Friday, August 20, 2010

Mother Nature 1; Chris 0

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time looking at gardening books, magazines and web pages.  It is beginning to cool down here and my thoughts always turn to the garden this time of year.

Our vegetable garden was a mostly a bust this year.  Every cucumber was bitter, the ground squirrels (we have at least a hundred of them) got every tomato, and my zucchini produced not one squash!  Can you believe it?  Zucchini, which I am usually giving away by the basket full, DID NOTHING!

The corn is ready and the few ears we have tasted are good.  The squirrels don't seem to like the eggplant, so perhaps we'll get a few of those.  Basically, I'm just finished with the vegetable garden for this year...

On the bright side, I have developed some plans to rework the landscaping around the house.  I've been trying to turn what is basically California pasture land into an English garden.  NOT WORKING, the grass always wins! So, I am going to defer to Mother Nature and try to do thing "her way"!

The photos below show one idea I intend to incorporate on a blank wall between our two back decks.  Don't you love it?  A trellis similar to this will provide interest without giving the grass any place to grow!  There, take that you darned grass!

I realize that a structure like this will require maintenance to stay looking nice, but I am willing to do that.  Maybe the whole garden needs to go vertical??  Ha!

What gardening challenges have you had this year? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Great Giveaway!

Jenny over at Nourished Kitchen has partnered with Cultures for Health to present a great Giveaway!

If you've been following my "adventures in fermentation", you might be interested in fermenting your own pickles, beets or preserved lemons, the traditional way.  The flavors are so wonderful  and the probiotics in naturally fermented food are so good for you!

Just look at all this great stuff!

Head on over to Nourished Kitchen & enter to win all these cool tools to start your own "adventure"!

Good Luck!  Chris

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Back!

Got into Sacramento Int'l Airport @ 9:50 pm last night.  We were home by 11:30 pm, after dropping off a girlfriend. 

Jubilee was awesome!  It is fun to be recognized for your achievements and to see what the future holds for Tupperware! 

Disney World was so cool.  (Actually, it was drippin', sweaty hot, but you know what I mean) I can't wait to earn my WOW Trip.  I'll have to decide between Hawaii or Disney world, one week , all expenses paid!  Tough choice, eh?  I have lots to "show & tell".  I'll probably do that over on Today's Organized Kitchen blog, starting in a day or two.  I need to catch my breath and do laundry. LOL!

In the meantime, here's a video that was used at Jubilee to launch a line of new products.  It is really fun!

Meow! Chris

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gone to a BIG PARTY!

I'm leaving Wednesday morning for Orlando, FL to attend Tupperware's "Party to the Future" Jubilee.  We are staying on the Disney World property, and I've never been there!  I'll come back with all the news about new Tupperware for Fall & the Holidays!

In the meantime, if you're a Tupperware fan, you can enter to win some cool Tupperware by becoming a Follower of my TW blog, "Today's Organized Kitchen".  Cruise on over to see the details and enter to win.

I'll "see" you Monday!  I'm sure photos will be involved.  You know how parties are...

Cheers!  Chris

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Secret Recipes!

As I am learning more about real, traditional foods & cooking, I have spent time hopping from blog to website & back again, meeting all sorts of fabulous folks! I came across Drew Kime by following a link from another blog.  I am so glad I did! 

One of the first things I read at "How To Cook Like Your Grandmother", was a post about No Secret Recipes!  I hooted when I saw it.  Drew has put into print what I have always thought about this subject.  I could not have said it better, even if I tried.  So, just click on the picture below and you'll be taken to Drew's post.  Do yourself a favor and don't leave without looking all around his website & blog.

To all of you wonderful cooks out there who share your hearts by sharing your recipes and lovely photos, thank you, THANK YOU!

To those of you who are not so generous...what Drew said!

Eat Well,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do You Sew?

Clothing that is...

I used to sew a lot of my own clothing.  Haven't made anything (to wear) for years. Curtains, slipcovers, pillows and crafty things, has been the extent of it. 

I think one of the reasons is the lack of fabric stores.  It used to be so much fun to browse the small local shops, which have all but disappeared.  Oh sure, we have the giant stores, but the amount of dressmaker fabric is VERY limited for some reason.  No one is sewing their wardrobe these days? We also have a several really fun quilt shops, but unless you dress entirely in calico, they don't provide much in the way of "wearable" fabric, except for an cute blouse or peasant skirt.

For some reason, I am still fascinated with sewing patterns anyway.  I belong to Club BMV which allows me to purchase patterns from Butterick, McCalls & Vogue at a discount.  I pay, not much, to belong - I'm nuts! I receive email notifications of new patterns at least every couple of months.  I click into the "club" to see what's new & dream of having the time and skill to fashion a complete wardrobe for myself!

Today, as I was browsing in the Vogue section, I noticed a suit pattern in the "Vintage Vogue" section.  This pattern is circa 1947, and I am in love!  This may be the one pattern that pushes me over the top into sewing heaven (or hell).  I am not convinced I even know how to sew such a complicated garment.  Where will I wear it? it really too vintage for 2010?  I'm actually just one year less vintage myself!

What do you think?  I think I'll need a hat!



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adventures in Fermentation

I am learning a lot from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook!  I have a list of recipes about 2 pages long that I want to try.  This morning early, I made creme fraiche.  I wanted to try it since it is so easy.  But I also wanted the whey which is a by-product of the recipe to make sauerkraut.  Whey is used extensively in the NT book. 

According to Jenny at The Nourished Kitchen Blog, "Fermented and cultured foods are rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals." We all need more of these!  Besides, I love sauerkraut.

I took photos as I made my creme fraiche.  It is still sitting over the strainer, tied up in cheesecloth, releasing the last of it's whey goodness.  I'll post about the finished product in a few days.

The sauerkraut process was fun!  The photos that follow show the process and the results, so far.  It has to ferment for a while...*Ü*  You can find a recipe in the NT cookbook or on The Nourished Kitchen Blog.

First, I cut 1 medium cabbage in thin shreds.  If you don't have your grandmother's cabbage shredder, a knife is best.  The food processor may cause too much juice to be extracted from the cabbage.

Then, add 1 tbsp. of sea salt, 1 tbsp. caraway seed, 4 tbsp. of whey (from my batch of creme fraiche).

Next you pound it!  And I mean pound, for 10 minutes, with a wooden "pounder" (who knew there was such a thing?) or meat mallet.  As you can see, the juices begin to release from the cabbage and it is about half the volume of the before pounding photo.

This is the sauerkraut packed in a glass quart jar, ready to sit and ferment on the counter for 3 days.  After that it goes into the refrigerator for cold storage.  It is edible after 3 days, but improves with more time.  I'll taste it tomorrow, then give it a couple of weeks to ferment into something really delicious!

Cheers!  Chris

Edited to add:  I tasted the sauerkraut today (after 3 days on the counter) and it was delicious!  I put it in the fridge and will leave it another week or so.  Then it's pork & sauerkraut for dinner!