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The Essential Book of Homesteading
















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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nice & Easy

One of our favorite “it’s-far-too-ungodly-hot-to-even-look-at-the-stove” go-to eats during the dog days of summer is rotisserie chicken salad. After picking up a cooked bird from our nearby natural foods store, we’ll strip the meat off and blend it any of different ways. On my birthday, Hubs did it up with a curried spice blend, and then served it on fresh wheat bread slathered in mango chutney. HEAVEN!

The other night, we took our chicken to the Mediterranean, partnering it up with olives, cherries, cashews, capers, olive oil, and lemon. For a bit of heat, we added harissa, a chili sauce commonly found in North African cuisine (if you don’t have harissa, but still want to feel the burn, just use Tabasco instead).

Here’s the recipe, should the urge for a nice and easy cook-free meal strike you!

Moroccan Cherry Chicken Salad
The Goods:
The meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and cut into small bite-sized bits
6 olives, sliced
6 cherries, diced
2-ish tablespoons cashew pieces
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon harissa
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of one lemon.
Moroccan spice blend*
*We use a concoction from Urban Accents. It’s grand. Lacking that, toss in about 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon mint, dried or fresh.

The Deal:

Mix the ingredients well.
Serve with fresh tomatoes as a sandwich, in a pita, or over lettuce.

Get Out the Vote

So, here it is, folks. I decided to enter small measure in Country Living magazine’s 1st ever Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards. Out of the variety of categories entrants can select, I chose “Green.”

There’s no big reward involved for the winner, aside from a shout-out in the magazine and a trip to the awards ceremony in NYC. This blog (and my books) is simply my labor of love, and I really, truly love what I do, so I figured, if you love something, why not share the love, compounding it in the process? Also, I’m totally digging Country Living’s content and style recently. It highlights the best of what’s considered “country” today without the customary preciousness or cuteness, which I vibe with. Anyone else out there feeling me?

I’m not going to beg, or plead, or grovel for your vote. I’ll simply leave it at, I’ve entered, and, if you like what I do around here, and you feel so inclined, you can nominate me here.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone. I know that most of you are sweating like beasts under a sweltering sun (except for you, Pacific northwest, which I’m currently eyeing with a very, very green eye!). Do whatever you’ve got to do to keep cool, please.

We don’t have a.c. in our house, aside from a window unit in the bedroom (because hot babies do not make for sleeping babies!), so I know firsthand just how rough it is. Stay hydrated, find a creek or lake or river or pond or ocean or kiddie pool (our route!) and get your chill on, eat ice cream, make gazpacho (or the Cucumber, Dill & Yogurt Soup in my Home Dairy book!) and take it nice and slow and easy!!!

It’s Settle(ment)ed!

They love me in Jamestown! The first permanent English Colony, founded in Virginia in 1607, has my entire series available for purchase in their gift shop.

Thank you SO MUCH to Doug, aka the “Haphazard Countryman” (the voice behind Concrete to Chickens) for snapping this photo and sending it to me.
I spent 8 very formative years in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia, traveling often with family and schools to Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg to visit the historical sites. The fact that my series is now being carried in and supported by somewhere that is so tied to my childhood means more than words can express.

Dreamers Into Doers (+ Giveaway!!!)

I got my first taste of canning as a wee lass, watching my grandmother “Nanny” (a sassy thing, turning a young 86 in August!) transform her garden cukes into bread & butter pickles and her grapes into violet-tinged juice.

If canning wasn’t part of your family’s culinary background, however, and the recent resurgence of interest in this means of preservation has got you intrigued, I’ve got just the thing for you. The fine folks at Jardin (the maker of Ball canning products) sent me a complimentary assortment of their wares, including all of those pictured above. In case you can’t make them all out, there’s: an impressive jar lifter; a ‘nifty’ (one of my Pop’s favorite words!) canning funnel; a great book of recipes from Ball; sample packets of pectin and salsa seasoning; and a “Home Canning Discovery Kit”, which includes a plastic basket used for lifting jars safely in and out of the boiling water bath and 3 pint jars with lids and screw bands. These items will help transform all of you canning dreamers out there into doers.

And I’m giving it all away to one lucky small measure reader. Even if you’re already deft with a water bath and can wield a jar lifter with the ease that comes from experience, feel free to enter the giveaway. These items will equally inspire, and assist, newbies and old-schoolers alike.

To enter the giveaway, simple leave a comment below describing what tempts you about canning. If you’re already canning, what brings you back? If it’s something you’ve longed to do, why? I’ll go first.

For me, it’s time in a bottle. When cherries are on sale here, or I pick a mess of blueberries from wild bushes up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or a bumper crop of cucumbers show up at the farmer’s market (or, even better, in my garden), I know just what to do with them. Freezing isn’t much of an option for me. Not only do some things not freeze well, but, having been privy to one too many extended periods without electricity out here, and not owning a generator, a freezer just wouldn’t cut the mustard for my preservation needs (when pine trees fall on power lines during snow storms and you live one mile down a snow-covered dirt road, the utility companies out here, I’ve learned, sort of think you’re the type of person who can handle power outages longer than the “city folk” can). Canning these items, though, holds them in suspended animation, keeps ’em fresh and delicious, and ensures I can enjoy pickled cherries when the snow falls, or slather blueberry jam on my Christmas morning toast. That’s why I answer the siren song.

Et tu? What beckons you? Please be sure to leave a means of reaching you, either by listing your e-mail address or website/blog, in your comment (if your profile link contains that info, that’ll do). I’m open to international commenters if you’re open to considering splitting the shipping costs. The giveaway will run through next Friday, July 29th, at midnight EST.

Urban Cheesecraft

Check out this fantastic profile of Claudia Lucero on Etsy’s blog. She’s the force behind Urban Cheesecraft and is one of the lovely dairy-makers profiled in my Home Dairy book.

P.S. When not transforming milk into cheese, Claudia works at a rock ‘n roll camp for young girls. Is she not quite possibly the coolest person you’ve ever heard of???