It's been so cold these last couple of days I had to be reminded that it's not technically winter yet. Brrrrrr!
Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
We've had a weird couple of winter days this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, it was warm enough we could have run around in our t-shirts and shorts, but on Thursday, there was a winter storm threat and the temperatures took a tumble. In fact, it is only a miserly 21°F today and flurrying.
We harvested the last of our lemongrass and decided to use it to make an Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup. It's perfect for cold and grey days like this. Zach is feeling a little under the weather, so I'm adding a handful of "odorless" Chinese herbs in the recipe (he hates the particularly herby-smelling ones!). The fox nuts and goji berries are entirely optional. If you can find them, use them. Otherwise, don't fret about leaving them out.
Fox nuts, also known as Euryale Ferox, are usually added to soups in Chinese cooking, and popped (like popcorn) for snacks in Indian cultures. Use them sparingly to strengthen the spleen, nourish the stomach and digestive system.
Goji berries, or wolfberries, are a rich antioxidant. They nourish the liver and kidneys, improve eyesight, and help with fatigue.
In addition to the herbs, I'm using the usual chicken soup ingredients: carrots, celery, and mushrooms.
1 lb boneless chicken meat (you can use dark or white meat)
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
a bunch of lemongrass stalks, keep only the bottom half, bruise or make little slits in the stalk
6 oz spaghetti, broken into little pieces
5 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
2 tbsp fox nuts (optional)
2 tbsp goji berries (optional)
pepper, to taste
(You can also make this recipe in the slow cooker by using chicken with bones and just water to make your own stock. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.)
Heat a little bit of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken and ginger for about 5 minutes.
In a separate pot, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil.
Add chicken, ginger, lemongrass, vegetables and herbs (optional). Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add cut spaghetti; cook for another10 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in lime juice and fresh parsley.
Discard lemongrass before serving.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
These are the very last of our turnips and radishes.
They are not as big as the ones we've been harvesting, but we think this is as large as they're going to get. I'm already dreaming about next year's growing season!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
If you've been reading our blog regularly, you know I have trouble sleeping. A couple of years ago, Zach bought me a travel-size lavender and buckwheat hull pillow, and on many of my frustrating sleepless nights, the pillow has helped to calm my nerves. That same comforting pillow is the inspiration for our latest collaboration -- mini lavender-filled kitty cat sachets.
Zach and I have been talking about making more stuffed animals for a while and these lavender kitties just seemed like the right-size project to take on before Christmas ... not too big, not too small ...
Zach carved three kitty blocks based on our cat's favorite poses (hence the diamond on the forehead!). And we printed a series of ten per image.
And then we sewed them together,
and stuffed them with recycled polyester filling mixed with a good amount of awesome-smelling dried organic lavender.
Here are the finished results ... a basket full of smelly cats no more!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
This week's recipe is an easy one that you can stew in the slow cooker while you recover from the Thanksgiving frenzy. Balsamic vinegar lends a tangy, sweet flavor to the chicken breasts, and adding kale at the very end just gives the entire dish a little extra heartiness. I served ours over brown rice, but you can always use white rice.
4 pcs chicken breast
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp ginger powder
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp coconut nectar or honey
pinch of red pepper flakes or 2 dried chili peppers
2 carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
2 cups of kale, torn into little pieces
Searing your chicken pieces is an optional step, but I do it because I find that it helps to seal in more flavors while stewing. If you choose not to do this step, just go ahead and place chicken breasts in slow cooker.
Mix together vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth, coconut nectar, ginger, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
20 minutes before serving, add in kale and mushrooms.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
it's such an honor when kids get inspired by what i do and make. it's even more of an honor when they share that with me. these are from my friend andy, who is 5. he colors like me :)