Thursday, March 24, 2011

an alternative to coffee

Ok so I love coffee. But I don't love coffee's after-affects, you know the palpitations, the increased nervousness...once I weaned myself off I realized that I'm a much less anxious person without all of the caffeine. But I missed the routine of drinking something warm and rich in the morning. Tea is too thin, and I tried Miso Soup (as touted by one of my favorite blogs here), but I have a sweet tooth and miso just didn't cut it. Although it is delicious and very good for you.

So I've gotten into the habit of making hot chocolate every morning. Not from a mix, but from cocoa powder. It's delish! Here's my "recipe":

Fill a mug 1/2 way with just-boiled water.

Put at least 1 1/2 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder into the mug. Stir well.

Add a squeeze of local honey.

Bare Bees Honey in La Verne, CA
Find 'em at your local farmer's market!
Fill the mug the rest of the way with milk. I've been using whole raw milk and have noticed none of my previously experienced lactose-related tummy troubles. For those of you afraid of raw milk - I've been drinking it for a few months now and have been perfectly healthy. This is purely anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure that one is more likely to get sick eating out at a fast food joint/restaurant than drinking raw milk from a reputable source. So try it! :)

Haha and no, I was not paid to advertise for any of these companies. I just think they're great products and wanted to include some pictures! :)

Now go enjoy a cuppa hot cocoa!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chickens, Peas, and The Seed Story of the Century.

Um, ok for real? The last time I posted was January 24th?

It's certainly been a busy time - wedding plans are full steam ahead, and while I've been working in the garden and continuing to"live simply" I haven't been writing about it.

So, here's what's new.

First of all, and this is something I'm super excited about, our friends are in a chicken co-op and they had trouble finishing all of their eggs. We asked if we could split their share with them in exchange for helping to buy feed and clean the coop when it's their turn. It's so nice to have fresh eggs! I'd been looking for a source for a while, ever since the Sierra Madre Farmer's Market closed and I couldn't find anyone who sold fresh eggs :(

Honestly, I don't know what's more fun - opening the carton of multi-colored, multi-sized eggs every other week or visiting the chickens. I like holding them - they're (surprisingly) so soft!

here I am with either Curry or Nugget and loving it. (photo by Daniel Lundgren)
So that's fun. I'm glad J and I are learning about the care and keeping of chickens in a second hand kind of way, as we've talked about having them someday. Now we have a glimpse of what we'd be getting ourselves into, especially since yesterday was coop cleaning day!

The community garden plot has been a disappointment learning experience. It's ironic that we nicknamed it the mini-farm because that's just what it is - full of mini radishes and mini-kale. Like barbie-sized lol. It's obvious that there are some nutrient deficiencies that we'll have to overcome. The peas and fava beans continue to do well. We've been harvesting peas for a couple of weeks now. No fava beans yet.

pea harvest
lettuce in a pot
slllooooowwww growing spinach in a pot
It's time to start thinking about summer crops. I don't know how much I'll be able to reasonably grow this year as the wedding's in June and I'll be super busy until then and taking off on a ten day honeymoon to Central America (yahoo!)

I'm still hopeful that I'll be able to devote some time to the garden. I've decided to grow only beans at the community garden plot as the soil seems to be nitrogen deficient and they'll a) tolerate it and b) help it, at least until I get some finished compost. Now that J and I are going to be able to stay in the house I currently live in, I'm not worried about "what if we have to live in an apartment without a balcony and the only dirt we'll really have is the dirt at church?!" Our current house has a little yard and even though most of it is shaded there's still some space we could use to grow some veggies. Yahoo!

I bought some herbs, beans, calendula, and peppers at the store the other day. There were other seeds I'd wanted to try (like eggplant) but couldn't find them at the store.

Then a miracle happened at this week's Produce in the Park. As I was getting ready to take my chard and avocado and head home, a young man showed up with a 5 gallon bucket and a sheepish grin. He explained that he had bought a seed starting kit but no longer had any land to grow the veggies, so he decided to GIVE AWAY THE SEEDS at the produce exchange. Aaaah! It was a frenzy! He had at least 300 varieties of seeds - many of them rare and heirloom. (I told you it was a miracle!!) So now I have two varieties of eggplant, two more types of beans, okra, more peas, a couple of types of lettuce, black radishes (??), yucca (???), corn, amaranth, two types of onions, a belizian tomato, and cayenne pepper. No need to buy any more seeds this year!!! Thanks, buddy! Hopefully they take, and I can bring the harvest to the exchange and he can reap the benefit of his generosity!

There you have it; a snapshot of what's been going on in my world.

Stay tuned for a newspaper pot tutorial (featuring my dad and some baby tomatoes) coming soon!