Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fermented Vegetables are Pediatrician Approved

I'm still trying to convince my husband to try my homemade fermented vegetables. He asked me not to feed them to our 2 year old son until I cleared it with his pediatrician. The doctor said that it was perfectly safe--safer than unfiltered raw honey (which is only a concern for babies under 1 year old).   My son isn't a fan of sour things yet.  My husband eats a pickle every day with lunch, so I think I'll convert him eventually.

Today, I learned that fermented vegetables have less sugar than pickled vegetables because the yeast converts the sugars to lactic acid. This is another selling point to use on my diabetic husband. 

My sister-in-law drinks pickle juice since her gall bladder surgery, and she seems open to trying my fermentation liquids.  I don't clearly understand the medicinal use here, but she swears by it.  The probiotic aspect of this product no doubt plays a role in digestion.  I just don't know what losing a gall bladder does to your system or how probiotics help relieve symptoms.

I got a yogurt maker at my neighbor's yard sale--$2.00 and it had never been used.  I was really pleased with the yogurt I was able to make with it--creamy and I can control the tartness by lengthening or shortening the processing time!  I love fruit/yogurt smoothies, so this will be great.  But it only makes 4 little jars at once, which doesn't keep up with my consumption yet.  I need 4 more jars to rotate so I can have 4 in the refrigerator and 4 in the yogurt maker.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More Fermenting (2nd attempt)

I was given a huge head of cabbage and 6 lbs of carrots. That is too much for our little family to eat up in a timely fashion, so I decided to ferment them. This will be my 2nd attempt (I was very pleased with the 1st). I used Himalayan pink salt again with boiled (then cooled) tap water (last time I used bottled water). I used the nicest outer leaves of the cabbage instead of any sort of “starter” since you can see the blue hazy yeast on the dark outer leaves. I cut the washed carrots into spears because I liked the way they pack the jars without floating up and they serve well in that form. I was careful to cut the spear lengths to match my varied jar heights, packing each jar as I was cutting. I added some powdered ginger to a few jars (this time I didn't have fresh ginger on-hand). I ended up with a lot of bits of carrots because of fussy cutting, so I threw those into a blender with some of the salt brine as well as the bulk of the inner head of cabbage and made that into a pulp. I also added some fresh comfrey herb to it from my garden. The comfrey, I've been meaning to use medicinally, but haven't gotten around to it, so this was a way to utilize it. Comfrey shouldn't add much flavor since it really doesn't have any. I intend to use these blended, pulpy mixes as last minute additions to soups or blend with olive oil for a quick salad dressing. I did two baby food jars of carrot with fresh catnip leaves just to experiment with flavors.


When I went to the garden for the comfrey, I noticed that I have a lot of sage to harvest. I have a lot of dried sage already, and nothing is as good as fresh sage in a cooked dish. That gave me the idea to ferment it. But how? I had used up all of my cabbage and carrots at this point, but still had salt brine. Then I spotted that large zucchini that I hadn't yet found a use for.  I had read that zucchini was difficult to ferment without turning to mush, so I decided to go straight to mush and start it out as pulp. I used a big handful of fresh sage leaves and made the zucchini/sage pulp in the blender (with a few dandelion leaves). The zucchini/sage mixture doesn't have anything for starter except the fresh leaves (no cabbage). That will be amazing to brighten up a beef/mushroom/barley stew!

I still had a little brine left. So, I made a couple of small experimental jars. I had read something online about a corn relish (fermented), but felt like this needed garlic and jalapeno which I didn't have on-hand. So, I carefully broke off each kernel from the cob (not sure why I didn't just cut them off, but I note it here because the juice wasn't released which may affect how it ferments). I diced up some mini red bell peppers (mild) and added it and the corn to a jar with a comfrey leaf.

To the last bit of brine, I diced up a mandarin orange rind and added a teaspoon of dried elderberries. I added a piece of comfrey to the top and weighed it all down by inverting a soda pop lid before putting on the lid to the baby jar.


I did half of this project yesterday, and so I was relieved that some effervescent action is already present in some of the jars! I was a little nervous without my raw kraut juice insurance policy this go-a-round.

TIP: To ensure that my jars were clean, I rinsed them out and while they were wet, microwaved the lot of them for 1 minute. Be sure to let jars cool before filling.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Crochet Bug is Catching On!

Mesa has designed a cute new hermit crab potholder with her new crochet skills!

Hermit Crab Food Trials: Hermit Crab Potholder or Fish Bowl Mat: I'd love to see this used as a mat for a fish bowl!  I created it with lime green yarn and a white yarn that had bright turquoise flec...

Friday, March 11, 2016

New banner

Now that I have so much more graphic design experience, I thought I'd give our shop banner a face lift.  What do you think?  I didn't want to stray too much from our branding. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Veggie Fermentation Attempt

I've been reading up on fermenting vegetables and I went a little crazy on my first attempt. I got it in my head that cruciferous vegetables have the right microbes for fermentation and I LOVE cauliflower in all it's forms. So, I decided to pair purple cauliflower and purple cabbage. And, I got some organic kale (the kind that looks like elephant or dinosaur skin—can you tell I'm not a botanist?), organic carrots (skin on), a piece of fresh ginger and a Cara Cara orange (for the rind), and some fresh garlic cloves.

First, I made the brine by emptying two 16oz bottles of bottled water into a glass dish and microwaving it for 90 seconds to which I dissolved 2 Tablespoons of fine Himalayan pink salt. As that was cooling, I washed all of my vegetables in lukewarm tap water.  (I had to make one more 16 oz batch of brine before I finished all of my jars).

My first square jar has carrots cut into sticks (skin on), a ginger slice (skin on), and a 3/4” X 4” strip of orange rind, and a dash of red pepper flakes. It looks PRETTY!!! I made a little version in a jelly jar with carrot discs and omitted the red pepper flakes in case baby wants to try them.

Next, I tackled the big jar with the strawberry graphics on the side and the big mechanical top. The seal was old and cracked so I hope keeping the lid closed will do the trick. I packed it with a bunch of the 'dinosaur' kale, several garlic cloves, ½ jalapeno, sliced red cabbage. In a blender, I made a pulp from the outer leaves of the purple cabbage, a bit of the brine (once cooled to room temp), garlic cloves, and a tad more jalapeno. And added about 2 Tablespoons of that pulp. My mom gave me her Swiss kraut juice (digestion aid from the health food store), and I added a teaspoon of that hoping that it might work as a 'starter yeast' as one recipe indicated. I used my glass disc that is supposed to keep pasta water from boiling over to weigh the contents down.

I made a smaller version of this adding freshly ground black pepper and whole coriander seeds in a square jar.

Then I made little sticks out of the succulent part of the cauliflower leaves, and used the green leafy parts to make a pulp as before. I added a good-sized piece of 'dinosaur' kale, a ¼ teaspoon of tumeric powder, and a sliver of jalapeno and a small garlic clove. Perhaps a dash of black pepper...if memory serves. That went into a baby food jar and looks very pretty and uniform.

Then I made a mode-podge of nearly all of it in the tall molasses jar, using an extra portion of pulp.

Lastly, I made one without the kraut juice and without the pulp: Just sliced ginger (skin on), a few pieces of elephant kale (folded into tight little bundles) and added coriander seeds. I'm hoping this will be great with Asian food. If it works well, I might like it with match-sticks of ginger instead of slices. The slices are a scant 1/8” wide and about an inch across. That was packed tightly into a babyfood jar.

Now we wait and see. I will check it in the morning and add brine if any vegetables are exposed at the top. If it is an epic fail, I'll share that too (since I didn't find any examples of this process going bad on the internet). It is very possible that I don't understand the principles at play.

NOTE:  Updates will appear in the comments--not as another post.

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Artist: Tiffany

I want to introduce you all to my sister-in-law and bosom buddy:  Tiffany.

She is a talent!  She and I have crafted together on multiple occasions in multiple mediums.  Most recently, since the birth of her 9 month old daughter, she has been crocheting up a storm!  She hosts scrapbooking retreats for the family and creates amazing greeting cards.  She is an avid recycler, and often finds amazing ways to re-purpose and upcycle.  She loves hosting parties featuring adorable center pieces, decorations, delicious food--not to mention lovely invitations.  We hope to see more of her innovative paper crafts, sugar scrubs, and canned goods actually make it into our storefront in the next few months.

I wish I had better photos of her handi-work, but here's just a small sample:


Monday, May 18, 2015

Men's Western Collar Tips - Vintage (F.L. Thorpe Black Hills Gold) Landstrom

A recently widowed friend of my Grandmother asked me to sell her late husband's collection of Western collar tips.  I'm going to have to research these items well before listing them for sale so that I can get her the best prices possible.  I haven't decided whether they would be best sold on Etsy or eBay.

Each piece has distinctive charm, but I was especially impressed with the Black Hills Gold set.  They have a black powder-coated finish with real 10K Black Hills Gold Trim and are diamond cut.  The maker is F.L. Thorpe of Rapid City, South Dakota which sold out to Landstroms in 1995.  Landstrom was sold to Mount Rushmore Gold last year.  After some preliminary research, I'm thinking that they value about $200, but with the original case and accompanying documentation, perhaps we could get a little more.


Check out my Men's Vintage pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/jedisena/vintage-mens/ 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Finds

Baby and I braved the rain and spent our allowance in our first stop!  Here's what we found at an estate sale this morning:
 Kinsmade on Etsy

The items will all be up for sale by the end of this weekend, so be sure to follow our Etsy shop!

Shields Vintage Tie Bar

Last week's find...

Baby and I were at the zoo, so we didn't get much shopping done.  But we did find this beautiful Shields brand vintage tie clip.  Baby will use it until it sells.  See more photos HERE.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Adorable Ribbon Sculpture Hair Clips for Baby Girl

Can't say enough about my latest Etsy purchase!  These are little girl's barrettes in the characters of Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, and the Little Mermaid.  And I got a little crab too!  They are made from grosgrain ribbon, sculpted into fanciful shapes.  I bought them for my little niece-on-the-way and this was a great conversation piece at the baby shower!  I searched many vendors and found KutieKlipz to have the best designs at the best prices.  They are very well-made and she shipped them from Canada very quickly.  I only wish that I'd bought more of her Disney princess designs!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Handmade Peacock Crinkle Toy

I was given some fabric scraps from my fellow Etsian Caroline at CCADesigns and I've finally put them to good use by creating this OOAK peacock crinkle toy for my niece that will be born within the next two weeks!

I used a clear floral sleeve (recycled from a bouquet of flowers) as the foundation on which to sew the scraps of fabric.  I used a broad grosgrain ribbon for the ruffle and crown.  I inserted little bits of small sheer and metallic ribbons in the tail feather portion as well.  The beak is a dab of orange satin ribbon.  I liberated a little rattle from a silly pair of slippers that had become stained and added it to the peacock breast.  I had a little dotted flannel that I put in for added texture.  I marked the clear floral sleeve with the overall design.  Then I started with the chevron fabric in the center and started adding on tail feathers until all the clear plastic was covered.  Then I added on the ruffled grosgrain ribbon, and put on the aqua flannel fabric by top-stitching over the ruffled ribbon.  The breast head and neck were appliqued on (carefully inserting the satin beak), followed by the ribbon crown and eye.  I trimmed away all the scraps that were overhanging using my clear floral sleeve as the cutting line.  I cut an identical shape from some darker teal fabric and with right sides together I sewed the perimeter leaving a 4" gap on one side.  I turned it all wrong-side out and top-stitched the entire perimeter to finish it.  You can see that I was not very particular with my stitching and fabric position, but I think it works for this primitive design.  I was careful to fray check all of the ribbons and secure everything very well, since you don't want a child's toy to have removable bite-sized pieces!