Friday, August 24, 2007

Ideas for the Winter

Any ideas for preparing for the winter?

Food (recipes for things that grow late fall)
Growing some last treats before the winter
Growing indoors
Conserving heat during the winter (our apartment is really inefficient and uses a lot of energy despite it's small size)

I'll post ideas on these things in the next weeks.

Using a deep freeze; Recipe for Zucchini bread, Recipe for meringues.

About six months ago, we bought a deep freeze second hand on Craigslist, a common North American site for buying, selling etc. I think it's about 5 cubic feet, and has enough food to feed us for about 1 month.

- The deep freeze costs something to begin with (usually between 75 and 150 US$)
- You can get a bit carried away and start freezing more than you need.
- You may spend large chunks of time cooking for the week ahead.
- The food you eat, though healthy, has been frozen for a while which doesn't completely hold in all the good stuff.

-You can buy in bulk.
- You can cook in bulk.
- You can have more variety in your diet, because you don't have to eat leftover foods the following day.
- When you come home, all you have to do is defrost a meal and it's done.
- We find we can eat for better health, because healthy foods that have a long preparation time are a "once-off" deal, then you get to enjoy them for several weeks.
- We are less tempted to eat at restaurants on days when we're tired.
- We can eat vegetables that were grown LOCALLY and IN-SEASON for a much longer portion of the year, because they're in meals tucked away in the freezer. Our diet therefore has a little less environmental impact.

You do have to think about what foods freeze well, because I've made a few mistakes along the way. Bread usually freezes very well, but roast potatoes... well... no.

Here's a recipe to get you started. It's healthy especially for you...

With baking, remember that you can be more creative than you may expect. A lot of the time, it doesn't matter too much what you do (baking kings and queens may well disagree). I recommend baking things you enjoy and are relatively healthy, and being only as technical as you need to be. Otherwise you may dread baking and never do it, or only do it for things that you will feel guilty about eating. Which isn't useful.

Ok I'll stop stalling.



3 eggs (beaten a little)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
Shredded zucchini (2 or 3 cups)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups all purpose white flour
1.5 cups all purpose brown flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 175C (350F).

Beat eggs oil applesauce vanilla sugar
put zucchini in
beat in flour salt baking powder cinnamon baking soda

Put in greased loaf/muffin pans

bake for around 50 minutes
cool for a while.

Now, the ingredient list looks long because I wanted to make it a bit healthier. But you can really have any combination of white and brown flour, oil or applesauce, sugar types. One great thing about applesauce is that it fills in for oil AND for sugar.

That's pretty awesome, huh? Let me know how it goes

The oven will have been hot for around an hour, so it's a great idea to use that heat for something. You could make some meringues, fat free sugary treats that require a low temperature over a long time. Also, after zucchini bread you may be aching for something with fewer ingredients.


2.5 cups sugar
4 egg whites

Beat egg whites until they start getting fluffy
Gradually add the sugar while beating. Add the sugar slightly away from where the beaters are turning, or else the sugar will fly up and perhaps cause mortal harm.

have the oven at around 90C (200F) for an hour or so. If your oven is gas like ours, it actually won't take any energy to keep it at 90 if it has already been hot. Switch the oven completely off and leave the meringues in the warm oven overnight to dry out. They're awesome with cream or icecream, or rasberries.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Finding beauty in Mt Auburn Cemetery

We live near to a very beautiful cemetery, a place to get away and reflect. Today I was able to go there and miraculously not get lost (I always get stuck in the labyrinth of tombstones, unless I'm with The Genius with the Directions Superpower (as he likes to call himself).

In other news, my trees are not going to miraculously appear on our doorstep until Fall planting, which is apparently in November. Oh well.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture

This year we bought a CSA share. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We have a share in Busa Farm ( in Lexington, and the idea of the CSA is basically for the farmer to have a more stable income. Particularly for small farms close to the city, it is very difficult to compete with larger farms far away from Boston. It's probably much more complicated than that economically, but this is my simple understanding of it. Below are some pictures of the farm-- the stall, some lettuce, and the farm in the 1930s.

Although we haven't bought as much as we would have liked with our "Busa bucks", there's still time. We're not the eat-vegetables-raw-every-day-every-moment type of people, so it's been, and will be, pretty great for making us find ways to eat better. I really recommend it. The additional advantage is that you have to slow down a little, go to the store and buy the produce (or the herbs, plants, etc). For the farmer, I think it's helpful and also means we're eating vegetables that have not had to travel far to get to our plate. Using space nearby to grow small amounts of food (subsistence farming) makes so much sense to me.

A side note: Our pepper plants are from Busa, and I just got some thyme plants named Thy and Me who I am hoping will survive the winter inside
with a little help from...)

Coming up soon:
1) Getting free trees from the National Arbor Day Foundation (10 flowering trees which will apparently land up on our doorstep!). To be posted when the aforementioned free trees arrive and I take pictures of the beautiful little things in our one bedroom attic.
2) Making bland vegetables taste good.

But first: cooking for the long term, how to use freezer space to eat better and cheaper... I know, exciting stuff!! Thanks for reading.