Bizz & BooBoo

A hippie mama doing her best!

Thankful Thursday – 9/8/2011! September 8, 2011

Filed under: About Me — bizzandbooboo @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I so enjoyed writing my Thankful Thursday post two weeks ago that I decided to continue the (new found) tradition!

I am thankful….

I am thankful to live in a community with easy access to and an abundance of local, organically and sustainably grown and raised foods.

Oranges I helped glean downtown last Saturday Morning!

I am thankful to have a house we can call “home” and a place to create lifetime memories with my family.

Our home when we moved in!

Our home updated the following year!

I am thankful for beautiful flowers – they always make me smile!

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

~Jesse

Similar Posts:

Thankful Thursday!

 

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

Filed under: Food,Gardening — bizzandbooboo @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

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!!!

 

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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….

 

This week’s GRUB! August 17, 2011

Filed under: Food,Gardening — bizzandbooboo @ 8:15 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday afternoon Bizz, BooBoo and I headed out to GRUB to pick up our share of veggies! It is always such a fun adventure. Bizz can never decide if he wants to go on the trampoline, see the vegetables or play with the other kids that might be there first. The whole drive is filled with excited chatter.

When we arrive each week the produce is laid out beautifully under a huge oak tree and we choose our veggies based on the directions on little pieces of chalkboard such as “1 lb yellow wax beans” or “2 eggplant

Beautiful Summer Bounty

The kids have plenty to do:

Bizz playing on the trampoline

They have a whole row of cherry tomatoes just for CSA members to pick from to their heart’s content 🙂

  

And as usual we left with an amazing bounty and such a great connection to where our food comes from!

Have a beautiful day!

~Jesse

This post was shared on Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesdays Blog Hop on 8/30/2011!

 

GRUB CSA Share! August 4, 2011

Filed under: Food — bizzandbooboo @ 7:05 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Every other Tuesday I pick up a produce “share” from the GRUB farm in Chico.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it one of the coolest things ever!

Here are some pictures of the amazing veggies in our share this week:

This is the first time I have ever even seen Okra, it’s pretty neat-o. Now what the heck do I do with it??

Beautiful assortment of cherry tomatoes, big beef slicers, red zebra and some other heirlooms!

And these are the cherry tomatoes that we picked and as I was walking into the house with BooBoo dropped, and then stepped on….. never a dull moment 😉

Bell peppers, jalapenos, and sweet red peppers.

More eggplant parmesan coming up!

And of course plenty of cukes and squash!

Now what to do with all of these amazing items??

One of my favorite things about bring a CSA member is that not only do I get fresh, organic, delicious produce. But, it also forces me out of my comfort zone to try new things and find new recipes to use veggies I would not normally purchase!

Let me know if you have any great tried and true recipes, salads, or ideas of what to make with any of these items!

Happy Summer!

~Jesse