be his sandbox and on the other side a parking spot for the tractor that his grandma got him for christmas last year. this place is kind of my inspiration except on more of a kid scale.  most of the decor will just be repurposed scraps that i have laying around, but i am super excited for hendrix and his friends to have a little play spot out in the yard and garden area.  personal spaces that are beautiful are something i hold dear to my i hope hendrix can love it as much. we'll post pics when it is complete.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

repurposed style

picture found via pinterest
 you know you're cheap when you are spray painting your shoes.  also, you are know you are a genius when you are spray painting your shoes. remember last week how i told you was going to show you my new silver shoes?  inspired by j crew. well, better late than never. 
i don't know if you noticed, but the silver shoe is showing up everywhere for fall and so is the chunky heel.  since, i happened to have a pair of chunky, black heels that i got for free (!!) laying around...i decided to experiment.  and, i have to say...i am pretty happy with the results.  i am looking forward to wearing these with jeans or perhaps like above (don't you just love that look?).  best of all, the total cost was $3.27 which is much better than $300.

black patent leather heels that i got for free.
i did a couple of coats.  you want to go with the super shiny paint.

taping off the bottom of the heels with painter's tape

finished product.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

liz asks about lemon verbena

liz asks: It's not a vegetable but I'd love any tips for an overabundance of lemon verbena. It is threatening to take over the lawn, and we only have a tiny garden. It has already eaten two footballs...

clementine's says: right off the top of my head...why not make some sun/ice tea and add the lemon verbena in with the tea bags or just brew it with the lemon verbena and some citrus peels? or make a homemade infused vinegar or...infused vodka with it? or a lemon verbena simple syrup to add to cocktails or sparkling water? oh, lemon verbena scones?!? you could make a double batch and freeze them.  also, how about chopping some up and throwing it into your salads to add some flavor and brightness. or drying it and making a fragrant wreath/flower arrangement.

to infuse vinegar: go here.
to infuse vodka: go here.
to make sun tea + simple syrup: go here.
to make scones: go here.

clementine's asks: what do you think liz should do with her aggressive lemon verbena?

Friday, June 22, 2012

things i love this week

finding rogue lettuce growing in the nooks and crannies of our garden

you know what's nice about posting what i love this week, every week?  it forces me to be grateful and kind even when i am having a rough day and don't want to be nice.  it's good for my soul to search for pretty or neat things to share with you all.  it's even better when they happen to have something to do with my friends or community. so, thanks for reading.
 this week, i love....

the omaha public library offering a free lecture on how to eat seasonally

cloud dough...this stuff is awesome on a rainy day or too hot to go outside day
{boredom buster!}

splash pads! {boredom buster!}

customizable chore charts to help kids understand what it means to be part of a family

this nectarine rice pudding with an indian twist. it's calling my name.

amazepack!  i'd sign up, but i have an entire art::workroom that is filled with projects. {boredom buster!}

this house... i want our next house to be an a-frame meets shipping containers sort of dwelling.  preferably, in the middle of nowhere.

this picture....
i have to blow this up.  it's too great. my heart hurts looking at it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

all purpose dough

it's so great...the recipe in written on the inside of my cupboard
i know i have been to prone wax poetic about my go to pizza dough recipe before, but i am back to talk about it's magical powers.  recently, i have discovered that with some slight changes in prep...i can use the dough to make homemade naan or pita bread.  i try to quadruple the recipe when i prep it so that i can use one batch immediately and refrigerate/freeze the other three batches for later use.  i have a standard size food processor and i can make two batches at a time in mine.   also, my husband prefers plain white but i have successfully subbed in whole wheat flour for up to half the flour called for in the recipe.  enjoy, i hope this encourages more of you to make your own doughs.
all purpose dough {makes one batch}
2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 c. very warm water
1 2/3 c. flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
combine yeast, sugar, and water.  let proof for ten minutes or until it is nice and foamy.  meanwhile, quickly mix flour and salt in food processor with a couple of pulses.  pour yeast water and mix until a ball forms.  drizzle olive oil and pulse for a few more seconds.  turn dough ball out into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel. proceed, as directed, below...
pizza: simply let dough rest to room temp.  roll out on a floured surface.  cook on a stone or oiled cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal.  bake crust with toppings at about 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

pita: let dough rest at room temp.  separate dough into 4 pieces.  roll out each piece on a  floured surface.  carefully, place each piece on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  cover with a towel and let rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour or until puffy (this will make your "pockets").  bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

naan: let dough rest at room temp.  separate into 2 - 4 pieces and roll out each piece on a floured surface. cover with a towel and let rise for about 20 minutes.   meanwhile, heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet or dutch oven.  when oil is bubbly and hot, carefully fry each piece of dough on both sides.  takes about 3 minutes for each piece. drain on paper towels and serve.

to freeze or refrigerate:  let dough rest and rise once.  store in a lightly oiled, freezer bag.  good up to a week or so in the fridge.  good for up to 3-4 months in the freezer. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

preserve that bounty {spring edition}

can it be that we are already at the point in the growing season where some veggies are going to seed or are so prolific that we need to figure out what to do with it all?  and quick.  here in my part of nebraska, zone 5, we had a very mild winter, early spring, and all around kind of wonky season.  some of the farmer's markets even opened early because farmers needed to harvest and sell.  at our farm we have lots of collards, tarragon, oregano, arugula, kale, spinach, butter crunch lettuce, rhubarb, turnips, and mulberries.  so i have been devising and researching ways to preserve these goodies so that i won't have any regrets later this year when the garden has been turned over and it is too cold to even remember what fresh veggies taste like.....the rest i will harvest and bring to the heart ministry center for one of their pantry days.

pizza pockets...done the lazy and TASTY way.
here's what i have done so far....

arugula pesto: i made some pesto with blanched arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, parmesan, and almonds.  i froze about half the batch in ice cube trays, popped them out {once frozen}, and stored them in a plastic freezer bag.  i can then pop a few cubes into soups, stews, and sauces throughout the year or even thaw for a pizza base.  the rest of pesto will be saved for a pesto potato salad this weekend and pasta for lunches this week.

green stuffed pizza pockets:  i used my basic recipe found here.  this time they were stuffed with kale, arugula, spinach, caramelized onion, mushrooms, and cheese.  i par bake them, cool completely and freeze.  these are great for lunches, camping, road trips, or days when it is too hot to turn the oven on...they can just be popped in the toaster oven and reheated. 

quick lift turnips {middle eastern pickled turnips}:  a friend of mine gave me the book canning for a new generation and i have really been enjoying it.  i highly recommend this book not only because it a good starter to canning, but also shares lots of preservation tips beyond canning, like freezing.  it also has a wide variety of modern canning recipes that are categorized by season. this particular recipe was for a refrigerator pickle so it only took a few days before we able to enjoy our efforts.  i will be also trying a traditional canning recipe for cumin & paprika pickled turnips.

frozen kale: i simply washed my kale, dried it thoroughly, layered it up in a ziploc bag, and froze.  this can be used just as you would use frozen spinach. 

frozen collards: same as above.  also, i am thinking about trying a pickled greens with fresh chilies canning recipe.  i think it could really be great in the winter with some BBQ pulled pork. 

frozen rhubarb: clean, chop, & freeze.  make a pie in january when you really need pie.

rhubarb simple syrup: found here. keeps for about a month or so in the fridge.  add to lemonade, herbal iced tea, or sparkling water.  or better yet add it to cocktails.

what i have plans to do next....
strawberry tarragon jam
tarragon infused vinegar
grapefruit tarragon infused vodka
....these three will be surprise gifts for some of my favorite people in town.  also, if you could see the out of control situation that is my tarragon plant. yowza.

Friday, February 3, 2012

planning to be snowed in

photo: design mom
ever since the winter of '09 we have gotten real good at planning to be snowed in...even if we, ourselves, can get the drive plowed that doesn't necessarily mean that the county will come plow the road.  being that there are only three houses on this road for three miles and no businesses. 
sooooo...i always make sure to have plenty of food, milk, booze, diapers, and projects.  although, my whole house is one giant project so that isn't too hard.  and mike just plans on moving snow. secretly, i love being snowed in...except in 2009.  i did not love that because hendrix was 9 months old and had a fever of 103. scary stuff.
this weekend i am all stocked up.  here's what we will be doing to keep warm and busy....
we hope you all enjoy the snow this weekend. check back here next week for ideas on container gardening, ways to be involved in the local food movement, and to hear about hendrix's birthday party theme. here's a clue: build.