Friday, March 11, 2011

Oregon Ban the Bag Take Action!

Oregon Ban the Bag Take Action!
Take a moment to tell your representative how you feel by clicking the above link.

There is no reason for us to have plastic bags at grocery stores. Nowadays you can purchase a reusable bag for 99 cents!

Moving towards sustainability slowly and steadily is an achievable goal. Let us stand up and take action in the ways we can.
Buy local when you can.
Buy organic when you can.
Plant a tree.
Hug someone.
Don't buy more crap for your house.
Volunteer for something you believe in once a month--even once a year!

Let's hear some replies from you. Something simple you do to make a difference.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chocolate Bread Pudding

So bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts. I have long looked and tried different recipes to satisfy me, and this chocolate version is wonderful!

1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cocoa powder
4 c 1 inch cubes bread
1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 c chocolate chips

1. In saucepan heat heavy cream and 1/2 the half and half. Stir constantly on low heat so as not to burn. Add cocoa powder and stir till completely blended and heated. Remove from heat and add remaining half and half.
2. In separate bowl whisk together eggs and yolks. Add sugar and vanilla whisking until golden and bubbly. Slowly add hot mixture and mix till well blended.
3. Now add you cubed bread and toss. Add your chocolate chips and toss. Allow to soak for an hour to absorb the custard.
4. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 8x8 baking dish with butter. Add your mixture and bake for 40 minutes.
Stick this in the oven as you serve dinner to be ready and waiting by evening dessert. Serve warm with whipped cream!

Cook's tip
Bread note: You can use any bread, but using an egg bread makes this even more "cakey".
Chocolate note: You can use any kind of chocolate you want here. Remember that white chocolate is super sweet!

White chocolate and Macadamia nuts
Dark chocolate and walnuts
No chocolate, double the vanilla and add 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to cream mixture

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Potatoes just emerging.  This seems to happen rather quickly.  One day there is nothing and the next they are here!
Here they are leafing out.

Planting PrepPotatoes are easy to start. Just order your favorite variety or get them from the grocery store.  We have all had potatoes go bad and sprout on us.  Every eye is a potential plant. I like to have at least 2 eyes on each piece I plant.  Cut your potato with a few eyes per piece. After cutting, let the cut surface callus-over before planting them. Ground should be cultivated, but potatoes aren't too fussy.   They like to be put in the ground in cool weather, so spring is ideal.  Avoid using fresh manure or lime in the soil where potatoes are to be grown, as it tends to cause scab on the potatoes.

The ground should be around 5o degrees when you plant these.  Freezing is not good for potatoes and will most likely leave you sad about what doesn't come up!

Choose a new location in your garden for potatoes each year.  This way any lingering pests or disease are not present. Crop rotation is always advisable.  Potato plant leaves need full sun for the plant to mature. It is also critical that the tubers aren’t exposed to sunlight as they mature; new potatoes will sometimes rise to the soil surface as they develop. If the potato skin is exposed to the sun, it will turn green, and can be toxic, so be sure to cover potatoes if they are making their way to the surface.

SPACING - potatoes can be grown in many different ways. If you have lots of room the cut pieces can be spaced about a foot apart in rows which are spaced two to three feet apart. Then cover with about an inch of soil. Pull in additional soil as the plants develop. Always be certain the surface tubers are covered with soil.
Hilling or mounding is another method of growing potatoes. Three or four pieces of potatoes are planted on a mound of soil, pulling in additional soil as the potatoes develop.

WATERING - Black or hollow centers on potatoes is often caused by over-watering. Irregular watering causes irregular shaped or knobby potatoes. As a guideline, water potatoes (thoroughly) weekly during warmer summer weather.
HARVESTING - New young potatoes are harvested when peas are ripe or as the potato plants begin to flower. For storage of full sized potatoes harvest them when the vines turn yellow or have died-back.
STORAGE - Keep them in the dark, in a spot where temperatures are about 40 degrees.