Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Farmer's market Sept 24

The chicken is from Vreeman Farms, around $11. Not sure why, but I have a hard time finding larger local chickens. I'm not expecting the 13 lb monsters we used to grow, but 9-10 lbs would be nice. Many I buy no longer come with gizzards either (...am I the only one who noticed this?) which is somewhat annoying.

Cheese from Prairie Hollow Farms: a mild cheddar from grass fed cattle. It nice, not amazing. I may try some of their other varieties next time. This one had an almost apple-like, sweet flavor.

Bread: whole wheat from Six Arrows farms. This was excellent. It said whole wheat, but Im not sure I trust that, but at least it isn't packed with corn syrup.

The concord grapes and lemon grass are for Equah for the most part. She loves lemon grass tea and the grapes are a favorite of ours.

I really wish I had asked what type of carrots these were. I have my suspicions they are a particular variety of heirloom, but I don't know enough to confirm that. They are sugar sweet and wonderful.

Do I need to explain turnips and potatoes? Favorites of my for potpie :)

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Homemade lotion

Oh, the things I can do with a blender! This stuff is so simple you wouldn't believe. 1.5 cups low-grade olive oil, 1.5 oz bees wax, 3 cups distilled water. So next time you are at the store buying lotion, just ask yourself: which of the thirty-odd ingredients do I actually need? One downfall- it will spoil in time. Most jars last 1-2 months and then need to be replaced. But it's dirt cheap and easy to make.... Plus it doesn't cause break outs like most lotions (I usually need "oil free" store brands). It does behave a little differently on the skin as well. It goes on a little shiny, but this fades fairly fast.

My recipe results are still a little inconsistent, but I might try opening up an Esty account sometime once I have it down. :)

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

House of Hidden Treasures

We all need our champion, and this lady just might be mine. Dee Haas has been the single owner of this vintage shop since 1968. The house is over 100 years old and its 12 rooms are filled to the brim with a unique stay of antique treasures. It also boasts Dee's handcrafted pieces which are worth the drive in and of themselves. Eclectic jewelry is her specialty, and in her 86 years she is now becoming familiar with the term "steampunk" because it so aptly describes many of her pieces, though not all. The house in unheated, so dress warm. Amber and I only made it through the house... some how we missed that there was also a garage (!) and a barn (!!!) full of treasures. Dee lives in a part of the house sectioned off from the store, and came up to assist when needed.

I am not the best photographer, and I could not get a picture to justify the awsome floating staircase in the entrance; it is absolutely amazing. Not to mention Dee has cut out flowered vintage wall paper and pasted it to the ceiling of it, a theme repeated in many rooms upstairs.

So here is where a person takes decorating, combines it with ingenuity, and gets art. The tree here is made of burlap bags pasted to the wall and features vintage photos on the walls and ceiling.

Here you can better see how she cut the leaves and some of the featured photos.

Another room upstairs, again the ceiling has vintage wall paper... Dee has trailed this down the tops of the walls and cut along the pattern of flowers. Don't ask me how she got it up there...

I could not get a decent photo of the back stair case... go see it yourself. Why buy wall paper when you can just plaster the walls with vintage adds and clippings?

The top of the spiral staircase at the entrance of the house. I'm sorry to say I was so distracted by the awsome house I didn't really take many pictures of the stuff in it... many old glass jars, prints, magazines, home goods, jewelry and clothing.

So this was my haul! Above is a letter box with alphabetized dividers. I beleive this one is destined to hold my knitting patters... I wouldn't be surprised if I return for another someday. I also got a cool leather cuff... actually once used to husk corn. To the left of the cuff is box that Dee made of wall paper holding an awsome bracelet she made of Bakelite (!) buttons... and entirely reasonably priced. At the top you have my personal favorite... hand stitched vintage laces.

Here are the three laces I bought... after going through several boxes full. They weren't cheap, but so worth it.  Now I just need ideas to use them in.

My Bakelite bracelet... :)

...And the letter file. The date on the side said 1928, so it's nearly 100 years old. When closed, it looks like and old book.

Dee also mentioned that we may want to check out another vintage shop named Sugarloaf located in an old brewery in Winona, but that will have to be another day and another post :).

House of Hidden Treasure
807 Richland Ave.
St. Charles, MN 55972
Open 9:30-5:00 daily ("except maybe Wednessdays" per Dee)
*Call in Jan, Feb, Mar, and 1st part of April

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1 chicken, 4 meals

Good quality meat is generally expensive to buy. With a little old school approach the whole bird can be used, several meals can be made, and you can significantly reduce the cost of each meal. First I roast the chicken. I usually use the oven for this, but recently discovered the convenience of doing it in a crop pot. Just put in the chicken, season, and set on low.

Obviously, the first meal is roast chicken. Here I've saved a portion of the meat for later.

Once I separate all the meat I return the bones and skin to a very large pot (as big as you want). Add onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings. Bring to a boil an simmer 3-4 hours.

Now you have you own stock. I chill it in the fridge and then you can just lift the solidified fat off the top.

Meal #2, chicken pot pie... Not too shabby :). I'm contemplating posting recipes on separate posts.

Meal #3 chicken soup... A lot of it! This is where making that homemade stock pays off. I make a huge pot of chicken soup, maybe 1-2 gallons worth. I freeze small portions for later. I'm just learning to can, some day I would like to can both portions of the soup and the stock for later since this is too much soup to use right away.

Maybe we will call this meal #3.5? I still had some meat left over so yay for chicken sandwiches!

...and then there was dirty rice :). Don't wrinkle your nose; I swear it's good! Made with gizzards and chicken livers (and some homemade chicken stock), it's not a standard most of us are used to, but is perfectly yummy.

So that's it, not too hard. Not sure, but I may add recipes later.

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Location:5th St NE,Rochester,United States

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Local In Lake City

So I'm an in-home therapist and one of my luxuries is I see a lot of different local places. I finally swung into this place in Lake City. So cute and had many types of apples, honey, and homemade goodies. Website: www.morningsideorchard.com

Speaking of Lake City, they have the cutest little bakery there called Rabbit Cafe. Even spotted some local farms I know there. Couldn't find a website, but if you are ever in town 304 South Washington Street Lake City MN 55041 or (651) 345 3199.

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Making shampoo soap

So my olive oil/Castile soap still has a week to cure, but I figured it was high time to start another batch. Not sure of my logic... Since I really could benefit from some more coconut laundry soap... But I went ahead and bought oils for shampoo soap. Logic need not apply when it comes to my little science lab.

Above you see the majority of the equipment for making soap, plus the ingredients uses today. Really, all you need for soap is olive oil (or another fat), water and lye. Once the process is complete, none of these will exist in your soap... Just pure, simple soap. But the fats used do influence how the soap performs and depending on it's intended use, you want to very them accordingly.

So basic equipment: blender, digital scale, instant read thermometer, double boiler, Pyrex measuring cup. Plus gloves, goggles and protective clothing.

Measure the oils. Heat to 90-110 degrees.

Measure the water into Heat proof glass measuring cup. Measure lye separately. Outside: slowly add lye to water. Water will become hot and cloudy. Let settle until clear.

Next part goes fast so no photos... Add oil to blender, then lye. Cover blender with top and towel for extra protection. Blend until soap can hold memory "trace" I reached.

No fancy molds yet, I use cartons for small batches.

Once soap sets, usually the next day, cut as desired. Soap is too harsh to use at this point. Let it cure 4-6 weeks.

This is my Castile soap that has cured 4 weeks. Very simple- just olive oil, lye, and water.

So far the recipes I've used are a from a wonderful book titled "making it: radical home ec for a post consumer economy" they also run a great homesteading blog title Root Simple.

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