March 7, 2012


So Aldi had avocados on sale last week, right? On sale, meaning, the earth's core almost went up a degree because of the mind-blowing phenomenon at hand: 19 cents each. For avocados, those phantasmagorically and quintessentially delectable morsel of green goodness. When my mother alerted me to the existence of this noteworthy event, I did what any logical and self-respecting person would do.

I bought 34. 
For less than $6.50, I didn't feel so guilty.
We ate them all in five days! 
Just kidding. I realized imbibing that many avocados before they would go bad (essentially by myself since the silly husband still doesn't recognize their value) was virtually beyond the realm of possibility for even such a talented consumer as myself. I looked online, and in addition to learning how to grow my own avocado houseplant from the pits, I learned that freezing was in fact a viable option. And what better activity after my first day of work at Glenn's Bulk Food Store (yaaay for a job!) than blending up a box of avocados? 

See? Isn't it beautiful?

This, however, is even more beautiful...especially times four.

The official California avocado website laid forth the only approved method of freezing as pureeing with a ratio of 1 T of lemon/lime juice per avocado, to effectively halt the spread of browning. After scooping six avocados into the blender, I decided 6 T was way too much lemon juice, so I opted for a gentle 1/4 C. Thankfully, I had three more blenders of avocados to go, because all I could taste was green creamy lemon. The next batch I tried just salt (and water to aid in the blending process), then 1/2 and 1/2 salt and lemon juice, then nothing at all (except water again). I can't help but experiment. 
I ended up with a delightful slew of bright green paste in subtly varying flavors, to the extent that I was raiding my cupboards for any appropriate sized sort of freezing container. 
Eventually I decided ice cube trays were my best bet for the remnants--perfect for smoothies! Seriously, avocado smoothies are my fav. Just blend an avocado with milk, ice, and sugar (or just ice cream and milk), and drink up the green goodness!!! Mmmm. 
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this treasure trove...but I'm not too worried about it. A fantastic sandwich spread I discovered: smashed avocado, salt, lime juice, chili powder, hot pepper, plain yogurt. Simple, but fantastic on toast with some thin tomato slices or white cheese.
Brian's going to have to learn to like avocados. Although, I guess if he doesn't, that just leaves more for me. Not that I'm really running out at this point.

March 5, 2012

I Can't Believe It's Butter!

Really, it still fascinates me. Who knew you could actually make butter?? 
I did, and I've done it before, but this is different. It's from cows a mile and a half down the road, and it comes over in gallon glass jars.
Plus, due to self-inflicted mandates, it's our only source of butter from now on. Hypothetically. I have ideals, including self-sustanence in many different realms--one of them the realm of butter :) 
Butter was one of the first dairy products I intended to tackle mastery of in my new home. I approached my first experiment with dubious excitement. Thankfully, Dr. Seuss and my time-proven Mr. Blender gave me confidence.

They let me down. The only things I produced were failure and some nasty chunky-watery liquid. Great, the easiest thing on my list, and I was already struggling.
Oh well. It's not like I'm going to run out of milk anytime soon. 

So with our next gallon of milk came my next attempt, bolstered by actual advice and step-by-step instructions instead of making it up from what I remembered in passing conversations. AND, since I did succeed this time, I'm going to tell you how it works. 

After ladling the cream off the top of "rested" milk (a couple hours should be enough to get the cream and milk to separate), let it sit on the counter until room temperature. Longer than the 20 minutes I gave it my first shot; I've been leaving it for 4-6 hours. Dump it in the blender, and turn that puppy on.

It never got to that instantaneous transformation from cream to butter that I was looking for, but after a couple minutes the butter should start to collect at the surface. One blog I was checking out said to then pour it all through a strainer:

My strainer is very fine-mesh, intended for chai (not that I ever make that stuff), and all the butter did was conglomerate everywhere. I decided that was theretofore an unnecessary step, and today I just scooped the butter off the buttermilk and put it in a glass container. I smushed it around for a while (but definitely not playing with it), tipping out the rivulets of buttermilk as they escaped the butter. Towards the end I just captured the butter with my spatula and poured out the unwanteds. 

At this point I stirred in some salt (I would tell you the amount but it's hard to show you on the surface area of my palm, so I have absolutely no idea), and whoopdedoo, I gots butter! It even turned a gentle shade of yellow this time, which gives me some internal level of accreditation. I got about 1/2 cup of butter with 2 1/2 cups of leftover liquid--I'll tell you later about my experiment with that not a fantastic ratio, but so worth it.


March 3, 2012

My Idea

So, here's my thought. I have no idea how to make a blog interesting, if I'll have the initiative to keep it updated, or who is going to be bored enough to read it. :) But--I know I love to write, take pictures, cook, try new things, stay connected with my friends, try to treat the environment like it's God's (since it is), and glorify Him with my life.
And what is the perfect synergism of all of the above?? Probably not a blog. But it seems worth a shot anyway. :)
What's the goal of my entering the world of periodic cyber updates? I'm not sure I've formally articulated that even in my subliminal mental processing, but without taking the time that would more adequately help me convey my thoughts, I just want to jump into the life God has given me with joy and enthusiasm, and be able to share some of my experiences. At times I'm almost giddy with the discoveries of living more simply and utilizing my environment in a way that echoes some of the community I feel God desires us to pursue. That said, I find myself continually wondering what on Earth (literally) that is supposed to look like, both in general and in my specific day-to-day life. I'll share sometime why I think it's important to live in simplicity and environmental awareness.
Heads up, I don't have the answers. :)
But I am enjoying looking. I recently encountered a (what at least feels like) drastic change in my location and lifestyle in my husband's and my move from Ohio to Kansas. True, without imparting any positive or negative value, I can point out that both places are flat, windy, and full of fields. Thank goodness for some continuity. In the week and three days since we've been here, I've been enjoying a lot of blessings, such as a house approximately 5 (?) times larger than our previous (not including the basement) (meaning, our apartment was a bit on the small side), an extremely welcoming church and local community, and a sun that shines almost every day. Not to mention Brian's family is right down the dirt road, we actually have space to utilize wedding gifts now, and more job offers than I anticipated. Kansans really are great--everyone waves at you, you can have an in-depth conversation with any random person about farming, and apparently they think liverwurst is a good thing. What's not to love? :) But seriously, though it's going to take a while to make this my home, with the grace of God I will. And in the process, I'd love to share some of the endeavors and stories that currently entertain me.
Also, I'll ramble from time to time. Just so you're aware of that.