Saturday, February 26, 2011

A pretty picture

Noëlle in the snow

We got a dusting of snow last night. The garden looks lovely, and so does Noëlle in her nice wool cape.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What to do with sour milk.

Florette'ette enjoys some pancakes.

So you know that big chain of natural food grocery stores? You know, the one that is sometimes jokingly dubbed, "Whole Paycheck?" We here at Smalltropolis like those stores. They have lots of interesting items and nice produce...but they must not keep their refrigerators cold enough because this is the third time we've gotten a jug of milk there that was just a bit off. Grr...

We don't live very close to any of those stores, so it's a real pain to return the milk. But what to do with a half gallon (or gallon—yikes!) of slightly sour, expensive organic milk?

We started by making Rieska, a delicious Finnish flatbread. RieskaWe used the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. It calls for 3 cups of buttermilk. Of course we used our sour milk! ( has a recipe on-line that's similar, though it only uses 2 cups of buttermilk.

Then we made a double batch of our favorite Buckwheat-Flaxseed Blueberry Pancakes. Get the recipe here from Delicious Living. After that, our sour milk was almost gone and we were completely stuffed!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

See your footprint?

Bear on black snow

A few years ago I met a woman from the South who had never seen snow before she moved here. We talked about how beautiful and enchanting snow is and how we both loved it. Eventually, predictably, the conversation turned to how snow in a big city looks after a few weeks on the ground. "Why would anyone do that to snow?" she said.
Her comment seemed charming, almost funny. Of course no one does that to snow. It just happens.

That’s what I thought then.

It’s easy to not see a link between what we do and what happens in the world and to the world. The result of any one action seems inconsequential, and undetectable: even the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is invisible from satellites.

But that doesn’t mean that our choices don’t have consequences. And that, maybe is the real magic of snow. For once, something can show us, quite literally in black and white, how we are polluting our world.

What’s the answer? There are certainly no big, easy ones, just a lot of little, sometimes difficult ones. But I believe before the world can collectively solve this, we have to all individually acknowledge our role in it. And that’s not easy. It goes back to the question, “Who would do that to snow?” And it requires a painful, honest answer for all of us:
“I would do that to snow.”


Monday, February 14, 2011

How to dry citrus peel

Dry your own citrus peel

The next time you're eating an orange, instead of throwing away the peel, why not dry it and use it in recipes or potpourri? It's easy to do!
It's best to use organic citrus, or at least wash it well.
Cut the fruit into large sections, removing the flesh. Scrape as much of the white pith off as you can. (A serrated grapefruit spoon works well here.) Then slice the peel into long thin strips. Place the strips in a warm, dry spot for a few days. When they're crisp and breakable, they're ready! Store in a dark, dry tin.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Make your own vegetable wash

Melvin's lunch

I love organic produce! OK, not really. It looks disgusting. But I love what comes with it. Check out this delectable aphid Ellie found in the lettuce today. If you don't know me, I'm Melvin. I eat bugs. So of course I hate pesticides! My fruit- and veggie-eating friends don't like them either. They're bad for you in so many ways. In fact, I heard an interview on NPR with Suzanne Somers—she's got a new book know, she's pretty but not as pretty as Ellie and Nellie...anyway, she thinks that avoiding toxins such as pesticides can even help with weight loss.

Of course, just as ladybugs are so much better than slugs, certain fruits and vegetables are preferable over others, as far as their pesticide levels. For example, you should just always buy organic apples but "conventional" onions are probably OK. And to make it easier, the Environmental Working Group has published a great little guide to cut out and take shopping with you.

But for those times you can't find organic, or it's too expensive, try this easy vegetable wash. It should get off at least some of the toxins. (Though it won't bring back any aphids. Sigh.)

In a new, washed spray bottle, mix:

1 T lemon juice
2 T vinegar
1 C water

Spray on fruits and vegetables. Let sit about five minutes. Depending on the produce, scrub with a brush or rub lightly. Rinse produce thoroughly and store the unused wash in the fridge.

Signed, Melvin
Melvin Mel'vin

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blizzard 2011

Nellie in the snow

For many people, last week's big snowstorm was mostly something to grumble about. It certainly did cause some problems. But, it was also a huge opportunity for fun! Here's my sister, Nellie, working her way up the huge drift in our backyard. She got all the way to the "tree line" it seems!

So, take a break from shoveling and enjoy the snow!

Nellie in the snow 2