Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eating Local

Part of the new changes, no more win and fail. I think it makes the titles visually irritating. Anywho...

I seriously have GOT to write more often. I'm going to lose followers, I happen to really like the dozen of you!

On to the business at hand. Farmer's Markets. Holy cow, they're like the mecca of wonderfully priced produce! I have to admit, I kind of thought you went once a year to get awesome peaches or watermelons. That the rest of the stuff you could buy at the store. GOOD GRIEF. Let me just say, I was stupid.

Courtesy of Google Search
Through a couple of twists and turns of life late last year, I have had to learn to be incredibly frugal with our grocery budget. The first things to go? Organic meats, then organic produce, then I just kind of gave up and started letting the kids eat crap. The produce aisle at Aldi looked decent and the prices were better than any of the other chain grocery stores. So I shopped there. Not knocking Aldi, their snack food is super reasonably priced and they support GMO labeling as a company which is kinda big to me. I get most of our staples there.

I just wanted something more, something healthier that I could feel good about feeding the boys. I found a very small local farmer's market in my area. If you live in Antioch or in southeast Nashville, please check out the farmer's market here. It's small but it's growing. Laurel Mountain has AMAZING eggs and pork! Their CSA is super cheap to join. Here's more about Farmer's Market at the Crossings.

I wanted to try the downtown farmer's market because I wanted to can tomatoes this summer. We all loaded up and went weekend before last. I was amazed. We actually had dinner that night made up completely of items from the market. It was probably one of the best meals we've had, EVER.The boys and I went alone this weekend. I spent $40 today and got more food than I will know what to do with! I have blueberries and corn to freeze. I'll probably also chop and freeze some onion to have on hand because I pretty much use onion in everything other than cereal. Here's what all I got:
1 pint of blueberries
2 dozen eggs organic, pastured
1 quart of goat's milk...
1 dozen ears of corn
approx 2 lbs each of apples, tomatoes, potatoes (purple and yukon gold, not just plain bakers!), onions
big bag of kale
2 avocados
3 bulbs of garlic
3 each cucumbers and zucchini.

Holy. Cow. That's a lot of food for CHEAP! Plus, we just helped stimulate our local economy. We're going to be eating foods this week that were grown close to home, that are grown by hardworking farmers, and that were picked when they were ripe, not forced to ripen artificially. Plus, the vendors encourage you to eat right there! The boys walked around eating tomatoes this morning. They were a hit.

If you live near Nashville, follow this link to see what produce is available at what times of the year. You should be able to find one of these charts on any farmer's market website in your area.

Seriously, get up a little early on Saturday morning. Your belly will thank you for it all week!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lavender Essential Oil.... WIN!

A girlfriend, Lishy, started pinning all of this stuff a while back about essential oils. And because I basically re-pin her life and pretend it's my own, I started reading about them. We all know that I am a hippie at heart so these amazing little oils were right up my alley! I started small, making holiday gifts for friends and family.. Sugar scrubs and bath salts. Everyone seemed to like them. I kept ordering more oils because this one is good for scarring and that one is great for migraines.

I have turned into a monster. I love them. My little bottles of magic make me so happy. I'm going to tell you about my all purpose wonder oil, Lavender. It is great for so many things! Headaches, scrapes, cuts, burns, SUN burn, calming, sleep, cleaning... It is my first line attack for pretty much any first aid need. Or emotional need.

How do you use it? Really simple! You put a few drops in a carrier oil-many people use olive oil, coconut oil, almond or grapeseed oil. Really any oil without a strong scent will work. Then you apply it to the area that you want to use it. Headache? Apply it to your temples. Put it right on the injured area in the event of a cut or scrape. If you have a sunburn, put several drops into a spray bottle of aloe vera juice or fractionated coconut oil. Keep it in the fridge, then just spray the area of the burn. You can put it on the soles of your feet or across the back of your neck to help you relax and fall asleep.

courtesy of Google search

Here's the thing... You DO NOT have to spend a ton of money to get quality oils. You don't. There are people out there that will tell you that you must. Simply put, they're lying. It may be a lie born from ignorance of other quality products or a purposeful twisting of the truth. You don't have to spend a fortune to use essential oils.

I purchase my oils from a few websites..Nature's Gift is one, as is Essential Oil Exchange, and I recently purchased from both Mountain Rose Herbs and Plant Therapy!

Nourishing Treasures is a website run by a certified aromatherapist. She and a group of people spend their own money to have a third party test many brands of essential oils, in order to let us all know what companies sell quality oils. Her website is great and full of information!

Do you use any essential oils in your home? If so, which ones and how do you use them?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Homemade Peach Ice Cream.... WIN!

I have been away far too long. Somehow, even with kids that aren't in school, the summer has gotten crazy! Playdates and parties, chores and an ever needy patio garden, it has just all come to a point where I am so busy every day! So, I apologize for being away so long.

Part of summer fun is farm fresh produce. Not the bland, picked too early, from another country produce at your local grocery store. Its the amazing, you can smell it as you walk up, farmer's market produce. I'm not sure if it's being from the south or being from the family I am, but I love peaches. Love in a way that I wait all year for the couple of weeks of amazing peaches the summer brings. In our family we eat South Carolina peaches. Georgia's are good. A good SC peach though? It's like candy. 

Jonathan is off today so we're having a big family dinner for our little family to celebrate. Roast chicken and sides still to be determined but I am thinking at least roasted potatoes. I should have bought  some greens at the market yesterday, they were beautiful. I forgot though. Oops. 

I was going to post this tomorrow, because I didn't plan on taste testing until after dinner. But I did taste test. And I MUST share this with you. Here's the pin for the simplest peach ice cream ever. No cooking! No raw eggs! All you will need an ice cream maker of some kind. We have a Kitchenaid mixer with the ice cream maker attachment. You can put this into a regular ice cream maker or use some of the other pinterest ideas for making it without a maker.

Here is Melissa's recipe from the blog Bless this Mess

3-4 medium peaches, peeled and pitted (I used 6 because I wanted this to be SUPER peachy)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 T. vanilla extract
Ice cream in progress
Add the peeled and pitted peaches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. In a medium bowl mix the peach puree, milk, sugar, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla extract together until the sugar dissolves. Add the ice cream mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.
Melissa's Notes:
If the peaches don’t want to blend up try adding part of the milk called for to help things move around. If you like more chunks in your ice cream, blend up 1/2 the peaches and dice the other half. Add the diced peaches to the ice cream just before serving.
If you like a harder ice cream, put the ice cream in a freezer container and cover. Let it freeze for at least 2 hours and then let it sit for 10 minutes on the counter before serving. The ice cream straight out of the maker is just like soft-serve. Out of the freezer it is like store-bought.
Now, my Grandmama's homemade peach ice cream will ALWAYS be the best. Because she's the best and that's just how things go. But this is seriously the best I've had other than hers. I would imagine that you could substitute any other fruit for the peaches. I have some fresh picked blueberries that will be topping this yumminess. It's only because I forgot to put them in that they're not IN it. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This Must Change.

My blog is not a platform for my views. I like to try out crafty/cooking/hippie things and share them. What I saw on television last night made me think that perhaps I need to share it. I am sick. I am appalled. I will not keep quiet.

The gist of the story is that while District Management makes in excess of $400,000 yearly, some employees working for Goodwill make as little as .22 an hour. I know some people who are handicapped and I cannot fathom them being forced to work for so little because it is the only job that they can get.

I have donated to Goodwill. I have shopped at Goodwill. Thinking that I was helping people who otherwise wouldn't be employed. Watch this commercial:, it makes you think that you are doing amazing things for that man's sense of self worth. Instead, he probably makes little to nothing hanging clothing every day.

Please, I implore you, share this on your blogs, your facebook pages, your groups, everywhere. This must change.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Homemade Papusas.... FAIL.

There is this little place tucked into a mostly hispanic neighborhood here in the 'ville that makes the most incredible food.. It's called a papusa. These are wonderful little Salvadorian corn cakes filled with beans and cheese (or other stuff), flattened out and then cooked on a griddle. It is served with a vinegar based slaw and  together, they are my favorite thing in the world to eat.

Out of curiosity one day, I looked them up on Pinterest. If it is possible for a mere mortal to make, they'll be there. And I wasn't disappointed. There weren't an abundance of recipes, but I only needed one, right? Here's the one I found! It sounded REALLY simple. At first I was worried, could the most amazing food on the planet be this easy?? And then I thought about it... It's peasant food, of course it's simple.

I went to work making the most delicious papusas in the history of papusadom. I made refried beans from scratch, grated queso fresco... This, my readers, was going to be the best meal ever. This is what papusas look like...

And this is what mine looked like.....
Nailed it.
I even got Mr. Needlesandpins involved. He's a chef.. which means he can cook ANYTHING... right?
Wrong. The one on the right is his papusa.

So, here's the recipe. I want one, or all, of you to try it. And have success with it. And please, comment and give me your secret.

Recipe from
2 c Maseca (corn masa flour) *look in Latin American grocers
1 1/4 c warm water
soft, white cheese
Mix the ingredients together, for several minutes. It may look dry, but do not add extra water unless it absolutely will not stick together. Too much water, or too little water will both affect the dough and it will not form a ball properly.
You should be able to roll the masa like playdough into balls. Pat your palms together to flatten the balls into disks, like thick tortillas. If the dough is too sticky, add a tiny bit more of flour; if it is to dry, add a drop more of water.
Fill with cheese (or other fillings, beans, meats, etc)! Put the grated cheese in the middle of the dough, and bring up the sides and pinch close. Re-mold the masa into a fat tortilla again, with the cheese in the middle.
First, heat up a non-stick pan: either a cast iron pan, traditional comal, or a griddle. When it is heated and lightly oiled, cook the pupusas until slightly golden, 4-5 minutes per side.

Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Minute Friday... Imagine

Five Minute Friday The subject for today's 5 minute Friday post is imagine. Here are my 5 minutes.


I would have never imagined I would be where I am today. If someone would have told my 21 year old self that I'd be a semi-crunchy mom of two little boys these days I would have laughed at them. I had my life planned, har har. I was going to write or sing or still be waiting tables, perhaps managing. But absolutely NOT a mommy.

I could have never imagined that that the things that would be fulfilling to me are baking bread with the boys or tending our container garden. I couldn't even imagine owning (well, paying on) a home. I could have never imagined meeting a man as wonderful as the one I met and married.

I imagined I would be some sort of dark Dorothy Parker writer.. Or I would have finished college and saved the world.. Or maybe I would have had some dogs.

I am so glad that my life is better than I imagined. More than I ever could have imagined. A more perfect version of anything I could have ever imagined.

I can't even imagine what the future holds. My life has become much smaller in some ways, much larger in others. I love it.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bad Blogger

I'm a bad blogger...

I was going to do the Five Minute Friday post... I was going to blog about my container garden that is starting to produce... And then my Great Aunt, my FAVORITE Great Aunt, had another stroke. So the blogging has fallen to the wayside while I worry. She's a lot to do with the way I am today.

We did manage to hit our local farmer's market this morning and marched against Monsanto today here in Nashville.

I will be back soon. I just haven't felt much like writing the past few days.

I will leave you with an adorable pic of Connor from the march today.