Monday Recap: Hooray For Spinach!

After a dry spell that lasted a couple of months, we are harvesting here again. Spinach from the cold frame made its way into our salad bowls this week. There will be more to come, and from the greenhouse as well. I love fresh spinach, what more can I say! It’s mostly the Giant Winter variety in the below photo, which is one of our reliable and tasty favorites.

March spinach harvest

March spinach harvest

Some of the spinach also found its way onto a pita pizza, along with some arugula. We used some of our roasted Roma tomatoes (from the freezer) on one pizza for a chunky sauce, while the other one had some garlic and herb infused olive oil for a base. We used our Whole Grain Spelt Pita Bread for the crust.

pizza with arugula and spinach on Spelt pita bread

pizza with arugula and spinach on Spelt pita bread

There’s no sign of asparagus yet, but we have plenty left in the freezer from 2013 that needs to be eaten. I made a frittata with some of it, adding some dehydrated tomatoes after soaking them in water to rehydrate. I thawed the asparagus first, and then added it and the tomatoes to the pan with onions and mushrooms and cooked for a bit before before adding the eggs and a little Parmesan cheese. It will likely be a couple of weeks before the first spears of 2014 make their way up from the ground, and that will be cause for celebration here too.

frittata with frozen asparagus

frittata with frozen asparagus

I also grilled some sweet potatoes for dinner one night. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to prepare sweet potatoes, and the mix of purple and orange made for a tasty and colorful treat. I tossed them with a little olive oil and ground cumin before cooking.

grilled sweet potatoes

grilled sweet potatoes

I cooked up some of last year’s Rattlesnake beans, and then refried them to go with a meal of turkey tacos. The beans were great tasting fixed this way. Rattlesnake is a dual-purpose pole bean that is good as both a snap bean and a dry bean. It’s also known for doing well in areas with hot and humid summers, which pretty well describes the southern Ohio Valley that we live in. I did a Saturday Spotlight on it last year which has more photos and information.

Rattlesnake beans after soaking

Rattlesnake beans after soaking

We’re getting ready for the return of bees here at HA. We have a nuc ordered, which we should be able to pickup sometime next month. Bees are in short supply this year, due to high losses last winter, so we were lucky to locate some. My wife has lent her artistic talents to the hive painting. I think it looks great, and with those pastel colors it’s already decorated for Easter! We will start with only one of the deep boxes (blue), and add the others as the colony grows. It will be nice to have honeybees around again, and I am excited about my wife getting into beekeeping along with me.

my wife showing off the new beehive

my wife showing off the new beehive

I found time to do some transplanting in the last few days. Saturday I worked on petunias and peppers. The Wave petunias were started about 3 weeks ago, and they have made great progress in that time. Starting them yourself is an economical way to get lots of them, and not all that difficult. I wrote a piece called Do The Wave back in 2010 that outlines how I grow them from seed. The red petunias are a hummingbird magnet, and I always plant some in the Wild Garden for that very reason. The Wild Garden is an area where we plant things of interest to bees and pollinators, butterflies, hummingbirds and other birds.

petunia seedlings ready for transplanting

petunia seedlings ready for transplanting

My little widger comes in handy at transplanting time. I use it to prick out the seedlings and put them in their new quarters. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply also calls them a nitpicker, but whatever you call it, I use mine all the time, especially this time of year. These little petunias will take off now that they have a little more room. In a couple of weeks I will pot them up one more time into individual 3.5″ or 4″ pots.

using widger to transplant petunias

using widger to transplant petunias

That’s a recap of what’s happening here, and a look at what we are doing with some of our harvests both new and old. To see what others are harvesting or cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.

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Deep Purple Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap

If there’s one thing I have learned about making soap, it’s that things don’t always turn out according to plan. Lately we’ve been experimenting with using natural colorants for our soaps, and I am doing the R&D work, with a little help from my wife. I have been infusing olive oil with natural ingredients like annatto seed (orange), madder root (pink/red) and alkanet root (pinkish red to purple). After infusing, we use the oil to replace some or all of the olive oil in our soap recipe. This soap uses the alkanet infused olive oil for color.

Deep Purple Lavender Goat's Milk Soap

Deep Purple Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap

Alkanet powder is made from the roots of the Alkanna tinctoria plant, and has been used as a dye since ancient times. To infuse the oil, I mixed two tablespoons of alkanet root powder into one cup of olive oil. I did this in a pint size glass jar, which I then put in a crock pot half-filled with water. I turned the slow cooker on low and let the jars sit for about eight hours. Then I strained the oil through a paper coffee filter. The oil wound up the color of blackberry juice, or a merlot wine.

infusing oils using crock-pot

infusing oils using crock-pot

After gleaning what information I could from my favorite online soap making resources, I decided we would use the alkanet infused oil to replace 15% of the total oil weight of the recipe. Since our recipe called for 450 grams of oils, that meant about 67 grams of the alkanet infused olive oil. So far, so good, right?

madder root(L) and Deep Purple Lavender(R) soaps

madder root(L) and Deep Purple Lavender(R) soaps

We used a base recipe we had used before, so the only real unknown in the soap was using the alkanet for coloring. I was aiming for a light to moderate shade of purple, not that it really mattered. That same day we also made a soap colored with madder root. Both were poured into our PVC molds that we lined with freezer paper. In the above photo you can see how the two soaps looked right after pouring.

uncut logs of Deep Purple Lavender(L) and madder root(R) colored soaps

uncut logs of Deep Purple Lavender(L) and madder root(R) colored soaps

After two days, we got the soaps out of the mold and cut them into slices. At this point, the alkanet soap was what I would call a medium shade of purple, as you can see in the above photo. We let the slices dry and cure for about four weeks before using. I was anxious to try them out, and waiting was not easy. During the curing, the alkanet soap kept getting darker and darker until finally it was almost black. So much for a light to medium colored soap!

Deep Purple Lavender Goat's Milk Soap

Deep Purple Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap after curing

I was initially concerned that the color would bleed out and stain the washcloth, or make purple lather. I am happy to report that neither happened. The soap lathers up nicely, with fluffy and creamy white lather. So even though this soap didn’t turn out exactly as we planned, it is still a great smelling and looking soap. For the next batch I think we will cut the amount of alkanet infused oil to perhaps 5% of the total oil weight, or about 22.5 grams. In the meantime we have other soap projects in the works involving naturals colors, so stay tuned.

testing the lather

testing the lather

This soap features a blend of olive, coconut, palm, and castor oil, with cocoa butter and avocado oil added for their skin nourishing qualities. Goat’s milk is used for its moisturizing and emollient properties as well as for the smooth and creamy lather. The primary scent comes from lavender essential oil, with base notes from patchouli. Tea tree essential oil is added for its beneficial properties.

Please refer to the cold process instructions here if you are new to making soap. Always take the proper safety precautions (we wear rubber gloves and goggles when mixing and making the soap).

Deep Purple Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
(A Happy Acres original)

Olive Oil – 135 grams (30%) including 67 grams of alkanet infused oil and 68 grams of plain olive oil

Coconut Oil – 112.5 grams (25%)

Palm Oil – 121.5 grams (27%)

Cocoa Butter – 45 grams (10%)

Castor Oil – 22.5 grams (5%)

Avocado Oil – 13.5 grams (3%)

Frozen Goat’s Milk – 171 grams

Lye – 62 grams  (7% superfat)

Added at light trace:

1 tsp finely ground lavender buds

2 tsp lavender essential oil

1 tsp patchouli essential oil

1 tsp tea tree essential oil

This recipe is for a 1 lb/450g batch (oil weight) of soap. We ran this recipe through a soap/lye calculator, and you should always run your recipes too before making them. This one at SoapCalc is our favorite.

NOTE: This soap is superfatted/discounted at 7%

For more recipes and soap information, check out my wife’s Soap Recipe page. I’ll be back soon with more adventures. Until then, Happy Growing (and soaping) from Happy Acres!

 

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Seed Starting and Planting 2014

It’s probably about time for an update on my seed starting activities this year, for those who are interested in such things. I kicked off the season back in early February, starting seeds for parsley, cilantro, arugula, spinach, lettuce and kale. A couple of week later I started some seeds for Asian greens (mizuna, komatsuna and tatsoi), broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and chard plus a bit more kale. At this point all those things have been transplanted into larger containers and some have even been planted out (spinach and lettuce) in the greenhouse and cold frame beds. The rest are still under lights or hanging out on the greenhouse shelves.

cabbage seedling at 3 weeks

cabbage seedling at 3 weeks

In early March (3/3 to be exact) I started seeds for peppers and eggplant in a 200-cell plug flat, which is my favorite way to start large numbers of seeds. To be sure, I don’t need 200 pepper and eggplant seedlings for my own use but some of these plants will go to the Impact Community Garden plus some will go to friends. Of course not all the seeds will sprout either, though so far a good percentage of them have come up. I set this plug flat on a heating mat kept on 24 hours a day, under fluorescent lights kept on around 16 hours a day.

200 cell plug tray

200 cell plug flat

Pepper and eggplant seeds both like a lot of heat to germinate, and I usually get great results with this setup. The germination times do vary wildly though. The first pepper seeds were up in about 6 days (Anaheim), with the last one showing signs of life at 13 days (Ancho 211). Sometimes pepper seeds will take even longer to break their dormancy. The eggplant seeds all came up in 7-9 days. Without the heating mat, germination times and rates for these heat-lovers is pretty spotty, at least it is in our chilly basement where I have my fluorescent lights set up.

peppers germinating in plug tray

peppers germinating in plug flat

After that, I started seeds for things like petunias, more arugula and lettuce, celery, some leaf amaranth, and finally another 200-cell plug flat of tomato seeds. How do I know all these specific dates I started everything? The answer is easy: I keep records, these days in a spreadsheet. The information is invaluable to me in keeping track of the garden. I use a spreadsheet because I like the tabular format and the ability to view it on my computer, but paper and pencil records work well too. I recently found some notes about my 1981 garden that were stuck in an old book. It was fun to see what I was growing way back when!

tomatoes germinating

tomatoes germinating

I refer to my Seed starting and Planting Schedule to know when to start everything. I’ve developed this schedule based on my own observations and experiences over the years, with some input from the local experts. I am thinking this year I will be running a bit behind last year in getting things planted outside, due to the weather. Right now the ground is too wet to work, and more sleet, freezing rain and snow is coming down. Winter just doesn’t want to quit! But eventually it will moderate, and I plan on having plants ready to go as soon as weather permits.

sleet from yesterday

sleet from yesterday

That’s a look at one of my big projects right about now – seed starting. It keeps me busy, but I do enjoy it. Of course after a couple more months of babysitting lots of seedlings, I’ll be ready for something else! I hope you enjoyed this update, and thanks for stopping by the virtual home of Happy Acres.

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Spinach Pie

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a recipe for something green. And speaking of green, it’s also about time for fresh homegrown spinach around here. I never used to eat spinach when I was growing up, mainly because it usually came from a can. Actually, I still don’t care for it canned but frozen spinach is another story entirely. And this recipe is one of my favorite things to do with frozen spinach, especially homegrown spinach from our garden.

Spinach Pie made from frozen spinach

Spinach Pie made from homegrown frozen spinach

Though this recipe calls for frozen spinach, you can easily use fresh spinach if you cook it first. You can microwave it, steam it, or blanch it briefly, until the leaves are just wilted. Let it cool, then squeeze out the excess moisture. Depending on the spinach (baby or mature), around 12-16 oz fresh spinach should give you enough to make 1-1/2 cups cooked. This recipe is very forgiving, so a little more or less spinach will not make a lot of difference!

ingredients for Spinach Pie

ingredients for Spinach Pie

Whether you use frozen or fresh, the spinach should be chopped to make for easier eating. A quick chop into bite-size pieces will do the trick.

chopping the spinach

chopping the spinach

This is my wife’s recipe, and she can’t remember where it came from originally. Her well-worn copy was typed on an index card, and she’s been making it for years. It’s not exactly a quiche, and not exactly a tarte. She just calls it a Spinach Pie, and that’s good enough for me! Served with a side salad, it makes a great meatless meal, and it tastes even better the next day.

Spinach Pie fresh from the oven

Spinach Pie fresh from the oven

For a little extra flavor, use feta cheese to replace some or all of the mozzarella, and cut back on the added salt. Ricotta cheese can also be used instead of the cottage cheese.

 

Spinach Pie Print This Recipe Print This Recipe spinachpie
A Happy Acres original

1 pie crust (we used frozen, ready to bake)
1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2  cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, plus 2 tbsp for top of pie
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
2 tbsp horseradish or to taste
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil until soft. Add spinach, cook until heated. throughout and any liquid has evaporated. Remove to mixing bowl and let cool thoroughly.
3. Combine beaten eggs, cheeses, horseradish, garlic, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add spinach mixture, stir until well combined.
4. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of mozzarella evenly over top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned on top and set in middle. Let cool before cutting and serving.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 332 calories, 165 calories from fat, 18.6g total fat, 124.1mg cholesterol, 744.5mg sodium, 324.1mg potassium, 22.5g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 6.3g sugar, 18.9g protein, 295.7mg calcium, 5.2g saturated fat.

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Springing Forward, Again

I don’t want to be premature, but it’s starting to look a little like spring around here. Last week we still had snow and ice on the ground. Now it’s almost all gone, and things are popping up all over. I didn’t have to look too hard to find tulip and narcissus leaves pushing up out of the ground. If that’s not a sign that spring is coming soon, I don’t know what is!

tulips peeking out of the ground

tulips peeking out of the ground

It’s a busy time of year for me, with seed starting activities going full blast. Last week I got pepper and eggplant seeds going, plus a few early tomatoes, and this week I will sow the rest of the tomato seeds. Kale, broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi are already transplanted and looking good, while I have planted some of the lettuce, spinach and arugula. I always plant some of the Black Seeded Simpson and/or Simpson Elite lettuce in early spring so we can have it for salads, especially Wilted Lettuce Salad which is one of my favorites. I also planted a bit of Red Sails lettuce in the greenhouse beds. These plants are about a month old so they will be ready to harvest in no time.

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce plant

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce plant

I use my mini salad boxes in the greenhouse for a little extra growing space. I have one planted with arugula, half of it the wild kind and the rest of it my regular HA arugula mix. Both of these are from saved seeds. We love our arugula here, and it will be nice to have it available again after the cold winter pretty much stopped it from growing and wiped out about half of the plants. I’m also trying a couple of new kinds this year, one called Wasabi which is a spicy tasting wild type and one called Tuscan which is not surprisingly an Italian variety. If we like these I will try and save seeds from them too. I just sowed these two a few days ago, so they are not quite ready to set out. For those of you who got arugula seed from me awhile back, the below photo shows both kinds (wild on the left).

arugula in mini salad box

arugula in mini salad box

Another of the salad boxes is planted with some Golden Corn Salad. I got the seed for this tasty mache from Michelle, who so generously shared them with me last year. I am hoping to get this to go to seed so I can keep it going. The leaves are a bit longer and thinner than most mache, and they definitely have a golden yellow color compared to the green leaves of other corn salad. I am looking forward to having some of this in the salad bowl soon. I got these started a little late last year, and while they survived the winter in the greenhouse they are just now sizing up.

Golden Corn Salad

Golden Corn Salad

Another green looking good in the greenhouse is the Verde da Taglio chard. It overwintered there nicely, and after giving us some early leaves I am hoping it will flower so I can save seed from it. It has been growing in the greenhouse since last April. I did a Saturday Spotlight last year on this mild-tasting chard.

Verde da Taglio chard

Verde da Taglio chard

Yesterday I finished cleaning up the greenhouse beds, and did some planting of spinach and lettuce. The overwintered spinach is looking good, and leaves are big enough to harvest. The plants in the below photo are Amsterdam Prickly Seeded spinach, which is an heirloom o/p variety that Thomas Jefferson grew in the early nineteenth century. The sturdy leaves look like they will be best used for cooking, but we will see how they look when they grow a bit more. This one might be a good candidate for a Saturday Spotlight once we do some harvesting and tasting. I’ve got it growing in a cold frame too, along with my old standby Giant Winter.

Amsterdam Prickly Seeded Spinach

Amsterdam Prickly Seeded Spinach

And speaking of cold frames, next on my list of chores will be to do some planting in the cold frame beds. I think I will tackle that later today. Frankly, I can’t think of any better way to spend my birthday than to get my hands dirty out in the garden! Since it’s my wife’s week to cook, she is fixing a special treat for my dinner tonight – lamb chops. She’s not a fan, so I will have them all to myself. Yum!

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Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

Who doesn’t like a warm, fresh from the oven dinner roll? And I’m not talking about the pale, doughy brown-and-serve dinner rolls of my youth, either. Or the blah lukewarm things they give you in some restaurants. No, I’m talking about a roll with substance, one with character, and one with whole-grain nutritional tastiness.

seededdinnerrolls2

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

For me, these rolls do the trick. They are just the ticket to accompany a meal for guests or a treat to go with a simple lunch salad for one (or two). And they freeze so well, there’s no reason not to enjoy them anytime you like. Just take one from the freezer, pop it in the microwave and in a few seconds you’ve got a steaming hot roll that tastes almost as good as the day you baked it.

rolls proofing on parchment paper

rolls proofing on parchment paper

This recipe is a variation of my versatile Whole Grain Bread recipe. It features white whole wheat for a mild flavor, plus thick rolled oats. Millet, sunflower and sesame seeds also go inside to add some crunch. Right before baking, you brush on an egg white and water wash and add a mix of seeds on the outside.

rolls baking on pizza stone

rolls baking on pizza stone

A little bit of sourdough starter adds a lot of flavor, but if you don’t have any you can substitute some yogurt for a similar effect. Proofing the rolls on a sheet of parchment paper makes it easier to slide them onto a hot pizza stone. If you don’t want to use the pizza stone, just proof them on a baking sheet and slide it in the preheated oven instead.

dinner rolls cooling on wire rack

dinner rolls cooling on wire rack

Using the dough cycle of the bread machine makes an easy job of these rolls. You can have them on the table in about three hours from start to finish, with maybe 20 minutes of active time. For a hard, crackly crust I use a steam treatment in the oven, but you can skip it if you want a softer roll. Use your choice of seeds or nuts on the inside and outside – they’re all good in these rolls!

seededdinnerrolls2

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
A Happy Acres original

1 cup bread flour (about 4.25 ounces, plus additional as needed)
2 cups white or traditional whole wheat flour (8 oz)
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup thick rolled oats
1/4 cup millet
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
1.5 tsp instant yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water (10 oz)
2 tbsp honey (or agave syrup)
1/2 cup sourdough starter (fed or unfed)*
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tbsp water
2 Tbsp seed mix (sesame, sunflower, poppy, millet, caraway, fennel, flax, charnushka, etc)

* you can substitute 1/3 cup of yogurt for the sourdough starter

1. Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl; mix well.
2. Add sourdough starter and honey to water; stir until well mixed and starter is dissolved.
3. Place all ingredients in bread machine and start dough cycle. Add additional flour if necessary to form dough, but avoid adding too much flour. Wetter is better when it comes to rolls.
4. When cycle is complete, remove dough to floured surface or silicone baking mat. Punch down to remove any air bubbles. Divide into 12 pieces.
5. Shape dough into balls, space evenly on parchment paper.
6. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
7. Near end of rising time, place pizza stone or tiles in oven and preheat to 425°F for 30 minutes.
8. Before baking, brush tops of rolls with egg white and water mix. Sprinkle with seeds.
9. Slide parchment paper onto pizza stone, using inverted baking pan or cookie sheet.* Bake in 425°F oven for 15-20 minutes, until rolls are browned.
10. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack until thoroughly cooled. Freeze any leftovers for up to a month.

* If using steam treatment, pour 1 cup hot water in preheated oven-proof metal pan placed on bottom rack of oven.

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 182 calories, 22 calories from fat, 2.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 201.6mg sodium, 151.1mg potassium, 33.9g carbohydrates, 4.3g fiber, 3.1g sugar, 7.4g protein, 43.5mg calcium,

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Monday Recap: Marching In

It’s hard to believe it’s already March. It’s a month punctuated here by two birthdays (mine and Ace’s), plus a LOT of seed starting activities. But I also found time last week for some baking. After coming up with a rye sandwich loaf I like, it was time to experiment with some rye dinner rolls. I made a couple of batches several months ago, but I wanted to try some other recipes.

Dark Rye Potato Rolls

Dark Rye Potato Rolls

The rolls in the above photo are a spinoff from King Arthur’s Potato-Onion Rye Rolls. I want to tweak the recipe some more, but they are pretty tasty as I made them. They are soft, not sweet, and lightly flavored with caraway seeds. I didn’t like the onions in other rye rolls I made, so I cut way back on this batch. Next time I think I will just leave them out. Without the onions, I may have to call them something like Dark Rye Dinner Rolls. Most of the dark color comes from a little cocoa I put in the dough. I made these dinner roll size but you could make them bigger and use them for buns.

40% Rye Bread

40% Rye Bread

Next up was a sourdough rye bread I have been wanting to try for some time. It’s a take on Jeffrey Hamelman’s 40% Caraway Rye recipe from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. All the rye flour (40% of the total) gets an overnight sourdough treatment before joining with the unbleached wheat flour. I mixed this one up in the bread machine, and did the final rise in a 9″ cane brotform. After slashing, I baked it on the pizza stone with a steam treatment in the oven. It had a great flavor and a crackly crust, and I believe I will be making this one again. Next time I will try the stand mixer for kneading. The sticky dough was hard to get out of the bread machine.

baked Gold Nugget squash

baked Gold Nugget squash

Other baking this week involved vegetables. After the lovely Gold Nugget squash was finished with its photo session for the Saturday Spotlight, it got baked for dinner. It was yummy, and after almost 7 months in storage it was still firm and sweet. We always miss this squash when it is gone, and all we have left now is a couple of smaller ones.

baked purple and orange sweet potatoes

baked purple and orange sweet potatoes

I also baked some Beauregard and Carla’s Purple sweet potatoes. They are so pretty when cooked together. In the above photo it almost looks like roasted beets and carrots, but trust me, they are sweet potatoes! I made Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes with them. I used rosemary from a potted plant, because the two plants outside the kitchen door are in pretty bad shape after the winter weather. I am thinking I will have to replant them. Rosemary is easy to grow in containers though, so I usually overwinter several of them for cooking use then.

cooked Good Mother Stallard beans

cooked Good Mother Stallard beans

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

For the last year or so my wife and I have taken turns cooking. We each do two week shifts where one cooks and the other does dishes and kitchen cleanup. I did most of the cooking for several years, and since my wife was losing her cooking skills we came up with the idea of sharing. The rules aren’t hard and fast though, and we both still help with the other ones duties. My wife decided to make Pasta e Fagioli yesterday, and I helped by cooking up some of the 2013 harvest of Good Mother Stallard beans. I know they aren’t Italian, but they are a great soup bean and they held up well in the Pasta Fagioli.

soap made with alkanet infused oil

soap made with alkanet infused oil

I am excited about how our two latest soaps turned out. One was colored with alkanet infused oil, and the other with madder root oil. The alkanet colored one was a tad deeper in color than I expected. I’m not sure the photo does it justice, but it is a deep purple color – almost black. I’ll have to share the recipe for this one soon. I am loving the looks of it for sure!

parsley seedling

parsley seedling

I have started seeds so far for lettuce, spinach, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, tatsoi, komatsuna and cilantro. Some of the plants are ready for the greenhouse, but they will have to wait a few days for the latest arctic weather to pass. Right now they are better off staying inside under the fluorescent lights where it is a bit warmer. The last winter storm left the greenhouse door iced shut, so we will see. Next up in the seed starting rotation are peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. I plan to get them going in the next week or two. I am hoping that spring will be here eventually, and when it does I want to be ready with plants!

Red Ursa Kale seedlings

Red Ursa Kale seedlings

I hope you enjoyed a peek at what’s going on here in early March, and a look at what we are doing with some of our 2013 harvests. To see what others are harvesting or cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.

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