Posts Tagged With: Food

Jalapeño-Honey Plum Jam

What do you do when you’ve got 40 pounds of last year’s plums left in the freezer and you need to make room for this year’s peaches?  You put your grandma’s apron on over your mei tai and start making jam!

Last year, my brother-in law picked us nearly 70 pounds of plums from his parents’ place.  But he brought them just when we were elbows deep in peach and grape processing.  So I stuck them all in the freezer with the intention of making them into jam later, when it wasn’t so hot and we weren’t so swamped with other fruit.

Well, here it is, September again, and we are once again swamped with fruit.  And I’ve still not touched those plums.  So I started defrosting them, and went at it with the jam making.  But as there are still 40 pounds, I wanted to get creative.  I went searching for a little jam inspiration and I found it on Canarella.  Sweet and spicy – my favorite combination!

Since my plums were previously frozen, they turn all mushy when defrosted.  No good for straight up canning, but perfect for jam.  Here’s what I came up with!

Jalapeño-Honey Plum Jam

2 pounds plums, pitted and chopped
1½ cups honey
1½ tsp jalapeño powder*
2 T lemon juice

In a large sauce pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cook until jam gets to the gelling point (use the saucer method or one of these methods).

Ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, wipe rims of jars, add lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes (10 minutes in Denver or similar altitude).

Makes 4 half pints.

*I make homemade jalapeño powder by slicing and dehydrating jalapeños, then grinding in a food processor.  This powder is delish on buttered popcorn!

Categories: Canning and Food Preservation, Food, Recipes | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Pan Roasted Cauliflower with Cannellini Beans and Kale

Last week we made a tasty side dish with our garden and CSA goodies.  Rick thought it was good enough for me to share.

Pan Roasted Cauliflower with Cannellini Beans and Kale

2 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite size florets
coarse salt and red pepper flakes
1/4 water
1 bunch of kale leaves from the garden, tough stems trimmed, washed, dried, and cut or torn into pieces
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
parmesan cheese

In a 12 inch skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add cauliflower to pan and season with red pepper flakes and salt to taste.  Let the cauliflower brown well before turning and continuing to “toast” on all sides.  When the cauliflower is getting nicely browned, add water to the pan and scrape up any browned bits.  Add kale, cover the pan with a lid and let cauliflower steam until most of the water is absorbed or evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Remove cover and stir in garlic and beans.  Stir until beans are heated through and the rest garlic is fragrant.  Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.

I wish I had gotten a picture, but it was so good that we ate it before I could grab the camera.  Let me know if you give it a try and you like it.

Categories: CSA, Food, Recipes | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Slow Harvest

It’s been a month since I did an Independence Days update.  I really like this method of keeping track of what we’re doing on the homestead to work towards our own independence.  The end of July and into August seems like a time we should be pulling a lot from the garden.  We were really on the ball this year with our spring and fall plantings, but our summer crops went in extra late (except the tomatoes), so our harvest has been slower than I was hoping it would be this year.  Of course we’ve had our hands full with family matters too. 😉  I’m really wishing the carrots, beans and watermelon would kick into gear.

Plant something – fall crops of beets, peas, beans, kale, turnips, and bok choy went into the ground.  After the virtual homestead tour last week, I had someone ask for a picture of the whole garden.  After we did some weeding and put in the fall seeds this weekend, I took a couple of pictures.  It looks so empty without the big squash plants of summer that we usually have, but here is what our main garden currently looks like.


Left picture:  clockwise from top left, Kohlrabi, newly planted peas onions still growing from seed, onions and beets we picked, newly planted spinach, late zucchinis still growing, just planted bush beans.  you can see some tomato plant tops there at the bottom left corner of the pic. 
Right picture:  from top left, tomatoes, cukes and pole beans on the trellis, peppers in front of the trellis, bee hive in the back and kohlrabi on the far right.  In the row with the peppers is bok choy, kale and the bush beans. 

Harvest something –  eggs, onions, beets, peppers, tomatoes, kale, chard.  We have tiny little cucumbers on the vines and could probably pick some kohlrabi this week too.  Otherwise I feel like things have been slow.  I and just waiting for all the tomatoes to really come on… then I’ll be wishing things would slow down just a bit, I’m sure.

Preserve something – nothing since the baby was born… no wait, I take it back, I cut the necks off the garlic bulbs and sorted the ones we’re saving for seed and the ones we plan to eat.  Yum yum!

Waste Not – compost, scraps to chickens, recycling, etc.  We’ve done quite a bit of eating from the freezer – all the things I saved up for C’s arrival.

Want Not – We found out about a co-op here that sells grains and chicken feed for a great price.  We got 65 pounds of organic layer feed (whole grains and seeds!) for less than $27!

Build Community Food Systems – Our neighbor, Doug, harvested some carrots and onions.  His carrots look like they belong in a story book or on a seed packet!  He shared the first ones with our boys.  And I actually got a picture of him!  His corn is getting close to harvest too – I bet he’ll get some ears this week.

I really wanted to participate in the first ever Denver County Fair this year (Rick makes some amazing zucchini bread), but the fair dates fell about 10 days after we had C, and it was a little early to be walking around the fair just yet.  But we did get a call about joining the Denver Botanic Gardens chicken coop tour this year.  The tour is in October, but we’re on the fence still, since with all our projects this year, we’re not sure the yard will be in any sort of shape to have people touring it.

Eat the Food – We’ve been eating a lot from the garden.  This is my favorite time of year – when we make whole meals from food we grew ourselves.  We’re also on our last jar of grape jam, and only have a few packages of peaches left – perfect timing since we should be picking more by the end of the month.

Categories: Food, Garden, Independence Days | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Virtual Homestead Tour

Welcome to the Schell Urban Homestead’s end of July virtual garden tour!  I was really excited when Erica at Northwest Edible Life invited me to participate in letting all you Nosy Neighbors peek over our garden fence!

Here’s how the Lazy Homesteader does the Nosy Neighbor Virtual Homestead & Garden Tour:

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The first part of this tour that makes me really excited is that I’m actually documenting what the whole garden is doing at a given point in the summer.  I never remember when we get the first tomato (this week!  A Silver Fir Tree Russian heirloom).  The kohlrabi is a giant variety that Rick’s grandpa brought us from Slovakia.  It will get to be over 8 pounds and will not be woody.  It also keeps great all winter, and it’s starting to bulb up to about baseball size in the last few days of July.  Rick’s parents shared cucumbers with us last week and the week before, but ours have only just begun to flower.

The unexpected thing that I am loving about this tour is the truth of it.  In the pictures of the onions and watermelons, you can see both the weeds I’ve neglected to pull, and the light-colored, hard clay that we grow in here in Colorado.  Normally, I’d make an effort to hide both the weeds and the soil, because the shiny-happy blogger in me wants you to think that my garden is perfectly groomed and full of rich, dark, beautiful loamy soil.  In fact, some people do think that.  Rick’s grandparents even commented this week on how they couldn’t grow something that we could because their soil (about 25 miles from us) is hard clay.  Rick and I burst out laughing.  So here’s the proof.  We don’t have perfect soil.  This is how it looks after eight years of work amending it.  And I’m glad I let it show.

Some of my other favorite highlights from the slideshow (the shiny-happy stuff):

Corn from our neighbor’s garden, actually.  His corn is peeking over our front yard fence.  Well, not peeking, so much as towering.  We are actually sharing our harvests this year, so that is how I’m justifying including crops that belong to someone else in my garden tour.  😉

The hundreds of tiny cherry tomatoes on H’s plants make me giddy.  And I can’t believe how big those two plants are.  Over six feet high!

The garlic I harvested in the week before C was born is drying in the garage, and the beets I pulled a few days ago are beautiful, although we might have pulled them about a week earlier if we weren’t in new baby mode.

We’re still waiting on the first eggs from the pullets, but we are getting two or three a day still from the older hens.

I was really hoping to include a picture of our raspberries this year, but they suddenly quit producing just last week.  Luckily I found something in the strawberry bed to show you instead!

Be sure to check out the other homesteads and gardens in Erica’s Nosy Neighbor Tour.  Thanks for stopping by!

Categories: Beekeeping, Chickens, Community, Food, Garden, Hugelkultur, Urban Homesteading | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Garlicky Love…

Does harvesting your garlic in the pouring rain count as nesting?

Oh heavenly garlic love…

Categories: Food, Garden | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Independence Day Independence Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on our Independence Days project.  Over the last few weeks we’ve done a lot.  But mainly I made up for a bit of garden neglect this weekend.  We pulled lots of weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds.

Rick has been working hard over the last few weeks at digging out the tree stump.  It’s such a big project, but this weekend he got through the last of the big roots and even the tap roots underneath.  He moved it a bit with our 4Runner, but we still need to get the trunk hauled before we can really move the stump anywhere.

I’ve been consumed with baby things lately as I realized last week while finishing up the nursery that we had NO baby clothes.  I mean none.  We thought we were done after Emmett, and since the house is small, we didn’t keep anything around.  Whatever I didn’t sell I donated.  So I did a lot of shopping this weekend.  But it was fun.  Rick and I went together, and I realized that it was the first time that we actually bought baby clothes together.  🙂 And now, the baby will have something to wear when he or she gets here.

Here’s the update…

Plant something – okra, two varieties of sunflowers, and sad to admit, but beans and squash just went into the ground.  I hope we get something?

Harvest something –  eggs, lettuce, garlic scapes, peas, thinned carrots and onions, got a few (a handful) of raspberries!

Preserve something – quiches and some grilled chicken in the freezer… mainly things for after the baby comes.

Waste Not – compost, scraps to chickens, recycling.  Planned meals for 24 weeks straight, but then I missed last week, and our budget showed this.  But I have a plan going for this week, so I’m back on the wagon.  25 weeks planned this year so far.  I used some scrap wood from the garage to make a trellis for the grape vine, and I sold the gas-powered mower and set the money aside for a new push-reel mower.  It’s been raining a lot so we’ve just been watering the gardens and the lawn by hand as needed.  Also consolidated the freezers and unplugged the upright for the summer.

Want Not – Got new shoes for both boys (again!) – this time from the resale shop.  Got lots of neutral baby items this weekend second hand, and re-purposed a sturdy shelf to be the new changing table in the nursery.  Thrifted some pictures frames for the baby’s room too.

Build Community Food Systems – While my cousins were in town, our CSA started distribution.  This led to a few conversations about food – local, organic, non-GMO, etc.  I was super excited that when she got home, she went shopping and sent me an email detailing out her changes – she went for all local and/or organic produce, natural meats, organic dairy, etc….  !!  I know it’s not building MY community on this one, as they live in Tennessee, but it was really encouraging!

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!  We celebrated by working outside and of course watching fireworks.  😉

Categories: Food, Garden, Independence Days | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lazy Peach Cobbler

MMMmmmm… Monday!  I thought I’d share one of my favorite, easy dessert recipes this morning. Peach Cobbler!

You can make this recipe in a cake or brownie pan, but I like it in my cast iron skillet.  Preheat your oven to 325°.  Add 6 tablespoons of butter to your pan and stick it in the oven to melt.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  You can use any kind of flour.  In these pictures I used white, but have used whole wheat and even corn flour before.  Basically, whatever is on hand.  Keeps it easy.

To this add your liquid – I use 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup half and half or cream.  But any combo will do, cream making it a bit richer.  I’ve used buttermilk before and it’s delish.

Once that is all mixed up (about the consistency of pancake batter), remove your pan of melted butter from the oven and dump it in.  Don’t stir it in the pan.  You can see that the butter sort-of goes to the edge of the pan, and that’s ok, don’t mix it up – this is the lazy way, remember.

To this add about three cups sliced fresh or defrosted, unsweetened peaches.  We get lots of peaches in the late summer, and a great many go into the freezer for us to use throughout the year.  We defrost them and add them, with their juice.  Just dump them on top.  Again, don’t stir, but if there’s a big pile, I’ll move some over to an empty space.


If you want, you can sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar on top at this point, but I usually don’t since we eat this so often, we’d be fat, fat, fat if I did!  Put the pan in the oven and leave it there for an hour.

When your done, it’ll be delicious, peach cobbler – the easiest you’ve ever made!

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , | 3 Comments

To Be Continued

Four weeks now without a fridge and going strong.  We’ve had a lot of questions about the experiment and how it’s gone so far.  Last week, a friend asked if we knew yet if we planned to continue, or if we were going to plug back in after the month was up.  The honest answer, at this point is yes, and I don’t know yet.

Yes, we plan to continue living without the fridge plugged in, at least for a while.  Partially because it’s not been that hard or that big of an inconvenience.  Partially because I really want to get a full month’s billing cycle (or maybe two) from our power company under our belts, so we can compare the bills to last year.  I don’t know how significant of an impact not running the refrigerator will have on our energy consumption and bills for just the one or two months.  I’m hoping it’s a lot, but I realize that translating those kilowatt-hours to dollars isn’t always that huge of an impact either.

When asked what amount was significant enough to keep it unplugged, I didn’t really have an answer.  I like the idea that by unplugging the fridge for a year we could save enough money to upgrade our older, less efficient freezers to new, super efficient machines.  But I don’t know how realistic that is.  And if it’s not, I don’t know that that will make me plug back in either.  It’s sort of an open question right now I guess.

The other reason I don’t know how long the experiment will continue is that we’re coming up on summer when the CSA will be in full swing and we will have a lot of vegetables to get through every week.  This was Rick’s first major concern when I originally brought up the unplugging idea to him.  I plan to take it one week at a time.  To try to be efficient and wise about getting veggies put away in the freezer, kept cool in water, and used up within the week as we can.  But I’m not going to just let them waste or rot if it gets down to it.

I expressed the possibility of using the fridge in the summer if we are overwhelmed with produce and then re-unplugging it again in the fall and through the spring until it’s needed again.  But we’ll see if that’s even an issue as the summer gets here.  The CSA season starts usually in mid-June and takes a few weeks to get into full gear before we’re bring home loads and loads of food.  We’ll be able to adjust and take it as it comes, I think.  😉

So far, we’ve learned a lot already.  I learned that once you open the cheese, you better use it up, and don’t store it in the door unless you want it to go moldy.  Also, I learned not to buy two gallons of milk at a time.  They take up too much space and we ended up giving about half a gallon to the chickens that was spoiled during the first week, simply because it’s not quite as cold in the icebox as the fridge was, and the expiration date wasn’t at the end of the week.

At this point, we’re looking to keep going.  We still have a week left in the experiment, but I just don’t see us plugging in yet.

Categories: Simple Living, Unplugging the Fridge | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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