Winter saves some space for gardeners to read. And, what else would we read about except food and gardening. So here are some great books to savor until spring; which we hope is right around the corner.
You will find these books and many more on my bookshelf.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver
This family spends a year getting back to the “simpler” life, eating only what they or others they know personally grow. Kingsolver writes the main material, her husband throws in a few sidebars with interesting facts and figures about agribusiness, and her daughter includes some great recipes. While she’s a bit preachy at times, and sometimes overly detailed explanations, her desire is really to help people get back to community sustainable agriculture, and she gives a vivid picture for how this has happened or her family.
The Winter Harvest Handbook: Four Season Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses, by Eliot Coleman
Barbara Damrosch (Photographer)
Choosing locally grown organic food is a sustainable living trend that's taken hold throughout North America. Celebrated farming expert Eliot Coleman helped start this movement with "The New Organic Grower" published 20 years ago. He continues to lead the way, pushing the limits of the harvest season while working his world-renowned organic farm in Harborside, Maine.
Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown
Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown—in an effort to simply survive—began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable,
Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Garden Diary: No Dig, Healthy Soil, Fewer Weeds, 2nd Edition2nd Edition
An illustrated full-color gardener’s journal with perpetual diary―75% advice on how to grow great crops, 25% writing space for each day of the year―a manual to inform and inspire, from a no-dig pioneer and one of Britain's most trusted vegetable gardeners
Here is a hidden gem called, “The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book: Secrets of the Famous Year-Round Mulch Method” by Ruth Stout.
This book was published when I was in high school and retailed for $1.25ish. I had to dig pretty deep to find a copy and ended up paying about $25 in an online second-hand shop.
If you are in a hurry to catch the drift of this woman’s unique method of gardening check out the actual video of her speaking to her simple method of a no-work garden at the top of the post.
And finally, from my favorite see company Prairie Road Organics a book called, “Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness” byLisa M. Hamilton
If you skip to the last chapters of this book, you will find the story of the Podall family from Fullerton. A century of industrialization has left our food system riddled with problems, yet for solutions we look to nutritionists and government agencies, scientists and chefs. Lisa M. Hamilton asks: Why not look to the people who grow our food?
So read on my friends. The books never stop at our house, even in the summer months.
I’ve heard it told that North Dakota does caramel rolls like no other state. We want to think so.
My recent post on rolls had many shares and yums and requests for the recipe. It’s common practice to share recipes. However, be warned that many of my recipes are for large batches indicative of the large families that needed to be fed by German-Russian mothers.
Speaking of mothers. I miss mine. One day I was fortunate enough to pull this recipe out of her recipe box. I plan to write my memoirs through her recipe box. It told my brother, Curt, that I don’t recall her ever talking about this recipe or sharing it. I guess later in life when one pays attention to such things, she was past doing everything by hand and began using Rhodes frozen bread dough for her rolls.
That was a mistake. In my mind anyway. This dough is soft and sweet and tender to the touch and the tummy. The finished rolls are delightful covered with creamy caramel – which I will share the recipe for that, and it’s not the one on the card.
It’s spring, and that means cleaning out the house. Oh wait, the housework remains, I’m cleaning out the freezer. There was an icy tub of vanilla ice cream with just enough left for two batches of rolls. Yep. That is correct. That Saturday I made my caramel with ice cream rather than real cream. When baking becomes art in your house you always improvise.
So, as promised here is the roll dough recipe passed along from someone to my mother, Lorraine Kaseman, to me. I hope to scan and share all her recipes with the next generation or two. Provided I can find the time.
1 cup sugar
¾ cup Crisco
Add 1.5 cups hot milk
And 1 cup water
Dissolved [sic] 3 yeast in ½ cup water.
1 teasp. Salt
About 8.5-9 cups flour Nutmeg (don’t ask I don't understand this additional word)
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup vanilla ice cream
½ cup butter
I doubled the caramel recipe, ran short and made an additional batch.
Bake these in 350° oven till browned on top. Be warned; if you stuff the pans with rolls, the caramel may run over in the oven.
I apologize to anyone who got caramel rolls that tasted like smoke last summer at the farmers market.
Thanks for reading my blog. Remember to listen to Prairie Public Radio Main Street Eats with Root Seller Sue every Thursday. Main Street begins at 3 p.m.
Everyone thinks about losing weight after Christmas. Or not.
It is winter in North Dakota and so we need a few extra carbs to get through these cold winter nights. After a good night's sleep, it's important to Break Your Fast by eating. Many people do not appreciate food - but some of us wake up and think, "I'm starving. What can I eat."
Time is precious in the morning, even with out children to get ready for school, I sometimes run out of time to eat a good breakfast. So, here are a few quick items to cook, and/or grab on your way out the door. Be sure and scroll all the way to the end to get some tips about easy morning smoothies.
1. Overnight Oats: Mix 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tbs. each chia and ground flax seeds. Mix well and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top with 1/2 cup organic berries and 2 tbs chopped raw almonds or walnuts. You can take this one to work and microwave for a hot cereal. If you make your own granola, you can use that instead of oats. YUMMMY goodness times two.
Omelets are the quickest hot breakfast around. It's even simpler if you prepare your toppings and grate your cheese the evening before.
2. Breakfast Tacos: Cook 2 eggs with chopped sausage, 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese and place in a sprouted grain tortilla and top with salsa (red or green) and 1/4 of an avocado or 2 tbs guacamole.
3. South of the Border Omelet: In a little coconut or olive oil, sauté chopped onion, Ortega chiles, tomato, and mushrooms until soft; add 3 whisked eggs and cook until bottom is set. Flip and cook 1 minute longer. Serve with 1 slice sprouted grain toast.
4. Berrylicious Smoothie: Combine 6 oz. tart cherry juice, 3/4 cup frozen organic mixed berries raspberries, 1 tbs chia seed, and 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, ice if necessary. Blend until smooth.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get that smoothie on in the morning.
1. Buy a Nutra Bullet. You will love it.
2. Take a quart of greek yogurt -- plain or vanilla. Mix in cinnamon to taste. Then spoon into silicone cookie molds. Freeze until solid.
3. Toast some oats. Yes, toasted oats have a richer flavor and you can easily do that in an oven set to about 300° in a high-sided cookie sheet.
4. Peel some bananas, or get those frozen bananas out of the freezer, peel and chunk.
5. Find those blueberries you purchased at the peak of summer and froze. Open a bag or two of those blue-tiful berries.
CLICK HERE for the article about Great Uncle Jake and his 105th birthday. He actually got to read it and sent me a note. I'm looking for that note.
By 9 a.m. Saturday morning, I was up to my elbows in homemade vegetable soup, a hand-knit sweater, and framing a photo for a wedding gift. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I turned on my cell phone. I think I was going to call my mother, instead, I found a message. My children maintain if I turn that phone on, it would be more useful. However, in spite of having a cell phone for nearly 10 years, it's mostly always off. In case of an emergency, it's on. On the other hand, my Uncle Ed uses his phone, and he has a computer with e-mail. The message was from him. He had called on Friday. I called him back right away.
"Do you want to go to a birthday party for a 105-year-old in South Dakota," he asked. It surprised me, because I didn't know what he was talking about.
"Uncle Jake," he said. "We are meeting your mom and dad in Wishek, and then driving to Bowdle." Darn. Looking at the mess in my house, and not being able to figure out how to leave it, I turned him down.
"Take pictures," I said, before hanging up. "Thanks for reminding me. I will go get the camera right now," he said. Sure enough, by Sunday evening I had e-mail with photos of Uncle Jake, my parents, some aunts and uncles, and the cake. Now, I'm not sure but I think Uncle Jake is my grandmother's brother because they have the same last name.
That would make him Uncle Ed's uncle and my, well.... You get the picture. We've never been able to decipher the second cousin, once removed, thing, so why try? The photos were great. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised. I remember seeing Uncle Jake at the family reunion in Bismarck about three years ago. Wow, he looks fantastic or as close to that as possible when you are over 100 years old. I'm sorry I didn't get the message any sooner, it would have been a great experience, and there may never be another chance. Hopefully, someone sent the photo to the Today Show and the Smucker's Jelly birthday segment because I do not know too many people who even think about living that long.
Uncle Ed said Uncle Jake's getting a little tired of celebrating birthdays and was commenting on how he'd rather everybody came to his funeral instead. Perhaps that's true. Think about the changes you have seen in your lifetime.
Then, think about the changes that have occurred in the past 105 years. In 1901, the Wright Brothers built a 17-foot glider. But, another man, Gustave Whitehead a Germany immigrant reported to authorities that he gained flight in his flying in a field in Fairfield, Connecticut. He stated that he was able to sustain flight where he gained an altitude of 200 feet and flew 1.5 miles just before dawn. "I was soaring above my fellow beings in a thing my own brain had evolved". The craft had two propellers driven by a 12 HP engine that weighed 54 lbs. There were no photos, so nothing could be proved. Between 1901 and 1904, Pablo Picasso was going through his Blue Period. He was painting with mostly blue colors in a style that was not recognized at the time - abstract art. In 1901, Marconi sent his first radio communication across the Atlantic Ocean, and King Gillette invented a safety razor with a disposable blade. Corn Flakes were not made until 1906. Zippers were invented in 1914, and the television came along in 1926. In was 1938 until the ballpoint pen was invented, so Uncle Jake must have written in pencil until he was 37 years old, unless he used a quill and I doubt that. In 1952, the transistor radio made music and news portable.
Now, we are able to have television on our phones, televisions, and laptops. Can you imagine how life has changed for Uncle Jake in 105 years? Heck, life has changed so much in my lifetime and I'm not even half his age...
Some days, I wonder what I did before a computer. There was no e-mail or Internet, no online banking, no e-books, music videos, or digital images. It was great. If I remember correctly, I gardened, canned, baked, and cooked to my heart's content. It was a great life. So, yes, I can see why Uncle Jake feels a bit like it's time to go home.
Uncle Ed said, "I've never met anyone who wants to home to heaven as much as Uncle Jake."
HERE is the link to the personal column I refer to in the following text.
I'm looking for something. A piece of paper with scrawling lines of pen. Uneven rows of words that provide a piece of the puzzle of my life.
It's nowhere to be found where I thought it should be found. I'll keep looking. For today, I would like to share another piece or two of that puzzle. A distant relative (please don't ask me to connect the dots) posted a photo of my father's Uncle Jake Schilling on Facebook. It's a great photo with a farmhouse and hollyhocks and loads of feelings tied to days of our youth.
She shared it with me. And, when I find that piece of paper with the note he wrote to me I will share it with her. My great Uncle Jake wrote that note to me after he read a personal column I wrote about what it must be like to celebrate 105 years of life. My biggest regret is not going to the party when Uncle Ed invited me.
I found the article. At one time printed on paper, now just x's and o's saved to my hard drive. With that article is the photo of Uncle Jake on his birthday.
It's been a year of loss so far. According to my father seven or eight of our relatives have passed away and two just this past week. A generational turnover of sorts.
In the early part of the year, I feel the need to do some spring cleaning. I've been sorting and stowing and throwing and then putting things back where they have not seen the light of day for many years. In particular the old letters I have saved. I can't seem to part with them.
We will talk about that later. Today, I would like to share my column and a couple of photos of my Great Uncle Jake Schilling. Just because that photo stirred up a memory in this recipe I call my life.
Valentines Day means roses and chocolate.
History of Chocolate in a nutshell from History of Chocolate -
Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America. The fruits are called pods, and each pod contains around 40 cacao beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans.
Mayan Chocolate: The Olmecs undoubtedly passed their cacao knowledge on to the Central American Mayans who not only consumed chocolate, they revered it. The Mayan written history mentions chocolate drinks being used in celebrations and to finalize important transactions.
Cacao Beans as Currency: The Aztecs took chocolate admiration to another level. They believed cacao was given to them by their gods. Like the Mayans, they enjoyed the caffeinated kick of hot or cold, spiced chocolate beverages in ornate containers, but they also used cacao beans as currency to buy food and other goods. In Aztec culture, cacao beans were considered more valuable than gold.
Spanish Hot Chocolate: There are conflicting reports about when chocolate arrived in Europe, although it’s agreed it first arrived in Spain. One story says Christopher Columbus discovered cacao beans after intercepting a trade ship on a journey to America and brought the beans back to Spain with him in 1502.
Chocolate in the American Colonies: Chocolate arrived in Florida on a Spanish ship in 1641. It’s thought the first American chocolate house opened in Boston in 1682. By 1773, cocoa beans were a major American colony import and people of all classes enjoyed chocolate.
Cacao Powder: When chocolate first came on the scene in Europe, it was a luxury only the rich could enjoy. But in 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered a way to treat cacao beans with alkaline salts to make powdered chocolate that was easier to mix with water.
The process became known as “Dutch processing,” and the chocolate produced called cacao powder or “Dutch cocoa.”
Nestle Chocolate Bars: For much of the 19th century, chocolate was enjoyed as a beverage; milk was often added instead of water. In 1847, British chocolatier J.S. Fry and Sons created the first chocolate bar molded from a paste made of sugar, chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter.
Chocolate Today: Most modern chocolate is highly-refined and mass-produced, although some chocolatiers still make their chocolate creations by hand and keep the ingredients as pure as possible. Chocolate is available to drink but is more often enjoyed as an edible confection or in desserts and baked goods.
While your average chocolate bar isn’t considered healthy, dark chocolate has earned its place as a heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich treat.
It's never too early to begin planning your garden. Instead of bemoaning the cold and snow, start thinking spring. Here is a short video of hints and tips for transplants and seeds using some common household items.
I have already placed and received two orders of seeds. I might have enough but without a doubt there's more to be found with all the seed catalogs that continue to come in the mail.
Have a question about your garden. Ask away. I would be happy to help.
Sounds ominous... but it's not.
It's coming on time to be planting our little seedlings. You will find many voices of advice out there on social media. Yes, voices of reason, but also all those "hacks" you see to make your gardening more simple. Well, here's what I think.
My spouse spends more time on Facebook than I do and so he sends me things like recipes and hints and tips to make my life easier.
We all do it in February or March whether full bore hundreds of seeds or just a windowsill garden. Some of the hacks for seedlings include egg cartons, egg shells, paper pots, etc. etc. His latest post was about planting seeds in ice cream cones. Oh, yes... they are inexpensive, but with all the rest of those crazy ideas, they are never quite thought through. Imagine this. An ice cream cone poses several problems.
It won't stand up on its own
What happens when a cone gets wet? Even only melted ice cream will create a huge mess, and you will never be able to get those cones out of the tray and into your garden in one piece.
So take this little tidbit of advice and watch the video on "pot rolling" on the home page of this website. And, stay tuned for more planting advice and photos as winter slips into spring - "Yippee the season of gardens."
Got questions, please don't hesitate to comment on this post, I will respond as soon as possible.
.The next two weeks find us talking about food trends on Main Street Eats with Ashley Thronberg and Doug Hamilton. It's kinda crazy and usually humans end up eating what they want anyway. However, you will find some stranger and stranger things on the shelves inyour supermarket so let's take a look at what's in and what's not for 2019.
This list came from the Whole Foods market list. It's based on what they are seeing people ask for and purchase as well as experiment. Where I come from, food was not too experimental, more basic ... but it's fun to try new things, so here's a few ideas to get your new year off to a flavorful start.
What’s in for foodies in 2019 (Whole Foods list)
Pacific Rim flavors
Jackfruit as an alternative to meat. I read that this can be used instead of barbecue pulled pork.
And, extract of Monk Fruit can be used in place of added sugar.
Everything pickled again makes the shelf. Of course, if you know me, you know that my probiotics come from the farm milk we drink, homemade kombucha and sauerkraut straight from the crock. With new strains of probiotics such as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 being created? Discovered? Manufacture? there are more shelf-stable products possible. Youwill find manufacturers are adding probiotics to other foods like granola, soup and nut butters.
Not only that there will be probiotics sunscreen, lotion and cleaning supplies. We had a lot to say about that including the fact that we agreed sauerkraut is shelf stable. So, is this just a ploy?
Nope, there was a minuet moment in my life when I used margarine for cookies. I blame it on being a stay-at-home mom with a limited income and two children. However, I just couldn't eat the stuff on bread. And, my pie crust always had lard in it. But a lot of people gave up butter (God Forbid) and lard and things they felt were not good for them. Hoever, fats are making a comeback, and the trendiest diets are on board. People are poo-poo-ing margarine and getting out the butter and lard.
Some popular ways to injest healthy fats (think grass-fed beef) are
Melt over medium-low heat.
When the whey floats to the top, skim it off. ...
When the milk fat sinks to the bottom and the butter turns clear, you've
made clarified butter.
When the milk fats brown and become fragrant, you've made ghee.
Variations on traditional meaty snacks like chicken chips and thin, crisped beef jerky.
Sorry, I like the traditional flavors and really have issues with chicken chips... ugh.
Next level hemp
(2019 Farm Bill legalizes industrial hemp production)
Here's a crop after my own heart. But we will save that for another story. It's in and coming on strong in all different directions. But this hemp is not to be confused with the kind that makes you high. Here's a web page that will inform you on the virtue of hemp to our farm industry. https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/history/.
Hemp will be broght to you way of hemp hearts, seeds and oils, body care products, foods, microgreens and fabrics. I have used hemp fabric, dyed hemp fabric and it is amazing.
Andalou Naturals has introduced hemp plant stem cells in their CannaCell body care collection. Non-cannabis-derived sources from the endocannabinoid system (which are named after the cannabis plant that inspired their discovery), like phytocannabinoids that exist in nature, are also becoming more visible and prevalent due to the growing trend. It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream, if not by wide distribution, then by word of mouth!
Faux meat snacks
We will just skip over this cause as my friend Annie says, “If you are going to abstain from eating meat, quit trying to fake it…or just eat the real thing.”
Thats correct, any good food trend addresses the issue of packaging. I can't believe how much packaging it takes to bring food and such to the general public. And, we don't even buy processed food at the store. YIKES.
Here's what you need to purchase/do.
• Banning straws,
• Recyclable straws
• Straw-less sipper cups
• FINALLY – bring your own mesh produce bags to market.
• Waxed canvas or silicone covers for bowls and wrapping sandwiches.
Trailblazing frozen treats
Okay, Ashley's dream topic - weird flavor ice cream. Yep you gotta listen to the second episode of food trends cause you are not going to believe what she has tried.
But you can surely get on board with these new ice cream flavors - avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water or ...
CocoWhip Soft Serve and ice creams with savory swirls of artisanal cheese. Who doesn't appreciate adding dairy to dairy.
Globally-inspired frozen desserts are taking the stage — possibly sparked by 2018’s mochi craze and that Thai rolled ice cream craze. Popsicles and gelatos won’t be left out of the fun — they’ll get some buzz with boozier infusions coming to market. Yep, you will be carded.
Marine munchies, beyond seaweed
What can I say? We are fairly land-locked here in the Northern Plains.
More takes on snacking nod to the comforting treats of your second grade lunchbox, with better ingredients. Portable snack packages will feature bites like prosciutto and aged mozzarella, and artisanal versions of classic snacks like cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Ingredient-conscious snack and treat makers are creating new packaged snacks that take us back to our treat-loving childhoods but with higher quality ingredients, some of which are updated to accommodate special diets.
NOTE: This year’s predictions came from Whole Foods Market’s culinary experts and industry leaders who source items and lead trend-spotting initiatives across the retailer’s more than 490 stores. The in-house specialists combine their expertise from all departments including cheese, specialty, grocery, meat, seafood, prepared foods, produce and body care when preparing the forward-looking trends report. READ it yourself right here.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.