Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Get Your Growing On!

Dear Folks,

As we wind down out of 2014, time for moral support and ideas for getting you into a garden or adding to.

First a recipe:  Most of us know how good brussels sprouts are for you - but a lot of folks don't know how to make these mini-cabbages taste good.  I have enjoyed them roasted - the baking makes the sugars caramelize, but I've been intrigued with the idea of eating them raw.  Bingo a shaved / shredded idea I adapted for Christmas dinner.  I'm in love with this, and hope you enjoy it too.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Proportions of ingredients are approximate.  You can add or subtract the ingredients of the  salad itself but keep the dressing ratios together.  You want a bit of tang from the juice.

1 pound of brussels sprouts
2 tart sweet apples like Gala or Sundowner
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries


3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (juice your fruit, save 1 teaspoon of juice and rind)
3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
crushed black pepper

 Make acidulated water:  Place reserved lemon juice and rind in bowl with water - this is for the apples.

Core apples and dice into cubes and immediately place in the lemon water while you prepare sprouts.

Prep the brussels sprouts by removing any damaged outer leaves, split in half length wise and cut out the core/stem.

Slice each half in fine layers, essential shredding.  Place in large bowl

Drain apples well and add.  Add almonds and cranberries.

Make dressings from juice, oil, salt and pepper. Shake well and pour over salad.  Toss and fold to mix well.

This salad keeps well for a couple of days in the frig. - it it lasts that long.

. . .

Garden
 
Time to plant potatoes.  I always save some potatoes from the spring harvest for replanting next season, and they almost always sprout in the frig during the summer/fall 'sleep' period.  This year's crop went a little wild!  But going into the ground a little earlier than my traditional potato planting on January 1st.

Bury an inch or two below ground in a prepared area.  Have leaves ready to cover and to add to, as the plants begin to grow up.  This ensures the 'taters are never exposed to sunlight, which can produce toxy solanine (that excess green you sometimes see on potatoes).

This is a mix of purple, red and white potoates.  I'm hoping for a good crop in April.  Mine are usually ready to harvest around Easter when I have fun with purple potato and Organic deep orange-yolk eggs from the market for a lovely and tasty potato salad.

. . .

Early starts to late January / early February planting out.

Since I've lost so much time this past year with health distractions of family and mine, I decided to get seeds going early for tomatoes and other going-into-warm planting season things like tomatoes and basil.  Later I will start out cantaloupe, watermelon and sunflowers.

This strange looking idea is my experiment with germinating seeds, quickly so I can see which are viable to pop into my jiffy peat pellets (these discs expand in water).  In the past I've had to wait to see if something germinated in a plug before trying a different seed.  A big waste of space and time.

As I recommend pre-soaking seeds to speed up germination time and increase germination rate, I decided to go one step further and germinate in a little container which allowed me to keep each of the seeds separated so I could easily pluck them out and gently put into the jiffy pellet.

This worked amazingly well and FAST!  This is 6 days from start to ready to put in the plugs.  Typical germination rate without soaking is about 10days to 3 weeks, less if you pre-soak, but 6 days - I'm amazed.

I hope to have what I call "starts" available at the Mesa Farmers Market the first week in February.

I use the plastic containers produce etc. comes in from the store for mini-greenhouses during the cool time of the year.  The rest of the year when I'm starting things I just put out in trays on my racks in direct sun.

Once these are in the jiffy pellets in their mini green houses, I will put them out during the day and move them back into our water heater area to keep them cozy at night.

I will try to remember to post a picture of the next step in jiffy pellets.

. . .

I will be hosting another seed share at the Mesa Farmers Market end of January / beginning of February - date to be determined later.

Permaculture ideas are becoming more and more available both online and in person.

Here is a great 13 reason list of why you should grow some or more of your own food.  I like the short and to-the-point notes;

https://www.openpermaculture.com/magazine/thirteen-reasons-establish-home-permaculture-food-garden

For hands on - you can take a class and tour with Don Titmus over as Rio Salado Permaculture.

He has a one day event coming up the end of January at his Mesa permaculture home.  I have been there and he offers great advice for the beginner gardener as well as some great concepts for those already growing their own.

https://www.facebook.com/events/789635891109865/?source=1&sid_create=3125200881#

Finally, you can join the Valley Permaculture Alliance and participate in forum conversations (free), and check out their classes offered on wide ranging topics of growing food and raising livestock like chickens (small fee).

Valley Permaculture Alliance

You can see some of my conversations at the VPA here.

. . .

My books are available in print or ebook form.  I have a beginner's guide to gardening more successfully in the desert. The heart of the book is a month-by-month planting calendar.

I also have a recipe book to guide you on maximizing flavor with herbs and spices.

Ibook

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/catherine-crowley/id372564893?mt=11

amazon - print

http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1367065857&sr=1-2-ent


Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/catherine-crowley

Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Catherine%20Crowley&fcsearchfield=Author



Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u




May Your New Year Be Wonderful, Your Family Healthy and Safe, and Your Garden Productive!


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Dream Cozy Christmas Cottage

Dear Folks,

I asked wonderful Jeni over at Fancy Signatures to build me a cozy Christmas Cottage.

Hope it works and you and enjoy it.




-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Let's Say You Want To Start A Food Forest?

Dear Folks,

When the subject of food sources comes up the range of sub-topics is all over the place, but essentially comes down to who produces it and where does a family obtain it?

It is a little to naive, I think, to allow ourselves to be complacent in the who and where.  The important sub-sub-topic is "do I have control" over the who and where?

A number of articles and a video has me trying to put together a simplified concept of growing some or most of your own food - on your property, or sharing the concept with others.

Food Forests are the antithesis of Food Deserts (a term which has come to mean the lack of commercial grocery stores or markets in an urban area - usually a city center but sometimes a blighted neighborhood).

City groups sometimes start food forests to give food to the public at large - notably Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon areas are in the early stages of creating public food forests, where people can literally pick a fruit off of a tree, vine or bush.

So what is a food forest?  Simply put it is a concentrated area producing food on plants.  That it may be part of a park or public thoroughfare is a strong anchoring point to create more appeal.  But it comes down to: Food for Free.  While not entirely free, much labor of love and time, possibly some donated supplies requires the start up and maintenance of the public concept.

I can't say enough how wonderful this idea is and there needs to be more.  If city landscapers are already cleaning and maintaining ornamental plants including litter clean up etc,. the transition to growing edible landscaping in its place is not out of the question (the usual negative is what about the debris, but the ground maintenance people are already cleaning up on a regular basis).

Okay so besides finding a project and volunteering, or starting a public one on your own, what does this have to with home gardeners?

It is about looking at some of the concepts of edible sustainability and food forests in your own back yard.

People get hung up on neat, tidy, orderly gardens.  Doesn't everything need to be in rows or contained, they ask themselves? Shouldn't I have a plan like an orchard setup, or do I have to completely scrape and till my yard to get growing?

Below I've included links to some basic ideas on transforming a backyard or even a couple of backyards into food producing food forests.

These are a combination of very, very old techniques, and keen observation of what nature does.

Some of the ideas you will see are:  nurse planting (using existing vegetation - even weeds - to start plants); density of planting for optimal over-head canopy and shade during the heat; using swales (berms) to keep and hold moisture; using heritage plants; and getting away from the idea that things have to be cookie-cutter orderly..

If you have ever seen an area in the desert where the water obviously drains into a "basin" and looked at the density of the growth vs. areas higher up with sparse growth you will understand more easily the ideas being illustrated.

Density of growth in the desert means less moisture evaporation, less water usage overall and larger more dense plant structures.  All of which equals more production capability.  A forest - but not a forest of orderly trees but a forest of great amounts of FOOD!

I hope these give you lots of ideas.  It is even possible to arrange your food forest in such a way as to need little or no added water over annual rain fall to continue production, after the initial baby-growth stages.

Geoff Lawton is well known to permies for his incredible work on transforming his own land and also showcasing other permaculture concepts.   If the video does not play for you you may need to enter your email.  He does not sell or share this and you will get updates of new video postings which you can always unsubscribe from - personally I want to watch anything he sends!

The use of swales from composting horse manure, native weeds and scrub bush, and making use of existing contours are some of the key concepts here.

http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/75846-high-cold-dry-and-windy

Another component is the way to find water sources in dry areas, and make use of the source - in place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owlVLwEB11o&list=UUsP1qrocbZejpftk9knjTcQ&index=4

The Kino Heritage Fruit Tree project is one I just learned about and it is fascinating.  These links describe elements of this project and a gentleman named Jesus Garcia who found his life coming full circle from what he thought of as poverty farming in Mexico to sustainable permaculture concepts in Tucson.  Be sure to click on the link for"Tasting History" a vimeo video of Mr. Garcia's journey.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/garden/in-tucson-a-search-for-fruit-the-missionaries-knew.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is one of the hosts for the Kino project.

https://www.desertmuseum.org/center/kinofruittrees.php

This nursery is one of those growing the Kino plants.  Native Seed Search is also involved in the project.

 I found myself particularly interested in the Sweet Lime, Quince and the White Pomogrante.

http://www.desertsurvivors.org/Nursery.html

You can read up on one of the community Food Forests Beacon Hill.

And here for one in Colorado.

And finally Brad Lancaster in Tucson, shows water harvesting in urban settings - using run off to grow in concrete islands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbmFnHW2-ghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQ-FBAmvBw&list=PL6C0FAFFDAF316814http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

There is so much information on these concepts on line and on youtube.  I hope you do more of your own research and get planting, or expanding, your own food forest.

Nearly every article recently on food and health gets to the nutrient density of foods for maximum health - and the focal point of the whole topic is real food not processed.

To add to or start your food forest, right now, plant kale and sugar peas - work out from there :-)



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My 12 Days of Christmas - Worth Re-Posting

Dear Folks,

Back 6 years ago I created a post for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

While many people believe the 12 days lead UP to Christmas Day - in tradition, the 12 days START with Christmas Day going to the Eve of "Little Christmas" - the Epiphany.

That does not limit the thoughts and recipes I share in each day, so click on the links and enjoy.  As these are older posts some of the internal links may no longer be active.

One example are the old articles I wrote for the original East Valley Tribune where I wrote a regular column for about 4 and half years.

One of my goals for 2015 is to go back over those old articles and re-post them here :-)

Have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady


http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-christmas-day.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-2nd-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-3rd-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-4th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-5th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-6th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2008/12/12-days-of-christmas-7th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2009/01/12-days-of-christmas-8th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2009/01/12-days-of-christmas-9th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2009/01/12-days-of-christmas-10th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2009/01/12-days-of-christmas-11th-day-of.html

http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/2009/01/12-days-of-christmas-12th-day-of.html



 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Authors at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Event - December 6, 2014

Dear Folks,

The weather was not the greatest last Saturday, but the company was!

I and 25 other authors participated in what I hope will be an annual event, discussing our books, and visiting with all those who came out under gray skies.

For those of you who did not get a chance to meet us, or who would like to catch up and / or make some purchases, I have compiled a list of authors and their contact information.

If I missed anyone or got it wrong, please feel free to use the comment section, andl I update this post with corrections.

. . .

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Author's Day
December 6, 2014


Teri Aragon
Healthy Cooking and Gardening in the Desert
http://www.godsmenu.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GodsMenu


Jim Burns
Bird and Birding
Photograher, tour guide and author
http://jimburnsphotos.com/pages/books.html


Catherine Crowley (aka The Herb Lady)
Author / lecturer on growing edibles in the desert and how to use them
www.herbs2u.net
http://edibleherbsandflowers.blogspot.com/

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u
http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1418127888&sr=8-1


Elizabeth Davidson, Ph.D
Research Scientist and children's book author
http://www.amazon.com/Cheery-True-Adventures-Chiricahua-Leopard/dp/1589850254


Max Early
Potter and Author
http://www.amazon.com/Ears-Corn-Listen-Max-Early/dp/0984792554/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417964160&sr=8-1&keywords=ears+of+corn%3A+listen


Dennis Ellingson
Christian pastor and writer
http://www.amazon.com/Dennis-Ellingson/e/B001JS47J2
https://www.facebook.com/dennisnkit?fref=browse_search


Donald L. Ensenbach
"storyteller of prehistoric Native American legends and myths."
https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62147-554-5
http://www.amazon.com/Donald-L.-Ensenbach/e/B00IZSNGQE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1


Gary Every
Writer/performer prose, poetry, and fiction
http://www.garyevery.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Battling-Hydra-Encounter-mostly-animals/dp/1468120107/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418126580&sr=1-1&keywords=Battling+the+Hydra


Jean Groen & Don Wells
All things edible and usable from the desert
plantsofthesonorandesert.comfoodsofthesup@msn.com
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=%22jean+groen%22&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3A%22jean+groen%22


Jane Gerencher
Author of Children's Books
http://www.santassugar.com/


Anneliese and Doris Hagemanm
"dowsing is for me the best tool to tapping into my Inner Knowing"
http://www.3hdowsing.com/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/450710638328189/
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_1?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A12671%2Ck%3Adoris+hagemann&keywords=doris+hagemann&ie=UTF8&qid=1418048782&rnid=1000


Lori Hines
Paranormal Mysteries
https://www.facebook.com/LoriHinesParanormalAuthor
http://www.amazon.com/Lori-Hines/e/B0054MWG38/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


Jude Johnson
historical fiction, nonfiction, romance, and children's stories
Website:  http://jude-johnson.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jude-Johnson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudeJohnsonAZ
Twitter: @JudeJohnsonAZ


Junior League of Phoenix
"dedicated to providing volunteer service throughout the Valley to positively impact the lives of families and individuals every day"
Cookbooks
https://www.jlp.org/?nd=store_category&jid=5475&department_id=1&use_filter=p_store


Eleanor Mell
"Her love of people and fascination with Dutchman Hunters led her to write her first book "
https://www.facebook.com/HuntingOldSnowbeardsGold
http://www.amazon.com/Eleanor-Mell/e/B008NWWEZ6
EleanorMell@cox.net
www.Facebook.com/EleanorMell
www.Facebook.com/NicoVannaAnAmericanClan
http://www.zazzle.com/SnowbeardsGold


Pinau Merlin
Author, Lecturer, Naturalist
http://www.pinaumerlin.com/


Colleen Miniuk-Sperry and Paul GIll
[Colleen} "left her software project management job in 2007 to pursue outdoor photography and writing full-time"
http://www.amazon.com/Colleen-Miniuk-Sperry/e/B008HU0YWE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
http://www.cms-photo.com/


Carolyn Niethammer
Carolyn writes about the Southwest
http://www.cniethammer.com/
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_lbr_one_browse-bin_0?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3ACarolyn+Niethammer%2Cp_lbr_one_browse-bin%3ACarolyn+J.+Niethammer&keywords=Carolyn+Niethammer&ie=UTF8&qid=1418128052&rnid=2272759011


Kathleen O'Dwyer
"O'Dwyer threw her comfortable Chicago life up in the air and moved to Arizona to take on the challenge of ranch management and writing her first novel"
https://www.facebook.com/BreathingBlueBook/photos/a.358082174264197.79943.261965333875882/361445590594522/?type=1&theater 
http://www.amazon.com/Breathing-Blue-Giving-life-Spirit/dp/1468532065
http://www.breathofblue.com/


Pat Parish
"For as long as I can remember, treasure hunters have been captivated by accounts of the Dutchman Jacob Waltz's life and the whereabouts of his hidden gold mine."
http://dutchmanandthedevil.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Dutchman-Devil-The-Lost-Story/dp/1456617052/ref=tmm_pap_title_0


Dany Pierard Deviche
Little Skiff seires of books - teach children how to stay strong and confident in the face of adversity
http://www.amazon.com/Dany-Pierard-Deviche/e/B003MQHU20


Jack San Felice
" author and a historian, and most recently a ghost hunter."
http://jacksanfelice.blogspot.com/p/about-author.html
http://www.amazon.com/Jack-San-Felice/e/B00JCQN4RY/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1


Marilyn Stewart
a childhood and beyond among the Aborigine of Australia
http://www.childoftheoutback.com/
email is   childoftheoutback1@gmail.com
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_browse-b_0?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AMarilyn+Stewart%2Cn%3A!1000%2Cn%3A2%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2656022011&bbn=2&sort=relevancerank&ie=UTF8&qid=1418048481&rnid=618072011


Conrad Storad
"author or editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults"
http://www.amazon.com/Conrad-J.-Storad/e/B001JS9X2S


Sonja White-David
"wrote book reviews for the Denver Post and feature articles for Bloomsbury Review and Denver Magazine. Lady Law is her first book"
http://www.amazon.com/Sonja-White-David/e/B00LV5IFQE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
https://www.facebook.com/sonjawhite.david


Aileen Wilsen
South African cooking in the USA
http://capepointpress.com/store/
https://www.facebook.com/capepointpress
http://www.amazon.com/South-African-Cooking-Aileen-Wilsen/dp/0615375618/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418064480&sr=8-1&keywords=south+african+cooking+in+the+usa


. . .

I wish you all the best and happiest of holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Very Happy New Year!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Author's Day - Boyce Thompson Arboretum - December 6, 2014

Dear Folks,

I and about a dozen other local author's are participating in the BTA's Author's Day this Saturday, December 6th, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Come on out - we will be discussing and selling our books (books are also available at the BTA store).

Anyone who hikes desert trails - or putters around their yard - has pondered this question: "what critter made that little hole in the ground?" Tourguides who lead our nature walks field that question often; Saturday, Dec. 6, brings your chance to hear answers from the naturalist who quite literally "wrote the book" about desert holes: Pinau Merlin. The Tucson writer is among featured authors during an all-day festival of authors and books; dozens of authors will be there - several are leading walks, lectures and chances to learn first-hand about subjects ranging from birdwatching  (a 9am guided walk guided by Jim Burns), to a 'Desert Holes' guided walk at 1pm with Pinau. There will be readings of kids' books - and even a special walk for photographers at 3:00pm with author Colleen Miniuk-Sperry. Events are included with daily BTA admission of $10 for adults, $5 ages 5-12. Organized to showcase Arizona authors, the Saturday event will feature outdoor activities (readings & talks indoors, in the event of rain). Authors will sell their books - and be available for autographs.
 

Check BTA's website ag.arizona.edu/bta right before the Dec. 6 event to confirm specific event times; as of early November the schedule features these:
9am bird walk guided by Jim Burns (Arizona Birds)
10a.m. Monster in the Rocks by children's author Conrad Storad
10:30 a.m. Ghost Stories at Silver King and Florence by Jack San Felice  
11a.m. The Piano Player by Tucson writer Carolyn Niethammer
11:30 a.m. Santa's Sugar by children's author Jane Gerencher
12:00 Noon Cooking Demonstration by Carolyn Niethammer (American Indian Cooking, The Prickly Pear Cookbook)
1 p.m. Desert Holes guided walk by Pinau Merlin
1pm Jim Burns gives a talk and reading from his book Owls: Journey Through a Shadowed World
1pm Elizabeth Davidson will read from Cheery, The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog
1:30 p.m. Gary Every reads from Shadow of the OhshaD: A Collection of Arizona Adventures
3:00pm professional photographer Colleen Miniuk-Sperry guides a 3:00 p.m. photography walk, demonstrating how December's golden late afternoon sunlight can be perfect for photography composition. She's co-author of Wild About Photographing Arizona's Wildflowers and other camera primers.

A food vendor will be there for you to purchase lunch!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Curds, Jam and Sauce - Oh My!

Dear Folks,

For some years now I've been canning.  Sometimes spring fruit like peaches or apricots, or making my own whole berry cranberry sauce for the holidays.

I got on a roll the last couple of days and tried my hand at Lemon Curd, using our first crop of meyer lemons from our young tree.  I am in awe of how simple this was, after reading for years about the protracted methods illustrated.  I found a basic idea on the internet and modified it slightly for my use.

Our pineapple guava gave us an abundance of fruit this year and I went looking for other things to do with the fruit besides eating it fresh.  Bam! Jam!

I did not process the lemon curd but will the next time I make it.  I am testing a small jar of it frozen to see how it does when I thaw it out. (Internet notes are yay and nay on freezing curd.)

So my recipes.

Whole Cranberry Sauce
16 oz fresh cranberries (I used organic)
1 1/3 cups sugar (again organic)
1 1/3 cups water.

Dump all in a sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Watch because it will want to foam up.  Cook until all berries burst and the syrup thickens.  About 20 minutes.

Water bath can for 15 minutes.

Pineapple Guava Jam

2 cups pineapple guava pulp*
1 1/2 cups sugar (organic)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (organic or your own tree fruit if you can)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (get Ceylon if you can)

If you want to control discoloration of the fruit prepare a bowl of acidulated water to drop fruit in after scooping.

Cut pineapple guava fruit in half lengthwise and scoop pulp out with a spoon.
Place fruit, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a pot, cover and bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 35 minutes.

Water bath process for 15 minutes.

*You may wish to chop fruit before cooking or you can use an immersion blender after cooking before canning.

Lemon Curd is one of the foods many people, including myself, have been in love with but very hesitant to make (like making hollandaise or mayonnaise - there is the fear of really, really messing it up).

Also most recipes call for egg yolks or a mix of egg yolks and whole eggs.  While I have things I can make with whites only - I did not want to have to deal with.

So I went seriously looking when my meyer lemons ripened and needed to be used.

I have a great recipe on http://www.make-fabulous-cakes.com/lemon-curd.html - and as the folks there note you can make curd with lime or orange (also read a recipe the other day - elsewhere - for cranberry curd - going to have to try that - maybe for Christmas).


 Lemon Curd
 3 large eggs (using whole egg) 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest 
1/3 cup lemon juice 
1/2 cup butter (one 4 oz stick) 

Eggs, sugar and butter are organic, and my lemons are grown without chemicals.

Here is where the process is easier than some recipes call for.
Melt butter in a separate pourable container.
Whisk eggs, add sugar and whisk to dissolve sugar, add lemon juice and pour in sauce pan and heat med low (3.5) as it starts to thicken, add lemon zest and butter in a steady stream while stirring. Stirring constantly until it thickens. This may take about 5 minutes after you add the butter.

Jar up and chill.  Use within 2 weeks.

As I noted I'm testing a small jar in the freezer to see if it thaws without breaking. 

I hope these give you some ideas for using your own fruit or great fruits you find at the farmers market.  (Meyer Lemons are in season now.)

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ode To The Sugar Pea

Dear Folks,

In a prior post I noted I was going to discuss the Sugar Pea at length.

Whichever variety of Sugar, Snow or Snap Pea you have an opportunity to grow, do so.

Let me tell you the joys of growing this vegetable in the garden, particularly in the desert garden.  Unlike the English (Garden) Pea this cultivar is useable at many stages.


 
Pretty much the whole above-ground plant is edible, from the delicate 6 inch growing tips (stir-fry), to the flowers, to the pods, young and older, to the shelled peas and, while I have not done so, the dried and then cooked mature peas. (Pictured to the right is a group of about 3 plants - photo taken March 22nd).

And THEN after the plant starts to die back, you harvest the completely dried peas, save for re-sowing the next season and leave the root in the ground to feed nitrogen back into the soil to help with the next crop (tomatoes anyone?).

These plants will flourish from October through late March (or even well into April if we do not gallop into 100s too soon).  Each plant may produce for 3-4 months as long as you keep the pods picked young (3-4 inches).  Successive sowing (every 2-4 weeks) will keep a small row productive for 5-6 months - how cool is that?

Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon is commonly known as the snow pea.
Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv. is known as the sugar or snap pea
– Wikipedia

The nutrient density of this veggie is just about perfect.  Low calorie, high protein and fiber.  (Note: the protein is incomplete, but easily remedied by eating with other foods such as grains, meat or dairy.)

1 cup of chopped pods has 41 calories, 2.74 gms of protein and 2.5 of fiber and vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium and Vitamins A and C.

1 cup of matured peas (shucked from still green pods) has approx 117 calories, 7.86 protein and 7.4 fiber, but higher sugars than English (Garden) peas.

Source:   Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.


In my garden the first flush of pods usually does not make it in the house.  I/we eat right off the vine. Then I settle down and try to harvest, for use in salads, soups or stews.  I like throwing some chopped pods into a soup or stew in the last minute or two of cooking.  When I make chicken pot pie, I use chopped sugar pea pods instead of English Peas.

Last year was challenging for me and the garden.  After planting successive seeds, I did some traveling then had to deal with health issues for myself and a relative, on and off from early February until October. The result was I missed most of the young pod harvest time.  When I could get into the garden I found many plump green pods.  Still wonderfully edible raw (remove the string :-), but the more I looked the more I found pods with huge peas.  So I thought, well why not just shuck them.  The result was the glorious green peas you see in the bowl.  I found them still sweet eaten raw out of hand, added to salads and soups and stews (again at the last minute or two).  I also froze them for later use.  (I lay fruits and small veggies like this on a tray to freeze individually then put in a zip-lock or jar so I can take out whatever portion I want.)

At the end of the growth when the vines are completely dead, I clip at soil level - some I pull completely, but usually the roots still stay in the soil.  Leaving the vines to dry completely before removing ensures the nitrogen fixing nodes have fed back into the soil.

Even without planning I always find many dried peas in pods to save for sowing the next season.

Harvesting seed for resowing also keeps the region-specific adaptation principle alive and well.  This bit of science says that 2nd, 3rd and later generations of the specific plant are more adapted and more productive to the region (think you garden) than purchasing new seed each year from a commercial supplier.

Growing sugar peas is not only rewarding it is easy.

Choose a full sun spot.  Plan what you are going to use for a trellis set up (trellis, bamboo poles tipee style, string, or cord - whatever works for you).

Sow the first seeds as early as you can in the fall (Sep 1st is okay).  Plant every 6 inches in a row running east to west or along a south facing wall.  Sow 1 inch deep.  If you have bird or critter problems, place a layer of mulch lightly (like straw or twigs) over the sown spot to hide the seed area.  The vines will grow up through this cover without a problem.  Plan on sowing more seeds every 2-4 weeks through the first week in February.  Figure on 2-4 plants for every person in your household.

If you have great success with the vines, consider sacrificing some future peas by harvesting growing tips (up to 6 inches long) and/or flowers for stir frys and salads.  The vines will put out more vine - you are not killing it off.

Once the plants get going good you should be able to harvest about a cup of young pods every week for every 4-5 plants.

So what are you waiting for?  Get your peas growing and experience the delights and many uses of this incredible plant.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

I will be participating at the Author's Day at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on December 6th.  Come on out and visit with myself and other authors on a range of topics.

If you can't make it - I sure hope you can!! -- my books are available in print and e-book at various sites on the internet

Ibook

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/catherine-crowley/id372564893?mt=11

amazon - print

http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1367065857&sr=1-2-ent


Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/catherine-crowley

Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Catherine%20Crowley&fcsearchfield=Author



Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u


Friday, November 21, 2014

Are You Growing, Can You Grow - Your Own Food?

Dear Folks,

My favorite subject - can you grow some or most of your own food?  If not - why not?  It is a simple question with far reaching consequences and benefits.  Through out most of recorded history, people working together created food access systems, whether through shared labor, barter or 3rd party (wholesale to retail sales).

In a modern effort to make ourselves so-called independent, we isolated our talents and knowledge into fractional skills - we can make money doing a job, but we have to PAY someone to grow our food.

This disconnect becomes frighteningly apparent when someone loses a job or becomes unable to work and feed themselves or their families.

This fascinating article from the New York Times - brings this issue of food and poverty into clearer perspective.

Recent discussions by some politicians about reducing or eliminating 'safety nets' like food stamps begs the question - where do the hungry obtain food - and further - WHAT IF you lost your job - can you grow your own food, can you work with others to grow your own food, do you know where to get food without money?

If you believe your only skill and talent is how to make money, then you have set yourself and your family up for unfortunate consequences if life throws you a curve, badly.
 


Learn how to grow some or more of your own food, read, take a class, attend lectures, join a local gardening club.

"The difference between you and the hungry is not production levels; it’s money. There are no hungry people with money; there isn’t a shortage of food, nor is there a distribution problem. There is an I-don’t-have-the-land-and-resources-to-produce-my-own-food, nor-can-I-afford-to-buy-food problem."

"Claiming that increasing yield would feed the poor is like saying that producing more cars or private jets would guarantee that everyone had one.
"


Don’t Ask How to Feed the 9 Billion

By Mark Bittman


At dinner with a friend the other night, I mentioned that I was giving a talk this week debunking the idea that we need to grow more food on a large scale so we can “feed the nine billion” — the anticipated global population by 2050.

She looked at me, horrified, and said, “But how are you going to produce enough food to feed the hungry?”
I suggested she try this exercise: “Put yourself in the poorest place you can think of. Imagine yourself in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example. Now. Are you hungry? Are you going to go hungry? Are you going to have a problem finding food?”

The answer, obviously, is “no.” Because she — and almost all of you reading this — would be standing in that country with some $20 bills and a wallet filled with credit cards. And you would go buy yourself something to eat.

The difference between you and the hungry is not production levels; it’s money. There are no hungry people with money; there isn’t a shortage of food, nor is there a distribution problem. There is an I-don’t-have-the-land-and-resources-to-produce-my-own-food, nor-can-I-afford-to-buy-food problem.

And poverty and the resulting hunger aren’t matters of bad luck; they are often a result of people buying the property of traditional farmers and displacing them, appropriating their water, energy and mineral resources, and even producing cash crops for export while reducing the people growing the food to menial and hungry laborers on their own land.

Poverty isn’t the only problem, of course. There is also the virtually unregulated food system that is geared toward making money rather than feeding people. (Look no further than the ethanol mandate or high fructose corn syrup for evidence.)

If poverty creates hunger, it teams up with the food system to create another form of malnourishment: obesity (and what’s called “hidden hunger,” a lack of micronutrients). If you define “hunger” as malnutrition, and you accept that overweight and obesity are forms of malnutrition as well, than almost half the world is malnourished.

The solution to malnourishment isn’t to produce more food. The solution is to eliminate poverty.
Look at the most agriculturally productive country in the world: the United States. Is there hunger here? Yes, quite a bit. We have the highest percentage of hungry people of any developed nation, a rate closer to that of Indonesia than that of Britain.

Is there a lack of food? You laugh at that question. It is, as the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler likes to call it, “a food carnival.” It’s just that there’s a steep ticket price.

A majority of the world is fed by hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers, some of whom are themselves among the hungry. The rest of the hungry are underpaid or unemployed workers. But boosting yields does nothing for them.

So we should not be asking, “How will we feed the world?,” but “How can we help end poverty?” Claiming that increasing yield would feed the poor is like saying that producing more cars or private jets would guarantee that everyone had one.

And how do we help those who have malnutrition from excess eating? We can help them, and help preserve the earth’s health, if we recognize that the industrial model of food production is neither inevitable nor desirable.

That is, the kind of farming we can learn from people who still have a real relationship with the land and are focused on quality rather than yield.

The best method of farming for most people is probably traditional farming boosted by science. The best method of farming for those in highly productive agricultural societies would be farming made more intelligent and less rapacious. That is, the kind of farming we can learn from people who still have a real relationship with the land and are focused on quality rather than yield. The goal should be food that is green, fair, healthy and affordable.

It’s not news that the poor need money and justice. If there’s a bright side here, it’s that it might be easier to make the changes required to fix the problems created by industrial agriculture than those created by inequality.

There’s plenty of food. Too much of it is going to feed animals, too much of it is being converted to fuel and too much of it is being wasted.

We don’t have to increase yield to address any of those issues; we just have to grow food more smartly than with the brute force of industrial methods, and we need to address the circumstances of the poor.

Our slogan should not be “let’s feed the world,” but “let’s end poverty.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/12/opinion/dont-ask-how-to-feed-the-9-billion.html?_r=1 

. . .
 
Desert Gardening Tip - here is a beginner tip or one to add to your garden know-how.

Plant Sugar Peas - RIGHT NOW!

I'm going to do a separate post on sugar peas and what is so wonderful about them next.  But in the meantime.  Find a sunny spot - I mean SUNNY, not partial shade and sometimes sun.  The spot should be at least 2 foot by 2 foot.  Erect something to serve as a trellis on the North or West side of the area.

Plant 2 seeds for each person in your household, 6 inches apart.  In 3- 4 weeks plant 2 more seeds for each person, arranged between the now growing plants.  Once the plants start producing (in about 5-6 weeks) pick the pods each day when they measure 3-4 inches.  Keep them picked and the plants keep producing.

More in the next post.

. . . 

I have a book - a  beginners guide to when to plant in the desert garden.

Coming up at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on December 6th, I with a whole bunch of authors will be there for an Author's Day, where you can visit with the author's and purchase books.

If that won't work for you, you can find my books in print and some versions of e-book on the internet.

Don't put off starting or adding to your edible garden - you CAN control where some or much of your food comes from and it is not a store which can't or won't take good intentions, instead of money!

-- Catherine
The Herb Lady

 . . .

My Books:

Ibook

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/catherine-crowley/id372564893?mt=11

amazon - print

http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1367065857&sr=1-2-ent


Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/catherine-crowley

Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Catherine%20Crowley&fcsearchfield=Author



Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Monsanto Suggests Pre-Harvest application of Roundup!!

Dear Folks,

This came as a total surprise to me and I am horrified.  In an article which appeared in the last couple of days, I/we learned that conventional farmers (non-organic or non-natural farmers) are encouraged, and are, using roundup as a pre-harvest treatment to make it easier on the machines and to increase, in the case of wheat, crop yields.!!!!

Get that - these crops (which includes wheat, barley, beans, and I saw a reference to potatoes) are all sprayed right before they are harvested - for YOUR food!!!  Or, the feed of livestock.

Monsanto Suggests RoundUp Herbicide Treatment For Many Crops Right Before Harvest, Not Just RoundUp Ready GMOs


“Preharvest is the best time for controlling Canada thistle, quackgrass, perennial sowthistle, dandelion, toadflax, and milkweed. A preharvest weed control application is an excellent management strategy to not only control perennial weeds, but to facilitate harvest management and get a head start on next year’s crop.” -- From Monsanto literature -- http://roundup.ca/_uploads/documents/MON-Preharvest%20Staging%20Guide.pdf

As usual all the "suspects" say it is perfectly safe and not to worry.

They also always add that it is perfectly safe under "present and expected conditions of use.”


Levels of roundup where found in a study of human breast milk.  herbicide-found-in-monsantos-roundup-discovered-in-breast-milk

The wording was "high" and higher than expected - HIGHER!!!!!!

The use of the throwaway terms used in regards to consequences like "expected conditions", or "reasonable consumption" (that latter used with high fructose corn syrup) mean as long as it not overused - your residue won't harm you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we are always left with the question of just how to avoid over-ingestion of these chemicals.

We wind up on the same answer - organic and naturally grown.

If you have not switched to flours, grains, beans and food which is naturally or organically grown yet  -- or growing your own - isn't it time?

Please share this post.




-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Free - Seed - Share!!! This Friday, October 31, 2014 - Mesa Farmers Market - Plus Boyce Thompson Arboretum Events

Dear Folks,

Come on out to the Mesa Farmers Market this Friday to shop from local vendors AND pick up some FREE seed to get your garden growing.

I am hosting this event along with the Market, and I try to do this 3 times a year to time for best seeding in for the season.

If you have any non-gmo seed (preferably food - but can be ornamental) you are welcomed to bring some, however it is not necessary to contribute seed to pick up some seed.

I will have small envelopes for you to choose some (most people do not need a whole package) seed of any kind available.

Location:

Mesa Community Farmers Market
Center Street south of University on the east side of the street
(the market runs year-round every Friday morning)
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Hope to see you there.

. . .

Last Sunday's Herb Festival at the Boyce Thompson Aboretum was great - the weather could not have been better.  The atmosphere of the setting across from the Wing Memorial Herb Garden was enhanced by the lovely music of The Levno Duo from Chandler (Celinda and John Levno, on flute and guitar).  The lovely creativity of Susan Corl showcased her many gift ideas, the Arizona Herb Association was there to answer questions and with a huge assortment of seed packages for sale, and I provided a couple of dips focusing on some of my favorite herbs for flavor -- basil, Syrian Oregano (Za'atar) and Lemon Verbena, fresh from my garden. (see my prior blog post for the recipes).

Below is contact information for the participants in the Herb Festival



Arizona Herb Association

Susan Corl - textile artists extradinare

Read up on Susan's work at the BTA blog post here

Celinda and John Levno are available for events including weddings


. . .

Mark Your Calendars! -- December 6th - an Author's Day at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  Along with other author's I will be talking about and selling my books.  Watch the BTA Event page for updates on times and details.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Herb Festival Recipes at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Dear Folks,

I hope you are able to get out and actually sample these dips today! :-)

Boyce Thompson Aboretum

Herb Festival

October 26, 2014
* end-of-the-plant-sale special event from 11am - 3pm
"Herb is the word" for our Fall Plant Sale; we'll have an expanded variety of herbs throughout the sale - plus a new date for our annual Herb Festival, which moves to late October this year to take advantage of optimal herb planting time. Sunday the 26th brings a chance to meet volunteers from the Arizona Herb Association, tour BTA's Wing Memorial Herb Garden, and enjoy herbal cuisine prepared by Catherine "The Herb Lady" Crowley.

http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events.html
              
Yogurt Pesto Dip
Fresh basil is the star of this dip.  Who does not love basil?

4    cups plain yogurt
1/2    cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2    teaspoon salt
1/2    cup walnut pieces
1 cup light packed basil shredded or 2-3 tablespoon dried basil (more if you like)
1    clove crushed garlic (1/4 teaspoon of dried)

Combine all - best if chilled for several hours or overnight before serving.


Cauliflower - Tofu Dip


I am on a cauliflower recipe collecting binge and wanted to make something with tofu and cauliflower.  When I think of tofu I think "cheese" and cauliflower goes very well with cheese.  I also wanted to use some lemon and a robust herb so I choose Syrian Oregano (Za'atar) and lemon verbena.

1 head of cauliflower
1 package of extra firm tofu
Leaves from five 5" sprigs of Syrian Oregano (about 3 tablespoon loose pack)
3/4 cup of loose pack lemon verbena leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ - 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt

Drain and press* tofu to remove extra liquid.  Cut into chunks.
Break cauliflower into florets, tosses with a bit of avocado (or olive) oil and roast at 450 for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden (don’t let burn) - cool completely.

Using a food processor, grind cauliflower with herbs and zest.  Transfer to a bowl.
Grind tofu with lemon juice and salt.
Combine all
Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.

*Slice package top plastic but do not remove. Drain liquid then place a food can (about 14 oz) on top to press the tofu extracting as much liquid as possible - about 10-15 minutes.


Serve either of these dips with veggie sticks, pretzels, chips or crackers.  Either dip can also be a sandwich spread.


I found a new-to-me cracker "CrunchMaster" gluten-free 5 seed version, which I will be using at the festival.

Hope you enjoy both dips.

. . .

You can find more recipes like these in my cookbook “101+ Recipes from The Herb Lady”



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

My books

Ibook

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/catherine-crowley/id372564893?mt=11

amazon - print

http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1367065857&sr=1-2-ent


Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/catherine-crowley

Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Catherine%20Crowley&fcsearchfield=Author


Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Herb Festival - October 26th - 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Dear Folks,

I'm back after helping a relative with health issues (doing much better).

The annual Herb Festival at the BTA has now been moved from Spring to Fall - a better planting time for many herbs here in the desert southwest.

Now scheduled for the ending day of the Fall Plant Sale - you can pick up some plants and sample some of my herb-focused dips, and check out the music and other vendors.

Arboretum Herb Festival and Live Music
October 26
 

 "Herb is the word" during the final week of October's annual Fall Plant Sale fundraiser and Lynnea and Preston are special-ordering a variety of herbs to add to the dozens that they have grown themselves. Our annual Herb Festival has moved to the Fall and strategically scheduled for late October to take advantage of optimal herb planting time. Bring a picnic and join us Sunday for music and the chance to meet members of the Arizona Herb Association and browse items at their booth. Enjoy live music by The Levno Duo from Chandler (Celinda and John Levno, on flute and guitar) and sample savory tastings of herb-infused dips from Catherine 'The Herb Lady' Crowley, all in the environs of our Wing Memorial Herb Garden.

Here is a short list of some the herbs that we'll have for sale.

yerba mansa
rosemary (assorted)
lavender (Spanish)
lavender (English)
mexican terragon
bible hyssop
marjoram (pot)
garden rue
giant cat mint
little leaf cat mint
scented geraniums
society garlic
garlic chives
santolina
several different mints


After you return home with all your great plant purchases - check out my November Planting Tips link.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/edible-landscaping-in-the-desert-gl-gs-ge/xQe43L7N0SM

 Make it a great month in the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Be Food Informed: America's Test Kitchen

Dear Folks,

I do not regularly tout a particular website/show etc.  There has to be a good reason.

Well America's Test Kitchen, part of Cook's Country is one you should look into.

I think one of the great things about this show / website is they give great information on why recipes work and how to make them work better.  They explain simple science behind the best way to cook/prepare something.  Plus the recipes are plain good.

I used to catch Alton Brown's "Good Eats" show for all of those reasons - then they discontinued it :(

Well get your food-information-fix by signing up for their newsletter and Christopher Kimball's podcasts.

Here is this week's newsletter

http://link.emails.americastestkitchen.com/s/ve?eli=c5016682&si=x701497220&cfc=3html


Link to the podcasts' page

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/radio/124-eating-white-dirt-investigating-the-worlds-strangest-food-obsession

Some tips from ATK are just great.

How to cook the perfect sunnyside/basted eggs.

I provided a link to the egg recipe in this blog post.

Grill your meat frozen instead of thawed - the frozen meat tip is in the podcast link of this blog.

Have a Best Day!



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Swap Your Grits for Oatmeal and UP the Nutrition!

Dear Folks,


So why am I saying swap grits for oatmeal?  Because grits and eggs are a favorite comfort for many folks and while tasty, the grits are not as nutrient dense as oatmeal.  So while you don't have to abandon a favorite meal completely, give oatmeal and eggs a try as an option from time to time.  See the recipes below.



From Leanne Brown's wonderful new cookbook "Good and Cheap" based on budget limitations of SNAP (Food Stamps) one of the best is her use of a fried egg with a savory oatmeal base. (Photo from her cookbook.)

You do not have to be getting food stamps to be 'food insecure' - you just have to be budget-crunched and weary from trying to make good food choices with limited money and trying to figure out ANY good information from food ads and labels.  Having children asking for junk food and sugary cereal (really a dessert and not a breakfast) ups the weariness factor.


Check out the nutrition information for grits vs. oatmeal.

Catherine's Nutrient Density Factor - the lower the number the more nutrient dense - maximum for best nutrition is 20
Note:  Nutrition information is from the USDA Nutrient Database and the Label info on the Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal container.

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/


corn grits, yellow, regular and quick, enriched, cooked with water, without salt
1 Cup
Calories 151
Protein 2.87g
Fiber, total dietary 1.6

2.87 + 1.6 =  4.47 divided into 151 = 34

corn grits, white, regular and quick, enriched, cooked with water, without salt
1 Cup
Calories 182
Protein  4.39
Fiber, Total dietary 2.1

4.39 + 2.1 = 6.4 divided into 182 = 28.44

Quaker Oatmeal, Old Fashioned (cooks up in 5 minutes)
1 cup
Calories  150
Protein  5 g
Fiber, Total Dietary  4 g

5 + 4 = 9 divided into 150 = 16.67

Note:  "Instant" oatmeal is "okay" if you do not have anything else, but good Old Fashioned oatmeal cooks up in 5 minutes on the stove and about 2 minutes in the microwave and it has a whole lot less 'stuff' - the instant packages have more sugar etc. and less nutrition.

Extra:  How to, really, fry a sunnyside egg

From America's Test Kitchen comes the best, I mean the best, way to fry perfect sunnyside, 'basted' eggs.

http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/488-fried-eggs-for-two

You will have to join their site to print the recipe.

In a nut shell you preheat the pan for longer than you think you should, crack your eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper.  Use a combination of oil and butter in the pan and have the lid and a timer ready.

I have now used this recipe multiple times and the eggs come out perfect every time.  As good a cook as I think I am (and other agrees) I never quite got the hang of basted sunnyside eggs - this got me doing it right.

For the oatmeal and egg recipe below I have halved the ATK recipe.  I also found that you can reduce the amount of oil and butter and you can also combine them at the same time -- the real trick is hot pan, swirl the fat, add the eggs, cover, cook 1 minute, remove from heat and let sit, covered, 1 minute. Ta-Da!!! Perfect eggs.

Christopher Kimble and the folks at America's Test Kitchen are artists!!


Perfect Fried Eggs 


http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/488-fried-eggs-for-two

vegetable oil
eggs
salt and pepper
unsalted butter

Heat the pan for 5 minutes, add fat, swirl, add eggs, cover, cook for 1 minute, remove from burner and let sit, covered, for 45 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how cooked you want the yolks.

My Notes.  I found 1 minute off the buner perfect for our large to jumbo eggs giving us a fully cooked white with runny yolk.


Savory Oatmeal

 
http://www.leannebrown.ca/cookbooks/

Serves 2
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup sharp cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon butter
2 eggs

Cook the oatmeal with the scallions.
Just before it is done, add the cheese.
[Divide into bowls]
Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat.
Crack in the eggs, then cover.
Fry until the yolks are runny, but the whites are cooked, then top each bowl of oats with one fried egg!

I encourage you to purchase Ms. Brown's cookbook and forward to your favorite food pantry / charity working with the hungry / low income.  She offers a discount on the printed book to non-profits.


Read my blog post of a couple days ago on food insecurity.

Food Insecurity 



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Check out The Herb Lady's books:


Ibook

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/catherine-crowley/id372564893?mt=11

amazon - print

http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Crowley/e/B002C1HWG0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1367065857&sr=1-2-ent





Kindle is supposed to be getting the two books sometime in the near future.



Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/catherine-crowley

Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Catherine%20Crowley&fcsearchfield=Author



Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/herbs2u

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Face of Hunger in America - July 2014 - Food Insecurity

Dear Folks,

This may be one of the most important posts I have ever put together.  Please read and share.  You don't have to live in a run-down neighborhood to be hungry, nor do you have to be unemployed.  You can be on social security, working multiple jobs,  a single parent, or the victim of a tragedy.

Wealth or a good paying job can be a great barrier to understanding, really understanding, what it means to be food insecure.  Someone on the outside looking at a clean, neat appearing, slightly overweight person at the check out stand of a grocery store using an EBT card (food stamps) and think, "hmmm, why does that person need food stamps?"  Likewise they may look at a messy looking individual using the same kind of EBT card and buying colored water flavored with sugar (substitute for real juice), white bread, cheap hot dogs or peanut butter and jelly and think "hmmm, trash, these people need to get a job and stop mooching."

The real trash is the quality of the food they are buying, because they have limited resources and limited knowledge on what to buy, so they give in to the children asking for food and drink and fill them up with what is filling but not anywhere near nutritious enough to help them -- in school, at work, get a job.

If you do not eat nutritious food you do not think well. Period.

And, if you think hunger won't happen to you because you feel secure in your job and life, keep in mind many before you have discovered through tragedy, sickness, or loss of a major career job that it only takes one major life-changing-event to change everything.


If YOU know how to feed yourself and your family in reduced/stressed circumstances, you will always, always be able to keep more of your life together and under control.

You may know someone ,or some people, who can use this information to help themselves and/or to help others.

On the heels of reading an article in National Geographic (NG) on Food Insecurity in America, I came across a free (PDF) cookbook aimed at the working poor and poor who survive on food stamps (SNAP) and food banks.

I read, with disgust, the frequent comments criticizing SNAP recipients for being overweight (there is a reason for that, that nothing to do with too much money); lazy and moochers.

Sure there are those who take advantage of any program, non-profit group, or the government.

But when people who work hard or who are disabled can't get the right foods in enough quantity to keep them out of ER rooms and hospitals there is something wrong with our national conscience.  And, using examples of jerks to keep food and information from those who need it is just plain wrong!

Did you ever look in a donation box of food collections going to food banks?

I have, and they bear out the NG article stating the donations are high calorie, low nutrition, high salt and sugar foods = Cheap!  Mostly that is what people donate, cheap food.

The same kind of cheap food most food insecure families buy for themselves - when they have the money or food stamps.

Boxes of sugary cereal; cans of green beans or corn, some peanut butter and high fructose corn syrup jelly, a rare can of meat like tuna and soups - cans and cans of soup.

Did you ever look at the nutrition label on a can of Cambell's soup?  I have.  In fact I started, but have not completed, a cookbook aimed at eating more healthy from pre-packaged foods, because the basic can of soup, even the ready-to-eat versions, have more salt than protein or fiber.

Growing up there were times when we might have been classified in the new term for hungry - food insecure.  My mom was creative, having spent a good part of her childhood and teenage years on a farm.  I hated a lot of the 'creative' things she made, but she was trying to feed 5 kids plus my dad and her.

She would take a can of Campbell's vegetable beef soup.  Add cups and cups of water and toss in barley and cook until the barley was done and that was dinner.

It was not always like that for us, but I remember it all to this day and food still becomes a source of fear - fear of not having enough or of not having the 'right' things, so I learned how to grow food and keep the pantry stocked with go-to-things so that 'fear' does not get triggered.

Most of today's food-insecure families do not have either the knowledge or the time to learn how to be creative, and they do not know where to go for help.  Food banks are the most wonderful and generous of society's conscience, but they usually are under-staffed with little 'wiggle' room for tutoring on how to put foods together to make them more nutritious and also appealing.

From the NG article:

When she learned that SNAP benefits could be used to buy vegetable plants, she dug two gardens in her yard. She has learned about wild mushrooms so she can safely pick ones that aren’t poisonous and has lobbied the local library to stock field guides to edible wild plants. “We wouldn’t eat healthy at all if we lived off the food-bank food,” Reams says. (emphasis added)

I can't say enough about learning how to grow some or most of your own food.  You take the control of what and when of food out of the hands of other people and into your own hands.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/hunger/

Read the NG article to learn about the real face of the hungry in America, then check out Leanne Brown's cookbook.

Leanne Brown's Kickstarter Program.

Ms. Brown has generously made this PDF file available for anyone to use and share.  Print it out, distribute it to groups that help others, and READ it for yourself and your family.

As a graduate school project Ms. Brown went about developing recipes around the SNAP monthly allocation of $4 a day using healthy ingredients.  $4 a day - that is a Starbucks coffee and people need to eat sustaining meals on that amount.

The challenge for many folks is these recipes require cooking - I'm not being mean here - I'm being practical - to eat better and cheaper means doing some prep work and actually cooking.  It is certainly possible to do many meals in the crock pot.  Make use of limited time to cook large batches up and freeze or save for the next couple of days.

And about the over-weight / poor health thing.

says Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty and Prosperity Program of the Center for American Progress, “people making trade-offs between food that’s filling but not nutritious and may actually contribute to obesity.”  Not to ignore diabetes and other health issues directly related to poor nutrition.

People who are hungry eat to fill themselves up: cheap fast food (very high fat); white bread (some vitamins and maybe some minerals but practically no protein); cheap dairy - I'm not talking milk here, I'm talking fake cheese that has added calcium but no protein.  So they put together a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for a total calorie content exceeding 500+ calories (estimate) and maybe, maybe a total of 3 grams of protein and no fiber when a meal should have between 12 and 20+ of protein for an adult.

They ate a meal of sugar, salt, flour a few minerals, no fiber and someone outside looking at them figures they are doing just fine. NOT!

Download here

Her recipes are the kind I love to see when teaching cooking.  She uses inexpensive protein sources like eggs to create satisfying, healthy foods - savory oatmeal with scallions topped with a fried or poached egg!

I have touted the benefits of making oatmeal a side dish, not just a breakfast dish - use it in place of rice, pasta or potatoes.

I have used my savory oatmeal leftovers to make patties which can be heated up in the skillet the next morning (or microwave) and served with eggs, some meat or cheese for a filling and fast breakfast.  (Think hash browns only way better for you.)

She makes great suggestions for leftovers, and bases most of the dishes around seasonal vegetables (aka cheaper and better for you).  The recipes are to serve 2 or 4 but can easily be doubled.

Here is one of my Canned Meals recipes - I put together on a camping trip some years ago.  Try for low salt options - if you have the money (it is so interesting that when they leave out things like too much salt or sugar they charge more for it? - I know there is a production reason for this but still . . .)

CATHERINE'S CAMPING SALAD NICOISE
This is enough for 2-3 people, depending on appetites

1 6 oz. can of water packed tuna
1 8 oz (apprx) can of cut green beans in water
1 8 oz (apprx) can of stewed tomatoes
Italian-type salad dressing/vinaigrette (homemade, dry packaged, or bottled)
Optional:
1 small can of potatoes
1-2 tablespoons of capers
Other options include canned anchovies, olives, hard cooked eggs, red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts and you might enjoy a rustic/crusty bread with it also.

Drain canned foods (Arizona Dun-Deane likes to drink the water from everything but the tuna - the bean and tomato water/juice are a cheap V8 sub - might as well use everything!), fold together gently - you don't want to mash the food - add capers if desired, toss with enough dressing to coat well but don't make it soggy. Eat and enjoy. Protein, Fiber, Lycopene, Vitamins, Minerals and some salt and fat - this is the kind of meal that is healthy and satisfying - just watch the salt content of the canned foods.

This not the best example of fresh is best, but canned can be a second option if combined properly.

I hope this post gives you some new information, helpful ideas and please, please share this around.

Thank you

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady