Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We Love You.

FinnigantheCurious and I are off to Houston for a mini-trip with Daddy-o.

SOME little boy will turn 8 (8!) on this trip so Mama has a lot of extra stuff to pack.

Secret boxes and all that goodness.

I found this precious note in my Little Free Library (will I ever stop pimping my Little Library?)

I certainly did not put it in to receive accolade or love, but I gotta tell ya, I got alllll teary when I saw this.




And, being of a certain age, I thought this said:

We love you!  -Your nearsighted MAC kids

Yea, you know, all those crazy nearsighted kids.

Isn't that just the sweeeetest thing ever?

I love them back.  I do.  I do.

(Maybe I should start putting cheaters (reading glasses) in the Little Library too.)

Weeeeeeeeeeee.  Love, love, love.

All-righty, sweet thangs ...  see ya next week.  

Or maybe Friday if I can get it all together.  

I've got a recipe for Friday Food that's going to blow your mind.  

Your taste buds.

Your mind and your taste buds.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SPRING!

 
I'm late with the SPRING greeting, but there were chikkins to be fed, and bird feeders to be filled, and juice to be squeezed, and flowers to be picked - you know, things you do in springtime!

My boy picked out all the ornaments today.  (We seem to be a bit low on the spring offerings.  That means a visit over to the Nova Naturals sight.  Oh Darn!  wink wink)

His reasoning for the Halloween cat was that because it's now spring there will be more sun so the cats can sleep more.  

Exactly.

Flowers plucked fresh from the yard;  I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

Oh, the joy of spring ... just nothing else like it.

And ours was welcomed in last night by a marvelous rain storm. 

I hope you can get outside, breathe some fresh spring air, and know that everything is going to be OK.


Monday, March 19, 2012

The story of Egg.

This is the chicken known as Egg.

Someone dropped it in our yard.

I say it because there is quite the mystery surrounding Egg's, uh, gender.

So, Egg shows up in our yard a few weeks ago.

I assumed that it is a rooster as my ladies seem completely undisturbed by it.

Had it been a hen, they would have been, in all probability, quite annoyed and irritated.

They seemed to just ignore this chicken.

And yet, no rooster behavior.  

In fact, extreme "low hen on the totem pole behavior" ensued.

This means cowering around the other chickens, staying to itself, not allowed in the coop (by the ladies, not by me), running away every time another chicken approached.

Hmmmm.

Then we realized that it had no leg spurs.

You are HERE.

hahaha. Not really.

This is what a leg spur should look like.

Egg has none.

Egg also clucks like a hen.

It also roosts on the ground (which I now think must be due to having it's wings clipped).  This is not a good thing for a chicken to do at night.  Chicken needs to be UP at night for safety. 

So every night we carry Egg to the coop and put it in there while the other chickens cluck and fuss and whistle.

Oh, yea, and some turdface cut its beak.

So now we wonder if its spurs have been cut too.

Because, early one morning ... COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOO!

Well, actually it sounded more like cock-a-drrrrr-eeerrr-ooooooo-glllllll.

Like he wasn't sure how to crow yet.

OR, OR my pretties, there is a strong chance that Egg is a Henooster.

My dear acupuncturist, Ashley, told me this is possible. 

Yea, check this out:

"Due to an ovarian change that affects the balance of hormones in chickens and other birds, it is very rarely possible for a female bird to adopt male secondary sex characteristics (feathers, combs, and even crowing in a hen turned rooster). However, this is not a true sex change because the bird cannot fertilize eggs. On large farms of 10,000 or more hens, this has been definitively observed."

Well, clearly I don't have 10,000 chickens. (It only feels like it.)

But I suppose he/she could have been rescued from a big farm where this happened.

Ashley and I were cracking (get it?) up because she said,  "Oh yea, someone was probably like - This chicken is weird.  Let's take it down to that weird house on the corner.  They're weird over there and won't even notice."

Yea, I have a transgendered chicken, y'all.

Or maybe he's still a juvenile and hasn't got all his goods yet.

Who the hell knows?  

I really, really, really do not want a rooster.  

I'm not the biggest fan of that crowing (insert nails on chalkboard sound here) nor do I want fertilized eggs!!!  

EEEEK.  I like knowing my eggs have no possibility of babies in them.

$&$^#@*

Why me, I implore you, Why meeeeeeeee?

I'm going to ask around today on some chicken message boards to see what I can find out.

I'll keep you posted.  (Or invited to a lovely dinner with coq a vin as the headliner.)  (Just kidding!!! I would never ... .)

Wabi-Sabi House.  Wabi-Sabi Chicken.


Sigh.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Food.

This would have been superb had I not overcooked the whole damn thang.

It's not hard or tricky at all, I was just doing a million things while trying to cook which is never a good thing. 

wah wah wah.

It looks purty though, doesn't it?
 


I found this recipe via Pinterest, but the original post is on The Kitchn.  I do recommend clicking over there to check it out as she/he talks more about cooking part of it ahead of time and suchness.



Sweet Potato Hash with Caramelized Onions, "Sausage," and Eggs
Serves 8 
(I halved the whole thing, but this is the original recipe.)

2 lbs onions - about 2 large
1 tablespoon butter (I used oil to be vegan.)
1 lbs fresh Italian sausage or chorizo (I used soy Italian sausage with sun dried tomatoes and basil. YUM.)
3 lbs sweet potatoes - about 3 large - organic is best as you won't peel them.
6 large garlic cloves
4 stalks rosemary - about 1/4 cup (I used all of this as we love rosemary.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if necessary
Freshly ground black pepper
Two large eggs (I used one as I halved the recipe, but would use two next time.  Eggs are not vegan, of course, but mine come from my happy, free-range ladies so we do eat them.  If you did not want to use eggs, I would top this with slices of avocado and some super chunky, home made pico de gallo.)

Heat the oven to 450F.  Peel the onions and cut them in half lengthwise, then cut them into thin half-moons.  Cut the moons in half.  (You can really cut the onions any way you prefer them.) Melt the butter/oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  When it foams up, add the onions and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Lower heat slightly and cook the onions for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.  Lower heat if they seem to be burning or sticking hard.  Cook until they are very dark brown.
Meanwhile, put the soy sausage in another skillet over med-high heat, chopping it into fine crumbles with a spatula.  (Most soy sausages will not crumble well.  I just cut mine up into small pieces.) If you're using real meat, drain off the fat for sure.
While onions and sausage are cooking, chop the unpeeled sweet potatoes into cubes - small. (I would actually do this ahead of everything else. It took me longer than 30 minutes to cut 3 potatoes for some reason.)  Finely mince the garlic and rosemary leaves, then toss them in a large bowl with the sweet potatoes.  Toss everything with olive oil, kosher salt, and a generous dose of black pepper.
When the onions are dark brown and the sausage is crispy, stir them into the sweet potatoes as well.  
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or not) and spread the mixture out evenly.
Cook the potatoes for 30-40 minutes until soft and browned.
You can refrigerate the hash for up to 5 days.

To serve:
Heat oven to 425
Spread a layer of the already cooked hash on to a baking sheet, small cast iron skillet, or individual ramekins.  Make a small well in the hash and crack in the large eggs. Lightly salt and pepper them.
Bake for 15  minutes or until the hash is hot again and the eggs are baked.  Egg whites have a tendency to look uncooked even though they are plenty cooked.  Check with a fork for doneness.
Serve immediately.

IF you want to cook this all at once, like I did:
Heat the oven to 450 and cook the hash for 20 minutes.
Lower the heat to 425.  Take the hash out, make the well,  crack the eggs, and then cook for an additional 10-15.  (I forgot to lower the heat and cooked the egg for a full 15 which was too much in that temperature oven.)

This was easy to make and yummy despite being overcooked and underdressed.  I think if I had cooked it less and added that extra egg (or avocados and some interesting salsa) it would have been fabulous!  Plus, who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

Yesterday, when I showed you  my new Little Free Library (which you must see), I said I'd tell you about our new rooster.  

You'll have to wait for Monday, I fear.  Just too much excitement for one day, hotshot.

Cock-a-doodle-dooooo

PS St. Pat's Day tomorrow! OY!

Hope you get your Irish on.  

I'll be merry-making at the Mumford and Sons show here in Austin.  

You're green with envy, admit it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Little Free Library

Several weeks ago my dear, sweet mama sent me an article from the USA Today newspaper about Little Free Libraries.

NEVER, in all my life, have I been so smitten by anything.  

(Well, other than my child, and my husband, and, perhaps, a giant bowl of pasta here and there, but you know what I mean. Oh, and fairy houses have a tendency to send me into fits of hysteria.)

Other than those things though,  the Little Free Library is tops.

The first Little Free Library was built in memory of June A. Bol by her son Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin.  June was a teacher so the first one looks just like a little red schoolhouse.  (Sniff to all that sweetness.)

Please do take a little time to read all about them here:




Beyond magical.  

And why is that, I wonder?  What is it about these things that touch something in people?

I have a suspicion that it has something to do with  neighborly trust and child-like wonder.  


We're missing a bit of that in the world these days, don't you think?  

The idea that you can put something out in your yard and trust people not only to love it, but to honor it - that feels really special.

Todd Bol says that people often hug his libraries.

Now if that doesn't tear you up, I don't know what will.  I got downright snotty when I read that. (Snotty from crying, not snotty from being too big for my britches.)

Not to mention it's just good old-fashioned fun to stumble upon something so different.

(We really value different over here at The Wabi-Sabi House, to quote a friend of mine.)

And so, I present to you the first incarnation of The Wabi-Sabi House's Little Free Library:

That's one of my best friends, Elijah.

Her favorite part is the umbrella.

I plan to stock it with fairy books for her.  

She and I are very fairy-friendly and are hope, hope, hoping that some fairies stop by to check it out.



I have to admit that it's not even remotely finished nor is it what I envisioned it would be, but impatience won out in the end.

I just could not wait to get it up and running so, I sacrificed design for immediacy.

That's OK though, I'll go back and gussy it up tout suite.

I'm kind of digging the old world look thing anyway.

Lying.

I'm actually not liking it so much, but that's what evolved naturally so, there you have it.

I can hear it crying for paint! Color! Tchotchkes! Silhouettes! Modge Podge! Exclamation Points!

But, for now, plain Jane.  (Apologies to all Janes as I know you are not even remotely plain, my dears.)


The selection is rather sparse as well because I just recently purged my paperbacks.

I'm off to scour FinnigantheCurious' stash for extra kid joy.

Please stop by and make a trade.

I'll be tickled orange if you do.

Maybe there should be a prize for first trader? 

How 'bout a free rooster?  

HA, HA, HA. (More on that tomorrow, ahem.)

Read on, dear ones, read on.

PS I forgot to tell you, and I know you'll ask:  I (meaning Jackdaddy) made this out of a bread box that I bought on Craigslist.  Jackdaddy cut out a hole for the glass (which I bought at Hobby Lobby), and rearranged the door for top-down opening.  Top-down is good so you don't have to hold the door up whilst you browse. We (meaning Jackdaddy) mounted it to the fence post which is a lot easier than putting in a pole.  Lucky him.  Lucky me!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Food (and playing hooky).

OOO, I'm getting demerits this week for sure!


I've been sooooo busy in my life, and soooo lazy about writing.


Heroic effort here to get  you some Friday Food love.


(I've also been busy in the garden as it is to.ta.lly SPRING here so, more on that next week.)



Chocolate cake was begged for.  
Chocolate cake was delivered.  
I got lots of "help."



Super-delicious vegan patties I found at Costco.  
They cook up weird ... very sloppy ... but YUM. 
I've been putting them in everything as they are made up of (almost) completely veggies.



More butter beans.  
(Oh, and to further complicate our discussion, these are labeled as Lima beans.   They didn't have any of the little, green buggers for me to see what they call those.  Weird.)



See all the fruit and veggies in that bowl?  
I've been juicing them all.  
Sweet potatoes, jicama,  ginger, cucumber, celery, carrots, beets!  (Can you say super poop?)




Thank the goddess for the organic tomato lady at my Farmers' Market.  
She grows tomatoes in the greenhouse - organically.  Bless her little heart.  
After reading Tomatoland, I simply cannot buy another tomato from anywhere other than the Farmers' Market (unless I know they come from a local source.) 
(I'll be adding Tomatoland to my Amazon Book Page later today if you're interested in buying it.)




Fresh lettuce from my garden is a staple at every meal and in every juice.  
I must have 100 lbs of the stuff!  
Have you had a Fentiman's beverage yet?  
HOLY mother of soda love.  Their Dandelion and Burdock drink is the most delicious thing ever!!!




 


Strawberry-picking time at Sweet Berry Farm
Our annual pilgrimage netted us this!:


 
Thanks to my bff, Jessie, I learned how to make strawberry jam!!  
It was soooooo fun and relatively easy.  
(Rule #1 - wear shoes when canning.)

And, last, but certainly not least, a recipe for ye.


Such a sweet and pretty blog she has.   

A deeeeelicious, very earthy soup. 
Much better the next day, but very good the first!

It's vegan and gluten-free to boot!  Boot it, baby!



White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup
16 oz mushrooms, halved or quartered  (next time I would use a variety of shrooms)
2 large, sweet onions, quartered (I used one as two seemed like a lot)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
8-10 fresh sage leaves (don't skip this, but you can use dried, of course. The rule, she says, is one part dried, three parts fresh.))
8-10 stems + 1 tablespoon leaves fresh thyme, divided (same as above)
48 oz veggie broth
3-15 oz cans white beans, not drained (She prefers cannellinis.  I had leftover butter beans.)
Additional salt and pepper for seasoning

*Note - I pretty much halved this recipe as I did not need 8 servings.  I kept the same amount of shrooms cuz I love them, and I keep the herbs the same because I just did.


1.   Preheat oven to 450 F
2.   Toss mushrooms, garlic, and onion in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  (You may want to keep mushrooms separate on baking sheet for roasting as you'll need to separate them later anyway.) Spread on baking sheet.  Add sage leaves and stems of thyme.   Roast for 10 minutees, toss and roast 15 more.
3.  While veggies are roasting, add broth, beans, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves to a large stock pot and simmer over medium  heat.
4.  Take 2 cups of the white beans, and 1 cup of the broth from the stock pot, put in a blender along with the roasted onions, garlic, and herbs.   Cover and blend until smooth.
5.  Add pureed bean mixture back into stock pot, whisking in until smooth. Add roasted mushrooms to soup. Salt n peppa to taste.
6.  Warm over low heat until ready to serve.  

Really good with cornbread, love bug!

Mmmmm, brown food = good.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Food.

This was effing DELICIOUS.

It's a "must make," y'all.

I found it on Pinterest, but here is the original recipe:


Bow down to Miss Donna Hay, chicas, it's gooooooooooood.

I'll just tell you ahead of time what I did differently and some tips.

*This recipe made a lot of risotto for two people.  I would make less of it next time.  Not half it, but just less.  I would keep the roasted vegetable mix at the same proportions.

*I added mushrooms to the mix because it seemed like a good addition and I had a bunch on hand.

*Oh, yea, and beets.

*The reason everything looks so orange and red is due to the aforementioned beets, and I used homemade veggie broth with beet shrapnel in it so, that made the risotto red too.  Well, orangeish-pink, but you know of what I speak. 















Roasted cauliflower, sage, mushroom, almond risotto.

One head of cauliflower washed, trimmed and chopped up however you like.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Some sea salt and cracked pepper
1/4 cup chopped almonds (don't skip this, they were super yummy)
1 small bunch of fresh sage - chopped
6 cups hot vegetable broth (I did not think the risotto was going to take it all as it seemed like a lot, but it sure did.)
1 brown onion.  (I have no idea what a brown onion is; I used purple.)
1 +1/2 cups of aborio rice (If you're going gluten free you could skip all the risotto stuff and just make some quinoa cooked in veggie juice.)
1/2 dry sherry (yum!)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan (If you're vegan, you could skip this.  We had some high-quality on hand and it was excellent, but I could eat it without next time too.)
Strongly flavored cheese (Taleggio is what she recommends) for the top.  (I skipped this altogether and did not miss it one bit.)

Preheat oven to 425.  
Place cauliflower, mushrooms, (beets), olive oil, and salt n peppa in big bowl and toss to coat.  
Dump all that on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Add the almonds and half of the sage and roast for a further 5-8 minutes or until everything is golden and slightly crisp.
Set aside and keep warm.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and warm it up.
Put a bit of olive oil (or butter) in another saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until they're soft.
Add the remaining sage and the sherry, stir and cook until the sherry is absorbed .. about 2 minutes or so.
Gradually start adding the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring all the time (kinda really do this) until all the stock has been added and the risotto is al dente (or however you like it.  I like it softer.)
Plop some risotto in a bowl and add 1/2 the parmesan. (If you're serving two, I mean. Each bowl gets some parmesan mixed up in the risotto.) Stir the parmesan in, but not too much.
Put tons of the roasted veggies on top and serve!

You're gonna love this.  

I pretty much promise.

Lemme know and happy weekend!