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Raspberry Smoothies

Smoothies taste dramatically better when you’ve picked the fruit yourself. Zoey found out yesterday. My favorite quote of the day from the Z: “Daddy, I didn’t even know I loved them.”

Thanks to the McAreaveys for letting us raid their raz patch on a hot summer day.

Here’s our smoothie recipe du jour. Roughly. Just blend it all up, serve, and smile. And don;t you dare follow these directions. Smoothies are for making it up as you go.

  • 2-3 cups of fresh picked raspberries
  • 2 peaches (not very good or ripe, but they did the trick)
  • 1 handful of fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of local honey (also from the McAreavey farm)
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (haven’t quite made the jump to the Greek stuff. no matter how much Torin likes it, it’s still just sour cream to me)
  • a little bit of orange juice
  • 3 handfuls of ice cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon of freshly ground flax seed (don’t tell the kiddos!)
 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Food, garden

 

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Saving money in the dirt

photo on Flickr by Harpo42

The wifey is making some changes at work. She’s set to end maternity leave in about a week, and when she heads back to the office, it will be on a smaller scale. So, part time work means part time income, which lead us to talk some turkey this weekend about what we’ll change in our life with a smaller budget. Let’s call it our “happy up, money down” plan.

One line on the old Dave Ramsey-inspired budget that needs some polishing is food. We spend a lot on it. So the obvious part is cutting out the lunches at Wild Sage, Parker’s and Uno Zoni, and brown bagging it. The other part is cutting on the grocery bill. We decided a few years ago to pay more for our groceries. Why? Because real food generally costs more money than fake food. We want to feed our kids goodness from the Earth, not crap, so we pay more. Not saying we never buy any high-fructose-in-a-box, but we try to cook well-rounded meals with ingredients that our grandmothers might have actually fed to our parents as often as we can. It’s a journey.

So, back to the budget. We need to grow our own food. We got way behind nature’s eight ball this year with our garden. Our house was pretty busy this spring, you know? So, the garden pretty much sucks right now. We’ll be leaning heavily on the Farmer’s Market, community garden and the Co-op. And Denny’s extra garden bounty for sure. But, we figure, it’ll save us big bucks if we don’t have to buy so much. We’re even planning to learn the art of canning.

Synchronistically, I ran across an article on the topic today on Mother Nature Network’s blog about a couple who actually kept track of the money they put into their garden, and what it would have cost them to eat the same food from a grocery store.  Read “How Much is Your Vegetable Garden Worth” here.

For this Maine couple, over one year it came to 834 pounds of veggies from their garden, that would have set them back $2,200 at the store. Wowsers.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2010 in Food, garden, money

 

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Montrose, South Dakota: Local Foods Mecca

photo by Natalie Maynor on Flickr

I noticed something at the Falls Park Farmers Market Saturday. I had a hug and conversation with Ruth and waved to Tom in the Goosemobile, bought some late season tomato and pepper plants from the Warners, and ate a grilled burger from the Gessners (Dakota Natural Beef). On the way to the car it hit me–three of the 18 vendors are from a stone’s throw of Montrose. Then at the Sunshine grocery store we saw “honey straws” from Orland Honey Farm–also of rural Montrose.

I know it’s only four producers of local, wholesome food. But they’re all within ten miles of my house. I’ve never thought of Montrose as a local foods hot spot. I doubt you have either. But this is actually something. Put these four together with our wonderful Montrose Community Garden and there’s something here. Something real and good. And unnoticed, at least by me, ’til this weekend.

Maybe we can be the Hardwick, VT of South Dakota one day (read “How Food Saved a Town“). Local Foods is the ‘real deal’ (just ask Mike), and it’s a serious opportunity for us in small towns–to feed ourselves and surrounding communities, to live healthier lives, and to re-connect with this land and it’s bounty in new-old sacred ways.

update 6/28: Thanks to my friend Corey at Madville Times for pushing the gas on this little local food revolution.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Food

 

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Awesome Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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Here they are. After the carving carnage, the best part of jack-o-lanterns is munching on those roasted seeds. We had a couple friends ask for the recipe, so now you all get it. Turns out these things are high in protein, and zinc (whatever that does). You can check out the nutrition in detail here.
So, they make a great snack, and are super simple to cook up. We couldn’t find the recipe, so my lovely wife just made one up on the spot. It worked, thanks to one big secret. There is one negative side effect to snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds: greasy keyboard.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, ala Jaimie

Step 1: Carve the hell out of a few pumpkins. Make them fun and scary. When you’re digging the “guts” (or “brains,” depending upon your perspective) out of that soon-to-be-jack-o-lantern, pile them up in a clean bowl for sorting. Then, sort out the seeds and place them in another clean bowl. Be sure to compost the remaining stringy stuff. I fed some to my worms, but I’ll save the picture for a non-food post.

Step 2: Here’s Jaimie’s BIG SECRET: don’t wash the seeds. You need them to be wet, and washing just wastes that groovy pumpkin flavor goodness. We clean them up a little, but a bit of orange stringy stuff here and there just adds character, and they have that perfect stickiness when unwashed. We used the seeds from three kid-sized pumpkins, which ended up about four cups worth. Jaim added around 3 Tablespoons of EVOO (that’s extra virgin olive oil), some Mrs. Dash and some dried garlic granules. Don’t ask how much, ‘cuz she don’t know. As Grandma B always says with her bread recipe, “add just enough.”

Step 3: Fold it all together real good, to coat the seeds with EVOO and seasonings. Now spread the seeds out on a baking sheet. They don’t need to be single layer, but close.

Step 4: Sprinkle the seeds with some brown sugar. I would advocate for local-raised honey here instead, but we’ve run out and my little sis hasn’t brought us another tub full yet. (Hint, hint.). Now toss the pan in the oven at 350 for about an hour, maybe a little less. Again, I don’t now exactly how long they were in there–just until they are done. I do know that I’ve never seen my wife bake anything at any other temp but 350. Maybe she should have done some sort of thing for the 350 Day of Climate Action? (Btw, Hope got famous on Saturday at the Falls Park 350 Action.)

Step 5: Enjoy. We store them under a lid in the orange container you see in the picture above, and keep it on the counter. I doubt this batch will see Friday.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2009 in Food

 

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Nudging the Clouds: Blog Action Day 09

Today is Blog Action Day. For one day each year, the folks at change.org invite bloggers everywhere to unite around action on an important topic in the world. Today, there’s nothing more important and scary than climate change. There are crazy big changes coming that will effect the life of everyone on this planet, and much of it was done by us. We didn’t mean to screw things up, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. But now we know, and now we can change.

So, how do we change our behaviors–the way we go about everything–in one big swoop? We can’t. Humans have designed and built a society and life infrastructure that doesn’t work without messing up countless ecosystems, from our own bodies to our backyard to the other side of planet Earth. Reconstructing those social and built norms is like trying to push a cloud with our hands. It would be easier to just say screw it.

That would be normal. After all, despite overwhelming evidence that all those Big Macs and desk jobs and video games and chemical cocktails in our food are killing us, we keep up behaviors that doctors tell us will give us cancer or a heart attack or some other disease. Over and over again. It seems there are only two things that can change that kind of normal behavior: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in activism, Food, global warming, Mother Earth

 

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Falling Apples

Mom and Dad have 2 gazillion apples hanging on two trees in their yard. There were even more, but Dad and the girls rescued the trees from broken branches by catching a whole bunch in sheets on the ground a couple weekends ago. They were so loaded down, a couple of good shakes took care of the problem. Everybody knows that’s not how you harvest apples. But sometimes it is. Just ask Newton.

There is dispute in the family about which tree makes tastier apples, but I’m sure I’m right about the reddish ones. If you want some, it’s a pick-your-own free for all. Dad might even let you use his ladder.

Tonight I finally got around to making some applesauce with the last bag full the kids came home with. We used the fancy shmancy apple peeler Santa brought for Jaimie last year. It slices. It cores. It peels. And it makes the kitchen floor very very sticky. But, it works awesome and it’s fun.

apple peeler in action apple peels in a bucket cooking applesauce finished applesauce

Jaim whipped up some apple crisp too, as you can see in the last pic. Now, what to do with those neatly cut peelings…It’s a good excuse to give you a worm update. I’ve been skimping a bit on the feeding the past week, sending most kitchen scraps to the compost bin outside instead of wormtown. It’s time to harvest the worm poop, so I’m using a trick from Uncle Carl: let them totally clean up the top layer, then only feed them on one small end of the bin for a week so they all congregate in one spot. That way, when I’m sifting through that rich compost by hand, the worms will be easy to pick out. I just tossed this watermelon in yesterday, and they’re hammering it.

compost worms and watermelon

Speaking of apples, last weekend we headed on a road trip for Jon’s bachelor party. Along the way, we stopped by cousin David’s place to check out his newly-built apple cannon. It launches pretty much anything roughly baseball-sized with alarming power. Even baseballs. Trust me.

apple cannon

If you shop at Hy-Vee in Brookings, you might want to throw a bike helmet on in the parking lot. Just saying.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2009 in compost, Food, gadgets, worms

 

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Zucchini and Purple Spuds

The girls picked up some purple potatoes at the Falls Park Farmers Market yesterday morning. I paired them with some fresh garden zucchini, and sauteed them with onions, garlic and some chives in a skillet for dinner tonight. Went well with some sweet corn from Denny’s garden and some Bartmann sirloin tips. Every ingredient except the butter is local.

Also took a nice hike today, and picked some wildflowers along the way for my deserving and lovely wife.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2009 in Food, garden

 

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