The five little things that made my week…

Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumbers in December

1. Mid-December, temps in the 50s all month and my Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumbers are still surviving!

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December 13 2013      13 comments     Linda Ly
Diversión

Fava bean plant

Did you know that the leaves from fava bean plants are edible? How about the flowers?

Often with fava beans, I can take ‘em or leave ‘em. They have a wonderful light, nutty flavor, but after a day spent shelling beans, sometimes I’m simply content with getting that same light, nutty flavor from just the leaves.

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December 11 2013      18 comments     Linda Ly
Jardín   Leguminosas

Drunken pumpkin chili

With our normally balmy weather consistently in the 50s for the past week, I just want to turn up every heat source I have in the house — and that includes my stove. Of course, it would be silly to leave the stove on all afternoon without something actually simmering on it, and this drunken pumpkin chili is just the thing.

I love to make a massive pot of this and graze on the chili all day long… sometimes with rice, sometimes with chips, and sometimes with a loaf of crusty bread. I make this when I know I’ll be home working all day with not enough time to make myself three different meals every three hours. It’s the kind of communal meal you can cook over a fire in a Dutch oven when you’re car camping. Or, combined with my mulled cranberry apple cider and a hot tub session under the stars, it’s the ideal evening to come home to after you’ve spent all day on the ski hill, achy and cold. And, it will feed 10 of your achy, cold, powderhound friends as well (or just 8 of them, if you’re all really hungry.)

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December 10 2013      22 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Verduras

Homemade Living book series

Do you know my friend Ashley English? She of the Small Measure blog, author of five (soon to be seven!) books, forest dweller, beekeeper, chicken mama, and hippie homemaker after my own heart. If there ever was a face for the homemade movement, Ashley English should be it. After all, she churned out a stack of some of the best beginner books on the subject: “Canning & Preserving,” “Home Dairy,” “Keeping Chickens,” and “Keeping Bees,” all of which are part of the “Homemade Living” series by Lark Books.

I finally had a chance to thumb through her books a couple weeks ago and found them full of useful info for anyone aspiring to a more self-sufficient life, indoors or out. If that “anyone” might be you, here’s your chance to win the whole series!

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December 9 2013      112 comments     Linda Ly
Diversión

Homemade pumpkin puree

I’ve had this beautiful pumpkin (a Porcelain Doll, I believe) sitting in my sunroom ever since I picked it up at the local pumpkin patch in October. It lasted through Halloween and even Thanksgiving, but finally started showing some splotches on its beigey-pink skin this week… a sure sign that it might soon turn into this squash I’d found in my kitchen a few weeks ago.

Porcelain Doll pumpkin

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December 6 2013      15 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Verduras

Molting Barred Rock

It’s almost winter, and both my chickens have finished their molts just in time for the cooler weather (and what timing — we dropped from a balmy 72°F on Monday to a chilly 57°F today!).

It was an especially trying year for the chickens, since they both suffered from fowl pox at the same time they were molting. The process of regrowing their feathers for winter was already exhausting enough (both of them stopped laying in early fall), but they also went through weeks of fowl pox, which put them in a slump.

Thankfully, they bounced back last week and seem to be their normal selves again… happy, hungry, chatty, and perfectly fluffy.

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December 4 2013      17 comments     Linda Ly
Gallinas

Mulled cranberry apple cider

When it comes to mulled cider, I usually freestyle it depending on what I have in the pantry. Sometimes there’s allspice, sometimes it’s nutmeg… sometimes there’s booze, sometimes it’s virgin. But this version is my all-time favorite mulled cider recipe and I can easily drink an entire pot by myself on a lazy, loungy night at home.

Mulled cranberry apple cider is a comforting sipper on a rainy day by the fire, a crowd-pleaser to stir up and serve at a holiday party, and the perfect cocktail for an après-ski in that mountain cabin you rented for the weekend (you know what I’ll be doing this winter!).

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December 2 2013      11 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Frutas