March 27, 2012

Pinterest Project: Lasagna Soup

I've been pretty good lately about making things that I find on Pinterest, especially the recipes. Today, I could not for the life of me figure out what I wanted to make for dinner. Off I went to my board entitled "Recipes to Try" and there it was. A lasagna soup by the Deen Brothers. It's a lighter version of one that their mom, Paula Deen, makes. It was delicious! The only change I made was using mini-penne instead of broken up lasagna noodles since I didn't have any.

As you can see, Henry enjoyed it thoroughly!

To give it a try for yourself, just go visit the Deen Brothers. It was simple and you'll probably have a lot of the ingredients on hand. Or at least things you could substitute easily. Enjoy!

March 25, 2012

Sunday Meditation

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”   
~Friedrich Nietzsche

March 24, 2012

March 23, 2012


I've been advocating "real" food for some time now. I've been trying to buy more whole organic foods, more natural, humanely raised meat, and less processed "food".  I have to admit, that I haven't always been as diligent as I should. Time for that to change! It's not always easy to find what you need in a grocery store. Even so-called organic groceries (please don't get me started on Whole Foods...) don't always carry real food.

What does this all mean, you wonder. You were wondering, weren't you? Well, it means that I'm going to start shopping in the European way. We've all seen the footage of the crowded market with its stands of locally produced goods. It's in that kind of place that you learn about your food, your culture and your neighbors. You shop for the week based on what is in season and abundant, not what's on sale or what sounded good to you while you were sitting at home. You buy the ingredients and then figure out the meals to use them. It's the reverse of every organizational/frugal living/meal planning site on the web. They all tell you to plan your meals months in advance and shop only when armed with the strictest list. Well, I'm not going to do it anymore! I'm going to embrace the seasonal market model of shopping. Once or twice a week, I'm going to venture to the market, pick out the products that look best that day and then take them home and cook with them. It will be difficult at first, but I love to cook and it's time to put my money where my mouth is. If I'm truly going to be a "real" foodie. This is the only way to do it.

I'm really excited for this new plan. I'll be sure to share my favorite producers and markets with you. Not to mention the recipes I use and create and the meals that come out of this grand plan. Stay tuned! The traditional markets will be opening soon and I will be the first one there. Until the seasonal markets open, I'll be using up the contents of my freezer and pantry to get them ready for all the good stuff that will be coming their way!

March 20, 2012


Here in my neck of the woods we seem to have skipped spring and headed straight for mid-summer. I don't take these strange weather patterns lightly, but I'll save that for another day. For today, let's simply celebrate the awakening earth and blooming flowers.

"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall."
  ~Nadine Stair

March 19, 2012

Updates: A Reality Check

When I started this blog about a year ago, I had a vision. Eventually, my family would have a little self-sufficient piece of land, not too far from a lovely city full of culture and awesome food, where I raised veggies and animals and baked everything from scratch while churning the butter and sewing the clothes. Yeah, I know...It's Laura Ingalls Wilder's fault. From the time I was a little girl, I loved her books and totally identified with that era and way of life. Then began this journey. Now, let's be clear, I have been killing houseplants since I can remember. My family has always teased be me about having a "brown thumb". But, I was sure I could conquer this whole gardening thing. Here's the thing, I don't enjoy it that much. Labor intensive crops are a waste of time for me. Gardening is not relaxing to me, as it is for so many. In addition, we love traveling and my garden suffers while we're gone. What is a girl to do...

Our kind of garden.

 This girl has simply readjusted her vision. Instead of labor intensive crops that are available at any farmer's market, I've switched over to low maintenance herbs, rhubarb and native strawberries. I've planted native blueberry and cherry bushes and I transplanted some wild raspberry bushes to a location better suited for growing and picking. I'm looking forward to trying out a technique I've seen all over the web for growing potatoes in a large container. I'll still be producing some of my own food and I'll be doing it on my own terms.

As for everything else, I bake bread on a regular basis, but I'll leave the butter churning to the folks at the small organic creamery that I've recently discovered. I'm still interested in, someday, having some chickens and maybe a beehive or two, but, for now, I'll content myself to support the local farmers and producers that are becoming easier to find every year. I still think about taking up sewing, but then I remember the "shirt" that I once made for Girl Scouts. It actually wasn't bad, but I'm not sure I want to do it on a regular basis.

As it was always meant to be, Living From Scratch is as much about expanding horizons and developing relationships as it is about anything else. We've grown closer and healthier over the last year and we will continue to do so. Even if I'm not churning the butter.

March 18, 2012

Sunday Meditation

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West

March 16, 2012

Pi Day Mini-Pies

Earlier this week geeks everywhere celebrated Pi Day. Pi Day is March 14 (3/14). Get it? Huh, do ya? Anyway, for all but the very geekiest, Pi day is mostly an excuse to eat pie. Some local pie places were even giving out free pie. Sadly, I was not able to get in on the free pie, so I had to make my own. I actually made tarts, but I prefer to call them mini-pies. After all, tart day seems like it would be something else all together...but I digress.

 There's not really a recipe here. I picked a pie crust recipe (which I'm not going to bother sharing, I didn't think it was that tasty, but recipes abound on the interwebs) and some fillings. I pressed the dough into greased muffin tins because I wanted my pies to look rustic, but you can roll out your dough and cut nice circles for a more refined look. Then I filled them with cherry and peach filling that I had left over from another project; use whatever you have on hand. I topped each pie with a heart I cut from the dough scraps and baked according to my dough's directions. Just watch the baking time since most recipes are for a whole pie.

Mini-pies are so simple to make that it would be a great Pi Day project for older children to do on their own. Smaller Pi fans can certainly help as well. Short on time? Go ahead and use prepared crust and fillings. I got seven mini-pies from a single crust recipe. You're number is going to vary depending on how thin you roll the crust, how big you make your shells and whether you choose to top them with crust or just go with a single crust. You could also use mini-muffin tins to make mini-mini-pies.

Don't worry about waiting a year to make these, either. They're a great little treat any time. Enjoy!

March 15, 2012

Leprechaun Hat

Looking for a simple project for the kids this St. Patrick's Day? This one is easy-peasy and will get you some wonderful time with your kids (or 15 minutes of break time, whichever you need more at the moment!)

1) Cover an oatmeal or tall baby formula can with green paper.
2) Add strap and buckle, if desired.
3) Decorate any way you want. I did a quick search for free printables and we cut those out and glued them on. Crayons, stickers, plastic doodads...they'll all work.

Last year, my son and I left ours out for the leprechauns to find. They made a bit of a mess as they left!

March 14, 2012

I'm Back!

I last posted on December 1st. I needed a blogging break. I was treating this blog like a job rather than the fun project it was supposed be and it was becoming a tiresome chore. So, I stopped. A funny thing happened, though. I missed it. I would do a project and think, "I wish I was blogging, so I could post about this". So here I am. I'm armed with a new attitude about writing and a whole bunch of new things to tell you about. I hope a few of you will come back and and start reading again. Maybe I'll even pick up a few new folks along the way.
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