Hello dear friends! Hope everyone had a jolly Mother's Day! We are having our April showers a month late here, but we can't complain when we compare it to all the storms other parts of the country are experiencing. The weather has been all over the map this week; one day the quintessential spring day, the next as hot as an August afternoon, another day so foggy you couldn't see across the street, and today it is so cold we need our lightweight winter coats. Didn't stop the tulips from blooming, though!
John B. Wells has a saying, "If you don't like what they're selling, quit buying it .". And the really applies to food as well as propaganda. By buying from local outlets, such as farmer's markets, roadside stands, and independently owned grocers, you not only saving money and being healthier, you are taking a stand against those gigantic corporations whose only objective is the bottom line. You never see Walmart sponsoring a little league team! We buy from a local butcher that has a sign stating that no meat comes from China or is mass produced. Our honey comes from a local aparian. There are numerous signs along the road for eggs, with the chickens happily rooting in the farmyard. We eat from our garden. At this time, the only thing it is producing is rhubarb and asparagus, so that is what we eat. We've had asparagus roasted twice, sauteed with garlic and once on a pizza with mushrooms. Plus we've given away several pounds to the neighbors. We never can or freeze it, because once spring is over, we are quite content not to see it for another year. Trying to come up with creative ways to use rhubarb is a challenge. This week we made strawberry-rhubarb iced tea, and although I'm not much of an iced tea drinker, I found it quite agreeable. Here's the recipe:
Strawberry-Rhubarb Iced Tea
2 C. rhubarb, diced
1 C. fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
6 C. brewed black tea
Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook until the rhubarb is soft. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add to the tea. Refrigerate. Add ice if desired.
Because we are tired of sweets, I found this savory way to use rhubarb (sorry about the poor picture):
Curried Lentil Rhubarb Stew
2 C. lentils
6 C. water
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
2 C. carrots, diced
2 C. sweet potatoes, pumpkins or winter squash, cubed
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 C. rhubarb. diced
pepper to taste
Combine all in a large saucepan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
Was this the most wonderful thing we ever ate? Probably not. But it wasn't bad and it used up some of the rhubarb. It's good served with flat bread and coconut chutney that we buy from the Indian food store, which is also a wonderful source for buying lentils. You can also find lentils cheaper in the foreign food aisle than in the aisle with dried beans usually.
Bare Bones Pantry
Someone asked me what I would buy if I only had $100 and needed to feed a family of four for three months. Lentils would be on my list, they are very filling. I'd also buy a 25 pound bag of flour, several bags of dried beans; such as navy, Great Northern, and pinto. A big container of oatmeal and cornmeal. A bag of sugar and a jar of yeast. A dozen cans of evaporated milk and tomatoes. A big bag of potatoes and carrots. A box of bacon ends and pieces. Oh! And a can of shortening . And assuming you were starting with nothing, I'd go to the dollar store and get some baking powder and spices such as chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, a seasoned salt and pepper. With that you could make lots of soups, baked beans, homemade bread and biscuits, pancakes, bean burritos, tortillas, hashes, pot pies, bean burgers, etc. It wouldn't be the most inspiring meals, but it would keep a family fed. If I had any money left over, I'd buy some sprouting mixtures so we could have something green once in a while. I would look under the cushions and dig up some change and go to the dollar store and buy a packet of lettuce seeds, also. Even if I had to dig some dirt from the side of the road and plant it in an old pan, I'd have a garden! What would you buy?
Regina of My Simple Life asked how I store all my our home-canned goods. Believe you me, storage in a tiny cottage that was built before the advent of closets can be challenging! We store bulk purchases of sugar, flour and oatmeal in food storage buckets that we hide under a large drop leaf table.
My clever blogging friend at Mornings Minion left a comment that she was making pillowcases from worn out sheets. You know how I love to repurpose things, so it got my wheels turning on ways to use worn sheets.
10 Ways To Use Worn Sheets
1. As Sharon suggested, you can make pillowcases from the good parts.
2. Since sheets usually wear in the center, you can cut them in up the middle and sew the good parts together. Hem all around the sides.
3. I made a nice petticoat from an old flannel sheet.
4. Make an apron.
5. Use the good parts for a binding on blankets.
6. Make valances.
7. Scraps can be used for patchwork.
8. Some of the patterns are very sweet. Here's some cute pillowcases that I picked up from estate sales for 10- 25 cents.
9. You can make little totes and pouches.
10. If they are badly worn, you can always use them for rags.
I also tear them into strips and set my hair in rag curls. They're easy to sleep on and gives you soft waves.
Talk about earthquakes in diverse places! Last weekend I was sitting up in my bed, knitting, when it began to vibrate. I kept thinking to myself, " This is how people describe earthquakes, but Michigan doesn't have earthquakes." Well low and behold! Michigan had a 4.2 earthquake! A very minor one to be sure, but pretty major for our state. The poor people in Nepal, weren't so lucky. Please keep them in your prayers and if you can, make a contribution to one of the relief organizations.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me
~ Matthew 25:40~
Thrifty Things We Did This Week
Ran bargained for a very good deal on a used truck. (our old truck is 16 years old and has over 250,000 miles)
Bought canning lids in bulk.
Harvested and ate asparagus and rhubarb.
Planted potatoes that we saved from last year's harvest.
Painted an ugly wooden knifebox with some craft paint I already had to make it look country-ish.
Cut out an apron from some yardage I bought at an estate sale for $1.50. (maybe this week I'll get around to sewing it)
Bought some children's books that look brand new from a yard sale for Christmas presents.
Washed all our quilts and hung them on the line to dry.
Bought some pretty pale yellow columbines for half price at Meijer's garden center.
Made rhubarb-strawberry wine for our Christmas hampers.
Walked, rather than drove to pick up the mail this week.
I leave you with a bouquet of daffodils.