Bizz & BooBoo

A hippie mama doing her best!

GRUB this week – and what I’ve been doing with it! August 31, 2011

Filed under: Food,Gardening — bizzandbooboo @ 7:00 am
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Yesterday was our bi-weekly GRUB CSA share pick up day! WooHoo!

Bizz and I headed out to the farm after his martial arts class while BooBoo stayed home with Daddy! Bizz went directly to the trampoline and proceeded to joyfully bounce while I leisurely picked out all of the amazing looking veggies for the week!

We received corn, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions, squash, a melon and more! Plus as many cherry tomatoes as we could pick! I loaded up on the cherry tomatoes this week since it was a little easier to pick with BooBoo at home and Bizz on the trampoline!

 There are several different varieties of the cherry tomatoes and I made sure to get some of each!

Besides the obvious things we have been doing to enjoy our bi-weekly CSA bounty (popping cherry tomatoes as snacks, big bold cucumber/lettuce salads, fried squash and onions & garlic in everything) I thought I would share with you some of the things I am doing with the rest of it.

Last week I made amazing fries with the Bintje Yellow Potatoes (Check out this cool page I found on potatoes from The Cook’s Thesaurus)! Just chopped them up, coated with coconut oil and salt then baked. They were a big hit with everyone! And super easy to make!

    

I also had no idea what to do with all the eggplants we were getting, but I found a recipe for eggplant parmesan and made it one night – it was a huge hit. Now there are three of them in the freezer ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice!

 

The recipe and a post on making this along with how to make your own breadcrumbs will be forthcoming!

And with the bounty of peppers I cut a good portion of them up and froze them! I store them in an old yogurt container and I love to have them available to throw in when I am frying up some meat or potatoes or practically anything. I love the little hint of taste that peppers can give – and the smell alone while they are cooking is enough for me 🙂

  

This beautiful flower was growing among the cherry tomatoes at GRUB – I couldn’t resist capturing it with my camera, though I have no idea what it is!

**update – I’ve been informed it is a Clover Bloom – love it!!

~Jesse

This post was shared on Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bite Fridays on 9/2/2011!

Don’t forget – the Greenfeet Organic Produce & Nut Wash giveaway ends tonight at 11:59 PST – get your entries in!!!

 

What do YOU want? August 30, 2011

Filed under: About Me — bizzandbooboo @ 11:21 am
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Hi!

Once again I was a little slow putting together a post for today! Have lots of pictures and posts brewing for:

  • How to make homemade chicken stock
  • Eggplant Parmesan
  • ECK sandwich
  • Garden Update
  • What to do about a fall garden
  • Chico Gleaning Team
  • Things I love to hear my children say… continued
  • How to live frugally… and still have fun
  • Homemade Bread Crumbs
  • More giveaways and reviews (hopefully)
  • and so many more…

BUT….. I wanted to know what YOU would love to see on the blog! I honestly have been blown away by the wonderful comments from friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers to my blog.

I have received several messages from old and new friends saying that they have been inspired by my posts to eat healthier, or to preserve more food…

I was introduced to someone the other day as a person who writes a great blog…

I have gotten messages asking for advice on how to set up a blog because friends have been inspired to start their own!

THANK YOU… To each and every one of you who has read my blog and who has let me know what it means to you. I have always been a person who truly wants to make a difference in the world. Often, I feel that I don’t know how to do that. But it makes my heart swell that this new venture of mine is making a positive impact on people!

Now, I just need to figure out how to make some money on it and make it my job 🙂 Or continue to learn how to live more frugally so I can be a stay at home Mom for my children and make a difference by doing things I love.

So keep your comments coming – YOU inspire me.

Subscribe via email (right side bar), like my facebook page, follow me on twitter, or just read when you have a chance! Whichever it is, I appreciate it and hope one of my posts inspires you someday!

And don’t forget – let me know what you want to hear about!!

Enjoy the last few days of August!!

~Jesse

 

Homemade Refried Beans…. they really are easy! August 29, 2011

Filed under: Food,Recipes — bizzandbooboo @ 7:00 am
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In my constant quest to make as much as possible from scratch and feed my family the best foods I can I decided to make some homemade refried beans.

They are one of the easiest dishes I have made! You must plan ahead because it takes a few days to soak, cook, mash, cook and have ready to eat. But it is very little hands on work.

The first thing I did was search online to get some ideas on how to make homemade refried beans, I had no idea. I found several different ways – but the one I went off of was this one from Health, Home & Happiness! I’ve been following this blog for awhile and have seen lots of great recipes and ideas, but this is the first I have tried!

First I put about 4 cups of dried pinto beans into my crock pot (did not turn on) and covered with water – then let these soak overnight.

Wow, I did not realize how much the beans would grow – *almost* overflowed my crock and had an oops….

Why should you soak your beans, why not just buy canned beans, and why eat beans at all? Here is some info from page 495 in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (I highly recommend this book as a starting point if you are trying to convert to eating “real” food):

“Legumes are rich in minerals and B vitamins. Recent research indicates that legumes contain several anticancer agents.

Such care in preparation [soaking of beans for long periods of time] ensures that legumes will be thoroughly digestible and all the nutrients they provide well assimilated, because such careful preparation neutralizes phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and breaks down difficult to digest complex sugars.

What about canned beans? …the danger is that such processing [high temps and pressures] overdenatures proteins and other nutrients at the same time. Canned beans are best eaten sparingly.”

Once I soaked the beans and saw how much they grew I took about 1/4 of them out and put in the fridge to cook later, really didn’t want to overflow my crockpot when they were cooking!

I rinsed the beans very well in a large strainer and placed them back in the crockpot covered in water on the low setting.

Then they cooked overnight…… This is what the beans looked like in the morning!

Next I strained the beans and placed them back in the crockpot to mash. I used my potato masher and a wooden spoon! At this point I also added half an onion that I diced into small piece, sea salt, and a generous amount of homemade chicken broth. As mentioned in the original recipe I went off – my chicken broth has a lot of fat on the top that I do not skim off, so that is the fat we used. My hubby doesn’t eat pork so lard was not an option, and I didn’t have access to any duck fat 🙂

I let the mashed beans cook for about another 4-5 hrs on low heat and they were done!

We enjoyed a portion of them with homemade chicken enchiladas that night and heated them up for tacos and breakfast burritos the next two days.

The rest I put in mason jars in portion sizes we would use for one meal and froze!

 

Next time I make them I will make a few changes. I will add some peppers and other spices along with the onion to give them more flavor! As with anything it will be a constantly changing recipe…. but it is a good base to start with!

**This post was shared on the Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesday Blog Hop!

*Also shared on The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday 9/1!

~Jesse

**Don’t forget to enter to win your own container of the brand new Chico Organic Produce & Nut Wash from Greenfeet Homestore. Giveaway ends 8/31 – very low entries right now!

 

Giveaways 8/27! August 27, 2011

Here is the weekly giveaway links post!

Don’t forget – One of my first giveaways for 250 Personalized Stickers from UPrinting ends tomorrow at 11:59pm PST – there are under 10 entries right now which means you have a very HIGH probability of winning if you enter. Go do it here NOW – make a comment – have fun!!

Let me know if you win anything, it will make me smile 🙂

Ends today:

Naked Binder $40 School Supplies – Sweeps4Bloggers

Wisharoo Park Duckle Dance $100 Prize Package – Sweeps4Bloggers

Ends this week or later:

If You Care Baking Set – Your World Healthy & Natural – ends 8/30

DaGeDar Toy Giveaway – Busy Mommy Media – ends 8/30

Pretend & Play Ice Cream Shop – Busy Mommy Media – ends 8/31

EO Shampoo & Conditioner – Your World Healthy & Natural – ends 9/2

PlasmaCar – Being Frugal & Making it Work – ends 9/13

As always good luck, it is just too much fun to win stuff 🙂

Also,

The Busy Women’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood Turns 2 in September! Help her celebrate with “A Giveaway Every Day”! During the HUGE REVIEW & GIVEAWAY EVENT You could win $25 in PayPal Cash, A Rock N Learn DVD Collection, The Infiniti Pro by Conair™ Spin Air Brush and a ton of other prizes!! Be sure to check in starting September 1 for your chance to WIN!!!

~Jesse

PS – Vote for me through Picket Fence Blogs by clicking the “We’re on the Fence” button to your left! This will help get my blog out to more people! Thanks!!

Disclosure statement: Most of these giveaways I post about I am able to gain extra entries in return to increase my chances of winning. All opinions and the decision to share the links are my own!

 

Thankful Thursday! August 25, 2011

Filed under: About Me — bizzandbooboo @ 8:15 am
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Last night, after I wrote my Putting up Peaches post it was already too late and I should have been in bed. I finished up the final touches and previewed it, only to find that more than half of the post had mysteriously disappeared. No idea what happened. Got it up and finished again…. but lacked enough sleep last night 🙂

It is already too late again tonight as I get ready to schedule this and I need to get some sleep….. so my post will be simple.

But important.

I am thankful….

I am thankful for a husband who gives me a kiss each day and still tells me I am beautiful after over 10 years together…

I am thankful for our energetic baby boy little man. Who just the other day sat on my lap with his little sister and said to me“Mom, this is the life.”

I am thankful for our playful baby girl, who is still my baby!

And for so much more…. What are you thankful for today?

~Jesse

This post was shared on my Gather Page!

 

Putting up Peaches August 24, 2011

This post was shared on Real Food Whole Health: Fresh Bites Friday on 8/26/2011!

I was lucky enough to hear about a great deal on a lug (about 22 lbs) of heirloom Fay Elberta Peaches from the local and wonderful Chaffin Family Orchards. I love the idea (along with the taste and beauty) of heirloom produce. A quick search about Fay Alberta heirloom peaches brought me to this info from LocalHarvest.org:

The Fay Elberta is a yellow-fleshed freestone peach. The skin is fuzzy and yellow with a red blush. The peach is firm with a fine texture, and has a spicy aroma and a rich, distinctive flavor. It ripens in early August. The Fay Elberta is a rare find in California’s stone fruit regions, and is currently a threatened variety. Fortunately, several farms throughout the state offer either nursery stock or fresh fruit itself, making the Fay Elberta an accessible and delicious crop.

So I preordered my lug and picked it up first thing at the Saturday Downtown Farmer’s Market!

 
Now I had about 22 lbs of peaches and needed to figure out what to do with them – QUICK – cause they were ripe! Well, a bunch were cut up and eaten gobbled up by Bizz & BooBoo. I debated making jam, but honestly I don’t love peach jam and was afraid it wouldn’t get used and enjoyed. So I decided to dehydrate and freeze them.
I used a very sharp knife since the peaches were quite ripe so as not to crush them when cutting. Started by just slicing them in rounds or in half and then slices and layering on the dehydrator racks.
 
I read a few places to treat the peaches with acid (lemon juice, etc) to maintain color. I didn’t worry about this. I don’t mind if my fruit discolors as it does not affect the taste! Wasn’t sure how long it would take and I knew I had peaches of varying thickness so I just checked and rotated my trays pretty often.
The majority of the peaches took between 5-8 hrs to dry. I did burn one tray worth that I apparently cut too thin… Oops!
Here are the peaches after a few hours of drying:
And here is a batch that was done drying:
I had as many peaches as I could drying in the dehydrator so time to get to the freezing for making smoothies! I love a smoothie with some peach flavor! I cut the peaches into chunks that I figured I would use in a smoothie and placed them on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper to freeze. They were in no way uniform, just whatever worked!
While the peaches were freezing, supposed to take a minimum of 2 hours (they ended up on the cookie sheet in the freezer overnight!) I decided to make a peach smoothie! And I used one of the awesome new glass straws that I won in a blog giveaway from A Delicious Obsession and Glass Dharma!! It was delicious.
This is how the peaches looked once they were frozen and ready to go into the freezer for long-term storage:
 
At this point I was pretty tired of slicing peaches – so I left the rest and we took off for an afternoon picnic and fishing along Deer Creek.
 
Important note – Fresh, ripe peaches start to go bad very quickly. The peaches I had left I didn’t have room to refrigerate so they sat out in room temp for a couple of days and started to go bad pretty quick. Next time I get a large quantity of produce I will make SURE I set aside the time to get them ALL put up!
Thanks to Kaylin for helping me get the last few cut up and frozen – and at least my worms in the compost bin had en extra tasty treat 🙂
~Jesse
PS – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY AMAZING AND WONDERFUL SISTER TODAY! Love you Amy Jo!!
 

Classic Strawberry Jam… Mmmm August 23, 2011

Filed under: Canning,Food,Preserving — bizzandbooboo @ 8:15 am
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This stuff is delicious, but of course it is because it has a lot of sugar in it. Well sometimes, I guess we just have to have some sugar 🙂

My first few jams that I have made so far this summer I have been concentrating on doing either low or no sugar recipes because I have been transitioning all of our food into low or no sugar foods over the past year.

Well, I felt like I just wanted to make a classic sugary jam with no pectin and I had a bunch of strawberries sitting in my fridge – so I got to it!

I used the Classic Strawberry Jam recipe from my “Put Em Up” Canning Book!

First step was to put 8 cups of hulled strawberries with 2 cups or sugar and let sit overnight! My strawberries are from the strawberry stand off of Hwy 99 and Meridian – they are local and use organic and sustainable farming practices – Yay! And since I was going to use sugar I did use Organic sugar, was tempted to try it with Rapadura, but wasn’t sure how it would work so tried this time with regular sugar, next time I’ll do a little experimenting 🙂

 

Now I put all of the strawberries in my saucepan and started stirring every so often and mashing along the way until it came to a boil!

*Note – I already had my pot for jars almost to a boil and my hot water bath pot turned on and heating up. Must always get these ready or you will have your food ready to ladle in hot jars and process – but no jars or boiling water to do it 🙂

Once the berries came to a boil I added the lemon juice. Now is the tricky (or not so much) part. Since I am not using pectin in this classic recipe the strawberries need to boil until they reach the gel point.

What the heck does that mean??

Apparently there are several ways to test this (this was all new to me!)

  • The gel point should be approximately 220 degrees
  • The boil will change from a quick boil with little bubbles to a lazy boil with bigger bubbles
  • The freeze test – put a plate in the freezer ahead of time and when ready to test drop a bit on the plate, then move it with your finger. If it is runny it’s not ready yet, if it wrinkles it is….
  • There was another way to tell to, but I forget what it was….

The berries has been boiling awhile but I didn’t think they were quite ready. I don’t have a candy thermometer because my last one got ruined somehow, I’ve never been good with them. But I remember reading a Hip Girl trick just last week about using a meat thermometer and figured I would give it a try!

It only went up to about 170 before my hand got too hot to hold it, will use a hot pad next time (or get a clothespin like in the Hip Trick!) But regardless, I could tell I had a ways to go!!

I was able to get all of this done while sweet BooBoo napped (she is still such a wonderful napper at 18 months I am so lucky). And awesome Bizz has been getting really inventive in building and playing on his own a lot lately – this is what he was doing for a good while during my jam making!

Okay – time to check the jam again! I had placed a plate in the freezer earlier. The first time I did the freezer plate test (when I also checked the temp) it was definetly runny (pic on left), the next time it looked like the jam was ready to me (pic on right!)

 

Jars are ready to ladle the jam into (I need to get a better ladle by the way! Don’t want to waste a precious drop of jam in between the saucepan and jars when all this love and elbow grease goes into it!). It looks and smells so good. I wish I could take a “smell” of it and post it on here like I do a picture!

Mmmm.. delicious! I better get some more strawberries and make more, this is gonna go fast! Next time I am going to try the vanilla bean variation – I bet the smell will be absolutely divine then!

~Jesse

BooBoo woke up just in time… now I’m going to go play….