Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recently No. 3

This Guy and this article brings tears to my eyes. I'm so happy to call Burb's a friend. We are all so proud of you man!

Do you realize that this is my 400th post. I mean 400 is a lot of posting. It's kind of an accomplishment.

For some more woman fueled inspiration.

Oh and:
Rothblatt created this awesome/terrifying robot, and all people want to talk about is her gender? - Best quote ever from this article. I mean seriously I would give anything to spend an afternoon with Martine. 

I started learning about essential oils. Not only buying my first set, but picking up some reading material too. So far so good. The headaches are at bay, and the sleeping is so much better. Chuck May or may not be convinced they are the cause of some of his headaches, but we are working on that.

I got in touch with some friends I hadn't seen in a while for some much needed chats. It was reviving.

September was the month of weddings. Kicked off by my future brother & sister in law over labor day weekend.

It was also the month of tomatoes. So.Many.Tomatoes.

Keeping this in mind while I plan a fall detox.

Apple Picking is a highlight for me every year, and since then I have been on an apple recipes binge. If your interested in everything apple check out some of my past recipes (Chicken w/ Apples & Fennel, Apple Pork Chops, Engagement Tart, Crockpot Clean Applesauce, Apple Spice Meatballs, & Vermonter Panini)

This Idea. WOW

Vegans talking about ex-Vegans - The concept doesnt just apply to vegans.

10 most important things to simplify your life.

And while we are on the topic, I will be doing alot of cleaning this weekend so here 5 Questions to ask yourself while Decluttering

Yoga might have to start happening more often. These poses are a good start.

I relaunched my old recipe page. Replacing my pinterest boards It's the best I can do now, but someday I would like to use pictures as well instead of just titles. That is a lot of coding with blogger though, so it's a ways down the road.

This is the best blogging advice I've seen in a loooong time.

I also launched a newsletter, that you should totally sign up for. There will be no spam, I promise. Just a once a month update that includes the tops posts from the past month as well as anything written by me elsewhere on the net and any big news I have for you. It's totally worth it. Just sign up already!

And because we haven't talked music in a while, and I'm totally obsessed with song right now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Campfire Maple Chipotle Pork & Beans

So I may or may not have mentioned this recipe before. What I haven’t told you is that I have made it before, more than once, and this my friends was by far the best version I have ever made. The original recipe can be found here. Man Barry knows where it’s at when we are talking maple and chipotle. I am however convinced that the smoky campfire flavor that gets added in when you cook it over a fire adds something that just sends it over the top, over the moon in fact.

I probably could have eaten the entire thing myself, had it not been for our other camping pals who were standing around hungrily with their collapsible silverware. I think it was well received since it had cooled off quite a bit and we sat huddled around the fire. There was just enough spice to warm us up heart and soul so we could make it through the final wet and rainy night at our camp ground. Chuck even said it was his favorite version yet.

Seriously give it a try.

Campfire Maple Chipotle Pork & Beans (Serves 4-6)
2 lbs lean pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp black pepper
1.2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chipotle powder
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ lb apple smoked Bacon, diced
1 large onion, peeled & diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup beer (or water)
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup maple syrup
3 large bay leaves
1 (**OZ) can pureed tomatoes
2 (**oz ) Cans navy beans, drained & rinsed

In a large bowl (or ziplock bag) combine black pepper, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and brown sugar, stirring well to combine. Add pork and toss to coat. In a large Dutch oven sauté bacon over medium heat until it is crispy. Drain the grease and add butter and onion to the pan. Cook the onion until it begins to turn translucent 2-3 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook for an additional minute before adding the cubed pork. Once the pork is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes add in the beer, chipotle powder, salt, vinegar, thyme, syrup and bay leaves. Allow the mixture to simmer and the liquid to reduce  to about ½ before adding in the pureed tomatoes and beans. Stir well to combine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before serving.

Camping tip 1: Prep everything ahead of time, combining the pork with its spices in a ziplock bag, and the chipotle powder, salt, vinegar, thyme, syrup and bay leaves in a reusable container to be added at once. It also helps to drain and rinse the beans then place them in a container as well. This all helps cut down on the waist while you are camping and the amount of stuff you have to bring/remember.

Camping tip 2: Get a large fire burning for a few hours until you have a strong bed of coals. Place your cast iron dutch oven right over the coals and place some smaller pieces of wood around the edges to keep burning. This will work for your medium high heat.

Camping tip 3: Don’t drain the grease, and don’t add the butter. The grease will work as your butter, and add a bit more flavor. Besides you don’t need animals sneaking around liking up your grease.

Camping tip 4: Final cooking time will depend on the heat of your fire, but if you want the flavors blend you can allow it to cook all day, adding water to keep it from getting to thick.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Garden Lessons Learned, & Next Year

This garden year was a really eye opening year for me. We tried a lot of vegetables that we have never tried before (cabbage, broccoli, heirloom carrots) and I learned so much. I think it’s important to recap everything that happened in order to do better next year and to keep a history of my progress as a gardener.

This year we decided to add a more nutrient rich soil and use raised beds, since our native soil is basically useless sand. This is the same basic raised bed system we used in our first garden *** I think this has helped so much! We also decided to try the square foot method, which I think works really well with the small space that we have.

Things I have learned from this year.
1)      Label your plants, seedlings look too much alike. Also lay out the square feet with string to keep things organized. In the past it was easy to remember where things where, but this year we had so much that I totally lost track, and I think our garden suffered for it.
2)      Thin out your seedlings early, if you wait after 1-2 inches they may very well become a dense forest that you cannot figure out. Also the sprouts are delicious in salads. Side note: this is especially true of lettuce mixes, since you can’t tell the difference between them and weeds.
3)      Cabbages need way more than 1 foot of space. Next year I will put them in the corners so that the can overhang the edges of the garden.
4)      Tomatoes seem to love this cool weather and lots of water. Make sure to water the garden 2 x daily, in the morning and at night are best. Note: we need to get larger, stronger tomato cages, ours don't have much left to them.
5)      Also you should really prune tomato plants. They seem to produce so much more fruit. We came to this conclusion by pruning one and not the other. Not super scientific but I’m not the only one who promotes pruning.
6)      Cucumber’s hide the way beans do, so make sure you lift up all of the leaves.
7)      If you cut broccoli it will produce more broccoli. Awesome.

Things I plan on doing next year.
1)      Pruning tomato plants early, and staying on top of them.
2)      More cucumbers and an attempt at canning them.
3)      If we are still living here I want to double the size of the garden, or at least increase it by 50%. 
5)      Grow potatoes.
6)   Plant fewer beans, and stake the ones I do plant. I think I can get fewer plants to produce more if I give them more attention.
7)   Get more organized, as far as spacing my plants and labeling them.

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