mylittleplaceinspace

What’s Cookin’…Nettles

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Nettles, one of my favorite greens to eat. Most people I know stay away from this plant because the little prickers on the stems sting and irritate your skin when you brush against them. While, these plants can cause irritation of your skin they are also very healthy for you to eat. Nettles are rich in calcium, iron, protein, and many vitamins and minerals. Besides being a healthy they can also reduce symptoms of PMS, allergies, and hay fever. They help the circulatory system, reduce chronic headaches and arthritis pain when the stingers are rubbed on the joints. This is not just food, it is medicine.

Below is my patch of nettles growing in my garden. The kids all know what it looks like so they know to be cautious. They are very good at pointing out when the plants start to grow on the path so I can pull them out. Besides in my garden, I find nettles along the edges of woods, paths in the park, and near wet areas.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Gathering Nettles

When gathering stinging nettle we usually wear gloves to protect our hands. I don’t always wear gloves when picking a small amount but if you are picking a large amount wear gloves, otherwise your hands will get very irritated and itchy.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

When gathering you want to pick the top 4 to 6 leaves. This is the newest growth and the most tender. This also allows the plant to keep growing and you can harvest again and again all through the summer.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Preparing Nettles

Once you have your nettles, put them in a cold water bath. Use your hand to agitate them in the water. This will clean the leaves and many of the stingers will fall off as well. After the rinse put them in a salad spinner to dry. It is safe to eat the stingers as they loose their power a while after the plant has been picked or after the leaves have been cooked.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Nettles can be used the same as spinach so they are very versatile. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat nettles:

Saute with onions and mushrooms for a side dish or over eggs

Put them in an frittata

Dry the leaves for tea, nettle and mint go great together

Nettle Soup

Nettle Lasagna

 

Today I made Shepard’s Pie with nettles and it turned out delicious. Start with:

2 carrots

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup beef broth

1/2 cup tomato sauce, marinara, or the tomato sauce of your choosing

4 cups of nettles

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups mashed potatoes

 

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onions, saute until clear. Add carrots and garlic and saute another 5 min.

2.  Add ground beef and cook until cooked through.

3. Add in broth and tomato sauce then simmer until it reaches the thickness you desire.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

4. Boil a little water or broth and add chopped nettles. Cook for 2 minutes and drain.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

5. Pour meat mixture into a 9×13 pan. Layers nettles on top.

6. Spoon mashed potatoes over the top and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

7. Enjoy!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Don’t forget to have a cup of nettle tea before bed, with lots of honey 🙂

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

What’s Cookin’…Dandelions

Yes, I said it, dandelions! Last year the kids and I started cooking with this common lawn and garden weed and man, were we happy. They get to pick as many as they want and make great food too. We also learned that dandelions are good for your health.

Dandelions are a good source to calcium,potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and they are also a good source of protein. You can eat the leaves, flowers, and roots of this vitamin packed plant.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Harvesting

I bet that most of you can find a large supply of dandelions at this time of year. I picked mine from the empty lot next door but you can also look in parks, your yard, or anywhere you see lots of yellow. Just make sure that you find a place that does not use , herbicides  pesticides, or have other contaminants such as dog feces. Once you find a good spot pick away. I usually gather flowers or leaves and make something fresh, right away.

 

Eating

We picked these flowers to make dandelion jelly. Here is an easy recipe.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

We added food coloring to get the golden yellow color and  it tasted like honey, yum.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Delaney eating dandelion jelly on an English muffin.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

We also made dandelion pesto this year. We used the dandelion leaves to make this yummy condiment.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Here is how we made the pesto. I got this recipe from 6512 and Growing

3 cups young dandelion leaves

1 cup roasted pecans (roast in oven at 250F for 20 minutes.) You could also use walnuts or almonds

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

salt

Put everything is a food processor and blend.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

You get a little bitter taste from the leaves and a sweet taste from the pecans. I put this on everything. My favorite way to eat this pesto is to put it on eggs and toast.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

There are many other ways to use dandelions for example,

Use dandelions in salads

Saute them with onions and add to mashed potatoes

Boil them with the flowers buds and eat with butter and salt

We have also tried these recipes in the past.

Dandelion Fritters

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion cookies

Enjoy!

3 Comments »

The First Day of Winter….Wait, I Mean Spring!

Well, I have to say this sounds familiar. On September 22nd I posted something similar. It does show that it has been a long winter. As of March 2oth, the first day of spring, we have lots of snow and ice everywhere. Here are some pictures to give you an idea.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

That is a lot of snow for the end of March. And while I wouldn’t mind wearing a breezy skirt instead of long johns, or going barefoot instead of heavy boots, and while I would like to take a bike ride where I don’t have to worry about people whipping out on the ice, that is not the case today.  So, on this first day of spring, I will take the advise of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who said “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. So I choose to see it!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

IMGP1042

 

Happy first day of spring!  🙂

2 Comments »

Enjoy It While You Can

Here in Wisconsin we got another 3 or more inches of snow today. Even this late in the season, I can still enjoy the beauty of gently falling snow. And really, the snow will only be around for a few more weeks. So get out there and enjoy it while you can!

This is our backyard snowhill we have been working on since the beginning of January. It is so big Liam cannot get the sled up on his own. Today we made a second smaller hill for him.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Justin and Liam working on the new snow hill.
TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

We also decided to make a little room in the bigger snow hill.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Warming up in the igloo.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Delaney took a picture from inside the igloo looking out.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Killian getting ready to sled down the big hill. We stayed out until 6:45 so this picture is a little dark.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Happy Snow!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

2 Comments »

Winter Walk

Sing a song on winter

Frost is in the air.

Sing a song of winter

There’s snowflakes everywhere.

Sing a song of winter

Hear the bells chime.

Can you think of anything as fine as wintertime.

Come along on a winter walk!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

 

Happy Snow!

 

Leave a comment »

Winter Fun

King Winter has once again graced us with his presence. So what do we do on a snowy day besides play in it, make a snack with it. Today we were inspired by Laura Ingles Wilder and my friend Jen to make some molasses candy.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

First we gathered snow in pans. Each child got their own pan to fill with clean fresh snow.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

We heated up 1 cup of molasses and 3/4 cup of sugar in a pan over medium heat until it reached 245 degrees F. Then I poured out the mix into a measuring cup.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

The kids each poured some onto thier snow and then we put them back out on the porch for ten minutes.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Time to enjoy, yum!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

All of the kids enjoyed the molasses candy. It is sticky on your teeth, I think we will need a good brushing later 🙂

 

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

1 Comment »

Winter Wonderland…aka My Yard

We had a good snow here in Central Wisconsin yesterday and it finally feels like winter. Hooray! Now lets hope it stays.

Here are some scenes from my yard, which is where we spent almost the whole day 🙂

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Little snowy dried flowers.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Huge snowy pine trees.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Snowy path in the trees.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Sledding and snow boarding fun on the small hill Killian and Justin made this morning. It will get bigger as the season goes on.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

Oh boy!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

So fun!

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

The biggest best snowman! This guy is taller than Justin, wow!

Happy Snow Day 🙂

Leave a comment »

Snow!

Nothing like snow to get everyone outside by 7:15 in the morning!

Get ready for snowballs.

Liam left his bike out over night.

Riding through the trees. Those strider bikes go anywhere!

Even the doggie with an ear infection likes the snow.

Duck!

Happy snow 🙂

Leave a comment »

Seasons

I love the changing of the seasons, how each has it’s own distinct feelings. Spring has the feeling of renewal, of starting new things, and of growth. Summer feels like playtime when you try to fit everything you can into the short season we have here in Wisconsin. Autumn brings a new kind of busyness, of preparing for winter and enjoying every last day of warmth and sun for we know it will soon end. Lastly winter, where you feel slowness and coziness. Where there is a turning inward, and time to think and dream and prepare for the next great venture.

Each month slowly takes you through a different part of each season.  Autumn slowly comes upon us with September. It  is still hot, still time for one more swim, one more boast ride, a last hurrah of all things hot. The garden is overflowing, along with the farm markets and my farm share box. Which leads to a full kitchen and a crazy time of preserving for winter. My husband will tell you the kitchen was a disaster for most of September while I worked on my new canning skills.

October is such a joyous month. It starts with an explosion of color that gets you out and about. We do yard work and last minute fix it projects to prepare for the winter ahead. This month ends with the frost covered leaves on the ground and a true feeling that winter is upon us.

November is the last bit of time to get ready for winter. Everything has slowed down outside, in the garden, the animals, ourselves. It is truly a time to turn inward and enjoy being cozy together inside. Out come the games, cards, art projects, the movies we didn’t have time to watch in the summer. I am ready for this quiet time of year, where I have time think and dream of the next year to come.

Here are some pictures from my November garden.

 

 

 

Now it is November,

Trees are nearly bare;

Red and gold and brown leaves

Scatter everywhere.

Dark now, are the mornings,

Cold and frosty too;

Damp and misty evenings

Chill us through and through.

Busy are all creatures,

Winter food to hide;

Nests to make all cozy,

Warm and safe inside.

Leave a comment »

Happy Halloween

BOO!

It is Halloween and their goblins about! This morning we woke up to ghosties in the pumpkin patch. Willow witch and Pumpkin witch were surprised to find them floating around the garden. These little ghosties were found at Wee Folk Art and were very simple to make.

Yesterday evening we did our annual pumpkin carving.

This year we got out the power tools. Look at the determination on Liam’s face!

Here are the finished products. Yes the third one says “Da Bears”.

 

Superhero stance for sure 🙂

 

What a scary vampire!

Happy Halloween!

Leave a comment »

Eclectic Lamb

Somewhat Healthy Cute Vegetarian Lunches

Frugally Sustainable

A Resource for All Things Frugal and Sustainable