Let me off the grid! A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Built a Greenhouse!

Yep, I did. It's 4' high, 5' wide and 10' long.  And it didn't take too long, either.  It would have taken less time if I'd followed the directions here but of course I had to modify things...

It's made with PVC pipe and plastic sheeting.  Pretty easy IF you know what you're doing, which I did not.  But I figured it out anyway.
I needed to make three of these hoops:
It's a really good idea NOT to knock over the can of primer and get purple gook all over the work area like I did.  Grrr.  It's also a good idea if you're modifying someone else's plans that you need to think things through completely, which I thought I did but obviously did not because when I put everything together, I hadn't reckoned on bracing the longer sides.  I did not take a picture of that small disaster, but trust me, it was not pretty.  Back to Home Depot for another length of pipe and then:
Ta-DA!!! Thank the gods for zip ties.  What a marvelous creation.

Then things got really exciting because the wind kicked up as I was trying to wrestle with the plastic sheeting...
This is as far as I got and then decided to quit because the wind wasn't going to.  The very next day I had at it again, and
Success!  It gets pretty toasty and my seedlings love it.  I bought an inexpensive thermometer to put in there and found I had to open the plastic a bit because it was 90 degrees inside after just a couple of hours!   It's not beautiful to look at, but it IS functional.

I wish I wasn't so dumb about building things. I'm sure it takes me twice as long just because I have no experience.  But I figure I learn something with every project, so perhaps in 10 years I'll be able to zip through stuff like a pro...

This post is linked to Homemade Mondays

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Freezing Cooked Grains

I love grains, but they take so long to cook that I don't make them often. I stopped in at Trader Joe's last week and got to taste their frozen grain side dish.  It was very good, but the package only contained two servings, cost $2.99 and came in a mylar-ish bag that I didn't want to have to throw away.  So, after some internet research, I discovered that you can freeze cooked grains and then either microwave or put them in a pan with a little water and heat and they're as good as freshly cooked.  Why should I pay that much money for so little (plus yucky packaging), when I could make lots myself  for little money and my own reusable packaging?  I stocked my freezer this weekend.  Here's what I did:

First, I cooked several different kinds of grain (separately, because of course they all had different cooking times),  I used barley, brown rice, red rice and red quinoa because that's what I had.
I lightly greased my cupcake pans with coconut oil and packed each cup with the grain mixture.  I pressed it in with the bottom of a measuring cup so the grains would stick together.
Then I put them into the freezer.  Once they were frozen, I flipped the pans over onto a cookie sheet and popped the grain "cakes" out.
Put those little guys into a freezer bag and now I have individual serving sizes that I can pull out and heat whenever I need them. I love finding frugal ways of getting what I want!

This post has been linked to Homemade Mondays

Monday, February 4, 2013

Balsamic Pomegranate Green Beans

I discovered this marvelous recipe on of all places!  We were blessed with green beans from the co-op this weekend and I was so pleased with how quickly this comes together.

Balsamic Pomegranate Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
¼ c. fresh pomegranate seeds
¼ c. crumbled feta cheese
2 T. chopped walnuts

Bring a medium pot of salt water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until bright green and tender, but not soft, about 4-5 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander. Quickly rinse the beans under cold running water and set aside.
Heat the balsamic vinegar in a non-stick sauté pan on medium high heat for 2 minutes.  The sauce should be the consistency of thick syrup. Whisk in the olive oil, and remove the pan from heat.
Transfer the beans from the colander to a large serving tray. Evenly sprinkle the beans with pomegranate seeds, feta cheese and the walnuts.  Drizzle the reduced vinegar all over the beans.  Serve it forth!

This post is linked to: Homemade Mondays

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blessed Imbolc!

Bride's Bed 2013
May 2013 be fertile ground for all our endeavors.

Here is a recipe I like to make on Imbolc mornings (in fact, they are in the oven this moment):

The Best Scones (from the book Candlemas by Amber K)

2 c flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
1/4 c butter
3/4 c milk
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Mix in milk and eggs. On floured board, pat into a 1" thick circle and transfer to a baking sheet. (Or, if you're lazy like me, because it's too much of a hassle to drag out the bread board from the bottom of the cupboard, sprinkle flour on top of the dough and on your hands, scoop the dough out in one big mass and flip the floured side onto the baking sheet.  Gently pat it into the circle with floured hands.  There.  Wasn't that easier?  And you don't have to clean up the bread board or mess with trying to move a big circle of pliable dough.) Cut into 8 wedges but don't separate. Bake 25 minutes. Serve with butter, jam and clotted cream.

Later today? Candlemaking. Have a wonderful day!