Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yummy Yogurt!

I finally dragged the yogurt maker out of the basement, dusted it off, and put it to use! It was super easy to use and produced great results! I may be hooked.

The necessary tools: 
  • Handy dandy yogurt maker
  • Fresh local milk (Hildebrand is the best brand!)
  • Starter culture; I used the end of my store-bought yogurt, just make sure it has active cultures
  • I also added non-fat dry milk to thicken the non-fat milk that I used

I heated one quart of milk for this batch just until boiling with 1/3 cup of NFDM. It was then cooled down until the handy thermometer that came with the yogurt maker registered add starter. I'm sure there are more precise temperatures to follow, but this thing did all that work.

Put 2 large tablespoons of yogurt starter in one of the glass jars. Add warm milk and stir until smooth.

Combine all the milk and starter culture and pour into lovely glass jars.

Place in convenient yogurt maker, cover, and leave overnight or for 10 hours.

Tada! Finished yogurt after 10 hours in the machine and a day in the fridge. Yummy and delightful!

Just trying to stay alive

I spent the evening attempting to fill the cracks in my garden soil with water. I have this amazing giant patch of corn out there that I think may be one of the few things that will produce anything. I must keep it alive through this wretched heat and the only way to do that is to drown it with water. Like everybody else on this continent of North America we are experiencing excessive heat. It feels like the umpteenth day of 100 degree weather and it doesn't look to be letting up soon. My tomato plants are still alive although the majority of them are bare of tomatoes. I've learned that without cooler night time temperatures, the flowers simply will not set tomatoes. That would be the reason for my large plants with zero tomatoes on them. I'm still holding out that if I can keep them alive they will produce something once it cools down a bit. September perhaps?

After a long day yesterday judging baked goods at the Riley County Fair for 6.5 hours I decided today was going to be a sugar fast. My dinner consisted of vegetables.

Sauteed red potatoes and cauliflower with onions, garlic,
cumin seed, mustard seed, celery seed, and curry powder!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Busy Bees

This morning upon inspection of my garden I managed to find intruders. Many, many busy bees were hard at work pollinating my corn and playing in the giant pollen sticks. There were probably thousands of bees and they were simply amazing to watch. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Holy HOT!

Sunday we set a record for 111 degrees in Kansas! No wonder each time I went outside to hang my laundry I started sweating after 10 seconds in the heat. It is miserable, but the garden is still alive!

 My corn both in town and on the farm is giant! The stalks are literally way over 6 feet tall.

Okra is a coming!

My organic zucchini still surviving the squash bug attacks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


My half-marathon training has been going pretty well. I would say that although I haven't been following an official training schedule I've been gradually increasing the miles. I really need to start timing and pushing my runs, but it's easier to just increase miles at my super slow speed than actually think about running for time. Last Friday I went for the six miler and was super excited for the breakfast that followed. 

Egg, tomato, avocado sandwich with sauteed zucchini and onions!
 While dining outside as I continued to cool off on the sidewalk I was greeted by the neighborhood cat that hangs around. I had to shoe her way from my food many times but she's quite nice. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gorgeous Garlic

I successfully produced my first crop of garlic! It is going to be an amazing year with my garlic that I toiled to plant last fall and watch grow over this spring and summer. I did manage to learn a few important things, but overall I would call it a success!

I managed to leave them in the ground too long. I was thinking about two weeks ago they were probably ready, but then I never took the time to actually pull them. I thought they would be fine underneath all that mulch but even so they decide to split open when left in the ground too long. Note taken. 

I'm pretty proud of that giant beast right there. I had several that were super small also so I'm not sure if that's because of the varying sized cloves that I planted or location or what. Simple gorgeous.

Potato Beauty

This weekend I got to partake in some tailgating action with friends at a Kansas City Royal's baseball game. I would definitely have to say that I participate in watching most sporting events for the food that is always involved. Next time I might just forgo the expensive ticket and stay in the parking lot. Anyway, tailgating involves a grill and because I'm never in charge of putting meat on the grill I was in charge of the veggies. Most people would just make due to hot dogs and chips, but not me.

I was able to dig some of our potatoes and was pleasantly surprised with the beauty I found underground. I ordered these potatoes from Seed Savers this year and although I've been finding that they aren't big producers of potatoes, they are amazingly fabulous to look at and eat!

I added some olive oil, salt, and pepper and shoved them into a foil pocket on the grill. They cooked up real nice and tasty. I also added some sliced zucchini and onion on the grill for a nice veggie medley. Mmmm for quality fresh vegetables!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Focus on Fruits

Tomorrow I will be talking about my role as a Family Nutrition Program Assistant to our local Rotary club. I plan to show them just what great things I get to do and read them a book. I'm going to read Oliver's Fruit Salad. It has such a great message! You should definitely read it, but just to give you an idea why I love it so...

Oliver does not like fruit. He refuses to drink the fruit juice and canned fruits his mother gives him. All he can talk about is his grandpa's fruit that he grows. Oliver's mother takes him to the grocery store to pick out fresh fruits and after coming home he still does not want to eat them because his grandpa didn't grow them. Then grandpa comes and makes a fruit salad with him and Oliver decides to eat the salad.

This book has multiple meanings that I love.
  1. Once children see how fruits and veggies are actually grown, they are 10 billion times more likely to eat them. 
  2. Using their own hands to tend and harvest increases these chances even more.
  3. Children are more likely to eat foods that they have their hand in preparing as well.
  4. Family meal times are sooooo important. Children will eat the food that is put in front of them and when they see their elders eating healthy, they will too!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Check out my delightful dining experience of salad with a side of more salad. I'm in love with my bright golden beets and fresh cucumbers coming daily. I had some leftover coleslaw from my July 4th dinner which consisted of fresh harvested cabbage, red onions, carrots, walnuts, raisins, and a balsamic/oil/honey dressing.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Just some funky cucumbers.

It's about to get really funky in this house. We started the process of making sauerkraut with some cabbage that I harvested this week. We got out these antique kraut making jars from the basement and went to work with our cabbage.

Step 1: Adorn your favorite paper chefs hat and get to shredding cabbage. Thank God for apparatuses such as the food processor that shreds it nicely for you.

Step 2: Pack it into jars. Smash the cabbage in as much as you can. My fingers worked quite well compared to crippled fingered father and pretty nails mother.

 Step 3: Add 1 teaspoon salt to each jar.

Step 4: Pour boiling water to fill jars. Get air bubbles out using long chopstick like actions along edges of jar.

Step 5: Add a seal, probably only available in your local hometown store that carries everything, literally everything. These stores are 10 billions times better than Walmart, because not only do the people that run them actually know what an antique rubber seal for canning jars are, they know exactly where they are and they know your name. Not to mention they have run the store for 50+ years and if they are the epitome of supporting local.
Step 6: Place jars in a container to sit for 4-6 weeks. These will bubble over so it better be a good container to catch the juices. We put ours in a cooler and it sits in our back hallway for safe watching. 

Step 7: Wait for the aroma of fermenting cabbage to engulf your home. Thank God this is not going on in my home. Sorry parents.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Every year at harvest time I take the time to express my thanks to the farmers that work so hard year round. Growing up on the farm the harvest has always been a part of our lives but we've never been the actual farmers that complete it. When I was younger I remember making banana bread to take to the farmers in our fields. For the past several years making pies during harvest has been my tradition. Imagine that this year I almost forgot! The simple fact of being in town, I suppose that being removed from the sight of combines in the fields allowed me to merely forget that it was time for me to get out my pie baking skills. Not to worry, a little late is definitely better than never so yesterday I got out my skills and the cherries in the freezer and went to work. So thank you to all the farmers that work so hard so that I can be a happy baker and use the product of their toil!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Today I spent the entire morning working with a group of ladies as we are writing a grant for the Kansas Health Foundation Healthy Communities initiative. We are writing a planning grant in order to plan how we can make Dickinson County more accessible to healthy and active lifestyles. We looked at a lot of demographics and discussed many of the resources we have here in order to accomplish such thing. According to the numbers 31% of Dickinson County residents are obese. This is slightly above the Kansas average. 

After talking about health and wellness all morning long we decided a trip to Russel Stover's was necessary. You see they're having a 50% off sale because they're getting ready to remodel the warehouse store. Yes, that's right. We went to stock up on chocolate. It was a good deal.