Friday, April 2, 2010

Indpendence Days #5, April 2

1. Plant something.
Just sprouts, so far...Misha is joyfully eating them as fast as they'll grow. I'm starting my peas this weekend and will start in door seeds this weekend too.

2. Harvest something.

3. Preserve something.
Nope. BUT I did get signed up for the online Food Storage and Preservation class at The Chatelaine's Keys. Very excited about this!

4. Reduce waste.
Decluttered a lot and am getting ready for a yard sale this weekend. What doesn't sell gets boxed up and and brought to Maine this summer for my sister's big yard sale.

5. Preparation and Storage.
Worked on herbal stuff for my herbal swap. Made 2 sock bunnies for a different swap. I think I am addicted to swapping.

6. Build Community Food Systems.
Talked more with my friend Alyssa about doing a huge cooking day at her house (where I usually do my big cooking days). But this way I won't be the only one buying all the food and I'll have help with preparation. It'll be BYOT-Bring Your Own Tupperware.

7. Eat the Food.
Still eating the freezer full I made a few weeks ago. Also have been on a tofu cutlet kick. Mish and I have eaten 3 containers of tofu this week! Here's the recipe, more or less...I just kind of throw things in a bowl and hope for the best:

1 package of tofu
3/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
seasoning (salt, pepper, whatever)
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
sesame oil
vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Cut tofu into 6 equal sized slices. Dip into sesame oil.
Dip into flour mixture and coat well. (I do the oil-flour thing twice, because I like the crust thick)
Put a little veg oil in a pan.
Put tofu in pan and pop in over. After 10 minutes flip the pieces. Cook for 10 minutes more until they are golden brown.

Easy, peasy. And delicious.

And Misha's been eating sprouts every day.

That's it for this week. It's been raining all week so I have not done too much.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Busy week.... And finally some photos...
I've been decluttering my craft space, slowly but surely. And my bookshelves. Joyfully I just found out that my favorite used bookstore Lorem Ipsum just moved into a new space about 2 1/2 blocks from me.
Here are my bookshelves, semi-arranged by theme.

And here is my favorite part of my craft space, the peg board system I got for my birthday.
This is a tea container that I fitted with peg board attachments, markers fit perfectly.
And here's a sock bunny I made for a recent swap...I made him a little baby sock bunny too. My daughter has named him Awkward Bunny.
and new garden, in beginning stages. In the containers are strawberries, mint, a pussy willow, English lavender, and lemon balm. My lavender, sage, and tarragon are in the ground. I have blocked off an area to build a raised bed around. It's a start. It's been far too rainy to do anything to it this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Great looking online class!

Sharon, from the blog The Chatelaine's Keys is offering an online class soon on Food Storage and Preservation. Looks great!!! Check it out..... her blog is really inspirational.
Food Storage and Preservation

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Independence Days March 23, 2010-Post #4

 A very fruitful weekend for me! It was 70 degrees F, which is unheard of for March here. So, I spent the weekend moving my perennials from my old community garden plot to my new front yard, where I'll be doing my gardening this coming soon. I couldn't find my camera.

Also I am switching the categories a bit.....just so you know! They're based on the Chatelaine Key's Year Two Independence Days.

1. Plant something.
I moved my tarragon, sage, lavender-2 kinds, chives, mint and lemon balm to my new space and got them planted. I also moved my pussy willow (one of my only truly ornamental plants) and some day lilies (yummmmmm).

Also started some sprouts. I've fallen off the sprout bandwagon. They're clover sprouts. I got them last time we were in Montreal.

This week...starting seeds!

2. Harvest something.
Nothing to harvest. : ( I checked the nettles at the community garden but there aren't enough to make soup out of. Soon, soon.

3. Preserve something.
Didn't really preserve much....but I did make a ton of meals to freeze for the week. Oh...I did string up a bunch of hot peppers to dry, so they wouldn't go bad.

4. Reduce waste.
Used paper towel and tp rolls to make more seed starters. Used the food waste from my massive meal prep to feed the worms, except for the onions which they hate. Those were composted. Used newspaper that would have been recycled as new worm bedding.

5. Preparation and Storage.
Got my plot staked out. Now I must scavenge some cinder blocks to make a raised bed. This is a funny category for everything that isn't especially food related. I also worked on some herbal remedies for an herbal swap I am doing on craftster.

6. Build Community Food Systems.
Placed and received my first buying club order. Got some free seeds from someone at the Urban Homesteaders Meet-Up Group. Must get to one of their meet-ups one of these days!

7. Eat the Food.
Oh boy did I make food. Mostly from supplies on hand, I absolutely raided my pantry and made:
1 pot of veggie chili
1 pot of corn and potato chowder
4 loaves of bread
4 chickpea patties- based on the recipe here. I am in LOVE with vital wheat gluten! Good thing too, as I got tons of it in my buying club order.
2 bean patties
1 pot of black eyed peas and veg
Massive amounts of rice

Most of this is in the freezer for food throughout the week. I left some chili for my boyfriend's roommate, and left them three loaves of bread. Plus I let Tim have half the chowder so he can meat it up.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Independence Days...postponed until this weekend

I'm going to postpone until this weekend, so I actually have something to report! I have a busy weekend planned with all sorts of activities. And I'll be taking pictures. So... stay tuned....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh blog I stumbled upon.

I love it.
It has keep me entertained for a long time today. Really good info on it. It's written by a woman who did a buy nothing year, which turned into a lot longer than that. I am going to finish this post and go back to exploring. It's definitely in my bookmarks now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday March 12, Independence Days Post

1. Plant something.

Once again, not yet. I think next week will be the week. I have been making seed starters though, out of upcycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

2. Harvest something.

Nothing to harvest. : (

3. Preserve something.

Continued with the rep pepper freezing and chopping. Man, I got a lot of red peppers!!!!!

4. Prep something.

*sigh* Not much. Man, I haven't done much this week.

5. Cook something.

I made a TON of lasagna. I figure if you're going to go to all that trouble you might as well make tons, so I did. One pan for me, one for Misha, one for Tim and one for Misha's friend Guchie.

6. Manage your reserves.

*sigh* Nope.

7. Work on local food systems.

I started my first buying club order. I am psyched!!! It's due on Wednesday, the 17th. So far I've only put a few things in my cart, but this is going to be good. I've missed being in a buying club.

OK not much to report this week, obviously....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh! Exciting news!!!

I have signed up to be a demonstrator for The Angel Company. I'm quite excited about it. They have Copic markers!!! So, if anyone reading this would like a catalog, shoot me an email at I haven't got my cattys yet, but they'll be here soon I hope!

Friday, March 5-Independence Days Post #2

1. Plant something.

Not yet!! Snow on the ground when I woke up this morning! I did get my seeds for making seed bombs for May 1st, International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day!
Link here!

And I got some other seeds in a swap. Haven't started seed starters yet... must get my some space first to start them. I got potting soil though!

2. Harvest something.

Too cold and snowy/rainy...nothing to harvest. : (

3. Preserve something.

I got an awesome score of red peppers, hot peppers, and other veggies at the "damaged produce" section of Stop & Shop. So I've been cutting them up and freezing them. I still have pounds and pounds to finish. Tomorrow is my day off, so I'll be finishing filling my freezer!

4. Prep something.

Same prepping as last week. But, the Frugal-Along 2010 on craftster has a theme for March of decluttering, so I have big plans for this month!

5. Cook something.

With all the seitan I made last week I made Kentucky Fried seitan, one of Misha's favorite dinners!

Here's a good recipe from Vegan Dad, one of my favorite cooking blogs.... I deep fry mine, but want to start using less oil, so I'm going to try pan frying next time. We ate it all now I have to make more seitan this weekend.

- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- salt, pepper, nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- 6 slices of seitan, or seitan cutlets
- 2 cups plain soymilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups soymilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt, white pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
TIP! If you don't have breadcrumbs, process some cornflakes in the blender.

1. Heat oil in frying pan in med-hi.
2. Put bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast flakes if desired.
3. Put soymilk in another medium bowl. Stir in lemon juice until soymilk thickens.
4. Dip seitan cutlet in soymilk mixture, then roll in breadcrumbs, then back in the soymilk, then coat again in crumbs.
5. Fry for 4-5 mins per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

1. Melt margarine on medium in a saucepan.
2. Whisk in flour, and continue to whisk until light brown.
3. Slowly whisk in soymilk and lemon juice. Bring to a slow boil, until mixture thickens.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add rosemary.

6. Manage your reserves.

Same as last week. My pantry is a disaster.

7. Work on local food systems.

I signed up for my CSA, for a full season which goes until December!!! June through December, yay!

And I found a local buying club. First order will be soon.... looking forward to that!!!

Well...that's my Independence Days for this week. More next Friday.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Artsy/Craftsy/Garden Goals for the year

I don't do New Year's resolutions. I refuse. But goals are good, right? no particular order:

1. Participate in more challenge blog fun!
2. Organize my craft stuff, esp. my stamps.... I have a great idea which I found somewhere for organizing all my unmounteds on acrylic sheets. I have a special file thingy that will be perfect, I got some acrylic sheets, now I just need to start the process. More on that later.
3. Get my damn etsy store functional again. And sell some stuff!
4. Continue "Drunken Midnight Crafting" with Rabbit and invite other people to play. It's a fun way to learn new techniques, and is such a nice bonding thing. Girlfriends, wine, crafts? What's not to love.
5. I have decided not to let these bastard bed bugs chase me out of of this apartment, because I WANT that garden space. I am getting a garden journal and am planning now. I'm going to make a raised bed or two, and grow mints and tomatoes in containers, planning, planning, planning! I'll be in Maine in a few weeks which is a great time to pick up bags of seaweed for fertilizer and I am going to ask my friend Peter to start saving bunny poo for me..... build up those raised beds!

(Side note: I must give props to Emma Cooper of the Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast for inspiration. She has a blog too... here. I've been listening to the podcast for years, and just got her book and it is lovely. And she has the nicest accent in the world. (I live in Boston. I am surrounded by the most awfullest nails on chalkboard accents you can imagine on a daily basis, so a nice lilting UK accent is like candy!) Someday, perhaps, when Mish and I go visit her dad in wales and Grandparents in Liverpool, we'll do a side trip so I can meet my kind of idol. : ))

Well...I have more goals but these will be a start. I want to be on a design team someday, but that's going to take a years work and a bit of getting published. Let's consider that one long-term....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday-Independence Days Post

1. Plant something.

Nope...didn't get any of this done...soon it will be time but not yet. I am browsing seed catalogs though, and getting ready to plan.

I am going to start making some toilet paper roll seed starters and some newspaper seed starters. Instructions for TP roll starters can be found here: Seed Starters

2. Harvest something.

Too cold and snowy/rainy...nothing to harvest. : (

3. Preserve something.

Well....I bagged up lavender that I'd dried earlier. Again, the end of winter problem.

4. Prep something.

*sigh* I just found out last week that we have bed bugs. Our building has had them for some time, it was only a matter of time. So, the prepping I've done this week has been laundry, moving furniture, vacuuming every night, steam cleaning the carpets every night, etc. Not fun, and my whole place is in absolute shambles and I can get my mind wrapped around anything more than this. : (

5. Cook something.

I've done a fair bit of cooking. Sunday I made batches and batches of seitan. I love seitan, and we eat TONS of it. Here's the recipe I use, it's from this link: Vegetarian Resource Group

Quick Homemade Gluten
(Makes 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds or 2 to 2-1/2 cups)

This is the basic recipe for gluten.

2 cups gluten flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/4 cups water or vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons lite tamari, Braggs liquid amino acids, or soy sauce
1-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)

Add garlic powder and ginger to flour and stir. Mix liquids together and add to flour mixture all at once. Mix vigorously with a fork. When it forms a stiff dough knead it 10 to 15 times.

Let the dough rest 2 to 5 minutes, then knead it a few more times. Let it rest another 15 minutes before proceeding.

Cut gluten into 6 to 8 pieces and stretch into thin cutlets. Simmer in broth for 30 to 60 minutes.

4 cups water
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3-4 slices ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring broth to a boil. Add cutlets one at a time. Reduce heat to barely simmer when saucepan is covered. Seitan may be used, refrigerated, or frozen at this point.

Seitan is about $5 for 8 ounces in stores, and this recipe makes tons. A bag of vital wheat gluten flour is about $4 and make many, many batches.

6. Manage your reserves.

I need to get on this. My pantry is a disaster. So is everything else, so.....

7. Work on local food systems.

I got my forms for my CSA. I get my veggies from Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA. The shares are enormous!!! I end up sharing them with others. I get the full season share, June through early December. It works out to about $25 a week. I've been using them for 3 years and LOVE them so much. Each share is almost 10 pounds of stuff!! And the pick-ups aren't far from our house. Very nice, and I am very excited.

I'm also considering finding a local buying club, but right now have spent so much on the bug war my funds are kind of beyond depleted. : (

Well...that's my Independence Days for this week. More next Friday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Here's some of what I've been up to lately....

Long time, no post!!! Here are some of the crafty things I've been up to lately.....these pictures were taken by a swap partner on craftster, I forgot to photograph them before I mailed them!

Resin Bottle Cap Magnets! A fun way to use up bits of paper, and recycle/upcycle bottle caps. VERY easy and fun!

Felted dryer balls. I used some of the techniques here: Felted Dryer Balls
I used roving, rather than yarn, but I love how they came out. My swap partner said they cut her drying time by 20 minutes.... now I need to make some for me!

And my favorite, funnest project...felted soaps. I love how they came out, it was a super fun craft and I made bunches. I think I'll make them for Christmas presents this year.
I used a bunch of pages for inspiration, but here's a link to one I like: Felted Soap

That's it for now. Whew!! Finally got a post up!!! Look for my Independence Days post tomorrow.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Independence Days

Well, I first heard about this challenge this week and I am so intrigued. I'm going to give it a try, and will try to post updates every Friday. The link to the concept is here: Independence Days.

These are the challenges each week:

1. Plant something. Obviously, those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere and having spring are doing this anyway. But the idea that you should plant all week and all year is a good reminder to those of us who sometimes don’t get our fall gardens or our succession plantings done regularly. Remember, that beet you harvested left a space – maybe for the next one to get bigger, but maybe for a bit of arugula or a fall crop of peas, or a cover crop to enrich the soil. Independence is the bounty of a single seed that creates an abundance of zucchini, and enough seeds to plant your own garden and your neighbor’s.

2. Harvest something. From the very first nettles and dandelions to the last leeks and parsnips I drag out of the frozen ground, harvest something from the garden or the wild every day you can. I can’t think of a better way to be aware of the bounty around you to realize that there’s something – even if it is dandelions for tea or wild garlic for a salad – to be had every single day. Independence is really appreciating and using the bounty that we have.

3. Preserve something. Sometimes this will be a big project, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t take long to slice a couple of tomatoes and set them on a screen in the sun, or to hang up a bunch of sage for winter. And it adds up fast. The time you spend now is time you don’t have to spend hauling to the store and cooking later. Independence is eating our own, and cutting the ties we have to agribusiness.

4. Prep something. Hit a yard sale and pick up an extra blanket. Purchase some extra legumes and oatmeal. Sort out and inventory your pantry. Make a list of tools you need. Find a way to give what you don’t need to someone who does. Fix your bike. Fill that old soda bottle with water with a couple of drops of bleach in it. Plan for next year’s edible landscaping. Make back-road directions to your place and send it to family in case they ever need to come to you – or make ‘em for yourself for where you might have to go. Clean, mend, declutter, learn a new skill. Independence is being ready for whatever comes.

5. Cook something. Try and new recipe, or an old one with a new ingredient. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with all that stuff you are growing or making. So experiment now. Can you make a whole meal in your solar oven? How are stir-fried pea shoots? Stuffed squash blossoms? Wild morels in pasta? Independence is being able to eat and enjoy what is given to us.

6. Manage your reserves. Check those apples and take out the ones starting to go bad and make sauce with it. Label those cans. Clean out the freezer. Ration the pickles, so you’ll have enough to last to next season. Use up those lentils before you take the next ones out of the bag. Find some use for that can of whatever it is that’s been in the pantry forever. Sort out what you can donate, and give it to the food pantry. Make sure the squash are holding out. Independence means not wasting the bounty we have.

7. Work on local food systems. This could be as simple as buying something you don’t grow or make from a local grower, or finding a new local source. It could be as complex as starting a coop or a farmer’s market, creating a CSA or a bulk store. You might give seeds or plants or divisions to a neighbor, or solicit donations for your food pantry. Maybe you’ll start a guerrilla garden or help a homeschool coop incubate some chicks. Maybe you’ll invite people over to your garden, or your neighbors in for a homegrown meal, or sing the praises of your local CSA. Maybe you can get your town to plant fruit or nut producing street trees or get a manual water pump or a garden put in at your local school. Whatever it is, our Independence days come when our neighbors and the people we love are food secure too.

Since it is mid-February, it may be a bit early for me to start planting things...we'll see. So, I will begin today! Look my post post next week on my updates!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

OMG. I promise I will start posting again this weekend.

I've actually been crafting a lot. I need to get this bloggy blog going again. Yikes. So... I'll post some my latest and greatest this weekend! Stay tuned...

Ooooohhh...Bombshell Stamps candy