CROOK

Tangerine Dreams


We've been getting a lot of tangerines lately in our CSA boxes, but last week we got 137.
Yup.
137.
My kids go through tangerines like peanuts, but I started worrying that we wouldn't be able to go through them fast enough, so I thought I'd do another 32 Avocados in 3 Days type of post.


Silly me.  The whole house looked like this and really by day 3 we were down to only 30 or so.

Sad that the bounty is shrinking...

 I did manage to set some aside and make what we ended up calling Clementine Quinoa.  Basically I cooked the quinoa in my veggie stock, then tossed it with black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, the segments of about 10 small tangerines and a splash of my raw BBQ sauce.  Then I set it in the fridge overnight and it made a yummy cold quinoa salad lunch for the girls the next day.



I also used a bunch in making these delicious muffins...


Crooked Tanga-Carrot Muffins

1/2 cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed up so it will incorporate)
1 cup freshly grated carrots
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
3/4 cup spelt flour* 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt

* or 1 3/4 cup your flour of choice...this works well as a Gluten Free Muffin using Mama's Coconut Blend Flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and either put liners in your muffin tin or grease it with a little coconut oil.

Mix the wet ingredients together.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Then fill your muffin tins and pop them in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.



This is just my normal carrot muffins using tangerine juice instead of almond milk.  I often like to use fresh juices in my muffins and see how the taste changes...these were a hit!  Baby C ate quite a few...



Not that there are any left now, but I am sure we'll get more this week.  What are your favorite tangerine recipes?

A Mud-Winter Day


Southern CA is known for it's great weather, but these last few days have been exceptional!  We had a bit of rain Monday to wash all the crap smog away, then it quickly warmed up to the high 70's and even into the low 80's!  A bit odd when our circle time in the morning consists of snowflake songs and winter verses...but whatever!

We were in the midst of changing our sand box into an herb garden when we found ourselves in an impromptu mud party...




Baby C was not impressed with the mud pit, but was happy to cart clean water back and forth.




Good clean fun!


Save Your Seeds, Save Yourselves


Seed saving is quickly becoming popular again.  Monsanto is scaring even the smallest urban farmers into the practice of saving their seeds!  That's a whole different post altogether, but if you're interested here's some links:

Lords Of The Harvest
Food Inc.
Stolen Harvest
Millions Against Monsanto


Last year we took part in an online seed saving exchange that Lisa over at Earthmama hosted.  I am not sure if she's doing it again this year, but we've been busy saving seeds anyways.  Let me know if you're interested in exchanging some!

Watermelon
Green Beans
Lavender (not seeds to plant, buds for herbal goodies!)
Orange Cosmos
Mammoth Sunflower Seeds
Holy Basil (also known as Thai Basil)
Calendula
Ruby Red Okra
Pumpkins (or pumperkinnys, as Baby C calls them)

Fails:
1.My attempt at saving tomato seeds was foiled by over fermentation (so stinky!).  
2.I tried butternut squash, but did not dry them properly and they grew mold. Sad face.  That was some of the tastiest butternut squash!
3.Butter lettuce didn't work because a crazy windstorm uprooted the lettuce tree that was just about to flower.
4.Beets...those poor beets never had a chance.  We eat them up instantly. I may have to "hide" some in the garden so they can be allowed to go to seed.

The girls really got into it and are excited to plant our baby seeds this year.  I look forward to learning even more about seed saving and creating our own Crooked Moon Seed Bank.

For more information on seed saving check out these books (hopefully they're at your library!):
Seed to Seed
Seed Saver's Handbook

Seed Saving Websites:
Native Seeds
Seed Saving Institute


New Year, New CSA



That's right folks...I am doing another CSA post.
You can see past ones here:
1
2
3
4
5
...and probably a few more somewhere.



I am excited to tell you about the Green Lab, Urban Farm!  I have known about this place for a while, but let me tell you I have recently fallen in love with it!  I went to check it out a few months ago, and we are hooked.  It's a great little neighborhood farm that strives to not only bring the community together, but to share and involve them in the process.



Look at all that gorgeous food!  This is the contents of our box last week:
Tangerines
Cilantro
Leeks
Carrots
Celery
Romaine Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Onions
Spinach
Cabbage
Beets
Brussel Sprouts



The farm stand is open on Tuesdays and Fridays in the winter from 10am-5pm.  I order a box for $30 and pick it up on Fridays, but I always add to it.  They have $2 a pint for organic strawberries year round (yes, a perk of living in southern CA)!

They offer fresh chicken and duck eggs when available.  They have a flock of about 12 chickens that are some of the healthiest, happiest little creatures I've met.  F loves to catch them and hold them.  Poor little thing wants chickens so bad!  They also have a handful of ducks roaming about.

They've started a Tuesday morning knitting group (love!) and be on the lookout for more classes and events in the works.  There is a butterfly garden, a stone labyrinth, and they offer free compost and mulch to the community.  If you're local, do stop by and check them out.  If you're not, use this as an example and get one going in your neck of the woods...urban or not!

Toothpaste Troubleshooting

I'm truly glad so many of you liked the toothpaste post!  We've been using it for a while now and we'll never go back to the store bought stuff.  My gums are healthier, my teeth are whiter and it's one more thing that I can easily make for myself.  Do jump in and try it!



I got a phone call from a friend who was all excited to make the toothpaste:

Friend: "I made the toothpaste today."
Me: "Yeah?  Great. What do you think?"
Friend: "I almost puked...it was SO salty!"
Me: "Oh no!....(sad face)".

I talked her down of the ledge and encouraged her to try again with some modifications...she is now quite happy with her toothpaste.

So here are a few answers to some questions/comments about the recipe.

TOO SALTY - Yes, that would be the baking soda.  We all have different tastes and preferences.  If you find the recipe too "salty" tasting, get yourself some of this...



Instead of the 3Tbs baking soda, use 2 Tbs calcium carbonate and 2 tsp baking soda.  I made some for my 7 month old nephew when I decided the pure baking soda might be too much for him.

I prefer the pure baking soda because of obvious cleansing reasons, but the calcium carbonate is abrasive enough to clean, plus some claim that it can help remineralize your teeth.

Either of these toothpaste recipes blow the pants off any commercial toothpaste you can buy, in my opinion.

TOO COCONUTTY - Some folks just do not like the taste of coconut oil (what?!?!?!?).  I do not recommend using a different oil for this recipe as coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal...all things I don't mind having in toothpaste, right?  If the coconut taste is too much for you, try using peppermint essential oil (about 5-7 drops for the recipe) instead of the flavored liquid stevia.  The peppermint really masks the coconut oil.

TOO HARD - Make sure you sit your coconut oil in the sun for an hour or so before making the toothpaste.  If the coconut oil is cold and hard it will (obviously) be too hard to mix in the other ingredients.  Do not heat it in the microwave please.  Not only will it change the structure of the oil, but then it will be too hot and the baking soda will not incorporate well.  If you follow the recipe the toothpaste should not harden too much.  I do live in southern CA though and my bathroom never goes below 60.  Ha!  If your toothpaste gets too hard because you live in a cold climate, just sit the jar in warm water until your desired texture is achieved.


Let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts on this recipe, I'd love to hear them!

Baths and Babies

I participated in two Bits of Goodness swaps last month and I always love sharing what we get in our return packages.  

First up is the Baby Swap.  Since I love babies, and I love gnome hats...that's what I made!  I had some gorgeous Rowan bulky wool and some Bolero wool, so these knit up quickly...  


I made the hostess a small aviator bonnet since she was due with her baby soon.  These caps fit newborns so sweetly!

Don't mind the dingy photos below.  I had to take the pictures at night since I planned on using some of these as Christmas gifts and I have quite a few nosy little girls wandering around all day!
Here's what we got in exchange:

Knit teether/rattle by Claudia B.

Knit eggplant by Deb N.

Doll/rattle by Priscilla M.

Felt baby toy cube by Lacey G.

Linen/cotton tag blankie by Kelly O.



Next up was the Bath Swap.  I knit these soap holders.  I always prefer solid soap in the bath/shower, but hate it when it gets set down on the tub edge or the counter.  These knit bags remind the girls (and Daddy) that the soap has a home of its own to go to when you're done with it.





Here's the bath time goodness we got back in return:

A bathmit and a washcloth.
These were both made by the talented Kelly O.

A sweet set of bath salts and a matching washcloth, untagged (don't know who made it!).

Bathsalts (untagged).

A felted soap, we just love the cloud and rain drops design (untagged).

How about you?  Have you participated in any swaps lately?

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