Sunday, November 27, 2011

More chicken pictures!!!

I love to show off my girls. More chicken photos for your viewing pleasure.
Sweetie, looking as sweet as ever.

Honey, looking pretty serious.

The newly named, Bock Choy. Yes the Bok spelled Bock is intentional. My friend's son named her.

Jacoline named this girl Goldie. It fits her well.

Rachel showing off and the rest of the girls hanging out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fall Flowers

Here are some snapshots of my fall annual bed and some of the plants in it. I hope you enjoy!

My garlic chives in bloom

Who can resist that face? I love violas!

My front flower bed as seen from the front stoop.

front flower bed from the front walk

Front flower bed from human height! Upper left to lower right:Garlic chives, Swiss Chard, Fancy flowering Kale, violas, Collards, Swiss Chard, Dusty Miller, Snap Dragons 
I will take more photos as these plants mature and fill in. What I love about them is that almost this entire bed is edible and should make it through the winter. Hooray for edible plants!

What did you plant this fall?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chicken soup, with a Mexican flair

I love the chicken soup at my local Mexican restaurant. I have been eating there every Friday night for over 18 years now. It wasn't until a year or two ago that I tried their soup. They make it from scratch. It is gluten free. And the owner, who I call Uncle Juve, makes it just right! 

One day at Trader Joe's they were making chicken tortilla soup. I liked their take on it, but there is always room for improvements. It isn't as good as Uncle Juve's, but it does the tummy well on a cold day.

Here is the most important ingredient.
keep a couple of these in your pantry
I use the following ingredients:
1 quart of frozen homemade chicken stock(oh, I need to blog about that!)
one jar of Trader Joe's garlic chipotle salsa
one onion, chopped
cooked chicken, cut up into chucks(rotisserie works great for this)
cooked Rice, white or brown
additions to soup: cooked beans- red or black, corn
Sides: avocado , limes

This is basically a dump into the pot kind of soup. First saute the onion until soft. Then add the chicken stock. It is ok if it is still frozen. Add the jar of salsa and heat until the stock is thawed if using frozen. Add the cooked rice, the cooked beans or corn, and cut up cooked chicken. I dont' measure these amounts. I add some and then see if I like the consistency. then I add more rice or beans or chicken. I would start with a cup of each, but you will want more than that if you like a chunky soup. Heat the soup through. Dish into bowls and enjoy!

I mean, look at this soup!!!
Yummy chicken soup!
Serve hot with your favorite sides. Avocado and squeezed lime juice are so delicious in this soup. It might sound weird, but you have to try it. Sour cream, cheese, or pico de gallo are also great additions to this soup. I just like mine simple.
my favorite condiments for this soup, limes and avocado
Tell me how you like it. It is an easy, simple soup treat!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elderberry Syrup

It's that time of year again, cold and flu season. Working in a school for the past few years I have relied on elderberry syrup to keep my immune system strong. Now that I spend many days with new mothers and newborns, getting sick is a no no. Supposedly elderberry syrup has anti-viral properties. I do say that when I take it my colds do not last as long and I have less of them. 

I used to buy it like this in a bottle already made for $10 or more.

Then I got wise. I thought, "Why couldn't I make this myself?" Do you see a pattern with me there? I ordered some dried elderberries online for a very reasonable price. I keep them in sealed glass jars in the pantry.

When I get ready to make syrup, here is what I use:
One Cup of dried elderberries
2 cinnamon sticks
some fresh ginger cut into chunks
honey to taste

ingredients for elderberry syrup

Place the elderberries, cinnamon sticks and ginger into a small pot with 2-3 cups of water. You want to simmer it slowly until it reduces by about half. Stir occasionally and smash up some of the berries while stirring.

elderberries simmering on the stove

Once this has cooked down by half you want to strain the mixture. I use a fine sieve. It takes a bit of muscle and patience. Add honey to taste. 

You end up with this beautiful liquid.

elderberry syrup ready for use
Syrup should be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for some time. During cold and flu season most labels say to take 1-2 teaspoons per day for an adult. If symptoms of a cold or flu arise, you simply up your dosage up to 1 tablespoon per hour. I just take it when I think of it when I am not feeling well.

Make sure to check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies. Elderberry is usually considered safe. My midwife approves of its use, even if pregnant or if you may become pregnant. I am in the category of "may become pregnant".

I just used up a bunch of this. I came down with symptoms of a bad cold last night. I started upping my elderberry syrup intake and using some herbal teas. Today I am much better! I didn't expect this as those type of symptoms usually knock me down for 3-5 days. I  always try to keep elderberries on hand!!! Hooray for herbal remedies!

What kinds of natural remedies do you use during cold and flu season?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mmmmmm..... Brownies!

Nothing like a glass of something cold and a nice big brownie! These brownies are from a recipe at Lots of great recipes over there! I am tweaking this recipe. I will let you know when I get it just how I want it.... a little bit fudgey but oh, so yummy! My friend Mandy achieved it. I just want to perfect it before I tell you how we did it.

What gluten free goodies are you baking up?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Then They Grew Up

And with the magic of the internet, the baby chickens grew up fast! 

This chicken ended up sick. We had to put her down. She was really sweet though!

This girl is almost buff colored, but not quite. She needs a name!  Isn't she so pretty?

This is Honey. She is a super sweet and is always curious about what I am doing.

More curious chickens! She wanted to be right in the camera!

We finally got ourselves a bearded lady! I think we will call her Iris. I had an Iris before but she turned into a he. This one is for sure a female. She does like to talk though. She can be quite the chatter box!

Chicken Feet!! See those feathers on the legs and toes? We have a couple of feathered footed gals. They are really fun to watch run around!

The old hens. Atta Girl and Daisy still aren't huge fans of the younger folk.  But, they get along for the most part.

Lleulu the large white chicken,  I mean cat.  She doesn't know that she is a cat. I couldn't leave her out.
Designed by Lena