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» Oh my heavens, it's the KnitWiki(1) Comments  / [ 09/27/07 ]

Declutter in 15 minutes a day

» FlyLady: Declutter 15 Minutes a Day - 5 Great Tools That Make it Easy! (via 43f(5) Comments  / [ 07/20/07 ]

How one working woman cooks family meals every night of the week

» NYT: "For the past 10 years, I have starred in my own reality series: “Working Mom Cooks Weeknight Dinner.” Think of it as “Survivor” meets “Iron Chef” with a bit of “Deal or No Deal.” In the show’s long-running history there have been stretches in which the entire tribe was forced to subsist on scrambled eggs, tuna sandwiches and reheated Chinese food. But together we have overcome obstacles, gained wisdom and reached a point where my husband and I and our two boys eat balanced and even inventive home-cooked meals most nights."

Cooking dinner every night is at once much, much harder than most people realize (especially if you're trying not to waste a thing—how can I use up this bunch of cilantro?) and, once you get into the habit, not nearly as hard as it seems like it will be. If you follow the meal plan she outlines here, you'll have something to eat every night of the week. (thanks, jjg!)  [ 07/13/07 ]

Frugal Gardening

» Gardening On The Cheap. Tips on getting free plants for your yard, wherever you live.  [ 06/07/07 ]

Karen Hess, RIP

» Karen Hess, a "kind but combative" food historian died last week. Apparently, her book The Taste of America doesn't just chronicle food history—it skewers the popular chefs of the day, including my beloved Julia Child. "She always believed that history was written in our daily lives, not just in battles won and court cases, which was how traditional historians had always written things." John Martin Taylor, cookbook author.  [ 05/28/07 ]

How to Make an Herb Spiral

» How to Make an Herb Spiral.

The herb spiral is a permaculture gardening method that uses nature to its full potential. Gravity allows the water to seep through the levels meaning that the plants at the top get full drainage while the ones at the bottom may reside in a simple bog. It also gives your herbs shady spots with varying degrees. The herbs that need full-sun can be grown in those positions while more shade loving plants can be located on the opposite side.

What a great idea—and pretty. If I had a backyard, I'd definitely consider building one of these. (via gw(2) Comments  / [ 05/18/07 ]

Using the Permaculture Zone Principle for Getting Things Done

» Cultivating your home: Permaculture zones for getting things done. An Australian permaculture expert applies the "zone" principle to work and life. "Zone 1 can only be as big as your reach and attention. [...] When there is some task you want to remember to do, or get motivation to start, just put it in zone 1 – places your hands and eyes naturally reach – and tasks will seem to just ‘complete themselves’ for you. [...] Zone one is precious; so don’t waste it on storage." (2) Comments  / [ 05/10/07 ]

The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge

» Whole Wheat Mushroom PizzaI'm still tweaking the website, but I'd like to introduce my latest project: The (Organic) Thrifty Food Plan Challenge Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget. (I've been persuaded that the second one is a snappier name.)

We eat well. Maybe a little too well, judging from our waistlines. And we eat pretty inexpensively, too. So the recent spate of publicity about Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's committment to eat food totalling only $21 for one week (the amount an average Oregon food stamp recipient receives) caught my attention.

Now, the Governor's stunt is a little misleading: no one expects The government doesn't expect food stamp recipients to eat on only $21 a week (though I'm sure some people try). The USDA's Thrifty Food Plan [pdf] (from which food stamp allotments are derived) is spartan enough, but the most recent figures provide an adult male between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age with $35.40 a week for food—part of which will be provided by food stamps, and part by the individual, depending on their income. Regardless, the Governor's point is well taken. It's not a lot of money to spend on a week's worth of food.

I pride myself on my thrifty shopping habits. I've also been fortunate in these last few years to be able to afford to buy organic and locally grown fresh food most of the time. So I've decided to take the Governor's challenge a step further. I'd like to see if I can feed the two of us for one month on a "Thrifty Food Plan" budget using organic food. My budget: 74.00/week or 320.80/month, the USDA "Thrifty" standard for a family of 2 adults, aged 20-50 years.

I just completed my first week. I spent more than I thought I would, but in general, I think it's going pretty well. You can read today's entry, how I'm accounting for individual items, my Sunday's week-end summary, or just start at the beginning and read from there.  (3) Comments  / [ 05/08/07 ]

Organic, Biodynamic, Heritage & Heirloom Seed Sources

» It's that time. Fork & Bottle's list of Organic, Biodynamic, Heritage & Heirloom Seed Sources  [ 03/13/07 ]

The Young Lady's Book

» Google Books: The Young Lady's Book: A Manual of Amusements, Exercises, Studies, and Pursuits By Matilda Anne Planché Mackarness; 1888.  [ 02/23/07 ]

Study: salt-watered tomatoes taste better

» Harold McGee reports on a study that shows watering hydroponic tomatoes with a weak saline solution enhances both their flavor and their nutritional profile [ 02/02/07 ]

The Trouble with Annie's

» "Annie's Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese is the pantry staple of harried, organo-hipster parents everywhere. But is it any healthier than the day-glo noodles of our white-bread childhoods?" (7) Comments  / [ 01/30/07 ]

10 things to do with your microwave besides cook

» The Good Housekeeping Institute offers 10 things to do with your microwave besides cook. Rejuvenate mascara! (1) Comments  / [ 01/25/07 ]

The Battle of Helm's Deep, in Candy

» A candy re-enactment of the Battle of Helm's Deep. 7 feet long, 3 feet deep, and 2 feet tall. Awesome. (via c&d [ 01/17/07 ]

A Stocking in Rhyme

» A Stocking in Rhyme, circa 1885. [pdf] Be my guest. (1) Comments  / [ 01/16/07 ]

Real men crochet

» Heisman contenders, it seems, crochet(1) Comments  / [ 01/11/07 ]

Things Girls Like to Do

» Oh, fabulous. Things Girls Like to Do, by Elizabeth Hale Gilman, published 1917. Why, housekeeping and needlecraft, of course! I think I could learn to hand-sew from this book. (via maki's fabulous feed(1) Comments  / [ 01/09/07 ]

Latvian Mitten Galleries

» To welcome delegates and media to the NATO Summit in Riga last November, regional knitters knitted 4,500 pairs of traditional hand-made Latvians mittens. You knitters will be inspired by looking through the photo galleries and reading about the rich folklore surrounding mittens in Latvia. The color patterns are unbelievable. (1) Comments  / [ 01/04/07 ]

No-knead bread

» Jim Lahey’s No-knead Bread. [Recipe(5) Comments  / [ 11/09/06 ]

Ideal house design based on a nine-patch quilt

» Brett Holverstott's house plan based on a traditional quilt pattern. "The overall plan of the house is a nine patch. It is somewhat related to the cruciform designs of the Prairie Houses, and the cruciform-in-square designs of Kahn's commercial structures. The central living space is an introverted, double-height atrium, from which six of the eight service towers, all eight piers, and a massive fireplace are visible up their entire length."  [ 11/06/06 ]

Holiday Cards from Charities

» In case, like me, you want to a) support a good cause this holiday season and b) get the cards done early this year.

  [ 10/18/06 ]

Old gardening books now online

» A collection of old gardening books are now available online for free, courtesy of Google.  [ 10/02/06 ]

Bringing Home Baby Money Myths

» Thrifty Infants: Money myths about affording a new baby. Um, washing diapers is "gross"? Honestly, if you can't handle a dirty diaper, you're simply not equipped for parenthood. There's plenty of grossitude ahead. (1) Comments  / [ 09/28/06 ]

Knitted Swiffer Cover pattern

» Knit your own Swiffer covers. (via ym [ 09/26/06 ]

The Essentials of a Japanese Pantry

» The essentials of a Japanese pantry organized by must-haves, good-to-haves, and not-essential-at-all. (via afb [ 09/06/06 ]

1956: The British House of the Future

» The British House of the Future, circa 1956. "All electric power is drawn from a nearby atomic power station. [...] A short-wave transmitter with push buttons controls all electronic equipment. We’re sure you’ll be interested to know that the shower stall has jets of warm air for drying and the sunken bathtub rinses itself with detergent. No bathtub rings left for Mother." (via aaa)  (1) Comments  / [ 08/18/06 ]

State Fair Food Cooking: Still Competitive

» On the other hand, State Fairs are updating their food competitions by introducing contests for items like biscotti and bagels and specifically including men: in men-only baking contests, events pitting local firefighters against the sheriff’s department in Iron-Chef contests featuring local ingredients, and spectator events like chicken wing cook-offs and barbecue contests. "Cooking and gardening are almost hobbies now, not necessary for survival as they were when the fairs began. But the spirit is just as competitive as it always has been." Diane Roupe, a longtime judge at the Iowa fair.  [ 08/18/06 ]

Farm-to-table Restaurants a new trend

» A new American trend takes eating locally to it's logical conclusion: restauranteur-owned farms. "I pick the Swiss chard and put it in the car. They wash it off in the kitchen, and then we eat it. I can’t tell you the difference that makes." Dan Kary, owner of Cinque Terre restaurant and Grand View Farm in Portland, Maine.

Now wait a minute. This seems like a natural match to me. The Foodie/Slow Food/Eat Local crowd should be flocking to the fair to meet local farmers, learn about local foodways, and submit their own preserves for judging. And what better place for organic and pasture-based farmers to meet a public interested in local agriculture—and to exchange information with other farmers about their businesses and their farming experience? (1) Comments  / [ 08/18/06 ]

Medieval and Renaissance Food and Miscellany

» Those of you who enjoy Geoffrey Chaucer's delightful blog may also enjoy perusing Cariadoc's Miscellany (especially the "Articles in Persona") and the Medieval and Renaissance Food Homepage. I love, love, love these old-fashioned webpages, and they are a dying breed. Every new site, it seems, is a blog (as if that's the only way to order information) and no one seems willing to put up a plain, unstyled piece of information anymore. (2) Comments  / [ 08/16/06 ]

Jack Keler's Wine-making Blog

» Jack Keler's Winemaking Blog has it all, from identifying grapes to weather effects on fermenting wine. And the recipes! Banana Wine, Mesquite Wine, Daylily Wine, Mint Jelly, and Mint Jelly Wine.... There are no permalinks, so scroll down to see what a vasty resource this is. (1) Comments  / [ 08/04/06 ]

Smart Pans

» Smart pans. Training wheels for cooks.  [ 08/04/06 ]

Canning Fruit with a Solar Cooker

» Oh, how awesome is this? Canning fruit using a solar cooker. (Acid foods only!)   [ 07/20/06 ]

Solar Funnel Cooker/Refrigerator

» Brigham Young University Professor of Physics Steven E. Jones's Solar Funnel Cooker outperforms other solar cookers and can be used as a refrigerator at night! You can make one at home.

I would like to see the "Funnel Refrigerator" tried in desert climates, especially where freezing temperatures are rarely reached. It should be possible in this way to cheaply make ice for Hutus in Rwanda and for aborigines in Australia, without using any electricity or other modern "tricks." We are in effect bringing some of the cold of space to a little corner on earth. Please let me know how this works for you.

 (4) Comments  / [ 07/20/06 ]

The Incredible Bookman Bookshelf

» And now the Incredible Bookman, or as NeedCoffee puts it: Cool Bookshelf or My Nightmare Come to Life? You be the judge. Whichever, it's a bookshelf in the shape of a man, and you have to see it to believe it.   [ 07/19/06 ]

Four cookbooks for newlyweds

» NYT: Four cookbooks for newlyweds. The author makes a good case for each of these, but my list would be different:

What would you recommend? (12) Comments  / [ 07/17/06 ]

Permaculture Links

» Wow. Here's a long list of Permaculture and Gardening links [ 07/12/06 ]

Profile of Angelo Garro

» A short profile of San Francisco blacksmith and master forager Angelo Garro, the man who taught Michael Pollan to hunt for The Omnivore's Dilemma [ 06/30/06 ]

Rosemary Recipes

» A Little Weekend Cooking: Upon my return, my community garden plot was overrun with rosemary. What to do with the surplus? I started searching on the Web and found so many interesting recipes, I wish I had brought more home:

The Basics



Main dishes and Sides



  [ 06/23/06 ]

Mennonite Housewife creates cookbook empire

» Phyllis Pellman Good is a Mennonite housewife who has sold seven million copies of her cookbooks—more than the combined US sales of Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis and Jamie Oliver. "I think the food media has been responsible for creating this whole world of faux food, and this is a media largely consumed by people who eat out six times a week. We are not all served by thinking of food as a special-occasion product." Christopher Kimball, founding editor of Cooks Illustrated.  [ 06/20/06 ]

On risotto, stock, and soupmaking

» After being on the road for nearly a month, it's a treat to prepare our own food again. Last night I was struck by how very simple some of our favorite meals are. We had brown rice risotto, a dish we usually have several times a month. It's simple, it's infinitely malleable, and it's delicious. And inexpensive: 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of arborio rice, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, a shallot, and a quart of stock. With a green salad, this is a feast.

I made the vegetable stock in the afternoon, and it's simpler still. A few cloves of garlic, an onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, some salt and thyme, and parsley if you have it. It requires a few minutes of chopping, 10 minutes of sauteeing, 20 minutes of simmering, and that's it: 4 quarts of very flavorful stock in about half an hour. I freeze it in mason jars.

I must confess that I never use stock for my soups. Any soup that starts with onion, celery, and carrots or a similar combination is already creating its own stock as far as I'm concerned. And when I've experimented, I quite honestly can never taste the difference between a soup made with stock and one that uses only water. (A light, brothy soup would be the exception of course, but in my house soup is usually the meal.)

Now that Meg is food-blogging fulltime, I wish she'd do a feature on this. Does it really make a difference to use stock in soup? Are other people really that much more discerning than I am? Is it only important when using a meat-based stock in a soup that otherwise contains no meat? Does it make a difference for most kinds of soup? Or is this such an article of faith that most cookbook writers haven't thought through when and how a stock is essential to soupmaking? (7) Comments  / [ 06/16/06 ]

How to Get Through an Identity Theft

» A step-by-step personal account of How to Get Through Identity Theft (via rw [ 05/04/06 ]

The monetary value of mothering

» What's the real value of being a mom? $85,876 for working moms, and $134,121 for stay-at-homes.  [ 05/04/06 ]

Fluid Pudding's hilarious birthing story

» A year ago, Fluid Pudding posted her hilarious birthing story — except for the part about the fast-walking nurse. OH DEAR GOD, SAVE ME FROM FAST WALKING NURSES. It includes remarkably un-bloody pictures of a caesarean birth, and if you're a strong man or an average woman, you can take it. Except for the part about the fast walking nurse, which actually made me clutch myself when I read it. (via leahpeah(1) Comments  / [ 05/03/06 ]

Green Roofs gain slow acceptance in US

» Did you know that in the United States, Chicago leads in green roofs? Environmenally friendly (and lovely) they are a rapidly growing trend around the world.  [ 05/02/06 ]

Gardening at Gitmo

» Gardening at Gitmo. (via rc3oi [ 05/02/06 ]

Cooking Tips and Tricks

» Amazon has compiled a list of Cooking Tips and Tricks from Cook's Illustrated. I'm happy to learn from this list the proper technique for removing the pit from an olive.  [ 05/02/06 ]

How to Find Anything

» How to Find Anything. (via ct [ 05/01/06 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Not Martha

» I'm pleased to introduce the latest in my series Bloggers on Blogging: Megan Reardon, better known to most people as Not Martha. We talk about crafting, fear of writing, frustrating photography, and the many uses of blogging.

What appealed to me in general was the personal voice of blogs at that time. They were like zines, but they made sense. And they were like being allowed to read someone's diary. At that time in my life I was discovering the post-college lack of meaningful communication with others, and weblogs as they were being written filled in where intimate conversations had been diminishing.

  [ 04/28/06 ]

Fast Japanese T-shirt folding method

» Oh, awesome. Watch this Japanese video of how to fold a t-shirt perfectly in 5 seconds. Now I wish they'd invent a method for folding a fitted sheet that works as advertised. (via s1a(1) Comments  / [ 04/25/06 ]

The Martha Stewart of Japan

» Harumi Kurihara, Japan's "karisuma shufu" — a charisma housewife — is one of the most loved Martha Stewarts of Japan. Harumi's Japanese Cooking has just been published in the United States. "A Japanese mother's reputation in school rests on her bentos." Nobuko Suzuki, editor of Harumi Kurihara's Japanese cookbooks. (1) Comments  / [ 04/19/06 ]

On modern gardening

» A Long Row to Hoe, to Avoid a Store-Bought Tomato. Garret points out that his father managed to produce an ample harvest every year without investing $16,000 to do it. (via dm [ 04/17/06 ]

What is the price of female equality?

» A Little Weekend Reading: Working Girls, Broken Society is a terrible title for a really smart article . "While the benefits of career equality are axiomatic, its negative repercussions are wilfully ignored. In a contentious essay that is sparking fierce debate in Britain, a King's College professor argues that we must confront the losses to society when women choose work over family."

Politicians, journalists and businessmen often emphasize the negative economic consequences of any barriers to female participation in the workforce, and of losing half the country's best brains to the kitchen sink. Of course they are right, and I am in no hurry to go back there myself.
But it is striking how little anyone mentions, let alone tries to quantify, the offsetting losses when women choose work over family. This is stupid.

(via dm(8) Comments  / [ 04/14/06 ]

Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy

» Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy claims that the Sew Fast/Sew Easy, Inc is attempting to shut down local Stitch and Bitch groups (which they apparently see as rivals) by asserting that they were the first to coin the term "Stitch and Bitch" in 1997, and thus own the term. However, in her social history of knitting, No Idle Hands, Anne Macdonald writes of World War II knitters, "In Akron Ohio, twelve young women, who moved in with their parents or in-laws when their husbands went overseas, gave their elders a free night once a week to attend 'Stitch and Bitch Club' meetings." That dates the term back to at least the 1940s. Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy has a good timeline detailing numerous prior uses of the term. Knitting lawyers: who wants to step up the plate on this one?  [ 04/10/06 ]

Homemade Tofu

» Fabulous: Making Tofu at home. Once you've assembled the equipment and ingredients, it looks nearly as straighforward as making yogurt, and only a little more time-consuming. (1) Comments  / [ 04/10/06 ]

James Beard Award 2006 Nominees

» Oh dear. The 2006 James Beard Awards Nominees have been announced. I'm committed to acquiring only 1 new cookbook a year — it takes about a year of consistent effort to put a well-made cookbook through its paces. I think it's going to come down to a choice between Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen and Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen. (I've wanted to learn Japanese cooking since I visited there last year.) Thankfully, the third book I really want isn't really a cookbook at all: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, the new project from the folks who put together the wonderful Material World: A Global Family Portrait(3) Comments  / [ 04/06/06 ]

Why would you want to?

» How to make Vegan Twinkies (via rw [ 03/31/06 ]

The Smithsonian's Travelling American Food Exhibit

» Key Ingredients: America by Food is the website companion to the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibition of the same name. It features an American Food Timeline, a collection of recipes and stories from across the USA (contribute your own!), and an exhibition schedule [ 03/21/06 ]

Home Hygiene Routines

» What the Web was Made For: Home Hygiene/Home Routines [ 03/20/06 ]

Paper Shredders Are Causing Horrific Injuries to Pets and Children

» Children (hands) and dogs (tongues) are being horrifically injured by paper shredders, even with adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that shredders remain unplugged when not in use. I just unplugged mine. Go unplug yours right now. And please pass it on. (via dm [ 03/10/06 ]

Water Filter Comparison Chart May Be Fake

» Uh-oh. The water filter comparison chart may be "skewed".  [ 02/27/06 ]

Water Filter Comparisons

» Water Filter is your source for water filter (and bottled water) information. Don't miss the fabulous water filter comparison chart (via at)

Update: The water filter comparison chart may be fake! And when I look around, I find that same chart repeated on many a site, including the Aquasana site itself. At the very least, read the comments in this thread, read this article and consider this rundown of water filter reviews from different sources [ 02/24/06 ]

Ageing at Home

» NYT: Aging at Home: For a Lucky Few, a Wish Come True profiles Beacon Hill Village, an innovative nonprofit organization created by and for local residents determined to grow old in familiar surroundings, and to make that possible for others. "I don't want a so-called expert determining how I should be treated or what should be available to me. The thing I most cherish here is that it's we, the older people, who are creating our own universe." Susan McWhinney-Morse, one of the founders of Beacon Hill Village. (via at [ 02/14/06 ]

Leland D. Stone, butler-at-large

» The Fixer. "Mr. Stone... is channeling his will-do spirit these days into a profession so new it does not yet have a name. Think of it as equal parts decorator, handyman, fixer and finder, and throw in mediator and fast friend. [...] No job is too small or too strange. At the Seeligson house, Mr. Stone inveigled a carpenter to sink a range vent in a butcherblock countertop. Then he rounded up elegant upholstery nails to replace the tacks in a family-photo gallery." (via at [ 01/13/06 ]

Project: Make a Blocking Board

» Here's a New Year's project for all you crafters: Yarnmaven explains how she rolled her own blocking board [ 01/01/06 ]



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