October 9, 2014

rhubarb coffee cake

2014.10_rhubarb coffee cake
Everybody likes to talk about rhubarb when it first makes its debut in the spring. Our winter appetites long for something fresh so we accept this tart vegetable as placeholder in our pies until the real fruits ripen. Then it is forgotten until next spring. But seriously folks, you can sparingly harvest rhubarb through fall as long as you keep enough leaves on the plant so it can come back next year! Spread out the tart vegetable love and enjoy the benefits of continuous harvesting and lazy gardening!

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

October 8, 2014

arugula

2014.10_arugula
Feeling thankful for the thicket of arugula growing along the side of our new patio!

October 5, 2014

galactagogue oatmeal milk stout

2014.10_galactagogue oatmeal milk stout
Way back on Father's Day in June, Eric brewed this oatmeal milk stout and infused it with herbs that promote lactation - fennel, anise, coriander, fenugreek. Honestly, there are hardly enough herbs in it to counteract the anti-lactation properties of the alcohol. Wah-wah sorry mamas! It makes for a good beer name though, right? Plus it's super tasty!

October 4, 2014

plum wine

2014.10_plums
A few weeks ago we picked up 30 pounds of plums from a friend with a plum tree. The plum tree was still weighed down with plums when we left. We hardly made a dent! We used a handful of plums in a plum upside down cake. We dehydrated about 10 pounds of plums into prunes. AND with 20 pounds of plums we made a 5 gallon batch of plum wine using this basic plum wine recipe. We will let you know how the plum wine tastes in about a year!

September 19, 2014

spinach cheddar mini muffins

2014.09_spinach cheddar mini muffins
My little baby is eating!!! Err, attempting to eat. Honestly he is mostly just playing with his food at this point. There is a serious learning curve for getting different shaped and structured foods to your mouth, feeling said things with your mouth, perhaps chewing/gnawing/tasting them, and maybe even swallowing a bit. We are doing the whole baby led weaning thing. For all of you non-baby people, it is a trend towards letting your baby feed themselves what you're eating (minus too much salt or sugar) rather than spoon feeding them purees. Here is a slightly more eggy and less spicy version of a recipe from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook:

Ingredients:
olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 c. + 3 T. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2/3 c. cheddar cheese, grated
2 c. spinach, torn

Saute the onion in butter.  Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and milk and stir into dry ingredients.  Fold in the cooked onion, cheese, and spinach. Distribute into mini muffin tin and bake at 325° for 20 minutes.

September 17, 2014

fresh pressed apple cider

2014.09_fresh pressed apple cider
We planted apple trees last summer. They won't be producing a bounty of fruit for awhile. In the mean time we were lucky to find a post on Craigslist Free for apples in our neighborhood. It's a good permaculture reminder of the joy created when you share the excess!

And it gets better. Our friends happened to be pressing their backyard apples with a newly built DIY apple press - basically a holey five gallon bucket and a car jack. We were able to throw our apples into the batch and enjoy some fresh pressed apple cider! Yum yum yum!!

September 15, 2014

green chile sauce

2014.09_green chile sauce
Next year when I make a big batch of hatch green chile sauce to stockpile for the winter, I need to remember to buy the mild-medium hatch green chiles NOT the hot ones. Ego, do not be fooled! In order to make a tolerable sauce, I had to seriously water down this recipe with veggie stock, flour, and butter.

September 14, 2014

eggs

2014.09_backyard chicken eggs
Eggs from our very own chickens!! YAY!!! I have wanted this for years! See? Dreams really can come true. We are getting about 4 eggs a day right now. This should taper off over the winter since we don't plan on using artificial lighting to trick them into laying more. 

(p.s. thank you Cait for the beautiful terracotta egg rack!)

September 13, 2014

hatch green chile jelly vs. plum jam

2014.09_jam jelly contest
Wheat Ridge, the lovely town we call home, is hosting a festival today call Ridgefest that involves food trucks, craft brews, local artisans, a homebrew contest, a cottage foods contest, and much more.  Similar to the scope of foods allowed by the Colorado Cottage Foods Act, this contest will feature breads, pickles, and jams/jellies.  It is a fun way to let people know that the Colorado Cottage Foods Act was passed 2012 and that they are now legally able to sell certain homemade foods from their home kitchen rather than a commercial kitchen. 

Eric and I will be competing against each other!  I made a hatch green chile jelly and he made a tart plum jam.  We shall see what happens!

September 12, 2014

patio

2014.09_patio 02
This patio project is actually old news.  I finished it mid summer but neglected to post about it on the blog.  The patio stones are 2' x 2' reclaimed concrete pavers from an office building's raised floor system.  The notched corners, once for the raised floor pedestals to lock into, now are reminiscent of a tile floor pattern.  The pavers are gray though they look a little red in this photo because when we got them they were sticky with carpet glue so we had to scatter sand on the surface.  Hopefully in another year the weather will wear away all of the glue and the sand can be swept away.  Below the pavers is about 1" of sand for leveling and about 4"-5" of crusher fines.  We used ProFlex paver edging around the perimeter.  This patio should stay put!  (thanks Dad for all the help digging and filling!)

For furnishings, I refinished a weathered red picnic table that the previous home owner left behind.  The base frame is painted a creamy white and the horizontal surfaces have been sanded down to wood and coated with a natural beeswax/linseed oil finish.  I think I will go with a darker wood stain when the picnic table needs to touched up.

And what a view of the chickens!
2014.09_patio 01

Here's a little backyard before and after:
2014.09_patio 2012 before   2014.09_patio 2014 after