Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer CSA Week 2 - Lost Corner Farm

Picked up our half share box this week and somehow the wonderful farmers at Lost Corner Farm managed to pack even more yummy greens into that box than last week.

A huge head of lettuce, another smaller head of lettucea giant hand full of asparagus, a pint of red ripe strawberries, curly kale, the biggest chineese cabbage you've seen, and some rainbow chard are repeated from last weeks share. In addition we got a bag of spinach, radicchio, collard greens, spring onions and a different variety of pok choi. 

I've got all kinds of yummy dishes planned. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Local Summer-Week 1 Recap

A number of years ago I tried playing along with an idea hosted by the blog Farm To Philly to eat at least one meal a week totally (with exceptions for stuff like salt, pepper, sugar and oil) from food grow or raised locally. Over the years there were several different definitions of local and several levels of exceptions made, some of which I've chronicled here, some that I did on my own. Unfortunately, as the scales of balance tipped in the wrong direction, cooking anything, not to mention cooking healthy, sustainably sourced, locally grown meals fell off. And I've been worse off for it.

But no more. I'm back with a CSA subscription to a new local farm just 24 miles down the road, a farmers market that host only vendor-produced foods grown within 125 miles, and a commitment to make this my summer to back on track. 

One of the reasons I let go of this before was all the rules of what and how far and the guilt of including something "not approved". It made what should have been an educational, inspirational journey into a comparison of who was "really" being local and who could afford to source more expensive meats and exotic veggies to eat well. In an effort to avoiding all of that I'm playing by my own rules this year and celebrating even the little steps as success. 

My rules will be:
Cook at least 3 local meals a week
A local meal is a meal that contains at least half local foods and no exotic items that could not reasonably be obtained  locally. The point is to eat things in season, not how creative can I get at stretching the rules but I will note the non local items. I will also feature things like pickles where the primary ingredient that is ultimately eaten is local even if the liquid and spices are not. 
Local is anything grown or raised within 150 miles. 
I will endeavor to find sustainable, environmentally friendly, economically feasible alternatives where possible but will hold no guilt if I use store bought items or a cheaper product if it results in the ability to provide a healthy, home cooked meal to my family. 
I will source and meal plan from my share first and do my best to fully utilize all the yummy stuff.

I hope to see a gradual transition from partially local to mostly local as I use up non-local ingredients and replace them with local sources. Things like butter, flour, herbs should be easy but I wont just toss usable food to buy new local versions, I'll use up the old and replace with the good. Things like oil, salt and some sugars probably wont be replaced at all but either reduced as I make healthier meals or simply kept as my exlusions.

So for the first week, here is my recap:

Thursday evening I picked up my share and started meal planning but didn't get any cooking done as it was too late. I also still had a few few things left from my last farmers market trip like grape tomatoes, pasta, and carrots.

Friday I cooked a batch of kale (share) chips using a non-local drizzle of oil and dash of salt and pepper following this recipe at

Then I took half the asparagus from the share and made a jar of refrigerator pickles using this recipe My BF, the pickle expert in the household found them quite good. 

For the main meal I used all the curly kale (share), a pint of grape tomatoes from Ticonderoga (fm), some fresh linguine noodles from Caravan Pasta (fm), and non local garlic, oil, and feta to make a delicious one pot pasta dinner. We enjoyed the incredibly fresh juicy strawberries plain for dessert.

Saturday I had previously prepared store bought chicken to use up so for local content I made a quick salad out of our lettuce (share) and some shredded carrots (fm) and braised some pok choy (share) in non-local soy sauce to go with the lemon chicken and rice.

Sunday I made a mostly local fritatta from the last of our Lancaster Farm Fresh eggs (share). This version had some non-local feta and paremsean cheese and some commercial lunch meat ham slices but also used up the leftover pok choy (share) and some sauted asparagus (share).

The rest of the week was filled with veggies too but none met my feature conditions. Chard warped salmon with sautéed asparagus, chineese cabbage and carrots in an Asian chopped salad, and kale and carrots in soup used up every last bit of the items in the week 1 share. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer CSA Week 1-Lost Corner Farm

We started a new CSA this week. Lost Corner Farm located in Leesburg, Virginia.  We originally had thought to just stick with Farmers Markets this summer as there are so many changes coming in our household but when we heard Lost Corner had made arrangements to deliver direct to our apartment office and had a chance to meet and talk with the wonderful farmers and taste their fresh asparagus...well, it was too good to pass up.

We are signed up for a weekly half share of veggies and fruit for 22 weeks and added the delivery of a monthly whole chicken for 5 months. Their prices seemed competitive and reasonable, if like many other CSAs, rather high on the initial output but taking a look at the first week, we are certainly getting our moneys worth. 

In the week 1 box there were some of the best stuff of spring including substantial bundles of several types of kale, rainbow chard, a giant head of Chinese cabbage and an even bigger head of butter leaf lettuce. There was another type of lettuce, a nice sized head of red pok choy and a brown bag full of asparagus. You cant tell by the picture but that's more stalks than I can fit both my hands around. There was also one basket of the sweetest smelling strawberries.
I'm not sure if we are going to be able to make it through all this so I have plans to make refrigerator pickle with some of the asparagus and some kale chips. In addition I'm looking to make several soups, salads and sautes to try to use up ingredients. My menu is looking rather Asian inspired with fresh ingredients like these so I picked up some noodles and sauce components from the store.

2015-Week 19 & 20 & 21

In week 19 & 20 & 21 of 2015 I start a bunch of stuff despite getting further behind on everything else.

First Steps

Recently I've been spending a lot of time trying to catch up on older projects so of course I feel the need to start a bunch of new stuff.

First is a beaded 1.5" wide piece of knit called the Dew Drops Lariat for K. I'm doing it in a very magenta yarn with sparkly thread twisted in and beaded with pink beads. I think that it will probably be a belt or wrap tie for a dress.

Next I cast-on the provisional edge of what will become a pillow with an adorable intarsia robot on the front in my nephews colors.

Then on Mothers Day I cast on a shawl just for myself, the Glenridge Shawl in some formerly de-stashed and recently acquired The Unique Sheep Sushi Sock in Candied Apple. Its a fairly simple patter and moving very quickly when I get the time to work on it.

Finally, I cast-on a preemie hat out of the leftover yarn from my mom's shawl.

Along the Path

I finished sock #1 and am still working on sock #2 for the My Cup of Green Tea socks and the beaded Dew Drops Lariat .

Final Destination

I can't show you any more than this teaser yet, since I'm so behind on gifting it but I finished my Mystic Cuppa shawl, all I need to do is block. So instead I'll show you a glamour shot of my Captain America shawl wet blocking by gravity following a triple washing due to bleeding in both the red and blue yarns (which made for the most beautiful unfortunate purple water).

Thursday, May 7, 2015


In week 18 of 2015 I spent time on the water, got some goodies in the mail and finished a nerdy shawl.

Packing my Bags

This weekend was the local Spring Festival at the Nature Center and in addition to all kinds of good educational nature fun, music, plant sale and nature walks the local association rents kayaks on the lake. I took one out for a hour of hard paddling interspersed with a few moments of nature appreciation. It was good to get out on the water and enjoy the nice day.

This week I received my Bar Maids Quarterly Subscription box in the Knitmore theme and in addition to some wonderful body products like their Lo-Lo Bar this box came with a skein of Abstract Fiber Super Sock in the Danger colorway and a complementary shawl pattern. I can see this becoming something fun for K, maybe socks or maybe this shawl, well see.

First Steps

Cast on some Kroy self-striping yarn for a pair of Fork in the Road socks to see if this style fits BF better than heel flap construction socks.

Along the Path

Still plugging away on the My Cup of Green Tea socks, and the Mystic Cuppa and Solar Flare Shawls. I'll post pictures when I get to the next yarn change or significant progress point

Final Destination

After several days of marathon sessions my Captain America Shawl was finished. It was done in time to wear it to opening night, but it wasn't blocked. Good thing the theater was dark and no one knew. I'll post more pics when its blocked but here it is posed over the steering wheel in my car, which was where I finished the bind off during lunch that afternoon. I loved doing this, both for the nerd factor and because of the new stitches I got to try.

2015-Week 17

In weeks 17 of 2015 I got some yarn, started a cardigan, worked shawls and socks and finished some gifts.

Packing my Bags

I got my second shipment of The Unplanned Peacock's Gemstone Yarn Club. This one was Jasper, a beautiful red with streaks of pinks, whites and other shades of red on their Kinky Sock single-ply fingerling base. It came with a lovely wire rapped stone necklace. I looked at this a potential socks for both BF and DD but then I started dreaming of using it for the upcoming Seeds to Flowers Shawl KAL so I picked up a few additional skeins to give me flexibility to make lots of great red things.

First Steps

Swatched for and cast on the first few rows of the Ferris Wheel cardigan for K in the bright pink/black/white/purple Hydrangea colorway in Abstract Fibers Calder yarn.

Also cast on the Sweet Viola Shawl in my Tinuvial colorway from Sheepy Time Knits Middle Earth Yarn Club in their All your Lace base. This was tricky to do in this yarn but as it starts to hit some stockinette sections it's starting to hold up better.

Along the Path

Finished the 1st shield pattern repeat and starting on the 2nd repeat in clue 3 of the Captain America inspired Shawl MKAL. I'm hoping to get this clue and the last clue finished in time to take the shawl with me to the opening night of the Avengers movie. It will be close but that's the plan. I know...NERD!

Worked on the leg pattern repeats and turned the heel on the My Cup of Green Tea socks. The longer I work these the more I like this pattern. I already had a recipient in mind for these so when I found out that they are too small for my foot it solidified my plan to knit them for her specifically.

Final Destination

Cast on and finished 2 different Tea Toters in some fun blue cotton dishcloth yarn inspired by Beginner's Knit Along mini KAL. These are gifts so I'll post more about them later but they are now my FOs# 19 &20 for the year.

2015-week 15 and 16

In weeks 15 and 16 of 2015 I knit more on socks and shawls and finish a tiny sweater.

First Steps

I cast on the first clue for Earth, of the first shawl in the Fiddle Knits Elements Series. I wont be able to keep up with this one but I'm looking forward adding the techniques and pattern to my closet eventually.

Along the Path

Still working on the striped cuff BF sock that I decided needed to be an experiment on fit. So I measured his foot and knit the appropriate length heel flap in the contrasting color. As you can see it IS ridiculously long and the gusset is going to be insane but that's what makes this fun.

I'm still plugging away on my Solar Flare. I'm loving the easy to memorize format and the knitting feels easy but the rounds just seem to take me longer than they should.

I finished clue 2 for Heidi Nick's called Enough Already, Mother Nature. Its a fun knit so far but all those chart markings were bluing together until I started to get the general pattern.

In my Captain America inspired shawl I've finished clue 2 and, as I expected I ran out of the red yarn early so the second set of stripes, and the rest of the shawl, is all blue. I love it and can't wait to see where the designer takes the next few clues.

Finally, I've also picked my Mystic Cuppa Shawl back up and started working on the 3rd repeats in Chart B. I'm hoping to get this done by Mothers Day but its going to take some dedicated knitting to make enough progress.

Final Destination

The Flax sweater for my nephew is now done and has become FO# 18 The last sleeve took almost as long as the whole sweater to knit but overall I can't recommend this pattern enough as both an easy learn-to-knit-sweaters experience and as a generally lovely and simplistic design. Even though its machine washable for the gifting, I washed it in some SOAK and let it dry and it looks lovey.