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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anyone want a goat?

One thing that I have realized over the past 9 months is that it is allll good, until you run out of time (and/or energy).  Such was and is the case for me this summer/fall.  As you know, I spent the summer as a trailer dweller in the woods, and now that I am home again, work and let's face it, life, is back in full swing.  So, I ask you this... who the heck has time to make gifts (or find suitable items that were previously-loved).  I might be cheap, but I really don't want my friends, family and those who have been generous with me to feel slighted.  Alas, I also don't want the landfills to continually be loaded with junk/packaging/overpriced goods that I purchased in order to try to give someone the warm-and-fuzzies.  So, if you are busy (and really, who isn't, this post is for you!)

My modified strategy involves spending my hard-earned cashola on 'experiences' that I feel others might enjoy... We have taken my son to a few children's shows for example, and he absolutely loved them!  I feel way better about that than buying him a new toy that he may or not not play with and that may or may not be loaded with toxins... (I won't rant here, there is enough consumerism rage here for another post entirely)
Anyway, other ideas include: spa treatments, 'favor cards' (kind of like an IOU), theatre tickets, iTunes gift cards, or, my personal favorite as of late, donating to a charity in that persons name.  There is an absolutely wonderful charity of this sort that is Canadian-based called 'Plan'.  How it works is you go on their site, choose a gift that reminds you of the person you would like to honor and they will send that person either a card by mail or an e-card with a message from you.  One of the best parts of this program is that there is a really wide range of prices - you can spend as little as $10, with up to 11 of their 'gifts of hope' priced under $50.  Examples include: mango trees, school supplies, at-home birthing supplies, baby chicks, rabbits, seeds, pigs, goats, etc.

Now, I know what you're thinking... Maren, you are such a SUCKER!  Well, you might be right, I am and always have been a person who chooses to see the positives, and I tend to trust in the goodness of mankind... I know, I know... it is very naive of me.  However, for all of you skeptics out there... here is a movie trailer for a film made by another purchaser of 'gifts of hope' (goats in particular) who got to thinking... Hmmm, where's my goat?  I wonder if it made it to where it was supposed to go?  The film will be airing tonight on the CBC's documentary channel... for those of you who have Canadian digital cable (not me), you should check it out!


To give, or not to give, isn't really the question... the reality is that you should give... just figure out a way to do it with meaning, good intentions and above all, kindness to each other and the earth!

Marebare xoxo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christmas Come Early (and more tales of zucchini)

I have a zucchini update for you, but I am so SICK of talking about, thinking about, dreaming about and eating the darned stuff that it will have to wait...

I would much rather fill you in on the events (or rather THE event) of the past weekend.  We are fortunate in the community that I live in to have something called a 'Little Monsters Swap Meet', which is basically a huge garage sale that focuses mainly on all things babies and kids.  Moms from the community (and a few businesses) can rent tables and sell or swap their kids hand-me-downs with other moms, dads and kids in the community.  This is a HUGE event in our community, and each time people line up from a ridiculously early hour in order to get in first and get the best deals.  This time around, my friend Carla had rented a table and as such, I went to help her out.  The best part?  As a seller you get first dibs on all of the good stuff!  Before the doors had even opened, I had stocked up for all of my son's birthday and Christmas gifts!  I bought him a bouncy house, a huge stack of books, a chalkboard easel, a ride-em motorbike, a shake 'em race car set, some puzzles and a tool bench with a ton of tools... all for about $200!!!!  (The bouncy house alone is worth that purchased new).  I know, I know, I probably went a little bit crazy, but I sure don't get opportunities like this very often.  Most of the toys are now hidden away in my house for birthdays, Christmas, and rainy days to come.  Given my disdain for all things packaged and expensive, it really was like Christmas for ME!  Thanks to Amanda and Amanda for putting on such a wonderful event!

And now, (sigh), back to the zucchini...

The good news is that after literally putting zucchini in our meals 2-3 times per day, we have finally started to make progress on 'the pile'...


The bad news is that I can hardly stand the thought of putting another bite of it in my mouth... in any form! 
On the other hand, there have been some real winners, so to speak, throughout this contest. 
First there was the zucchini balls...

Those were delicious, especially served with tzatziki on the side...
Then there was the crab stuffed zucchini...

It was also delicious...

I have one more recipe to make for the official contest (Moussaka - don't worry Linds, I will get there!) and then I am freezing whatever is left! 

I have just one more thing to share... last night I invented a perfect way to use up veggies in your fridge... carrots, onions, potatoes and you guessed it... zucchini!  I called it 'Hidden Zucchini Curry' and I just have to share: (there are no amounts b/c I just don't cook that way!)

-Ground Chicken
-Garlic Salt
-Garlic
-Pepper

Saute the above until chicken cooked through

-Carrots and Zucchini: about 4 cups after they've been through the food processor
-1/2 cup onion
-Olive Oil
-Salt
-Potatoes, diced, about 3
-Potato flour
-Chicken broth - 2 cups
-Curry paste
-1 can coconut milk

-Saute carrots, zucchini and onions in olive oil and salt. Add potatoes. Add flour until thickened. Add broth steadily to make a roux. Add curry paste and then coconut milk. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Add chicken and serve topped with raisins and plain yogurt over rice.

Your husband and kids will never guess just how many veggies you managed to sneak in there!  That is a Marebare guarantee!

Whew!  That is enough outta this girl.  Happy cooking!

Marebare

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh C'MON!

I know that the last thing that you were probably expecting from me was to see two posts in one day, however, something is happening in my household that is worth mentioning.... drum roll please... are you ready for it?  THE TECHNOLOGY GODS ARE OUT TO GET ME!!!!

And, no, I am not exaggerating which is why a fully caps-locked statement is absolutely called for in this instance.  In my recent past, here are the list of appliances in my home that have kicked the proverbial bucket:
  • My laptop (but you already knew that)
  • Our cordless house phones

  • 2 vacuum cleaners (yes, that includes our spare).  One of them was actually shooting dirt OUT, I think that you can figure out which one by the picture.

  • 2 VCR's (including the one that I dug out of storage at my mom's last night that ate two VHS tapes today, including Chephren's favorite one and a library one!!!)
  • 1 DVD player


You can understand my frustration, especially given the fact that the last four bullets happened this weekend!!! 

So what is happening here?  This my fine friends is a perfect example of planned obsolescence, a topic recently written about in the book Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America.  I haven't read it yet, but I plan to check it out soon (that is, if the library will let me check anything out after I wrecked their VHS tape).

Let me know if you have read it and of course, feel free to share your own stories of technological distress! 

Happy Monday (hope yours is going better than mine!)

Marebare

Zucchini Update

Thank you to those loyal readers who have taken pity on my zucchini problem and sent me their delicious zucchini recipes.  I have decided that those of you who have submitted recipes are likely gardeners as well and completely understand the urgency of the situation. 

That being said, I spent much of Friday in the kitchen trying to use up the 'schwarzenegger'-sized squashes... (love the visual by the way Rebecca!)  First up was a crustless zucchini quiche, submitted by The Almighty Beckster (aka Rebecca).
 


















Next up was a chocolate courgette cake courtesy of Mrs. Green.  Who knew that the Brits use the much-cooler-sounding word 'courgette' rather than zucchini?  Personally, I love it, and the only thing that would make it even better for me would be to hear it pronounced in a British accent!  On the other hand, I am pretty sure that I can't pull it off, so I will continue to call them zucchini...



Both were delicious, we enjoyed the quiche for breakfast on Saturday morning (and my husband even like it, and he hates green stuff of any kind!) and I brought the cake to a party on Friday night...

You will have to wait until the contest is over in order to see who the winner is... Speaking of the contest,
I still have quite a few of the 'green monsters' left, so hop to it!


Thanks again to those who have participated so far... I wait with bated breath for the next round of recipes!

Adios for now!

Marebare


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Zucchini Challenge

Everyone likes a challenge right?  Well, as I alluded to in my last post, I am overrun with a certain elongated green squash in my kitchen.  One of my friends sent me some fabulous-sounding recipes to help me do away with the stuff, which led me to try one of her ideas out this afternoon... but more on that later.

What I am proposing is that YOU, dear reader, send ME (crazy-blogger-woman) your very best zucchini recipe (and here is a twist, it can't be for your everyday run-of-the-mill zucchini loaf).  Go crazy, think outside the box, see what wonderful delicacies you can come up with.  They can be from your own recipe collection, or hey, just go on line and pick something that you think sounds AWESOME...

On my end, and for your efforts, I promise to cook each recipe, in the order that they were submitted, until the zucchini supply is gone.  What is in it for you?  A $10 iTunes Gift Card courtesy of yours truly (and yes, it is a re-gift) goes to the one dish that my family (yes, my family) votes on as the tastiest. Oh, and one more rule, you can only submit ONE recipe.  You can e-mail them to me at marebarenecessities@gmail.com

Now, onto the matter at hand, I have already begun the contest with today's recipe: Zucchini Lasagna... Leslie gets credit for this one b/c she started this whole thing by sending me recipes in the first place...

I actually got the recipe from Elaine over at the The Italian Dish, one of my new favorite cooking blogs.  Elaine comes from an Italian background, and according to her blog, this zucchini lasagna recipe is delicious, so, I thought that I would give it a try.

I followed her instructions to a tee...


...and it was pretty straightforward.  I had to make one exception and used gluten-free breadcrumbs as my dreaded gluten intolerance seems to have returned (more on this another day). 



But, after putting it all together and baking for one hour at 350, it came out simmering, bubbling and smelling irristable.
So, after my first go at a recipe, here is what is left of my zucchini supply...



So, now, I leave it to you... looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Take care and happy recipe hunting!

Marebare


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hasse Harvest

Fall is in the air... literally... in the form of frost that is.  Yesterday morning we woke up to a blanket of the frigid white stuff.  How many places get to say that they have a first frost date of September 6???  Lucky, lucky us!!!  Amazing that we can have a garden at all really.  Anyway, not wanting to take any chances, I spent part of the day harvesting what was left of our garden goodies: chives, rosemary, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, corn, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers, green onions, and carrots (what was left of them after the coyotes got to them anyway... and yes, I said coyotes).  Now all that is left in the ground is the potatoes... but I think that we'll need to use a truck to harvest those! 

It was an interesting gardening year for me... as is the case every year, a lot of lessons were learned. 


  1. For instance, never, never plant sunflowers in the middle of the garden, because (duh) they grow really, really tall and begin to shade the plants on the east side of them.
  2. Heirloom seeds are the way to go.  I planted two different kinds of peas, some heirloom seeds that I received as a gift and then some cheap seeds that I got from the grocery store.  The difference in the peas was almost indescribable!  We literally threw out almost every one of the cheap pea variety as they were either tasteless or bitter.  Mind you they were a nice size, but who cares about size if they aren't even edible.  Lesson learned... seed catalogues here I come!
  3. I had two garden sites this year, my main garden in the yard and also my container garden on the deck.  This worked well as I planted the things that I need for salads in my containers on the deck, making a sort of 'salad garden'.  It sounds silly, but this encouraged me to keep on eye on things (especially the tomatoes and the lettuce) to make sure that I stayed on top of it. 
  4. I planted my corn in a 4 foot by 4 foot square instead of a row.  The corn seemed to like this and it was delicious this year.  4 by 4 isn't big enough though, and I would double it for next year.
  5. I planted three zucchini plants this year and tried my very best to stay on top of the fertile-myrtle, however, as you can see in the pictures, it still managed to produce several children-sized squashes.  Oh, and you can't even freecycle those things away right now.  Zucchini anyone?
  6. Peppers are not worth the effort unless you have a green house.  'Nuff said.
  7. I mentioned the sunflowers already, and other than their misplacement in the garden, they were wonderful.  They will get to stay in my garden plan for next year, as well as some additional flower varieties as they make wonderful gifts to friends/family (especially when you aren't in the practice of buying material goods!)





Well, that's all for now.  If I come up with any brilliant recipes to use up some of this stuff than I will be sure to share... my brain is bubbling with thoughts of zucchini as I write!

Best!!

Marebare

PS, thanks to those who voted on the 'should I start over issue'... I was somewhat surprised by the results... you guys are too easy on me!  I thought about it after I posted the issue, and really the point is somewhat moot b/c I am planning on trying to sustain this lifestyle indefinitely... But for now, I guess that I should just focusing on making it to the end of the year without any more cheats!!!