Friday, June 29, 2007

Now you see me, now you don't

We took the kids to The Taste of Champaign.

The main support this. The kids had beanies they wanted to donate and Gnightgirl is my surrogate mom. So, I had to go out and support her great new idea and love her.

This happened while we were there.

Can you see them? Look really closely. They stopped at the Army National Guard booth and got camo faces and also got to eat a meal in a bag...beef stew and trail mix. Yeah, don't think they will be asking for those meals anytime soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

One Local Summer

Liz over yonder came up with this great idea to have One Local Summer. Which really ends up to be many summers because I think this is not the first summer that she has been the hostess with the mostess!

The idea: Eat at least one completely local meal each week. Use locally produced items to fix your dinner. Don't worry about the spices and small stuff, but the main things like meat, dairy, grains, and so on. Then post about it so everyone can share their thoughts and ideas. And maybe, just maybe it will help people understand the importance of eating locally. Even if it is just one person who's a start.

Here is my dinner.

Roasted chicken with a pesto rub.
Chicken---free range, organic---50 miles
Basil---organic---Blue Moon Farm---10 miles
Pine nuts---not local
Asiago cheese---not local
Olive oil---not local
Roasted carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Carrots---farmer's market----Carbondale, Il--- 180 miles
Salt and pepper---not local
Olive oil---not local
Golden Kohlrabi patties(not so golden really, but you get the idea!)
Kohlrabi---organic---Blue Moon Farm---10 miles
Green onions---organic---Blue Moon Farm---10 miles
Whole Wheat flour---not local
Egg---free range, pastured, organic---Moore's Farm---60 miles
Butter---hormone free---Oberweis Dairy---180 miles
Pepper---not local
Milk---hormone free---Oberweis Dairy---180 miles

The chicken we got at our farmers market. The carrots came from a little further because we were at grandma and grandpa's house at the time. So, that was about 3 hrs from home. Much further than I would normally do, but it was where we were. The kohlrabi also came from our farmers market(along with the onions in the patties).

We utilize a dairy that is not as local as I would like it to be, but as good as I am going to get in order to have hormone free milk and butter and such.

Cheats would be salt and pepper, asiago cheese in the pesto, and olive oil.

Golden Kohlrabi Patties

4-6 medium sized kohlrabi
1 egg, beaten
3 T whole wheat flour
1/4 C butter
1 small onion, finely chopped(I used green onions since that is what I got at the market)
1/8 t ground pepper

Trim kohlrabi of stems, peel and then shred. Place in a medium sized sauce pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and then simmer for 10 min. Drain and cool. Mix kohlrabi, egg, and flour in a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet, add onions, and saute until translucent. Add kohlrabi mixture, sprinkle with pepper, and cook on medium heat until bottom is golden brown and crusty. Divide into quarters and turn each quarter over with a spatula and brown on other side. Serve hot.

Serves 4 Rodale's Basic Natural Foods Cookbook

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Farmer's Market Bounty

Our market is every Sat from 7 till 12 or so.

Here's what I snagged this week: a bunch of kohlrabi, a bunch of green onions, a bunch of great smelling basil, a head of cabbage, some red potatoes, and then 2 whole chickens and some leg quarters.

I try to buy something new every time if I can. This week for us it is the kohlrabi. We have never tried it before. I know eventually we will have tried most things and it will be harder to try something new...but till then it's an adventure!

Farmer's Market Bounty

Our market is every Sat from 7 till 12 or so.

Here's what I snagged this week: a bunch of kohlrabi, a bunch of green onions, a bunch of great smelling basil, a head of cabbage, some red potatoes, and then 2 whole chickens and some leg quarters.

I try to buy something new every time if I can. This week for us it is the kohlrabi. We have never tried it before. I know eventually we will have tried most things and it will be harder to try something new...but till then it's an adventure!

Friday, June 22, 2007

To container or not to container...

Here's the thing. I have never been good at container gardening. I can admit it. My name is Frugalmom and I am an anti-container gardener.

I think the problem is that I don't like to water. I don't. I feel like if a flower is in my yard it needs to be able to survive without me watering it. That's what rain is for, right? Well, when you have drought like conditions like we have been having then that seems to be a problem.

Okay, so this year (about 6 wks ago, acually) I decided that I would fill my containers with loverly flowers and tend to them and talk to them and water them....Did I say talk to them? Well, lately it seems like I have been more like yelling at them and questioning them. Why? Why are you doing this to me? I am giving you everything that you need. Everything that you ask for. And this is how you repay me? What have I done to deserve this?

While right next door she has this: Beautiful, spilling over the edge flowers. Come on, cut me a little slack. I am new to this, I say.

Even my veggie containers are looking pretty lame. Check out the difference. Look at these.

Now look at mine....something just ain't right.

Last night I got online and started doing some research. I googled "flowers in containers slow growing". From all the reading, I deduced that based on my flowers symptoms that the drainage is not up to par. Okay, so after I get the little guy down to sleep I set out to remove all the flowers from the pot and see what's going on.

I get all the plants out and then begin to remove the dirt...halfway down, aside from the smell being atrocious there is pretty much standing water. What the heck? I keep going and wade thru all the muck..get everything all cleaned out. So, let's see. I get some water and pour it in the pot...expecting it to drain carelessly out thru the hole in the bottom...nope, just sits there. I say to it" Go, go. You are free all mighty water." I get a blank stare in response. Hmmph.

Upon more investigation and dragging my hubby into it it was decided that there wasn't a hole for the water to drain thru at all. What, you say? Am I that slow? No, really, honest I am not. There is a hole in the bottom of the pot. How was I to know that it was only decorative. How was I to know that the hole in the pot didn't really go anywhere? It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

So, after all the love and attention and watering I gave to the flowers. All the times I made myself go out and water and water and was really making them worse.

Case solved. So, now we sit back and wait. Wait and water and watch. Again. This time I am bound to have beautiful, spilling over the edge flowers, right?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Swiss Chard Gratin

This was pretty much the first time I have cooked with swiss chard. Last year in our CSA we got some and I looked at it and, no thanks! My how I have grown in just one season!

I can't get enuf of the fresh produce this season...and apparently neither can the rabbits. We have been battling them constantly this year in our garden.

I got the recipe from Andrea Chesman's Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook.

Swiss Chard Gratin Serves 6
2 lbs. (12-16 stems with leaves) chard, stems sliced and leaves cut into 1 in. ribbons
4 T butter
1 onion, halved and sliced

1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
2 C milk
1 C Gruyere, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 C dried bread crumbs

I cut my recipe in half since I only had half the amt of swiss chard.

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Add the chard stems and cook for 2 min. Add the leaves and continue to cook for another min. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 11/2 qt. casserole or 9x13 with butter.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and saute till soft, about 3 min. Whisk in the flour to form a paste. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the chard.

Transfer the chard mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. (I put some xtra shredded cheese on top of the bread crumbs. Also, I did not have Gruyere cheesed handy, so I used cheddar in its place)

Bake for 25-35 min, until sauce is bubbling and the top is browned. Serve hot.

From what I understand, swiss chard is in the beet family. So this dish does have a very distinct, beet like flavor. Don't let that scare you off, Gnightgirl. It is very tasty.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Last Saturday's Bounty

Farmer's Market Bounty from last Saturday.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Flash, Flash, Flash

Gnightgirl has started a new project to support the troops. Please head over and check it out. If you find you are willing and able to help, please do. It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and all over. How can you not want to do that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Day on the Farm

This past weekend we loaded up the family and had a day at the farm! Our main goal was to pick up the grass fed beef that we purchased several weeks prior. However, to our delight it worked out that we got to attend a fun day on the farm as well!

We all had a great time. There was great people, great food, and fun for the kids. And of course, cows and chickens, and a hay rack ride!

I found this farm after much research online. I was on the search for grass fed beef because I feel it is much healthier for us(and tastes better, too!) We have gotten shares of a cow before. Organic and non-organic. So, it wasn't a totally new process for us. However, we have never had the opportunity to visit the farm from which the cows came or gotten to meet the great people that took care of them and made them so happy.

Now, I must tell you that these cows were happy. I have seen cows many a time. In fact, I lived on a farm house when I was about 10 and had them in my front yard. The cows I shared my yard with were not happy. No, they were more like not happy. The cows at Flying S Farm were frolicking. Yes, you heard me right, frolicking. Running about and having a good ol' time. They were curious buggers, too. Came pret'near right up to J and wanted to check him out! J was in heaven! We got to see them change pasture which they do a couple times a day so they can eat on good, fresh grass. We got to see how they got the water all the way out to the cows in the pasture so that they can have cool, fresh drinks when its warm and sunny out. It was great to be able to see all this and to know where your food is coming from.

We had a great lunch of grass fed beef burgers on the grill, fresh grass fed cheese, veggies, coleslaw, and homemade cookies! Yum!

Then the kids got to embark on a great treasure hunt which took them all over the farm. They had a blast!

All in all it was a very satisfying day. Thanks to Penny and Dave and John and Pattie. And everyone else that helped make the day so great.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Menu Maker

I have had several requests for my loverly menu maker. I am willing to allow others use this love of my life program.

I have had some questions about errors, usage, and so on. We (meaning my husband) have set up the menu maker for easier accessibility and have added a few new features, like FAQ. This way everything will be all in one spot and we can answer the questions and comments in a more timely manner.

Please feel free to view my sidebar and you will see an option called "programs". Under that will be the Menu Maker. Check it out! If you are interested, try it and see if you like it. If you have questions, please don't be afraid to ask them. Just post them on the Google group that is listed and we can try to help you!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Pretty interesting

My husband sent me this. Found it pretty interesting.

What do you think? Do you fit in anywhere in the examples?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Look at all my loot!

I am so excited! I received my Green and Pink swap stuff in the mail this past weekend. Man, oh, man...did I get some great stuff! I want to give a shout out to my swapping buddy who loaded my box with all this great stuff. Thank you again!
The kids and I had a blast looking thru all this. And we had even more fun picking out all the stuff to send off in our box. If you didn't sign up for the swap this time(and I am not sharing my stuff) you can get it on the next one. You just have to wait till OMSH gives out the next color ideas. It is so much fun and the kids enjoy it, too!