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Showing posts from October, 2012

Transform That Old Bread Into a Culinary Masterpiece!

"Oh, dear god... that bread is a crumbling mess!" I stared at the four leftover hamburger buns from last week's dinner.  There are only three of us, one being an almost-four year old, so we don't eat a lot.  That gigantic 8-pack of hamburger buns the stores insist on selling is just too much. I was fortunate, though, because even though the bread crumbled apart like rotted plywood, there was no mold to be seen.  It was old and it was dry, but it was not yet showing any signs of developing into sentient life. Most people would do the sensible thing, and throw that mess out. I, however, have never made any false claims of sensibility.  The bread was old and dry, but it wasn't going to make anyone sick.  I have no shame, so naturally, I decided to use it. No, I was not going to force my family to eat nasty, crumbly bread.  Even I have limits. But! You know all of those really yummy recipes that have been passed down for generations?  Those recipes that

I Made Apple Chips!!!

Originally, my plan was to leave my apple dehydration post as a single entry.  You know, just the basics. I'm dehydrating apples. This is how you do it. Yay, me! ( insert pat on the back here. ) Simple, to the point, and informative. Except that I always end up doing something different than I had planned, and thereby, manage to have something new to talk about. What changed this time?   Well, as you know, I left the apples in the dehydrator and walked away, planning to come back in twenty four hours. But then life happened. I went to the store.  While there, I spotted some apple chips.  Apple chips are one of those foods that make me feel that everything is ok in the world.  That is, until I get to the end of the bag. And that doesn't take very long. See, the bags are always puffed up with air.  What seems like a full bag of chips, filled to the brim with crunchy happiness turns into a huge, puffy bag of disappointment. Just as I closed

Hurricane Sandy May Keep Tomorrow's Post Away

I tend to write my blog posts the day before they're due to publish, just to be sure that Murphy's Law doesn't hit, and and everything goes through as it should. Normally that works out perfectly for me. Today, however, I'm staring at my monitor... and nothing is getting typed. Why? Two words:   Hurricane Sandy.   Seriously.  She's all I can think about.  Even here in Southern Minnesota, I'm feeling her effects.  Not physically, of course, but mentally and emotionally.  I'd say a good third of my family and friends are in her path right now, and that scares the heck out of me. Mainly, because I'm powerless to do anything about it. What does this mean in terms of Even Green Boots Leave Trails? It means that unless I have a sudden stroke of brilliance, you won't see a blog post tomorrow, and I feel you have the right to know that.  See, if I was in the center of her path, I'd still be writing like crazy.  Being far away, however, s

The Sad Last Day of the Farmers Market

"Mommy, stop !" I looked down at my daughter with question marks in my eyes.  We had just gotten out of the car, which we had taken to the farmers market in lieu of walking, because I didn't want us to walk all the way there in 27 degree weather. Yep.  It was frigid.  Again. "Why are we stopping?"  I asked.  We had only walked about 5 steps, and I had tunnel vision.  I wanted to get everything we needed quickly, because... well... duh.  It was freezing ! "We have to count.  One..." "What are we counting?" "The tables ."  She looked at me like I had just asked the most agonizingly stupid question she had ever heard.  "Two..." I looked up.  Sure enough, there was a small enough amount of tables to make an almost-four year old jump to the occasion and show off her counting skills.  There were more vacant spots than tables. "...Nine!  Nine tables, Mommy!"   She beamed with pleasure. I smiled sad

What Do You Do With a Halloween Pumpkin?

Halloween is almost here! I have a habit of always waiting until the last minute to do the most important decorating.  There's good reason for it, though. Take, for instance, my pumpkins: These are the ones that I got from one of the vendors at the farmers market last week .  I'm sure I'll buy another and post about it tomorrow, but for now I have 1 medium pumpkin, and 2 mini pumpkins. You can't carve into a pumpkin too soon, or it'll cave in and look absolutely disgusting, come Halloween.  Even if you choose not  to carve them, it's a bad idea to leave them on the porch for more than a few days.  The elements will do the work they feel is necessary to begin the process of returning the pumpkins to the earth so they can feed the soil. I sure as heck don't want that happening! This year, there will be no pumpkin carving.  My daughter is young enough that she has no problem with this, fortunately, so I'm free to do what I wish.  I'll s

Too Many Apples! Round 1: Dehydrator to the Rescue!

I have gone apple-crazy! WoooOOooo!!! What exactly does that mean, you ask? Well, After my sister's wedding, I brought a lot of apples back with me from my grandma's house. Ok, I didn't bring all of those back... I left a few behind... Bringing them home is great, but, well, there's a limit to how many fresh apples you can eat before they go bad.  Keeping them in the fridge would give me a few months (apples are remarkably resilient), but I just don't have that kind of room in there.  I have to eat a few other things, after all! At least, that's what my husband kept trying to convince me of... I still wasn't convinced.  I could totally live off of apples. "Is that right?" He asks.   "What about your carrots, then?  Or the milk you love so much that you drive out of town for?" Ok.  Point taken.  I couldn't keep all those apples in the fridge.  That doesn't mean that I had to make myself sick trying to fini

The Third Party Debate, and Why It Matters to the Green Boots

You're going to be mad at me... I thought about it long and hard, and I've decided to talk about something I probably shouldn't. Something that causes people to see red. Something that incites arguments amongst close friends. Something that literally divides families. Politics. Wait!  Don't run away screaming! It's really not that bad.  I'm not going to ask you to vote one way or the other.  Indeed, I specifically waited to post this until today, in order to ensure there was no possibility of doing so, even though waiting was difficult. Instead, I'm going to ask you to step outside the norm. What is the norm? The norm is what the media spoon feeds us.  The norm is the images we're constantly bombarded with, the ads we're shown at prime time, funded by big money. The norm is the battle of democrat versus republican. But the reality is so much bigger. I'm not going to ask you not to vote democrat or republican.  What I am

Heaven In a Little Green Bag

Have I mentioned I have the most awesome friends on the planet? Well, in case you missed the other 5,000 times, I thought I'd mention it again.  I really, really do, and I'm very grateful for that. Last night, I received a birthday gift from one of them.  Not just any birthday gift, though... This was a piece of pure heaven.   See, she gave me something that she not only thought long and hard about, ensuring that the gift would resonate with me, but she gave me something that taught me something new at the same time. Talk about awesome!!! I opened the box to discover a little green and white bag, a truly recyclable catalog, and a free sample of jasmine and vanilla soap. I stared at it with happy, googly-eyes.  I had absolutely no idea what was in the little green bag, but the scent alone was enough to transport me to seventh heaven.  I took off the (minimal) packaging, and opened the furoshiki scarf that is used as a bag. It was filled with bath produ

What Kind of Fun is This Crazy Woman Having Now?!

So, here we go! My first poll! As you have been able to surmise from my last post, I love polls... especially when I don't have to worry about being taken to an ad after clicking on the things!  The topic? What in the heck is this crazy woman trying to do now?! Pretty simple, right? Plenty of my green diy projects look nothing like the end result when I'm in the early stages.  This, of course, means that we can have a lot of fun trying to figure them out! As I mentioned yesterday, I've placed a photo on my blog. Look over to the right.   --------> * image is no longer on the right... just look at the one on this page.  ;-) Beneath the image is a poll that specifically refers to it.  Click on your answer choice, and voila! I know it'll go away, eventually, since I set it up for only a short period of time, so here's the image for those of you that get here after the poll has closed: So... What in the heck am I trying to create, now?

Poll My Craziness? What Do You Think?

So, it just occurred to me... I do a lot of crazy stuff.  Some of my projects are hopeless from the very beginning, while others are, well... Just kind of strange.  They're outside the norm. Ok, for the most part, everything I do makes sense, but I was perusing my photos the other day when I realized that if I wasn't the one doing these things (even the normal ones), I probably wouldn't have any idea of what the end product is supposed to be. What does this have to do with, well, pretty much anything? Not much... except, perhaps, for a little added fun for the blog. Do you like polls?  Honestly, I love them.  It's fun to see what other people believe about a given concept, as well as to be able to give my own opinion without causing too much drama. Don't get me wrong, I love drama... I studied it , after all!  I'm known for getting into the middle of a hot topic issue, and thriving on the challenge using theatrical skills I've learned to pro

The Farmers Market is Almost Over! Nooo!

Next week is the last farmers market.  This means I'm beginning to panic.  Soon I'll lose my local, farm fresh goodness. Nooo!!!! It's ok... it's ok...  I'll survive.  I have, after all, a plan . ::cue maniacal, crazed laughter:: I'll get back to that plan in just a bit.  First, let's talk this weekend's market. I forgot, yet again, to replenish my cash funds after visiting The Clothes Closet.  Fortunately, since The Clothes Closet is a secondhand store, I only ended up spending five dollars.  Unfortunately, though, that meant that I only had a grand total of $15 to spend at the farmers market. Thank goodness, then, that this is the second to last week!   The vendors have significantly reduced their prices, since they need to sell as much as possible in order to not go into food storage overload, or worse, have food that won't have a chance to get eaten in time. Unfortunately, many of the vendors weren't there.  My beloved sals

Would You Like a Bag? Days of Rain and Plastic

This desert rat has mad a mistake, again. I'm actually surprised that it happened yesterday, rather than sooner.  I guess my luck is just that good. I went to the library. No, that's not my mistake.  My mistake had to do with planning.  Seriously, though... Who plans their trip to the library?! Evidently, if you're on a quest to become more green and environmentally responsible, you care about the condition of your books, and you live in Minnesota, you do. Oops.  I did not know this... I checked out books for my daughter and I.  A lot of books, as is pretty standard for us.  I loaded up my arms with them and went off to the checkout counter. "Would you like a bag?" This question makes perfect sense.  I check out so many books that some people actually would need a bag to help carry them all. Naturally, then, I'm asked this question every time I go.  Of course, my answer is always the same.  No, I do not want a petroleum based plastic pro

Rustic Wedding - A Green Choice

I'm very proud of my sister. Really, really proud. As in, place-her-on-a-pedestal-that's-high-enough-for-the-world-to-see-her proud. I mentioned earlier that I'd tell you all about her rustic wedding .  My writing has been backed up a bit ever since returning from it, but at long last, here it is! See, I'm the tree-hugging crazy person in the family.  Everyone else in my family cares about the environment, of course, but their passions lie elsewhere. You can imagine my excitement, therefore, when I discovered that my sister's choice of wedding theme was an environmentally responsible one.  The event was wonderful. First of all, the wedding itself was right on the shore of Lake Superior. Nothing artificial was used for the main event. There was no artificial lighting, and no heat (even though it was in the low 40s.).  Talk about determination!  Even the petals thrown by the flower girl (my daughter) were fresh, and therefore an environmentall

I Order You to Be Happy on My Birthday!

Today is my birthday!!! Birthdays take planning... especially mine.  This is mainly because I'm one of those crazy, giddy, happy people that tries to convince everyone to celebrate my birthday for entire month. Not so much because I like to be the center of attention (although, in all honesty, I really do), but rather because my birthday gives me a special, magical power: I can order everyone to be happy!   And they have to do it... because it's my birthday, darn it! Oh, sure... at first they only pretend to be happy, not wanting to upset me.  But the more you pretend to be happy, the happier you end up becoming.  I think it has to do with the fact that you use less muscles to smile than to frown.  Or maybe it's because nobody really wants to be sad, so the pretense of happiness is so much easier to make into a reality. Or maybe happiness truly is magical. Really, the reason why doesn't matter nearly as much as the outcome, so I'll not exam

Summer Squash in Winter? Inconceivable!

Vizzini:   "Inconceivable!"   Inigo Montoya:   "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means." The Princess Bride rang through my head as I gazed out my window and down into the raised garden.  It was totally and completely inconceivable.  We've had temperature dipping below 29 degrees !  Nothing, and I mean nothing , with the word 'summer' in the name should survive those temps. Inconceivable! But there it was. A small summer squash was growing in my raised garden bed in the front yard.  In the fall.  In freezing temperatures. So... how?! I haven't the slightest clue.  Well, that's not entirely correct.  I signed a petition, then planted 2 seeds a few months ago in a silent show of support for a couple living in the city of Drummondville in Quebec.  They had been told by the Municipal Council that their entire edible landscape in their front yard had to be ripped out , because it was in viola

Handkerchiefs, Paper Tissue, and Some Quarters

Great squares of splendor! Cotton cloths of comfort! What in the world am I going on about this time? Handkerchiefs, of course! Well, ok.  maybe you wouldn't have figured this out based on my two descriptions.  Who would, right?  And seriously... who uses those things any more? Very few people.   There are reasons for that.  I mean, running around with a big wad of boogers in your pocket just isn't very attractive.  That, and the last thing you want when you have a cold is to save all of those germs on a cloth so that you can revisit them again later. I totally get that. And I agree. But! They're oh, so soft.  They generally don't cause the same reddening and dryness that disposable tissues cause.  They really, truly do have a place in your life if you're willing to give them a shot.  There's just one problem: Because they're so rarely used for anything other than a suit pocket decoration, they're pretty pricey. I, therefore,

My Dog Ate My Blog Post

I'm sorry, but there isn't going to be a post for today... My dog has managed to fall horribly sick, and it appears that one of the drawbacks to living in a small city is that unless your dog is dying , you can't get in to see the vet very quickly.  I have an appointment for the afternoon, but until then I'll have to keep a close watch on him. I'll be back tomorrow with more for you, but for now, hit my archives and see if you can find any fun craziness for yourself! Send good wishes for my dog, please!

Apples Galore!

Every time I head up toward my grandmother's house, I go home with a new and brilliant treasure.  Heading up for my sister's wedding was no exception! I got apples!!! Look at all that!  Wooooo!!! Alright, ok... I didn't actually bring all of that home.  Those are the apples that were picked long before I arrived.  We weren't able to come the week that they were picked, so I grabbed up many of the leftovers. That's a lot of leftovers, right?!  The basket on the far left is the one that I started to fill with gorgeous red and yellow fruit. So what kind of care goes into these glorious balls of joy? Well...  none.   No, really!  She has three trees in the yard, and the bugs and bees get to work on pollinating them.  Granted, if the region has been dry she'll give them a small amount of water, but she does nothing else.   And they're yummy! Part of the reason she doesn't have to do anything with them is probably due to th

Rustic Wedding Preparation

Must...  write... Go to the keyboard and... Press.  Those... keys... Unghhhhhh... Quick! Upload a photo for everyone!  You can do it, Rebecca! Oops... wrong one.  That's ok.  Nobody has to know that I cut across the grass of two different homes because I was running late... I'll just go with it... make something up.  Ummm... Hi, everyone! I got into my mother's car so that I could get to the rehearsal for my sister's wedding, when this gigantic green giant... it was a baby giant... twenty feet tall... stomped toward me through the grass.  I ran and hid inside the car, but then -  the baby giant saw that the car was a shiny red color.  It pushed the car across the grass, thinking it was a toy.  I was powerless to stop it. Yeah! That's exactly what happened! Ok, ok... As you can see, I've been in a rather unusual state of mind, preparing for my sister's wedding.  It amazes me just how little time a person has for anyt

Garden Mysteries and a Shrew

Squiggles on leaves? Unplanned growth? An underground civilization? Mysteries abound!!! I've decided to leave my raised garden in the backyard alone.  I've harvested everything that needs to be harvested, and it's time to let nature take over for the winter.  This doesn't mean I'm allowing it to go fallow, of course.  Aside from that not being very fun at all, it's not good for the soil. My original idea was to plant some clover that could be turned over in the spring, but I suppose Mother Nature felt I needed a rest, because yellow clover has started sprouting on its own. Leaves were left wherever they fell, because they'll help feed the soil as they decompose. Sweet! I'll be watering the soil in the raised garden every now and then, but otherwise I'm just going to leave it alone.  As you can see, the area has been pretty dry lately, so I'll need to get that done ASAP.  Otherwise, though, I really will be leaving it alo

Urban Edible Gardening: A Great Source of Info

Urban gardening is not an easy task.  At least, it's not easy when you've decided on edible gardening.  All sorts of things can go wrong. That task is made even more difficult when you rent your home.  You never know if you'll be in that same house (or apartment, etc.) the following year.  You have to make decisions that a home owner wouldn't have to worry about. Overwintering your strawberries, for example, needs to be done in a container, just in case you'll have to take them with you.  For that matter, with every perennial you buy, you have to decide whether or not it's worth the cost to keep it.  Can you place it in a container for next year?  Will you be in your home long enough to plant it in-ground? What does the landlord allow?  Can you have a pot full of corn stalks on your porch?  Are you stuck with tiny herbs, only?  Even worse, will the person you're renting from allow anything to be planted outside, container or not? Your not just