Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Soft apples now Apple Walnut Cake; Salvage fishy cooking oil

Waste Not: Apple-Walnut Bundt Cake.  This cake recipe was the perfect match for my too-soft-to-eat apples. Not having any apple juice on hand, I used a combo of sherry vinegar and water instead. Also subbed out chopped dates for the raisins in the recipe. The pic is somewhat dark; I was in the process of drizzling the glaze atop the cake here.
Because I believe cake is not cake without icing (and glaze doesn't count!), I enjoyed my cake with a vanilla sauce. Hubby likes it with or without. Really, really enjoying reading Nella Lasts' Peace: The Post-War Diaries of Housewife, 49. I love reading diaries dating around the Great Depression...those folks have so much to teach me about being FRUGAL and conscientious about every purchase. I've learned how Nella "saved" her cooking oil that'd been tainted by burned fish: pour the boiling oil into water. The oil congeals and the burned bits fall to the bottom. Repeat if needed. If times are ever so dire that supplies are hard to come by, I'll have another trick up my sleeve!
So, that about does it for my Independence Challenge for today. Love, LOVE that the "Eat The Food" part of this challenge is making me think about using up things that have been around too long. I added a couple of barbecue sauce packets to the homemade bean soup we ate for supper. My folks can't seem to refuse those little condiment packets which they never use, as a result my fridge is cluttered with little packets. Time to use them!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake; Want Not: 'Bug Out Kit'

Eat The Food: Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. Broke into the last of my bargain bin almond paste for this recipe. Froze the half not used for another day. That stuff is soo expensive, I can only hope to find it on bargain again.
Plant Something: Hubby's many planted somethings are starting to get a bit spindly. He's never started this big a variety of seeds before, so he went out and bought him a rack just for this purpose! Sure do wish him luck...I think he's having fun with it so far.
Want Not: My in-progress Bug Out Kit. When our loved one suffered a medical emergency a couple of weeks ago, we packed and loaded up PDQ. The incident did make me realize the value of having a quick-grab kit that'd always be ready to go at a moment's notice. Still adding to this work in progress. As we're campers, I'm including things like matches/magnesium fire starter. Hope to toss in a mini-fishing kit, but I understand that in a pinch a safety pin will do for a hook. Also hope to find a mini-sewing kit to add. I'm sure makeup and conditioner wouldn't fit Hubby's idea of emergency preparedness! :)
I'm still having great fun with the Independence Challenge. Anyone else have a Bug Out Kit? Any suggestions for what I might include in mine?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Enviable green living in Berea's Eco-Village; Meatless Monday Hold That Line Hummus

We interrupted these students' breakfast, but they couldn't have been more gracious and anxious to share their experiences of living in the Sens Demonstration House. The residents of the house meet weekly to discuss their power usage and other ways to stay green and sustainable. These young women were in agreement that living in Sens House didn't take much additional effort, but mentioned composting food waste specifically as one way their lives differ from that of most students.
Soo jealous of the young folks who live in Sens House at the Eco-Village. Four Berea College students live in this solar-powered residence. Other residents from the eco-village help to tend these garden beds and share in the produce year-round.
Aquaponics at Berea's Eco-Village.
Totally missed this pic when sharing my Berea funky finds yesterday. LOVE this window--captured in the Kentucky Artisan Center.
Of course, I couldn't post without including some FOOD. And, YES, I am totally ashamed to share this picture with its Styrofoam containers. I have yet to figure out how to stay A+ green when traveling and staying in a hotel. *sigh*
   We had such fun in Berea, Kentucky, but my fav place to sightsee was their Eco-Village. This place pretty much blew my socks off!

   So, that pretty much does it for the vacay pics. Back to normal and I didn't even forget to post about Meatless Monday this week. Actually made an Eggplant Parmigiana for lunch but since the pic didn't turn out, Loved the ranch-flavored Hold That Line Hummus I made a couple of days ago. What's on your table this Meatless Monday?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Funky finds in Berea, Kentucky

Not your average porch benches!
Unique up-cycling of wine corks, wouldn't you say?
Unexpected greeter at entrance to the restroom in the Kentucky Artisan Center.
The Kentucky Artisan Center Grill's Veggie Burger. Yes, I am a condiment slut! ;)
Every shop seemed to outdo the last!
Such fun when shops do tablescapes.
While in Berea, seems we were always stumbling into music. This time at the Black Feather.
The Black Feather tickled our tummies with paninis: the Mediterranean Veggie for me and for Hubby, the Portabella with feta, balsamic and sun-dried tomatoes.
Finally getting around to sharing more pics from our mini-vacation to Berea, Kentucky. Hope to find the time mañana to share our visit to their fascinating eco-village.

Food Rules shortie film narrated by Michael Pollan

I'm having a ball checking out entry after entry in the 2012 Ninjamatics Canadian Weblog Awards. Please share a link if you've discovered something worth watching!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hangin' out at Historic Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky

Built in 1909, Boone Tavern's historic status is reason enough for a visit but their recently acquired status as an LEED Gold Certified Green Hotel gives them even more to crow about. And having a nice parking spot reserved up front for green vehicles was a nice touch too.
Way back when, Hubby and I stayed at Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky, to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. This time around we were celebrating our 30th! We try to make some little jaunt every year around this time to commemorate our "I DOs." Last year, we sashayed to San Diego, but this year I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to revisit Boone Tavern and Berea. Wasn't a hard sell...Hubby loves this place too!
Smaller 1st Floor Lobby
Time to check in...once we ditched our luggage, we were frequent flyers on these stairs.
2nd Floor Lobby. Just out the window is one of the Berea College buildings.
No plastic entry card around here--only an actual KEY will get you into this joint! With only a two night stay, there was no need for maid service. Just a small, painless concession to green living.
Our room was t-tiny but plenty big for us. (We're used to a full-sized bed. They have larger beds of course, and those rooms are larger.) All the furniture in the rooms is "handcrafted cherry, oak, and pine furniture made by Berea College Student Crafts over the past 100 years."
Our room package came with breakfast vouchers for the restaurant, so I couldn't talk Hubby into eating our lunches or dinners at the Tavern. Of course, that didn't keep me from sampling their desserts in the comfort of our own room!
Soo, where should we go next year for our anniversary weekend? Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday calls for King Arthur's Carrot Cake

No King's Cake for me this Mardi Gras! This Fat Tuesday calls for a Carrot Cake from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Oh, MY, this tastes soo good! At least there are some slow carbs to balance out the sweet stuff, as this cake is made with whole wheat flour, grated carrots, pineapple, coconut and pecans. The cream cheese frosting is sprinkled with candied ginger--something in my pantry I've been needing to use up. (Couldn't find exact recipe online...similar recipe may be found here. Just sub out whole wheat for the all-purpose flour and sprinkle frosted cake with 1/2 cup of candied ginger. I used pecans and pineapple, not raisins and walnuts.)
We had BIG salads for supper, followed up by Carrot Cake. What's on the menu for your Fat Tuesday??

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Transforming my life AND my day old doughnuts

Eat the Food: Last week when I was craving doughnuts, I made pancakes instead. Though I love my recipe, the pancakes did NOT end my craving.
Skill Up: Yes, mending my gloves was a way for me to "skill up" as part of the Independence Challenge. Does the fact that I pricked my finger say it all? ;)
Preserve Something: As you can imagine, Grandbaby, strapped to my chest in her infant carrier, was a big help when it came time to finally use that salsa mix that'd been in my pantry for so long. Still lacking the confidence to actually can anything, but feeling pretty good about the jars of salsa now in the freezer!
Make Over Leftovers: No, I wasn't thinking 'Now, how can I make doughnuts less healthy?' Just trying to enjoy the dozen day old doughnuts I bought when I at last gave into my craving. I froze the doughnuts right away, so I could eat them a few at a time. These'll keep me from giving into the urge to drive into town next time I get a craving. A real money saver, eh? *wink* Anyway, my dad came up with this method to slice stale doughnuts and fry them in a smattering of butter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and EAT WARM. The ultima comfort food!!
Now, don't get me wrong, I like my life but there's always room for improvement. I keep taking on new challenges because the only way I'm going to steadily improve my life (Kaizen, baby!) is to change what I do for something better. Doing something different daily seems to be the key. Loving this Indpendence Challenge because it helps me to daily think of categories certain to improve my $$ bottom line.
   Time for me to get off this computer now and go do something different!
   Whassup in your world? Taken on any new challenges lately? Leave a link if you're so inclined!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lovin' this Independence Challenge; Laziest 'icing' ever

Lemon Shrimp...yup, this is me cutting down on animal protein. When the folks came back from Florida recently and gifted us with FIVE POUNDS of Royal Reds (oh, yeah!), we divvied the shrimp up into 1/2 pound bags and froze it. Totally resisted the urge to fry up and scarf down a pound of it for dinner the first night. Sadly, eating this sweet Gulf shrimp in smaller lots feels a little chintzy, but I will be happy to have it last longer. We had the leftovers from this tonight, with steamed broccoli added in, along with 1/2 jar of organic baby food peas that I didn't want to give to Grandbaby today since it'd been opened on Friday. (Yes, I hate wasting food so much I'm willing to eat baby food...well, as long as it's heavily disguised.)
HARVEST: Hubby harvested our first mess of kale from the late planting he'd done. Some of it is red kale, a new crop for us. I LOVE kale. What's more, I LOVE the Independence Challenge reminding me to get off my tuchus and go see if any of our winter crops are ready to be harvested.
WANT NOT: Unfortunately, a loved one was in the hospital over the weekend...a hospital two hours from here. Before we and some others hit the road, I tossed a box of Clif bars, bananas and a water bottle into a bag. So, during this family medical crisis, I did not eat any hospital food! (Our dear one is MUCH better and well on his way to complete recovery, thanks!!)
EAT THE FOOD: After getting only about 45 minutes of sleep Friday night, I did not feel like cooking when we got home Saturday night. Didn't want to go out to eat either...too much food in the fridge at home. But comfort food was definitely wanted, so I baked a box mix White Cake and topped it with the quickest, laziest icing ever: 2 cans sweetened condensed milk mixed with 3/4 cup lemon juice then poured over the cake.
WASTE NOT: Scraping out the edges of my powder make-up. I buy and use this powder stuff only for traveling, because it's more expensive than my everyday makeup. I don't want to waste even ONE application!
EAT THE FOOD: Our refrigerator is jam-packed with cheeses that need to be used up (bought before my resolve to eat less animal protein/eggs/dairy). To up the vegetable proteins, I added some freshly harvested, sautéed Swiss chard into the Rotel Dip that jazzed up my mushroom tacos. Didn't take much of the spicy cheese dip to take my vegetarian taco over the top!
Happy Monday!! Anything getting harvested, eaten, saved or wasted in your neck of the woods??

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pie and cupcake eateries delight the eyes, if not the palate

I know, I know, eating at local joints has been my focus, but occasionally a chain restaurant catches my eye, as The Grand Traverse Pie Company we visited in Evansville certainly did. I mean, what's not to love about pie cases like these!
While good, Hubby's Chicken Pot Pie was not worth a return visit to the Pie Company, and the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich I ate was nothing to brag about either. Nonetheless, eating it did give me the idea to try to do better at home...hopefully soon! And I can't complain about getting to see those pie cases, even if the meal did disappoint.
Certainly, the sight of these cupcake cases at Gigi's Cupcakes did not disappoint. (You didn't think I would SKIP dessert, did you?) Thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head when I gazed on these babies--each and every one calling my name!
I could say it was a tough choice, but honestly, wedding cake is my all time fav, so a Wedding Cake cupcake pictured in the first case was my pick.
Hubby enjoyed his German Chocolate Cupcake but couldn't help wondering if they'd have given him a discount if he'd asked them to take off half the icing. Never thought I'd say this, but there was too much icing for me too. And I'm a "save me a corner piece" kinda gal!
Did pretty well on the Independence Challenge on my first day yesterday! In the interest of celebrating the good stuff, I included my successes in my bedtime accounting when I quickly wrote my top three things to be grateful for on Sunday. (Thanks, Meg, and Blessings, for reminding me of the importance of gratitude!)
  • Plant something: Started soaking some alfalfa seeds.
  • Harvest something:
  • Preserve something:
  • Waste not: Bought 2 more motion-activated nite lites (aka night lights *wink*), to save having to turn on overhead lights at night. 
  • Want Not: Added a 2.5 gallon container of drinking water to my emergency provisions.
  • Eat the Food: Cut up a cucumber into a pasta salad and a crab salad, using it up while still fresh.
  • Build community food systems:
  • Skill up: Mended my knitted gloves.
How's it going with any challenges you've taken on? Hope the usual challenge of MONDAY goes smoothly for you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Eating Coconut Cake fits in with this Independence Challenge

Baked this Three Day Coconut Cake before The China Study got me interested in eating less animal protein/eggs/dairy. I've some ideas on how to make this cake a tad healthier but maybe even tastier for the next time I make it. Meantime, Hubby and I have to finish eating the hunk of it that I just took out of the freezer, so there's no worry about me fulfilling my "Waste Not" challenge for today! ;)
Just learned of an intriguing challenge over on The Good Life Down Under. Chatelaine's Key's Independence Challenge calls for daily advances--and weekly accountability--in each of these categories:
  • Plant something:
  • Harvest something:
  • Preserve something:
  • Waste not:
  • Want Not:
  • Eat the Food:
  • Build community food systems:
  • Skill up: 
   With such a challenge, even if I were to fail miserably in some categories, an increased focus on moving forward in each category would doubtless lead to great successes as well, don'cha'know. Viva la Independence Challenge! What do you think? Doable?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Minimal animal protein and dairy for life--can she do it?

Made spaghetti recently with only a 1/4 pound of Italian sausage, and Hubby didn't even notice I'd reduced the meat! Had enough leftovers to make chili, and since it was chock full of black beans, onions and peppers, Hubby didn't even notice that there was VERY minimal meat. Any time I make chili or other casual, stain-producing meals I use our oldies-but-goodies cloth napkins. BTW, Grandbaby serenaded us during this lunch with her baby drum--that girl can jam! ;)
My most recent pot of Potato Soup contained only scant pieces of chicken from the homemade broth made from the carcass of my most recent Roasted Chicken (a variation of this one). Actually, the majority of our meals contain minimal meat, except for the first night of eating a newly roasted chicken or smoked pork loin, for instance. My challenge will be to keep Hubby from eating mega meat on those first nights, to spread the animal proteins even further. Aside from any health benefits, no doubt this challenge will save us money!
Oh, yes, I DID eat my chocolate ice cream with peanut butter mixed in while in my car with a copy of The China Study glaring up at me! The kinda folks who praise this book are impressive, to say the least, including a Nobel Prize winner. Not even finished with the book, I am convinced that eating MINIMAL animal proteins/eggs and MINIMAL dairy is the way to go for optimum health. (Starting right after eating this free ice cream gotten with a previous purchases reward card!)
A BIG Thank You!
Thanks, Yummy Little Cooks, for thinking me Liebster Award worthy! Of course, her lovely, absolutely yummy site would definitely make my short list of the blogs with less than 200 followers that I enjoy immensely. (Never got around to becoming a "follower" of any blog; I subscribe to folks' RSS feeds.) I have a tough time making lists because I hate leaving anyone out, so very many of you edu-entertain me. I will have to name another five very soon!
  1. Yummy Little Cooks (Like my own private cooking school with glimpses into an exotic cuisine.)
  2. Minting Nickels (Dunno how many followers Lindy has, but she makes me laugh while reminding me of my goal to save $$.)
  3. Simply Self Sufficiency (Becky mixes frugal, simple living with preparedness.)
  4. Sue's Garden Journal (When I visit Sue's site, I feel like I'm looking over the shoulder of a master gardener.) 
  5. Living a Little Greener (Bruise Mouse offers a little bit of everything. Always worth a visit.)
   Time to close this post and go read an intriguing article over on Organic Soul's site: Fighting Your Nature Deficiency: Tips for Natural Health. Oh, and I cannot wait to try this recipe over on Seasaltwithfood's site: Baked Potato Skins Pepperoni Pizza. Where are you headed next??
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