Real Food, Real Life: City Girl Churns Butter

Alison and her husband Jacob.

Alison and her husband Jacob.

This might be the coolest blog post I’ve written in a long time, if not ever. It’s all about the magical, real essence of butter. Continue reading

Family Beekeeping: Make A Plan for Next Year

bees1daveross

Beekeeping is becoming very popular these days.  Part of the reason is that many people want to get back to the land, grow their own food, and be self sufficient.   Another reason is because the bees are dying, and people want to help.  We’ve all heard about it.  It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder.

The disappearance of bees is frightening because we depend on them for pollination.  It is interesting to note, however, that honey bees are not native to the United States.  They were imported from Europe by the early settlers.  Will we still have food if all the honey bees disappear?  Yes, but not nearly as much.  Honeybees have greatly enhanced our ability to raise large quantities of fruits, nuts, and field crops — so losing them hurts.

Small, well-tended apiaries seem to have a better chance of survival, so it is heartening that many folks are getting involved in this fascinating pursuit.  In fact, many people keep bees in urban settings — even putting hives on roofs of buildings to keep the bees’ flight paths above traffic and away from nearby people. Continue reading

3 Ways To Remember You are Important


Many of you who read my articles on a regular basis know I love recipes, food ideas and gardening. This month I felt the need to make a change to remind us all of something that is very hard to keep in prospective in today’s busy world. We all need to remember and be reminded that we are each important.

To remember you are important sounds like an easy task. It is instead very challenging, especially with the crazy lives we live today. Here are some thoughts — humble as they are — that may be of help.

1. Stop for a few moments every day to enjoy a favorite time. Mine is a sunset;  yours may be sunrise, or noon, or 3pm, or whenever. Step outside or look out the window and observe the colors and watch the movement as the scene is changing so slightly each moment. Stay for the whole show – until the twilight brings down the curtain, the sun completely rises or you simply need to go back to whatever you were doing. This brief break will give you time to breathe and your mind and body a moment to relax. Continue reading

Lactofermenting for the Time-Challenged

Stainless steel bowl available at Lehmans.com.

All the root veggies are washed well, not a speck of soil remains. Then they air-dry. Use a colander, or spread on your counter on a clean dishtowel. Stainless steel bowl for photo spiffiness only! (Lehmans.com has ’em.)

Alrighty then, it’s that time of year. The garden is starting to really gear up and I have more produce than we can eat before it goes bad. My plan for filling the pantry with wholesome and delicious foods that have less than 5 ingredients, none of which came out of a lab, is working.

Pickling for people disinclined to boil vinegar
So, what is a girl to do with all this bounty?

I know, I’ll lacto-ferment it all. I like lacto-fermented veggies, so does the hubbin, and I really actually find cutting up veggies to be enjoyable. I’m weird that way!

And as a completely unrelated bonus, lacto-fermenting things is so incredibly easy that even I can’t mess it up. Though I thought I had and threw out the first batch I ever made: more on that later.

Lacto-fermenting is what creates sauerkraut, kimchi and cocktail onions, to name some of the more commonly known results of the process.

Sandor Katz The Art of Fermentation at Lehmans.com

Make your own healthy, pure lacto-fermented veggies, vinegars, pickles and more! Pick up The Art of Fermentation now at Lehmans.com to get started fast.

It is a bacterial process, utilizing critters that are present in any environment that has not been completely sterilized (it will not work in outer space, so those of you reading this from the Mir Space Station, sorry, try it when you get back home), so yes, when I first got into this process I had to get over my germophobia and embrace the little things (metaphorically speaking). It’s similar to the fermentation that creates alcohol, just with different microbes.

Which brings me to examine exactly how one goes about lacto-fermenting, rather than creating carrot booze accidentally.

We want to attract the right kind of microbe, so we have to create the right kind of environment. Think of it as very, very small game trapping, because the microbes are all there, hanging out together. We want to encourage the lactobacilli, while discouraging the yeasts (alcohol) and other things that would spoil our food. Continue reading