Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Sauerkraut is Ready!

We've been putting up quite a few goodies lately.  Our sauerkraut was finally ready today and it tastes unbelievable.  Since we eat mostly raw, I just put the kraut in sterilized jars to store in the refrigerator.  I've read it should keep for months this way.  If we had canned it using a water bath, we would have first brought the kraut to a boil on the stove and then canned it.

We started out by ordering a 3 gallon crock online from Lehman's.  It's very heavy and so beautiful.  The inside is a pretty chocolate brown.

When we received the crock, we then harvested the last of our cabbages - 4 large and 3 small/medium.  Next, the cabbage was shredded super fast in our food processor in batches.  As each batch was finished, we put in in a large bowl and added 1 T. of celtic sea salt, stirring it all with a wooden spoon.

When all batches were finished, the salted cabbage was put in the crock.  The fun part was next--pressing the cabbage with a large (giant) wooden spoon until juices covered the cabbage.  We used unbleached cheesecloth for a cover, placed a salad plate on top and weighted everything down with two gallon baggies filled with water (making sure all the cabbage was covered with the juices.)  That was it!  Every 2-3 days, we changed out the cheesecloth and plate and rinsed the water filled bags.  We kept the top of the crock covered with a dishtowel throughout.

The whole process took around 4-5 weeks.  Today was the unveiling and tasting.  Unbelievable.  So crunchy, not too salty, with a bit of tang and actually a bit of sweetness from the fantastic cabbage straight from the garden.  I truly don't think this sauerkraut will last very long.  It gave us 6 quarts to put in the fridge, and we've been munching on the rest this afternoon (probably another quart). Yummy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From my Valentine!

Yes, he knows my love for roses!  He really "outdid" himself this year.  My daughter is taking photography classes and had a fun photo shoot with these beauties.  They really are a gift from God! This garden life is goooooood.

I'll be posting soon about the huge holes my valentine has been digging for our fruit trees this year.  I'll share the ups and downs and how we've dealt with living on rock.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What does shelving paper and OUCH have in common?

To prepare for our pretty jars of canned and dehydrated goodies this year, we decided to repaper our shelves in the pantry. And, of course, that meant it extended into the entire kitchen. Well, I managed to get myself into a pretzel papering one of the lower shelves, and pulled my lower back. Ouch! The pantry was completed, but some of the kitchen shelves still remain waiting for their new sunflower paper--just love those sunflowers.

This has been a great opportunity to really declutter and clean areas that hadn't been seen for quite some time. Is this spring cleaning in January?

Putting Up

This will be the first of many posts on "putting up" for the year ahead. Although we enjoy most of our food fresh and raw, we have noticed this year that we've missed canning. What used to be a yearly event, sort of dwindled to tomatoes only the past 3 years. We enjoy the treats throughout the year and also the joy we receive from having something on hand for quick gifts (to a house guest, delivery man, music teacher, etc.) So it was a unanimous decision (the girls and I) to once again take on the Joy of Canning! The pings of the cooling jars, the bright colors on the pantry shelves are blessing us once again.

When Greenling's located some local organic apples this year, we ordered a case. What we didn't eat fresh, we made into applesauce. My husband and youngest daughter especially enjoy this. Elizabeth likes it on her rice waffles.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Local Meal Breakfast Dinner

This was a local meal we made for Daddy.  Local eggs from Edelen Farms with homegrown roasted hatch chilis (from the freezer.)  The potatoes were from our Greenling's local box.  Although the ingredients weren't local, Laura milled her own flour for this dutch oven no knead wheat bread.  I think David also had some local honey on the bread.

Trying to catch up on local meal posts for the challenge at   Although most all our meals include a large portion of local ingredients and many are all local, we just haven't been taking many pictures.  I'll try to post some of the local raw meals soon.  Actually, this afternoon my lunch was a collard wrap with collards from my garden, local grated carrot, and guacamole made from G & S Groves avocado from our Greenling's local box.  I added a side of beet relish we just canned that I'll post on soon. .....Just need to get my photographer going!  We've all been quite busy lately with our garden, new beds, seedling plantings, etc.  We just love what God has been providing!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Local Meal

The girls and I have been drinking quite a bit of juice this week.  We especially like the green juices with various greens, cucumber, celery, etc.  Except for the cucumber and celery, most ingredients have been local.  So in lieu of posting a local meal we enjoyed this week, this is a dinner that Laura fixed back when our computer had crashed and we were unable to post our local meal for the challenge on  

Laura made homemade gnocchi with a butternut/sage sauce.  The girls sauteed greens from our garden to go on the side.  Then they added some blackeye peas that I had made for David.  All ingredients were local except for the peas and the flour (which we mill the wheat berries ourselves).  

Laura's Smoothie

Laura made a new smoothie that both she and her sister love!  It's very rich, more like a desert than a meal.  If you'd like to see the recipe, she posted it on their blog at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Compost Time

We had some organic garden soil and compost brought in to fill the 5 new raised beds that David built.  Here's two hard workers. 

Lizzy decided to play around with us and brought out the old radio flyer and toddler shovel. Very slow, but really cute.  

Since we're adding beds this year, we're going to designate a couple of them for some perennials--asparagus for one.  We'll be picking up the 2 yr crowns as well as some fruit trees at the end of the month. 

Our seed orders are all in and the seed trays are prepared with freshly sifted compost and potting soil.  The girls and I will be planting the next few days.  I'll post soon with this season's list of babies.  We're so excited--we purchased from Seed Savers Exchange and Southern Exposure and have many heirlooms that we can't wait to see sprout.

This is definitely our favorite time of the year.  Too bad we have cedar allergies, not to mention really weird weather.  One day I'm working in 44 degree weather wearing two petticoats and long johns under my skirt, and three days later it gets into the high 70's low 80's.  And the wind is really kicking around the cedar pollen.  I've had to stay inside for two days now--I had no voice for several days until this morning.  Well, at least the seedling work is done indoors.  This is when we transform the breakfast room into a nursery/greenhouse.

Kelp Noodles

We looovvvvvveeeee kelp noodles.  These are purely raw kelp noodles made from nothing but-------kelp!  This day we had them in a cabbage slaw made from cabbage from our garden and shredded carrots.  Laura made a sauce that's similar to the sauce at P.F. Chang's and tossed it through with the kelp noodles.  The noodles have a crunch to them when eaten raw, but will soften a bit if warmed.  They are so versatile and a great way to get extra iodine and nutrients.  Yummy!

The site for the kelp noodles (very inexpensive I will add):

The Perfect Local Meal

What could be more perfect for a local meal than a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  We get grapefruit from G & S Groves through Greenlings as well as Greg Edelen of Edelen Farms at our farmers market.

I mostly have juice in the mornings, and this was just exceptional.  

The girls alternate each evening squeezing grapefruit and/or valencia orange juice so it's all ready for their Daddy the next morning for breakfast.  They put it into a pint mason jar with a lid and pop into the fridge.  It's a real treat for him!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Local Meal of a Different Kind

No pictures this evening!  We're still trying to reorganize things on our new hard drive, and we have a bit more tweaking to do before we load more pictures.

Actually, the meal this evening didn't even include pictures.  The photographer was too busy in the kitchen.  It was a local meal of a different kind.  Here's the story.....

My husband and our two daughters - 14 and 17 - coordinated an evening for the lady of the household.  

Dear husband asked me out on a date night this evening and wouldn't tell me where we were going - just that reservations were for 6:30.  So I showered and got all purtied up for my date and we left the house.  My date then proceeded to drive me around the neighborhood and ended our trip by pulling into our very own driveway.  He opened my car door and escorted me to our front door where there was a sign reading "Welcome to Ninetta's".  (From a song my classically trained opera singing youngest daughter used to sing)  We rang the doorbell and was greeted by a fair haired angel wearing an apron.  She ushered us to a dimly lit formal dining room lit with only hand dipped beeswax candles.  Romantic Italian opera was softly playing in the background while my husband proceeded to pour me a glass of wine.

The waitress then entered once more with our menus - 

Freshly made sourdough bread (made with my daughters own starter) with a local olive oil and balsamic dip.

Salad with greens fresh from the garden, tomatoes from a local farmer, croutons made from freshly made sourdough bread and homemade salad dressing with the feature ingredient being some hickory mustard we picked up at the Santa Fe farmers market.

Whole wheat angel hair pasta with meat sauce made from Edelen Farms grass fed beef (which I just purchased at the farmers market this morning).  An alternative of fresh zucchini pasta with tomato sauce was offered to the "lady of the house".

Dessert was sauteed peaches over local vanilla ice cream for the gentleman, and local pumpkin and almond torte freshly made by the eldest daughter.

WOW!  Unbelievable!  Sooo....... romantic, precious, delicious, and mostly local to boot!  As my husband said, "we will definitely be coming back to this restaurant"!

Again, no pictures, but it was a date night you know.  The servants left us to ourselves most of the time.  (I do have to say, though, that it was the only time I ever had a waitress give me a hug and kisses.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We're Back Up

We've had a wild couple of weeks here as our iMac slowly died on us.  We first couldn't do much of anything because it was taking so slow, and then it finally just stopped.  The guys at our Apple store sent us to a local company that works on Apples and we're truly thankful.  They not only installed a new hard drive 4X the size of what we had, but they restored almost all of our old hard drive. Thanks MacTLC!  

We gratefully got back our old pictures, but little nuisances such as bookmarks and email addresses didn't make it.  It's going to be a bit tedious to gather all the addresses of our raw food class students, but things will get going soon.

I, obviously, haven't been able to post our local meals for the Dark Days Local Meals challenge, but hopefully I'll catch up this week.  Laura has quite a few pictures to load up and there's still a bit of organization to deal with, but we're just ecstatic that the retrieval process went so smoothly.

So, with an update on the spring garden, lots has been happening.  My wonderful husband dug out 5 new raised beds for us.  They're much smaller than our others (8' x 3' instead of 18' x 5'), and they're going to make cute "boutique" type beds.  Each one will eventually be permanently planted with perennials, but for now a few will be just extra space for some of our regulars.  I'll plant one bed with asparagus at the end of the month, and a couple will be earmarked for strawberries to be planted in the fall.  For now, the others will house carrots, potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes.

At the end of the month, we'll also be buying a few more blackberries and some fruit trees. Right now we're thinking dwarf apple, pear, peach, fig, persimmon, and pomegranate. Just depends on how many holes my husband can dig in this rock.  Can't wait!

Pictures to come soon......