Gumboot Adventures

gowing and growing green

Checkerboard Apples January 27, 2012

checkerboard apples

checkerboard apples

Local eating means eating a lot apples in the winter. They store well. We like them. They can be apple sauce or apple chips or apple muffins. There’s enough other variety in our menu and enough variety in the way we ‘serve’ apples that no child has ever complained. None the less, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make apples exciting.

Which is why I love Checkerboard Apples. I love them because my kids love them. And anything that keep my kids convinced that their waste-free, mostly local lunch is infintely better than a packaged alternative is good by me.

To make Checkerboard Apples:

  • Quarter an core the apple.
  • Slice just through the skin of the apple, first lengthwise, then side to side. The effect at this point will be a squares cut into the skin.
  • Carefully, remove the skin from every second square, making a checkerboard pattern.
  • Rub with a little lemon to prevent browning until lunch!

The first time I sent these to school for Asher, he reported a class full of grade one students ogling. What could be better than a class full of six year olds ogling over an apple!

Great uses for apple?  Please comment! Share the apple love.

 

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Apple Festival October 27, 2011

The kids and I recently decided to have our very own Apple Festival.  You can read all about it at Growing Up Green, my weekly series at www.thriftyandgreen.com. Here’s a little behind-the-scene look at our fun!

We don’t have apples growing yet – next year I hope – so we hit the farmer’s market for a selection of shapes colours and sizes.  Bergandy is always attracted to tiny things! So, crab apples:

Crab Apples

Crab Apples

We laid out our spread, filled bowls with toppings, and dug in! You try getting them to look up after saying go…

Our At-Home Apple Festival

Our At-Home Apple Festival

I thought the kids would gorge on the sprinkles & chocolate, but they surprised me. They always do! That’s half the fun. Bergandy liked sweet apple with sweet honey. Sweet. Asher laughed at the idea of picking a favorite. Between bites  – “Who needs a favorite with all this good stuff!”

Apple Love

Apple Love

Even Weston partook – using any and every apple slice he could get his paws on as a teether! No chocolate sauce for him, though you know he tried his hardest to get into that fun too!

Baby Weston Loves Apple

Baby Weston Loves Apple

After gorging ourselves on 10 – yes TEN – apples, we needed to burn off the honey, caramel and chocolate. What better way than to done matching monster t-shirts and dance around the living room to Monster Mash!

Monster Moves

Monster Moves

Until we collapsed. Here, Bergandy does her very best “dead pose”.

Dead Dance

Dead Dance

 

August 17, 2011

Pesto Pre-Presto

Pesto Pre-Presto

The garden is in full swing and we’re enjoying its goodness at least every day and often at every meal! One of the ubiquitous family favorites at our house is fresh pesto. When the bright flavours hit our pallet, we know that summer has really, truly arrived.

Our pesto recipe is simple and traditional, with a little health zing: kale! A handful of garden fresh kale disappears into the strong flavours of garlic and basil. Around here, only the grown ups actually enjoy kale but since it’s a super food – packed full of nutrients and vitamins – so we sneak it into the kids every chance we get.

Italien Soup w/ Pesto

Italien Soup w/ Pesto

Pesto is great as a pasta sauce. For a quick, healthy, kid-pleasing meal we like to sautee the pesto with cubed tofu for a few minutes, before adding cooked pasta, olives and cherry tomatoes. It’s also perfect dolluped on top of a tomato based vegetable soup like minestrone or Italian Bean soup. At snack time, try pesto spread on rye crackers with fresh sliced tomatoes.

Basil & Kale Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh basil (leaves, stems, flowers – it’s all good)
¾ cup of olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (it’s nice to roast these in the pan with a little olive oil first)
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
2 large cloves of garlic
5 kale leaves, off the stem

Directions:
Strip the leafy greens off of the kale stem. Disgard the stem. If desired, pan-roast the pine nuts in a bit of olive oil for a nice nutty flavour.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Puree. Eat. Enjoy.

 

The Best Salad Dressing July 28, 2011

The Best Salad Dressing in the World

The Best Salad Dressing in the World

We’ve been eating a lot of greens this cool summer.  Which is fine by us, we have the yummiest salad dressing in the “whole-entire world,” courtesy of the magazine Edible Vancouver and the incredible Hollyhock Institute.

Edible printed Hollyhock’s famous dressing in their almost-spring 2011 edition, and it’s been a game changer at our house.  Here it is.  The best salad dressing in the “Whole-Entire World”

Hollyhock Yeast Dressing

As printed in Edible, from Hollyhock Cooks, with Linda Solomon and Moreka Jolar.

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

1/2 cup (125 ml) nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup (75 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) soy sauce or tamari

1/3 cup (75 ml) apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp crushed garlic

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Sunflower Oil

Combine the first 5 ing unredients in a blender until they are thoroughly mixed. While still mixing on high, pour the oil in a slow, steady stream. Add  all the oil or r when a desired consistency is achieved. (Honestly, we put everything in the glass mason jar we keep the dressing in, and shake. It’s delicious). When refrigerated, this keeps for 2 weeks.

 

Salad Greens July 25, 2011

Salad Greens

Salad Greens (and peas, dill & strawberries)

The salad is doing well this year. That’s because it’s late July and yesterday was the first day of “summer” here on the wet wet coast.  Now that it’s hot – and assuming the heat is planning to stick around, the salad will now bolt.  Which means it’s time to eat it all up. Fast.

Until this year, I’ve never had much luck producing sweet lettuce. The heat and dry of summer have always got the better of us and the spring lettuce has consistently bolted early in the year, quickly become woody and bitter. So for the long spring lettuce season, I give thanks.  The peas, brocolli and cabbage are also doing remarkably well with this odd season. To extend the growing of these spring crops in the summer heat, we need to get on top of watering now.  Until this week, we’ve been leaving the watering to the elements. Luckily, the rain barrels are full after a wet spring so we should be able to ward off bitter bolting greens a little bit longer.

It’s also time to sow another round of greens. We’ll plant in the partial shade of some of the bushier veggies to keep these a little cooler and eat them young and fresh during the hot summer, um, weeks.  Strangely, it’s almost time to sow winter greens too – more kale, spinach and crests to go into what will be a covered winter garden in a couple months.

 

Foraging: Huckleberries & Pie July 22, 2011

Huckleberries

Huckleberries

We’ve spent the last couple of days foraging for huckleberries.  It’s so important to take advantage of the beautiful fruits that nature provides.  They’re there for the picking.  Pick them! PICK THEM! Admittedly, I take this to an obsessive sort of level – my poor husband has nearly had a heart attack on a number of occasions when I scream “STOP THE CAR” at the sight of a particularly good patch of blackberries.  But this early in the season, the whole family shares my unbridled enthusiasm.

Those long-awaited fruits have arrived.  In the forest near our home Salmonberries and Huckleberries are ripe.

This has been the first year that our son, now 6, has understood the benefit of putting the berries in the bucket to bring home. Like his mother, his passion for berry picking is absolute. But until this year, his impatience got the best of him every time and he ate every last berry he picked. Nothing wrong with that really. Fresh. Delicious. Healthy.  It’s what our 3-year old daughter did this year. But  neat to see our son able to exercise self-restraint – to pick berries, bring berries home, dutifully hand over the berries and patiently wait for them to turn into something even better.

And they did!

Huckleberry Pie

Huckleberry Pie

With the exception of our 3-year old daughter, who doesn’t like pie, we all agree that Huckleberry pie – with it’s  perfect combination of tart and sweet – is the true sign of summer.  Luckily, the summer heat is refusing to make an appearance this year, so baking it was not only easy, but also enjoyable! Coming up next, huckleberry jam and huckleberry muffins. Yum.

Huckleberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 4 cups huckleberries
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons soya milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Gently coat  huckleberries in flour, then place in a pastry-lined pan. Spoon sugar evenly over berries. Sprinkle lemon rind and lemon juice over top. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Seal edges and cut steam vents in top. Brush surface with soya milk or cream, avoiding fluted edges of crust. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

 

Rainy Day Tea Party July 18, 2011

Rainy Day Tea Party

Rainy Day Tea Party

Rain rain go away…  We’ve been trying hard not to sing the mantra. There is no point whining about things that are completely out of our control and since we live in a veritable rain forest, we’ve spent the past six years instilling in our family an embrace-the-rain attitude. Or at least a don’t-let-it-stop-us attitude. We splash in puddles.  We make mud pies. We ride bikes in rain pants. But this summer is trying everyone’s patience – it’s mid-July, we’d really love to see the sun!

The garden is sad. And wet. And muddy. The early crops are coming along nicely.  Pig Peas. Crisp Lettuce. Sweet strawberries. But it’s mid-July! MID-JULY.

This afternoon we took a break from the wet, muddy garden and tried to enjoy the cool home.  When the kids appeared with the porcelain tea set in hand and hope written all over their faces we decided to stage a tea party. Which meant that cookies needed baking. Which meant the oven needed to be turned on. I have a rule that if the oven is heated, we use it plentifully.  So it turned into a roast making, cook and baking, garden fore-saking sort of day.

In our house tea parties are all about sweet manners and sweet treats. In true form, the kids were lovely – using their best pleases and thank yous; and always serving the other first. It’s such a fun way to practice manners – I don’t think the kids have ever had a disagreement during a tea party. The peppermint tea was store bought, but I have big plans for our own mint this year and hope to build on the herbs next year, so hopefully we’ll be making our own tea soon! The cookies were Almond Thumbprints, from Double Delicious, a recipe we’ve never tried before but will definitely repeat.

 

 
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