Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our Garden In July

I have finally gotten around to posting some pictures of Our Little City Farm. I hope this shows you that you don't have to have a lot of space to have a garden that will provide your family with lots of yummy veggies. We will see come canning season if I can squeeze enough produce to last us through winter. This is the list of veggies that we are currently growing on our little city lot.

Front Yard: 
  • 1 semi dwarf apple tree
  • 1 elderberry
  • 1 gooseberry
  • 5 strawberry plants
  • 2 cabbages
  • 4 bush zucchini
  • 2 crook neck
  • 2 bush cucumbers
  • 3 asparagus plants
  • lots of beets
  • 6 Amish paste tomatoes
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 celebrity tomato
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • 1 purple tomato
  • 1 grape tomato
  • 12 peppers (different types)
  • 3 pie pumpkin plants
  • bush beans
  • onions
  • 5 basil plants
  • peas (harvested)
  • some carrots
  • some lettuce
  • lots of different herbs and flowers around the edges

Back Yard:
  • 1 semi dwarf sour cherry tree
  • 2 semi dwarf pear trees
  • 2 low blueberry bushes
  • 2 grape vines
  • 2 types of raspberries
  • Raised bed of potatoes
  • 5 corn plants
  • 2 summer squash
  • 3 types of winter squash
  • 1 mini water melon
  • 1 mini cantaloupe
  • 3 more strawberry plants
  • 2 sunflower plants
  • 4 chickens with a coop
  • Lots more herbs and flowers
Just remember you can be very creative in how you fit things into your garden. Notice that I used a lot of bush plants which are also good in pots. Good luck and happy gardening!
What is growing in your garden?

This is a post for Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    One of Those Duh Moments

    Have you ever read something or heard something and thought, that is a really great idea and so simple why didn't I think about that. Well I had one of those moments not to long ago. I was reading an article over at and thought what a great idea. She cooks her beans in big batches and then freezes them. We have been cutting back on meat to make our grass fed, free range meat last and not break out budget. So this was perfect since beans are really healthy for you and a great source of protein.
    I have taken it a step further and I have been doing my rice this way too. Its so simple and it is great for me because I'm not always great at planing ahead and sometimes life calls for last minute prep. You might be thinking that is why we have canned food and instant rice down the street at our local grocery store. You are right but have you read up on BPA or the fact that canned beans  have so much salt in them. Or the health benefits to fresh brown rice. Plus the cost is so cheap that even if you buy high end organic beans or rice you end up saving quite a bit of money.

    So here it is a cheap, healthy, and fast way to eat your beans and rice.

    For the beans:
    Before you go to bed stick your beans into your crock pot and fill it with filtered water about 1-2 inches above the beans.
    The next morning pour out the water and rinse the beans.
    Refill the crock pot with your now rinsed beans and more filtered water about 3-4 inches above the beans.
    Turn your crock pot on low and cook for about 6-8 hour depending on the beans.
    After the beans are cooked let them cool
    I like to dump and rinse the beans one more time, then I fill sandwich bags with about 16 ounces of beans. 
    Then freeze. I think you could probably lay the beans on a cookie sheet and flash freeze then but I have not tried that yet.
    Then when you want a quick dinner or lunch just pull them out of the freezer, heat up and make some bean and cheese burritos.

    For the Rice:
    Cook your rice like you would for dinner, I use long grain brown rice in my rice attachment on my steamer.
    Then let cool and freeze in sandwich bags. I put about 2 cups in each bag. 

    It is so easy to pull out and heat up for a side dish, breakfast or to but in some soup.

    Breaking Free From The Box Part 3

    This is what we use for cereal on mornings that we don't even have time to boil oatmeal. I have worked on this granola recipe for about a year to get it the way we likes it. So even though this is our recipe its very adaptable to what your family likes or needs. I am working on a soaked granola and will post that when I'm finished with it. I am learning the value of soaking or sprouting grains and nut, you can read for your self the health benefits here and here.

    6 cups of oats or half oat and half barley oat
    2 cups raw almonds
    1/2 cup puffed millet
    1/2 ground flax or wheat germ
    1/2 unsweetened coconut
    1/2 dried fruit ( add after cooked)
    1 cup heirloom grain flakes
    1TB cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt

    1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    1/3 cup of raw honey or grade B maple syrup*
    2 TB melted coconut oil

    Pre Heat 350
    1. Mix all the dry ingredients
    2. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan on the stove
    3. Add honey to coconut oil and mix then add the apple sauce and mix again
    4. Mix the wet into the dry ingredients. Make sure it is mixed well, be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
    5. I put mine into a jelly roll pan and stir it every 10 min or so.
    6. Cook for 30-40 min.

    *At the end I put a little maple syrup on top and mix it in and leave it in the oven while the oven is warm.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Breaking Free From The Box Part 2

    Left Over Oatmeal Pancakes:
    So you made some yummy oatmeal but now you have about a cup or two of leftovers and you don't know what to do with them. Well I'm going to give you a couple of suggestions. One is to freeze them into individual servings so on those morning your husband needs to leave early or you need to leave early and you don't want to get up earlier then you have to to fix something lasting and nutritious, you have something ready to go. It also makes a good snack on those days you need a little extra boost. My second suggestion would be to make oatmeal pancakes. These are very good and it doesn't matter what you put into the oatmeal before because it transfers nicely to the pancakes. For example I made peanut butter, banana oatmeal and the next morning I made peanut butter banana pancakes, they tasted great! They do take more time then just the oatmeal so you could either freeze the oatmeal until you have time to make the pancakes or  keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

    3/4 cup oat flour or barley flour (grind 1 cup of oats in blender to make 3/4 cup oat flour)
    1 cup Hard white wheat
    2 tablespoons sugar (depending on what is in the oatmeal I may not add the sugar)
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
    1 1/4 cups whole milk
    1 cup cooked oatmeal
    1 tablespoon honey or grade B maple syrup
    2 large eggs

    Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
    Mix wet ingredients together including the cooked oatmeal.
    Combine all ingredients and let sit for about 5 minutes. This will thicken the batter and allow the wheat to relax.
    Makes about 18 small pancakes.

    I bet you didn't think it would be that easy did you. Here is some info on the health benefits of oatmeal.

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Breaking Free From The Box Part 1

    It has been a year since we have given up boxed cereals. We all love cereal but it has been worth it, I notice that when we buy cereal as a treat every once in a while we are all hungry with in an hour or so. You are probably thinking thats fine for you but I am not about to wake up at 5:00am to feed my family breakfast. Well neither do I, I love my sleep. So Im going to share with you some of my recipes that I use for our breakfasts over the week. Im going to start out with oatmeal who can't cook oatmeal right. I use old fashioned rolled oats and I promise you that it doesn't take over 10 minutes to make.

    Here is our favorite way to make oatmeal:
    3 cups milk, water, or coconut milk
    2 cups old fashioned rolled oats 
    2 tbs peanut butter
    3 mashed bananas
    1 tbs honey or maple syrup
    pinch of salt

    Put the oats, salt and liquid into a pot and heat on medium high until it comes to a boil. 
    Set your timer for 5 min.
    After the 5 min take off heat stir in the rest of your ingredience.
    serve with milk, a touch more syrup or honey and some chopped nuts.

    Another way we like oatmeal is with strawberries: 
    3 cups milk or coconut milk
    2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    1 cup sliced strawberries divided
    1tbs honey or raw sugar
    pinch of salt

    For this one you put 1/4 the strawberries in with your liquid salt and oats.
    Boil for 5 min.
    Take off heat and add the rest of the sliced strawberries.
    Serve with milk 
    The oats really take the strawberry flavor. I've tried doing this with peaches but it didn't take on the taste like it did with the strawberries. 

    For extra nutrition:
     Substitute 1/2 the oats with hulled barley oats
    Add 1or 2 Tbs of coconut oil
    1Tbs ground flax ( I use my blender to grind them, grinding them make it digestible.)
    There are many different types of oats you can use each one with it's own benifits. Some times I mix Barley oats with my rolled just to get to extra protein that the barley has. You can check out some different types here.