Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years BEP's Recipe and Familial Flare

Okay, I know it's been a while between visits, but this recipe is so worth the wait!  You know how your Grammaw always made black-eyed peas on New Years day and practically force fed you a tablespoon, by the way Grammaw, you are a wonderful Southern cook but I never liked your BEPs.  Love you bunches though!  Well, this dish is so different. It's exciting for me to try something so outrageous, like, well, trying to make black-eyed peas taste good, but I nailed it.  I really nailed this one on the head.
Today, I was thinking about what I really need in the New Year and I thought about my Grammaw who is steeped in superstition because she grew up on a tennant farm in Clover, Virginia, for who knows how many generations, where the folklore is almost gospel truth, no kidding, and you have to eat BEP's on New Years or live a life marred with disappointments, like Cain, wandering through where ever for how ever long.  It's been a while since that Sunday school lesson.
New Year's Blue Moon
Well, what I need is a break! You know, I want to make it on this big blue ball that is hurtling through space at cosmic speeds.  I would really like to be or do something tres extraordaire. Well, I digress. I apologize.  I just want you to know that you can eat your BEPs and enjoy them immensely too.  But, there is a catch for those who have not had the pleasure of tasting my spice mix, bangarang! Oh, I wish I could give you a bottle but sadly, it is for family and friends only as gifts at the moment, until I get the KITCH certified.  I'm praying for a New Years miracle, since it didn't happen at Christmas, that I will miraculously fetch my Virginia Department of such and such paperwork, fill it out completely and finally stick it in the blue box, and so one and so forth.  Then, you will see my spice blend, bangarang! all over the place and it will have a Virginia's Finest sticker on it, because they will love it so much they will want to do the paperwork for me. . .well, that may be a stretch, but a girl can dream right?
Ooh da lol lee, you will love this recipe! Drum roll please!! Da da da da da da da da da da da. . .. bing! bash! crash! ting!

GreenHearts BEPs
GreenHearts BEPs

1 package dried black-eyed peas, cooked to package directions
2 (14 oz) cans of diced tomatoes or 6-8 fresh, diced maters
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/8 cup bangarang! spice blend
2 Tbsp. sugar
and fresh copped cilantro, I like mine in full leaves.

Cook BEP's according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  In a large pot or skillet, heat your oil to medium and cook your garlic and onion until translucent.  Add the BEPs, bangarang, tomatoes and sugar.  Cook while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Stir in a bunch of cilantro leaves and enjoy while warm.
This is me, hahah! Real time!
I bet this would be so good on top of some Stacey's sea salt pita chips, especially if you wanted to pulse this BEP dish a couple of times in a food processor so it's slightly chunky, but easier to apply onto a crisp.  I forked mine down and had seconds, but to each their own. 
Any who, kiss kiss, and may it be your best dish!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gluten-Free Pizza, project: With Love, project: Faith LOVE Hope Chests

Hello All!  We have been baking and eating up a storm at GreenHearts Farms.  I have recommitted myself to making more gluten-free dinners for the entire family instead of making four different meals like I'm a dietitian, even the Hubs likes them too.  Last night I made a ginormous gluten-free, vegan pizza that was AMAZING!  I have tried my hand at making gluten-free pizza crusts so many times just for them to fail, but this one was perfect! I nailed it! I wish I had taken a picture but I may be making them for the farmer's market or special orders selling them as focaccia bread / pizza crust because they will be already baked.  All you do is throw on your toppings and bake your pizza until it is piping hot. How wonderful is that?!

Oh, I wish I had my camera right now because I'm just about to start cutting this huge bolt of flannel into scarves and corn pillows and I wanted to show the process. Oh well.

We are having the weirdest weather in Caroline County today.  I go outside to the garden and begin to pull weeds and then it clouds up and I hear thunder, so I make my way inside to do my rainy day things, like blog, and then I sit down and it is sunny and beautiful again. Yuppppp, wait, now it's dark again.  Weird.

I just want to throw this out there again, I know everyone is tired of me asking, but please, please, please donate your gently used white shirts to project: With Love.  I have tie-dyed everything in this house and it has gone to the shelter, Chris has no more white shirts, nor do I in my closet.  This project is at a stalemate because no one has donated.  I feel like my idea of recycling shirts for the needy was a bad idea.  My mom said something to me, which she wasn't intending for the statement to be applied to me, but I think of it often.  If you think that you are a leader and you have a really good idea and need followers or helpers, donations, whatever, and you look around you and you find yourself standing alone with big ideas and no one to backing you up.  You aren't a leader at all. . .  (insert big sad sigh here)

Also, I want to start another project called: Faith LOVE Hope chests for young ladies.  I made one for my cousin, who I love dearly. She doesn't know it yet because I will be delivering it to her next weekend, but it is a hope chest for young ladies to put away things for their future like dish towels that are cute for her house or a cool platter or picture for their wall.  Young ladies can look forward to the future when they are the managers of their own home and have their own family, and may find a great fountain of happiness in preparing and putting aside things for that special day.  I would like to teach groups of teenage ladies how to be the Proverbial Wife in Proverbs 31.  I think it is important to know what a good wife and mother is and Proverbs 31 just shows us a bit of a check list of things that every girl should know and do for her family.  I never knew that this little gem was in the bible till recently.  It was one of the readings at my Grandmother Woellner's funeral last year (my mother read it to the congregation at the memorial for Grandmother) and I told Pastor Randy that I had never read it before.  He was a bit shocked, seeing that he married me to my husband over 5 years ago.  Ever since that day I have held that life altering scripture to my heart and it spurs me on to do my best at market, in the home, with the needy, you know, it has shaped out my life to be one of deep satisfaction.  Go give it a glance and tell me what you think.
Oh yes, so my point was, if you have a chest or trunk that you are not using, you can donate it to us and I refurbish the whole thing with paint, cloth, ribbon, hardware, poly, and a big cross, heart and anchor on the top with many coats of poly over the symbols representing faith, LOVE and hope.
Your Friend,


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

yum yum greens

I made an extraordinary discovery in the kitchen today! I made this green concoction that I served on Ezekial bread and it was so fresh and my taste buds where totally alive with it!  I have to type it down before other things like diapers, or soybeans come into my brain and the green goodness leaves without a trace.

Green Goodness:

3 cups of spinach
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
8 red grapes
juice of 2-3 lemon wedges
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
extra sliced red pepper for dressing it up and herbs

Process in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Spoon it over Ezekiel bread and enjoy. It is like experiencing a ripe peach for the first time.  Oh so heavenly. 

We are tidying up on the farm this week.  Pulling weeds here, planting there, making sure we are in tip-top shape for inspection because we are to have the great pleasure of having our family over for a visit!  So, we will be in a fine frenzy until Sunday at GreenHearts Farm.  Where am I going to find the time for all of the cooking, cleaning, farmer's markets, school, sewing, canning and other shenanigans!  Oh to be young and have limitless amounts of energy . . .hehe.

I'm going to soak a couple tablespoons of flaxseed so it can come alive again by morning so I can make a banana-flaxseed smoothies or banana pancakes.  What's that jingle again--the best part of waking up is flaxseed in a cup---sounds about right.

Here's the recipe for the banana pancakes:

1 rip banana, mashed
2 Tbsp. golden flaxseed, soaked overnight and rinsed
cinnamon and nutmeg

Process in a food processor or blender till smooth.  Flatten on a plate.  Set plate outside in the sun for 2 hours and then enjoy.  This is what I have for second breakfast because I must be part hobbit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

in the kitch

Hello all!  I am so excited to share with you a few things that I have been up to lately on the farm.  I made a batch of the most fantastic hot pepper jelly using all local fruits and veggies over the weekend.  It goes very well with cheese, meat or tofu, but my favorite way to serve it is on top a block of cream cheese with water crackers.  That has always been a crowd pleaser in my home.  If you like hot, sweet and tangy, you'll love my hot pepper jelly.  That sounds kind of catchy.

Lately, I have been making these cute little reusable bags out of recycled vinyl.  They are big enough to put a sandwich in or carry apple slices for you or your child.  You just use, rinse, and reuse.  They are double lined in vinyl for an easy clean and secured with velcro.  No more buying snack bags for this girl! My son has the most incredible lunch box with his recycled CARS snack bags.  How cool is that?

Right now I have applesauce processing in a hot water bath and I am about to give you the recipe for the raw spaghetti dinner that I made last night.  The hubs, Chris, overstuffed himself at lunch at my parents house so he wanted a light dinner so I made this little gem:

Squash or Zucchini

Zest your squash and/or zucchini in 4 inch strips into a large bowl.  When you have zested your desired amount, add a little olive oil and sea salt or garlic salt. Set to the side.

6 large tomatoes
5 sun dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 cup golden raisins or other dried fruit
1 tsp. sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. 

Place the desired amount of veggie spaghetti in bowls and pour your sauce over.  Enjoy!

You can also make a pesto instead of sauce.

1 bunch parsley
2 bunches basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Process until smooth.

I have two minutes left on this batch of applesauce so I will sign off for now. 

Peas Love and Tie-Dye!

Friday, September 24, 2010

going the distance

I had so much fun at the Whole Foods farmer's market in Short Pump yesterday.  Some of my family stopped by, Betty and Sarah, which I couldn't have been more excited about!  Thank you to you both for supporting our endeavors.  Words cannot express my deep appreciation towards you.  I will be making custom shirts for you both, I'm thinking tie-dyed polo shirts, for you to wear with pride.  I know I love a tie-dyed polo shirt. It's hip and classy!

I want to throw a shout out to my friend Anna. Hi Anna! annaB is an allergen free baker and she is just delightful and sharp as a tack! Thank you so very much for making your delicious wholegrain gluten-free/casein free bread and sugar cookies for Pelham.  They are oh so yummy and totally nutritious.  I hope you enjoy your edamame from GreenHearts Farm.  It's a labor of love picking those little suckers, but my soybean dip is so worth it!  Thank you for making each market fun! I will miss annaB's gluten-free at the Ashland farmer's market but I'm glad to know you and know where to find you when we need our bread and cookie fix, hahah!

I have been so busy lately making loads of fall inspired shirts, reusable bags, picking soybeans (which I will have to do again as soon as the sun comes up), taking care of my children and husband, cleaning and cooking. Whew, I'm tired from just typing all of that! hahah.  But, I'm take time aside and trying to eat even more healthy than I have been lately.

I think I had a real wake-up call yesterday when I got Pelham his favorite french fries at McDonald's after a good report from pre-school. I was so heartily embarrassed because we try and consume mostly local foods and here I was in line buying my son a "treat" which is more toxic than I realize.  I wanted to slip out of line when I realized my folly, but I was blocked in by a big truck belonging to another lady whose child is in the same pre-school class as my son.  My car is a poster for Locavore, and yet here we were. I feel rotten for doing it but my mistake has inspired me to do better and be more mindful of our food choices. I just can't imagine a childhood without delicious, fun food.  Well, I will just have to make it for  him using fresh ingredients and traditional methods.  But, I did get him something fun lately.  I bought lollipop molds for me to make dye-free, organic fruit and veggie suckers using real cane sugar.  I will have those for sale as soon as I perfect my method.  Which I'm so excited for.  I can't wait to make pumpkin praline or wassail flavored for us adults!  I should have them for sale by Halloween.  Wouldn't it be nice to hand out organic lollipops to kids? You just gotta have fun food when you are young.

I met a woman who inspired me to eat healthier at Whole Foods last night.  GreenHearts was there and she was the table beside me and boy was she a fascinating woman in her 70's who feels great, looks great and eats a raw, plant based diet. You go girl!  So, thanks to you, I have raw almonds in my window soaking so I can make fresh almond milk this morning.  I'm going to save the pulp to have almond butter later with a banana (not local but of so delicious).  I can't imagine a world without bananas and avocados.  I eat one or two a day of each!

Now, it's time to break out my sewing machine and make some reusable snack bags from recycled tablecloths!  I've never done it before so wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

farming family

Hello to all of my fellow friends who are green at heart.  Today, at GreenHearts Farm, we had loads of fun with my birthday gift, a refurbished sewing machine!  I have been employed in the creative task of making bio bags for my soybeans.  I recently decided that I was not going to buy anymore bags, paper or plastic, and that I was determined to sew my own.  I have had so much fun in my new endeavor.  I went to Walmart and bought 2 yards of the cheapest white cotton cloth, that is so threadbare it is almost see-through (perfect for veggies and fruits at market).  I took a piece of regular paper and made it my template for tracing. Then, I cut and sewed the fabric and applied ribbon and my logo.  They are super-fun!

We also tie-dyed a batch of shirts and aprons in blue and yellow today for the Short Pump Whole Foods market and we are waiting for them to dry to do the finishing touches.  We have a new addition to the tie-dye family, a sweet little onesie with longsleeves for 12 month babies.  I can not wait to put Kemp Kemp in one.  He will look so hippie, handsome. A mommas dream come true.  By the way, not all of my keys are working on this keyboard which can be frustrating, I mean no apostrophes, what is that about! I feel like I am writing an MLA paper for English 101, hahah.

I also made a batch of wassail pear butter which is totally yummy and has been slow cooking in the crockpot all day.  I went to a ladies house yesterday who said I could pick her pears, which were so high, I could only reach the bottom branches.  There are so many more pears to be had for taller people or those with ladders.  so I picked yesterday with the boys and peeled, sugared and spiced this morning.  My favorite flavor in the make up of the butter is the orange zest and the fresh squeezed orange.  It reminds me of Christmas morning and clementines in my stocking. That is one of my favorite Christmas morning family traditions, besides going to Grandma Mills for breakfast.  I love sugar gravy! aka strawberry freezer jam.

We made something that was so scumptious for dinner using hollowed out yellow squash. I will, hopefully, post the recipe for all that love squash.  A lady told me about it at market on Saturday and I had to replicate it to the best of my ability of her desciption of her grandmothers squash dish from when she was a little girl in England.  I love nostalgic people.

The hubs brought me a couple of barrels off the big farm to make rain catchers this evening.  Nothing says I love you like a rain barrel. He just got off a combine only to eat and now he is outside working on our homemade greenhouse. Gosh, I love that guy to pieces. So now, it is time to clean up in order to sit around and watch a family movie. I checked out Snow Dogs from the library for the boys.  It promises to be a few laughs.