7 Commonly Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified foodsWhile almost any food can unfortunately be genetically modified these days, there are some foods that are more likely than others to be genetically modified. Here are 7 of the most commonly genetically modified foods: Continue reading

Apple Chips Recipe

Apple Chips recipeWell, this being my first weekend since June without a farm market, I had a little more time than usual (not that there isn’t always something to do), so I decided to make some apple chips. I’d been dying to try them and they turned out being really easy, and REALLY tasty. Continue reading

Edible Flowers

Everyone knows that flowers are pretty to look at, but a lot of people don’t realize that many of those delicate blossoms are also quite edible. A few years ago at the local farm market I attend, one of the vendors had implemented the ingenuous idea of selling “edible bouquets.” They were exactly what they sound like, aesthetically pleasing bunches of flowers that were also one-hundred percent edible.

A few edible flowers include:

Dandelions – Though generally thought of as a weed, dandelion leaves go great on a salads and rival many traditional vegetables with their health benefits. My family has used the dandelion heads for years to make excellent wine.

Squash blossoms – Those big yellow flowers that appear on your squash vines and eventually turn into pumpkins are very edible and quite delicious when fried up with a little butter and Cinnamon.

Violets – With violets both the flowers and the leaves can be eaten. They make beautiful candied flowers are also a good addition to jelly, so I’m told.

Day lilies – These flowers are often seen growing along the roadside. The blossoms have a sweet flavor even when eaten raw and provide a good source of vitamin C. (A warning, however, they are poisonous to cats)

Honeysuckle – As one might image the tiny blossoms of this plant have a sweet taste and go great when added to salad and the like.

Red Clover – Again, generally thought of as a weed, those big purplish globes that grow out in open meadows have some of the sweetest sugar you’re ever likely to taste. These are so good, I don’t even add them to food, I just grab a few and suck on the blossoms as I’m walking through the field. Tasty!

A fun way to use edible flowers is to “sugarize” them. You can make sugared flowers by boiling together a little water and sugar, which will create a type of paste. Dip your flowers in the sugar paste and let them harden. You can then use them to decorate cakes. Or skip the sugaring process altogether and just decorate the cake directly with the flowers for more vibrant colors. No marzipan roses here!
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

Thanksgiving: A Three-day Event

I’m not sure anyone enjoys Thanksgiving as much as my family. For us it’s not just a dinner, it’s a three-day event. The Wednesday before thanksgiving, all the family members meet up at Gramma’s (this year it was my Aunt’s house, but usually it’s Gramma’s). First we had a quick dinner of pizza and then everyone set about slicing and dicing apples, oranges (which usually leads to somebody’s hands stinging from citrus juice), grapes, and grapefruits for the big bowl of fruit salad. Then we talked, laughed, played apples-to-apples, and had a general all around good time.

Thanksgiving morning we got up early to get chores done, then came back inside to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade and get the carrots and celery ready for the veggie plate while mom made the coveted chocolate cream pie. Normally we don’t know any of the bands or songs in the parade since all the music we listen to is from our parents generation (and in my case, some songs from even before my parents generation), but this year they had songs by Greenday, U2, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and that guy who does “Who do you love,” bands we actually know. Also thought the pizza dough group was awesome.

After the parade we always listen to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” song on the radio, then we head over the to meet the family for the Thanksgiving feast. We got to our Aunt’s house around 1:30. My uncle had a very cool picture slide show playing on the ipad with images from all the past holidays and get togethers; everyone was clustered together in a little corner watching it. Then came the food.

In my family, there’s never a shortage because someone is always worried there won’t be enough so we always make extra. We have turkey, rolls, corn, peas, squash, excellent stuffing, Gramma’s applesauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed cauliflower, clam stuffing, not to mention all the pies for desert. Pretty much every kind anyone could ask, including the chocolate cream pie that we sometimes play cards for to see who wins the last piece.

After lunch all of us cousins play games. This year we started with the Nerf gun war as my little cousin has pretty much every Nerf dart gun they make, so all of us kids are upstairs ducking behind doorways and stealing ammo from one another trying not to get hit with the darts in the process. After exhausting ourselves in the battle, we went back downstairs and started the annual chess championship rounds. We had two people playing on the Chinese chess set, and two people playing chess on the ipad. Then there were rounds of stratego, or as we like to call  it “strategery.”

At 4:00 we headed home to do the second set of chores, listening to Alice’s Restaurant again on the the way, then we drove back down to my Aunt’s, and rewarmed dinner in the microwave, followed by a piece of pie. We all sat talking, laughing and joking for a time, then all of us cousins went up to play the Nintendo (or play station, or whatever they call those things now). Since Thanksgiving is the only time I ever play, I don’t drive so well with the little controllers and my car was usually seen flying off a cliff. I consistently ended up in last place every time, save for the two times I squeaked by to get second-to-last place.

About 9:00 everyone gathered in the living room and we started a movie. This year it was Tommy Boy. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of watching that deer tear apart David Spade’s car. And at long last, after the movie was over, everyone cleared out slowly and went home.

Thanksgiving doesn’t end there though. For us black Friday doesn’t mean shopping it means “left-overs night!” At 6:30 Friday night we all go down to my Aunt’s to have “another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,” and then we cousins once again set about for a round of game playing fun. We played two rounds rounds of clue, which included an interested dice rolling sequence where the first person rolled 1, the second person rolled 2, the third player rolled 3, and the forth player rolled 4 before the sequence spell finally broke with the fifth player. Afterward my uncle taught us all how to play Euchre, which I haven’t played since I was about 7. We finally got the hang of it I think. We dealt the cards out for poker, but never got around to it, since we were all too busy eating. Then we went up to the play station once again, and once again I spent most of the evening unsuccessfully trying not to drive my car off a cliff. And like the previous night, I consistently came in last every time except for twice when I made it to second to last place.

Everybody cleared out about quarter after eleven with a box of leftovers to use as lunches the following week. Gotta love it.