Friday, June 26, 2009

CSA Harvest Box: week 1

in an email I received from Sun Gold Farms:
This week in your shares you should find lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries, pinto beans, onions, kohlrabi, and a calendula plant. Please double rinse the lettuce (remember the storm?). Refrigerate and use the berries as soon as possible. Since we do not spray fungicides on the berry fields, they do not have a very long shelf life. The pintos and onions are last fall's crop from storage and will go great in the crock pot on these cooler almost summer days. Use your favorite baked bean recipe, or find yourself a ham bone. When using a crock pot on slow, it is not necessary to soak the beans overnight. But you will still want to wash and sort them. The kohlrabi is best just peeled and eaten raw.  Do not cook it.  Treat as a carrot stick. Dip in sauce if you must.  The calendula plant should be potted into a larger pot or put right into your garden. It is an edible flower that looks and tastes great in your tossed salads. Use the flower petals. 
We haven't tried the calendula petals yet; I planted it in our garden and the flower wilted the next day, so we'll try the next bloom. :o)  We did try the kohlrabi just like she said: peeled and chopped up and dipped in ranch!  It was pretty tasty- reminded me a bit of turnips.  A little bit crunchy and pretty bland.  Not really worth all the work it took to peel it, though!  Look at all that tough skin vs. the little pile of veggies in the bowl!  I left one peeled but un-cut so you could see. It's the thing that looks like a peeled potato on the bottom.  At any rate, it made a nice addition to our lunch on Saturday after being at the market!

The pinto beans I used to make probably our favorite bean recipe. Pardon the ugly picture- they really are so yummy. Recipe follows!
Rowen also enjoyed his first taste of pinto beans!  He's been eating them up as finger food all week.

We're not big rhubarb fans, but I found a pie recipe that actually turned out pretty good.  A little too sweet, and I thought it might be by the ingredients but I just went ahead and made the recipe exactly as stated (what?!? me?!? not mess with a recipe!?) well- pies can be a bit of a mystery to me.  So if we end up with rhubarb again, I've made note of the changes I'd make for next time :o)  We served it with strawberry ice cream.  Maybe next time, I'd serve it with BARELY sweetened whipped cream. Or a really light homemade vanilla ice cream. Hm.... the whole wheat crust was fantastic with it, though! Recipe follows-

Sweet Potato Burritos

adapted From Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons "better than bouillon" chicken base (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 12 whole wheat tortillas, warmed
  • Shredded Cheddar & Jack cheeses

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse, pick through, and soak beans 8 hours or overnight.
  2. heat oil (i used a dutch oven, but any big pot will work,) and saute onion and garlic until soft. Drain beans, and them to the pot. Gradually stir in enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches, and bring to a low simmer. (no lid) Stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, and cayenne pepper.  Simmer about an hour, or until soft.  You may need to add more water to keep the beans covered, but not too much.
  3. When beans are soft, add chicken base if using and soy sauce. Adjust spices to taste and mash 'em up a bit.
  4. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or fry in a lightly oiled skillet and serve with sour cream and sliced green onions. Ooooooh so yummy.
  6. Freeze the rest for later!
Rhubarb Custard Pie
filling recipe from "A Taste of Oregon"

Crust:
1 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold - cut in cubes
3/4 cups ice water

1. cut butter into flour & salt in a food processor until it resembles cornmeal.  Form into a ball, adding drops of ice water as needed.  Form into one flat (about an inch thick) disk and one flat rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour.
2. remove dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature until barely workable.  Roll out disk into a round, and place in the bottom of your pie pan.  Roll the rectangle into a 13x10" rectangle (roll it bigger so you can trim the ends and make the edges perfect) on a sheet of parchment paper.  Put the dough into a cookie sheet, and use a ruler as a guide to cut it into 8 13" strips and put the sheet in the freezer while you make the custard.

For the Custard:
4 beaten eggs
6 T flour
1/3 tsp salt
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups sugar (if I make this again, I will reduce the sugar to 2 cups!)
2 T sugar (again, will reduce sugar to 1 T - there was a solid sugar crystal lining the bottom of the pie! Kind of tasty... but sooooo much sugar.....)
1 T flour (I'd probably use 2 T, mine was still a little runny.  Not too bad, though...)
6 cups chopped rhubarb (stalks should be no thicker than your thumb or else they need to be peeled. I didn't measure: just used what I had.  I'm sure it was less than 6 cups, though.)
butter

Mix together eggs, 6 T flour, salt, nutmeg, and 3 C sugar.  Sprinkle 2 T sugar and 1 T flour on bottom of prepared crust.  Add rhubarb to egg mixture and pour into crust.  Dot with butter.  

Back to the crust:
remove the strips from the freezer and place four on top of the pie about one inch apart.  Weave the remaining four into them to form a lattice.  Wait a few minutes for the dough to soften up a bit, and then trim the extra off with scissors and tuck it under the bottom crust.

To Bake:
Put a large cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch drips, and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake for 45 minutes longer or until set.

Father's Day Fun



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is so good for you, and a great snack to enjoy every day!  However, most commercially prepared yogurt is packed full of sugar & additives.  For a long time now, we've been mixing flavored yogurt 1/2 and 1/2 with non-fat plain yogurt.  Saves us on calories & sugar (and money) and tastes just right!  A while back I got the crazy idea to make my own plain yogurt to mix in with the flavored stuff.  (which saves us even more money, and there's no extra "stuff" in it. Just milk and wonderful bacteria.) :o)
So in case you're interested in trying this at home, you'll need:

one quart of milk, three tablespoons of "starter" (plain yogurt), a pot, a quart sized container, a thermometer (not necessary, but nice), a box w/ a lid, a heating pad, and a few towels.  I'm making four quarts of yogurt here, three non fat for us and one quart hormone free whole milk yogurt for Rowen.  You can freeze your store-bought plain yogurt in ice cube trays and then you have nice little starter cubes for each time you want to make yogurt!

So, step one:

heat your milk up so that it's just warm- about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don't scald it.



step two: remove from heat and stir in your "starter."


step three: pour into your containers (you could do several small containers if you like.)  Put the heating pad in the bottom of the box and turn it on low. Put your jars (or whatever) in the box, and wrap towels around them. Fill the box with towels & put on the lid.  I'm new at this so I also put my thermometer in there so I can monitor the temperature- it needs to stay between 90 and 110 degrees.  I had my heating pad on medium low the first time, and it was too hot.  I killed all my poor little bacterias and had a jar full of whey and like.... cheese.... on the bottom. haha!

step four: don't touch the box for about 5 hours.  The longer it sits, the thicker and tart-er it will get.  i think it's safe for something like 8-10 hours, but I've been doing 5-6 and it's been good.  So- when it's done- remove your jars, and enjoy or refrigerate!  It's so good with a sliced up peach and a sprinkling of sugar or honey.  Mmmm... let me know if you try it out and how it goes!

oh, and word of warning, homemade yogurt is pretty thin because you're not adding stabilizers and thickeners like commercially prepared yogurt.  It's more like "drinkable" yogurt- but it doesn't bother me! It tastes GREAT!



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Visit to Sun Gold Farm












Yesterday we had the opportunity to go and visit the farm who is providing our harvest box!  (Just two more weeks until our first box!)  I thought I had written a post about us doing a CSA harvest box this year, but I can't find it in the archives so I guess I never did.  SO- if you don't know, CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" and basically, we paid in advance for a share of Sun Gold Farm's crop.  They pack up boxes of vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, beans, herbs, whatever they're harvesting every week and we pick it up at the beaverton farmers market on Saturdays.  We get fresh, local, organic produce every week at a great price, and they get to stay in business as a small family farm.  Neat, huh?  Anyway, they had an "open house" yesterday and we took advantage of it.  It turned out to be such a beautiful afternoon- we went for a tractor-pulled hay ride and learned a little about the farm and got to walk through the fields and orchard and greenhouses and see what was growing! Everything is still cute little sprouts :o) (except for the strawberries, which smelled sooooo good ripening in the sun!)
Can't wait to share with you what comes in the boxes and what we decide to do with it all summer!  Oh, how I love food.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rowen's first cracker


"ooh a new toy"



"wait a minute! what is this?"


"I guess it looks okay..."


"let's see here..."


"hey! I like it!"



My baby's getting so big!  He'll be 8 months old tomorrow- I thought it was high time he had his own cracker.  It's nothing more than a giant rice krispie- the ingredients claim sweet potato, carrot, cabbage and spinach- but I sure couldn't tell!



going....

going....

gone!

I know, I know: you know you're a new mom when you upload eight pictures of your kid eating a cracker! :oP

Rowen's Rash, part two!

it's kind of hard to see in the photos- but his rash came back on friday- with a vengeance!  
Saturday morning he was covered in hives from his nose to his toes- so we took him to Urgent Care to have it checked out.  As you can see in picture #2- he was fine. No fever or anything else alarming- just covered in little red bumps. Poor baby.  After being there 2 1/2 hours, we finally got to see his doctor and he determined that it's a "non-allergic" amoxicillin rash. So there you have it.  Because the rash was gone for two or three days (we can't remember exactly) -the first rash was probably caused by a virus, and the second rash from the amoxicillin.  Hope he doesn't need too many antibiotics in the future.... 

Friday, June 5, 2009

On Your Mark,

Get Set,


...future sprinter? Wouldn't doubt it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sicky-Poo

Reason #5 why I've been a blog slacker:


Sweet baby boy had a little cold for just over a week when it turned into a fever.  He's always on the go- so when all he wanted to do all day was lay on my chest and snuggle I knew he wasn't feeling good at all!  It was 101-102 all day (last Thursday,) and when it reached 103 on motrin I called the advice nurse.  She told me to keep an eye on him and see the doctor in the morning, with a few things to try and keep him comfortable.   While Rowen was in a luke-warm bath and HATING IT, the pediatrician's office called me and told me to bring him right in. (it was after 7pm!) So we packed him up, took him to urgent care, where we discovered he had his first ear infection! Poor baby. :o(  So we had to put him on antibiotics of course.  Yuck.  He slept with us for the night, fitfully, and just burning up.  The weekend was all antibiotics, yogurt, bananas and rice, (to try and keep his poo normal - hello!  someone could have warned me it was going to come out like puree'd sun-dried tomatoes!) motrin and tylenol.  Sunday I think he started to get a bit of a rash, which got worse and worse throughout the weekend.  We thought it was heat rash at first since it was so hot this weekend, but by monday it was looking more like hives all over his trunk.  So I called the advice nurse again, and we took him in again.  The doctor squeezed us in between appointments, bless his heart, and got him started on benidryl and an anti-fungal cream.  The benidryl didn't help, which is great because that means he wasn't having an allergic reaction to the penicillin.  After a day, the rash went away on its own, which means the whole ordeal was probably Roseola.
Happy to say, my little happy monkey is back to himself as of yesterday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

$631.61

reason #4 why I've been a blog slacker:

$631.61 is how much we spent on Rusty in the month of May.  I just finished the May budget and that's such a crazy amount for a stinkin' pet that I had to share. Anyone want a dog? haha.
I can't remember all the details at this point, but basically it's been a month of unmentionable bodily functions which we had to purchase a mini carpet cleaner for.  Several trips to the vet, many tests, x-rays, etc and medicines... and get this: we never figured out what was wrong.  Matt's positive it's his food, which is the same food he's been on for ages. I'm not terribly convinced, but we don't have another answer so we'll go with that for now.  Maybe in a few weeks we'll introduce it again.  Maybe then he'll keep it down. *fingers crossed* So- yeah.  All month long I've been making him "dog food" of rice, chicken broth, cottage cheese, oats, boiled defatted beef, etc.  It's been a joy, let me tell you. (can you hear the sarcasm?) Poor baby, though.  The first couple weeks of May he was so weak, shaking, in pain... it's hard to be mad at an animal when they're so helpless.  Even if they do cost you your entire paycheck. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Home!

Reason #3 why I've been a blog slacker:

Rowen was very helpful during the moving process!





Actually, he got to play with Nana while the rest of us moved.  Thank you thank you thank you to Lindsi, Trevor, & Brit (my siblings,) Tim, the Reid's, BJ, Matt & Kristi
for helping us move, Kristi for helping me unpack and organize my kitchen, Mom, Lindsi, and Kathleen for helping to paint Rowen's room, Jered for helping prime the apartment, and all the little people that helped make this day possible.  lol.  Seriously, we were so blessed with lots of help and we LOVE you guys!


Oh No! Don't pack me, Momma!"


here's a little "tour" curtosy of Matt- the place is a disaster, but it IS less than 24 hours since we moved in.  It looks much better now of course, but we still have a ways to go!  Can't wait to hae everyone over :o) 

Pulling Up!

Reason #2 why I've been a blog slacker:

Oh dear- about a week ago, he started pulling himself up! I've only caught him doing it a couple of times, but he sure tries on everything.

the army crawl

Reason #1 why I've been a blog slacker:

Sorry that this is a month old (and completely un-edited)- but as you can probably guess, I have my hands full now! Blogging isn't exactly top on the priority list.  Keeping my son away from cords and outlets and such, however, is. Isn't he so funny? By now he's at top speed- getting everywhere as soon as I turn my head!  I'm really going to have to concentrate on growing the eyes in the back of my head.  They're not in yet! When I sat down to type this, I dropped him off in the living room on a blanket full of toys.  He played for a minute, and right now he's in the kitchen playing with a box of tupperware and lids that haven't found a home in our cupboards yet.  and maybe never will- they bring him such joy! haha.  We've also noted that he must dress in overalls at all times.  Onsies are destroyed without mercy as he scoots around the floor!  The neck gets stretched out with each pull, baring his little chest as he goes. (Not to mention that he's a human mop - ew!!)