The City Chicks

The life and times of a couple of urban farmgirls!

Time has just flown by… April 22, 2010

Filed under: City Chicks & Farmgirl Friends,The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 4:05 pm

I find that time is one of those crazy things.  It is always slipping away and I never seem to have enough of it. 

The last few weeks have been a bit hectic for me here at the U.H. (Urban Homestead).  I had to organize a roast beef dinner large enough to serve 200 already this month; and whew am I glad that is over and done with!  It was a lot of work but it raised over $1200.   Then I have been spending a bundle of time out in the garden.  I am not complaining though.  Our family was fortunate enough to have someone gift us about 50-75 strawberry plants from their organic family farm.  I stopped counting after I reached 50.  That was a whole day affair of digging and separating the crowns and planting.  Thankfully the weather here has been quite lovely though and that day of planting was enjoyable.  However, very exhausting. 

Celeste recieved it!Last week Jade and I whipped up the ingredients for some vanilla pie sugar, finished our aprons for our farmgirl apron exchange and then finally  I had my favorite time of the month…Farmgirl Friday!  Where Celeste showed the other girls how to make homemade laundry soap and were given other helpful tips on green cleaning!  Well for this week…so far with the help of my dear hubby I have repurposed our old deck steps into a border for a raised shade garden,  we have almost finished the interior of the new chicken coop and  I have done a ton of laundry (where it all came from I have no idea).  So I haven’t been trying to neglect you all the last couple of weeks.  I have just been too busy to sit and think a bit.  Although, my goal this week is to try to figure out how to better manage my time here on the homestead.  Maybe I will make a list.  Maybe!

Hugs~ The City Chicks

P.S.  I will post the recipe for the Vanilla Pie Sugar and the Laundry Soap soon!

 

Fresh Pasta Skillet Pizza April 6, 2010

Filed under: From our Kitchen — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 5:54 pm

Jade and I made this Pizza this past week and it was delish!  So we thought we would share it with you all. 

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. 2  packages (9 oz. each)  of fresh angel hair pasta.
  2. 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, you can eyeball it in the bottom of your pan
  3. 1/4 pound pancetta,  I used sliced but if you can only find it by the chunk you can dice it.
  4. 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  5. 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, you can add more if you like a bit more kick!
  6. 2/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 1/2 cup half & half
  9. 16 oz. container of Ricotta cheese
  10. 6 slices of Provolone cheese
  11. Italian Parsley, about 3-4 tablespoons once you chiffonade it.
  12. Salt
  13. Pepper

Preheat your oven to 425° F.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. 

While your pot of water is coming to a boil you can heat your olive oil in a 12 inch oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  Add your pancetta and cook it until it starts to brown and get a little crisp like bacon, about 3-5 minutes.  Turn your pan down to low and add in your minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Be careful to not burn your garlic! 

Cook your pasta according to the directions.  Most fresh pastas I have used take less than five minutes to cook.  So I throw mine in the pot right before I add the garlic and red pepper to my frying pan. 

Drain the pasta  and add to your skillet and gently toss it.   Now toss in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  This mixture is going to be the crust to your pizza. 

Beat the eggs with the half & half and pour over the top of your skillet mixture.  Let the eggs set up in the pan for about 1-2 minutes.  Press the pasta down into the pan to make an even “crust”. 

Place in the oven for 5-6 minutes.  While it is baking mix together the ricotta cheese and parsley.  Pull the skillet out of the oven and spread the cheese and parsley mixture over the top.  Then add the sliced provolone to the top.  I also added a bit of  minced parsley to the top for color.  Place the skillet back in the oven and bake for about 6-10 more minutes.  Ovens vary but you want to keep a close eye on it and pull it out when the cheese is golden and melted. 

Slide your pizza out of the pan, slice it up and serve.

I hope you enjoy it!

The City Chicks

 

How to make Paper Pots

Filed under: The Urban Homestead,Through the Garden Gate — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 2:09 pm
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Ok so I promised that I would give you all a bit of instruction on making your own paper pots for all your seedling needs.  It really is very easy and once you get all your supplies in order it goes pretty quickly.  Unless of course if you are making thousands of them!

Here is a list of what you need: 

  1. Recycled newspapers (I recommend the ones that are printed with a soy based ink!)  You could also use old phone book pages. 
  2. Potting soil (I used the organic Jiffy mix)
  3. Old Measuring cup
  4. Scissors
  5. Tape
  6. Either a jar, glass or some other hard round item that is about the size around that you would like your pot to be.
  7. Popsicle sticks to label what you have planted.
  8. Sharpie marker
  9. Old Funnel, optional

I also like to have a bowl of water and a measuring cup on hand to water the seedlings once they have been potted.

 Once you have all your items ready to go you will need to cut your newspapers in half and stack them neatly in a pile.

Then fold one sheet of newspaper in half the long way.

Wrap the newspaper around your jar or glass with the folded edge where the top of your pot will be.  Hint… in this picture the lid end is the top edge.  Once the paper is wrapped around I secure it with a small piece of tape.  

Then after you have wrapped the paper around the jar you will need to slide it up a bit so that you have enough paper to fold over the base of the jar to make the bottom of your pot.  The rule of thumb that I used was if you can fold the paper over and it goes just past the center of the jars base you have enough. 

Then start folding in the paper to create your pot bottom.  Once you have folded all the paper in secure it with another small piece of tape.

Now you can slide your wonderful new, inexpensive organic paper pot off the jar and start making as many as you need.

Once you have enough you can place them in a flat container.  I just reuse the lid and base to my seed starting greenhouse.  Although those are flimsy when they get heavy so I recommend that you put those into another more durable container.  I like to set them in the boxes that hold fruit and vegetables at Costco.  Yes, you know the free ones that ones that you bring your groceries home in!  I reuse those all of the time.  They have a great many uses for my gardening chores.

Now you are all ready to get busy planting!  If you need help on that let me know.  I would be more than happy lend you a hand.  Plus, don’t forget to label your plants…I know almost all those seedlings look the same to me when they are starting out.   

Happy Planting~ The City Chicks

 

Sprouting news… April 1, 2010

Filed under: The Urban Homestead,Through the Garden Gate — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 3:11 pm
Tags: ,

Things have literally been sprouting around here at the homestead.  

In March I decide to try my hand at starting seeds again.  Last year was disaster on that front and not a single one grew.   Really not much grew for me last year at all.  Only the beans and zuchinni.  Any how this year  I have had every seed I planted sprout.  Now you may be thinking that I got new seed for this…well you be wrong in assuming that.  I used the same seeds that I had used last year.  I think the key this year was that I used one of those little Jiffy greenhouses this year.  I carefully filled each pot with some organic seed starter mix, filled the tray with water and placed my little seeds on top of the dirt.  Once I made certain that the water had soaked into the pots and potting mix I put the lid on it and set it down in my warm furnace room to do its thing.  Well after just a few days they were sprouting!  So I moved them up to the window to start getting some sunlight.   Then out to the cold frame for a day before I could put them in their own little pots. 

Yesterday, March 31st, I spent nearly the whole day getting my little leggy seedlings transplanted into their larger paper pots.  Sure I could have just gone out and purchased some peat pots but my friend Beth (The Seed Queen) recommended that I just make my own from old newspaper.  So I went online to find the how-to directions.  It was easy. Although I did change the directions around a bit to suit me.  I will post the directions on that in another post though!

The point of this rambling though is to let you all know it is not to late to start  your own garden or for that matter even to start some of your own seeds.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of space and as an urban farmgirl I should know.  Even apartment dwellers can grow in patio pots.  

Hugs~ The City Chicks