Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Making Noms

We're kicking off this week with the prep of a few goodies never tried before- this year, we're bringing ferments to our feast(s)!

The first ruby-red gem we're making is what I'm calling a digestive tonic, though it'll probably turn into "bubbly juice," as Audrey calls it... and that name will probably get more people to try it! Inspired by a few recipes I read for fermented cranberry sauce (which had stuff like pecans and raisins in them, both of which will have family noses turned up), this cranberry drink will pack a nutritional punch and some fizzy bubbles that will be perfect alongside my turkey and dressing!

Cranberry-Orange "Bubbly Juice"
Makes about 1500 mL

1.5 quarts warm-ish un-chlorinated water
1 1/2 cups raw honey
1 lb organic cranberries (fresh or frozen)
zest from 1 orange (organic, since you're consuming the peel!)
1/2 inch grated fresh ginger
1/2 inch grated fresh turmeric
pinch of yeast

In a food processor, blend cranberries (thaw first if using frozen) until coarsely chopped. Pour into container with at least a half-gallon capacity, add zest, ginger, and turmeric, then dissolve honey into warm-ish water and pour over cranberry mixture. Stir in pinch of yeast, cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band to prevent fruit fly contamination, and let sit on counter top at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Stir 2-3 times daily, and by the second day start smelling and tasting for preferred level of fermentation. Fizzy bubbles should appear by the end of the day and grow more vigorous (you'll hear them when you're stirring). If you let it sit to the point when the fruit sinks and the bubbles stop, congrats, you've made an alcoholic bev! It's still good, but now the kiddos can't have any!

Once the cranberry drink is fizzy and smells a little, well, fermented, strain out the solids and refrigerate that stuff (adjust sweetness to your taste if needed)! Drink within 5-7 days or alcohol content will rise up beyond what you'd want to serve to the whole family. 

Beware: pressure will build in a sealed container, even in the fridge, so store in a carafe or plastic container with screw-top lid so you can gauge pressure with a little squeeze to the sides and release it every once-in-a-while if necessary!

The second little treat we're working on over here is courtesy of our girls, and is also something I haven't tried before: fermented eggs. 

I know! Don't gross out- they're going to be like pickled eggs, only better, and better for you!

I read about them over at Oh Lardy and gave it a go, and they'll be ready for testing by the end of the day today! Love it- uses up eggs? Check! Increases nutrition and health benefits? Check! Quick turnover and near-instant gratification? Check, check!

Depending on their texture, I plan on turning them in to deviled eggs with tasty things on top like bacon and chives. See? I knew in the end they wouldn't sound gross.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand just in case we were getting a little too healthy or 'out there,' we've also made these:

We love making noms! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I'm still loving the holiday break kickoff from Audrey and her classmates; the distracted off-key songs, the hand-made (one-eyed, in our case) turkey headbands, and the pride in the success of the production that has lingered. I feel certain I'll get to hear encores of the turkey- and Pilgrim-based songs throughout the week as we prep for our Thanksgiving feast(s), and I'm totally OK with that.

What a fun way to head off A's first school break! And now, we're off to the grocery store!

Happy Thanksgiving week, and happy Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cleaning Up

We finally got a warm-up from that deep freeze that rolled in last week, and as soon as the sun hit the garden out we went.



Remember this space the last time we walked it? Holy cow, did that hard freeze do a number on... well, everything.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: gardening in Texas is hard. Just when it gets cool enough for things to take hold and perk back up after the summer, we get weird, early, hardcore freezes.

This fall garden was on it's way to stardom. It's painful to see what was lost when our lows dipped into the teens. It only took a few nights, and it was so-long to it all. The worst was the mammoth tomato plant, which I wrapped greenhouse-style with heavy-duty shower curtains. It was loaded with green tomatoes and flowers, and now it's compost fodder.


Live and learn.

So with the first warm(er) day and the help of the chickens, I cleaned up the garden and finally relented to this season of rest- to bed go the beds. I think this weekend I may sow some winter rye in the beds that don't have perennials or garlic, but basically this space is on break until the spring.

Bittersweet really, because though I regret what was lost, I'm glad to have this season under our belt and out of the daily chore rotation.

Now to place my orders for spring seed catalogs and focus on the winter holidays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...cold, y'all! It's mid-November in Texas. Why on earth are we breaking all these all-time low records, having consecutive nights in the deep freeze, and having to get out in 19-degree mornings?
...looking longingly out the windows at the sun-filled deep-brown field and wishing it were as warm as it looks, because Mama has work to do in the frost-killed garden.
...rolling my eyes at the cat who seems more fooled by the sun than me; he follows me outside desperately, and in five minutes or less is begging to go back in........ but it only seems to take him about 20 minutes after that to forget about his cold feet and freezing ears, because he's right back at the door pestering all who pass by to let him back out..... again.
...eyeballing a few more of those dead trees we need to cut down, now that our fireplace has made short work of the (only) one we split and stacked.
...wishing my Mama a happy birthday today! As soon as we get the girl from school, we're headed to her place with cheesecake and presents! There could be no more a deserving lady than she to be doted on today. Love her and love her!
...loving my latest library loan, The War the Women Lived: Female Voices from the Confederate South by Walter Sullivan. I'm finishing it just as Thanksgiving looms, and wowza, talk about a wake-up call to be thankful for what you have.

Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on wrappings and trimmings for my mother's birthday dinner tonight, lining up what I'll be contributing to family Thanksgiving dinners, and thinking I may have to find time to sit in the sun with my blanket, my hot tea, and my new Mother Earth News before the afternoon is over.

This may be a much colder autumn than what we "should" be having, but I'll take any chance I get to light a fire, sink into blankets, and be cozy while it lasts!

Happy Mond- er, Tuesday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.