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Showing posts with label Heirloom. Show all postsShowing posts with label Heirloom. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


an olive branch: {brown bread with sorghum butter}

This winter weather and all its polar vortexes (vorti?) have been the great equalizer among inhabitants of New England. I’ll explain how and share a recipe for brown bread with you, but first I need to tell you about a recent eureka moment.

In discovering more about the writing craft, I’ve been learning types of stock characters. One day recently, I had an epiphany about why I didn’t fit with Bostonians. I let myself become a stock character…

A variation on the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope, I’m the manic dixie dream girl {pun gloriously intended}. I’m the southern girl whose only role in the narrative is to cheer up Bostonians. The bubbly, available pal who says cute things like “Y’all” and “Bless her heart.” But most importantly, I have no complex issues of my own, and I never ever complain.

This personality description is of course oversimplified; that’s the point of a stock character, right? But it does at least partly fit me and my southern roots. Where I come from, the first rule of depression club is we don’t talk about depression club. Complaining about the weather, reporting the symptoms of your cold, or whining about your stress level represent a type of self-indulgence that is strictly forbidden in polite southern conversation.

I kept my mouth shut about the weather both due to my upbringing and out of fear that locals would laugh off any dissatisfaction as typical of a wimpy southerner. Oh, how adorable. You just can’t hack the New England winter! By attempting to prevent them from labeling me, I ended up pigeonholing myself into one (boring) interminably cheerful side.

But I lucked out this time. This winter has been different. Cold, different. It’s one of the coldest seasons we’ve had in something like fifty years. Like I said beforeeveryone is complaining. It’s great! I’m finally able to come out of my shell, to feel like one of the gang. Because, you know what? Sometimes that damn bear eats you, and pretending otherwise doesn’t stop it from being so.

Read more »at2:51 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Boston,Bread,Breakfast,Dixie,Family,Heirloom,Just Write

Sunday, March 23, 2014


sorghum syrup: history, health benefits, & use

Sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill

The History, Health Benefits, & Uses of Sorghum Syrup

Have you ever heard of sorghum syrup, also known as sweet sorghum or sorghum molasses*? I learned about it recently through my Uncle Ronnie, who was telling me his fond memories of eating it drizzled over biscuits as a child in North Carolina. I happened to mention I’d never eaten it, so he sent me a batch! Gotta love uncles.

{*Note: Although some people call it sorghum molasses, sorghum syrup is not actually molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar refining process and is made of sugar cane, not sorghum cane}.
Read more »at8:57 AM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Breakfast,Dixie,Family,Farm,Heirloom

Friday, March 21, 2014


the golden oldies

When I was a little girl, my parents and stepmom introduced me to many musical styles, from Blues to Beatles to B-52s. I can barely remember a moment a record player was not seeing action in my parents’ homes. Those were happy times.

c. 1984. Ignore the awkward bunny and instead direct your
attention to the records in the corner. So much space taken up!

Read more »at7:30 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Heirloom,Just Write

Friday, January 17, 2014


a 43-year-old letter

the lone home ranger
Cubby and Great Grandma talking to my mom, c. 1979

I found a copy of a letter that my great grandfather wrote my grandmother in 1971 (when he was 82 years old), and it was so fascinating I just had to share it. Were Cubby alive today, he would be roughly 125 years old. There are many more letters like this one; I am sharing the first of the letters I pulled from the stack. He typed it using a typewriter.
Read more »at7:30 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Heirloom,Letter

Thursday, January 16, 2014


5-ingredient “stupid” chicken

My mother-in-law first shared the recipe* with me back when we were in college, so it’s been with us since the very start. It reminds me of a recipe my Aunt Joan used to cook when I was a kid that she called “Stupid Chicken” because of how easy it was to make, so that’s what I’m going to call this recipe now. I think hers involved white wine and black olives, but the good thing about this recipe is how easy it is to change. You can add salsa to make it spicy or wine and olives if you want to fussy it up.

Read more »at7:30 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Recipe,Simplicity

Monday, January 13, 2014


Dublin coddle: a St. Paddy’s Day classic

Author’s Note: I updated this recipe, originally posted on March 16th, 2012, with some improvements to make it easier and more delicious. I hope you’ll try it this St. Paddy’s Day!
Mmmmm, Dublin Coddle

Remember when I said I was looking for more Irish recipes? Well, I found a great one! This recipe for Dublin coddle landed in my lap at just the right time, via my monthly email from our CSA farmers. Sweet potatoes are Charlotte’s absolute favorite food, and I’ve been looking for ways to jazz them up apart from the usual routine, which includes variations on butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and white pepper (my mom puts soy sauce on her sweet potatoes…oh, and Italian dressing on her baked potatoes). Plus, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and you simply cannot live in Boston without getting into the holiday spirit. [I must stop here to tell my friends and family from the south that they SELL clover here, like, in grocery stores. I know!].

Read more »at6:00 PM42 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Boston,Heirloom,Holidays,Recipe

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


yummy little pigeons (aka stuffed cabbage rolls)

Author’s Note: I originally posted this recipe on August 26, 2011. It is the one I make most often in the winter that reminds me of my family. These cabbage rolls are a delicious labor of love.

Relax, it’s not really a pigeon. My mom’s father was Polish, and we grew up eating my grandmother’s “gwumpki,” spelled golabki in Polish, which means “little pigeon.” Gwumpki, galumpki, etc. are cabbage rolls stuffed with pork/beef and rice and topped with tomato sauce. Sounds gross, right? I think they are delicious, but members of my family disagree on the subject. We’re as divided in how to eat them as we are in their taste. I’ll eat them any way at all, plain, salted, ketchuped, whatever. One of my uncles is known to unroll them and drench them in ketchup, claiming this is the only way they are edible. What can you expect from the baby in the family? Nate loves them as much if not more than I do, and I’m convinced it was my mom’s gwumpki that sealed the deal on our marriage.

Read more »at4:00 PM10 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Recipe

Friday, October 25, 2013


Aunt El’s cinnamon rolls

Aunt El as a WAVE, Miami, FL, 1941

Author’s note: I originally published this post on February 8, 2012. In honor of yesterday being Food Day–which encourages us to get kids cooking–I am reposting my Aunt El’s recipe for cinnamon rolls (and dinner rolls) today. It is my children’s favorite dish to help me make. I love it because I get to play with them and tell stories about Aunt El, allowing me to–as Kim John Payne says in Simplicity Parenting–“emphasize the importance of now while introducing the infinite.”

My Great Aunt Eleanor is one of my favorite people. I happen to believe she was one of the best people ever to have graced the Earth, but I suppose I’m a bit biased. My family ascribed to whatever knowledge El shared with us as the absolute, 100%, golden truth. Perhaps it is because she was the big sister, or because she raised six children, or because of her big personality. Perhaps it was a little of all of those, and it didn’t hurt that she always gave darn good advice.

Read more »at11:00 AM11 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Heirloom,Recipe

Monday, October 07, 2013


a family dinner by any other name

Selfie in Sweden, pre-kids

After graduating college, Nate and I embarked on a journey as a newly minted family, leaving behind our home state for adventures in the uncharted beyond. Moving away from our families of origin was exciting! Graduate school and moves to the Midwest, the US capital, and across the Atlantic Ocean opened our eyes to different and interesting ways of thinking and living.

Along the way, we became parents. Welcome to the best learning experience of all! While we were thrilled about our growing family, we also encountered our share of challenges and foibles. None of our friends had kids yet, so we navigated the choppy new waters solo while they smiled and did their best to understand the dark circles and panicked voices. Without family in town to assist us, we floundered quite a bit on just what to do with our new bundle of joy. We relied on our nanny to tell us what and when to feed Vivi. I chuckle to remember how we browsed stacks of parenting volumes promising new and different ways to achieve better results, as though she were a new iGadget instead of a person.

Although advice was still only a phone call away, the temptation of “the unknown better” beckoned louder. Eschewing family secrets for propaganda, we replaced the village with pop science. Whereas pride in continuing our families’ traditions was once the goal long ago, shiny-new-object syndrome stepped in and took over.

Unfortunately, our manic pursuit of novelty did not improve our lives. The promise that the latest parenting trend would solve our problems didn’t deliver. We were paralyzed by choice and growing dizzy from the pendulum of polarized philosophies. Put simply, we were not happy parents.

Read more »at1:05 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Babies,Challenge,Confession,Family,Heirloom,Parenting,Parties,Real Food,Simplicity,Toddlers,Urban Homestead

Monday, September 09, 2013


eat chocolate. do it for the children.

I love this chocolate.* The reason you should love this chocolate too is it’s from single-source heirloom organic cacao beans, and the cacao is gathered by a cooperative of families on a small island in the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest instead of by child slaves in West Africa. If you haven’t read about slavery in the chocolate industry, you should go read that link now. Kallari (pronounced kahl-ya-di) is a Kichwa (aka Quichua) word that means “to begin;” they are a small company of indigenous Kichwa chocolate makers, and the profits all go back into the collaborative. Could there be a better cause to support than a chocolate one?

The best part, aside from the fact that it is on the Food Empowerment Project’s list of acceptable chocolate producers, is that Kallari is absolutely the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever eaten. It’s fruity and almost floral, but with a spicy finish, and it has a creamy texture without the addition of milk (it’s vegan, if you care about such things). Even the 75% cacao chocolate bars aren’t as bitter as I expected them to be, yet somehow they are able to use half the sugar of standard chocolate because of their unique varietals. They grow the cacao in a canopy of other plants that are supposed to give extra flavor–e.g. banana, mahogany, and scores of others–to the beans. It’s one of the only places where cacao growers are also making their own chocolate. Kallari chocolate is sold in some Whole Foods and other food markets in the US (search here for a location near you), or you can also buy it on Amazon and other online sellers. You can read more about the company in this NY Times article

Whether you choose to buy this brand or another, the next time you reach for some Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chips, I hope you’ll reconsider; along with child slavery, Nestle suffers from numerous other human rights and product safety issues. They aren’t the only company with problems, just maybe the largest and most visible. Unfortunately, even Clif Bar and Trader Joe’s, two companies I love and routinely purchase chocolate-containing foods from, refuse to disclose from where they source their chocolate. Bummer.

I think perhaps I’ll make these chocolate chunk cookies with the rest of my Kallari chocolate. Mmmmm.

*I’m not just saying that because they gave me some for free. But they did. Ha.

at12:24 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Real Food

Saturday, March 09, 2013


Saturday morning Southern biscuits

I’ve been wanting to invite you into our Saturday morning milieu for a while. Then Deb posted a recipe for biscuits this week, and it became my destiny to share our ritual with you. For whatever reason–probably having to do with fond memories of the time–Saturday morning is when I miss my family most. Being away from home as long as I have (10 years and counting! Can that be right?), I’ve learned to create pockets of time–little homes away from home–that feed the fire of home that burns in my gut no matter how many feet of snow might be trying to freeze it.

Read more »at12:06 PM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Atlanta,Dixie,Heirloom,Real Food,Recipe

Thursday, February 21, 2013


redfish pomodoro: the pro fisherman’s choice

Learning to fish was one of my favorite childhood experiences. As when gardening and pulling fresh carrots out of the ground, it is truly amazing as a child to pull a fish out of the water and know that you caught it yourself. My own experience and memory of it was enhanced by being taught by the best, my Uncle Ronnie, who just so happened to be a professional fly fisherman.

If you go to my Uncle Ronnie’s house, you’ll leave with a full belly of some locally, sustainably caught and humanely killed grub, and you’ll also leave with plenty of hilarious stories. Two of my personal family favorites are 1) how he convinced my trusting grandmother to stand up in front of my dad’s entire wedding rehearsal dinner party and tell everyone her dress came from a bargain bin; and 2) how my Auntie M insisted he stop for food on the way to Ted’s ranch in Montana (yes, that Ted), thereby missing a personal invitation from Jane to attend dinner at the big house.

All that background is to say that when Uncle Ronnie gives me a recommendation for a fish recipe, I sit up and listen. And you should too! Uncle Ronnie originally got this recipe from Chef Peter Sclafani of Ruffino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge; you can see Peter make the dish on the Louisiana Sportsman. I kept Uncle Ronnie’s wording on the instructions, for authenticity.

A few words (of mine) about ingredients: If you want to eat seasonally and avoid fresh tomatoes and basil this time of year, I find that the dried ingredients themselves–with some chopped greens–work great in winter months, making this a great year-round recipe. Although the title is “redfish,” you can use any sustainable fish with a steak-like consistency and taste that isn’t easily overpowered by other ingredients, i.e. Pacific cod yes, tilapia or Dover sole no. If you want to stick with redfish, I suggest looking for the sustainable deep-water red snapper from the west or vermilion snapper from the east.

Fish pictured is wild Alaskan cod

Uncle Ronnie’s redfish pomodoro
serves 4

1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced/quartered
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water and chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil
4 redfish filets
Creole seasoning

Toss ingredients above (tomatoes through olive oil). Double heavy duty foil and cut a large heart shape, or parchment paper if you’re uppity. Creole seasoning on redfish, or whatever fish you’re using (farm-raised fish prohibited!). Throw on a half cup of tossed concoction on opened foil and put fish on top of veggies, presentation side down. Start at the top of the foil hinge and fold and press a seal all around the edge. Flip over and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Open top of foil and eat. We’ve done a variation of this that was served to us in Belgium. On it was some onion slices, fish, sliced tomato, spices, and provolone cheese on top. Simpler but also very good.at12:48 PMNo comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Recipe

Thursday, February 14, 2013


hand pies: the world’s most perfect travel food

I LOVE PIE. The lack of discussion about pie on my blog–one lonely post–does not adequately reflect my adoration of the dish. Pie is just about my favorite comfort food. Apple pie reminds me of being a kid and baking with my grandmother. Chocolate cream pie reminds me of 2 a.m. post-concert ventures to Waffle House. Blackberry pie reminds me of the best pie I’ve ever tasted at a restaurant back home

Just as there is no one season for pie, there’s no one filling either. You can fill a pie with anything–from “chocolate to blackbirds,” so says Urban Dictionary. I especially love pie with a surprise filling inside like rhubarb–sweet, tangy, and unexpectedly pleasant. Pies can be great conversation starters that way.

I love the history involved when baking pies. It’s not a fad or fashion to make pie; simply making a pie is in itself an homage to generations past, even if the recipe didn’t come over on a boat to the New World. The pie tradition has been around since the need for easy-to-carry, easy-to-store foods arose. I reckon that in the modern-day fast-paced world we live in has more of a need for pie than ever before.

In my opinion, there aren’t enough savory pies in my world (p.s. I really, really want to go to this restaurant when I visit Seattle. Okay, Al?). Whenever I ponder this dilemma, I am confronted with the fact that there are savory pies–think empanadas, samosaspanzarotti, down under meat pies, and Cornish pasties–there just aren’t many American savory pies (one exception I know of being the Nack-a-tish pie in Louisiana and the other obvious one being chicken pot pie). I don’t count quiche, both because it’s French and because I’ve never had one I truly enjoyed. This dearth is a tragedy because there is nothing more American than pie.

As we learned while living in Britain, the Brits love their meat pies–steak and kidney pie, Guinness pie, fish pie, pork pie, Scotch pie, shepherd’s pie, and I could go on from there. Sweet pies are popular there too: banoffee pie, mince pie, lemon pie, treacle tart, and so the list continues (don’t get me started on the horrid Bedfordshire clanger). I grew to expect a pie on a menu at every British pub and restaurant, to the point where I daresay pie could be deemed more British than American. A tragedy indeed!

The best part about savory pies is that they are typically pocket pies, the perfect shape for eating out of hand wherever you you happen to be. Well, except maybe if you happen to be at Bloomingdale’s.


Call it what you want: hand pie, pocket pie, empanada, pasty. Whatever you call them, they are quite simply the most versatile hot food around. You can put whatever flavors you want into the pocket (including pie flavor?). You can make however many you want, freeze them for later, then heat them and wrap them, and they’ll stay warm for hours. Thus, I believe we need to step up to the plate and start cranking out more savory pie. I intend to start you on your that journey today, so prepare to pack your foodie hobo sacks bags.

First we need to start by building your trust in me. I am not out to frustrate you with a complicated recipe, I swear. While the crust might seem intimidating, is both the most delicious and easiest part of the pocket-pie-making process. Plus, the recipe lets you be creative in using up what you have on hand; you can put 2 Tbs. of literally any filling you’d like. Although I use lard to make my crust, you can of course substitute butter if you’re vegetarian. If you’re vegan, use sunflower oil.

Speaking of using lard, I told you all about my experience yesterday. Well, almost all about it. I forgot to mention that our lard-rendering was actually a highly comical event that involved us not realizing that it was going to take all day and stink up the house. Oh, and did I mention our in-laws were in town? Luckily they are used to us pulling shenanigans like this one–we are the Lucy and Ricky of real food calamities–so they laugh off such adventurous food errors.

hand pies (adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. lard (or butter or oil)
1/2 c. cold water
2 1/2 c. filling of your choice*
1/2 c. milk, or 1 egg & 1 Tbs. water, for brushing

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer or food processor. Add lard in small pieces and pulse after each addition. Drizzle in water slowly, while the machine is running, until the dough comes together (Note: you might not need all of the water. You want the dough to be dry). Turn the dough onto a floured surface and kneed for a minute unti it is smooth.

Divide the dough in half, then divide each in half again; those four sections should then each be divided into thirds so there are a total of 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and set aside under a tea towel for 20 minutes to rest. (Note: You can also refrigerate the dough for a day at this point, but let it sit out until it comes up to room temperature before using it).

Starting to fill some with chorizo; cheese will follow

Preheat the oven to 375 degF. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-inch circle. Top with 2 Tbs. filling, then dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edges. Fold the pocket in half and seal the seam by pressing it together with the tines of a fork. Place each pocket on an ungreased baking sheet (if you plan to freeze them, do so now; freeze a few hours until solid, remove from tray to an air-tight bag, and leave in freezer for up to 6 months). Brush pockets with either an egg wash or milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

*Traditionally, empanadas are filled with shredded chicken or pork, chorizo & cheese, or corn; if you want to stick to the authentic method, you can also add a pinch of smoked Spanish paprika and substitute 1/2 c. of the flour with masa harina, but I don’t and it tastes fine). I personally adore Martha Stewart’s chicken pocket pie filling. The Kitchn compiled a bunch of other filling ideas too (spinach and cheese! sweet potatoes and black beans!). I love the idea of vegetarian pies so am planning to make this one with chard and French lentil filling next week.

Author’s Note: This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions and Fight Back Friday

Update (8-26-13): Last night we made our first sweet hand pies using fresh local nectarines and following Martha’s guidance (except substituting lime juice for orange). They were so delicious!at3:54 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Locavore,Real Food,Recipe,Vegetarian

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


on making our own lard

{Secondary/Alternate Title: Yes, We are Those People}

My plan was to publish a post today about pocket meat pies. That post will need to wait a day because to make a meat pie, you need a sturdy savory crust. I believe that crust should start with one surprising but important ingredient: lard. I’ve gotten on my lard soap box before, so rather than beat it to death, I’ll simplify the conversation today and boil it down–so to speak (hardy har)–to a few quick paragraphs.

Why lard?

In the middle of the last century, well-meaning scientists told us saturated-fat-containing ingredients like lard caused heart disease, and law-abiding citizens ran fleeing from it. Since then, we’ve learned that the replacements for lard–like vegetable shortening–contain trans fats, which are much worse for you than saturated fat. Not only that, but lard also contains monounsaturated fat that is necessary for brain function. Even leaving health out of the discussion for a moment, I am sold on the idea of lard because I am a firm believer in nose-to-tail cooking. Hence, we actually eat tail from time to time

In a nutshell, lard is not your enemy, and the people who want you to go on believing it is have ulterior motives.  Set aside what you think you know, do your research, and make your own decision.

Where can you buy lard? 

To make lard, you need to get your hands on pork kidney fat called leaf lard. The reason you want leaf lard is that you can render it into a neutral fat that doesn’t taste of pork, assuming you cooked it low and slow enough. I’ll get to that part in a minute. We get our leaf lard for a $1/pound from a cooler at our monthly meat CSA. If you don’t have a CSA, I bet you can strike up a deal with any pork seller at your local farmer’s market if you’re friendly. Heck, you might even be able to get it already rendered from your butcher if you’re lucky.

Remember how I said I was going to start saying yes to ideas, even if they sounded scary or impossible? Ahem. To be frank, the rendering process is not as pleasant as I’d like it to be. But then, with a process called “rendering fat,” did you expect it to be pleasant? For one thing, it’s messy, in that “fat gets on things and won’t come off things” way. For another thing, it doesn’t look good. Mine wasn’t even photographable. For a third thing, it’s smelly. Not “I’m frying up some bacon” good smelly, but “I’ve been working in the kitchen of a 24-hour diner” bad smelly. I advise you to make a giant batch in one day, then hang on to it in your freezer for the next six months. Let it be a warm enough day that you can crack a window–for us, that’s around 40 degF, but our standards are influenced by the chilly Beantown climate.

Nourished Kitchen
Image credit: Nourished Kitchen

How do you render lard?

Now that we’ve gotten the purchasing and caveats out of the way, let’s get down to cooking. The actual directions couldn’t be much simpler, so rather than reinvent the wheel I’m connecting to blogs that have already written them. If you are making a batch of savory lard and you don’t mind a slight porky flavor–in fact, you might even be going for that–you can make it in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. If you want it for sweet pie crust and don’t want it to taste like pork at all, then you should probably make it in a slow cooker. For either method, you’ll want to start by chopping the fat into small pieces (Note: if you’re getting it from the butcher, you can ask to have it ground, or you can do the grinding yourself if you have one of those sausage attachments on your stand mixer).

Here again are links to the two methods:

Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the fruits of our labor and discuss delectable meat pies. I promise it will all be worth the stinky effort.

Author’s Note: This post is part of Fight Back Friday Tasty Traditions Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesdayat4:44 PM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Challenge,Chestnut Farms,Education,Frugality,Heirloom,Home ranging,Locavore,Real Food,Resolution,The Three Rs,Tutorial,Whackadoo

Monday, January 21, 2013


chicken soup: for your soul and health

Last week I said I would post a chicken soup recipe the day after my antibiotics post. In truth, that post took such a long time to search for and read articles, write, edit, and double-check sources that I didn’t leave myself much other time for blogging. Then I also attended a birth that took a huge amount of physical and emotional work, so I took a few days off from blogging. I’m back with the promised chicken soup. I hope you had a nice weekend! Read more »at10:57 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Health,Heirloom,Recipe

Sunday, July 22, 2012


my favorite memory on a plate: {blueberry cobbler}


If there were an alternate reality, in which I could bottle up only one memory of an outing with my family in the last four years, I would choose blueberry-picking. No contest. I loved the experience so much last Monday–the blue sky, the beautiful scenery, the lure of expedition and discovery, and especially the thrill in finding the perfect berry–that we just had to bring Dad in on the fun this weekend. (For those joining via Design Mom’s Love the Place You Live Series, our beloved picking spot is Westward Orchards in Harvard, Mass).
Read more »at9:07 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Love the Place You Live,Recipe

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


back to basics

Welcome to the June 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Green Living
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we find ways to be more natural parents and stewards of the environment. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

A few months ago I wrote about my switch to the “no poo” method of washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. In case you didn’t read it or my updates, I still love it and have never looked back. My hair is shiny, less greasy, and never has tangles. I also wash the girls’ hair in baking soda, and when combined with Vivi’s pixie hair cut, I basically never need to brush her hair. It’s like magic!

Using more natural personal care products has motivated me to find other green and natural uses for these magical kitchen items that previously took a back seat on the shelf. Prior to having kids, my method of being “green” was to buy Seventh Generation and leave it at that. But once I started delving deeper into the types of products I use, I realized you can go so much further toward sustainable, earth-friendly methods of cleaning without even needing to purchase new items. A little know-how goes a long way.

Just in time for my desire to learn, I stayed with my grandmother for a week, and she gave me some great tips. My great grandmother used to work at a professional laundry service, and as a result, she passed along some wonderful cleaning advice. For instance, did you know the “treat animal with animal” stain trick? If you soak blood stains overnight in milk, they come right out!

Read more »at7:30 AM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blog Carnival,Crunchy Mama,Education,Frugality,Health,Heirloom,Home ranging,SimParCar,Simplicity,The Three Rs

Friday, May 18, 2012


recalling my German heritage: making spaetzle

My Grandma Jackie, seventh grade

“In wine there is wisdom,in beer there is strength,in water there is bacteria.”-German Proverb

I grew up hearing stories about my Great Great Grandma who was German. When I close my eyes, my memories dazzle with all the times my Grandma Jackie would pass on the wisdom of her mother and grandmothers. She is full of pearls like the one above (which actually isn’t one she gave me, but it shares the sentiment of her zingers). The one thing she hasn’t passed down, unfortunately, are German recipes.

Luckily, a few months ago our great CSA farmer shared her own recipe for German spaetzle, and I stashed it away for a later time when Nate was home from his two-month international trip. After all, who wants to make such a hearty, cheesy comfort meal when serving a table of one? No, this is a dish that is made with love and labor, and it is so gluttonous it practically demands being shared.

Read more »at7:30 AM11 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Heirloom,Recipe

Monday, May 07, 2012


Aunt El’s corn pudding: a simple heirloom recipe

Corn pudding (recipe below) with avocado and Cholula hot sauce

While my “Made from Scratch” life has snuck up on me in recent times, my love of family recipes has been life-long. I love continuing family traditions and starting new ones of our own, and I have begun a project of assembling my favorite recipes into a collection. And I’m planning to share it with you!

I’m in the process of testing and photographing recipes that I’ve never made before. It’s been a fun journey so far. Once I started researching “heirloom” recipes, I learned the term is actually “heritage recipe,” and there are websites dedicated to preserving and sharing them; my particular favorite site is here

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Thursday, March 22, 2012


calabacitas: your new favorite veggie side


Annie’s bachelorette party in Knoxville. SO fun. ’06.

AnnaLysa is my best good friend. She calls me Bean. I call her Annie, because let’s be honest, she’s more creative than me. She is brilliant, in fact. She befriended me when we were four years old, and I was shier than a baby turtle. She brought me out of my shell and continued to coax me patiently back out every time we encountered a scary milestone (middle school…ack! high school…eek! prom…barf!). Speaking of prom, she was the prom queen. I tell everyone we meet that little nugget. There never was a more deserving person on this earth of that award. She is an exceptional person, and should you ever meet her in person I know you will agree. I owe the fact that I give hugs and compliments to my many years spent modeling her. She does not betray an ounce of judgment or fear across her face when meeting a person who is disfigured or handicapped in some way, and I truly believe it’s because she feels no judgment or fear.
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