February 27, 2013

Stocks/ Broths - Chicken, etc.

I posted recently about cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker. So what am I doing now? Cooking up the chicken's bones in the slow cooker for a broth. EVERYTIME I cook meats with bones, I make broth - even if just a small bone - like we had grass-fed T-bone steaks last week and I further cooked up the fat and bones into a great broth (which I drank for 2 meals, mixing in some raw cream and one of my chicken's eggs; and too, a bit added to some cooking greens). Even bones from brined and cooked beer-can chickens on the grill (which I've posted about).

I thought I'd already have a post on making chicken broth. I kinda do in my White Chili Chicken soup post. So I thought I'd officially do a Chicken Broth post. I've been making this same recipe for over 30 years - whether in a pot on the stove or a slow cooker. I mostly do it in a slow cooker now, cuz I do it for at least 24 hours to extract as much calcium, gelatin, etc I can. Occasionally I'll keep cooking for several days, adding in water as I use some - like the above broth drink. People call this "perpetual broth".

Cooking chicken broth in my slow cooker - already cooked on low all night

Chicken Broth

De-bone the chicken, putting all the bones, sinew, cartilage, skin, fat (even chicken feet and heads too, if you have them) . . . in the pot.
Cover with water
1 onion, quartered (skin on is fine)
2 carrots, in 4ths
3 celery ribs with leaves
1 tsp pepper corns
3-4 whole cloves
1 1/2-3 tsp salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Cooking broth in a pot
I don't typically put tomato pieces in chicken broth, but it wouldn't hurt - I do in beef broth. Any veggie scraps can make broth. I make fish stock too from good sourced fish.

When you're done with cooking your broth strain it. I don't de-fat it when it's organic or free-range meat. I want all the vitamins I can get, including vitamin D. I'll divide the broth in jars and freeze (initially don't tighten the lids and keep them upright, of coarse, till frozen. With tight lids, I've had too many jars crack - tightening the lids after frozen seems to prevent this, and too, they don't have to remain upright anymore).

I'm looking in Sally Fallon's new book The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (I'm giving it to my daughter). She adds one bunch of parsley in the last 10 minutes of cooking - I'll have to start doing that too.

Adding stocks to anything is adding an Umami - improved savory flavor, besides the enhanced nutritive value.

Shared with: My Cultured Palate, Simple Lives Thursday

February 25, 2013

Soaked and Dried (Chocolate) Cereal

My pantry shelf with the jars of both plain healthy cereal and chocolate cereal

Some of this post is an older post, but I need to add the chocolate addition (since I was just eating some in my chia seed dairy kefir (did I do a post on that too? Hmmm . . .). I know I've mentioned somewhere about tweaking a chocolate cereal recipe. Monte requested it after having some chocolate granola from the store. My first try was with coco powder. It worked, but I wanted to experiment more. So, I've added some more pictures, and below I'll add what I now do . . .

Healthy 7 Grain soaked and dried Cereal
I've been making this cereal now for months. Everyone loves it - not only as a breakfast cold cereal, but it also makes a great snack. I'm now making it more often cuz I give it to both my sons. I mention it in an earlier post with source links to the health benefits of soaking grains. I'll be talking about these health reasons as well in a future post. That same earlier post also has recipes from my cookbook - how I made "cold" cereal before the knowledge of soaking grains.

You can use any flour. Since I've been grinding grains into flour for over 30 years, whenever I can get more grain varieties into our diet beyond basic wheat I go for it. So I make this cereal with a 7 grain mix I get in 25/50# bags.

When I had a lot of excess raw dairy milk by-products: whether plain soured milk, yogurt, or dairy kefir, that's what I made this with. Now I've narrowed our raw milk usage down to what we really like, and worth the extra cost and benefits of the raw dairy (I'll do a post about this). If I don't have enough dairy kefir, I buy a cultured buttermilk for making this cereal.

1 quart cultured dairy (kefir, buttermilk, yogurt, or soured milk)
2 pounds flour
I weigh the flour now (for lots of things, especially sourdough) since amounts by cup vary depending on whether fresh ground or compacted over time. So cup-wise? Maybe around 8 cups.

Mix this together in a bowl to sit and soak for 24 hours.

The next day, after the 24 hour soak, mix in  -
1 C coconut oil (unrefined- organic virgin best)
1 C maple syrup (grade B is best)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tb cinnamon

After mixing all together well spread in 2 baking pans. 9x13 would probably work; my 2 pans are 11x17. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You don't want to over bake.

One pan of chocolate soaked cereal

When you want some chocolate cereal too, use the same recipe above. Put half in one pan, then mix into the other half one melted 4oz bar of 65-75% chocolate. Then spread that mixture into the second pan. Bake, crumble, and dry as stated.

Divide and crumble 'coffee cakes' for 9 dehydrator trays

Let these "coffee cakes" cool before crumbling into small pieces. You could dry this in a low temp oven at 200F, but you'll need lots of baking sheets to effectively dry. I dry mine in my dehydrator for about 12 hours.

I have ours in a glass canister for easy access and beauty! Try it, you'll like it!

Shared with: Granny's Vitals, My Cultured Palate, Simple Lives Thursday, Chicken Chick, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, A Better Mom, Hearth and Soul Hop, The Gathering Spot, Homestead Barn Hop, Nourishing Treasures, Traditional Tuesday

SNOW Finally!

All Fall and Winter so far, any bits of moisture we get, are just that, little bits - like 1/2" here or dusting there. The ground is SO dry. What's often typical for our neck-of-the-woods, is to get dumped on in the Spring. Like was it 2002, around March 16 (Monte's birthday), that we got almost 6 feet?! I've told some snow tales here before. I'm just wanting to post some pictures of yesterday's blizzardy storm.

Shoveled path to hot tub

We were sore and tired, so Monte shoveled the back deck to the hot tub. That was special! It was still snowing a bit and a full moon.

Wondering when and whom will plow us out . . .

An Unquenchable Appetite for Slow Cooking

The title for this post came from me looking at my thesaurus for a better way to say, "I'm currently hooked on cooking in my slow-cooker" - passion, ardor, enthusiasm . . . appetite. When you read reviews on slow cookers, there's some people who absolutely do not like this style of cooking. And even in evaluating Slow Cooker cookbooks, which I'm glad for people's comments, there too, is a variety of viewpoints. Now I'll give you my two-cents-worth.

My new slow cooker

I had to get a new crockpot. My old one for years and years was a 4qt - probably Rival brand. I wanted a newer bigger one. I got a CrockPot brand. I love the larger oval sizes. That one's insert cracked - it's a fine line. I could have been using it without noticing . . . but then Monte washed it and noticed. I'm still planning on writing them, hoping for a new FREE insert. It probably cracked from my continual use of placing the insert in a cold spot when warm and then putting it back into the base and heating it too hot right away. Or could a frozen chicken (which I do a lot on high) cause it to crack when turned on to High to start the process quick? I'm going to be more careful about all that from now on.

I really am attracted to the brands that eliminate the sauteing step in another utensil - but it looks like they are all anodized aluminum (for non-stick). I stay away from aluminum. Breville has a new Fast Slow Cooker - both a slow cooker AND pressure cooker, but I don't see anywhere the specs on the insert being stainless steel. I bought a Hamilton Beach Set and Forget slow cooker, but returned it. Nice idea: probe insert hole and handle clasps for taking places and no spill. But no specs on what the lid is made out of for that no-spill feature. I cooked a meal. Ok, it's new, so new smells to cook off. The smell, and too, the taste in the food? Rubber! It should be silicone AND should say something! Anyway, I now have a Cuisinart and am really liking it. It has an extra setting - most have warm, low, and high - this one also has simmer. And too, when I wanted to switch from high to low or whatever, it would be like starting over in adjusting the time. The Cuisinart keeps the time you originally set and switching the temp level doesn't alter the time.

When you read all the Slow Cooker talk, you'll keep hearing: "It cooks hotter". They did change that feature from the old crockpots - worry over bacteria growth if too low temps. And as to that sauteing and/or browning extra step? It often does enhance the finished dish's flavor, but it's not always needed. The extra steps is what I read the complaints on for some cookbooks.

I almost bought a highly praised cookbook, but decided to read the reviews. One person commented on too many ingredients that were pre-packaged and canned. And then there's those people who want the ease of just dumping in already prepared ingredients with no extra steps . . . "An easy meal at the end of the day, isn't that why we're using a slow cooker?" Here's a picture of the cookbooks I settled on. If you were to choose one? Get the America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution. I've mentioned before my love of Cook's Illustrated recipes - I started getting the end of the year bound editions from the start (1993) and occasionally get the newest index for them all. This slow cooker cookbook is just another quality book from them. (A sidenote: I get seasonal emails from Christopher Kimball the Cook's Illustrated founder, editor, and host of America's Test Kitchen. He writes about the idyllic life in Vermont's countryside where he lives. Stories of family doings, farming, hunting . . . I like reading them. Almost the same slow life, warm feeling when reading farmer Wendell Berry's books.)

Slow Cooker cookbooks

Another reason for pulling out the slow cooker more and more is our pastured grass-fed meats. When the majority of our meat was elk I used the slow cooker a lot, or slow cooked in the oven. Grass-fed meats, without the fat marbling that grain feeding produces, need slower lower cooking temps - and the slow cooker is producing great tasting meals! These books even have some great dessert ideas I'm wanting to try too.

So far out of the Revolution book I've done several meals: like chicken thighs with the addition of chard near the end of cooking time for 30 minutes on high, and pork steaks with the addition of collard greens and black-eyed peas. These had you saute onion, celery, and garlic, etc, using some broth and/or wine to rinse out the pan. EVERYTHING has been awesome so far. And often there's suggestions for a side dish addition which we've really liked too. Like Polenta with an Italian-Style Pot Roast. None of the above meats were first browned - only sauteed initial veggies- and usually an umami, a savory taste, like a bit-o bacon or tomato paste.

What's cooking now? Chicken In A Pot. I sauted up chopped onion and garlic. Added 1 tsp of tomato paste and 1 Tb flour and used about 1/3-1/2 cup of wine (you could use some of that as broth) to clean the skillet into the slow cooker. Then set the whole chicken on top of that mixture, salt and pepper the chicken (from past whole chicken cooks, I also like to sprinkle on some garlic and onion powders). Oh . . . I guess I'm supposed to add some thyme and bay leaves, so I better go add those. This will cook on low for 4-6 hours. They always suggest cooking with the breast down for best moist flavor.

My old crock pot with a sage, bread-stuffed rolled flank steak

Shared with: Simple Lives Thursday, Chicken Chick, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, A Better Mom, Hearth and Soul Hop, The Gathering Spot, Homestead Barn Hop, Nourishing Treasures, Traditional Tuesday

February 21, 2013

Book Groups

I'm vegging out reading. I wanted to post a video of my Grandson Emery, trying to blow Monte's trumpet, with little sister Scout wanting to try too. At three and one, it's cute. Monte's trying to help, and eventually Emery says, "Mamma, I want to just do it my way. Can I just do it?" Love his fat cheeks (perfect embouchure potential!) and expressiveness with his hands. I need to have Travis send the movie clip to me. We were babysitting them for a spell. Such joy . . . yet tiring.

I was going to go to a MOPS book group tonight, but Monte had a Geolly Boy meeting (geologists) and I didn't feel like juggling it all. One of my MOPS gals has written her first novel - a Young Adult novel called Playing Nice. I read it. It reminds me of my high school days.

Other gals in my church want to start a book group too. I suggested some books that I currently am wanting to read. I started reading the one I have from the library and am reminded of how much I love Lauren Winner's writing. It's her newest book Still. After reading several chapters I told these younger gals that they really need to read her first book before this book. It's Girl Meets God. I'm looking forward to reading it again, for next month's read.

I also suggested Donald Miller's more recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It's subtitle is what draws me - How I Learned to Live a Better Story.

What they are currently going to read and I just started, is John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. I'm liking it.

We've had such a drought, and it's been snowing! Perfect weather for curling up and reading!

February 15, 2013

The Doctors Who Say Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong

Yep, I've believed this for a long time. Our liver has to work harder producing cholesterol if we don't take it in!

February 12, 2013

Ginger and Turmeric Soda/ Ale

Left Ale has added turmeric root color
I've posted about making Ginger Ale before. I'm still regularly making it since it is a favorite of Monte's, as well as guests.

Turmeric root to the left and ginger to the right - they are related

I'm again posting the how-to. My health food store had a root looking like ginger next to the ginger - it was turmeric. So I tried adding half the grated ginger as turmeric last week. It was ready for drinking Sunday . . . And we like it!

See the turmeric color when grated compared with the grated ginger?!

Turmeric stained hands


First I make a ginger bug.
Scrub a fresh ginger chunk, no need to peel, and store in a baggy in the fridge.

Put some water about 2/3 full in a quart jar. Add- 
1 Tb of fresh grated ginger and
1 Tb of sugar

Stir vigorously to incorporate air and dissolve the sugar. Either rubber-band the top with a napkin or something breathable.

Continual Brew Kombucha crock, Dairy Kefir, and my brewing Ginger Ale Bug to the left on warm mat in back of my pantry. NOTE!: I love this picture BUT I no longer keep all these brewing side-by-side. Ferments need to be separated to prevent contamination. My dairy kefir is the one to suffer!

Keep this in a warm spot.
Every 24 hours add another-
1 Tb sugar and
1Tb fresh grated ginger
Stir well

I have a seed starting heat mat on a shelf at the back of my pantry that my Kombucha and Dairy Kefir sit on, and now my brewing ginger. By 3-7 days (mine's usually ready in 4 days) you'll hear it bubbling when you're stirring. This is your bug, or starter, for ginger ale.

1 Cup of the ginger bug will make 1 gallon of ginger ale. The rest of the bug can store in the fridge for more batches.

1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/3 packed cup of fresh grated ginger
1 Cup of the bug
1/3 cup lemon juice (usually 2 lemons)
Enough water to fill for 1 gallon of beverage

Either boil the sugar in some of the water to dissolve. Remove from heat and add ginger, cool and add the rest. Or just stir well till sugar is dissolved.

Ginger bug, lemon juice, sugar and grated root in jars

I don't have a gallon jar so I use two 1/2 gallon jars. I loosely put on white plastic lids rather than the rubber-banded cloth lid. They'll need to be tightened and shook, or stirred well, every 12 hours.

Enough "ginger bug" left to start another batch

Start tasting about day 3 to see if bubbling with a bit of carbonation and satisfying to your taste. It can brew longer, but it's usually ready to strain off and bottle. More starter and sugar could be added to a batch not brewing, or just a bit more sugar.

If you want carbonation, bottle to within 2" of top. Cap. Leave at room temp or warmer for 3-5 days to build up carbonation. It will also get less sweet as it "eats up" the sugar. When to your liking chill till ready to serve. Chilling slows fermentation. I've not let it sit out longer. I fill my refrigerator pitcher and store the extra in my cellar.

Our Cellar- Ginger Ale, Moroccan Lemons, Dairy Kefir cheese in olive oil, Kombucha, Fermented Salsa

Poured from stored jar in cellar and it really fizzed!

Additional notes:
Turmeric is very good for you. Look it up . . .

Your bug can keep going for further batches. Just keep adding a bit of sugar and grated ginger like above. Refrigerate when not using for a batch of Ginger Soda.

Current Note (10/20/2015): Our youngest son, now several years married, makes his own ginger-ale. But is making it in 5 gallon quantities. He keeps it in one of his Kegerator containers with it's own tap on the outside of the fridge!

February 11, 2013

Sourdough Cheese Crackers

Sourdough Cheese Crackers ( my cracker tin, and then homemade mustard off to right)

We needed crackers again, so I pulled out my refrigerated Parisian Sourdough starter and started feeding it to activate it. I made the sausage cheese pie I posted about. I made crepes again since it was out, and I made some bread, then it'll go back into the fridge untill I want something else again. Like pulling it out in the evening and feeding it makes it usable the next day.

I have posted about crackers before. My cookbook has several cracker (as too, my "flake cereal") recipes - all prior to these days of soaking my ground flours with the wet ingredients for at least 8-12 hours before making the recipe - for better body assimilation.

Sourdough Cheese Crackers

1 cup sourdough
1/3 cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
1 1/2 cup whole grain flour

Mix this together till a not too sticky dough. Like start with 1 cup of flour and keep adding more till a pretty stiff dough and not too wet. It will absorb more of the flour as it sits, but I don't like it to be too sticky for my final mixing up and making.

Let this sit for at least 8 hours. I either do this in the morning to make in the afternoon, or mix it up at night to make the next morning. I think about oven usage. I like to turn the oven off once the baking time is done and leave the crackers in the oven overnight to let them dry out more.

Soaked dough flattened out and rest of ingredients sprinkle on

Flatten out dough on a silicone mat and sprinkle on -
1/4 tsp each: salt, onion and garlic powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup of grated cheese

Kneed this mixture together till seems well mixed. Divide the dough in half and roll out thin on two baking sheets. Score for cracker shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Then as I said, I turn the oven off and leave them in to cool and dry more.

Cracker dough rolled thin and scored

You could add any seasonings you desire. You don't need to add the cheese. I've used all varieties of cheese and like them all. This time I used Kerry Gold Irish Cheddar. I like gouda too. Blue cheeses are good, but can't eat so many of them - like it gets overpowering - maybe depends on what you want to serve them with.

Use as you do any cracker. I took some yesterday to a wine tasting we did with neighbors - they loved them! Homemade mustard is great on them. Use them for mini 'sandwiches'. I like making kefir cheese - straining off the whey - mixing it with salt, onion and garlic powder and balling it up and pouring good tasting olive oil over. It keeps well in cold storage for a LONG time. My balls don't stay together, but that doesn't matter - but the mixture spread on these crackers is awesome! Add a thin cucumber or any veggie slice and it's even better!

Blender Impossible Squash Pie

Blender Impossible Squash Pie
I have this recipe in my cookbook. One day we sat down with some of our grown kids, talking thru my cookbook I wrote 20 years ago. They'd make comments like, "I hated that" or "we do this this way now". Travis's comment about this recipe was, "I never liked pumpkin pie, but this recipe helped me like it. I love this pie, and it's even good leftover cold!"

I grow winter squash. It's a great feat at my mountain altitude to get winter squash, and have an abundance of it stored in the garage. So I have to remember to keep pulling it out to bake each week. This is a recipe I often do with the leftovers. And I don't really bother measuring the squash - like I probably have more than the called for 1 cup.

Back in the day, I was using powdered milk a lot. So my book's recipe has 1 cup water and then 1/3 cup milk powder. Now I'm using raw milk and will even add in some extra cream when I've got extra. And use whatever type of flour you want - I tried almond meal this time and it worked fine. The original versions for these impossible pies used Bisquick, and I came up with this version instead. Occasionally I'll use my extra sourdough I need to be using when building up for bread-making. Use any kind of squash (excepting stringy spaghetti squash).

Blender Impossible Squash Pie

1 cup milk
1+ cup of cooked squash
4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup honey (I'll occasionally use maple syrup)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all in the blender and blend. Pour into greased and floured pie dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or till toothpick or knife comes out clean.

February 4, 2013

Sausage Cheese Pie With Potato Crust

Sausage cheese potato crust quiche?
I made this wonderful comfort food dish for supper last night. I combined several ideas from Wardeh Harmon's Sourdough A to Z eBook, and a little Egg eBook she put together for this month's bonus gift. In the Sourdough book, it's most like her Cheese Pie recipe. In the Egg eBook it's a combination of a potato crust cheddar quiche and a sausage cheese pie. And then there's some of my additions . . . So what do I call it?

Sausage Cheese Pie With Potato Crust

Melt butter and stir in thin sliced potatoes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2-3 potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin
3 Tb pastured butter, melt in the baking dish
Stir these together, spread about in dish and bake about 20 minutes while getting the rest of the ingredients ready.

Brown sausage, onion, and garlic

Brown 1 lb of sausage, mine is pastured pork breakfast sausage
with 1 chopped onion
add some minced garlic
1/2 Tb basil

Mix together
1/4 c milk
3/4 c sourdough, that's been fed within 12 hours
3 eggs
3/4 tsp sea salt

grate 1- 1 1/4 cup pastured cheddar cheese

Meat and cheese over potatoes, add sourdough
Add the browned sausage mixture on top of the cooked potatoes. Then add 3/4 cup grated cheese and pour the sourdough mixture on top of all. Bake for about 25 minutes, then add the rest of the cheese, and bake another 10 minutes. In all, bake about 30-40 minutes.

Next time I'm going to bake it in my cast iron skillet.

Seriously! EVERYTHING I've made from the A to Z eBook has been fabulous, and have become everyday eats. Like the English Muffins, Biscuits ... I've posted about the crackers and crepes. And now we regularly have sourdough waffles in a freezer bag for popping in the toaster. Cookies, chips, cakes . . . There's even gluten-free suggestions, for those needing that variety.

I used the last of last years potatoes I'd grown. I grew them in buckets. I'm giving up on that idea. Yesterday I researched growing potatoes again and have a plan. I've tried the large bucket method for several years. I think the temps fluctuate too much as too the moisture. They used to grow potatoes and oats up here years ago - before elk were moved in and became a nuisance! Knowing they grew here makes me not want to give up on them.

Elk in velvet from my kitchen window!
A funny story . . . Monte used to archery hunt for elk. We ate elk for 20 years. One year he'd not been seeing elk. I chuckled, and told him, "No, cuz they're in my potato bed, pulling up plants and munching away!"

Shared with: The Homestead Barn Hop, The Clever Chicks Blog Hop

February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day / Candlemas? and Sourdough Crepes

Candlemas Day
February 2, considered the "midway point of winter", halfway between the darkest day and Spring Equinox.

So what day is February 2? Groundhog Day!
Yes and No.

On the Christian calendar February 2 is Candlemas Day - a Festival Day ("mass") of the Candles. This was the day Jesus was brought as a baby to the temple - the Feast of the Presentation. Old Simeon and Anna were there waiting for years! for the Messiah, and proclaimed "Jesus the Light to lighten all peoples". 

A meeting of the old and new.

For some, this is the official ending of the Christmas season. In some places candles may still be brought to the church to be blessed. In some parts of Europe it's traditional to eat crepes on Candlemas Day. I like Holidays with meal suggestions.

Once done I flip the sourdough crepe onto a plate
I make crepes on Fat Tuesday/ Mardi Gras (which is coming up, February 12 this year). My blog post on Mardi Gras into Lent is here. My crepe recipe is here. Now I mostly make sourdough crepes.

Since I found this crepe recipe (I bought the A to Z Sourdough eBook) I'm making them quite often. Sometimes for breakfast with unsweetened grated coconut, homemade yogurt, fruit and maple syrup. Sometimes for lunch or supper with leftovers of meats and veggies. These crepes can even be fried crisp like chips - use for nachos!

Before I jump into the recipe I have to start from the beginning, a very good place to start. One of my sourdough starters is made from rye flour. I used to have a starter I made from potatoes and wheat flour (it might have used a bit of yeast at the beginning, I don't remember) from an Alaska Sourdough book. When I bought Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions book in the early 2000's I started my rye starter. I use this starter for everything including the sourdough pancake recipe I got from the Alaskan book. My starter how-to along with the Sourdough pancakes I've made for years is here. Now I also have a Parisian sourdough starter.

Starter in jar and crepe ingredients


1 C sourdough starter
3 Tb butter or oil
3 eggs
pinch of salt

I usually start with melting the butter in a 2C Pyrex mixing bowl, then mix in the eggs and starter. I use a silicone whip, keeping it in to periodically stir while making the crepes.

Pour a few Tablespoons batter and tilt pan to spread batter

Crepe ready to flip, this one looks a bit thicker than I usually make them

Have a very well seasoned smaller cast iron skillet preheated. First add a bit of oil and swish it around by tilting the pan. Then add a few tablespoons of batter depending on what size pan you're using - mine is 8". Wait till the crepe develops little bubbles all over, then with spatula quickly flip it over. It doesn't need to cook on this side for long, like just a few seconds and then flip out onto a plate. The crepes can stack till you're done with all the batter. This amount will make about 10 crepes.

I've put leftover crepes in a zip-close bag and frozen. It works great. No need to put waxed paper between. I've often used these in place of tortillas for enchiladas. Happy crepe-ing. Sharing of crepe filling ideas could be numerous, so how about you? what have you tried, and what's your favorite?

Folklore: "If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight; (meaning: more winter)
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again."

Groundhog Lore: If he sees the sun ...
and is frightened by his shadow he'll crawl back to sleep for 40 days.
If it's cloudy ...
and stays above ground; it's a harbinger of early spring.

Did dislike of religion bring the change from Candlemas to Groundhog Day?

Watch the movie "Groundhog Day".
Bill Murray, a TV weatherman seems condemned to live the day over and over again. He tries every role or small story he can think of. When all fail him, does he discover the real meaning of life?

It's Ecclesiastes in modern film--all is vanity. I love the fact that you can find a part of the Gospel in most every film.

Shared with: The Homestead Barn Hop, The Clever Chicks Blog Hop

February 1, 2013

Dyed T-shirts and Matching Socks

T-Shirt pleated and clothespinned soda ash soaked - poured on Cobalt blue dye - and bamboo socks
I posted earlier about ordering more stuff to dye for Monte's geologist partner Stan - who always asks for more T-shirts and bamboo socks. He lives in AZ, so when he visits, I like to gift him with more. I get my dyeables and dyes from Dharma Trading Company. And as I said in the earlier post, I overdye lots of second-hand clothes.

In the other post I gave Jane Dunnewold's soda ash solution proportions. Since that mixture was almost gone I added more to my 5-gallon bucket I keep in my greenhouse. I realized I usually do another 'recipe' - 1 cup soda ash (and 1/2 cup salt - kinda optional, but I now add it) per 1 gallon of hot water to dissolve. This time I mixed up 3 gallons, so it'll last me awhile. I pre-wash stuff, leaving them damp, before putting in this bucket. I only dyed 2 shirts and matching socks. I left another T-shirt and socks for Monte and sweat pants and socks for me and a long T-shirt for a nightgown, to dye later. I sometimes leave stuff in this for a long time, eventually finding I've got another shirt, or something, I could dye up for me or someone!

Wring out the solution and scrunch, fold, pleat whatever. Place in plastic cups or bins or leave on a tray. Squeeze from squirt bottles or pour dye over. You'd be surprised how much white or undercolor remains when you think you've soaked the material. I love the serendipity of it, tho I do have an idea of what I'm creating since I've done it so much. These clothes were done super fast.

Pleated and clothespinned

The cobalt blue shirt above was pleated and clothespinned and scrunched into a bin, as well as the socks. I mixed up 1 qt of the dye (1 Tb of dye in very warm water to dissolve) and poured it over. Rinsed the container with a bit more water and poured over as well.

Bronze dyed spiraled t-shirt and bamboo socks
This Bronze dyed shirt and socks I just spiraled and put in a bin and poured dye over.

Spiralled t-shirt and socks in bin to pour in dye

The least amount of time to let set is 3 hours. I usually just let it set overnight, in a warm place. Then rinse in warm water and wash several times in washer before drying.

I shouldn't end this without a picture of Stan wearing one of my t-shirts from years ago. A separate design of a serpentinite rock I'd printed is long faded.


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