Monthly Archives: October 2012

Music and Melons, Vivaldi and Vines A Health Choice

Music and Melons, Vivaldi and Vines A Health Choice

Why is it that the song that inevitably gets stuck in your head is “that” song. The Spring section of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is my favorite bit of music, so why is it that “Le Freak” by Chic willingly dances to the tip of my tongue unwittingly?

Because it's good for you

Music is just like most of the other things in life it seems. There is soul mending, mind expanding, synapse firing, great music for us, ripe for the plucking. Then, there is “Valley Girl”.

See? Mozart morphs to Britney Spears, who is, of course the High Fructose Corn Syrup of music, readily available prevalent and persistent. Unfortunately, unable to be processed into a meaningful, life sustaining nutritional component.

All that to say that I’m thinking very carefully about what I’m planting in the garden next year.

I’ve decided to be a little more nutritionally deliberate. Why not? Seriously? What could it hurt? Health, it seems, is a terrible thing to waste.

So, while I will grow my favorites and be happy to have them, I’m also branching out, so to speak. (Branching out, in a garden blog-that’s punny) Cucumber vines will inevitably make their debut in March, but they will also share ground with some Sweet Dumplin’ vines.

So, what’s on the garden menu because of this health attitude adjustment? Thanks for asking.

Kale, sweet potatoes, year round squash and beets, to name a few. Health forward.

I’m thankful for financial considerations that effectively put the kibosh on going out to eat. At least, that’s a habit I don’t have to try to break. After I wrote that I realized it seems somewhat like saying, “Well, at least I don’t smoke.” Oh well, at least there’s that.

In other news…

Mexican Sour Gherkins are still making a gazzillion tiny watermelon shaped cukes. This is a very happy plant find! I am cleaning most of the other beds out, layering with compost and settling them down for the winter. Winter is coming. I’m keeping Paddy’s bed for all the fall and winter plantings. Oh, and I’m putting potatoes in my big tree tub pots. Blue, pink and yellow potatoes, very paisley.

So, on the flip side. I tried, really I did, to like Wagner. I try him every few years, it’s just too heavy. In the veg world, Lima Beans are my Wagner. I try them every few years, cooked different ways, even with bacon, it’s a no go on the Lima Beans. At least this will leave more room for the kale and sweet potatoes, right?

When I was about 14 I realized that there was a limited amount of books I could read and I adopted a two to one policy that I strictly adhere to even now. I read two books because they are “good for me”, historical, literature or scientific. Then I choose one book that is “just because”, I have never deviated from this and it has served me well.

I’m going to try the same in the garden next year. Working in my favor, there are very few things one can plant in a garden that don’t have any nutritional value. However, I’m just going to be more deliberate to choose the “best” of two greats. Does that make sense?

I’m going to take baby steps. Today, I’ll deliberately choose something healthy over Britney Spears. Oh no, metaphors mixing, rambling ensuing…

All this resolve about being more healthy, and now I’m going to get another coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer. Sigh, oh well, at least I don’t smoke. = )

Have a blessed, paisley Wednesday.~KeriAnne

A Walk on the Wild Side, Wild Berries for Sorbet

A Walk on the Wild Side, Wild Berries for Sorbet

I want to be brave enough to gather wild food. The fact is, I’m not. Aside from the occasional nibble to see if it’s a recognizable herb, I’m a big chicken when it comes to foraging in our adjacent wooded area. I have started to gather some resources to further my education of wild plants, in hopes of shoring up the reserve to adventurous foraging. But, in the meantime, I’m content to grow food and eat food that I grow.

Berries are a good start for foraging I think. Berries are easily recognizable for the most part and any good berry book will give you a quick description with photos to be able to see if you’re eating something heaven sent or something that will send you to heaven. So, while I wrestle with my inner sissy of all things foraged, I want you to see that it can, and is done some places. Enjoy. (Also, you could totally use market berries or your own with great results…bawk bawk bawk)

Wild Berry Sorbet

I do admire those more spirited adventurers however. I hope you enjoy this article from one of the brave…

This is from Ditanders Forage Wild Food

This is far from the best year for wild fruits, but there are still some ripe pickings out there. Hawthorn berries and rose hips can be found in abundance, but I have struggled to find decent patches for elderberries, sloes and cherry plums in London.
There is still a lot that can be done with a few ingredients. Wild rose hips are one of my favourite fruits; they taste rich, sweet and sour all at the same time and are incredibly high in vitamin C.

I combined them with hawthorn berries and a few sloes to make this ‘hedgerow sorbet’. The result was delicious – a surprisingly intense and fruity sorbet.

Sorbet is not as difficult to make as I had presumed, so this recipe could be adapted for use with a whole range of wild syrup/ jelly recipes.

  • 500g rose hips
  • 500g hawthorn berries
  • 150g sloes
  • caster sugar

First put the fruit in a pan and cover with water then bring it to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, mash the fruit a bit, then leave to cool. Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or muslin overnight. If you are impatient like me you can strain it through a sieve, although there is apparently a risk of getting the irritating hairs from the rose hips in the syrup.

Measure the strained syrup and add an equal amount of caster sugar, simmer to dissolve the sugar then allow to cool. Place in a tub in the freezer for 4 hours until mostly frozen then break the mixture up using a fork or a food processor. Return to the freezer. This process may need to be repeated a few times until desired consistency is reached, although I was happy with the result after freezing for the second time.

If you feel the weather is too cold for eating sorbet try serving with some gin or vodka poured over to add a warming kick.

Thanks! And have a paisley week!~KeriAnne

 

The Breakfast Bar, An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The Breakfast Bar, An Idea Whose Time Has Come

One of my blends (blogging friends) sent me a link to an idea that I just absolutely LOVE! Have you ever heard of a Breakfast Bar?

For a short time we kept a sundae bar on the pass through counter at our house in Lake Jackson. Unfortunately, I had to cut it out because ingredients went mysteriously missing. Meghan ate the M & M’s, Ryan ate the Gummi Worms, the Parsnip ate the pecans and I’m not sure where the sprinkles went, but come time to make sundaes, the sprinkles were MIA.

Hot Chocolate Station

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Read the rest of this entry

That Time of Year

That Time of Year

Every year about this time I read the story by Truman Capote entitled A Christmas Memory.  Now, for most people “Fruitcake Weather” happens at the end of November or in early December. For me, it strikes after the third or fourth “cool” wave, when it seems it is harder and harder for the sun to accomplish the task of warming the morning after a nights chill.

This year, for me, it’s Fruitcake weather now. This is always a good thing. However, I don’t make fruitcake. I might, if I liked it, knew how to make it, or knew anyone that would enjoy getting one. But, since all of those are negative, I don’t.

However, there is something I make every year, without fail, and it happens to be this time of the year. So, before I even get out of bed, I know the day has come. It’s Gak weather.

What? You may ask, is Gak? Simple, it’s a home made science experiment, activity, toy, and all around good time.

The materials are inexpensive, and I happen to have them on hand always. The process is low key and simple enough to make with even the tiniest of hands. And the finished product is fun for everyone, even adults love this stuff.

Without further ado…Gak!

Materials:

  • 8 oz. White Glue (Elmer’s Glue-All, or generic is fine as well)
  • Borax (a powdered laundry booster product found on the laundry soap aisle)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Food coloring (the spice of life)
  • Water (warmer the better)
  • Paper towel
  • Zipper-lock bag (for storing your finished product)
  • Water (Warm water works best)
  • Optional: Glow in the paint from the hobby store, found in the section for fabric paint)