Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Impact Yogurt

Colin Beavin wrote a book and filmed a documentary called No Impact Man. Here is an article from his blog about making your own yogurt, thus eliminating the plastic cups. Sounds easy and interesting...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Darling Daughter absolutely loved the Rutabega Bake I made for our Christmas dinner. I was very pleased about this since most of the ingredients came from my garden and she's somewhat a picky vegetable eater. I was able to to use the carrots, rutabegas and herbs from my garden. Here is the recipe if you are at a loss for how to cook winter garden vegetables. You can add any vegetable in this, it's a flexible recipe.

Tina's Rutabega Recipe

2 large or 3 medium rutabegas, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
6 large red potatoes, NOT peeled, cut into 2 inch chunks
3 carrots sliced
1 stick of butter plus a little more
1 small tub of sour cream
s & p to taste
1 T of dried or 2 T of fresh herbs of choice

Boil root veges until tender, about 30 minutes, drain. Place in baking dish. Pile on the rest of the ingredients and mash/stir. Slice pats of butter and place on top. Broil in broiler until top is nice and toasty, about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!!

Rutabegas are a memeber of the turnip family, it has a very mild turnip flavor. It's loaded with nutrients too! It is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium (8% RDV), Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin C (53% of your RDV), Potassium and Manganese.

Potatoes when not fried are very nutritious also. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.

Carrots of course, is good for you. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.

I like to put this nutritional data out there for your edification and to ameliorate my guilt for adding a 'stick of butter and a cup of cream'!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Secret Elves At Work Along 2222/MoPac

That's pretty cool Pam....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blue Earth Guild

I met up with a bunch of great gals at Sustainable Fibers Yarn Mill in Elgin for some good old-fashioned knitt'n and weav'n. The idea is to bring your unfinished objects and snack to share, talk about anything, ask for help on yarn stuff and have fun. Complaining Observations about all things are welcome:p
Here is my work in progress or WIP.

This is for darling daughter knitted on a pair of interchangeable KA's circular needles size 3 with some sock yarn from Germany. It's Merino and the company is Zitron. I don't know the website but this online store carries the brand.

Next is a beautiful, this pic does not do it justice, blanket that is being sewn together from a bunch of triangles that were woven on a triangle loom.

Finally, Jacqueline shows her skull snowflake hat she is knitting for darling husband;) Here she is using Fair Isle knitting.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yesterdays Harvest

I am truly sorry if this bores you but this makes me giddy! Lettuce, Kale, Turnips, Swiss Chard.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Donna's Turkey Salad

My sister has an amazing repetoir of culinary greatness and her Turkey Salad is truly awesome. It can be hard for our families to get together, especially when I work every Thanksgiving. This salad we usually have with her leftover turkey the day after. I love, love this salad and would like to share it with you, especially since it's sooooo easy. You can easily substitute roasted chicken. Ingredients: 1 C green apple chopped, 3 celery stalks chopped, 3 green onions sliced, 1 C cheddar cheese cubed, 2 T lemon juice, 1/2 C mayo. Toss and eat!
You can have this on a bed of greens, in a pita, on really good bread, in a wrap. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday By The Tracks In Elgin Tomorrow, 12/4

Mad City Chicks will be at the Holiday By The Tracks celebration in downtown Elgin. We will be at the craft fair by the Library from 10-4. If you are having yarn withdrawals, stop by Sustainable Fibers just past the tracks for some yarn petting. They will be open until 8pm on Saturday as well as 7:30 tonight to help anyone with their knitting/crocheting projects. Conveniently, they are next door to Coffee Catz, serving Elginites hot and cold beverages for 9 months now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Plant A Row For The Hungry

Territorial Seed Company was giving away free carrot seeds for gardeners that would plant extra in order to help feed people in need. The instructions were simple, plant these free seeds in extra space in your garden and donate the veges to a food bank, soup kitchen or a neighbor in need. This act is a vintage concept of community that was pervasive in earlier days and was also a key concept in the book Radical Homemaker by Shannon Hayes.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. Thanks Julie for recommending this book!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am a bit late on harvesting the carrots. I just didn't make time to harvest them earlier. It's one of the benefits of gardening with root vegetables and many winter veges, you can harvest them when you need them or when it's convenient to you. There are fewer pests in the winter to ruin your veges so I tend to just water them like I do the rest of my 'plants' and 'go to the garden to fetch dinner' as needed.

Carrots are easy to grow, just make sure to dig and turn the soil about 6-8 inches so the roots can grow freely. They are somewhat forgiving if you forget to water them for a while. Carrots are very nutritous and are easy to cook.

This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Manganese.

You can 'Put By' carrots by canning, dehydrating or freezing. I don't have a pressure canner so I decided to freeze mine. I washed and sliced the carrots into discs, laid out carrots in a single layer on a cookie sheet, placed in chest freezer. This way each carrot was frozen individually and they won't freeze into one, solid block. I can then store in two freezer jars and 'shake out' what I need for recipes. It's very convenint to do it this way.

In this part of Texas, we can grow carrots year round. In fact, I have some new seeds in the ground now. I hope you decide to grow carrots too!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Girl Scouts?

Smokey Mac & Cheese Casserole

Here's a twist on an old favorite that I love. Smokey Macaroni and Cheese. It's simple to make and is well received by my picky eaters.


4C large elbow macaroni
3 T flour
3 T oil
1 C smokey or regular cheddar
1 C smoked gouda
1 C half & half
1 C sour cream
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 pepper
1 t salt
7 slices of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook macaroni according to directions on package. Make roux with oil and flour, basically heat up oil, stir in flour and adjust flame til mixture boils a little. It is done when roux turns a tan, nutty color. Add the rest of the ingredients starting with half and half. Stir until cheese is melted. Add macaroni. Spoon into baking dish and bake at 350 until toasted on top. For a more moist casserole, cover with foil and bake until hot and bubbly.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Fast Company!

Dave hit another magazine article! This time in Fast Company Magazine. Nice to know there are some business print magazines still out there since Fortune Small Business went under:(
You can click on the picture to enlarge. His product is number 3, the pink sable make-up brush in dymondwood.

Way to go Dave! I might have to quit my j-o-b in order to be your full time press agent;)

Locks of Love

Remember that long, flowing hair? It's gone and sent to Locks of Love. Why? Because her friend did it. This time peer pressure was positive:p

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dave is in a Crochet Today article!

David was contacted by Crochet Today Magazine and asked him if he would be willing to send in a Knit-N-Spin to feature in their Nov/Dec issue. He asked me if I thought Crochet Today was the real thing, he had no idea, cute! The Magazine issue came out today and his Nosteppines and Knit-N-Spins are flying off the shelf. He was trying to prepare for this article during the summer but every times he lists stuff, his lurkers snatch them up. Oh well.... Congrats my darling Hubby!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scooby Carnival Benefitting THSD

Texas Service and Hearing Dogs is an organization our Girl Scout Troop has been working closely with. They are having a Scooby Doo Spectacular fundraiser in Dripping Springs and would like your support. The cost is $5 per ghoul and has many events to entertain the wee ones.

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs trains dogs to assist Texans living with hearing or mobility challenges. We adopt every dog in our program from an animal shelter, rescue group or occasional owner release. We invest $17,500 and one year to train each Hearing or Service Dog team (dog and person). Thanks to your donations, we provide the dogs and training free of charge.

Hearing Dogs alert their deaf partners by touch and lead them to a variety of important everyday sounds, including a knock at the door, a smoke alarm, an alarm clock and a baby's cry. They respond to oral and sign language commands.

Service Dogs assist physically challenged individuals by opening doors and refrigerators, fetching out of reach wheelchairs, retrieving dropped items, turning lights on and off, getting help and moving paralyzed limbs. They also perform customized tasks such as assistance with clothing and specialized equipment.

Hearing and Service Dogs also provide emotional and social benefits through companionship and encouragement of greater interaction from others.
When you see a Hearing or Service Dog in Public
You may see a person using a Hearing or Service Dog, or even a Trainer, in a public place like the shopping mall. Texas and U.S. law allow public access with the dogs. When you see a person with a Hearing or Service Dog, you can ask them, "May I pet your dog?" If they say yes, follow their instructions on how to pet the dog. That way, you show respect for the person and do not interfere with the dog's training.

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs uses positive training methods. We do not use any force, punishment or corrections in our training methods. We use fun, rewards and lots of surprises to keep our dogs motivated and eager to please.

Non-scary Halloween carnival for young children up to age 10. Help Scooby and the Gang search the Haunted Maze for the Mummy, play games to win treats, decorate your own treat bag, try the Mystery Cake Walk. Costume Contest for Most Original, Scariest and People's Choice. $5/person (adults & children). All games included

Scooby's Haunted Carnival
Sat., Oct. 30
1 - 5 PM

4925 Bell Springs Rd
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Follow them on their blog here.....

Or find out more about this amazing organization here....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A forgotten year in pictures....

Our Girl Scout Troop earning their Silver Award by organizing and hosting a health fair for 17 Brownies.

DD entering the river for her baptism at church camp.

You know who and his two sisters were ADOPTED!!

The girls volunteering at the Mighty Texas Dog Walk, a fundraiser for service dogs.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Healthy food can be simple too!!

Darling Daughter, aka DD, made a simple, colorful, nutritous dinner in 6 minutes. Oca + purple potatoes + cheese + real butter = dinner! Just wash and quarter potatoes and oca, microwave 5 minutes, add cheddar, microwave 30 seconds more, add butter and maybe salt/pepper, DONE:) Add a glass of milk and you have a simple, nutritous meal.

This meal is high in protein, both from the dairy and the potato, riboflavin, phosphorous, vitamins B12, B6, C, D, calcium, selenium,Thiamin, Niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese.

The purple potatoes have an additional nutritional value over that of regular potaoes. According to

Nutritional Value
The purple potato's striking pigment is its nutritional life force, thanks to the antioxidant powerhouse anthocyanin, which is responsible for the purple and blue color of fruits and vegetables. This flavonoid has been shown in studies to possess anti-cancer and heart-protective effects, as well as benefits like boosting the immune system and protecting against age-related memory loss. Research by the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that potatoes with the darkest colors have more than four times the antioxidant potential of those with lighter skin and flesh.

I knew potatoes that weren't fried were very healthy but when I looked up the nutritional info for this dish I was still surprised at the nutritional value it contained. It feels like a comfort food dish that most of us like but you can apparently eat guilt free. This meal with the milk is probably along the lines of 500-600 calories so it is indeed a meal and not a snack. The purple potatoes and oca make it a more interesting and colorful twist of an old favorite, the baked potato.

I blogged about Oca in an earlie post here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baba Ghanoush

Today I tried Baba Ghanoush. I haven't tried anything new in awhile and felt like I needed to do something adventurous. It helps break up the monotony of the usual everyday junk.

Baba Ghanoush or Baba Ghannouj, Baba Ghannoug is an Arabic dish of eggplant, seasonings, tahini, olive oil. There are different variations that include adding tomatoes. It is eaten with pita bread or veges.

I first heard about this recipe on a podcast called Geek Farm Life. They are a couple of nerds from Northern California that got jobs in rural Indiana and bought a 10 acre farm and started growing their own food. If you have ever thought about a hobby farm I recommend this podcast, at least to change your mind about raising dairy goats (HUGE commitment). I would recommend their earlier podcast when they were on the farm, they have now sold the farm and moved to Australia so their content has changed to: " Geeks moved to rural Indiana, moved to Australia and now live in an apartment in the city". Anyways, here's the recipe I picked up from


1 eggplant
1/4 C Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Tahini
2 T Sesame Seeds
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
S&P to taste
1 1/2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Bake eggplant on baking sheet for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and place in bowl with cold water. Peel skin.

Place eggplant in bowl with lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeeds and garlic. Blend with electric blender to puree. Season with S&P. Slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate 3 hrs before serving.

I found this pretty good, definitely one of the better ways to use eggplant besides Mousakka. I find it hard to use eggplant in any meaningful way, especially since it essentially has no nutritional value. If you have a favorite recipe for eggplant I would LOVE to hear it!! This is a challenging vege.....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vickie Howell's CRAFT CORPS

David was one of the crafters selected for Vickie Howell's newest book, Craft Corps! I was very excited to find out when I received my new copy in the mail:) I love ALL the craftographies and am tickled pink that my favorite turner is in one of my favorite crafters latest book!!!!!

(Click on the picture to read the article)

"Celebrating the creative community one story at a time.." is the basis of this wonderful book. The craftographies, one story at a time, ring true for me and the crafters I have met over the years. We all start in Kindergarten with those beans and paste......

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tomato Rainbow

I had to take a picture of todays harvest, it was so beautiful:) The German Green Strip Tomato is striking against the other tomatoes. It is an heirloom, I am sure suppose to be bigger but I planted it in ammended clay soil, maybe not ammended enough. The cherry tomatoes are plentiful but I have to be quick and harvest them right after they change colors or the bugs get them. It's a race between them and I. At first the bugs were victorious but then I decided to thin the plants out so they couldn't hide from the birds and it seemed to work. I also picked all damaged fruit in order to decrease their food supply and move on. I think that worked too. Some moved over to the cucumber plant but they were only doing superficial scarring and the plant was almost done anyways. By not using convential pesticides, I can snack straight from the garden.

Good facts from

Starting with the basics, tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C, providing 40 percent of the daily value (DV). They also contain 15 percent DV of vitamin A, 8 percent DV of potassium, and 7 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron for women and 10 percent RDA for men.

The red pigment contained in tomatoes is called lycopene. This compound appears to act as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals
that can damage cells in the body. Only recently, studies have revealed that lycopene may have twice the punch of another well-known antioxidant betacarotene. Studies conducted by Harvard researchers have discovered that men who consumed 10 servings of tomatoes a week, or the equivalent to 10 slices of pizza, can cut the risk of developing prostate cancer by a formidable 45 percent. However, its benefits are not limited to the prostate. Italian researchers have found that those who consume more that 7 servings of raw tomatoes lower the risk of developing rectal colon or stomach cancers by 60 percent. Israeli researchers have found that lycopene is a powerful inhibitor of lung, breast, and endometrial cancer cells. Research has also indicated that the lycopene in tomatoes can help older people stay active longer.

New research is beginning to indicate that tomatoes may be used to help prevent lung cancer. Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly.

When choosing your tomatoes, be sure to pick those with the most brilliant shades of red. These indicate the highest amounts of betacarotene and lycopene. Though raw tomatoes are great for you, cooking them releases even more of the benefits. Lycopene is located in the cell wall of the tomato, so by cooking in a bit of oil, this healing compound is more fully released. In addition cooking the tomato in olive oil allows your body to absorb the lycopene better.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hats That Help

My friend Julie, 1/3 of the Mad City Chicks, decided she didn't have enough to do already. She started crafting for a cause. She is making childrens hats, selling them on Etsy and at the San Marcos Farmers Market, donating money to charities that benefit children suffering from cancer.

You go girl!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rescuing pictures off my camera's card

I take a lot of pictures. I think everyone with a disposable camera takes many more pictures than those with a 35mm camera. I guess since you can delete at will and instantly see your pictures, it can get out of hand. Not a nuance of daily living will go unphotographed. Darling daughter had another Bachelorette Night where she cooked Chicken Parmesan Alfredo. It has only a few ingredients and she loves the bland taste of this recipe. There is only chicken, parmesan, half and half, salt and pepper over fettucini. Her apron is from a craft project when she was around 6 years old. Still fits, sort of.

It turned out pretty good and was easy to teach, a winner for sure.
She puts the finishing touches on her recipe box and now has two recipes in it.

Sometime back I harvested the soybeans. I used the same soybeans as last year, Black Jet, to see if it made a difference whether you planted it in the fall or spring. I had a better yield but still dissapointed in the amount of soybeans for the area it took up in my garden. It took up an 8x4 raised bed for a few months and yielded only about 6 servings of soybeans. Not very efficient so I will not be doing this one in the future. I will say though that this is a low maintenance plant so if you have a lot of space, this may well suit your garden.

We also visited the Elisabet Ney museum here in North Austin. She was quite a talented sculptor who lived a very interesting life. They didn't allow us to take pictures inside so these are the only two pictures I have. The building is beautifully preserved and you can learn more about her here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Asian Secrets and Baby's Back!

Often when I see South Americans or Asians on TV, I wonder, 'Whoa! Look at them sweat!! Sure glad I don't live there!!'How do they cope with the heat?'. One way is through food. Cultures that live along the equator use more spices and as one friend from India explained to me, 'It helps you sweat and keep cool'. I never thought of sweating as being a good thing until then. It IS a mechanism for the body to evacuate heat from the body and as the sweat evaporates, cools the surface of the skin. Another way other cultures keep cool is through creative drinks, on ice. One recipe I learned from an interesting Indian woman named Roshan was Watermelon Juice. This was very easy, especially if you have a seedless watermelon. Just blend the watermelon pulp in a food processor and add rose water and sugar to taste. Chill and serve over ice. It's delicious and you can feel your body cool down a few degrees.

One glass for me to take to work and another for everybody else. In Texas, we don't sweat as much as other cultures because we hide in buildings with turbo air conditioning. We admire the sunlight through windows. But don't worry, we surface again in October.

Today I drove 45 miles to pick up a teenager that needed a good home, actually, darling daughter. She went to summer camp with the Girl Scouts. It's her 6th year going to this same camp and she looks foreward to it every year. I like that she earns cookie credits for this camp so when she is selling Girl Scout cookies, she's earning her own way.

When we arrived home, she plopped her stuff just inside the door and went straight to her room to take a nap. Apparently, she stayed up most of the night with her new best friends. After she had risen, she went on to sing ALL the new camp songs she learned. Including one titled, 'I went crazy singing this song'. There's a good reason why it was named that. Then, she described this mysterious incident that happened in the middle of the night where her arm started stinging and swelled up and turned red, waking her up. A trip to the nurse and a dose of benadryl squashed that immune reaction. Hives?

Notice the hollywood sunglasses juxtaposed next to the Converse sneakers. Ahh.... Things are back to chaotic normal:)