Cloudy Sunday

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A look at next spring’s asparagus.

The calendar shows it’s still fall, but it feels more like winter has arrived. The garden’s done for this year. All that’s left to do is wait for January seed catalogs to arrive.

Other People’s Recipes: Blueberry Muffins Redux

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Epic fail. They don’t look unappetizing. And they taste good. But something’s wrong with the texture of these blueberry muffins.

As usual, I used ingredients from several different recipes–including the two muffins I blogged about previously.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (from the dairy case, not canned)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 cup blueberries

Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until incorporated. I hadn’t planned to use so much coconut milk, but the dough seemed too thick, so I kept adding, a quarter cup at a time.

Add the blueberries last, then spoon into a 12 cup muffin tin. I’ve used parchment paper muffin cups to prevent sticking, but these fell out of the papers when I took them out of the oven.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

The flavor was spot on. Lemony with pops of luscious blueberries. But the muffin turned out the way it looked. Dry and grainy, and sort of unpleasant on the tongue.

This recipe also made about twice as much dough as needed for 12 muffins. I spooned the rest in a thin layer into a loaf pan. The loaf’s texture was a tad better, but not by much.

Less of the flours? Omit the baking soda? Another egg?

Your thoughts?

Other People’s Recipes: Almost-Paleo, Almost-Waffles

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In December 2018, I will have owned my waffle iron for 50 years. Yes, it still works as well as it did in 1968. Made in America. But already I digress.

For the last 25 years or so, I’ve made an overnight yeasted waffle that is to die for.  My print copy of the recipe is stained yellow with age and spilled ingredients. If you’re still using wheat, Google Overnight Yeast Waffle. Many different versions. Most are good.

Although take a tip from my hard drive copy, which includes this note: DON’T ADD BAKING SODA BEFORE COOKING. Many of the newer versions give the dough an added pop with last-minute baking soda. Not necessary.

But …

I’ve given up grains for the duration. I’m eating like a caveperson. Almost. But I really, really wanted waffles for breakfast, necessitating a different kind of Google search.

Paleo waffles.

Again, I found many different versions. Some made with coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour or plantains. Some made with coconut oil and coconut milk. Or water. Or ghee. Two, three or six eggs. What to do?

Here’s the list of ingredients I ended up with:

  • 1 cup fine ground almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 TBSP ground flax and chia mixed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 whole eggs (do not separate)
  • 4 TBSP or ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup Lactaid 2 percent milk
  • 1 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

A lot of recipes call for the addition of honey or maple syrup. Since I like pure maple syrup or jam or fruit ON the waffles, I didn’t add sweetener to the dough.

The method is what you’d expect. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix all the wet ingredients together. Be careful to cool the melted butter before adding it to the eggs.  Then mix dry and wet ingredients together until incorporated. Don’t overmix.

Follow your usual process for using the waffle iron. I used a bit more than 1/2 cup of dough per waffle, ending up with a thick waffle that didn’t quite make a perfect round.

The recipe is ALMOST Paleo because it contains dairy. For the Paleo purists among you, replace the milk with coconut or almond milk, although I have my doubts that Paleolithic humans had access to these substances.

And why do I call these ALMOST waffles? Jim called them ‘light and fluffy’ and scarfed them down. I found them somewhat dry and not-to-be-compared with my yeast waffles. But they did satisfy that I-need-a-waffle craving.

I may have to try Einkorn wheat—the wild wheat cultivated about 30,000 years ago—with yeast and see what happens. Definitely not Paleo, but genetically different—better?—than modern wheat.

 

An Overabundance of Sedum

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About ten years ago, I planted two sedums–an Autumn Joy and a Brilliant–in my front flower bed. Within five years, I had sedums in every available flower bed, plus some given to friends and family, plus a donation to the local Extension office garden.

This year, as I contemplate dividing irises and daylilies, I look at my overgrown sedum and wonder. What the heck will I do with it?

For those who don’t know, you can tell when a perennial is too big by the ‘donut’ it forms in the plant’s center. While weeding this morning, I asked my husband to chop out half of three sedum plants–the wrong way to divide them–and then to throw the carcasses on the burn pile. Waste of a perfectly good perennial.

But what else to do with them? What if I planted sedum in the culvert that’s so difficult to mow? Or what if I started replacing my ‘lawn’ with sedum? We could have a river of mauve and bright pink for two weeks every fall. Maybe I should pot up divisions and sell them. I should do that for daylilies and irises too. I could start a new business …

Nah.

 

Anniversary Sunday

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The photo was taken 23 years ago, the day Jim and I officially joined forces. Like it was yesterday except that cameras are much better now. And that hat. Luckily, I had those humungous glasses to keep the hat from covering my eyes. Jim looks good, though. And the handsome young man behind us is son Gordon.

Good Bugs

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WARNING

Graphic descriptions of encounters with our exoskeletal frenemies.

 

Anyone who knows me also knows I have a thing about bugs … uh … insects.

I’ve had more adventures with bugs than I care to think about.

Like when I was 12, earwigs crawled through my bedroom window and infested my nose and ears. Mom took it in stride. I did not. I slept on the living room couch for most of that summer.

My one time attending Girl Scout camp was interrupted when I came back from the lake with black fly bites that caused my legs to swell to twice normal size. I had to be hospitalized.

As a young married, my starter home had a humongous basement filled with what Nebraskans call ‘water bugs’ but are really creepy-crawly cockroaches. For seven years, I never went down to the washer/drier location. First husband had to do the laundry. Aww…

But, Omaha is where the Mother Cockroach story originated. You see, if you kill enough of her babies, Mother Cockroach—indestructible and immortal–will come seeking revenge. I may have traumatized my son Gordon by telling horrific stories about Mother Cockroach.

Anything out-of-doors—picnics, ball games, gardening, even an evening constitutional or morning coffee on the deck—results in bites. Wasps, bees, spiders, gnats, no-see-ums, mosquitoes—you name it. I’m like a bug magnet. Only a thorough spray of DEET will ward me, and only with hourly reapplications.

The worst was last year’s pantry moth infestation. Someday, I’ll get over my post traumatic stress sufficiently to tell the story …

***

This weekend, Jim and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. We are not big gift givers, but this year I bought him a miner’s hat with no fewer than three halogen lights. He got me an indoor bug zapper.

I’m still the world-champeen bug magnet. But. Flies or mosquitoes or gnats no longer startle me by landing on my Kindle at night. Insead, I count the snaps as each bug dies to become my definition of a good bug.

I know the world has good insects and nasty ones. I know we need the good ones. I just want them to stay away from me … or else.