Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It’s a 75% World!

The plan, to keep me focused and to make it a challenge, is to eat at least 75% of our food, by weight from local sources.  That starts with our yard and then goes out to local farms which offer CSA’s and even delivery of their goods.  There is a wealth of food grown in our area so most standard vegetables and fruits will not be so hard.  Finding grains locally grown will be a little harder.  Managing cost will be the other challenge.

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As you can see above, our own back yard offers some selection.  Our chickens provide us with eggs.  They have been molting and are just starting to lay again.  We are in the transition to fall and winter gardening.  That can be a slimmer time, but there are still choices to be had.  We have lettuce and greens of all kinds and will be planting onions and garlic next weekend.  We participate in a CSA and also receive veggies from a farmer who takes orders for specific items and delivers those once a week.  You can’t ask for much more than that.  There are other sources available in the area.  I will be updating the links to include some of the new ones.

Yesterday, we managed to do a pretty good job of local eating.  Greens from our garden and cornbread and local sausage for lunch.  We still have a cherry tomato producing and had eggplant, peppers and squash from the CSA, So we are relishing the end of summer with ratatouille, a cherry tomato salad and a little more of that local sausage for supper.

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Local Eating Becomes the Center…..Again.

We are embarking once more on focusing on eating local, by which I mean anything from the state of Georgia, but the closer to Covington, the better.  We have lots of farmers in our area who grow some amazing organic and Certified Naturally Grown produce.  There are many foods to choose from, dairy, meat, vegetables and fruit that are sustainably and humanely grown.  I’ll add to and update my resources and post recipes and tell you about our progress in this adventure from which I had taken a leave of absence.  I’m ready to be there again.

 

The first Sungold tomato from our garden.  It was delicious.

The first Sungold tomato from our garden. It was delicious.

My husband brought my garden back to life about 2 1/2 years ago.  We working on making it a source of a large percentage of what we eat.  I don’t think we will ever be able to survive on it for more than a few weeks at a time, but we have farmer friends from whom we can get plenty to supplement what we grow.  I’m excited about embarking on this adventure, once more.  I think our health and our self-sufficiency will be much improved.

The first digging of the potatoes. These are from the first digging of the potatoes.  We are letting most of it go a little longer to get bigger potatoes.  We have roasted them and cooked them with the green beans and made one of my mama’s favorite dishes, parsleyed new potatoes.  All good.  The plan for this week gets finalized this evening.  I’ll be reporting how it goes.

 

Meaty White Beans

This is the first time I’ve had any meat since this thing has started, lots of yogurt and milk and a little cheese.  These were exceptionally good to me.  They are based on a dish that is sold from one of the booths at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year.  It is pretty simple, essentially it is red beans and rice made with white navy beans instead of the red ones.  Everybody has their own special twist to red beans so this is mine.  It blends up amazingly well and only needs a little more chicken broth to get it to slurping consistency.

  • 1 pound dry navy beans, soak overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 6 – 8 oz of cooked ham, chopped

Drain beans and put in crock pot with 1 quart of chicken stock.  Throw in the bay leaf and Italian seaoning and start cooking on high.  Saute all vegetables in olive oil in a skillet, til tender.  Pour into crock pot with beans.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Wipe out the skillet and add a little more olive oil.  Brown sausage in skillet.  Put it in with beans along with the ham.  Let cook on high for at least 4 hours.  Then turn it down to low and let it go 1 to 3 hours longer.  You can eat it like it is if you can open your mouth.  If not, blend it up and it is yummy.

What kind of diet did you say? Liquid Diet

Well, I have really gone and done it this time.  I passed out on Monday and fell and broke my jaw and four front teeth.  On Friday, I have to go to the hospital and have my mouth wired shut.  I will stay that way for 6 weeks.  During that time I can only eat liquids.  That’s right, no crunchy stuff, no chewy bread, no scallion pickles, and no salads.  Ok, now let’s focus on what I can have.  Those soup recipes up in the recipe section actually blend up very nicely.  I can start with that.  I need lots of liquids, fruit juices and water and such.  I’ll need lots of calcium to help with healing.  Lots of protein they say also.  So, my blog will consist of lots of information about liquid diets for the next few weeks.

I made avocado ice cream yesterday.  It was amazingly delicious.  It is very simple and I can let it melt a little and squish it in.  Here’s the recipe, adapted somewhat from Eating Well magazine:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Blend all ingredients together till very smooth.  Put blender container in fridge for at least 1 hour to cool, can leave as long as 8 hours.  Pour into ice cream freezer and follow manufacturers directions.

Believe me, this is good even if you can chew.

Pictures of my Fall Garden

I went out and made some pictures of how things are now.  Mulching of all this area will be done later today.

View of the Backyard Farm

View of the Backyard Farm

Green onions with weedy blackberries in the background.  I've got to clean that out.

Green onions with weedy blackberries in the background. I've got to clean that out.

Little lettuce plants on the haybale bed.

Little lettuce plants on the haybale bed.

More lettuce.

More lettuce.

The last of the Sweet Olive tomatoes.  They just keep making.  I can't pull them up.

The last of the Sweet Olive tomatoes. They just keep making. I can't pull them up.

Mick, the rooster, and Miss Flopsy watching over it all.

Mick, the rooster, and Miss Flopsy watching over it all.

 

We don’t have that big of a yard.  But we manage to produce quite a bit of food.  I’ve always had tomato plants and such as that.  But this year we have really concentrated on bringing more of the yard into food production.  I will continue to spread farther into the flower beds and turn them into vegetable beds.  At least I know what has gone into this.  Next time I’ll take a picture of all the orange bags of leaves that I scarfed up from the cemetery near us.  That’s another story.

Back to Writing

I’ve missed a few days but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on this thing.  Local supplies of milk are changing.  The guy here in Newton County, Johnston Family Farms, is apparently beginning to supply Whole Foods in Atlanta and therefore not supplying the local outlets that he had been.  Now I am having to rearrange my thinking on that and unfortunately travel farther to get milk.  I hope as the demand increases, more dairies will open and there will be more choices for locally produced food.  It is sad that those of us closest to the source cannot buy the goods here.  Green Livin’ Farms produce stand has cut its hours, mostly because of the time of year I think.  I need to go there next weekend and see what they have as far as fall stuff. 

Thank goodness for Mary and the  Denton Flower Farm CSA.  She brings it right to me.  Last week was wonderful.  Lots of greens already coming in.  I’ve got them in my garden also.  I hope they will continue through the winter.  I fertilized them today with fish emulsion.  My lettuces are looking really good.  They are still pretty small but really pretty colors.  I hope they will all thrive. 

Haybales

Haybales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above picture is where my lettuce is growing now.  This was taken right before I planted it.  The haybales have been not so good.  The summer crop was a complete loss.  I did not keep it watered enough.  I’m hoping the lettuce will do better.  For one thing, we are getting more rain now.  And it is easier for me to get out there when it is not so hot.  I’ll post another picture soon of how it looks now.  You can see the chicken pen in the far background and compost bins nearer to the haybale bed.  I’m hoping that as the hay decomposes and I incorporate more compost into them, they will turn into a really lovely raised bed.

More Unavoidable Plastic

 

More Unavoidable Plastic

OK, so you have decided to eat better, eat locally, avoid plastics.  Great. Now comes the real test: What happens when you go to the grocery store or even the farmers market?

Locally raised, pasture fed chickens? Some places. Guess how they are packaged? Can you spell p-l-a-s-t-i-c?  Unless you are going to buy them freshly harvested and even then I suspect a popular option is plastic.

Ditto for all other meat products. One stop-gap measure, re-wrap meat in butcher paper and then re-wrap in plastic. At least then your exposure to the stuff that leaches out of plastic will be reduced.

If you remember to leave enough room for expansion, mason jars have been mentioned as an alternative to using plastic in the freezer.  You have to use the ones with straight sides to make that work.  But that is easy.  I suppose you could pack that meat in glass jars.  I’ll have to try that to see how it works.  Of course most of the grass fed beef and other humanely raised and slaughtered meat comes already frozen, because the demand is not there yet for them to be able to put it out unfrozen.

In other matters, I have a couple of recipes for this transitional season.  The first is a summer recipe that is a classic.  It is for  Julia Child’s Ratatouille.  This is not the same as the one in the rat movie.  That is actually pretty easy to find on the net.  This is fairly labor intensive but is delicious and uses many of the summer vegetables.  Most of these are still coming in but farmers are pulling them out for fall and winter fare.

1/2 lb. eggplant
1/2 lb. zucchini
A 3 qt glass or porcelain bowl
2 tsp salt
 
Peel the eggplant and cut into rounds about 3/4 inch thick.  If they are large eggplants, cut the slices into strips about an inch wide.  Slice the zucchini into 3/4 inch rounds.  If they are large, cut the slices into strips about an inch wide.  Put slices in the bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  I did it in layers so the salt gets on all of it.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain and dry slices on paper towel.
 
A 12 inch enamel or stainless steel skillet
olive oil
 
Using just enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan saute the eggplant and zucchini in batches so that there is only one layer in pan.  Cook about 1 – 2 minutes on each side till they are lightly brown.  Add more olive oil to pan as you do each batch.  Place on a plate and reserve.
 
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 sliced bell peppers, any color
2 – 3 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper
 
In the same skillet cook the onions and peppers slowly in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and a little salt and pepper.
 
1 lb. firm ripe red tomatoes, peeled and sliced long way in strips (romas or amish paste tomatoes work best for this)
salt and pepper
 
Lay tomates on top of onions and peppers.  Add just a little more salt and pepper.  Cover skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Uncover and raise heat to bring juices to boil.  Cook until they have almost all evaporated. 
 
A  2 1/2 qt saucepot or casserole that will work on top of the stove.
3 TB chopped parsley
(I added herbes de provence)
 
Place 1/3 of tomato mixture in the bottom of pot and sprinkle with some of the parsley and seasonings.  Add half of the eggplant and zucchini.  Add 1/3 tomato mixture and seasonings, then the rest of the eggplant mixture.  Put remaining tomato mixture on top with parsley and seasonings. 
 
salt and pepper
 
Cover the pot or casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover and tip to side.  Baste the top of the dish with juices and taste for correct salt and pepper.  Add more if needed.  Cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes basting several more times, until juices have evaporated.  There will be a couple of tablespoons of seasoned olive oil in the bottom.  That’s ok.  Heat must be low so that it does not scorch.
 
You may serve hot, room temperature or cold.  It’s actually better the next day.
And now for a fall recipe
Apple Blue Cheese Salad
1 T white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 T brown mustard or dijon
1 T sugar or maple syrup
1 T olive oil
Whisk together and set nearby.
One apple, whichever local variety you like
Chop into bite sized pieces and drop into the dressing.  Stir to cover so that the apple does not turn dark.
Any variety of loose leaf or small head lettuce that you have in your garden or from a local farmer.  Anything but iceberg or Romaine.  Find a lettuce with some color or at least some character.  Use enough to fill a large salad bowl.  Chop or tear in bite size pieces.
One onion, cut in half and sliced very thin.
2 ounces of blue cheese crumbled
Put sliced onion and blue cheese on top of lettuce.  Pour dressing with apples over all and toss.
This makes 2 servings at our house, probably 4 servings for most other people.  We really like salad.
This is especially yummy.