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12 Day of Crafting, Embroidery, Updates

Keeping It Crafty

I thought about naming this blog post “Keeping it Crafty During COVID19” but honestly, I think I’m a little burnt out on seeing it COVID-19 in my newsfeed.  While I’m fully aware that this won’t be over anytime soon, I’ve got my ways of coping that don’t involve being glued to a computer screen.  For me, I do best when I stay busy.

I’m using this social distancing and self-isolation as a time to get work done, self reflect and really tackle that “someday I’ll do this” to-do list that I have been putting off for… forever.

This past weekend in the life of a crafter:

  1. Organized my craft shelf
  2. Prepped 20+ towels for embroidery
  3. Revived the “Can’t Touch This” Cactus Pattern
  4. Began embroidering a new patter: “The Lone Star State” Towel

Upcoming Projects:

  • Redoing taxes from previous years (yea, I know I’m torturing myself, but it’ll be worth it)
  • Doing this year’s taxes
  • Overhauling madebylauralee.com (if it’s the last thing I do, damn it!)
  • Somehow connecting with a few remaining Kickstarter Contributors that have not responded to any emails, updates, etc. to get them their incentives so I can sleep at night!

Other things I’ve been working on are making sure I keep my days are as structured as possible. For example, from 6 am to 7am, I enjoy my coffee, from 7-8 am I go for a walk and stretch, 9 am-3 PM it’s time for work.  I’m also making it a goal to reach out to one person that I haven’t spoken to in a while and actually call them!

These next few weeks will certainly be different, but we will get through!  Happy Self-Isolation, y’all!

 

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes, Updates

Fermentation Friday

I think it’s been a whirlwind of a week, just the last few days even. As you may have read on my last blog post or the made by laura lee newsletter, I am suspending food production for the next few weeks.  For the time being, I will not be experimenting with fermented foods either.

It breaks my heart.  Really.  Why am I not experimenting as well as not selling?

I feel like holding off is the best-case scenario on selling jams, jellies, and sauerkrauts are the safest thing possible.  Despite being clean and sanitary beyond normal expectations, I’m a small business and I want to do what’s best for my customers, my own health, and the bigger picture. As far as playing with fermented foods, it’s too dang hard to get my hands on large amounts of produce to ferment.  The stores have been baren and farmers’ markets canceled.

So, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the beautiful and delicious veggies that I have been able to transform into probiotic filled food! Sauerkrauts, kimchis, and ginger, oh my! Below is the list with links you can revisit.  Thank you so much for your interest in this and I’m looking forward to when I can get back to it!  Until then… what should the next Friday blog be? I like this whole themed thing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Canning, Updates

PSA: Canning & COVID-19

Good morning.  I realize the title doesn’t exactly lend itself to the happiest of morning vibes, but one worth making a quick announcement about.  While everyone’s news feeds are filled with talk of Coronavirus, toilet paper, and quarantine, I’ve been wondering what my best course of action is. Many gigs and events are getting canceled or rescheduled, and I just found out yesterday that my biggest art fair of the year has been canceled due to the virus.

As someone with a compromised immune system, I’m grateful for all the precautions that are being taken.  I’m sure others and the elderly would agree. That being said, moving forward I will be suspending all jam, jelly, and fermented food sales until further notice. As a small business that operates under the Cottage Food Laws, I always operate under the cleanest of conditions, but due to my concern about others’ health and immune system, I will be holding off food production for a while.  Due to the information available about the virus’s life span on plastic, etc. I don’t want to take any chances of passing it on.

Growing up, I was taught two rules:

  1. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
  2. Better safe than sorry.

That being said, I am most definitely taking a financial hit with the cancelation of craft fairs and suspending food production for the time being.  I see an outpouring of support for all local businesses, artists and musicians at the moment, which makes me incredibly happy.   In the next two weeks, I will have new embroidery work on the website and be taking on any custom work, so if you’ve been thinking of a great birthday present for your Auntie Joan… now’s the time!

Thank you again for your support.  Stay healthy, friends… and share the TP!

 

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

It’s my favorite day of the week, Fermentation Friday. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to sharing the most recent fermented creation I’ve made. Seeing as I love kimchi, I decided to go with a green bean kimchi.  The recipe is based on Kirsten Shockey’s from her Fiery Ferments book.  I’ve altered it slightly, and think I will continue to do so as I tweak the recipe to my liking. Mainly, concentrating on making it spicier as this was particularly mild.

Green Bean Kimchi

  • 1 pound green beans, chopped into 1″ sections
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 pound red jalapenos, coarsely chopped and deseeded
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 TBSP red chili flakes (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, green onions, garlic, garlic, and salt
  2. Place jalapenos in a blender, blend until a puree or paste
  3. Add pepper mash to green bean mixture
  4. Add in fish sauce to the pepper green bean mixture and mix well
  5. Transfer all items to a quart-sized mason jar.  Pack contents down to be submerged in the brine
  6. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 10-14 days. Check daily to make sure there are no air bubbles and resubmerge green beans in the brine, as necessary.

Note: if you’re wary of anything spicy, do not fear.  The brilliant red is deceiving.  This is mild in flavor. In fact, it tastes like a sour pickle. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Embroidery, Story, Updates

Blossoms & The Bees

I know I always go over the top with “spring is here” posts, but I really can’t help it. Spring is my favorite season.  I cannot tell you how much joy tiny blossoms on grey branches brings me. This year, my excitement is amplified!

Last month, or maybe it was January, my partner and I took a class at Natural Gardener on fruit trees and pruning. Not only did I walk away with notes and a giant list of fruit trees and blackberry varieties I will have to get someday, but we were also fortunate enough to take home some pomegranate cuttings. Of course, it spurred a full-on cutting frenzy.

For those of you not familiar with cuttings, it’s when you take a small piece of a plant stem and plant it in soil and nurture it until it grows roots.  Well, little did we know that our pomegranate, peach and pear cuttings (taken later) were going to do so well!  They have leaves and the pear cuttings are even blossoming.  That weekend we took started cuttings from my mint plant as well, which is growing like a weed.

With the blossoms and warmer weather comes the bees. The soothing buzzing happens every afternoon around this hummingbird feeder.  Hopefully, they will begin to swarm soon and make a home in our new bee boxes. (More on that later). Rest assured these blossoms and the bees are giving me plenty of new embroidery ideas!

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

Good morning, my apologies for posting a little later than normal, I’ve been pretty busy this morning trying to raise money for ATX Kids Club, a local nonprofit that promotes education through adventure-based learning. Today is the I Live Here I Give Here Amplify Austin Day, which is the largest day of giving here in Austin, TX.  If you’re feeling so inclined, by all means, feel free to donate here.  No amount is too small.

Now, let’s get down to fermented business…

The day has finally come and I am over the moon to share with you that my first batch of kimchi was a success! Not only a success but the best batch of fermented goodness I’ve made thus far.  In fact, I think I’ve eaten a third of it already, with a little help of course.  I will most definitely be making another batch of this soon in a matter of days.

Kimchi

  • 2 heads of Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped in 2″ pieces
  • 2 bunches green onions/scallions, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1-2 daikon radish, shredded
  • 5 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce (if vegan or vegetarian, just use water and replace with an extra tablespoon of sea salt)
  • 10 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  1. After chopping cabbage, mix with sea salt to let sweat while prepping all other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, then mix all other ingredients and transfer to fermentation crock.
  3. Press mixture down and place weights on top.
  4. Set in a cool, dark place for 1-5 days.  (I did the full 5 days)
  5. Make sure to check and turn the kimchi daily with clean hands or utensils.

Note: if you’re wary of anything spicy, do not fear.  The brilliant red is deceiving.  This is mild in flavor with no zing at all. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

I’ve been on a ginger kick lately.  It could be the cold weather and fighting this cold. Personally, I think it’s the awesome flavor.  You can’t beat the sweet, earthy, and spicy flavor of ginger. While slightly labor intensive, this recipe for fermented ginger is super easy.  Peeling and slicing the ginger is the hardest part. Once it’s ready, this fermented ginger is great in stir-fries or steamed rice, and definitely perfect for sushi.

Fermented Ginger

  • 1 pound of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Slice ginger as thin as thin possible.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sliced ginger and salt, tossing to make sure every piece is covered.
  3. Transfer salt ginger mixture to jar.
  4. Use a ziplock bag filled with water to weigh down and cover ginger salt mixture.
  5. Set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).
  6. Make sure to check on ginger and make sure that it stays submerged in brine.  You may have to push down.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Garden, Story, Updates

Mother Earth News Recap

Good morning, happy Monday! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.  I’m slowly on the mend, just feeling really running down, but at least my cough has subsided.  As I’m coming back around to feeling better, I realized I hadn’t shared too much about the Mother Earth News Conference that I was so excited about.

While Belton isn’t exactly a the thriving metropolis that you dream about spending a weekend away in, it sure had it’s gems. Saturday morning before the conference, we discovered a charming little coffee shop, Arusha Coffee, where we spent the bulk of time caffeinating when not at the conference.  Ample time was also spent day dreaming about future homestead plans, the idea for another new book, and more.

I digress…. the conference though was fun and educational.  Not all the speakers were as captivating as others, here are the highlights:

Texas Food Laws – there has been a major update on some of the Texas Cottage Laws for food makers like myself and I am happy to announce that I will be able to start selling some of my fermented goodies very soon.

Homestead Air B&B – while I don’t have a homestead geared up for a bed and breakfast, it’s nice to know that there are easy options out there when I am ready to go.

Other workshops and lectures I attended were Ladies in Homesteading, Growing Mushrooms, Homesteading Laws in Texas, Gardening in Small Spaces, and Companion Gardening, just to name a few. I’m looking forward to next years conference already!

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

Well, I’ve admittedly been a little quiet here on the blog front.  My apologies.  I had a jammed pack week of a grant writing class the week before, followed by the Mother Earth News Fair over the weekend, and this week I have been knocked down by some sort of chest cold.  I’m on the mend despite sounding like a barking seal, but I’m excited to share with you my latest fermentation creation.

Note: I made and handled this batch prior to being sick.

This sauerkraut is pretty mild as far as flavor but is great in sandwiches or with fish.

Turmeric Carrot Kraut

  • 1 head of green cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds of carrots, shredded
  • 4-6 pieces of turmeric roughly 2-3 inches long, grated
  • 3 TBSP sea salt
Note: make sure the combined weight of the veggies is about 5-6 pounds and make sure EVERYTHING is clean
  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in shredded carrots and turmeric making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

It is that time again!  Seriously, I cannot believe the feedback I’m getting from the fermentation blog posts.  I’m so grateful.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the recipe experimentation.  More importantly, I’m enjoying the health benefits of eating all these delightful fermented treats. I’ve always had a heck of a sweet tooth and I’ve noticed a tremendous decrease in my sugar cravings. Thanks probiotics!

This recipe was totally made up. I’m definitely loving it.  Earthy and sweet, with a little bit of bite from all the ginger.

IMG_3231The Purple Darling

        • 2 heads of purple cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
        • 4 medium sized beets, shredded
        • 2 pieces of ginger roughly 2-3 inches long, grated
        • 3 TBSP sea salt
Note: make sure the combined weight of the veggies is about 5-6 pounds and make sure EVERYTHING is clean
  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in shredded beets and ginger making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.