Tag Archives: #8

Progress Report

Remember this?

101 in 1001

I do. Just over a year ago, I started my progress on these goals.

I haven’t done the greatest job of #9: Digitally document 101 in 1001 on a regular basis.

While I have been working on some of the goals, I haven’t been “digitally documenting” anything. So, to start off the year, here is a blanket post updating my progress, or lack of it on the 101.

 4.  Re-read the Harry Potter series.  Again. I have read some of these in the past year, but I can’t remember which. Or when. So, I’m not going to count my progress. I guess I’ll have to start over.
5. Read a book per month. I’ve read at least a book per month, but as with the Harry Potter series, details are sketchy so no real update here.

7. Write another article and have it published in a magazine. (2/4/11) (5/5/11) I actually have proof of when and where I did this!  The folks at edible Grande Traverse have been so great to me.  I really love their magazine (and them). Here is my latest article.
8.  Post 30 blog posts in 30 days. FAIL
9.  Digitally document 101 in 1001 on a regular basis.  (Photograph and document craft projects; summaries of less exciting activities.) EPIC FAIL
12. Write to my grandmothers every month. I have actually done a pretty good job of this. I sent cards, letters, and even magazines.

15.  Sew a set of snack bags similar to these my friend, Lindsey made. Does one count as a set??
18. Sew the apron that I bought fabric for in August.  Yay! I did this!  And, I have pictures to prove it.  Will post soon.
 21.  Make a HufflePuff themed something for Dylan.  Wow! I did this too.
22. Finish the scarf I started for Gwen on the Nifty-Knitter years ago. Define “finish”. It is as done as it can be. Somehow I have knitted it so that one color of yarn got used up faster than the other and the last row is a few inches short.  I’m torn.  Bind it off or frog it?
23. Learn how to turn heels and make a pair of socks.  This may never happen. I’ve learned that I can barely cast-on to needles this small let alone actually knit on them.  I’ve torn out the same two rows of a sock at least five times now.
 24. Make baby hats for my pregnant friends. Yes!

Um, no.

Yes, I have done most of the cooking tasks.  No, I don’t have proof.

Gardening/Urban Homestead/Around the House
48. Sift the compost bin. Yes! I think I even have pictures.

Canned lots, just not enough of the specific things needed to check off any of the things on the list.

61.Lose 25 pounds by day 101I never did get back down to the 147.8 that would have counted as completing this, but when I visited my Dr. in November (2011), I weighed in at 152 with a 22% body fat. Although I don’t completely agree with her, she told me I was at my ideal weight. According to this site, she’s correct. So, I’m counting this as finished.
62. Keep off the 25 lost pounds for the remaining 900 days. Does Christmas count? Aside from the holiday few that I put on and lost, so far so good.
 63. Run seven or more 5k races.  Ran the Leapin’ Leprechaun 27:17.09 Even though I haven’t really been running regularly, I did manage to complete three more races since I fell off the face of the blogosphere: Cherry Festival 5k (7/11); Zombie Run 5k (10/11); Turkey Trot (11/11).
68. Be able to complete 25 consecutive push-ups. Started this plan Yes! I can actually do 30 consecutively.  I’m now working on getting up to 50.  Today is push up day, so I better get on it.
70. Do yoga at least once a month. Attended class at Yoga for Health in January; practiced at Yen Yoga in February and March and joined Bikram when I joined the Roller Derby in April. Yes, I have done yoga at least once a month.
71. Fit into my skinny jeans. Yes, and Gwen’s skinny jeans, too!

76. Visit my parents at least twice a year. Yup. Went in November, and then back again for Christmas.  Even saw Gramma and Grampa while we were there.
77.  Take 5 camping trips. One.  Went to Dunegrass Music Festival in August and camped for the weekend.

Personal/Miscellaneous/Just for Fun
85. Pay off Bank of America Cards 86. Pay off Capital One Cards  87. Pay off Discover Card So, no real progress here, but Hubby and I have gone on a spending diet; more on that later.
90. Take my kids to the beach at least once a week all summer on each summer vacation Yes.  Some weeks we went nearly every day.
92. Try five new restaurants. So far, two. A mexican place in Detroit while we were at the Mitten Kitten Mash-Up roller derby tournament, and Harrington’s where we had “Christmas” dinner with dh’s friends. 
94. Have a date night with my hubby every month. Define “date”. We have been trying really hard to spend quality time together.  There were a few “real” dates that I’ll tell you about (or I won’t if I decide not to), but sometimes, around here going to Sam’s Club on sample day without any kids counts as a date.

Charitable Ventures
97.  Take the rest of the “extra” books to Goodwill/Women’s Resource. Done.
99. Clean out my closet every six months and donate my old clothing to Goodwill or Women’s Resource. So far, so good.

So, even though I haven’t done a great job of documenting things, I have been working on my 101.  As I mentioned yesterday, I hope to do a better job of posting this year. I have a post or two that I started and never finished that I should wrap up, and I have some 101 updates to work on, so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me soon!

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#39 ~ Bake Something Every Week: No-Egg Chocolate Cake

This morning Maggie asked about how the cake turned out.  So, here it is.

To be honest, not great.  But, it was my own fault.  The recipe is tried and true and came from a sitter Mr. Hippie and his brothers had when they were little.  He’s been baking it since he was old enough to cook with great success.  I however was in a hurry.  I rushed and didn’t give the cake enough time so the center wasn’t finished and of course, the cake collapsed.  My failure does not change the fact that this is a great recipe. It can be mixed in one bowl with minimal utensils and the result is a dense but not-too-rich chocolate cake. 

Eggless Chocolate Cake

  • 3 C. flour
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. cocoa
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. vinegar
  • 3/4 C. oil
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 2 C. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
Mix until well blended but do not over mix. 
Pour into a greased 9×13″ baking dish.
Bake 30-35 minutes. (Or, more importantly until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)

My cake failed for any number of reasons: 

  1. I halved it and baked it in a greased pie plate.
  2. I trusted that after 38 minutes the cake was done and didn’t test it with a toothpick.
  3. I screwed up some other variable at any point in the process.

Who knows.  Baking can be fickle.  The cake still tasted yummy even though it wasn’t pretty.

eggless chocolate cake

Collapsed. So sad.

So this isn’t the fanciest cake, but that wasn’t the point.  Someone had a sweet tooth and cake was the cure.  After baking up this cake Mr. Hippie and I pondered why people buy cake mixes.  If you can bake a cake in one bowl and only dirty a couple of measuring cups and spoons, why bother with a mix?  It doesn’t take any longer and tastes way better.

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The Year of Meat

One day while perusing Grow and Resist, I noticed a nifty little button ”CharcutePalooza”
she had added to her page.  It intrigued me, so I clicked it as I am oft prone to do. It took me to Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen where I learned more about Charcutepalooza and The Year of Meat.  I was deeply saddened to learn that I was too late to jump on the Meat Bandwagon.  Or was I? 

Much to my delight the challenge had been extended.  And, there are prizes.  Glamorous, wonderful prizes.  Okay, I won’t be winning this one.  It isn’t random.   The competition is fierce.  I am relatively new to the art of charcuterie and I take horrible pictures. 

However, I enjoy trying new things.  I like eating local food and prefer sustainably raised meats.  Homemade andouille sausage is amazing.  My husband eats more bacon than I thought was humanly possible.  Making my own sausage and bacon seems like a perfectly logical thing for me to do. 

I missed the deadline for the first post, Duck Prosciutto, but since I signed up late I can catch up later by making duck prosciutto before the end of the year as long as I complete the rest of the posts on time.  February’s challenge is bacon.  Hubby is happy, I’m happy, everyone wins. 

The recipes for the challenge come from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and CuringThe challenge isn’t just to write recipe posts about how  we make the meats, but to write posts about how the finished meats are used.  Watch for those posts on the 15th of each month from now until December.

Bacon is an excellent meat to start with; it couldn’t be easier. 

Look at the marbling on that pork belly!

So, I ordered a 2 lb. pork belly from Oleson’s Market and got to work.

Salt, pepper, sugar

Mixed up and ready to coat the meat.


First, get out the scale and measure 8 oz. of Kosher salt into a dish.
Add 4 oz. of brown sugar and a few turns of cracked pepper.
Mix it all together with a fork.

Dump the mixture into a baking dish and dredge the pork belly in it.

pork belly dredged in bacon salt

Pork dredged in seasonings and ready for the fridge.

Cover the pork belly and refrigerate for a week, flipping daily.

Are you excited yet?  Check back next week for the conclusion of this thrilling tale.


Filed under Charcutepalooza, food

Brined Pork Roast

So, I figured I have a half an hour to kill while the cake bakes.  I could go read Harry Potter, or I could try to get caught up on some of my posts.  I have goals after all.

Hubby has been laid off since Christmas.  While he’s been looking for jobs and applying for jobs, he’s probably going to be unemployed for a while.  Although the drop in income is going to be a struggle, it has been really wonderful having him home.  He’s been cooking and cleaning and doing laundry.  Ok, he always did the laundry, but sweeping the kitchen floor??

Last week I came home from work and was welcomed by a fragrant, savory aroma.  It was brine.  Hubby had been researching brines online all morning and finally came up with this:

  • 1/4 cup Champion Hill Honey
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 1/2 T. thyme
  • 1 1/2 T. parsley
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, skin and all (WHOLE garlic, not just a clove.)
  • 1 T. peppercorns
  • scant 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups water

Bring water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan.  Mince the herbs and crush the garlic and spices with a rolling-pin or a mortar and pestle.  Add all ingredients into the boiling water, stirring the honey until dissolved.  Bring the entire mixture to a boil and then let cool to at least room temperature before proceeding.

Once the brine has cooled, transfer brine to a large, non-reactive bowl and add a 2-ish pound pork roast.  Ours was from the half hog we got from Olds Farm late last summer.

Pork in brine

Brined pork steeping overnight.


Cover with a plate or other weight to keep the pork submerged.  Allow the meat to soak in the brine overnight.

After the pork has soaked overnight, remove the meat from its brine and blot it dry.  Let the pork rest for thirty minute before cooking. 

brined pork

Pork brined overnight

 Cook at 350 degrees until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.  (This took almost an hour, but I started checking every ten minutes after the first thirty.  Let the roast rest for ten minute before serving.

Fully cooked and ready to serve.

This brined pork was delicious!  It stayed very moist and the flavor was incredible.   We’ve already discussed trying other herb and spice combinations but have decided that if we try this particular recipe again we will cut the salt by about half.

Since the pork came from a local hog, it was a perfect Dark Days Dinner when served with my Homemade Gnocchi in cream sauce:

  • Wash about 2 lbs. of redskin potatoes (Westmaas Farms), stab each with a fork a few times and bake until fully cooked.
  • Scoop the insides from the potato skins and deposit them into a bowl. 
  • Run the potatoes through a ricer or food mill.
  • Mix the potatoes with 2 beaten egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups flour (spelt; Organic Bean and Grain) and a pinch of salt.
  • Stir until pliable and roll into 3/4″ tubes.
  • Cut the tubes into 1″ pieces.
  • Pinch each piece to create dimples and drop onto a plate. 
  • Freeze the gnocchi until firm.
  • Cook by dropping into salted, boiling water until the dumplings float or store individually frozen gnocchi in an air-tight container for several months.
Pork with homemade gnocchi

Roasted brined pork with homemade gnocchis in garlic cream sauce.

After the gnocchis were boiled I dropped them into a hot skillet with a Tablespoon of butter, sprinkled them with a Tablespoon of flour and slowly stirred in Shetler’s heavy cream until a thick “Alfredo” sauce was formed.  You could add whatever herbs and spices you like to the sauce but I just added salt, pepper and a little minced garlic.


Filed under 101 in 1001, Dark Days, food


Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  I have.  That’s where I seem to be now.  I started the year out blogging like crazy and fired up on my 101 in 1001 challenge.  I’m still fired up about the challenge, but that’s kind of where the rut started.  I have posts started that will document things after they are finished, but they are in progress.  I’ve also taken pictures of lots of things.  Food mostly. 

But, I’ve been busy working on the list.  Baking.  And cooking.  And reading.  I’ve finished both the books that I had borrowed from friends (#3) and started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. ( #4)  

I’ve also been running three days a week (#60)  and commenting daily on other blogs (#8) despite being sick on and off for most of this month.  I wrote another magazine article which should go to print soon (#7) and I’ve written to my grandmothers twice (12).

I started a backpack for Gwen (#29) and bought the fabric for the laptop case (#27).

I registered for a 10k (#65; the Bayshore, May 2011) and attended yoga (#70).

So, I’m here.  And I’m busy.  And I have lots of posts up my sleeve.  I’m hoping to get 30 posts done in 30 days, but that would mean a crazy day filled with posts in the next day or two and I’m not sure I’m up to it. 

 ‘Cause. I’m. Feelin’. Stuck.

Any advice?  I’m off to bake a cake (#39).  And take pictures of it.  Maybe if I get unstuck I’ll even post it.

Until next time,



Filed under 101 in 1001, Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

January Spice Rack Challenge: Rosemary 3 Ways

I found several different recipes that I wanted to try for this month’s Spice Rack Challenge but in addition to the Spice Rack Challenge, I still have my 101 in 1001 to think about.  So, I opted for recipes that would allow me to do double duty.  Cheating?  Maybe.  Efficient?  Definitely.   Besides, is it cheating if I do three posts with three different rosemary recipes?

Buffalo Stroganoff with Rosemary and Morels over Homemade Pasta


All three recipes turned out great.  First I made homemade pasta with rosemary, garlic and cracked pepper.  Several days later I used the pasta as a base for a Dark Days dinner of Buffalo Stroganoff with Rosemary and Morel Mushrooms.

Finished Rosemary-Lemon Marmalade

 I also made Rosemary/Meyer Lemon Marmalade.  I can honestly say it was the best marmalade I have ever made.  It was part of Tigress’ Can Jam round up last year and originally came from Prospect the Pantry.  I should share this marmalade, but I think I will end up hoarding it.

I also made Rosemary Lemon Muffins.  I intended to make Rosemary Lemon cupcakes, but I toyed with the recipe and ended up with more of a muffin.  I found three different recipes for lemon cupcakes and married them.  The result is a light but sweet rosemary/lemon corn muffin.  The flavor is excellent and I think I will make them again, but I will go back to the original recipes and tinker a little more first.

Rosemary/Lemon Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick real butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups corn flour (flour, not the grittier meal)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest from 2 lemons, divided
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 T. fresh minced rosemary, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream melted butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly after each.  In a separate bowl combine flours, salt and baking soda.  Alternately add 1/3 of dry ingredients and 1/3 milk to wet ingredients mixing after each addition.  Add lemon juice, half the minced rosemary and half the zest; mix for one minute more.

Ready for the oven


Combine remaining zest, rosemary and 1/3 cup sugar.  Reserve.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.  Fill each tin half full. Sprinkle Rosemary-Lemon Sugar onto each muffin.  Bake 17-20 minutes.

Rosemary Lemon Muffin

I used jumbo muffin tins so mine needed to cook 23 minutes.

Feeling inspired?  Have a good rosemary recipe?  There’s still time for you to join the Spice Rack Challenge.  Hop on over to Mother’s Kitchen to sign up and post your recipe before Friday January 21st.


Filed under canning, food

Dark Days Dinner: Buffalo Stroganoff with Rosemary and Morels over Rosemary Pasta

Stroganoff is a classic dish.  I don’t think I have ever followed a recipe for it the way I was supposed to.  Some things require recipes.  Baking for example is science.  You can’t mess with chemistry and have it work out the same every time.  Sauces are different.  You can play with the seasonings, adjust the thickener or the cook time and it’s all good.  So, as usual my “recipe” is more of a set of guidelines to follow.

Buffalo Stroganoff with Rosemary and Morels over Homemade Pasta

Buffalo Stroganoff with Morels

  • Cube a buffalo sirloin steak (8-10 oz.) and place the chunks in a non-reactive dish.  Cover the steak chunks with plain yogurt (about a cup and a half, but enough to cover all the pieces)  Allow the meat to tenderize for 4-6 hours.
  • Heat a cup of stock (I used homemade chicken, but beef would probably be better.)  Add 8-10 dried morel mushrooms to the stock and allow to soak while meat tenderizes.
  • Sautee a small, diced onion and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic in hot oil.
  • Add sirloin to skillet (reserve yogurt) and sautee until browned.  Add salt and pepper to taste and about a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary.
  • Roughly chop morels and add them to the pan (reserve stock).
  • Sautee until heated through and add enough flour to thoroughly coat meat and mushrooms. (Probably about a half cup.)
  • Turn heat to high and add stock reserved from mushrooms stirring continuously to avoid clumping.
  • Reduce heat and add reserved yogurt.
  • Add a cup of heavy cream and simmer until thickened.  Add another half cup or so of yogurt to tang up the sauce.
  • Serve over hot egg noodles or homemade pasta.  I served ours on homemade rosemary garlic pasta.


Filed under Dark Days, food

#57 ~ Can my way Through Tigress’ 2010 Can Jam: (January/Citrus) Rosemary-Meyer Lemon Marmalade

If you have never canned before, Tigress has lots of inspiration and information to get you started.  If you are a seasoned canner, she has more recipes linked/posted than you’ll probably ever be able to can!  Last year I participated in Tigress’ 2010 Can Jam.  All my recipes are here if you’re interested.  I tried lots of things I wouldn’t have tried without the motivation of a blog challenge.  Some of them I’ll definitely make again like Herbed Strawberry-Balsamic Jam.  Others like my Lemon-Ginger Marmalade will be passed over (or at least modified before they are tried again).

This year Tigress has a different plan so we are, so far, Can Jam-less.  I still want to can regularly and I still sometimes need a little extra motivation so I decided that canning my way through the old recipes would be a good way to keep going.

My inspiration for January’s challenge comes from Prospect: The Pantry.  She tried Meyer Lemon Marmalade three ways.  All three varieties sounded delicious to me but the featured spice for the January 2011 Spice Rack Challenge is rosemary so this seemed like the natural choice.  Besides, as much as I love ginger, I tried a lemon-ginger marmalade last year.

Rosemary-Meyer Lemon Marmalade

About 8 Meyer Lemons (yields ~ 3 cups sliced)
1 7/8 cups water
About 2 1/4 cups sugar
Fresh rosemary sprigs

Lemons and Rosemary

Prepare the lemons.  Wash them and quarter them lengthwise.  Remove the seeds and the pith from the center; set aside for later.  Slice the quarters into 1/8″ slices.

Combine the lemon slices and about 1 7/8 cup water in a large saucepan.  Add a large (2-3″) sprig of rosemary to the pot, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Cook for 5 minutes, cool, cover and set aside overnight in the refrigerator. I actually let mine steep for three days because I couldn’t get back to it any sooner.

Place a saucer in the freezer to test for set later. 

Prepare boiling water bath and clean jars/lids.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the lemon slices and add it to the seeds you have saved.  Return the pan to the stove and simmer about 15 minutes.   Measure the lemon mixture and add 3/4 cup sugar for every cup of lemons.  I had three cups of lemon/juice so I added 2 1/4 cups of sugar.  Wrap the reserved seeds and the rosemary sprig in a section of cheesecloth and tie it with a string. Put the lemons, sugar and cheesecloth into the pan and cook at a medium boil for about 25 minutes or until a spoonful of marmalade dropped onto the frozen saucer doesn’t run.

Finished Rosemary-Lemon Marmalade

Remove the cheesecloth and ladle marmalade into hot jars.  Process in boiling water bath for ten minutes.  Turn off stove and let jars rest in bath for 5 minutes.  Remove to counter to cool undisturbed.

This recipe made three half-pint jars plus enough left over for me to sample.  I’m glad I tried this recipe because after last year’s trials with marmalade I was close to giving up.  The set is perfect on this batch and the flavor is wonderful like lemonade in a jar.  The rosemary flavor is very subtle.  If Meyer Lemons weren’t SO expensive I’d go buy some and make another batch right now.


Filed under 101 in 1001, canning

#37 ~ Homemade (Rosemary Garlic) Pasta

When I decided to make homemade pasta every month I didn’t realize Mr. Hippie would get involved, but tonight’s pasta was his idea!  We made two batches because the pasta maker, like the meat grinder is a pain to clean.  The first batch we made exactly like the last batch.  The second batch however, I wanted to use for the Spice Rack Challenge so we modified it a little.

Sheet of rosemary pasta waiting to be cut.

When we got to the hand-kneading step (#8), we cut the dough in half.  One half we treated just as the original recipe.  To the other half we added a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary, a clove of minced garlic and a turn of cracked pepper from the pepper mill. All the other steps were exactly the same. 

Waiting for their turn in the dehydrator.

However, with twice as much pasta to dry, we needed to find a way to speed up the process.  After a little internet research I decided that the dehydrator would help with this.  We put pasta on the racks and dried it for about an hour instead of letting it sit out overnight like I did last time.  It kept us busy adding and removing pasta from the machine all night, but we finished our pasta in a day instead of two and I didn’t have noodles hanging all over my kitchen.

The pasta is fragrant and delicious.  We could have easily doubled the amount of rosemary in the recipe, but rosemary can be overpowering and I didn’t want to ruin a whole batch of homemade pasta.


Filed under 101 in 1001, food

#39 ~ Bake Something Every Week: Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Adam loves pumpkin pie.  I myself prefer apple, but I am a good wife so I baked pumpkin.  I wanted this recipe to be Dark Days friendly, so even though I have canned pumpkin and  canned sweetened condensed milk, I used pumpkin from the freezer and local cream instead.


  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka*

Combine flour, salt and butter in mixer.  Blend ’til crumbly.  Add chilled vodka* 1 T. at a time until mixture comes together in a ball.  Roll crust out on floured counter and place in pie plate.


  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups Shetler’s heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup granualted plus a T. Michigan molasses)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. 
Pour into prepared pie crust. 
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 350. 
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Let pie rest for at least 2 hours before serving.

Mmm. Breakfast.

The pie baked up really nicely.  It stayed light and wasn’t too shallow for my deep pie pan.  The slices kept their shape and everyone seems to like it.  Bubba commented that it was too sweet so I think I will reduce the sugar next time but it is really delicious.  And no, you can’t taste the vodka in the crust.

* I used Stolichnaya Vodka.  No, it isn’t local.  Yes, we have a local distillery.  Someday I will try our local vodka, but I am loyal to Stoli.

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