Independence Days Challenge – Week 15

Plant something: I have started onions, broccoli, kale (1st time growing), cauliflower, peppers, lupines (from saved seeds), red & green cabbage. As soon as I complete this post I am off to plant more.

Harvest something: Cilantro & dill will be harvested by the end of the week. Sap is flowing from the maple trees.

Store Something: barley, spices, really nothing to speak of. Today I plan to make up some pizza dough and freeze several batches.

Manage Reserves: Consolidated everything into one freezer. A couple times a week I go “freezer shopping”. Sure beats going to the grocery store but we are still very dependent on that.

Cook something new: Nothing nutritious but fun to make. Last night Luke & I made Stickjaw For Talkative Parents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He brought the recipe home from school yesterday.

Here is the recipe if anyone wants to do with your kids or grandchildren.

Supplies: piping bag with nozzle

baking sheet lined with baking parchment

2 egg whites

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 pkg. toffee or carmel candy

food coloring (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees

2. Whisk the egg whites and salt together

3. Gradually whisk in the sugar until the meringue mixture is very stiff and shiny.

4. Spoon the meringue mixture into the piping bag (with nozzle in place)

5. Pipe a little meringue onto the lined sheet. Rest a candy on top and cover completely with more meringue. (method is to pipe like you were putting soft serve ice cream onto a cone… that circular motion)

6. Bake for 1 hour or until dry and crisp. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

*We added green food coloring to spice things up for St. Patty’s day.

This week I also made a new blueberry muffin recipe that was very tasty. It called for lemon yogurt and I only had plain so I added a dash of lemon extract.

I am interested in hearing from others on how they cook with barley. This grain is something I have not used much except in soups.

Reduce Wastes: I dropped my old square Nokia cell phone in the dish water a few days ago and I was sure it was ruined. I placed it in a bag of rice (MM’s idea, he’s such a smarty pants) and 2 days later my phone was fully functioning. We also recycled a cell phone given to me by my buddy Mary. MM now has a phone that works all the time and it holds a charge longer that 5 minutes. I could not tell you the last time I renewed my cell phone plan. It drives Mary nuts that I do not renew and get new phones. For me it is not all about the money although I try to be a conscious spender. It is more about using things up until there nonfunctional.

Learn a new skill: Not sure if this is a skill but we learned how to tap Maple trees. This weekend we will boil it all down and learn to make sap. Here is one of the websites I used as a reference it anyone is interested. I am keeping a tally of the sap we gather on the side bar under my harvest keeper. We will see how much syrup we get in the end. Hopefully enough for a pancake breakfast. The ratio is something like 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of syrup. We are obviously not doing this for the quantity but for the experience.

I also have bought the supplies (camouflage fabric) to make these blinds for Luke’s room. I found the link posted at Like Merchant Ships. If you are interested in frugal living & creative ideas this is a blog you must visit.

Work on community food security: I am planting, planting…running out of space. Very excited for this years garden. I just signed up to be a part of a forum based out of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association called Eat Maine Foods.

Regenerate what is lost: There is very little food waste in the house between rabbits, chickens, pigs, and dogs. I do not even have scraps for my compost pile anymore 🙁

Not sure which category this may fall under but recently a made a window cleaner that I finally like.

1 cup water

1 cup rubbing alcohol

dash orange essetial oil, dash orange coloring