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Archive for November, 2010

Every now and then, I find myself making vegetables the same way I always do without even thinking to try new recipes or methods of cooking. I’m partial to steamed vegetables that are still slightly crisp, no soggy boiled veggies here. There are times however, when steamed just seems boring. Since it’s in season, I got a lovely head of cauliflower at the local market and was trying to figure out what to do with it. I considered some cream of cauliflower soup, and I thought about just steaming it for a side as usual. Then I remembered the roasted cauliflower that I made last year and knew exactly what I was going to do. Roasted cauliflower is superb, as with most vegetables, roasting bring out the natural sweetness and a kind of nuttiness.


ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and broken into florets
olive oil or ghee
salt, freshly ground pepper
toppings of choice: red pepper flakes, garlic, parmesan cheese etc.

Heat oven to 400. Break cauliflower into florets and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil or ghee and sprinkle with salt & pepper. If desired add some minced garlic (I prefer using garlic infused olive oil in this case). Stir cauliflower to make sure it’s coated with oil and spices. Place in top third of oven for 20-30 minutes. Check at 15 minutes and stir. Remove from oven when it has reached desired level of doneness for your family (I roasted mine for 30 min). If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, or whatever cheese you like, or no cheese. The options for finishing can be adjusted to your family’s tastes or the meal you’re eating. Personally I enjoy with just salt & pepper. But roasted red pepper flakes and cheese sound wonderful.

What’s your favorite in season side dish right now?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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How to Decompress

Sometimes life just seems to be overwhelming.  Thoughts and lists and dreams just seem to bounce around my brain like the little silver ball in a pinball game.

There are a few ways that I can use to decompress and relax a bit.  I can take a long hot shower, find a quiet corner with a cup of tea, or sew.  But the best way I have found it to take a long walk outside with or without the kids but always with my camera!

Sitting under an old maple tree in its full autumn glory will definitely put life into a better perspective.

This old tree does not worry about the dishes or schedules or doctor’s appointments.  No, it just is

Sometimes it is good to just…be.  To just appreciate the simple things in my life.

Like chickens…

Fading roses…

And leaves taking flight!

The laundry will still be waiting for me when I return.

But I will be able to do it with a more cheerful heart…after all having laundry means my family has clothes, and the dishes mean we have food.  The doctors appointments mean healthcare if available to my loved ones.

It is amazing what a little time in nature will do for one’s attitude!

So what do you do to decompress?

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!

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november collage

So many of us are working our way toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. With that in mind we here at NDiN wanted to share some general guidelines of what to plan for on a monthly basis. Whether you’re a gardener, a beekeeper, a forager, or you keep animals, hopefully our monthly guides will help you plan ahead for the month. Depending on your exact climate you may find you need to adjust your schedule plus or minus two weeks or more.

  

Although many of the outdoor chores are completed for the year, it’s not time to slow down. Gardeners are beginning to dream up next year’s spring and summer crops and for most of us there’s always leaves to take care of. For some of us there’s even a bit of snow. As we get closer to the holiday season it’s easy to become consumed with gatherings and preparations, but it’s important to remember those seasonal aspects of every day life. Keeping ahead of the weather, taking care of outdoor animals, cooking with seasonal foods, and staying warm are key this month.

Indoors:

  • If you store foods like squash, potatoes, and carrots for winter use be sure that you rotate for freshness. Also be sure to occasionally check for any spoiling or critter damage.
  • If  you haven’t already done so, be sure to check the batteries in your fire detectors.
  • Check garage door for air leaks if  you have an insulated unit. Also check household windows for any drafts. Catching these now can save you lots of money over the winter.
  • If possible, set up a “craft/wrapping area” out of immediate view for holiday activities, possibly in a separate room. This should help keep clutter down in main areas of the house helping to keep it tidy and help reduce holiday stress.

 Outdoors:

  •  Trim any trees now that most of the energy has gone to the root systems of most plants. It’s also not too late to plant some trees so long as your ground is not frozen. Fruit canes can also be cut back depending on the variety.
  • When outdoor gardening chores finally slow down, clean, sharpen, oil, and put up all tools for the winter.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Make sure all hoses and water barrels have been drained and put up until spring.

 Garden:

  • Clean up rotting plant materials to help keep your gardens healthy. Decomposition is great, rotting is not.
  • Till chopped leaves directly into garden beds where they’ll stay warmer and decompose faster over the winter.
  • Garlic and other bulbs like tulips can still be planted in zones with milder winters.

 Animal Husbandry:

  • Keep barns and other animal shelters clean to help prevent illness and discourage wild critters from nesting. Change hay often, keep tools cleaned up, and be sure to keep water free of ice.
  • If you keep an area warm for animals occasionally check for fire hazards. Examine wiring on extension cords, heat lamps, and portable heaters. Keep bedding away from heat units and keep a fire extinguisher inside larger buildings.
  • It may not be too late to have sheep and goats mated in your area.
  • Cold weather days are best for slaughter and processing. Keep an eye on weather and plan accordingly.
  • Put a light out for an extra two hours in the evening for your chickens. It will help keep their coop warm on colder evenings and promote more egg laying.

 Wildlife:

  • Most animals are starting their winter cycles, including hibernation and building up of nests. You can assist your neighborhood critters with a few little tricks. Continue to feed birds; make your own suet cakes for freezing weather to help fuel up birds; offer some peanuts and corn to squirrels; leave a few piles of leaves or stones or a piece of corrugated metal for frogs and lizards to burrow in; set out water for all animals and keep it free of ice.

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Making Mulch

Leaves make the best all natural mulch for flowerbeds and your edible garden beds. The worms love it and it does a wonderful job of keeping weeds at bay and it does wonders to help retain moisture. Leaves also help improve the soil over the long term as the worms turn them into the soil. The best part is that they’re FREE! I’m lucky that our gardens are surrounded by giant trees so I have leaves in abundance, but we also collect leaves from our neighborhood leaf drop off center as I don’t think you can ever have too many!

I prefer to chop the leaves up with a mower as this makes a better mulch. I find that they don’t get matted down and slimy in the spring when you do this. Adding some green material also helps the mulch break down faster and I have found that it helps insulate my garden better since the two mixed together seem to provide a little extra heat.

I often spread a 3-6 inch layer of mixed leaves and green material on all my garden beds in the fall. In the spring I leave it on some garden beds, mainly the ornamental ones as it helps prevent weeds from germinating. I usually mix them into the soil in my edible beds when I’m getting ready to plant.

Do you use leaves in your garden? What do you like using for mulch?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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Flu Shot?

As most of you know my mom is fighting breast cancer.  One of the first things her oncologist had her do before she started her chemotherapy was to go and get her flu shot.

Which of course started me thinking about this very shot.

There is so much conflicting data over the effectiveness and side effects of the flu vaccine that one cannot help but be confused.

This year’s shot is especially troublesome to me as it is a trivalent shot that included the H1N1 Vaccine, influenza A and influenza B.

I am a firm believer in staying as healthy as possible to keep my immune system in good shape to help my body fight off seasonal bugs…yet as my mom’s caretaker this year I am weighing my options.

I want to start a discussion with this post…I want to learn more about this before I decide.

Here are some links I have found about the flu shots

Against

Dr. Mercola with ‘proof’ as to why the flu shot does not work

Doctor recommends vitamin D instead of flu shot

For

CDC a video on children lost to the flu (warning, tear jerker)

Flu.gov the government’s flu website

*****

Do you get the flu shot?  If so why.  If not, why not.

If you have any blog posts or links please feel free to share them.

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