Dandelions

Several years ago, Evie loved dandelions, so Sara suggested we try making dandelion jelly.  However, they would come Memorial weekend, and by then most of the dandelions were past blooming.  So this year, I decided to make it early, at the “peak” of the dandelion season.

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We don’t spray, so our dandelions were safe, and we have a lot of them.  There are many recipes available online, and I decided on this one, from Taste of Home.  It only called for 2 cups of dandelion blossoms, what could be easier?  Well, over an hour and a half of picking and separating yellow from green was not as easy as I thought.

Once I got started, I didn’t stop to take pictures until I was done.  I made 3 half pints and 6 half cup jars. (They all sealed, too!)

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I gave a lot away to friends who couldn’t believe I was making it, and have 2 half-pints left for Sara.  The recipe used a lot of lemon extract, so it tastes very lemony.  If I make it again next year, I might change that a little.

 

Community Supported Agriculture

Last spring I bought a half-share in a local farm’s crop.  Each week I pick up a crate of fresh picked, all-but-the-paperwork, organic vegetables.  Friends on Facebook have seen me publish the pictures of my “haul” most weeks.  For those who haven’t, here are just a few:

week 8 week 17 week 13 week 10 week 1 week 3

It will probably go through the first week in November, coming to about $12.00 per week. The veggies have been wonderful, the farmer is great, picking them up is easy and only about 7 miles away.  I’m obviously not sorry I did it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again.  A friend picked up the share three times that I was gone.  If she wants to split a half with me, I may do that.  Otherwise, I think I’ll put the same amount of money in an envelope in May, and go each week to a farmers’ market.  (Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids is great.)

If it was such wonderful, why would I not buy a share again?  Because I don’t get a say in what is planted.  It was really heavy on the greens.  Almost every week had kale, those that didn’t had chard.  Usually there was Asian green, vitamin green, lettuce, bok choy, and/or cabbage as well.  I would have liked more zucchini and much more cucumbers.  I have cherry tomato plants at home, but it would have been nice to get enough tomatoes to can or freeze.  I did get really good at making quiche, which I made about 8 or 9 times.  Given almost any vegetables and some eggs, I can now throw together a quiche pretty easy.  I never tried a frittata, but I’m sure I could do that as well.

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I also made Sara and Shane’s Burst Tomato Gallette 3 times:

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Although some veggies ended up being composted because I just didn’t get to them, I’m sure I got my money’s worth, and learned about a lot of new vegetables I’d never used before.

 

 

Another new appliance, another new recipe

I have an ancient food processor.  Tom’s aunt gave it to me about 30 years ago, so it is probably 40 years old.  It works fine, but due to either arthritis or carpal tunnel, I often can’t get the bowl and lid on and off.  I started looking for a new one, and based on ratings bought the Cuisinart 9 cup food processor.  If I couldn’t get the bowl on and off, I’d return it and try again.

I wanted to try it out with a new recipe.  Trying to avoid processed (no pun intended) foods, I decided on a cheese cracker recipe.  These are one of Tom’s favorite snacks/lunches.  I found this recipe on Yahoo, and saved on Pinterest so I could find it again.  The instructions were easy to follow, and they turned out well.  Things I would do different:  roll thinner, try different cheeses, use a little less salt.

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Marshmallows

Searching deals for Christmas presents, I came across an unbelievable deal on a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  I knew my soon to be daughter-in-law, Jennifer, really wanted one; she was planning on putting it on their bridal registry.  I knew no one would ever find a better price, and wanted to be sure she got one, so I decided to get it for her for Christmas.  Daughter Anna said she would go in with me on it.  I also knew my oldest, Sara, had talked about wanting one.  I didn’t want her to think I had forgotten, so I asked her if she would like one.  Typical Sara, she said, “Only if it is a really, really good deal.”  It was, so I ordered two.

By the time the sale was over, I began to kick myself for not ordering one for me, too.  The week of Thanksgiving there was almost the same sale, so I went for it!  By the way, thank you Kohl’s sales, their card holder discount, rebates, and Kohl’s Cash!

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I was telling this to a friend, and she said, “You raised three kids and did all that baking, and never had one?  I used mine all the time!”  Well, I no longer have the three kids at home, and don’t bake near as much as I used to, so I needed the first time I used it to be something I never had made before.  While I was thinking about Ben and Jen’s campground wedding coming up in June, I thought, “S’mores…marshmallows!”  Sara had talked about making homemade marshmallows several years ago, but since they need to be whipped for 12-15 minutes, and I have burned out two hand mixers in the past making divinity, I never wanted to try.  Now I could.

I Googled and searched Pinterest for a recipe, and decided on this one from Alton Brown.Marshmallows 011 Marshmallows 014 Marshmallows 017-001

They came out great, were not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be.  I shipped some off to Anna, Sara, and Ben.  Now, as Ben reminded me, I need to make them again without gelatin, so they are vegetarian.  So I’m researching…