Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Recommendation & Garlic Scapes

I have been having so much fun with this book that I just had to dust off my keyboard and write a quick post...

"Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces from the author of Food in Jars", by Marisa McClellan is a wonderful read filled with so many unique recipes and ideas.  

Sometimes you just don't have the time, the means, or the space for larger batch canning, and happily, the recipes within these pages fit all those bills.  
For me, it's a matter of a shrinking family.  My husband and I (and whichever daughter is passing through the house at any given moment) just don't need that much in the larder anymore.  I preserve enough to get us through the year and not much beyond.  Plus, I love to experiment with new recipes.  This book gives me the opportunity to try something new without a big commitment to either space or taste.

Yesterday, I was able to try out one of her yummy Black Cap recipes (or Black Raspberries, as they may be known in some parts of the county).  It took me less than an easy.  I only had 2 cups of Black Caps to donate to the cause and it was perfect.
Wrestling around in that Poison Ivy was worth it!!

Another recent recipe from these pages was a version of pickled Garlic Scapes.
We never quite know what to do with those little devils once we've pulled them.  
Row of Garlic in our garden
Our wonderful neighbors showed us how last year, but you can only throw so many into your salad before people start heading the other direction!  
I haven't opened a jar yet...but I have high hopes!!

If you're interested, here is the best advice I found on harvesting Garlic Scapes.
I hope you find this helpful. I'm sure a copy of the book can be found at your local book seller, Amazon or local Library (which is where I always test run a book before buying!).  You can also visit Ms. McClellan's ever popular website by clicking on the link --> Food in Jars. It's been a favorite stop of mine for quite some time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Trim & Healthy

For the last two weeks I've been trying out a new way of eating from a book I bought called, "Trim Healthy Mama", I must say...I'm very intrigued!  This YouTube video is what piqued my interest...

...I tried "Good Girl  Moonshine" the very night I found it and I've been drinking "Wonder Woman Whiskey" (also on the video) every day since.  
I'm addicted.

Though they were few, Pearl and Serene's videos (and here) had me wanting to learn more.  I decided I needed to get my hands on their book.  

I've now read most of the book and tried many recipes. Turns out I was on the same track as they.  I had already been soaking my grains and nuts (ala Nourishing Traditions & WAP), making my own yogurt (thank you Wardeh @ gnowfglins for that skill and others) and pretty much getting back to basics as much as possible.  Pearl and Serene just connected the dots!

Today we grilled hamburgers, using Bread in a Mug for our hamburger buns...
This was my daughter's burger

This was my plate....minus half a burger :) was very "satisfying".  Boy, I've missed hamburger buns.

My pantry is slowly changing...
...on other shelves you'll find Apple Cider Vinegar, Whey Protein Powder, Coconut Oil, coconut products I've made using whole coconuts (wonderful 4 part tutorial here), Truvia, and more!

I'm adding a few links below to help you understand this way of eating a little better.  I hope it's of benefit. 

These two lovely ladies allow you to follow their journeys:

A couple great websites:
my current favorite recipe is at just right porridge!

And if you'd like the Kale Chip recipe you see in the photos above... (recipe is in the description drop-down below the vid)

Hope you have a wonderful summer.  Enjoy Memorial Day and remember the fallen who gave their lives doing what we asked of them.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Just as a quick FYI...

I'll be posting all my needlework, sewing and hobby-type articles at Needlewise from now on.  
While I meant for this blog to be a running narrative of things that interest me and that I'd like to share, I found that it needed a little streamlining.  Somehow posts containing dead fish just didn't seem to sit well next to a beautiful cross stitched sampler!
So, in the future, if you're interested, click on one of the links above to find those posts.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fish Stock from Pole to Pot

We recently took a much needed vacation to regions South.  All the way to Key West, and beyond, as a matter of fact.  We spent an entire week in the Keys, just exploring and enjoying the sun.
On one of our excursions, my husband and I chartered a small fishing boat for two.  The captain was wonderful and took us all over the waters off of Islamorada to fish for Grey Snapper among the many Mangrove islands.

While we were out, near the end of the trip, we came across a shiver of Lemon Shark (doesn't that sound cool?).  We spent and hour or more just fishing for them.  My husband caught one and managed to reel it in...not an easy thing...they are so strong! He also came close to nabbing a Bull Shark!  That would have been amazing...and scary!!!

                    (please ignore the crazy-faced laughing...I was a little awe struck, lol.)

We had so much fun.  I personally think it was the best time of the entire trip!  In the end, we caught nine Grey Snapper and two catch and release Lemon Shark.

When we got back to the docks...
The birds hoping for a share of the loot at our Captain's slip.

...we waited for Captain Dave to bring our fish up for cleaning...

... which he graciously did for us with much skill.
That crazy pelican ruled the roost!  He was determined to keep all the other birds away!

These fellows were not easily deterred though!
When the Captain was done, I asked for the fish heads and the carcasses, so I could make some fish stock.  He said it was the first time he'd been asked and that it would make wonderful stock.  He makes it himself!

We kept our fish in a small cooler with dry ice for the trip back to the Midwest.  When we got home a few days later, we unpacked the cooler, which we padded with newspaper...

  ...threw the fillets in our home freezer...

 ...and got busy on the stock.

I used the recipe found in Nourishing Traditions, page 119, as a guideline for making my stock...

I had 9 Grey Snapper carcasses
4 T. organic butter
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 small-ish organic carrots
1/2 t. dried thyme
3 springs of fresh home grown parsley
2 fresh bay leaves
1 c. white wine
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
and 6 quarts purified water

Melt butter and saute the vegetables and herbs until tender, add wine, bring to a boil, add fish carcasses, water and vinegar.  Bring to boil again and skim scum.  Reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours, covered.

After 4 hours...

...all that's left is separating the bits from the broth by straining.

When all was said and done, I ended up with 8 quarts of beautiful fish stock, which I placed in containers varying in size from 1 c. to 1 pint for freezing...

At the stories are things you should know.  
1.  If you get out to the Florida Keys, find Bud n' Mary's, it's where you'll find fun!
2.  When you find Bud n' Mary's, find Capt. Dave Butler.  He was amazing.  He had so many tips and tricks he was willing to share, and as a newbie scaredy-cat, he never made me feel like one.  Like I mentioned earlier in the was the best part of the vacation.  Truly fun.  Thank you, Capt. Dave.

3.  Save your fish carcasses...the stock was amazing.  It was rich, gelatinous and full of incredible flavor.  So thank you, Sally Fallon Morrell, for the recipe help, and Capt. Dave, for the extra encouragement!

I hope, if nothing else, this has been an encouragement to step out beyond your comfort zones...both food-wise and fun-wise (I can't swim...terrified of the water!), it's where all the interesting things in life lay.  

Thank you Florida, for the break from winter...

Yep, this is what we came home to.
Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Glittered Pine Cones

Today, I thought I'd show you how I made these beautiful glittered pine cones.  I made a version of these back in the 90's, via a similar idea I think I gleaned from Martha Stewart Magazine.  Now, thanks to the internet and the abundance of German glass glitter, they are ready to be updated!
Here's what you'll need:

A brush
(I used a Simply Simmons #10 Chisel Blender for it's short stiff bristles, purchased at Michael's)
Aleen's Tacky Glue
A saucer (for diluting glue slightly)
1/2" Small Screw Eyes (I found mine at Ace Hardware, product #52387)
A Drill with a very small bit
*1 oz. Silver German Glass Glitter (here is where I purchased mine) see update at bottom of post
1.5 qt. Pyrex dish (for the glitter)
Pine cones
Wax Paper

First things first, screw the 1/2" eyes into the top of your pine cone.  If you have trouble, use your drill to start a pilot hole.
Squeeze out about a quarters worth of your glue into your saucer and dilute it slightly with water.  I found that Aleen's Tacky Glue was a little too tacky and started drying before I was ready to sprinkle on the glitter!  So use whatever glue you prefer.

Pour out about a quarter of the glitter into your Pyrex dish.  I liked the rectangular dish size, it "fit" the pine cones shape.

Lay out some wax paper, so it's a ready surface for your pine cones to dry.

Ready?  Grab your pine cone, paint brush and glue and start painting the scales (ends) of the pine cones.

I found that working from the pointy end toward the wider end, and in sections, was the easiest.
So...paint, glitter, move up and paint, glitter...

As you glitter (using the spoon really helps), shake off the excess.   Unlike the chunky store glitter so widely available, the glass glitter shakes off like a dream.

Keep going like this...
...until you are done.
You can do what you want at the top.  I chose to pretty much cover the whole thing.
Now set them on the wax paper to dry.

I made 6 of these today and had plenty of glitter left to make at least 3 or 4 more.  I think I'll be hanging some of these in garland form across the fireplace mantle or across a door frame or two.  They also may be really special hung with ribbon between the rails in my stair banister!  And don't just think you need to stick with silver.  I also bought some beautiful pale pink, teal and white glass glitter (though I think the white will just disappear on the pine cones).  The possibilities are too wonderful!!
Hope you enjoyed this.  I think I'm going to glitter up some critters for the fireplace mantle and maybe try to spray paint and then glitter a few pine cones for a basket...A la Pinterest...

Have a merry and blessed Christmas season,

*Update 12/22/2013~~  If you decide to buy the silver glitter, remember, it will probably tarnish.  
Mine has gone from a beautiful, brilliant silver, to a silvery-gold in a very short time.  

 The patina is very beautiful and antique-like, however, I was wanting a more glisten-y, snowy effect.  Maybe a pale teal or blue instead?
Just and FYI.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spider Corn Bread

With Halloween just days away, it seemed somehow appropriate to share a "seasonal" recipe.

I have been collecting vintage cookbooks off and on for years and recently some pamphlets dating back to the 19-teens have found their way to my shelf.  Among them was...

Copyright, 1918, Royal Baking Powder Co., Mfrs. of Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder

All through the pamphlet you find recipes that use barley, buckwheat, whole wheat and cornmeal as the flour(s) of choice.  This was to free up white flour for the troops, presuming white flour would not go rancid as quickly as other flours. 
To read more on the subject, click here.

Spider Corn Bread

1 egg
1¾ c. milk and water  (I used 1¼ c. whole raw milk and ½ c. water)
1 c. corn meal
⅓ c. flour (next batch I'm trying home-milled whole wheat!)
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. Baking Powder
1 T. shortening

Beat egg in bowl and add one cup of the milk and water combo; stir in corn meal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder which have been sifted together; turn into 10" cast iron frying or oven-proof pan in which shortening has been melted.  Pour on remainder of milk and water, but do not stir.  Bake about 25 minutes in a 425° oven.  There should be a line of  creamy custard through the bread.  Cut into triangles and serve.
Serves 8-10.

  •   This did have small ribbons of creaminess running through it, almost like grits
  •   If you wanted a "spider web-like" appearance on top, you could get clever when pouring the remainder of the milk and water over the top, although, the pattern would be faint.
  • This recipe is adapted/updated from recipe on page 3

Fun Fact!
Did you know that Dr. Price, of Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder, is the grandfather of the famous American actor, Vincent Price

                                              The Bat, 1959, with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Little House Needlework's "Needleworker"

Here is another great little pattern I'd like to share!
Pattern Name:  Little House Needleworks, "Needleworker"
It has that "primitive" feel to it that's so "in" right now. 

I liked the cute little birdie...
...and the cherries...
...which were fun to shade just right with Crescent Colours threads.

The only part I played with, was the needle....
...I thought the original thread called for in the pattern was too dark.  So I added one strand of that "shinier" DMC floss, E677, to the mix.  I really have mixed feelings about it.  I now understand why they used the darker thread in the pattern...if you go can't see the needle!!  That is my self created dilemma.  I've toyed with the idea of pulling it out and redoing it in the original pattern color, but I'm basically lazy lately...and just don't want to mess with it at this point. 
So...we'll call this an object lesson, buyer beware, or "so you think you know better"... learn from me.

As always...on went the "signature"...

...and I was done.
I'll add a picture of the piece framed at a later date.

Some stats:
Finished design area:  approx. 14" x 3.5"
Pattern cost:  $26.  (this was sold as a "kit " which included floss)
Floss used:  7 skeins Crescent Colours (included in kit),
                    2 strands over 2 threads 
                    1 skein DMC E677  
Time to complete: 3½ weeks
Recommended project?:  yes, but a little spendy

Time has been very limited this year due to family stuff, so you'll excuse me for keeping this short and sweet.  I just got tired (and got tired!) of the photos sitting in my "Blog Folder" whining at me...yes, I am an appeaser....