Tag Archives: food

Slow Cooker Magic

I’ll just put it right out there – I don’t cook very often. Once in a while the mood moves me, but usually not so much. The slow cooker I got at a neighborhood yard sale is my new best friend. Soup, stew stroganoff, chili, BBQ and even bread can be cooked in a slow cooker. It’s like magic!

Almost every thrift store has slow cookers regularly, but even buying new they’re a great deal. You can load them up with ingredients in the morning, turn it on, and by dinner time you’ve got a great home-cooked meal saving both money and time.

SlowandSimple.com is one of many sites that have hundreds of slow cooker recipes. Yum! Link

Hot Hen Houses

Source: TheCityChicken.com

Source: TheCityChicken.com

The backyard chicken post got lots of buzz. Readers wondered what kind of housing hens need. They don’t take up much real estate, and you want to keep them clean and safe from predators. There are also moveable hen houses so you can relocate them to different areas of your yard to hunt and peck bugs and slugs.

From TheCityChicken.com here are photos of the hottest in hen house design – note the one with the green roof! They have other good information on raising chickens elsewhere on their site. These photos will give you an idea on how easy it is to set your yard up for a few hens. The coops look classy and a few hens will hook you up with fresh eggs, hours of entertainment plus natural fertilizer and pest control. Cluck cluck!

Backyard Chickens

Rhode Island Red Hen - Source: Wikipedia

Rhode Island Red Hen - Source: Wikipedia

More and more people are finding the joy of raising a few chickens in their backyard. Many cities even allow a few hens and it’s getting more popular. Fresh eggs are usually the biggest driver, but the many the side benefits include natural pest control, they eat kitchen scraps and great fertilizer for the compost pile. Each chicken has their own personality and a few birds makes a lively community.

Check with your zoning department before setting up the chicken coop to see about any regulations such as how many birds you can have. Many communities allow only hens, no roosters as they’re noisy and cause complaints. Plus the hen house will have less drama without the rooster energy around. If you have any neighbors that seem reluctant, giving them fresh eggs from your hens can go a long way in the acceptance of  your flock. Yes, I’m talking bribery here. In a good way.

Here are FAQs about raising chickens in the city from Seattle Tilth. And a list of books from UrbanChickens.com with reviews for those who want more information.

Backyard Beekeeping for Beginners

bees-on-honeycells-lg

We found a wonderful step-by-step slideshow on backyard beekeeping by Kim Flottum on TheDailyGreen.com:

If you can garden, you can be a beekeeper. It takes about the same amount of time and effort to keep your veggies producing as it does to keep bees. One big bonus of beekeeping: They help your vegetables, flower and other garden plants thrive! Oh, and then — of course — there’s the honey (not to mention the joy of a new hobby, and the knowledge that you’re doing something to help bees at a time when this critical pollinator is in crisis.)

Check out the slideshow and instructions here and maybe there’s some fresh honey in your future.

Make Your Own Salad Dressing

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

Buy salad dressing lately? Eight ounces can cost two or three dollars, yet costs only a quarter or so to make.

Most recipes are comprised of oil, vinegar, some spices and that’s about it. So easy, it saves money and you get that ‘I made it myself’ satisfaction.

Save those glass jars because here are dozens of easy recipes to get you started from CooksRecipes.com.

Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing
from CooksRecipes.com

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 garlic cloves, mashed to pulp with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended. Store unused portion in covered container in refrigerator.

Makes 3/4 cup.

Kombucha Tea – Brew & Ferment Your Own

Photo: Craftzine.com

Photo: Craftzine.com

Brew your own Kombucha tea and ferment it for that zingy zing that makes it pop – yum! Kombucha is on the popularity train after several millenia of use in China. The alleged health benefits of kambucha are legion and it has a loyal following. And it just tastes good! It’s not too difficult to make your own with some tea, culture (or starter), big jar, soda bottles and a funnel. From the creative bunch at Craftzine.com here are step-by-step instructions.

How to Create a Community Garden

fenbfujfr0zhppamediumThis is a wonderful project for any community. It brings people together, improves the community by cleaning up vacant land, creates a beautiful space, gets people outdoors and grows food. What could be better?! It’s a lot of work so bring your friends, but having been involved in community garden it’s so worth it.

Here’s a step-by-step how to guide (and video) from Earth’s Promise in Israel, brought to us by the creative folks at Instructables.com.