Tag Archives: Simple Lives Thursday

Back to School

In a rare, photo-less post, I’d just like to take a minute to remind everyone to stop and smell the roses.  Mostly figuratively, but also literally if you get the chance.  As a school teacher I treasure the days of summer that seem to zip by all too quickly.  Labor Day rolls around and I must return to work.  And reality.  I’ve worked 12-hour days all week and gone to bed most nights by 9:00. 

Life is busy.  And crazy.  Your children will grow up quickly (trust me).  Your friends will move away.  So my Simple Life suggestions are these:

Hug your children.  Call your parents.  Next time the weather cooperates, drop everything that doesn’t need to be done this very instant and run to the beach or whatever makes you happy. 

Life is too short and time is too precious for you to watch it pass you by with the “need-tos”.

Happy Thursday.

If you’re not out enjoying the last of the summer weather, take a minute to check out the other suggestions for a simple life at the blog hop.

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Simple Lives Thursday

My Thursday posts on and off for a while have been “Stuff I Love”.   Now that I’ve joined the Simple Lives Thursday BlogHop, they’ve morphed a bit.  Sometimes the “Stuff I Love” is simple and the post can serve dual duty like last week’s Ecomower post.  Sometimes though, my simple posts don’t really involve “stuff”. 

Today’s post is completely “stuff” free, but is simple. When I say it is ‘simple’, the recipe is both easy and can fit into part of a simpler life of  “slower” home cooking without processed convenience foods.   My friend, Stephanie, always tells me my recipes are too fancy but I promise, anyone can make this. 

My husband and I went to Jamaica on a honeymoon twelve-and-a-half years ago.  The island was beautiful and romantic and we had an amazing time snorkeling, walking on the beach and enjoying the local cuisine.  We sipped endless cups of Blue Mountain coffee and sampled curried goat, pepper shrimp, pulled pork and endless plates of jerk chicken with rice and beans.

jerk chicken

jerk chicken with rice and beans

We pestered the locals for jerk recipes.  They wouldn’t divulge their secrets.  Finally we found a Jamaican woman willing to share with us her recipe for jerk chicken.  It’s actually more of a non-recipe.  I’m sure mine isn’t exactly the same but this is what has worked for me:

Jerk Chicken

  • One whole chicken or cut-up pieces of chicken.  (Today I used four thighs and four drumsticks from Olds Farm.)
  • garlic~ four cloves, crushed
  • scallion~ (I cut some green tops from my not-quite-ready to harvest onions.)
  • ginger~ one good-sized knob, minced
  • thyme~ I cut a clump off my plants bordering the patio
  • browning~ there is an actual “browning” sauce that you are supposed to use but I have used soy sauce for years with no ill effects
  • allspice~ four or five
  • scotch bonnet or Habanero pepper~ I never use chilies that hot; I used two of my little, purple, Bolivian chilies
  • oil~ olive or whatever you ordinarily cook with
  • beer or water~ Red Stripe would be most authentic, but use any beer you have handy or some water; enough to mostly cover the chicken while it marinates.
waiting

marinating chicken pieces

Mix it all up in a big bowl and let it marinate until you are ready to cook it.  The chicken can be grilled or baked but I usually grill mine.  Everything but the ginger, beer, soy sauce and allspice came from my yard except the chicken which came from my farmer-friend Joan who lives twenty minutes away.  If you don’t garden, you could easily find all the produce at almost any Farmers’ Market.  This can easily be prepared the night before and grilled when you are ready. 

I make a sauce that isn’t strictly authentic by pouring the marinade into a saucepan, adding some honey or sugar, molasses and ketchup and boiling until it is thick.  This can be done while the chicken is grilling.  If some of your family prefers hotter fare, more chilies can be added to the sauce without making the chicken itself fiery-hot.

I always serve my chicken with traditional rice and beans.  You can use canned beans, but if you are going to marinate your chicken overnight, I highly recommend you soak your own dry beans. 
Cook rice with water at a ratio of two cups water to 1 cup rice.  Salt to taste. (If you cook up a big pot of plain rice you can set aside and season half of it differently for another day’s dinner.)   Cook beans until tender and add to rice.  Pour a little milk into the rice/bean mixture, sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and simmer until the milk is absorbed.

Good food really can be simple.

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday and Family Food Fridays hop over to see what everyone else is doing to simplify their lives!

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Stuff I Love ~ My Ecomower

 

Reel Mower

Ecomower

Ecomower is a relatively new term.  Apparently, I’ve been ecomowing for years without knowing it. 

I bought my Scott’s reel mower a long time ago. Who’da thunk, I was ahead of the band wagon on this one!  I love it.  It’s quiet.  It’s cheap and clean because it doesn’t use any gas.  I don’t have to breathe exhaust fumes or have dirt and dust blown at me.  My mower is good exercise.  I even feel safe letting the kids push it around.  (I wouldn’t let them push around those deathtrap gas mowers.) 

stringy weeds

The bunnies LOVE plantain.

Ok, so it doesn’t do a great job with long weeds like those seedy pods on the plantain or dandelion flowers, but as long as I keep up on the lawn, it does a good job.  Besides, the chickens and bunnies help keep the taller weeds in check; they love plantains and dandelions.  I can’t say that I’d use my push mower if I had a VERY large lawn, but if I had a bigger yard, I’d probably have more gardens.  Or more fruit trees.  Or, a goat.  So, I guess even if I had a VERY large lawn, I would probably still use my ecomower.

This post is a part of Simple Lives Thursday.  Hop on over to see what everyone else is up to this week and find some great ways to simplify your life!

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Filed under frugality, gardening, green living

Fiona

Meet Fiona. 

Palomino Rabbit

Fiona enjoying some time in the yard.

Many of you will look at this post and think, “Aw, how cute!”  That is the natural instinct when one sees a bunny.  They are fluffy and sweet.  Generally, they are gentle and quiet.  If you are a gardener, you may be thinking, “What a pest!” or “Great fertilizer.”  But, as fellow blogger Annette of Sustainable Eats writes: Bunnies are Fluffy and So Much More

Some of you will read this post and decide not to come back.  That is because Fiona is the first step in my venture towards meat independence and another step towards more sustainable food.  I started by shopping at the Farmers’ Market.  I joined a CSA.  I got chickens and planted a garden.  I ordered, paid for and received half a hog from my friend Joan at Olds Farm and signed up for a raw goat milk share. (Mr. Hippie isn’t ready to let me get a goat.  Yet.)   I make yogurt, cheese and bread.  All these things help reduce my carbon footprint and my food miles.  They increase my self-sufficiency and make me feel better about where my food is coming from.

I have a friend who is a vegetarian because she doesn’t feel right eating meat if she can’t kill it herself.  She should feel that way.  We all should.  We come from a long line of hunter-gatherers.  We are designed to hunt and kill our own meat.  Somewhere down the line agriculture was developed.  This was a good thing.   It provided food security and allowed us to settle down and form commmunities.   Homo Sapiens  has been very succesful.  We are intelligent and learn fairly quickly how to do things as efficiently as possible. We learned to work together and trade with our neighbors for the things we didn’t have.  All these innovations have made life easier although I wouldn’t argue that it is simpler.  Most of us never kill an animal for food.  Some of us, mostly children, don’t realize that a hamburger was once a living, breathing entity.  There is such a disconnect between us and our food that we don’t have to think about the unpleasantry of actually killing the animal that provides sustenance.  We even have different names for slaughtered animals than we do for livestock.  Pigs are pork, cows are beef.  Even deer become venison. 

This post is not a rant about the ugliness of industrial agriculture or the wrongs of factory farms.  This is not a post to try and convince you that you should raise your own rabbits or chickens.  I know that not everyone can or will do that.   This post is about me making a conscious choice to know where my food comes from.  When three of our four chickens turned out to be roosters, I needed to make a decision.  I could find them foster homes or I could eat them.  Like my vegetarian friend that won’t eat meat because she can’t kill it, I knew that if I couldn’t eat those roos, I had no point eating chicken at all.  How can I justify walking into a grocery store to buy a plucked, cleaned chicken and eat it when I can’t eat my own?  I’ll admit that I didn’t personally slaughter those chickens.  I wasn’t ready yet but it was a first step which brought me closer to where I am now.

 Bunnies are fluffy and cute but throughout history they have been prized as a source of meat.  According to David Taylor in his Rabbit Handbook, “By medieval times, rabbits were much valued for their meat, skin and fur.  . . .  A fine buck rabbit fetched as high a price as a suckling pig.”  I buy rabbit meat from the Farmers’ Market.  I know where it came from and that it was treated well.  I also know that it is lean, high in protein and very “green”.  Rabbits are very efficient converters of plant material to meat so they put very little strain on our already stressed out food system.  But, rabbit meat is fairly expensive to buy.  It is often considered a gourmet or specialty meat so it demands a high market price.  I can raise my own rabbits for a relatively small investment. 

Fiona is a Palomino rabbit, a variety recommended for meat production.  Fiona will probably never be eaten but she is breeding stock for future rabbit meat.  Fiona is not old enough yet to sart breeding so this venture is on hold until then, but the foundation is in place.  Until then, I do have another source of fertilizer for my ever-expanding garden.  We went to the fair yesterday and picked out a young buck.  Nibbler is a “mutt” but has nice coloring, a good shape and will grow to a good size for a meat rabbit.  We’ll pick him up on Sunday, so you can meet him soon.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.  Hop on over and check out what everyone is doing.

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Filed under food, gardening, green living