...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.


The Season's Begun!

The season's officially begun...antique flea market season that is.  The Elkhorn Antique Flea Market kicked off its season today rain or shine.  All the die-hards were out, including a couple girlfriends and me.  So many awesome vintage pieces, so much cool old "stuff."  My list was short and I didn't end up finding the top item, but I did score a cool shag rug for our ever-evolving den/guest area/play area/reading corner/landing in our cozy second floor.  I'm thinking ahead to when V will want to have sleepovers and the girls will need a space to hang out, giggle, tell stories, and watch movies.  I don't plan on purchasing a second television--in fact, I'm determined to go without once our current tube (acquired circa 1999) kicks it--but I figure by that time the kids will know exactly how to hook up our computer to watch a film.  Right now there's a single sleeper-sofa, bookshelf, a big basket of warm blankets, and my recent "floor score."  This new addition is a rust/orange combo, which goes well with the unintentional warm peach, lake blue, and rust tones that seem to have taken over the upstairs.  And it goes well with my favorite part of our house--the rustic painted sub floor in what used to be the attic (you had me at spring green.)

I packed a picnic lunch for the flea market today as a thank you to the other two ladies who drove their vehicles with maximum cargo space for our goods.  I tried a new dessert, inspired by a trip to the Asian market where I saw lots of desserts made with adzuki and mung beans.  I tweaked this slightly from the original recipe and was happy with the results.

Red Bean Jam Granola Bars
Makes 9-12 bars

2 c. rolled oats
2 T. chia seeds
5 T.  sorghum syrup
2 T. coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt
2 T. sesame seeds
1 1/4 c. red bean jam (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8X8 pan with parchment paper. In medium bowl mix together oats, chia seeds, sorghum, coconut oil, and salt. Press 2/3rds of mixture into prepared ban. Let pan sit in fridge to allow base to firm up for 10 minutes. Spread red bean jam in smooth layer on top of base. Add sesame seeds to remaining oat mixture. Evenly distribute oat mixture on top of red bean jam. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in fridge before cutting into bars. 

Homemade Red Bean "Jam"
Makes 1 1/4 c. 

1/2 c. Adzuki Beans, soaked overnight and cooked under very soft. 
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. ground coconut
1/2 t. salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

I've been on a real sunchoke (jerusalem artichoke) kick lately.  I mentioned sunchoke chips in my last post. I ground some of them coarsely and added them to a gluten-free cashew butter cookie that also contained ground cornflakes.  And mid-week I used that same cornflake/sunchoke crumb combo to bread some falafel.

My Favorite Falafel
Serves 4

2 c. dry chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. salt
3 T. freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 c. cornflake/sunchoke crumbs
1/4 c. canola oil

In a food processor, process the chickpeas, lemon juice, and 1/4 c. water until almost smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl and add shallot/onion, cumin, red pepper flakes, 2/3 of the garlic, 1 t. of the salt, 2 T. of the parsley, and 1/2 c. of the cornflake/sunchoke crumbs and mix well.  Roll into 16 balls (about 2 inches in diameter) and flatten slightly to form patties.  Place the remaining cornflake/sunchoke crumbs in a bowl or dish.  Dip falafel patties in the crumbs, coating evenly. 

Optional dip: In a medium bowl, combine yogurt and pepper with remaining garlic, salt, and parsley.  Mix well.  Cover and set aside. 

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Place 8 of the chickpea patties in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 min. per side.  Drain on paper towels.  Add the remaining oil, if necessary, and cook the remaining patties.  Drain. Alternatively, bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 15-20 min. Serve with the yogurt dip, if desired.


  1. Hi Ann, I've been reading your blog since I saw your booth at the FarmAid concert in the fall; I love the creativity that shows through in your blog and the inspiration that your urban homesteading provides! I recently moved to Milwaukee and am just starting my first garden. I'm really interested in your canning classes and was wondering if you could tell me about cost and registration. Can't wait to take one and learn more!

  2. Oops--definitely meant to comment under your classes post! Beginning poster's mistake.

  3. Mary: Send me your e-mail address and I'll forward the brochure with prices. Annie

  4. I tried concocting a red bean ice cream about a month ago, but I used leftover kidney beans. Flavor was ok, but I didn't satisfy that 'red bean dessert' craving! The granola/jam recipe look like they'll do the trick- I'm so excited to try them!