...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Sunday Dinner with Friends

We enjoyed another wonderful Sunday dinner with friends last night.  My goal with Sundays dinners has been to keep them simple--prepare something I would anyway on a Sunday evening--but invite friends over to share the meal and conversation.  Our friends surprised us by bringing a couple bottles of the infamous homebrew that was to make its debut on this upcoming dudes camping trip.  But we got to taste a little bit before that.  I was rather impressed.  If I had to solely drink my own homebrew in the future (hint, hint Ben) I could definitely enjoy something like the nutty, slightly hoppy flavor of this English Brown Ale style.  Bravo Gentlemen!

I also tried a new dessert with some of our wild foraged black raspberries mixed with organic blueberries.  I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand and thought it turned out well.

Gluten-Free Upside Down Cobbler
Adapted from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Makes Dessert by Bette Hagman
Makes 6 servings

1/2 c. butter or coconut oil, melted
1 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 rounded t. xanthan gum
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 3/4 c. sucanat, divided
1 c. milk or soymilk
4 c. fruit (sliced peaches, plums, or apples; blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Use an ungreased 9" x 13" baking pan.  Pour in the melted butter/coconut oil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 c. sucanat.  Stir in the milk, mixing just to combine.  Pour over the butter/coconut oil but don't stir together.  Place the fruit with the lemon juice and remaining cup sucanat in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour over the batter, but don't mix.  Bake 40-45 min. or until top is lightly browned.  Serve warm or cold.  Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or creme fraiche.

I'm turning into my mother.  This would not be the first time I've uttered this statement.  When I initially found myself cleaning the house before going on vacation, singing or humming a song around the house all day, and writing essays for pleasure, I knew I was my mother's daughter.  Lately, as I think more seriously about urban homesteading dreams and realize that I should spend time evaluating what I can reasonably make instead of relying on outside sources, I am once again reminded of my mother.  When I was growing up we'd go mall shopping and nearly every item of clothing in which I expressed interest she would say, "I could make that!" and we would move on, which is the last thing a teen girl trying to keep up with fashion wants to hear and do.  In fact, my best friend in high school had a mother with the same syndrome so when she and I would go shopping together (once we could independently get ourselves across state lines to the nearest mall) we'd browse the juniors section and mock our mothers saying, "I could make that" (Shame on us! These women are angels!)  I went through different phases growing up when I was proud to wear something homemade.  But there was definitely a point when I felt ostracized in confessing my mom made my clothes while the other girls donned the latest designer labels.  But when my mother made two beautiful, unique prom dresses for me, people were definitely impressed.  Now sewing for oneself is totally en vogue and I'm so proud to say that I, or my mother who still makes things for me or Vera, sewed or knit a piece that I am wearing.  And I am so grateful that she passed this domestic skill on to me.  Nowadays people pay big bucks to learn something they wished had been handed down.

Today I finished a pair of cotton baby booties for a friend who is expecting her first child this summer (I hope you're not reading this.)  Vera seemed a bit jealous of these cute scuffs.  I copied the pattern from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, which I found at our local library.  It was somewhat easy to follow, though at one point I thought I was smarter than the pattern and went my own way only to spend time ripping out my mistake.  With some patience I've finally completed them.

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