“Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Tree!”

(Gotta throw in a little Rock-and-Roll once in awhile)

Lo and behold!  There are a few things in flower at the Country Mouse House!  One appears to be a cherry tree.  A couple of years ago, we spotted cherries on it, but it’s so close to a bunch of other trees, we never could remember which one it was.  Last year, our tree fruit was sparse at best, and I don’t think this tree went into flower at all.  Well, just look at it now!

From a distance:

Up close and personal:

Those are cherry blossoms, yes?  I sure hope so!  Although, with the bird and other wildlife sightings these days, we might not get to taste any.  We’ll have to see.

Here is our little “grove” of cherry plums:

Farmer Joel discovered these quite by accident a couple of years back.  They were the tiniest plums I’ve ever seen, but very tasty.  The only not-so-great thing is that the pit is almost the size of the fruit itself, so it’s a lot of work for a little fruit.  If we get a good harvest this year, I’ll try to can something with them.  Maybe jelly.

And now for some other spring blossoms:

I love my daffodils and narcissus!

  

Anything blooming in your garden yet?

Wendy

Guest Blogging!

Exciting stuff!  My daughter, Erin, is a Blogger over at Fit 4 All.  She is passionate about health, fitness, and helping others.  I’m very proud of her and of the good work she does.

Her contributions to the Fit 4 All blog primarily center around healthy, thrifty food, or “Affordable Fuel.”  She asked me to contribute our favorite chili recipe!  And although this was posted last week(I’m a bit behind), I am so thrilled for this happy honor.😃

Without further delay, here it is:

Mom’s Chili (based on recipe for “Pantry Raid Chili” in “Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson(See link below)

Notes – I’ve made this in the slow cooker or atop the stove.  It can take 30 minutes on the stove top, or up to 6 hours on a low setting in the slow cooker.  I do not cook with salt for health reasons, but you can add salt if that is your preference.

1 (24-oz) jar tomato salsa – any kind, I like the chunkier varieties best

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 Cup (or a little more) water

3 cups cooked beans, or 2(15-oz) cans beans, rinsed and drained.  I mix and match.  I find that black beans plus kidney or pinto beans are an especially nice combination.

1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional seasonings – salt, a dash of cayenne and/or red pepper flakes(depending on your spiciness preference)

2 Cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes – avocado, onion, (vegan)sour cream, (vegan) shredded cheese, fresh cilantro

-Combine salsa, chili powder, marjoram, cumin, and water in the slow cooker or soup pot.  Stir to combine.  Add beans and soy sauce, season to taste with pepper and optional seasonings, if using.  Cover – if slow cooking, set on low for 4-6 hours; if stove top, medium/simmer for ½ hour, stirring often.

-The original recipe says to thaw the corn kernels and add to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes.  I’ve done it this way, or just added them frozen at the beginning with the other ingredients and had equally excellent results.  Serve hot, garnish to your liking.  This freezes well and is a wonderful go-to meal all year round.  Add your favorite salad plus some cornbread or tortilla chips for a very satisfying meal.

You can read the full post here.  If you are interested in the cookbook from which my inspiration was derived, you can find it here.  And, find out ways you can help support Fit 4 All here.

It’s snowy up here in the Northeast.  Keep your long johns on!  I’m knitting a blanket right now.  That keeps my lap warm.

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Dreaming of summertime and the GARDEN!

Wendy

 

 

Another Friday with Finn

Yes, it’s been awhile.  I’ve moved twice in the last two years….just from one “Town Mouse House” to another.  We’ve spent a good deal of time fixing up the “Country Mouse House.”  This year, we concentrated on the gardens and planted a wee orchard.  Of course, our goal is to continue to find ways towards better self-sufficiency.  Growing more fruit could help us do just that.

Here is a little peak at what Finn is doing right now:

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What a life he has.  He does have a very expressive face, as well.  Here is Finn with a smile:

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Now that we have the Finn update, I’ll fill you in on the orchard.  We already inherited several types of OLD apple trees.  Among them are crab apples, and what appear to be Golden Delicious.  The main type of apple tree bears a fruit that resembles MacIntosh apples, but they seem to be a bit sweeter.  We put a tree in the ground several years ago and forgot about it.  Last year, it was filled with apples.  It is a “Columnar” tree, and almost just as soon as it fruited, the fruit vanished.  It is a fairly tall tree, so Farmer Joel decided it must have been the work of a giraffe :D.

This year, the trees we planted were: 5 heirloom apple, 2 pear, 2 cherry, 2 paw paw, 2 mulberry, 2 walnut, 2 hazelnut.  We also planted 4 blueberry bushes and 3 red currants.  Of these, it looks like we only lost 1 walnut, the 2 hazelnut, and 1 or 2 of the currants.  Since we already had 4 blueberry bushes, we hope to increase our blueberry yield.  Blueberries are very popular in our family, as you know.  We also already have established gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, and rhubarb.

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That’s our little orchard.  We put chicken wire cages around each tree, as well as mulch.  We’re hoping to increase the number of trees next year, but not by such a great number.  As Farmer Joel was digging the holes(I did help with some of them), he was muttering something about being able to live long enough to actually eat some of the fruit and nuts.  Hehehehe…….

Plant your food trees and shrubs and perennials this spring – don’t wait!  The sooner you do, the sooner you will reap the fruits of your labor!  Also, you have the whole winter to plan where you’ll put everything.

Since we are in the Northeast, we had good luck with the trees we ordered from Fedco, as well as from Raintree.  Enjoy the nice weather while we still have it.  And happy weekend!

Wendy

The New Year 2016

May 2016 bring you health and joy.  In spite of all my good intentions, I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked last year.  We were in the thick of a very massive renovation at Country Mouse House, and we moved Town Mouse House TWICE!

All things considered, we are holding up well.  I’m still vegan.  Our Holiday season was joyful.  All of my children were home for Christmas, and I don’t think there is much else in this world that makes me happier than having everyone home and together.  It was relaxing and so much fun.

A significant thing that Farmer Joel and I did last year – we both became Certified Permaculture Designers.  We took a course and met some pretty cool people.  We received our certificates upon completion.  We are hoping to use our knowledge to create a more efficient and beautiful farm.  I will expand on that more in a future post.  Meanwhile, some photos:

If you’ll recall, last year, this is what the back of the Country Mouse House looked like:

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Then, it began its transformation:

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And now, nearing completion, from a different angle:

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Finally, with a back porch:

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Here’s some winter beauty for you:

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I also wanted to share some seemingly random things.  It’s been so long since I’ve shared anything that I feel the need to catch up a little bit.  Here is Finn in a new sweater:

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This is Rocket, my “Grand-dog,” dressed as a reindeer for Christmas:

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An edible wreath for a New Year’s Day party over at Lisa’s(I added the vegan ranch dressing when I got there):

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Now, for the gardening portion of our program…..It’s time to start pruning.  I have a wisteria, and it’s a little out of control.  I found out the times of year to prune are January-February AND July-August.  I will be pruning soon!  Meanwhile, here is what it looks like right now:

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The roses shall be pruned when the forsythia blooms.  The weather is so unpredictable, I’m not sure when that will be.  Here are the roses:

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A little wild and crazy, yes?

I wasn’t wearing the proper footwear when I was taking pictures:

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Oh well.  May you stay warm, safe, and dry this weekend.  Avoid going out if there are heavy snows in your area.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Back-to-Healthy-Vegan-Basics

After a lovely Passover and Easter weekend spent at Country Mouse House with family, it’s time to reduce the carbohydrate intake once again!  Today’s breakfast:

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I started with some baby romaine, a sliced banana, and a small portion of a raw beet, chopped.  In a bowl I stirred together a tablespoon of cashew butter with a tablespoon of almond milk.  This made a lovely dressing:

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I have to say, it was quite tasty!  Lunch was very filling and delicious as well.  Might I recommend:

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The ingredients for this salad are:

Handful of baby spinach

1/2 avocado

1-2 small carrots, sliced

1/2 apple, chopped

1/2 Cup soaked, cooked kidney beans

Very small piece of raw beet, chopped

1 portobello mushroom cap(previously grilled, leftover), chopped

1 Tablespoon roasted pepitas

Dressing:

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

Lemon pepper Mrs. Dash seasoning to taste

Water to thin, if needed

—-Arrange the vegetables, seeds, apples, and beans on a plate, toss.  Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over top.  Toss again.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Thurz Day Recipe

Hello there!  And Happy Thurz Day!  Today I am featuring a recipe that I created for a breakfast beverage.  My goal was to pack a lot of nutrition in a drink.  Have a look at the main ingredients:

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The small chunk of root is fresh turmeric.  It is expensive, so I use it sparingly.  The larger root is ginger.  I try to get a little turmeric and ginger every day, usually by putting a small amount of the dried spices in some hot water in the morning.  There is also an assortment of leafy greens – spinach plus two types of kale – blackberries, and a Meyer lemon.  I added a little aloe vera juice and coconut water as well.  Here it is ready to go:

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The color was kind of strange, but here it is blended:

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I tried to get a little artistic.  I like the open blinds in the background and the waving flag.

The recipe:

6 large blackberries

1 Meyer lemon

3/4 cup baby spinach

1 leaf each – curly kale and Tuscan kale

1/4 inch each – peeled, chopped ginger and turmeric roots

1/4 cup aloe vera juice

1/4 cup coconut water

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and drinkable.  You will feel energized!

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As a P.S. – I wanted to share last night’s dinner plate:

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This includes a falafel burger, tahini sauce, hummus, and babaganoush, and a whole wheat pita – all from Mrs. Green’s Market.  I put the mixed salad together, and the dressing is a simple, home-made lemony dijon vinaigrette.  The cauliflower is oven-roasted with a little olive oil, Mrs. Dash seasoning, and salt and pepper.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to put together a well-balanced, nourishing, vegan meal!

Enjoy your day!

Wendy

 

Avocadorito for Breakfast

Happy Monday!  Here is a typical vegan go-to meal that I can’t seem to get enough of lately…..

For Breakfast, my “Avocadorito:”

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The recipe?  Quite simply:

One ripe avocado, sliced

One whole-grain tortilla(If you haven’t got tortillas or wraps, use whole grain toast and eat as an open-faced sandwich)

Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste

Lay tortilla flat.  Top with avocado slices and spices.  Roll up burrito-style.  Serve with fresh fruit on the side for a nourishing breakfast.

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This recipe is so quick and easy.  It only takes a couple of minutes to make.  Brewing tea takes longer.

Enjoy your day!

Wendy