...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.


Celebrating Winter

Winterfest! (And V wearing my homemade balaclava.)
It's been a slow news week here at the LUH.  Toward week's end I took up a few baking and crafting activities and finally have some ideas to share.  Lately I've been feeling like I haven't had much time to be creative.  I follow a few other blogs that are always inspirational to me (Food in JarsMade by Rachel, and At the End of This Row), but on the same note they make me wish I had more time to be crafty and, most importantly, take my time in the process.  I realize that I need to give myself a break because I'm in a stage right now while Vera is very young and still requires a lot of my attention and supervision.  (Not to mention I should savor this time as, I imagine, one day I'll wake up and wonder where my "baby" went.)  So in the meantime I'm stealing as much time as I can to plunk down at my sewing machine or meditate with a knitting project.  And I've been amazed by how long Vera will let me do that.  As long as we have numerous pairs of snow boots sitting around in the basement for her to put on and take off, I can get in a good 45 minutes to 1 hour at a time sewing.  V occasionally asks to sit on my lap and watch, which is precious when she's not trying to stick her fingers under the rapidly moving needle.  I completed a project this week that I'd been imagining for a while.  We are those people who wash and reuse plastic bags, especially zip lock style bags.  I've found that they only last so long before they bust or part of the zipper splits on the sides so I began cutting off the zippers and saving them for a project.  I got the idea for these reusable snack bags in a magazine I read and heard myself echoing my mother's famous words, "I can make that!"  So this week I gave it a shot.  This is my first draft, pre-prototype stage.  I realized that simply surging or machine blanket-stitching the edges instead of sewing right sides together then turning right-side out would make it easier to seal.  I also realized that if I chose that method then I would be better using a different fabric instead of this easily-fraying linen I had in my stash.  But I had to start somewhere and learn from my mistakes.

I also finally found time to use some of my homemade acorn flour.  I adapted this recipe to fit my bill--gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free.  I was also able to use our foraged applesauce and topped off my baked muffin with some wild Queen Anne's Lace jelly.

Acorn Muffins
Makes 1 dozen

...with a dollop of QAL jelly
These muffins have a fairly fluffy consistency considering they are gluten-free.  They are still more crumbly than regular muffins, but just as delicious.

1/2 c. acorn flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 T. egg replacer diluted in 4 T. water
1/4 c. honey
Fresh Muffins for the weekend
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. ghee or coconut oil, melted
1 c. almond "buttermilk" (1 T. white vinegar in a measuring cup, topped off to 1 c. with almond milk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a muffin pan with oil (or use silicone cake cups) and set aside.  Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk until combined.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, mixing until smooth.  Bake 20-30 min.  Cool slightly before eating.

"Mushka" the sled dog
Community Pies
To cap off our weekend and Ben's staycation week we celebrated a glorious winter Saturday by attending the Washington Park Urban Ecology Center's Winterfest.  It was the second round of Community Pie's efforts to bake underutilized fruits into delicious pies for all to enjoy.  This time we served pumpkin pie, pumpkin apple pie, and various permutations of pear, apple, and cranberry pie.  After the sweets ran out Ben, Vera, and I took to the outdoors and had fun sliding around on the ice, sledding, and meeting the Door County Sled Dogs.  Too bad Vera wasn't watching to see the bus full of "puppies" arrive.  (Two of her favorite things to point out these days are school buses and dogs.)  It was adorable to see these pups with their noses sticking out the tops of the bus windows as we did with our hands and arms that earned us reprimand on grade school field trips.  Vera hung back from the puppies at first, but soon warmed up to them and was patting (make that poking) their fluffy coats and receiving lots of loving licks.   

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