...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.


Healthy Snacks for Kiddos

There's not too terribly much to report lately, but one thing V and I have been working on is getting out of our rut of string cheese and rice cakes to make some homemade healthy kid snacks.  I stumbled upon a library book, Super Simple Snacks: Easy No-Bake Recipes for Kids, while browsing last week and decided to add it to the already unbearably high stack we'd chosen to cart home after story time.  All of the snacks we found in these books were no-cook and super simple to prepare.  Being a nut for supplemental foods I tweaked the recipes slightly so they were less sweet and more packed with nutritional punch.  V loves them and is hopefully training her palate not to crave the ultra-sweet snacks and desserts so common--especially for kids--in our country (and my own taste memory).

Monkey Tails
Makes 4 servings (but easily halved or doubled)

The name of this recipe was changed to accommodate our ongoing obsession with monkeys in the LeFort household.

2 bananas, peeled
4 craft sticks
6 oz. plain whole milk yogurt
~2 T. pure juice (we used some cherry juice from our home-canned fruits)
~1 T. honey (optional)
1/2 c. combination of almond meal, unsweetened shredded coconut, and cacao nibs, all ground to crumbs in a food processor

Cut the bananas in half crosswise, push sticks into the flat end and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the juice and honey into the yogurt.  Place the crumbs on a plate.  Dip the bananas first in the yogurt, rolling to coat the whole banana.  Then roll in the crumbs; place on another plate or platter to freeze for about 1 hour or until solid.
Ready for dippin'
Monkey Tails!
Peanutty Power Balls
Makes 12-15 balls

One could certainly use any kind of nut or seed butter here, in fact I used part pb and part tahini.  For a special, occasional treat, mini chocolate chips could be added or substituted for the raisins.  I also prefer a soy-free protein powder and have found a white-sugar-free pea protein powder I like.

1 c. nut or seed butter (I used 3/4 pb, 1/4 tahini)
1/2 c. nonfat dry milk powder or protein powder (I used half dry milk, half protein powder, which added a hint of vanilla)
1/2 c. raisins
1/4 c. raw honey
1 c. combination of almond meal, flaxseed meal, and chia seeds

Mix all ingredients except meal(s)/seeds in a food processor or mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Place the crumb mixture in a bowl large enough for dipping/rolling.  Shape into balls--I use a mini "ice cream scoop," place on a plate or scoop/roll and drop right into the crumb mixture.  Coat balls fully with crumbs and put on a clean plate.  Cover with wrap or put into a container with a lid and chill about 1 hour.  Great for packing on the go!

She always wants to help and this was a perfectly manageable task

Mmmm, peanut butter balls!

Betcha can't eat just one!

The garden seems to really be popping in the last week.  We're harvesting salad mix and I finally went on my ramp hunt in the woods yesterday.  To say the least, I didn't find many decent ramps, which is just what I expected since I'd been procrastinating.  I knew that they were looking ready way back on Earth Day weekend.  The bulbs I dug up looked great, but the leaves had much to be desired, so I may not get to make any ramp and sorrel pesto this season, but will certainly savor the bulbs I collected.

I've noticed that the fruit trees and bushes in our yard are looking extremely promising at this point.  There are lots of unripe red currants and gooseberries--which I've finally managed to get "protected", our sweet cherry tree is loaded with green cherries and hopefully well defended with the dozens of shiny holiday ornaments I've been gathering from local rummage sales, the apple trees have several fruits on each (which is a lot for the still young dwarf trees), and the bees have been busy on the blackberry bushes.  On that note, I know that there are more beekeepers in our neighborhood since the city ordinance passed last year and I know specifically that there are some hives within a mile south of us.  Of course, we had a mild winter and early spring, but I can't help but think it's really the bees that have made the fruits pop more.

The only other noteworthy excitement around here is my rummage sale fun the last two weekends.  I am keeping a minimal amount of loose change and bills tucked away in a zip-top bag and that's what I have to spend on these weekend excursions around Bay View.  Last weekend we hit twice as many as we had planned and I came across a super cool summer bedspread.  I originally grabbed it thinking it'd make a lovely tablecloth or picnic blanket, but when I got home I found a tag indicating it was a Bates bedspread, made in the U.S.A., Maine apparently.  I gave it a try and it fits perfectly and warms just enough on the handful of too-warm evenings we've already had.  I love the colors and how they coincidentally go well with the unintentional yet omnipresent rust, spring green, and lake blue combo that seems to be our second floor decor.  Can't wait to see what we'll find the rest of the summer.  Though I may have to blog about my idea for a fashion and fabric fast...

I love this fabric!

The Boudoir
All vintage or thrifted pillows as well

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