I’ve been making bread using my homemade sourdough starter for a couple weeks now. I’m on try #4 and each one gets a little more sourdough-y. I’m not sure, but I’m assuming that the sourdough starter gets more and more sour as as you use it and feed it. The last two tries, I’ve put the dough in two standard loaf pans. It’s easier to slice and use for toast and sandwiches this way. Take a look: Continue reading
People often ask me what I make for my family when other people aren’t around (e.g. a regular evening when we’re not having a party of some kind), so I decided to periodically post a picture of the dinner table. Tonight was dictated by Maya (5). 1:30 – “What do you want for dinner tonight, Maya?” Without hesitation, “Meatloaf.” “Okay then we have to go to the store right now because it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes in the oven and I’m also baking bread today.” “Okay Mom, let’s go before Nico wakes up!” I do love to cook and menu plan, but sometimes it’s really nice Continue reading
Here are a few pictures of what my garden currently looks like.
See the big pumpkin peeking out from behind the big leaves in the lower center of the picture. It’s just starting to turn orange on the top.
In the center of this bed, I put a long planting box planted with a variety of sunflowers. Continue reading
I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe, so I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but it was so delicious, I thought I’d share. As you may know, I make my own stock (either vegetable or chicken) about once a week. A couple days ago, I broke down two whole chickens to make chicken bouillabaisse and a couple other dishes. From the scraps, I made my chicken stock. It was sitting on my stove, and I knew I either had to freeze it or make something with it. I looked outside and there were jalapenos in the garden! I have 3 jalapeno plants, and 2 of them Continue reading
With finals over at one school and midterms over at another, I finally found a few hours to get out into the garden the last couple of days. Between December and now, I’ve been swamped with work and barely even looked at the backyard; crabgrass, bindweed, dandelions, and other nameless weeds had a field day, so I had (and still have) lots of cleanup to get to. My fall-winter composting project went fairly well. Back in September-October, I made 3 huge piles of coffee grounds and brown matter (leaves and branches). They started out about 3 feet high, and by this weekend, they had shrunk to about 1/4 that size. I removed any larger branches and spread out the remaining composted material – nice black soil with some bits of leaves and branches. Over the winter, other areas were covered completely in straw. I watered a grand total of zero times over the winter, but the soil beneath the straw was nicely moist, not dry as one would expect with Northern California’s pathetic amount of winter rainfall. I am trying not to till too much, but I did take my small rake and move the straw/leaves around a bit to smooth out the planting areas. Some plants are flowering nicely:
Akebono (Flowering Japanese Cherry Tree)
Calendula (Pot Marigold)
About a week ago, I received the following from my sister and knew I had to get them into the ground.
- 3 tomatoes – Moonglow, John Baer, German Pink
- 5 peppers – 3 Bulgarian Carrots, 1 Hungarian Yellow, 1 Early Jalapeno
- 6 basils
She started them from seed, raising them under her grow-lights. So yesterday, I put 2 tomatoes, 4 peppers and 4 basils in one of my raised beds. One tomato, one pepper, and two basils went into one of the larger areas of the garden.
Notice the flowers growing around the edges of the bed. Except for the calendula in the upper-left corner of the picture, all the flowers on the edges of the bed came up from seed over the winter. The one with orange flowers is the California native poppy. The other one I like to call the “Dr. Seuss” flower due to its strange “Dr. Seuss-ey” like appearance, as Maya (5) says. It was part of a mixture of wildflower seeds for my sister’s baby shower a couple years ago. I planted wildflowers in pots in a couple beds, let them go to seed, and this is the result. In a few weeks, they should develop some purple and blue flowers that will hopefully help with bee activity.
This coming week, I hope to get some more vegetables into the ground, and I will try to keep this blog up-to-date. Happy spring!
So evidently, my garden thinks it’s August 31st rather than October 31st. Most of my plants produced slowly over the course of the summer – never giving me any big harvests at any one time. Some of my tomato plants hardly did anything at all. I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, I look outside and realize that I have food on my plants! I knew it was supposed to rain some today, so in the morning, before the rain (yes, it DID rain in Sacramento today), I got out there and harvested …
Bulgarian Carrot Pepper
Sweet Canary Bell Pepper & Bulgarian Carrot Pepper
Sweet Banana Pepper (light green peppers on the right), Amish Paste Tomato (the ovalish ones on the left – not so great to eat raw, but great for making sauces and pastes), Cherry Tomato
Persimmon Tomato (yellowish), Black Krim Tomato (darkish), Super Sioux Tomato, Hungarian Carrot Pepper
If you took your kids trick-or-treating this evening, be sure to read about the Switch Witch. Happy Halloween!
“VOOM VOOM! SMOO-VIE!!” That’s the sound of Nico (17 months) yelling at my husband every time he sees the Vitamix on the counter (which happens periodically throughout the day because it’s always up there on the counter in plain sight). It’s so cute! Nico is practically vegetarian. Here’s what happens when I give him some meat: I put a little piece of chicken in his mouth; he closes his mouth, realizes it isn’t a vegetable, fruit, lentil, or bean, opens his mouth, and lets it fall to the floor. It’s funny. Every. Time. For him, kale trumps meat.
My husband has gotten into making smoothies. We used to make green juice using the Jack LaLanne Juicer, but you lose all the fiber that way (not to mention all the little parts you have to wash). My sister has, or should I say had, a Vitamix. My husband asked to borrow it temporarily to make smoothies (although she may not be getting it back …). He started to make smoothies for his post-workout drink into which he adds a recovery supplement. Nico (and now Maya) started wanting them, though, so now he makes two – one without the supplement and one with. So here’s our mornings (as dictated by Nico):
- 5:30 a.m. Wake Up
- 5:45 a.m. Milk (Gyunyu in Japanese) & Oatmeal
- 6:00 a.m. Realizes the Vitamix is on the counter. Starts yelling “VOOM VOOM! SMOO-VIE!!”
- 6:01 a.m. Me: Go ask Dada.
- “VOOM VOOM! SMOO-VIE!!”
- 6:02 a.m. Me: No. Seriously. Go up the stairs and ask Dada.
- 6:03 a.m. Dada comes down the stairs on his own because he can hear “VOOM VOOM! SMOO-VIE!” through the ceiling.
Now here’s the thing – when we first started making them, it was truly a green smoothie: kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, green apple, parsley, chia seeds, and a little lemon. Nico liked it even then. But my husband wanted to add fruit to the mix to offset the taste of the kale and spinach. So here’s what he puts in it now (the amounts completely depend on your taste buds):
- 1 handful kale (ours is from the backyard)
- 1-2 handfuls spinach
- 2 cups frozen fruit of your choice (we use assorted berries, strawberries, pineapple)
- 1 banana
- 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons flaxseed meal
- little water
- crushed ice
Blend it all together and enjoy!