Water’s Edge (Saturday Song)

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’m posting another Saturday Song.

I’ll let the music do most of the talking. All you need to know is that this song is an expression of, in my husband’s words, “a narcissist’s dilemma.” Pardon the rough recording. Hope you enjoy, and have a lovely Saturday! ūüôā

Written by Timothy Zieger, (c) 2015.

If you like what you’re hearing, you can follow our music on the web or Facebook.

Purple Soup!

“V, what do you want to do for your birthday this year?” I asked my soon-to-be three year old.

“I want to have a pahty,” she replied. (Naturally.)

“What kind of party?”

“Ummm… a puhple pahty! At a pahk!”

And since then, I’ve heard every day about this purple party at a park that she’s going to have. We’re gonna have purple food, purple drinks, purple plates, and purple clothes. We may just paint the park purple. This thing has prematurely become the stuff of legends.

Lest you think I’m a pinteresty hostess, let me assure you that last year’s ladybug cupcakes looked like unidentifiable monsters, and my son’s train-themed party was entirely devoid of trains, save for the cake. I’m a far cry from Martha Stewart, folks. Luckily,¬†since my kid’s invite lists are largely relegated to family, the attendees are usually pretty forgiving of my “nailed-it!”-worthy attempts at making things cute.

Purple Soup

All that to say, we’ve been playing with all things purple as we count down¬†to our official Puhple Pahk Pahty. Which leads me to our most recent experiment…. purple soup!

My kids were delighted by the color of this soup- and miracle of miracles, they actually ate it too. Moms will be happy to know that it’s naturally colored with an ultra-secret ingredient: purple cauliflower.¬†You can find purple cauliflower at many grocery stores, or if you’re ambitious you could¬†even buy seeds to grow¬†your own.

I adapted this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, an excellent vegetarian cookbook. Even though we aren’t vegetarians, we tend to go meatless several nights a week. It’s nice to have some reliable and creative recipes on hands that don’t rely on meat products.

Note: I used¬†my homemade chicken stock in this recipe. Feel free to adapt according to your family’s preference.

Purple Cauliflower Soup

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups chopped purple cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seed or ground fennel
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chives for garnish
  1. Heat butter in a large pot. Add chopped onion and cook til soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add chopped potatoes and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock, cauliflower, and spices. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are fork-tender.
  4. Puree the soup either in a blender or by using an immersion blender. (Which is by far one of my favorite kitchen tools!)
  5. Garnish with chives if desired. Enjoy!

IMG_0205

That’s it! This is a quick, healthy, and relatively cheap meal- you¬†could¬†always make it white if you’re looking to save a buck or two on specialty cauliflower. But for us, the color was at least half the fun of this soup.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just got to go pull off this puhple pahty! ūüėČ

Let Your Kids Do Real Work

We live in a society that seems to¬†keeps kids separated from the real world and the responsibilities that come therein. We expect that kids will want their toys, their tv, their friends, and their playground much of the time. We also seem to expect that it’s unfair to disengage them from their happy place to ask them to do a job with an adult.

Children should most definitely have a lot of free time to play and explore as they feel led. However, I don’t think that giving them a job¬†is harmful. ¬†I would even go so far as to say that¬†we are doing children¬†a disservice when we don’t let them participate in real, meaningful work.

Let Your Kids Do Real Work

This post contains affiliate links.

What kind of work? 

The kind of work your child can participate in¬†depends on where you live, what your lifestyle is like, and how old your kids are. We tend to have the kids help with a lot of outdoor jobs- planting seeds, egg collecting, filling animal feeders, raking, and the like. My kids are also becoming excellent sous chefs who enjoy chopping vegetables or stirring a pot for me while I’m cooking. There’s also putting away laundry, sweeping the floor, picking up messes, and housework of all kinds.

Job¬†possibilities for children are really endless. Older children could help to contribute to a family business or parent’s jobs. Let them help file documents¬†for you, proofread a student’s paper, answer phone calls, or¬†help with banking and budgeting. Better yet, encourage them to start an entrepreneurial venture of their own!

If you’re stuck for ideas, ask yourself these questions:

  • What could my child do that would be a legitimate help to me?
  • How can I involve my children, even in the most mundane of jobs?
  • What’s the smallest task my young child could complete to feel as though she’s participating?
  • How can I introduce a life skill to my child through working together?

Rainy day rhubarb pie. #rainyday #harvest #foodprep #dessert #kidsinthekitchen

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

Disclaimer: We totally are NOT perfect in getting our kids to work with us, nor have we achieved just the right balance between work and play. My kids get in the mud, watch their favorite shows on Amazon Prime, cause trouble, whine about boredom, etc., etc., etc. So don’t get the idea that we have perfectly industrious, hard-working helpers all the time!

Instead of being afraid to make our children lift a finger, we can battle entitlement and encourage strong character by including our children in real-life work.¬†Let’s talk about some of the benefits.

Work gives children needed life skills. During my college career of kitchen work, I watched several high schoolers struggle with operating a vacuum cleaner, or stare at a pot of soup with trepidation. It was apparent that these kids had never been taught basic household modes of operation. By taking the time to teach our children how to dust, scramble an egg, hammer a nail, or help make a budget, we are giving them the life skills they need to become independent, responsible adults.

We cultivate desirable character.¬†¬†Motivation, confidence, steadfastness, responsibility, ingenuity, patience… I don’t know about you, but these traits don’t just fall upon me out of the great blue sky. I’m constantly learning, and one of the best God-given tools to get me to get over my selfish whining¬†is doing hard¬†work.¬†It only makes sense that participating in work- with a good attitude- is¬†good for our children as well.

Work gives¬†children¬†purpose and beats boredom.¬†I find that there’s less time for moping, fighting, and complaints of boredom when I have my kids actively participating in the the day’s duties. Watering the animals and the plants in the morning, helping to prepare a lunch picnic mid-day, wiping out the bathroom sink in the afternoon, stirring a pot or putting away dishes in the evening- all of this keeps them busy doing good things. And there’s still plenty of time for them to play in between!

Work can¬†help to loosen the grip of negative peer dependence.¬†I’ve been slowly reading Sally Clarkson’s¬†The Mission of Motherhood. This lovely book (which deserves it’s own review, really) made a valuable and relevant point. When we teach children how to work, they develop maturity and¬†value as responsible members of society. This can help contribute to freeing them from the feeling that they have to remain juvenile alongside their (perhaps) less industrious friends.

Work allows children to give¬†real contributions to the family.¬†There’s nothing quite like seeing my son’s pride and joy when he¬†really helps Dada build something. Or¬†hearing my kids’ delight while they serve¬†dinner at the table, knowing that they helped to cook it for everyone.

Work gives your family quality time together.¬†I get a thrill every time I see my husband and son out planting something, or when I get to cook alongside my 2 year old. It’s so much fun to spend the time together and get to talk and enjoy each other’s company. We make the best memories when we work together!

IMG_0322

Do you work with your kiddos? What jobs do you give them? What’s your favorite part about it?

You might also like reading:

 

Beneath the Sun (Saturday Song)

I keep promising that I’m going to make our music part of this blog. School’s out, the hubby is home, our home studio is built, and we’re finally at a point that I can start making posting our songs¬†semi-regularly. Hurrah!

We may have a slight obsession with trying to make things¬†ourselves, but homemade music¬†has always been one of our passions and hobbies. We don’t presume by any means that our music is the best out there- we are constantly learning as musicians!

IMG_3790

Most of the recordings I will be sharing are rough, live-takes, and either minimally or completely un-mastered and un-mixed. This one was done in a resonant hallway of a local university, though most of our recordings have been done at home.

So without further ado, we invite you to join us in the process as we¬†share these little “Saturday Song” posts. I can’t promise you one every Saturday, but I hope this is the first of many.

This song, “Beneath the Sun,” was written and played completely by my husband. In his words:

“[This song is a] vignette of a bike-ride’s roadside scene: a lone silver maple brushed by the wind in a field that lay fallow, aged stone walls and fence-posts grown over with wildflowers and grasses, mixed with inspiration from Gilgamesh’s quest beyond the mountains.”

Hope you enjoy! We love your feedback, and (if you feel so led) your shares with friends. If you want more, you can follow our music¬†Facebook page, or our Soundcloud page. ūüôā

Happy Saturday!

My Backyard Grocery Store

I’ve always been mildly obsessed with the idea of doing¬†everything from scratch. Perhaps it was all those hours playing Oregon Trail as a middle schooler. (Anyone from my generation remember that?) Perhaps it was¬†our games of make-believe in which we had to survive for long periods of time with little provision. Perhaps it was my limited girl-scout years during which I dreamed of cooking from scratch over the campfire.

Who knows what inspired my inner wanna-be pioneer woman. Whatever the cause, I’ve often asked myself, “Where would I get this item if I couldn’t just go to the store and buy it?”

My Backyard Grocery Store

In recent years, we’ve been trying more and more to make our backyard provide more of our food than the grocery store does. In reality, we have a long way to go. But we have made some positive strides towards that goal.

Those times, however, that I am able to feed our family almost entirely from our own food production are immensely satisfying to me. An egg frittata made with our hen’s eggs, our goat’s milk, and backyard green onions and asparagus is to me, far more than just a meal. It’s a huge accomplishment, representative of years of skill-learning, homestead establishment, and the fruit of daily labors. I eat that frittata with joy in my heart, knowing that so much work of our hands went into it.

Call me a weirdo, but I get a thrill out of it.

I want to make our backyard even more of a “grocery store” this year. Here’s what we’ve got so far, and what we’d like to do to make it a little closer to self-sufficient.

Produce

IMG_0363

Each year, my husband plants and manages a large garden in which we grow potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peppers, radishes, beets, eggplants, cabbage, carrots, various greens, herbs cucumbers, attempted melons and corn, asparagus, green beans, and I can’t remember what else.

Garden foods that have lasted us almost all year when properly preserved or stored: tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, green beans, greens, and some dried herbs. Foods we never have enough of: carrots, beets, peppers, and corn. We added some new beds this year to expand the quantity of food we grow.

As far as fruit, we have some old, out-of-shape fruit sources on the property: gnarly apple trees, an overgrown quince, a diseased elderberry, and wild blackberry bushes. Over the past couple of years, my husband has planted several new fruiting trees and shrubs: two apples, two peaches, a self-pollinating cherry, new elderberry from cuttings, blueberries, and raspberries. It will take several years for the fruit tree investment to pay off, but once it does, it will be lovely.

And lest we forget, there’s always foraging and partnerships with neighbors. We get more free greens than we grow, enjoy wild fruits from abandoned roadside trees, and gladly take extra fruits from friends and neighbors who have neither the time nor desire to gather and preserve them. Thank you to them!

Meat/Proteins

eggs

Chickens are a gateway animal, they say, and it’s true. We started with a small flock of birds for egg production, and have expanded this year with several more laying hens. We also acquired a couple of extra roosters¬†in the mix, which will go in the stew pot since we learned to butcher birds last fall.

We also ventured into the world of meat rabbits this¬†winter. To be fair, I’ve never eaten rabbit. But I suppose I’ll learn to! Rabbits, they say, give you the most lean protein per dollar spent on raising them. That’s why they’re a small-time meat production favorite.¬†We currently have six baby rabbits that will be ready for processing in about 6-8 weeks. I’ll be honest- I’m nervous about the process- but I’m grateful for the provision for our family’s food.

We are also fortunate to live on a property bordering a fully stocked trout stream near a great fishing spot. We don’t always get a ton of fish, but it’s really nice when we do. We usually drop our other dinner plans and cook one fresh whenever my hubby returns with a few in his bucket.

As far as plant-based¬†proteins, we happen to have black walnut and chestnut trees on our property, which are both a blessing and a big fat mess when all those nuts start dropping! ūüėČ The chestnut doesn’t have a neighboring tree close by to fertilize it, so we only get a small amount each year, and the walnuts are a pain to process, but hey- at least they’re there. My husband planted three hazelnut shrubs last spring, so we are hoping that those will be a more productive and manageable nut source in a couple years.

Dairy

IMG_0094

We have a goat, of course! (If you’re new to the blog, you’ll have to read the story behind that one.) Our learning curve was steep, however, and I have to say that her milk production is now less than ideal because of our idiocy getting used to the whole process. Add to that the fact that my daughter drinks ALL of her milk every day, and I can’t say that she adds much to our self-sufficiency dreams. Ha-ha.

However, when she was in high production, we had enough to give our family milk for the week and make simple cheeses at the end of it. If we bred her again and did the milking thing right this time, I believe she could really provide most of our milk, cream, butter, and cheese needs. (Gotta love the high butterfat content of Nigerian Dwarf milk.)

Grains

This is one area that I have to say we don’t grow¬†much of our own. We made our own cornmeal last year from our corn (success!) and have experimented with making flour out of curly dock seeds. But when it comes down to it, I just love good old bread. Thankfully, flour is relatively cheap, and a sourdough loaf is a delicious way to spend your pennies. I suppose I could learn to live without…. but fresh bread calls to me in such a way that it would be very difficult to do so!

Canned & Frozen Goods

cannedgoods

We make our own! It’s easy to learn basic canning skills, and though the materials to do so may seem like a bit of an investment, they pay themselves off quickly if you’re preserving a lot. Also, many fruits, vegetables, and cooked meals are easily preserved in the freezer. Best of all, by preserving at home, you can control what goes into your convenience foods. I can pretty much guarantee that your homemade frozen pizza crust or rice casserole will be a heck of a lot healthier than the store-bought version.

I would be amiss if I did not mention (yet again) my new favorite preservation method… fermentation! Hop over to this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about or if it sounds nasty. Fermentation is easy, healthy, and surprisingly addicting.

And that’s pretty much it, folks. Of course, I buy personal items like t.p. and toothpaste from the grocery store- and there’s some of those things I can make at home- but most of them don’t come from the backyard. And I still haven’t gotten into the leaf-toilet-paper thing yet. ūüėČ

What about you? What foods do you source at home instead of from the store?

Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat

We, the coalition, Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat (hereafter referred to as MEATPALM), are ready to take a stand.

You heard us. We eat meat. But we¬†can’t stomach the idea of you¬†killing an animal yourself. We believe that animals should always be treated like animals–never like meat. The meat on our dinner plate is different.

We have words for you people who choose to butcher your own meat. ¬†Words like: “mean,” cruel,” “heartless,” and “beastly.” How could anyone be so cruel¬†as to raise an animal¬†just to eat it?!?

MEATPALM2

(Amy from A Farmish Kind of Life)

Now, we have nothing against people who get their meat humanely (in a grocery store); eating meat like that is healthy, normal–it’s the people that get their meat from killing animals we can’t stomach.

Chickens who live a happy life in the sun only to end up in the pot are the objects of emotional abuse–there are no two ways about it. How could you earn their trust, their love, only to slaughter them later? No healthy, compassionate person could do a thing like that.¬†No one has the right to take a life like that.

Sure, chicken owners give a good speech. They talk about giving the¬†birds¬†pasture and sunshine, knowing their animals’ health individually, and dispatching them humanely. We all know¬†It’s just a farce to drum up attention. To cover their evil deeds. To hide their bloodlust. Normal¬†people eat chicken nuggets, chicken fingers–not chicken pets.

MEATPALM4

(Jess from The 104 Homestead)

Home-butchers need to realize that animals no longer have to be treated like meat.

Thanks to amazing scientific and societal advances, no one actually¬†needs¬†to butcher an animal for food anymore. You can buy your poultry, pork, and steaks at Walmart, where no animal was harmed and products were manufactured¬†in a sterile environment. We have incredible machines and computer controlled factories now–nobody has¬†to¬†get blood on their hands for food. That was our grandparents’ problem, not ours.

You home-farmers are sick, backwards cavemen. C’mon. We live in the 21st century, people. Animals can just be our friends now, not our food.

MEATPALM1

(Abi from They’re Not Our Goats)

We know this may be hard for you backyard butchers to grasp, but you have to realize that your urge¬†to kill animals for meat is something you can control. It is something 21st century humans have overcome. ¬†Just focus on the meat in the grocery store. It has no hair. No feathers. No happy cluck. It is clean and ready for consumption, sealed in plastic. That’s meat. Think of meat that way and you’ll never have the urge to kill¬†innocent animals again. It’s simple, really.

IMG_0165

We can rest in peace knowing that¬†this¬†chicken wasn’t harmed.

Unlike yours, that you butchered in your backyard. You disgusting person, you.

MEATPALM3

(Patrick of Survival at Home)

¬†“Ground beef” and “pork chops” are okay to buy, cook, and consume, but cows and pigs should not be treated that way.

MEATPALM5

(Bonnie of The Not-So-Modern Housewife)

Yes, we, the people of MEATPALM, have come a realization:

If we don’t think about where our meat came from¬†then we can eat it without guilt, shame, or hesitation. We can buy it from a store whenever we want it, we can get it on super sale, and we can toss the scraps without feeling bad.¬†You see, we are modern, refined, cultured individuals. We don’t have to stoop to the level of the butcher, the farmer, or the hunter.

But as for you people who use animals for food?

Shame on you.

MEATPALM- meat eaters against butchering

Like what you’re reading? Make sure to subscribe via email for homestead ideas, freebies, and deals!¬†

In case you were wondering, this post is satire. It’s¬†not meant to be critical of vegetarians, vegans, or omnivores. I respect your individual dietary choices. It’s not meant to suggest that everyone has to or should butcher their own meat. It is meant, however,¬†to point out the problems with the view that it’s okay to eat an animal but it’s not okay to participate in killing it.

Believe it or not, many of the objections I voice in this post are paraphrases or exact quotes of real-life arguments from people I or my fellow HBN bloggers have faced personally. These ideas are wildly untenable for the meat-eater. 

I believe in knowing where my food comes from and in¬†taking part in its production in whatever capacity I am able to. I believe in raising animals compassionately, healthily, and humanely. I believe that meat animals can be a beautiful provision for my family, and I am thankful for them.¬†But most importantly, I value people over differences of opinion. If we disagree, we can still be friends. ūüôā¬†

Many thanks to my friends for donating photos, and to my husband for editing/co-authoring this post!

In My Other Life

I wonder what the neighbors think, I thought as I sat cross-legged in my yard, my hair pinned up in twists on top of my head, foraging a colander full of dandelions for meals. I carried my weedish bounty indoors, then returned outside to climb into the chicken run in my skinny jeans and cute white flats. (How practical.) Then I came inside to do my make-up.

No, I haven’t gone crazy. I’m curling my hair. #nocurlingiron #curlyhair #concert #weirdo

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

Now, I’m not generally a make-up girl. But I had a concert to sing in that night, so eyeliner & such¬†was my duty.

concert

(We got to sing a little of Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame that night.)¬†

I’m often practicing vocalises or memorizing an aria while I’m milking the goat or shoveling chicken poop. It’s a good time to work on it, ya know?¬†It’s just¬†how things have been going around here- keeping our heads above water with the homestead by day, practicing music by night.

Music has been consuming more and more of our time recently- which has been wonderful! We’ve started¬†taking on more private students, teaching preschool music classes, and looking for more professional performance work.

What’s more, my husband has spent the last two months or so rebuilding our garage and turning half of it into a private studio. We’ve been teaching and recording out this space, and it is really amazing to have a zone completely dedicated to our music making. It’s not quite complete yet, but it’s coming along.¬†

Room in process. #musicstudio #1950s #redcouch #secondhand #painting

A photo posted by Abigail Zieger (@theyrenotourgoats) on

The painting in this picture is one of my father-in-law’s masterpieces, and we are so blessed by his generosity to be able to hang it on our wall.

And, of course, I haven’t been blogging as much because I had another business website to build! You can check it out here if you’d like, and/or support us by giving us a like on Facebook here.¬†ūüėČ

Never fear- I won’t be going anywhere. l love to have dirt under my nails, and all the stage time in the world won’t change that for me.¬†To me, working with my hands and making music go hand in hand. The balance of labor and song make the days pleasant, homey, happy.

I love it.

 

 

Gardening Like a Ninja! (Book Review)

A beautifully landscaped front yard is a wonder to behold– ¬†flowers in complementary colors, trees and shrubs in staggered heights and textures, gorgeous ground coves, and appealing borders… ahh, is anyone calling a landscaper for me?

Gardening Like a Ninja(This post contains affiliate links.)

However, conventional landscaping methods aren’t usually the healthiest for the earth. Between the overuse of pesticides, mulch that doesn’t do anything for your soil, and lack of biodiversity, I often think that a yard probably would have been better off left alone when it’s been ‘scaped in the mainstream fashion.

Conventional landscaping also does very little for your food supply. Plants aren’t chosen for feeding your family- rather, they are picked to look pretty and to be maintained in a nice, orderly fashion. Many are purely ornamentals.

Of course, I should’t complain, because right now, our yard is anything but landscaped! My husband has been plugging away at several home projects (last year it was stabilizing the porch, this year it’s redoing our garage) and the flower beds have had to suffer during the demolition.

But. This year. This year will be different! Angela England’s has launched a fabulous new book:¬†Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles into Your Landscape. Between that and my husband’s Master Gardener knowledge, we’ve got resources to draw on to make our beds beautiful again- and edible.

Angela’s book is a timely arrival for those folks affected by pesky HOA rules or no-front-lawn garden debates. Yes, you read that right– can you believe it? There’s actually people getting in legal trouble because of growing vegetables in their front lawn. (Read here, here, and here for examples of such ludicrous news stories.)

However, even if you aren’t facing charges for vegetable gardening, many of us wish that we could either 1) make our gardens more beautiful, or 2) make our landscaping more usable. Angela gives practical direction to accomplish both of these goals.

The first section of Gardening Like a Ninja is dedicated to an introduction to edible landscaping. Angela covers design basics and gardening how-to for beginners. The second section gives readers some great edible landscape plan inspiration. The third provides informative growing guides for specific plants that lend beauty and food to your property.

While I was reading, I kept having “ah-ha!” moments. Lettuce as a border? Why didn’t I think of that? Cucumbers growing up a beautiful trellis, mixed with flowers- why not? Angela’s vision for an edible yard is fresh, appealing, and surprisingly simple.

I’m particularly looking forward to using Angela’s book as a practical guide when we start planting our brand new beds. Our main goals are an attractive property that is abundant with food, and I’m confident that this book can help us do that.

What’s more, Angela just released a course to accompany the gardening book, teaching you how to build an edible landscape from the ground up. Check out the book and course bundle combination here.

Gardening Like a Ninja is inspiring, accessible, and fun. I highly recommend it to anyone hoping to get more out of his or her yard! Buy your copy here, or buy your book/course bundle here.

 

Wild Dandelion Quiche

I love, love, love foraging for wild greens from spring til fall. It makes my heart so happy to hunt for backyard edibles, then use them in delicious recipes that unknowing tasters think are delicious. It’s like fermentation or bread baking for me— I get on a foraging kick and just can’t stop!

My yard is currently a feast of dandelions. (One of my favorite early edibles!) Dandelions + egg surplus+ a foraging mama/daughter team= dandelion quiche, of course.

Wild Dandelion Quiche

Little V and I set on a trek about the yard and gathered up many dandelion heads for dinner. We also gathered up a small assortment of violet greens, plantain leaves, chives, and hosta leaves to fill out our bowl. (These additions are totally optional.) After collecting a packed cup full of foraged goodies, my two- year old took the opportunity to use the colander properly:

Enjoying a new hat while foraging for danelions! --> Dandelion Quiche Recipe

It makes a very fashionable hat, don’t you think?

A note on foraging: Make sure you only take what you need, get permission if you’re on someone else’s¬†property, and be sure that no pesticides/weed killers/etc. have been sprayed in the area you are collecting from. And ALWAYS make sure you’ve properly identified a plant before eating it.¬†(Thankfully, dandelions are pretty easy! ūüėČ ) Here’s a great article on foraging ethics that you should definitely read if you’re new to foraging.

On to the quiche! Here’s what you need:

  • Single pie crust (You can try my lovely lard pie crust– make half now and freeze the other half for later use. Or¬†use your own favorite recipe!)
  • Bacon grease or butter
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 C packed dandelions and additional greens (optional), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 eggs, beated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese- i used half mozzerella, half cheddar

Gather up dandelions! I took just the heads for this recipe, though you are welcome to use the greens if you feel so led. Just be forewarned that they can be quite bitter later in the season.¬†Wash ’em up and prepare all your ingredients.

Gathering dandelions to make a delicious foraged quiche. --> Wild Dandelion Quiche Recipe

Make your crust recipe of choice. Roll it out, lay it in a 9″ pie pan, poke a couple holes in it with a fork, and bake it¬†at 425 for about 6 minutes.

Rolling out our beautiful pie crust for dandelion quiche!---> Dandelion Quiche Recipe

Meanwhile, heat bacon grease or butter in a skillet. Add green onion, dandelions, garlic, and salt and pepper. Cook for just a couple minutes, or until greens are wilted.

IMG_0087

Beat eggs, milk, and additional salt together in a large bowl. Stir in cheeses and dandelion mixture.

Pour egg mixture into hot pie crust. Lower the oven temperature to 400 and bake for about 30 minutes, or until set. A sharp knife inserted into the center of the quiche should come out clean.

A quiche recipe made with foraged dandelions. Delicious!

My kids were suspicious of this quiche at first, but both ate healthy servings, my son exclaiming all the while that it was “really good!” My husband ate nearly a whole piece before knowing what was in it- though he enjoys foraged food just as much as I do.

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

For other delicious ideas, try these posts:

 

How to Make Kombucha

‚ÄúWhat is kombucha?‚ÄĚ ask many of my inquisitive visitors. They‚Äôre inquiring about the jars sitting on my countertop filled with brown liquid and unidentifiable floating clumps.

Now, in my world, kombucha has been around for several years as those pricey little bottles in the health food store. I really liked it, but only bought it once a month or so. I was finally given a scoby a few months ago (more on that shortly), and after some repeated prodding from one of my high school voice students I finally got a batch going.

How to make kombucha, simply and frugally, in your own kitchen.

If you’re not familiar with it, the¬†name ‚Äúkombucha‚ÄĚ may sound pretty exotic. However, the beverage is¬†straightforward and easy to make. Komucha is simply fermented tea.

It can be made as an iced tea, or turned into a bubbly soda. It can be had plain, or enjoyed with a variety of flavors. While every brewer may have his favorite methods, I’ll share with you the most basic instructions for creating your own homemade kombucha.

First, you‚Äôll need to obtain a ‚ÄúSCOBY,‚ÄĚ or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This serves as your ‚Äústarter‚ÄĚ for the kombucha. The scoby encourages the growth of the right cultures to turn your tea into certifiable ‚Äėbooch. Scobys are generally best obtained from a friend who brews kombucha, or from a cultured food supplier like Cultures for Health.

Here’s how to make kombucha tea.

  • Brew a gallon of tea. I usually use 8 regular sized tea bags for a gallon of water.
  • Add a cup of sugar to the tea. Mix well and let cool completely.
  • Pour tea into a gallon glass jar, or split it up between quart sized mason jars. (I prefer splitting it up for storage‚Äôs sake.)
  • Gently add SCOBY to each jar. (Make sure those hands are clean!)
  • Cover each jar with a coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. Let sit out at room temperature for about a week.

How to make simple, homemade kombucha in your own kitchen.

Ta-da! You have kombucha! Pour off the liquid and save a little tea and your scoby for another batch. (Keep the scoby covered with the kombucha in the meantime.) You can store your finished kombucha in the fridge til you’re ready to drink it.

If you want kombucha ‚Äúsoda,‚ÄĚ you need to let it ferment a second time, this time with some fruit or juice. You don‚Äôt need the SCOBY for the second ferment.

  • For each quart jar of kombucha, add a handful of berries or a half cup of juice. (I‚Äôve been told to stay away from citrus juice.)
  • Cap jar tightly with the lid and let sit at room temperature for about another week. If it’s warm in your kitchen, watch to make sure the lid isn’t bulging. If it is, “burp” your jar by unscrewing the lid and closing it again.

A word to the wise for newbies: Kombucha will detox your system if you start drinking a lot of it at once. Be kind to your body, and start with 2 oz a day and gradually work your way up to a full glass. Trust me. Your digestive system will thank you.

A couple of commonly asked questions:

What if I’m avoiding sugar and caffeine?¬†Good news: I’m told that the fermentation process eats up most of both of these substances.

Is kombucha¬†alcoholic?¬†Technically, there is a small amount of alcohol leftover from the fermentation process, but it’s so minimal that it can hardly count.¬†Any age can buy and consume kombucha without concern over alcohol level.

Why ferment your tea?¬†Fermentation is a preservation method that encourages the growth of beneficial yeasts and bacteria that help your body function better. For more info, see What’s Up with Fermentation? and 3 Health Benefits of Fermented Foods. Plus, it’s just really tasty.

Kombucha is both economical and easy to make, and is a much healthier (and tastier) alternative to soda. Why not start a batch today?