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Home Made Fries, no Deep Fryer Required!

Alright y’all, I know this post was supposed to be about making stuff from free food you get, but I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and I didn’t get to that post when I was supPOST to so now it’s POSTponed. LOL those are terrible puns.

Anywho I really am postponing that bit because I had to talk about POTATOES!! If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know that a lot of my recipes call for potatoes. They are cheap, they are easy, and they are probably Hubbins favorite food besides meat. He’s always up for some potatoes. So when Safeway had them for 97 CENTS for ten pounds, I bought 20 pounds, of course. And now we’ve been eating so many potatoes and honestly I’m a little over it. We’ve had Potato Leek Soup, and coming soon is colcannon. We also had loaded mashed potatoes and I’m sure we’ll have baked potatoes.. and potatoes and potatoes and potatoes. Ugh.

But LAST night Hubbins made dinner and he made deelishhhus home made french fries!!! And while it may seem daunting, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. And you probably have all the tools you need on hand! We don’t have very many fancy gadgets, and we often start a recipe only to go “oops we need a…” and are left improvising. Nothing will beat my impromptu kitchen scale for ridiculousness, however.

Here’s what you need: a heavy duty pot or dutch oven (we use one like this), some sort of way to retrieve the fries, either tongs, a fancy skimmer, or just a simple sieve like we use, bowls, paper towels or thin kitchen towels, and a candy thermometer. If you want to get fancy you can use a french fry slicer, we actually have a really old one that I found for free at a garage sale. It does make the fries uniform and quicker to produce, but a knife works just as well. That’s it! Now the fun begins. This recipe comes from the book Real Irish Food, which has a lot of traditional Irish recipes written by an Irish guy. One of the best things about Ireland was the little chippy restaurants everywhere with fresh, hot, straight-from-the-neighbors-farm chips (fries for us Muricans). So presumably fresh, local, home-grown spuds would taste even better, but cheap .97 Safeway russets work just fine too.

First, prep your taters. Peel (or don’t, we don’t) and cut into thick fry shapes. Toss them into cold water while they wait.

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ready to go in the pot!
Heat your oil. He suggests lard for the best flavor, but we use canola because it’s cheap and practical for us. Heat about 2 quarts to 330 degrees F. Do make sure your pan is deep enough that when you add the potatoes you don’t overflow, because it will bubble up. Not that I would know.

Dry your potatoes with a large towel, and then cook in a few batches for the first fry. You don’t want them to crowd. Or bubble over. Not that ours have ever bubbled over. Of course not. I’m just sayin.  Add some potatoes carefully to the oil and fry for five minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove them and place in a bowl lined with paper (or regular towels when you start making fries and realize you don’t have paper towels) towels to drain. Continue with the rest of the potatoes. (I didn’t specify an amount of potatoes, make as many or as few as you like!!) You may need to wait between batches for the oil to heat back up to 330.

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second fry
Once the first fry is done, raise the temp to 375 degrees F. Put the chips back in, in slightly larger batches this time, and fry an additional 1-2 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove and drain on fresh towels, then season with salt. Then eat them, noisily and with gusto. (That bit is optional)

The end! You can also make fried fish at the same time, or chicken strips, or we even tried fried pickles once. (strange but kinda good) Really anything you can think of, you can probably fry right in your kitchen. It isn’t too difficult, and fresh fries are soooo good! Try some tonight! (I’m making spaghetti though, because I need a break from all the potatoes.)

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Get your Berries for Nothin’ and your Crisp for Free

Hullo! Last time I started talking about how to get food for FREE and what to do when you get it! This time I’ll be talking about berries.

Berries are EXPENSIVE in the store. They are fragile and short-lived and delicious. So how can you get your hands on a bushel of berries for NOTHING? Pick them yourself! Picking berries or any wild food is so rewarding. I have long been enamored with foraging, identifying and harvesting food you find in your neighborhood or in a park or on the side of the road. There’s something very freeing and satisfying about not relying on anyone else to provide food for you. I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person who could survive in the wild on my own with what I rustle up myself.

The reality of this is that I’m usually too much of a wuss to eat anything I find.

And that’s actually probably true of most people. It’s SCARY to eat a thing you find in the woods. The store labels things with bright colors and fancy fonts that say, “Eat me! I’m safe!” But a leaf growing from the ground says, “Maybe I’m safe! Maybe your tongue will swell and your skin will erupt in rashes!” Fortunately, most edible berries are very easy to find, identify, and enjoy, without fear of death.

Now I’m sure that many people don’t live where berries flourish on highway on-ramps and in every empty field, but I’m very grateful that I do. Here in Washington, my very favorite berry, the blackberry, grows and prospers just about everywhere. And I mean everywhere. On roadsides, empty lots, in parks, and pretty much anywhere you don’t want them. Towards the end of summer big, juicy clusters of purpley-black berries hang for the pickin’ anywhere you go. I refuse to buy blackberries in the store because there are SO MANY you can pick yourself with just a little effort! If you happen to live where you can pick your own blackberries, you definitely should. Just stay away from spots they might be really contaminated, like the freeway on-ramp. Parks, ball fields, and quiet roads are usually good spots.

Once you have all your delicious berries, what can you do with them? Eat them fresh and warm off the vine while picking them! But if you can restrain yourself, blackberries are excellent in pies, crisps, crumbles, and cobblers. I won’t post a recipe because I never use the same one. I probably should narrow it down to a favorite, but  I usually look one up in the moment. Pick your dessert of choice, and go for it.

Blackberries make excellent jam. If you don’t mind the crunchiness of seed wild berries, just make your jam as you usually would. You can also seed them if you like to make more of a jelly. Last year I made a spiced blackberry jam, and this year we experimented with jalapeno blackberry. It’s really good, but we wimped out on the jalapenos a little. It could have used more heat. We also made a bunch of blackberry syrup, which I talked about in this post: Farm Fresh Italian Sodas and a Sad Farewell. AND of course. Spiced blackberry brandy: Yummy Yummy Spiced Blackberry Brandy Cordial . I didn’t get to drink any of the cordial last summer when I was pregnant but oooh is it ever good. Of course you can also freeze some berries so in the dead of winter you can have a taste of summer sunshine.

If you have oodles of patience and live where they grow, huckleberries usually spring up in a lot of easily accessible places too. What is a huckleberry? They are similar to a blueberry, but smaller. Some are dark and shiny, and others are lighter and a dusty blue. What they all are is a pain to pick. They are little, so it takes a long time to fill a bucket. Plus often there aren’t very many ripe ones in a cluster, and it’s easier to strip the cluster than pick the individual ones out, but then you have to sort them later… it’s a mess. However, it is FREE FOOD, and they are very very tasty. I found that they are great in pancakes because they hold their shape a little better that blueberries. They add a sweet-tart pop to the pancake. They also freeze really well and do good in the above-mentioned desserts on their own or mixed with another berry.

Where we live salal also grows prolifically, and apparently you can eat salal berries, which I never knew before this summer. I found a recipe for some fruit leather, where you mix salal berries with other berries, and the salal helps it stay fresh longer. Or something. Perhaps next summer I’ll experiment with that. This winter I’ll just sip my cordial and some Italian sodas, and plan for next years berry harvest.

Next time in the free food series I’ll talk about apples, pears, and one other surprising food you might have growing in your yard right now!

 

FREE! The Best Price for Food

I have a clear memory of getting something for free, maybe my first freebie. I don’t know how old I was, but I remember being in an antique store, and there was a trunk that said “Free” on it, filled with some random goodies. There was a little glass vase with a handle, and I could NOT believe it was free! Someone was just giving it away?! My mom had me check at the counter, where I found out that yes, it WAS in fact free, and they even wrapped it up for me so it wouldn’t break. Amazing!!

Free is still my favorite cost, and of course it is, because getting something for FREE is the best! It’s especially rewarding when that free thing is something useful. And what could be more useful that food?

Free food comes in many forms, and over the next couple of weeks I’m going to describe some ways you might acquire free food, and what to do with it when you do. Specifically I’ll be talking about free produce, which generally comes as a gift from someone, or you forage for it. (Foraging combines free with self-sufficiency which makes it a double whammy!) For this first post I’m going to talk about zucchini.

ZUCCHINI? Blech! Seriously, I hate squash. Pretty much any squash product except pumpkin pie, and even then it needs lots of whipped cream. Zucchini has a reputation too, as that never-ending garden product that you beg your neighbors to take off your hands and secretly hide in your friends cars. Seriously, why do people keep growing the stuff? No doubt you or someone you love has received an unwanted zucchini. Once the initial shock has passed, you can reevaluate your choice of friends and hide in creative ways when the squash season is in full swing.

However, believe it or not, there ARE things you can do with zucchini that don’t include building a catapult and launching them off a freeway overpass, as fun as that sounds. Here are two things I like to do with randomly acquired zucs.

First. Believe it or not. Because I don’t. Grilled zucchini is actually edible! (If you’re reading this post and you really, really, TRULY like zucchini, one, liar!! two, sorry to offend) I discovered this sometime last year, which inspired me to grow our own, which I will not be doing again, because they just go crazy. But with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, a few slices of grilled zucchini aren’t bad.

I also like zucchini fritters! These are actually really tasty. Here’s what you do. First, grate your zucchini and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for ten minutes or so and then squeeze it in cheesecloth or press in a sieve to remove as much water as possible.

There are TONS of zucchini fritter recipes out there, and so you can kind of just experiment. What we did was mix our zucchini (one large or two small grated) with a little flour and some panko. I don’t find that exact measurements are needed, but of course, if you do, probably like a 1/4 cup of each. Salt and pepper to your taste, and two eggs. I’ve seen recipes with baking powder, but I didn’t use it. If you have parmesan cheese you can sub it in for the panko. Add some sliced green onions if you want. Want it spicy? Maybe a touch of cayenne or smoked paprika. Once you get your mix how you want it, heat some oil in a skillet. Form the mix into balls and press them flat, then fry for a few minutes each side. Best served warm. Serve with sour cream or yogurt or just some buttah on top. Easy and tasty and kids love them too!

One last super useful thing to do with zucchini is to stretch your ground meat. Whether you just don’t have a big meat budget, you’re trying to eat less meat, or you’re just trying to eat more veggies, this is perfect. Grate and drain zuc as above. Mix with ground meat. Done! We made a three pound pack of meat into four pounds plus ten ounces by adding three zucchinis. Once you cook up the meat with seasonings, you don’t notice the addition of zucchini instead of more meat. Perfect for stir frys or taco meat, maybe even burgers, but I haven’t tried it.

What do you do with all your extra zucchinis??

Next week we’ll talk berries and foraging!

Oh and just for fun, here is me last year at 19 weeks pregnant, when my app told me my baby was the size of a zucchini, and I picked this thing from the garden that day. And I wondered just how big she would get if this was 19 weeks! 😉

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Garden Tomatillo Salsa

What in the world are tomatillos?? They look like firm green tomatoes wrapped in a papery husk, but they have a unique taste all their own. I haven’t discovered very many things to do with them yet, but I HAVE discovered that they are so ridiculously easy to grow!! In fact, if some rogue tomatillos fall into your garden bed and either decompose there, or some get mixed into your compost, the odds are that you’ll get some volunteers the next year that will produce just as nicely as the original plant. I had two big plants pop up in my cucumber boxes this year. You can stake them or use a cage like a tomato but they’ll pretty much just grow by themselves.

My favorite thing to do with tomatillos thus far is to make salsa! Just this year I’ve experimented with oven roasting them, and I have to say, it’s amazing. And easy! Here’s my recipe for oven roasted tomatillo and tomato salsa.

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all homegrown except the garlic and lime!
Take as many tomatillos as you have (about a pound for full tomatillo salsa, less if it’s mixed with tomatoes), a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, and some peppers. The amount of peppers depends on how hot you like it. I used a jalapeno and a hungarian hot wax, both with the seeds removed, and it’s pretty warm. Peel and rinse the tomatillos (they are kind of sticky) and cut them in half. Cut and seed the peppers, and peel and cut the onion. Leave the skin on the garlic for roasting. Put on a dry baking sheet and broil on high for about 5-7 minutes until you get a little blackening on your veg.

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Mix all the roasted ingredients (peel the garlic now!) and use your favorite food chopping device to whiz them up. Add juice of half a lime, and a half bunch of cilantro, and as many tomatoes as you like to fill out your salsa. Eat!! I like it warm, but the flavors really get a chance to meld when you cool it for a while.

We’re using it on taco salad tonight, but a quick and easy recipe is to take a batch of salsa (I’ve only done this with full tomatillo versions of salsa) and mix in a can of cream of mushroom soup. Layer corn tortillas, meat of choice, cheese, and the sauce to make a tasty batch of enchiladas!

Yum yum!!

Grow Your Own Irish Dinner

Several years ago I visited Ireland with my sister and our long-time friend. One of my absolute favorite parts was climbing the mountain Benbulben. The elevation is just over 1700 feet, making it not quite a hundred feet taller than Green Mountain, which is a small peak you can climb that’s about a half hour from my house. It’s just a couple miles to the top, and it’s an easy enough hike that you aren’t totally dead at the end. How hard could climbing this little Irish hill be?

Well it turns out, it was pretty hard. Benbulben is kind of a wedge-shaped tabletop mountain, and as you can see from the picture above, it’s got some pretty steep cliffs there. (Those little colored dots are the three of us girls) In order to climb it, we had to traverse along the side of the mountain to the point of the wedge, around the other side, to an easier spot to work our way up. Then we walked across the TOTALLY flat top, to the other side, and slip-and-slided our way down. Also, there are no TRAILS, we just picked our way up and down little crevasses and over barbed wire fences and past scared sheep and through a nasty cold rain and wind storm that kicked up as we approached the top. And we were all wearing thin little tennis shoes, while we splorged across a mucky, nasty, oozy bog. SO MUCH FUN!

It was. It really was. It was hard, and gross at times, and my sister kept saying, “are you ok…?” because I guess my face was showing a rather un-fun attitude, but it was a blast. I climbed a crazy mountain! With no trails! With soggy feet! I climbed barbed wire fences! My friend took the best picture of me that’s ever been seen and then promptly lost her camera somewhere on the backside of the mountain! Climbing Benbulben was a crazy adventure, and a whole story on it’s own.

But today we’re talking about FOOD! Why am I talking about a mountain? Well, I was reminded of our glorious hiking adventure yesterday and all of our fun Irish adventures, so I decided to talk about quick and easy Irish meal you can grow in your own yard! I’m going to be honest, I did not have two of the three items grown yet so they are from the store. However, they ARE growING currently, so by fall I can make this all from the garden. What is it?

Colcannon! There are many different recipes out there, with different ingredients. According to an Irish cookbook I have the ONLY way to make it REAL colcannon is with kale, but we don’t like kale, so no kale for us. Also his recipe calls for scallions, and I found great success with leeks. This is another of my non-recipe recipes, so just do what you feel! It’s just food, man.

 

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How to Make Colcannon (my way)

You will need: Potatoes. Probably any kind will do. I use russet usually, but I have purple ones growing and I think that’ll be quite fun. Cabbage or kale. Apparently kale is traditional, I used a lovely purple cabbage. Leeks or green onions. I like the flavor of leeks and I have a lot of them, but I also used green onions. Salt, pepper, milk or cream, butter.

Wash, peel, and boil your potatoes as you would for mashed potatoes. Note I am not giving any amounts. You should have MORE potato than cabbage/kale. So decide how many you’re feeding, and go from there. I think I used six big potatoes because this was our whole meal, but it makes a good side too. While the potatoes boil, start some water for your cabbage. Cut it roughly, and boil it too, for about ten minutes to soften. I used about a half gallon bag full of cabbage with my six potatoes. While all that is going on, heat a cup of your milk or cream in a small saucepan. (If you’re making a big batch, up the amount accordingly). Don’t let it boil! As it heats, add three-four tablespoons of butter. Chop your leeks or green onions finely, and add them to the warming milk and butter mix, and simmer for a few minutes. Don’t cook too high or you’ll get a weird filmly brown milk substance. Drain the potatoes. Drain the cabbage and let it cool a little, then chop it up a little finer. Mix potato, cabbage, and pot of milky-buttery-leeky-oniony goodness together and mash! Add plenty of salt and tons and tons of pepper, and then more pepper because I’m really weird with all my pepper. Top with more butter for serving!

The end. That’s all there is to it! It’s essentially mashed potatoes, with some cabbage and onions. As I perused the vegetable section of my Irish cookbook, it seemed to me that a great many of the potato dishes are in fact just mashed potatoes with slight variances. Or mashed potatoes cooked into a different dish. Or a dish topped with mashed potatoes. Like seriously, it’s Ireland. It’s all about the potato. Which is good, because my Hubbins loves some him some potato. And onions. So stay tuned for more potato and onion recipes, because honestly, we eat them a lot. Potatoes and onions are cheap after all, so save some money, and eat like the Irish!

OHHH and for a real treat, make this dish with some Kerrygold butter, which is in fact the best butter ever made on earth.

Sláinte!

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Just another Benbulben picture for kicks

Drying Onions for Storage

We sure love alliums in this family. Onions, leeks, garlic.. oftentimes all in the same dish. They are cheap to buy, and also super simple to grow, especially leeks and green onions, that can stay in the ground all winter even and be just fine. But what about storage onions? Is it difficult to prep onions to keep?

Great news! Storage onions are super easy too. The easiest way to grow them is with onion sets, which look like little dried up mini-onions. There are tons of onion varieties, the ones we planted were called “Stuttgarter” and honestly, they came from a box I bought at Fred Meyer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but last year we picked onions as they grew and used them fresh, and we still ended up with about 16 pounds of onions that lasted us all winter long! I don’t think I bought onions until.. March maybe, from last summer. And now that our onions have grown again, I won’t need to for a good long while.

But how do you prep the onions for storage? Basically, you pull them out of the ground and let them dry. You need nice warm/hot weather for this, and a dry, somewhat sheltered area or a space in a garage. When your onion stems topple over on their own, they are ready to be pulled. (See photo below) Pull them out of the ground, when they are dry (it’s best if you haven’t watered them in a day or two, but our onions got watered regularly as they are right in the middle of our garden, and we just waited until the next morning before watering and they were fine)

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you can see the toppled over stems ready to be pulled! and some garbage?!? 
Last year we laid all the onions out on an old cabinet door propped between the wheelbarrow and a chair or something. THIS year we’ve gotten fancier, and we’ll be laying them out on an old picnic table. Movin’ on up. You can use a sheet and lay them on the ground on a warm driveway or in a garage. I wanted them up and off the ground to keep them dry just in case it rained. Then they sat out back in our covered car port for a couple of weeks drying in the heat. The exact time to sit out is not specific, basically you leave them until the stalks are all shrively and there doesn’t seem to be any moisture in them anymore. You can see in the top picture last years onions, a few newer ones thrown in with some very shriveled ones. Once they are nice and dry, cut the stems off close to the bulb, and cut the excess roots off. Dust them off a little if you like, and stack them gently in a box for storage. Store where you would usually keep onion, a cool, dark place.

You could no doubt get all fancy with your onion drying and storage, and if you wanna, go for it. This was the easiest way to do it, and it provided us with onions for like half the year! We’re going to replant some sets as we clear out the onion box, and those we’ll probably use smaller and straight from the garden as summer and fall progress.

I hope you find this post a-peel-ing! haaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..

 

Farm Fresh Italian Sodas and a Sad Farewell

It is with a heavy heart that I begin this post. I lost a dear friend today. My hot pink berry colander.

AUGH! I was headed down to the garden to pick berries for this recipe, when somehow I dropped my little metal berry colander for no apparent reason, and it just so happened to land on this random hunk of cement paver that is on the side of our house. Snap, Crackle, Pop. I was so upset! I still am! I love that little colander. It was a present from my mom, and it has so many uses! The worst part is, I was trying to compose a sentence about the merits of a berry colander and why everyone should get one when BAM! Colander down. If it had landed LITERALLY ONE INCH to the left, all would have been fine. Hubbins says I can get a new one, but it just won’t be the same. Farewell old friend. *sniffle sniffle*

Ok, colander funeral out of the way, today we’re making Italian Sodas!! Yum!! They are super easy to make, and you’ll wonder why you never did it before! All you need is a few simple ingredients to make a deliciously fancy looking beverage.

First, the fruit. We’ve been making these out of our garden grow berries, raspberry, or raspberry mixed with boysenberry. Oh man boysenberries are good. This was all the berries I could find today:

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Not very many, but you only need one cup of fruit, so I rounded it out with a peach from Trader Joe’s. You could use blueberries or strawberries, or OOH blackberries, which I will be doing when foraging season starts in just a couple weeks! Cherries… nectarines.. pretty much any fruit can be syrup. If it’s a good jam, go for it.

Mix one part fruit, one part sugar, one part water. I used one cup each. Simmer over low heat, mashing the fruit as you go. Berries break down much quicker than the peach did, so your cook time will be variable. Just make sure your fruit breaks down pretty well and your sugar is all dissolved, and don’t burn it! When it looks sufficiently cooked down, strain through a mesh seive (or layers of cheesecloth if you don’t have a sieve). I mushed the last of the fruit bits to make sure all of the syrup is out.

Once your syrup is done, let it cool. My 3 cups of starting ingredients made 1.5 cups syrup. Fill your desired glass with ice cubes. Add some syrup, more for a stronger flavor, less for a light flavor. One batch of the syrup make two sodas each for me and Hubbins, so we use just over 1/3 of a cup syrup. Add about the same amount of club soda. Top with a splash of heavy cream.  Stir to combine. Top with some whipped cream if desired. That’s it! Enjoy!!!

Oh and you really should get a berry colander, like this one, because they’re super handy for a lot of things. But you should probably NOT drop it on cement and break it. Just a tip.

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Knit Yourself a Rainbow!

Or knit one for your babe, but honestly, this blankie is gorgeous and I’d like to steal it for myself. Not so much a pattern as a recipe, as most of my knitting projects end up being. You need a whole bunch of colors of one yarn. The one I used was a baby specific yarn, so it’s machine washable and very soft. I can’t remember the exact brand, and I think it’s discontinued anyway. So just pick what you like 🙂

To make the ombre pattern, you might need to prep your yarns. I used ten colors, each three times. (with the exception of the red and purple, which were only two times each). If you know how much yarn you can get out of each skein, you can just decide how many rows of each color you want to do, and knit from two balls at a time. I didn’t know how many, and I wanted them all to be the same, so I rolled all my yarns into balls beforehand. I weighed all my balls on a kitchen scale, to make sure they were the same. It actually worked really well. I wound two strands each ball, starting with red/red. Then red/pink, pink/pink, pink/orange/, orange/orange, orange/yellow, yellow/yellow, yellow/light green, and so on through all the colors. Then you can begin!

It’s knit in my favorite stitch, seed or moss stitch, which is knit over an odd number of stitches. I think I did maybe 91? I can’t remember exactly as I knit most of this while pregnant. Cast on as many stitches as you want to make your blanket size, swatching if necessary. (I rarely do, I’m not a very particular knitter.. leads to many odd looking projects). I do know I used a size 15 needle! Cast on all your many stitches, making sure it’s an odd number! Then get knitting! Seed stitch is knit one, purl one, all the way down the row, ending with knit one. Repeat every row. Super easy. (Note: You CAN knit seed stitch on an even number of stitches. First row would be K1, P1 and repeat. Second row P1, K1 and repeat. I don’t do this because I’m lazy and I don’t like remembering to switch each row. So if the exact number of stitches is not important, I use odd numbers.)

I did ten rows in each color combo. Here are the results!

Isn’t it beautiful?? And there’s darlin’ Lil’ O snuggie in her blanket, with her paci somehow spit up on her head. She did that herself.

You can very easily change the look of this blanket with different colors, maybe a neutral scheme (not me. never neutrals. but maybe you.) Or less colors and bigger swatches of them. It’s a simple blanket recipe that makes a lovely heirloom project to be cherished by your little ones or yourself!

A note about needle size: I used giant size 15’s, again, because I’m kinda a lazy knitter and I want to get done quicker. Her chubby little baby fingers do fit through the holes, which doesn’t bother me now that she’s older. She can manage to pull some of the strands lose, and I have to pull it around a little to fix it. So if having some loose strings bothers you, use a smaller needle. This will require more cast on stitches, more rows for each color, and ultimately, more yarn. But it’ll be a tighter knit.

Have fun!

The Importance of Seed Saving

What is seed saving, and why should you bother? First, what is it? Seed saving means not harvesting all of your crop each time, and letting it go to seed, or saving the seeds out of what you harvest to use for next years crop. That’s the basics, and while there are some really simple seeds to save (for instance, when you clean a jalapeno, put the seeds you scrape out on a paper towel and let them dry for a couple days. Bam. Saved your seeds), there’s actually a lot of complexity to some of them.

We’ve started doing some research on seed saving, and while this post isn’t going to go into much detail, one neat thing we learned is that you can cultivate and save seeds that will grow best in your yard. You do it by (again this is the bare-bones explanation) continuously saving seeds each year from the plants that do the best. You can also experiment with hybridization and other stuff, and I’ll really have to do a longer and more detailed post later!!!

But WHY should you save seeds? As I mentioned, one reason is to cultivate the best crop for your garden. But more importantly, it leads to your food independence. An interesting book I’ve read called Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation  talks about having access to your own food stores as being the ultimate in self-sufficient living. We depend so much on grocery stores these days, and the author states that if there were some disaster to occur, those stores only carry three days worth of food at a time, and what will we do after that? She also says that many think “oh I can grow food if that ever happens,” but again, where will you get the seeds when the stores are empty? We also watched a really interesting documentary called Seed: the Untold Story (it was on PBS but it has vanished from online, you can  stream it for a cost) that tells the tale of how what used to be a very diverse food supply has been mainstreamed down to very few food varieties, and many of the older heirloom varieties are disappearing. Also, buying seeds each year costs money!

So! Take what you will from all that, there’s a lot of different reasons you might consider  saving seeds.

As I mentioned, things like peppers are super easy to seed-save from. Today I’ll tell you how to save seeds from green onions! One thing to note is that a lot of plants require you to leave them in the ground for two years to reap the seeds. Green onions, leeks, and carrots are a few examples. The onions pictured above are our green onions from last summer that overwintered. As this spring and summer progressed, the flowers dried and puffed open, exposing the lovely black seeds! My sweet Hubbins harvested the flowers, put them in a paper sack, and shook the dickens out of them. He then sort-of winnowed them, by sifting them between two bowls and letting the excess flower bits blow away. Not all of the blossoms were fully opened, so he has them ripening up a little in the paper sack, to try to save as many as possible.

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seeds saved so far, you can see more seeds in the blossoms! 
We won’t be storing them in baby food jars forever (even though it looks super cute) because that takes up too much space, but he found a nifty origami tutorial for seed saving envelopes on YouTube, so we’ll probably make some of those. All in all, it took him maybe 20-30 minutes to get what we have so far, and that’s way more seeds than you would get in one envelope already! I hope to never buy green onion seeds again!

So, that’s it! Green onions are so easy to grow, and so easy to save seeds from! Now when all the stores are empty, we can eat onions to our hearts content, and no one will bother us, because we’ll smell super bad.

GO SAVE THE SEEDS!!

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Country Living, City Style

Hello! It may seem like I’ve forgotten about all my loyal readers (hi mom!) but I’ve just been super busy with the baby of course. I have been planning some new posts, and getting photos and such prepped for them, but in the meantime I thought I’d just do a quick photo gallery of some of our suburban farmy fun! Up above you can see my lovely herb box in full bloom! I picked some to dry, more on that later!

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sweet baby o’s cloth dipes blowing in the breeze
Does anyone know how to make cloth diapers NOT be super crispy after they line dry???

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yummmmy!
Bath and Body Works has nothing on MY sun-ripened raspberries! They keep spreading every year! I dream of being a berry mogul!

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kitchen cleaning supplies
New dish soap recipe I tried out, I’ll let you know how it works! Baking soda for stubborn stains, and of course, some lovely Easy Peasy Hand Knit Dish Cloths!

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ooh nice garden clog
These are our green onions that overwintered from last summer, you can see the seeds popping out of the flowers, Hubbins is going to harvest them, which we learned you do by winnowing them on a breezy day! Neat!

Well there’s a quick peek at some of the self-sufficient activities we’ve been doing around here. Stay tuned for more!

And here’s Sherlock for good measure:giphy