Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 3...

We cooked up the rooster. It was amazing. I think it was the best tasting chicken I have ever eaten. Skeptics say it is because I was starving and they may or may not be right. But it did taste about 1,000 times better than store bought chicken.

We are using the bones and fat to make chicken broth for chicken soup for tomorrow.

Confession: My sister-in-law/ awesome roommate drove across many states yesterday and when flying through Dallas picked up some chocolate cupcakes from an Aunt and Uncle. This Uncle claims he harvested the cupcakes from our yard last season. At first- we thought it was the dirtiest trick ever. Then we split a cupcake and decided it was the tastiest trick ever. Stop judging us! We are not made of stone!

Breakfast- 1/2 a cupcake, excessive amounts of mint lavender tea and lemon water.

Lunch- Venison soup, potato hashbrowns

Snack- Regular Pickles, pickled dilly beans, and pickled radishes.

*This just in* Pickled radishes are not half bad.

Dinner- Roasted Chicken, Salad, sauteed zucchini, and a really bad attempt at pumpkin mashed like potatoes. Don't try that last one at home.

Hot tip: Freezing squash spears makes the squash mushy. The only real way to freeze zucchini is grated for zucchini bread, otherwise, in my experience, it is not really worth it. And I am hungry.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 2!

Last night, I re-read the section in Farm City where the author eats only out of her backyard for a month. I was looking for some solidarity but I got some bonus ideas. Such as Pumpkin Hashbrowns! Amazing. These are just grated pumpkin, with some of the moisture blotted off, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried in light oil on the comal. They say hunger is the best spice- but I think I would like these in my regular life. We have eaten them twice today. It is a good mind trick to make your brain think you are eating carbs. I was also thrilled to remember we could roast pumpkin seeds as a snack. Snack foods seem to be lacking on the 100 foot diet. In a cruel twist of fate, the first pumpkin I cut open had all of 7 seeds. I'm hopeful the larger pumpkin will have more.

Breakfast: Pumpkin Hashbrowns, Scrambles eggs with bell peppers, hot peppers.

Lunch: Spicy Venison Stew with Salad.

Dinner: Zucchini soup with the left over venison broth plus homemade veggie broth and edamame. Pumpkin Hashbrowns.

We have been drinking lots of water with lemon and random mint teas.

Day two has been much easier than day 1- but I am still wishing we had planted a Reese Peanut Butter Cup tree.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 1!


Today is the first day of our Eating Out of the Backyard Challenge!

For breakfast we ate: scrambled eggs with bell peppers and hot peppers. (and coffee)

Here seems as good time as any to tell you about the egg incident. Yesterday, the day before the experiment started, my husband cooked and ate 6 eggs! Why?!? We only had a dozen eggs and it took one week to accumulate those 6 eggs since only one of our chickens is laying. When we starve to death- remember who is to blame. In the meantime, pray another one of our chickens will start laying eggs soon.

Lunch: We walked around the garden and ate a few radishes, cucumbers, and peppers. I was too lazy to make a salad. We drank lemon lavender mint tea.

Snack: We steamed some edamame and cracked some pecans.

Dinner: Thin-sliced venison stir-fry made with bok choy, long noodle beans, lemon grass, green beans, peppers, broccoli leaves, beets and corn.

It was touch and go there for awhile around lunchtime- but so far it appears we will survive day 1.

The Cheats

Today is the first day of our Eating From the Backyard Challenge. The first thing people ask us is- you don't mean everything do you? Here are the rules and the cheats as arbitrarily decided by us.

We will eat only things we grew, hunted or gathering in the backyard for one week. Including the eggs our chickens lay and our rooster. Including all our veggies. Including the foods I put up in the freezer earlier in the season for this week such as melon.

The Cheats: We got to choose one cheat each.

I choose dun dunna dun! Coffee with sugar.
He choose soda.
We are sugar and caffeine fiends. What can I say? The truth hurts. What is really going to hurt is no dessert for a week.

The Semi Cheats:
We will use salt, pepper and oil and pretend we bartered and traded for them across the ocean. I mean you just can't eat that many veggies without a little oil. Maybe you can. I can't.

The Off Site Allowances:
We decided to allow the deer my husband shot two week ago and the pecans we gathered. Hunting and gathering within a local radius is OK. Anyone want to share a spot were we can gather more food? A secret fruit tree in a local park? I will be there. The deer is a pretty big allowance- I'll grant you that. But it is local, grass fed and sustainably raised.

What is left? Good question- Let's find out together this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Light Brights

Our real lemons are allllllmost ready. I can find one or two at a time that are yellow. The 100s left are taunting me. We have also joked that if the backyard eating experiment goes astray we can just drink lemon juice with our dried peppers and call it the master cleanse.

Our green peppers also have started to turn bright yellow-orange. I prefer to eat them green, but I must admit they are prettier this way.

"We're making things with light.
Lite-Brite makes them glow so bright!
A steamboat, a chicken, a tropical fish.
A lemonade sign or whatever I wish!"
Lite-Brite Jingle

Lemon Cucumber

This little guy is amazing. It took awhile to arrive but has been worth the wait. I wasn't sure they would fruit since they seemed to take twice as long as regular cucumbers. As the name suggests - it looks like a lemon but tastes like a cucumber. It has a slightly different taste than a regular cucumber but not by much. A slightly different taste is what I will be looking for Saturday when we start our week long adventure of back yard really, really local eating. We have four types of cucumbers growing. I could make ummmm a four cucumber salad? four kinds of pickles?

It was supposed to be happening already. A friend called to ask if we had starved to death since I hadn't been posting about the experience. Actually, we went to Disney World. Going to Disney World just so happens to be the direct opposite of backyard eating. But my beautiful family lives in Orlando and they needed to see the dirtiest kid in the world. So off we went. Think of this as the Disney Detox. (Starting after our next two days of Thanksgiving feasts of course - Putting our grand total of Thanksgiving feasts at 4 if anyone is counting.)

Our experiment starts Saturday and I will try to post everyday. We have decided to do a solid week and then see if we can keep going indefinitely. Depending on how impossibly hard it is.

Best of all! The new chickens starting laying eggs- and not a second too soon. For that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I tried to grow Stevia from seed and look it worked!

Ok Ok That was a lie.

After I got my packet of seeds and looked up more information on growing Stevia- all signs pointed to the fact it was impossibly hard to grow from seed. I tried it anyhow and failed. It is supposed to be much easier to grow from a cutting. But I did succeed in finding it at the Annual Herb Fair and I think that's all that is truly important to this story.

The only real experience I had in consuming Stevia previously was when I tried a Stevia sweetened soda from Whole Foods- it tasted aspartamey. I was not impressed. But the leaves straight off the plant taste sugary great. Next step is to dry the leaves and try it in cooking. Hot tip from my friend Dana- When cooking with Stevia you can use half stevia, half sugar without compromising the taste. Then you get half the calories, half the sugar. Lord knows I could cut back on my refined sugar consumption. It is not all green beans and broccoli around here.

"Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar." Pablo Picasso

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nobody In Here But Us Chickens

Chicken Mansion Alert!



My husband re-purposed some old doors and old wood into a magnificent chicken mansion. The chickens are dubious. But, truth be told, they are dubious about everything. Easy, Sunny and Benny are much happier and fatter without the rooster. The rooster is currently living in our freezer and that is all I am going to say about that.

Why Our Laundry Always Ends Up With Peppers

Exhibit A.

PSA: This is Your Cat On Drugs

Our new cat, Professor Puddin LeMieux Bojangles, has been hitting the catnip. Hard. They start so young these days. He goes directly to the plant and eats a few leaves off everytime he is outside. Not unlike myself with our new stevia plants.

Hot tip: They say you can use catnip for an "I have the flu" rememdy tea. I have been fortuante in that I haven't had to test that out yet this season.

What's Growin

We dug up our sweet potatoes. Today at the farmer's market I saw a sign that said "How to Save Sweet Potatoes. 1. Dust off dirt but do not wash. 2. Put in paper bag with apple to keep from sprouting. 3. Place in cool, dark place. Will save for a week at room temperature and a month if cooler." The farmer's market is an amazing place.

Fall tomatoes.

The glorious shining light of massive amounts of beans.

The broccoli. Something is eating it. That something appears to be birds. (?) There are no visible bugs and whatever is eating it is only eating the leaves and leaving the baby broccoli growing so I am not so concerned at this point.

Baby Corn. We should specialize and sell to Chinese restaurants. We can ground our entire corn crop down to make one corn tortilla.

Wait for it... Wait for it...Fresh Strawberries!