February 20, 2006
Once back from my errands I set to work whipping up a pan of roasted sweet potato, a little bit of carrot, some onion and some garlice for another batch of Accidental Roasted Sweet Potato Soup. This batch is far better than the original. That little bit of carrot added a wonderful, natural sweetness. Less garlic, and less onion (this time it was white onion). Also, only organic veggie broth was used. I didn't add any other kind of soup just to use it up. I pulled out a frozen, roasted ancho chil and diced it. Man oh man - way too hot to add more than a couple small pieces. Whew! How we are ever going to use up all of those in our freezer, I don't know. The soup went into the freezer to take it home with me to C-town. I leave in the morning.
I'm also in the process of baking a batch of Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato (Banana) Muffins to take home. Using up a couple mushy bananas that way. Plus, the two egg yolks remaining from the recipe get mixed with some egg beaters to form a fine breakfast sandwich. Plop the eggs between two slices of toasted Honey Whole Wheat from Old Mill Bread Co. and it's delish. This is a local bakery whose bread we really enjoy, especially because it is made from just a few simple ingredients: Freshly milled whole wheat flour, water, honey, salt, yeast, and soy lecithin. No white sugar, no white flour, no words we can't spell or pronounce. Each slice has 3 g of fiber and 5 g of protein. No cholesterol and no saturated fats. Along side goes the remaining apple from the muffin recipe and you are all set with a tasty meal.
Having second thoughts about the garden. I think I can still get away with planting some things before we move. Moving might be farther off than we planned assuming the place isn't sold by the property owner. All the greens and some peas, beans, zucchini can be planted and probably enjoyed.
The search for a house, though only days old, is already tedious and discouraging. A road trip down to Olympia didn't make us feel much better, though the homes are affordable. Back to baking and soup making, packing, dishes, laundry, etc.
February 17, 2006
Secondly, we were recently informed that the wife of the owner of the house died a few months ago. The lawyers are assessing taxes and such. So appraisers will be coming round soon to size up our place and neighbor G’s place (also owned by said property man). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that our place will be sold, we aren’t taking any chances. We’re taking it as a sign that we should stay right on track with our plan to move. Frankly, we don’t understand why the guy has held on to these two lots as long as he has. Property is at a premium around here and a condo developer could squeeze in several urban units in this space. For all we know, the joint’s already gone. Either way, I hope we are given ample time to get out.
Alas, this brings me to the subject of this post. It makes me very sad. All winter I look forward to spring. When should I start my plants? Which plants will I grow? Where will I put them this year? Any gardener knows what I mean. But now there is no need to do any of it. And after I spent all that $$ on an entire new garden’s worth of heirloom seed. So I took it as another sign when I spotted Winter Gardening In The Maritime Northwest by Binda Colebrook while poking around in Twice Sold Takes. It’s an easy read and very informative.
Since winter gardeing might be my only gardening this year, I felt the $5 price tage was quite reasonable. This gives me something botanical to look forward to. Regardless of how insane the process of searching for, buying, and moving to a new place might be, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to sow some seeds as soon as I get there. I don’t care in what I sow, the ground, a pot, an old bathtub, but I will sow seeds and I will have a winter garden.
So we will be content with the local co-op and the farmer’s markets. We love those options and use them often. Still, it’s so nice to pick fresh lettuce and pull a carrot or beet minutes before cooking. And we will be doing more freezing and canning this year anyway. So what if the stuff isn’t from our garden? I still haven't purchased the pressure canner that was my Christmas present from my mom. Another thing to look forward to. And we are going to do more U-pick visits this year since there are some things that simply haven’t grown well in my past gardens here. Like peppers. Not to mention things we just don’t grow like fruit and berries (at least not yet).
Go with the flow even if you don’t sow.
February 16, 2006
If you are motivated by money, know that saving water saves energy and that saves money. If you need some ideas on how to save water, check out this info from the Union of Concerned Scientists website.
CUT DOWN ON WASTE
*Don't use your toilet as a wastepaper basket. Throw tissues in the garbage.
*Don't run water unnecessarily. Turn water off while shaving, brushing teeth and scrubbing dishes.
*Keep drinking water in the refrigerator, rather than letting the tap run till the water gets cool.
*Instead of using water to thaw frozen food, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.
*Scrape dishes, instead of rinsing them, before loading the dishwasher.
*Take showers instead of baths, and make them short. When you do take a bath, close the drain first, then turn on the water. Don't fill the tub more than halfway.
*Use your machines efficiently.
*Wait for a full load to run the dishwasher.
*Use the shortest wash cycle your dishwasher allows, unless dishes are very dirty.
*Select the appropriate water level or load size on your washing machine.
*Use a broom or rake instead of a hose to clear debris from driveways and other paved areas outside.
REDUCE LOSS THROUGH EVAPORATION
*Water your lawn and plants in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is lower.
*Put a layer of organic mulch around your plants.
*Keep a pool cover on the pool when it's not in use.
*Put a small basin in your sink to collect water. Reuse the water for plants and cleaning.
*Take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles water.
IMPROVE YOUR EQUIPMENT
*Replace conventional toilets with ultra-low flow toilets, and save an average of 4 gallons per flush. Alternatively, put plastic containers filled with water in your toilet tanks. This saves less, but still helps. (Just keep the containers away from the flush mechanism.)
*Install low-flow aerators and showerheads to save 2-3 gallons on average per minute.
*Get a horizontal-axis washing machine. They're more expensive, but they reduce water usage by about 50%. Contrary to popular belief, top-loading models are available.
*Control water flow in hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles.
*Repair all leaks, which can cost tens of thousands of gallons a year. A leaky toilet alone can waste 200 gallons per day—and the leak is often invisible. To see if you have one, add food coloring to the tank water. You know there's a leak if colored water appears in the bowl.
February 10, 2006
February 09, 2006
The ingredients before my spark of genius (and before I cooked anything).
And the sky is blue and the mountains are out and the rain is not raining.
Stephanie had much more to say about the lunch. Here is the complete review of lunch. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of bodanzarama cuz none of what bugged her bugged me with the exception of the loud convo about connecting flights.
Chaco Canyon not all it's chalked up to be
By Stephanie Germani
I've eaten at holes in the wall that are better than Chaco Canyon Cafe (Hole in the Wall, Second Avenue, Binghamton, N.Y., vegan).
Right off the bat the cafe lacks presentation. If I wasn't dining with a friend I wouldn't have known where the restaurant was. And when we did find the door, I lost my appetite for a healthy vegan lunch because the cafe is located next to the Flying Apron Bakery whose scrumptous-looking baked goods are displayed next to Chaco Canyon's door.
But my appetite quickly came back when I had to listen to these two granola girls gab about their connecting flights between Brussels and Beirut. After 10 minutes I just wanted to get my grilled BBQ Seiten sandwich and split.
While I was waiting there there were other people to annoy me. There was the nerdy-looking bald guy who asked for another shot of wheatgrass. There was the hippie chick who worked there, read there and ate there - I guess a good sign. Then there was the chef, who ate chips while preparing my food and didn't wash his hands.
When my order finally came up it was delivered in a cute, eco-friendly looking box. The terra chips that came with my sandwich weren't what I expected. They were more like wholesome tortilla chips than the Terra brand chips sold in stores. Also, the coleslaw -- which wasn't your mayo drenched usual -- wasn't contained in the box. I would have like a little separation between the chips and slaw. My sandwich was good. The rye bread from Essential Baking Co. was awesome. The sprouts fresh. The barbecued seitan yummy. But the vegan mozzarella cheese was unnecessary. I got through half the sandwich before I figured out that was the cheese.
So go to the Chaco Canyon Cafe, order a sandwich or one of the raw entrees they serve, run next door to the Flying Apron Bakery and get a scone, get your sandwich 10 minutes later and split.
Stephanie Germani is a staff writer for Bodanzarama.blogspot.com. She can be reached at imnotgivingyoumye-mail.com.
February 08, 2006
February 06, 2006
February 05, 2006
I miss being in the yard. The weather is particularly dreary this winter. I'm afraid to see what's going on in the yard anyway. Overgrown this and that and overwatered everything. Damage assessment will have to come soon. And soon it will be time to prepare the seeds and get some soiless mix and clean out the seedling trays and fire up the grow lights. Scary and exciting at the same time.
February 04, 2006
But I've been going ever since I got up at 6. Once home I whipped up a natch of healthy muffins to take to a card party later. This is a recipe I found on a sweet potato website. Last week I made the sweet potato version. Very good. Today I had to use up ripe bananas and again, very delicious. No white sugar, oat bran, whole wheat flour, no oil, fat free plain yogurt, etc. Good for you and tasty. Here is the recipe. Replace banana with fresh, mashed sweet potato for a delicious alternative. Sweet potatoes are very good for you and I love them. I've retained the original recipe and in parenthesis included my alterations.
Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato (Banana) Muffins
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar (I used almost 1 C brown rice syrup and 1/2 C honey)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I added 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cardamom)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup apples, skinless, finely chopped
1 cup mashed fresh sweet potato (banana)
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine bran, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and apples. Add banana, egg, egg whites, oil, and yogurt. Stir all ingredients thoroughly. Spray muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray and spoon 1/4 cup of batter per muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. Makes approximately 20 muffins.
I made one dozen bigger muffins the first time I tried this using sweet potatoes and today I made mini muffins and tried to mini loaf pans. This is a wet batter and the muffins are very moist but not heavy. I think muffins work better than the mini loaves. I suppse a bit more flour could be added if you need a loaf or perhaps replace one of the liquid sweeteners with a granular version (non white preferably). Experiment.
February 01, 2006
I suppose it was a bit of an expense for all these seeds at one time. Especially when I consider that I needed no new seed for this year. Then again, I would have purchased some plant starts anyway. This year I'd like to go back to starting all my own plants, including tomatoes. We will also be growing chard and kale for the first time. Not worried about those. Greens and the like always do well here. And when organic was offered in the variety I wanted, I chose it. That's important too. In case you are wondering what I will be tending this year, here is the order that I placed tonight. Exciting and scary at the same time. I completely forgot broccoli and cabbage so I will have to make due with hybrids again this year.
BLUE LAKE POLE BEAN
OLD HOMESTEAD POLE BEAN - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
ROMANO POLE BEAN
SCARLET RUNNER BEAN
CHINESE CABBAGE - PAK CHOI
BOOTHBY`S BLONDE CUCUMBER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC,
LEMON CUCUMBER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
PARSLEY, DARK GREEN ITALIAN
BABY OAKLEAF LETTUCE
BUTTERCRUNCH LETTUCE - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
KAGRANER SUMMER LETTUCE
SALAD BOWL LETTUCE
TENNIS BALL LETTUCE
BRITISH WONDER PEA - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
THOMAS LAXTON PEA
BULL`S BLOOD BEET - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
CHOGGIA BEET - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
DETROIT DARK RED BEET - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
AMSTERDAM MINICOR CARROT
CHANTENAY ROYAL CARROT
WINTER RED KALE - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
DWARF BLUE CURLED KALE
EARLY PROLIFIC STRAIGHTNECK SQUASH
SWEET POTATO SQUASH
BUTTERNUT SQUASH - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
RAINBOW SWISS CHARD - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
BANANA LEGS TOMATO
BLACK KRIM TOMATO
BLOODY BUTCHER TOMATO
FIRST PICK TOMATO