Wednesday 31 July 2013

Ever Wonder Why?

Every once in awhile a little, inner voice tells me to do something.  I may have no reason at all for doing it or I may have entirely the wrong reason for doing it.  But it gets done nonetheless and I'm always glad of it.

On my last visit to Farm Girl and the grandkids I took a notion to have several of the kids pose with Sarah the horse.

Sarah doesn't belong to them.  Long before my daughter thought of turning her farm into a haven for animals in need, someone approached her to board a horse.  The horse was lame and, by rights, should be put down.  The owner dearly loved her horse but was entering university and she would not be able to care for Sarah every day.  Paying full board was out of the question as well.  She offered to help around the barn on holidays as part payment.  So Sarah stayed on for little more than the cost of her feed.

My daughter adopted four children that had never been near farm animals.  Sarah was gentle with them and, through her, they gained confidence around large animals.  That turned into confidence around people. Sarah, the horse that couldn't be healed, became a healer.

Days after I took these portraits, Sarah lost her battle and passed away.  I had no idea she was that ill, but some inner voice told me to have the kids pose with her.  They have special photos to cherish of a special horse.

Last weekend I kept my commitment to join in on our village yard sale.  The week before had been hectic and I was racing around at the last minute to find a few things to put on a small table.  I did not have time for this and I was far too tired to be doing it for the very few dollars I would earn.  That darned little voice inside told me to do it anyway.

I put some mismatched silver pieces in an old silver chest, thinking someone might find a missing piece to their pattern.  The silver was priced at 10 cents each.  I was a little anxious about selling silver at all since I accidentally sold my own set of silver for 10 cents apiece at my last yard sale.  Don't ask me how that happened.  If I knew, I wouldn't have done it!

A couple came up to me, speaking very broken English, with a fork in their hand.  Why that fork was in there, I never will know!  It was stainless steel and I never keep any of the stainless pieces that come with the silver I buy.

The man:  I not cheat you.  This is not silver.
Me:  I know it's not silver.
The man:  This is Russian.  See.  (shows me marking on back)
Me:  Well, that's interesting.
The woman:  We are Russian.
Me:  Would you like to have the fork?  You can just take it, no charge.
The man:  When I leave Russia, my mother give me this set.  When I get to Canada, fork is lost.  Now I have back.
The woman:  His mother die after we come here.

He reaches in his pocket for money and I wave him off.

Me:  Your mother is still looking out for you.  She found your fork!

The man looks up to heaven and says:  She is angel.

The woman starts to cry, the man starts to cry and I start to cry.

The woman:  You have give us gift and now we must give you gift.  It is tradition and it must be one dollar.

They left, fork clutched in hand, after smiles and hugs all around.

My neighbours wanted to know what the heck it had all been about and I told them the story.  They all got to cry, too.

So, now I know why I did that yard sale I didn't want to do.  It was to make a stranger in a strange land happy; to make him feel close to the mother he lost.

Listen to your inner voice.  Someone may need you.

Monday 29 July 2013

Is Making Mayonnaise Easy?

I'd say it is! ~

I'm a lover of mayo.  I'd request my mom's egg salad for my last meal.  But, I must make a confession!  The mayonnaise I loved was Miracle Whip.  I know it's just an edible oil product and has nothing to do with actual whole food, but I loved that oily, fake, stuff!

The only thing that made me give up my dirty, little secret was my commitment to not use eggs from cruel factory farm conditions. When Hellman's switched to free range eggs, I switched to Hellman's.  Then I found out that mayonnaise has EDTA in it to stabilise the oil and preserve the shelf life.  If you want to find out why this is a bad thing, click here.

In the back of my mind was a picture of my grandma making mayonnaise and serving it in a little, crystal bowl at dinner.  Why not give it a try?  I didn't have my grandma's recipe and took the first one I came across in my cookbooks.

Gather your ingredients. Yeah, I know the eggs yolks look like a bum. ~

You will need: 
2 egg yolks (warmed to room temperature)
1 whole egg (room temperature)
1 TBS. lemon juice
1 TSP. Dijon mustard (optional and I didn't use it)
1/2 TSP. salt (I used sea salt)
white pepper (tastes the same but you don't have black bits floating around)
2 cups oil  

My grandma whisked her mayo by hand but I have the luxury of a food processor.  You could use a mix master or blender for this as well.

Put egg yolks, whole egg (do I have to tell you to remove the shell?), lemon juice, salt, pepper and any flavour you want to add to your condiment into a bowl and whip until creamy.  This took about 10 seconds. ~

I could have made a special mayonnaise by flavouring this with the Dijon mustard or finely minced garlic or basil or dill for Aioli.  Really, any thing you dream up is okay at this point.  I wanted a very basic mayonnaise and left the embellishment for another time.

You can use any healthy oil for the next step.  An oil that stays liquid when refrigerated is recommended to stop the mayo from separating in storage.  For that reason, you are supposed to use regular olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil or a similar liquid oil such as sunflower.  I only had extra virgin olive oil and that's what I used.  The mayonnaise hasn't separated in 24 hrs. and even if it did, I could reconstitute it by adding another egg and whisking it again.

The next step sounded tricky and wasn't at all.  While the machine is running, start feeding a very tiny stream of oil into the egg mixture.  Keep an eye on it to make sure the oil is blending with the eggs.  Add about 10% of the oil and stop pouring while the machine whisks for another 30 seconds.  Start pouring again and repeat. Continue to add the oil in the stop/start fashion until the mixture begins to thicken.  Then, you can add the oil in a continuous, thin stream until it is all mixed with the eggs.  I found I had reached the consistency of mayonnaise I wanted without using the full 2 cups of oil.  

That looks about perfect to me and took about 5 mins. to make from start to finish! ~

Mayonnaise is very forgiving.  If you get it too thick, add some more lemon juice and whisk to thin it.  If it's too thin, add some more oil.  The key to having your mayonnaise turn out great is to use very fresh eggs. The simplest way of testing for freshness is to cover the egg with water.  A very fresh egg will lay on its side. A less fresh egg will stand up and bob in the water.  A spoiled egg floats on the top and shouldn't be used at all.

How did the mayonnaise taste?  Delicious! ~

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of the ~

I've tried a few new things that I know will be part of my daily lifestyle.  None of them were overly time consuming or difficult to do.  I've had great conversations with the people who grow and handle the food I eat and great conversations with my readers about this challenge.  

No matter how busy my week became, I've managed to stick with the challenge and eat well although I never had more than 30 mins. free to make a meal.  I'm hoping I can keep that in mind the next time I think I only have time to grab a sandwich.  The truth is, I feel great!

Thanks for cheering me along on the challenge and, in the words of the immortal Julia Child, Bon Appetit!

I'm sharing this great recipe with:  Funky Junk Party Junk

Saturday 27 July 2013

We All Scream For Ice Cream

I've done 5 days of the
and I deserve a treat, right?  I want it all;  ice cream, chocolate topping and whip cream!

I promised I would only eat natural foods and I don't want to blow it over ice cream but I have an ace up my sleeve.  Head over to my Pinterest food pin board and get ready to try something new!

I have ice cream made with real milk, from a local dairy, in my freezer.  My favourite topping is Magic Shell chocolate that goes hard when it hits something cold.  If you buy the real thing you are getting more chemicals in one serving than I've ingested in a year!

Let's try the recipe posted by This Chick Cooks.  Remember that dark chocolate I bought half price? It's 72% cocoa and the package says it's chocolaterie quality.  It's shaped in tiny wafers.  I think you could do this with any dark chocolate cut into small pieces.  Dark chocolate is good for my body and good for my soul!

The bonus to this recipe is the second ingredient - coconut oil.  I can have dessert and feed my brain at the same time! ~

I put a couple of inches of water in a pan and brought it to a boil.  In a metal bowl, I put 2 TBSP. of dark chocolate.  You want to use the coconut oil in it's solid form.  If it's warm and has turned to liquid, put it in the fridge until it becomes solid again and measure out 1 TBSP. to add to the chocolate pieces.  This has the chocolate and coconut oil melting at the same rate.  Put the metal bowl, with the two ingredients, over the pan of hot water and stir while they melt.  Pour over ice cream.  

Voila!  It hardens! Total decadence that is really, really good for you! ~

You now have the simplest recipe in the world for health food hard chocolate sauce.  You can store the excess (right, like there was any left when I was done!) in the fridge.  Warm it up to melt and the magic happens all over again.  Your kids are going to love you for this one!

But, this dessert needs something more.  It needs whip cream.  I could use regular whipping cream from the dairy cooler, which I always assumed was just cream.  I looked at the ingredients one day and there were a whole bunch of things in there that I couldn't pronounce.  A comparison with Redi Whip and Cool Whip showed they were all equal in additives.  Check it out yourself the next time you are in the grocery store. Organic whipping cream had one ingredient - cream.  Now, that's more like it.  

Today, I'm trying something really different.  If you are vegan, lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy whipped cream is just an impossible dream.  Or is it?  My youngest granddaughter doesn't handle dairy well and I wanted to find something she could eat in place of whipped cream.

I don't know where I first heard that coconut milk had a cream that would rise to the top when it was chilled and left to sit.  It only seems to come in cans, which I usually avoid because of BPA's leaching into the food, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.  

Put the can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge and chill for several hours.  I left mine overnight.  Don't invert the can or shake it.  When you open it, it looks like this. ~

About half the can was cream and I'll have to find some way to use the skim milk that was left over. Use a spoon to scoop the solid cream off the top and place in a chilled bowl.  

The original recipe called for 2 to 3 TBSP. of confectioners sugar.  I substituted organic cane sugar that I ground to a fine powder in a chopper.  If you are on a sugar reduced diet, you could use whatever natural sweetener you normally substitute. ~

I also added a few drops of my home made vanilla.  To find out how easy it is to make vanilla click here. ~

I added the sugar and vanilla to the coconut cream and whipped it with an immersion blender.  You could do this by hand if you are really patient and hardy.  It took a little longer than whipping cream would to get to the right consistency.

Will you look at this spoonful of loveliness! ~

Now for the taste test. ~

Yum.  No, seriously, yummmmm!  

This one is a KEEPER!

By keeper, I mean the recipes.  The sundae is all gone!  Did I mention it was Yummmm?

I'm sharing this with:  Funky Junk Party Junk

Thursday 25 July 2013

The Challenge Sparks Conversation

Here we are at day four of  the

and I wanted to see how many non organic foods could be economically replaced by budget shopping. There is only one grocery store in the town near me and their organic section is pretty small.

I still managed to come away with this much discounted food. ~

Organic bananas were cheaper per pound than regular and I bought an extra bunch of 1/2 price ones that were a bit over ripe.  They'll get mashed and frozen for muffins and banana bread.  The chocolate is for a recipe I'm trying tomorrow.  Completely healthy hard chocolate coating for ice cream anyone?  Oh, yeah!  There were no bad ones in the raspberries.  The apples will get used in cooking.  The salad field greens are still ahead of the best before date, as was the sour cream.  The Oka cheese is a gourmet brand from Quebec and usually sells for about $9.  The milk has a while before the best before date but I may have to freeze one of the litres if I think it's going to go off.  All of this was marked to half price.

The potatoes were also half price and there wasn't a bad one in the bag. ~

The cashier that was checking me through asked why I was buying it all.  I explained what I was doing and she started talking.

Cashier:  You know nothing is really organic if it has contaminated ground water flowing to it and air pollution falling on it.
Me:  I know.  I'm avoiding all the extra chemicals being dumped on it.
Cashier:  We have a garden and our own apple trees and don't use any chemicals.  Everything grows just fine and the apples are perfect.
Me:  You don't get worms in the apples.
Cashier:  Nope and I'd rather cut a worm out than eat all that junk.
Me:  That's how I feel about having my own chickens for eggs.
Cashier (perking right up):  I'd give anything to have chickens!  Maybe I will get some.  Looks like you did pretty well in here today!

She's smiling and I'm smiling.  We connected and we both felt good about it.

On to the farmers market and this guy that I usually buy my pickling cucumbers from.  I asked if I could take his picture and, other than being worried that his shirt was dirty, he was fine with it. ~

If you think he looks a little confused in this shot, it's because he can't believe I'm asking questions about what it is like to be an independent farmer today.  I tell him what I am writing about and let him know he is free to not answer any question that makes him uncomfortable.  

Me:  Do you work off the farm as well?
Farmer:  Up until five years ago I did.  Now, I can't keep it all up.  I've been married 42 years and my wife has had a full time job every one of those years.  We're tired.
Me:  So you have been subsidizing the farm with your other incomes.
Farmer:  Uh, yeah.  My son wants to take over the farm and I want him to but I can get a quarter million for the land and retire.  He says he'll buy it but I told him he'd never be able to make the payments and earn a living.  There's not enough profit.
Me:  You aren't an organic farm, so what's the advantage to someone buying from you over a grocery store?
Farmer:  Hmmm.  It's fresher; picked that day.  We don't use many chemicals.  They cost too much to use anyway.
Me:  You use far fewer chemicals than a big operation would?  Interesting.
Farmer:  For example, we pick our apples by hand or shake them out of the tree.  Big growers spray them with stuff that makes the stems weak and they fall off on their own.  
Me:  What!!!
Farmer:  It's like Viagra makes some things stiffer.  This stuff makes them softer.  (chuckles)
Me:  If running a small farm doesn't pay, why do you do it?

(Oh no, he's choking up!)

Farmer:  You're going to make me cry.  My dad ran this farm and his father ran it before him.  It's what we do and I love it!

We talked a bit more and discussed how difficult it is for young families to choose to buy from local farmers and pay more. 

Farmer:  I really get that and don't know how they handle food prices today with little kids.  Ordering a quantity will always get them a better deal.  

Right then, a little girl asked her mom to buy some of the farmer's raspberries.  Her mom said they should wait and get the big package from Costco.  The little girl insisted and got her pint of local raspberries.

Farmer:  We've farmed in our area for so long, we have plenty of regular customers.  Still, my wife reads the obituaries and says, "We lost another customer.  So and so died".  Kind of ghoulish of her.  

Me:  I guess she knows the next generation aren't going to be buying from you.

He nods.

Or, maybe that little girl will stick to her guns, his son will get to stay on the farm and the apples will continue to get picked by hand.

And what did I eat today?

Baked yams bought from a lovely teenage girl at the market, a pork chop raised without hormones or antibiotics and fed vegetable grain and some of that organic salad that was on sale.

The pork chop was topped with delicious Niagara Wine Jelly and baked in a 375 degree oven with the yams that had been peeled and tossed in basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, for 20 mins. ~

Here's dinner! ~

The best part of all was that this food got me talking to and connecting with the people who grow it and handle it.  From the cashier to the farmer to me, we were all consciously thinking about our food and what it means to us.

More ripples? ~

Wednesday 24 July 2013

A Naked Man On My Roof!

Day three of the 

and I have a little distraction to deal with.   In the morning, I saunter out to the chicken coop in my jammies and what should I find on my roof but this! ~

Hmmm - I 'd better hang around and talk to him about the tree trimming.  I'd better take him some water an hour later.  I'd better  discuss all 20 trees in my yard an hour after that.  I was so busy being a good hostess that it was hard to get anything done all day!

The limbs had to come off before the new roof went on.  I'm not saying I needed a new roof.  You be the judge. ~

Can you believe that lower roof is only 7 yrs. old?  I'm not having that again, so I bit the bullet and had steel installed.  It was a definite OUCH but I figure I never have to think about roofing again!  I suppose I might have to if all this good eating makes me live to 120, but I'll risk it. I won't have to crop pictures so much any more so you guys don't see the awful roof, either. 

My hostessing duties left little time to prepare dinner and I had to go to Nature's Ultimate Fast Food. My girls took a little time off digging up the new grass I planted to spit out a few eggs. ~

Did they dig up the creeping weed?  NO.  They dug up the grass I planted to fill in the old fire pit, just so they could take a dirt bath.  Much more of that and they'll be taking, as Texans say, a permanent dirt bath!

How about spaghetti frittata for dinner!  This is a great way use up leftover spaghetti.  I ALWAYS cook too much pasta.  For the challenge, I should have made my own pasta, but I didn't.  As committed as I am to making my food from scratch, I'm not leaving that naked man out there while I wallow in eggs and flour and cut spaghetti noodles!

Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and get the oil hot enough to make a water drop sizzle.  I used half and half extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, to get the benefits of both oils.  

Add the cold spaghetti to the pan and spread it out to cover. ~

Cook for three minutes on medium heat, until the noodles have crisped up a bit.

While the spaghetti is cooking,  beat eggs.  I had two egg whites in the fridge and added another whole egg.  Dice up some cheese into fairly large cubes and grate some Parmesan cheese.  I used a locally made sharp cheddar and some organic mozzarella.  I want to try making mozzarella, but just haven't done it yet.  Add all the cheese to the egg mixture. 

Add any flavourings you fancy.  I went with fresh parsley and basil, ground black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, green peppers and a dash of turmeric.  Eggs and turmeric are a match made in heaven and studies show turmeric is the element in curry that acts as an anti carcinogen.  Any combo of herbs, spices and veggies you fancy can go in this.  Cooked bacon or prosciutto would be great!

All ready for the lid to go on. If you don't have a lid for your pan, use a metal pie plate. ~

After the spaghetti has cooked for three minutes, pour the egg mixture over it and lower the temperature to low.  Put a lid on the frying pan and cook for 10 mins.

Remove the lid, invert a plate over the frying pan and turn the fritatta out on to the plate.  Slide it back in the frying pan, browned side up and cook for 5 more mins.

I added a side salad of mixed greens with a dressing made from lemon juice and my basil oil.  I simply mixed equal parts and gave it a stir.

If you already have the cooked pasta, this entire meal can be put together in 20 mins.  It would take me that long to make Kraft dinner and this meal is  packed with nutrition.  The clean up is only one pan and a mixing bowl.  Yay!

Ring the dinner bell! ~

If I figure the eggs at 50 cents each, bought an organic mixed salad for $5 and used half the package  and used half the frittata per person for a generous serving, I figure this meal would cost $4 to serve 2 people.  I'll use the leftover frittata for lunch the next day.  It's really good cold!

The roof is done. ~

I can start putting everything back on the front porch. ~

The pile of tree limbs I have to move is down to this pile of brush. ~

The naked distraction is gone and I have time on my hands to start building a still.  You really didn't think I was going to drink nothing but loose tea, organic coffee and lemon water all week did you?

I'm stomping on grapes while we speak!

I'm sharing this recipe with Thursday Favourite Things Blog Hop, Wildly Creative Link PartyTransformation ThursdayShare You Cup ThursdayCreate It Thursday

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Day Two Of The Real Food Challenge

Technically, it's day three because I'm late getting this post up.  We're doing this in real time folks and I've been busy.  The roofers arrived a week early and had to cut a lot of tree limbs away from the house before they could start.  I have to cut up and haul all those limbs away!  I've had company three times today and a friend brought me fresh corn to do up for the freezer.  What all that means is that I didn't have time to think about special meals or staging pictures.  Because I have more than a year of eating natural meals behind me, it all worked out for the challenge anyway.

I never hear anyone say they don't want to eat natural, healthy food.  I do hear them say they don't know how to find the time or the money for it.  For me, it was not a religion but a goal that I worked toward and having a good size vegetable garden is a big help.  I go to our local farmer's market for extra produce.  Even without space or time for gardening on a large scale, pots and planters can give you a nice supply of fresh, chemical free vegetables. 

 I've had a lot of fun with a salad greens garden planted in an old wheelbarrow.  I just roll it out of the way to cut the grass and move it into the shade in the afternoon so things don't bolt in the heat. ~

It's giving me gourmet baby spinach ~

and perfect radishes, all without weeding!  I've just planted some parsley along the edges to take over when the spinach and radishes are done. ~

I freeze all the produce from the main garden that I can't eat. Today it was beans and peas. ~

Drying herbs is an ongoing thing over the summer.  It's quick and easy to do, saves money and I know there are no pesticides on them.  Every couple of days I cut some herbs, trim the woody stems away and mince them in a little, electric chopper.  Then I spread them out on a plate to dry for a day or two and store them in glass jars for the winter. ~

I'm a basil addict, so I make sure to make lots of pesto and basil flavoured olive oil.  Nothing could be simpler to do.  I use the little chopper to cut up garlic, add basil leaves, sea salt, pepper and olive oil and give it another good chop.  Put the mixture into ice cube trays and pour olive oil on to cover.

I keep the tray going until it is full, ~

then, turn the frozen cubes out into a freezer container and I always have a base for salad dressings, saute oil and bread dipping oil on hand. ~

So, what did I eat today?  I don't move in the morning without a big cup of coffee.  I keep my eye out for a good deal on organic, fair trade coffee and stock up on it.  The last time, I bought six bags that were marked down to half price and stored them in the freezer to keep them fresh. As usual, I had an egg for breakfast.  I'm lucky to have my own chickens, but even when they didn't lay during a moult I bought free range eggs.  I broke the rules when I had bread and jam at lunch.  We're not supposed to be eating refined sugar during the challenge.  Does it count that I made the jam myself from organic berries?

While I'm doing corn down for the freezer, a friend dropped in and I needed to come up with a quick supper for us both.  So, I ordered a pizza.  Just kidding!

Left over cooked salmon, minced with a fork and mixed with an egg and bread crumbs made patties.  I coated the top side of them with parsley I had already chopped up to dry.  Prep time on that was about 5 mins. ~

New potatoes were tossed in some of the basil oil to roast and halfway through I put the salmon patties in the same pan.  Drop a few cobs of corn in a pot to boil for 6 to 10 mins. and supper was done in one half hour. ~

As you can see, I haven't staged any of this.  The food is tossed on the plate and I took a quick shot.  You can't keep your dinner guest waiting forever while you take pics for a blog post!  She was busy shutting the kittens in the bathroom, so they didn't attack us while we ate, and that gave me time to take this pic.  In honour of the birth of the new prince, we had a cup of British Invasion tea.

This all sounds very organized, but believe me the day was chaos!  Simple food was dressed up with herbs and oil.  Dinner was ready in about 30 mins., with a minimum of effort, and probably cost about $5.  

My friend Mel at Mellywood's Mansion lives in Australia and she has a great post on how she started her garden with a few pots and moved on to turn her suburban yard into a great source of cheap, healthy food for her family.  She has five kids and a tight budget while she is home with the two youngest ones.  Her two eldest boys have been involved in the garden from the beginning and they and her husband are the ones who do most of the work in it.  The part I find wonderful about that is, that the kids have learned to appreciate real food and Mel says they are heavily involved in the cooking of it.  Those are habits that will last a lifetime!

Check out Mel's garden by clicking here. Yeah, that's a lemon tree in her back yard! ~

As the day ends, I head back to the river.  I step on the dock and the movement causes ripples. I think about how every action I take in a day has some ripple effect that I'm not even aware of.  All these small changes I make are my protest against things I believe are killing us and destroying our planet.  I hope it has a ripple effect!

Sunday 21 July 2013

I've Accepted A Challenge!

This is the first day of the 7-Day Real Food Challenge.


There are eleven bloggers participating in the challenge, including our hostess, from Mary's Kitchen.  We have all agreed to eat only natural foods we make from scratch ourselves, for one week.  

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know I started eliminating processed food from my diet over a year ago.  Packaged foods went first and canned followed.  I moved toward organic, fair trade, locally grown/produced food.  "Well, Yeah for you", you say.  Come on, some of you did!

I'm going to ask a favour of you, so I'd better explain why I've put so much time and energy into making these changes to my diet.  There's the obvious health aspect.  I've become so distrustful of the food industry that I want to know where my food comes from, how it was produced, where it was produced and who was involved in that production.

I also feel strongly about the need to rethink how we inhabit this planet.  Those of us who live in North America have lost connection with the very things that sustain us.  We were given so much land, so many natural resources and so much affluence that we are like spoiled, ungrateful children.  Isn't Canada amazing from space!

photo courtesy of NASA

Did you ever notice that the happiest families make meal times something special?  Every single time I've written about making an old fashioned recipe, picking berries or canning produce, the comments flood in with everyone's happy memories of those same things.  When we are connected to our food, we reconnect with ourselves.  I never hear anyone fondly reminisce about a pizza they ordered when they were kids.

So, this week, I'll show you what I am doing to keep that connection going.  I'll try more of the make it myself recipes I've stockpiled on Pinterest and I'll try to address the issues of time and costs in moving in the direction of natural foods.  

And, the favour I want from you?  I'd love to have your input!  What works for you?  If you are a blogger, send me the link to a post with a real food recipe and I'll link back to you.  For non bloggers, tell us what you do to eat well in the comments or, better yet, send me an email with your recipe and a pic of what you made and I'll include it in a post.  We really need to hear from parents with kids at home!  It's all fine and dandy for a single woman, on a half acre of land, with four chickens popping out eggs, but how do urban, working parents do it?  It would be great fun to hear from the six or so guys that I know read this blog!

Are you all up to the challenge?

ps - I froze green beans and dried herbs today and I'll show you that tomorrow.