Monday, July 31, 2006

YUM



Monday, July 31, 2006
14 Hours and counting

The final preparations are underway. I just surveyed the tiny patch of land that’s supposed to sustain our family for the month of August and made a mad dash to my Google toolbar. Fennel, zucchini, green tomatoes, Swiss chard recipes…help!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Big things coming

Going green

My First Vegetable Garden

After years of wanting to grow my own organic backyard vegetable garden, this is the year I decided to go for it. We have not used pesticides or sprays in our yard for 15 years. So once I was ready, I had two 8 x 12 plots dug up in a sunny area of our yard for two raised beds. I added 6 cubic yards of organic compost to the soil and begun planting.

I used a combination of organic seeds and plants from catalogues and nurseries. The crops are coming along slowly. In part, I believe, because I didn't get things up and running until the second week in June. As of July 1, I have enough lettuce to feed family and friends a daily salad and then some. It’s great to just walk out my back door for a green onion whenever a recipes calls for one. And it’s easy to cut down on salt when I have cilantro, basil, oregano, mint, dill, chives, nasturtiums, tarragon, lemon grass, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme at my beck and call. I’m waiting on the peas, beans, okra, tomatoes, and various varieties of peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, tomatoes, blueberries and broccoli. Everyday, I check the progress of my very special creations—marveling as I see buds turning miraculously into little fruits and vegetables.

I’m picturing late July, August and September for when I can starting going to the yard instead of the grocery store to actually prepare a meal. I'm dreaming of vegetable gumbo, gazpacho, zucchini pizza and more. In celebration of my expectations, I have decided on going green for August. I want to see if I can live off my land for one month. I will not buy any food for one month.* In addition, I will not use my car for one month. I will walk or bike. Starting August 1, I will begin this inconvenient exercise.

In addition to doing my small part for the environment, I am selfishly hoping to lose weight and save money. I will be tracking my weight daily on Google 15. I have set a goal weight and Google will graph my daily progress. I will track my daily average food and gas budget throughout August and compare it to my typical monthly spending to figure savings for the month. I will also pass on any creative and hopefully healthy menu ideas I discover or create along the way. Anyone who wants to join in this semi-green adventure is welcome.

*In anticipation of this month long event I have made sure I have certain supplies for my cupboard. I will miss meat but since I do not have livestock, I will be going without. I am easy walking and biking distance to Lake Michigan and several smaller lakes and ponds so if I find I am missing “flesh” too much, I can try my hand at fishing. I don’t hunt so rabbit and squirrel are out of the equation (not that they've ever been in it). I love bread and normally run--actually drive-- to a bakery or grocery store whenever I need a loaf. Now I will be kneading my own loaves. I will be stocking dry milk, flour, yeast, oil, shortening, dried beans, pasta, eggs, salt and pepper. I'm wondering how I'll survive a month without cheese. Any recipes for cheese made from dried milk?