Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Moving my blog to www.inthebigmitten.com!

Well, you may have noticed that I haven't posted lately. It's true. I am, however, going to be posting in the future at www.inthebigmitten.com so make sure you check it out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My chickens are all grown up!

So the last two weeks has been pretty exciting. Not only have we been getting lots of summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden but the chickens have started laying eggs! Lots of eggs! The funniest thing is that the bantams seem to be pretty prolific egg layers which we didn't anticipate. We have two bantams and we are getting an egg a day from each of them sometimes! They are slightly different colors as we have one Silver Sebright and one Silver Duckwing (or at least we think that's what she is). Today, out of our six chickens (two Ameraucanas, two Rhode Island Reds and the two bantams) we got 4 eggs! Two big ones and two small ones. There has been sporadic use of the nesting boxes even so we don't always have to climb in the coop to get the eggs. Today I managed to use up a giant yellow squash from the garden, along with 3 bantam eggs and a few other ingredients to make a "squash casserole" that was liked by all at the dinner table. Here is the recipe for those who are interested.

And here is a picture of my two Rhode Island Reds:

Two of my beautiful chickens!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The garden is taking over!

So honestly the garden is taking over. We have so much produce now that we don't know what to do with it. A million zucchini and squash? Check. A million green and yellow wax beans? Check. Squash plants and vines taking up the walking space between garden rows? Check. Next year we really should put anything that's a "vine" down towards the far end just so we don't have to pick our way over a million plants to get to the other side of the garden.

Here are the beans I picked yesterday:

And the green beans were mostly not done - it was mostly yellow wax beans that I picked! So just from yesterday I got about 10 huge zucchini and squash, the beans above, a huge bag of lettuce, and a bunch of carrots. Whew. The only non-tiring thing about the garden lately is we haven't had to water it. We got so much rain the last couple days! It thunderstormed all night two nights in a row. Luckily, the basement hasn't leaked. Knock on wood. Ha!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yellow squash grow fast!

So we had planted about 8 mounds of yellow squash plants and I am already starting to see the mistake in planting so many. We just realized how insanely fast they grow! One day there were a few little squash in the middle of the huge mountain of leaves then the next day there were a whole bunch of full grown squash!

Here is a sample:

And this was just from one day and one plant. What am I going to do when they all get even more squash? Ahh!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Veggie Garden Under Siege

Well, the rest of the garden has been planted. I am hoping to have a variety of vegetables (and a few fruits) but I have to make sure nothing eats it all first. What we planted: lettuce, radishes, broccoli, peas (a while ago), tomato and pepper plant seedlings (started from seed), cantaloupe, watermelon, corn, cucumbers, parsnips, beans etc.

So far we've had a few mishaps - a few tomato plants that wilted in our recent 95 degree heat, possibly because they weren't hardened off enough (my fault) and pea plants all bitten off about 5" above the ground (not my fault). Other possible enemies of the garden include the geese that have recently decided they want to swim in our pond with their 9 goslings and a giant snapping turtle that has decided to walk through the garden as of this morning.

I know it is a snapping turtle because it looked exactly like the one that was hanging out on our driveway two days ago. I am pretty sure it is the same one. We don't know where he or she was going but she must have taken a detour and went back through the garden.

Mr. or Mrs. Snapping Turtle sure has big claws!

Our buddy the snapping turtle poses with our cat Sam

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trying out a vegan diet, specifically the Eat to Live diet by Dr. Joel Furhman

So normally as a vegetarian I personally eat a lot of cheese and other dairy products which I know aren't good. So I decided to put myself on a challenge (end date TBA, probably soon as I am getting sick of eating mainly veggies, haha!) to eat only whole, vegan foods. So far so good! I've eaten a lot of salads. If you read the book Eat to Live by by Dr. Joel Fuhrman he mentions that green vegetables are incredibly healthy because of a multitude of reasons so I've been trying to make the salad the main dish as he suggests for lunch and dinner. I am running out of salad dressings to try! Either way, we'll see how it goes. I don't feel particularly "better" being on this diet, however, I never felt that bad to begin with. So we'll see.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Five quick and easy Spring vegetarian meals

People say it's difficult to be a vegetarian because of the shortage of delicious foods or the time taken to prep, but I beg to differ! Here are some of my favorites for Spring:

  • Black bean burritos with cilantro, onion and avocado - Black beans from the can, rinsed and heated with carmalized onion spread on tortillas, topped with tomato and sliced avocado
  • Margarita Pizza  - Homemade pizza dough topped with sliced ripe Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella slices, topped with basil when removed from the oven 
  • Grilled Veggie Burger - grill your favorite type of veggie burger and top with toppings of your choice on a whole-wheat bun, grill veggies as a side dish, make a fresh green salad or slice up some potatoes and make oven fries or pan fries.
  • BBQ Tofu - no Barbecue needed! Slice firm tofu, coat in breadcrumbs, put on oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes each side. Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Enjoy with your favorite BBQ side dishes such as baked beans, green salad or pasta salad!
  • Tofu Fajitas - prepare fajitas as you normally would with either a packet of fajita spices or homemade (use lime, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, etc to get your desired flavor!). Cube tofu and cook in a dry, un-oiled nonstick pan until browned. Remove tofu and set aside. Add oil then pepper and onion slices after the oil is hot. Cook, add tofu back into the pan when the veggies are crisp-tender, then add spices. Serve as you normally would. My choice: whole wheat tortillas, a sprinkle of mild cheddar and avocado. Yum!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Purple potatoes - how did they get so purple?

I was shopping with my friend Rachel a while ago and we stopped in a store/coffee shop in Ann Arbor that had lots of great, fresh produce. It had wonderful choices and I ended up buying some dried beans (grown in Michigan!), avocados at a great price and some purple potatoes (at Rachel's suggestion).

The potatoes looked purple - much more than red potatoes that you usually see in the grocery store - but nothing prepared me for the intense purple color they had inside!

What a beautiful shade of purple!

We sliced them up and decided to just pan fry them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper - simple, but we wanted to see what the true flavor of the potatoes was as compared to "normal" potatoes. I would say - pleasant. Slightly different than regular potatoes but pleasant. I would definitely buy these again if I saw them in the store especially after reading this Chicago Tribune article about how they are packed with antioxidants! I must have royal taste because according to the article, 7000 years ago in Peru they were reserved for kings.