Making Yogurt in the Slow Cooker

With the amount of yogurt I eat, I should have been making my own long ago. But it wasn’t until a couple of months back, when my grocery store stopped carrying my favorite yogurt, that I tried my hand at it for the first time and discovered how absolutely simple it is. And you don’t need…

100% Whole Wheat Bread That’s Just as Soft as White!

I’ve made homemade bread for a long time but until recently have shied away from 100% whole-wheat recipes. All the loaves I tried turned out very dense and dry–enticing only to health-food nuts and people in need of doorstops. Then, just a few weeks ago, I discovered a recipe on An Oregon Cottage that had the word ‘soft’ right in the name:…

Caramel Popcorn

I love making homemade edible goodies for stocking stuffers. Last year, it was caramels and orange-flavored hard candies. This year, I’m returning to an old favorite: caramel popcorn. My recipe comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. It’s been almost five years since I started eating eggs and dairy again, but the recipes in…

Real Whipped Cream in 5 Minutes

There’s no reason to settle for a tub of Cool Whip or a sputtering can of Reddi-wip this holiday season. Not when homemade whipped cream takes only 5 minutes to prepare! While one person’s slicing the pie, another can be whipping up a batch of the freshest, most luxurious whipped cream you’ve ever tasted. And if you have…

From Pumpkin to Pie

‘Tis the season for baking pumpkin pies! Especially if, like me, you lazily store your pumpkins in the house. At room temperature, they start molding and rotting after a couple of months, so now’s a great time to cook up the August/September harvest and either bake it straight into pies or freeze the purée for later…

Sowing Winter Cover Crops

With the weather turning cool and the fall harvest beginning to come in, you may think the time for sowing seeds is past. And for most seeds, you would be right. But there is one class of seeds you could usefully plant in the next week or so if you’re here in Zone 7, and that’s winter cover crops….

Three Fantastic Farm Memoirs

Now, in late August, the peak of the year’s garden work appears to be behind us. Last week I harvested pumpkins, and in the space vacated by the dying vines, I sowed a fall garden of lettuce, spinach, collards, turnips, carrots, and beets. For the next few weeks, the only time-consuming work should be the never-ending need to pick…

A Very Long Egg-Eating Monster

Once before, I’ve caught a snake in the henhouse, but never in the act of swallowing an egg. Here’s the sight that greeted me a few weeks ago when I went out to collect in the evening. This is an eastern ratsnake: the only snake in Virginia that gets longer than six feet! It is not venomous…

10-Minute Homemade Garlic Toast

The garlic harvest is less than a month away here in Virginia, and I thought I’d prepare by giving you a super-easy recipe for homemade garlic toast. There’s no reason to fill up your freezer with those store-bought frozen garlic bread loaves (full of unpronounceable ingredients) when this recipe takes less than 10 minutes start to finish….

Caring for Potted Citrus Trees

For those of you who thought growing citrus trees was impossible in any place with cold winters, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! It’s quite easy to grow dwarf citrus trees in pots and move them inside to a sunny window for the winter. Homegrown lemons, limes, oranges, and even grapefruits will do a lot to liven…

Gardening by Hand

My favorite passage so far from Harlan Hubbard’s Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society: I have found no one who sympathizes with my insistence on gardening by hand, without the use of any machine. So many times have the advantages of a garden tractor or tiller been pointed out to me that I half…

Asparagus, Part 6: First Harvest

Recently, I harvested my first spears from the asparagus plants I started two years ago from seed. My gardening bible, Steve Solomon’s Gardening When It Counts, says you can harvest all spears at least 3/8 of an inch in diameter without harming the plant’s future production. That’s what I’ve been doing, and so far I’ve harvested…