The City Chicks

The life and times of a couple of urban farmgirls!

Sally the starter… March 24, 2009

Filed under: From our Kitchen — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 2:03 pm

Yes, I named my sourdough starter. This is about my 5th time or so making a sourdough starter. Mine always ended up either black, filled with hooch on top or both. I had told myself that I was done trying to be an artisan bread maker where sourdough was concerned. I would leave it to others to do all the work on that particular variety. After all I can usually bake the rest with pretty good success. But then it came…My February-March issue of MaryJanes Farm. I read it through a few times and thought to myself that MaryJane has yet to fail me. So I will give the sourdough another try. Of course, I put off starting it for at least two weeks or so. Well I made my first loaf of sourdough this week. It was the tiniest little loaf. It didn’t seem to have much rise to it after sitting about 5 hours. Then I remembered that my fancy dancy oven had a “proofing” setting on it. I had never used it before. I had never needed it. Well I read the manual through and figured out how to work that setting. Gently tossed the sourdough into the oven to proof for 2 more hours. It did rise a tad bit in there but not much. After that I pulled it out and preheated my oven and put the little loaf back in the oven to bake. It baked nicely into a small dense round of bread. It was great warm with elderberry jam on it! So I guess for now I am a convert to this sourdough way of life. After all sourdough is actually better for you than wheat bread. Yes, it is true! Google it.

 

and the Give~Away winner is… March 21, 2009

Filed under: Holiday Cheer — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 2:47 am

The name pulled out of the box was Ms. Glenda of Texas!! Glenda is one of my fellow farmgirl sisters over at MaryJane’s Farm. Glenda if you you will be so kind as to e-mail me your address I will get your new box into the mail.
 

Soon to be Spring Give~Away March 17, 2009

Filed under: Holiday Cheer — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 8:59 pm

Today’s ramblings…I have to start by saying that with all the gorgeous weather we have been having I definitely have full blown spring fever. Well I spent a little time this week straightening through the dust build up in my house and setting up a little corner of spring cheer. While I do hate to dust because it is a never ending battle in my home I do always love the smell the lemon oil leaves behind.
I got all my seeds ordered this weekend and I am patiently waiting for their arrival so I can get some of them started indoors. This will be a new adventure for us. I usually just go to the nursery and pick up plants that are ready to go in the ground straight away. However, since I (we) are planting only heirlooms this year I figured seeds would be the easiest way for me to get exactly what we like to eat. I have to say that the book Carrot’s Love Tomatoes was such a great help this season. I very carefully read through it and planned each of my gardens accordingly. I am really hoping that this will help me avoid those dreaded little bugs that destroyed my zucchini’s last year.
This morning I visited with the nice man from our local health department. He was out to look at our property and tell us if we would be allowed to own our own little flock of hens within city limits. He said that he didn’t see any major problems with it but we will need to add some extra fencing to our yard even though we were planning on adding a run for the chickens. If I have to fence about 40 feet of yard I think the girls will be doing much more free-ranging and only have a small run for when we are not outside with them. I have to say I am very excited and he said he will give me a call tomorrow and let me know for sure if we can start building the coop! He was even nice enough to take my paperwork with him.
So for the give-away…leave me a comment on this post. I will be drawing the winner on Friday. It is after all the first day of spring! I will be giving away a sweet little reproduction box. You can see it in the picture above. It says Little Peeps Easter Egg Dye. Inside it I will tuck in a little surprise or two!
 

Sweet 17… March 15, 2009

Filed under: Family — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 9:38 pm

Yes, sweet 17 is how old my dear baby girl turned this weekend! My did it make me feel old. We had a great weekend filled with shopping, cooking and of course her favorite baking. As we were running around shopping in the 50 degree weather it reminded me of the day she was born. So I was able to tell her all about how much snow we had that year, a blizzard really. Then how when we brought her home from the hospital the next day all bundled up in her little pink teddy-bear snow suit and her dad ran outside and picked her the last little tulip we had left from the freeze. She laughed and thought I was crazy for remembering it all like it was yesterday but one day she will know that same feeling. Many many years from now she assures me.

 

Oh so simple crepes! March 9, 2009

Filed under: From our Kitchen — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 1:27 pm

Saturday night my daughter and I made some fresh Nutella & Caramelized Banana Crepes. They were so delicious and easy that I just had to share. Originally I was a bit hesitant to make them because I no longer owned a crepe pan; but then I remembered how well seasoned that cast iron griddle was. I have to say the cast iron pan worked way better than that specialty pan I used to have! So I know we will be eating crepes more often now.

Basic Crepes (condensed and simplified by me From The Healthy Vegetable Cookbook)

  • 1 cup (4 oz.) all-purpose flour sifted, I use organic
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • vegetable oil to oil spray for pan, I didn’t need this with the cast iron

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl with the utensil of your choice. Be sure there are no lumps. The mixture will get frothy. Since I was having fruit with ours I added 1 tsp. vanilla to our batter. If you are not using a well seasoned cast iron pan then add a small amount of oil to a 7 inch or so nonstick pan. Heat the pan until it is very hot. Pour in about 2-3 tablespoons of the batter and quickly swirl it around in the pan so that it covers the bottom thinly and evenly. Cook for about 1 minute. Then very carefully tun the crepe with a metal spatula, the type you use for cake decorating works best. Heat it for about 30 seconds and remove from pan. Do this until all the batter is used up. Makes about 8 crepes according to the recipe if you use a 7 inch pan.

For ours Jade just spread a bit of Nutella on half of the crepe before folding it in half. Then I mixed 1/2 cup melted butter and a scant 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a pan until it was caramelized a bit and tossed in 2 bananas sliced for a few minutes and spooned on to the top of the crepes. Of course after we plated them we both said at the same time that we wished we had some fresh whipped cream for them! The plate actually has 3 crepes folded into triangles on it. Not just one crepe folded in half.

Happy Baking~ The City Chicks

 

M.I.A. March 3, 2009

Filed under: Ramblings — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 2:26 pm

A couple of my friends accused me of being M.I.A. recently. They were curious as to what I had been doing and why had it been over a month since they had seen me last. I didn’t have any real concrete answers other than “life just gets hectic” and “I’ve been busy with the kids.” It was all true but as we ended our various conversations I realized that maybe they really didn’t quite believe me fully. So later I decided to take a little time to really think about what I had been doing. We do live in Nebraska after all and so most of my activities have been home based. I did get my new sewing machine which I have played with now and again trying to learn all the new bells and whistles it has to offer me. It is no where as easy as my old machine which I can’t seem to part with. I have been to the quilt store to peruse the fabrics several times. Finally last week I picked out fabric to make a new quilt. So have I started it yet? Sadly NO. Not because I don’t want to. I am patiently waiting for my new quilting foot arrive. I have taken a hand applique class at the Country Sampler. I really don’t know why I was so hesitant to accept that it was a valid method of quilting for so long. I guess the fear that I would be no good at it. Well I am good at it, the instructor confirmed that for me as I whizzed through it with no problem. Needless to say the quilt I will be making next has some applique on it. I sat thinking I realized that those were really the only highlights of my last couple months. I did patriarchate in a wonderful secret farmgirl sister exchange for a few months. I had a wonderful sister in Diana who sent me some of the greatest little treats. I hope that my secret sister enjoyed her items. I never did hear a single word from her; so for all I know some random person received all the packages I sent. If that is the case it must have been quite a hoot for them each month to receive a package from a secret pal! It makes me laugh just thinking about it. I found us a new church to go to after a couple months of searching. Jade still has no desire to go but I know she will come around but the rest of us went for a visit and enjoyed the service and everyone there. I have been keeping busy with O.E.S. and all of the meetings and practices that we have had since January. I know that I am doing my best in that regard but boy is it difficult to get those lines memorized and all those marches. After March that should all be back to our normal schedule. Then of course there is work. Granted that is only 2 days a week.

Two of the last and possibly most disturbing things I realized though was how much T.V. I have been watching and how much my family and I had been eating out! I always admit that I am a t.v. junkie and in the winter it is horrible. I have cut back on how many shows I watch but how could I deprive myself of my top two guilty pleasures of Nip/Tuck and Big Love. We had some extra money steadily coming in and I swear we must have really boosted our local economy by eating it all away. So when I saw that March was national nutrition month I decided that we would not eat out for the whole month. I am a great cook and my son is starting to walk down that same path so why shouldn’t we be eating nice meals in the comfort of our own home. Meals made with fresh whole food…not the processed garbage. Plus, with my daughters awesome baking skills we should be able to eat like kings and queens.

I realized that even though my friends may not have realized what I was up to I was up to one thing all along that is dearest to my heart. Being there for my children. Yes, I think that sometimes as a parent I can s”mother” my children but at the same time I am always trying to encourage them to be the best they can be, to follow their heart-n-dreams and to be the best that they can be. To be the type of person who is tolerant of others and does not judge. To be a good soul and respect all life. They have both been exploring their creative sides the last couple months and keeping up with their school work without me pushing them too much. Are they happy? I think so and so for me that is a lot to accomplish. Happy well rounded children complete our little family.

Hugs until next time!