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One Small Change, April

April 1, 2010

Happy April, Peeps!

Dan and I were skimming through some photos of deep winter, and my eyes fell upon this one:

And I couldn’t help but exhale: we made it.

First, an update on March’s One Small Change. Click here to get the scoop on our kick-ass Food Exchange which is like polygamy without the oppression!

March started off with a frank e-mail discussion on what we don’t want in the food exchange. White flour and sugar got the boot, as us sister-wives recognized we’d be fending the children off our cookies, while our own mouths were spattered with guilty, greasy crumbs.

One member dropped out, due to having a two year old and a baby. And though we miss her and her amazing quinoa salad, we’re finding three is an ideal number.

Breads and yogurt still have top billing, but Audrey made this mayonnaise that caused me to rethink my own existence for a couple days, or until I swished my rubber scraper against the jar and came up empty. You may have thought mayo was something to slide discreetly between bread and a slice of cheese, but who knew it was a complete sandwich topping in itself.

Mayo recipe (only if you’re prepared to shake up your life. I know, motherhood is crazy):

2 large egg yolks (must be room temperature)

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp lemon juice

1 med garlic clove, minced

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Process yolks, mustard, lemon juice and garlic in food processor for 10 seconds. Add slowly, with machine running, vegetable oil. Mix one minute. Transfer to bowl and whisk in water. While whisking constantly, slowly add olive oil for 30 seconds, whisk in salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Butter by Audrey

We’ve also had Irish soda bread, hummus, butter, salsa, beans, sour cream, baba ganoush, granola and hot cross buns. And as Sheryl says “I feel so spoiled!” Me too, though I wonder about the husbands. Wednesday night when Dan dipped a chip in the salsa I was mixing up for our exchange, I blocked the bowl, “this is for my wives!”

One morning Dan whipped up some French toast (Sheryl’s bread, our backyard eggs, topped with my yogurt and locally picked cherries). I felt like we had gone off the supermarket grid, and were sticking it to The Man, at least before I bought a sneaky handful of Cadbury eggs from some relative of The Man.

Red cabbage sauerkraut is a keeper, especially when your helper—with a safe, Montessori-catalog knife—proudly chunks off a few slivers like she’s just taken gold in the fermented-veggie Olympics.

She even likes to *eat* the sauerkraut!

There are still kinks we haven’t worked out. The logistics of getting goodies distributed across three different houses every Thursday has been a challenge of coordination and efficiency. And my own bread-baking has fretful kinks; someday I’ll have my children write a  paragraph about their Mama’s bread using these five vocabulary words: hockey puck, stiff, dental floss, dense, hand saw.

And, our One Small Change for April is:

Buying our beer in reusable ½ gallon jugs, called growlers.

Growlers. Oh, and you were wondering about those gorgeous flowers? A gift from my mother-in-law congratulating me on reaching 20,000 views on this blog. I know, *your* mother in law would never do this. I am very, very lucky.

There are FOUR breweries in our town of 16,000 people. And each of them will refill a growler, provided their logo is painted on the brown bottle. Getting your 1/2 gallon filled is not cheaper than buying a six-pack (and this will vex me until I teach my kids to brew the family beer). And a growler contains less fluid ounces than a six pack, which is maybe why it’s called a growler, grrrr. But, no more bottles to recycle and no more of this paper board for the trash (as yet unrecyclable here):

*Someone's* weird feet and 21-six pack containers from March. Just kidding! We saved them from the whole winter because SKA Brewery gives you a free pint for every 6 you bring in.

Growlers stay fresh and fizzy for at least three days once opened, and a week unopened. And if you’re of the same persuasion as I, which is Jewish and one beer is too little and two is too much,  growlers create great custom pouring options.

And in other Large Glass Jar news, we’ve been buying gallons of local milk.

Local milk in gallon jars: Can you see that cream on top? Does it excite you or make your arteries anxious?

We make yogurt and skim off the top 20 ounces of cream to turn our coffee the color of a paper bag.  Only the kids, who’ve neither seen Dairy Council propaganda or the attendant PETA/mucous-crusaders backlash, can drink the stuff straight. But I ‘m pleased to say I haven’t bought yogurt or cream in a throwaway container in 2 months! Plus, when the yogurt’s getting mucus-creepy, we mix it into pie crust and make this:

I can't bake bread, but my chard/potato/cheese pie might make you cry.

Stay tuned for May’s One Small Change, where the sister-wives start brewing moonshine and passing it around in growlers!

*lest it seem like not a stitch of packaging ever enters our house, allow me to expose ourselves: rice milk, cereal, energy bars, tortillas, cheese… Though this morning as Dan was packing for a 3-day trip to Denver and I wouldn’t let him take one of our only two metal water bottles, he snarked: “I guess I’ll just have to buy juice in little, throwaway plastic bottles all the way up to Denver.”

*to check out other bloggers One Small Change projects, clickity click.

*3 out of our 4 breweries offer a free growler after you’ve purchased 5 or 6, so that actually makes up for the price difference from the six packs. Whew.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 10:25 pm

    I must say, it sounds like you’ve been eating good! Want company for supper sometime? :) Love your blog, keep up the good work!

  2. April 1, 2010 10:35 pm

    Wow, that chard pie looks sooooo good! And I’m drooling over the French toast with cherries and yogurt. And the fact that you haven’t used a plastic yogurt container in two months. Can you tell I have a little 6512 envy?? =>

  3. Ami permalink
    April 1, 2010 11:42 pm

    Well, as for me – I’m in this horrible elimination diet phase, where gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy are all off of the list!!! :( I am positively lusting over your milk…. and even though I don’t really drink beer…. the fact that I can’t use a growler has me growling anyway!!! :) It IS so hard not to use packages… yogurt is a big one around here… and our local recycling is changing for the WORSE! They are taking less and less items…. :( But on a good note, I came across this simple recipe for granola bars…. I am planning on making some this week myself! :)

    maybe that could be one less package for you!? Or a good swap! Thanks for keeping me inspired to get a swap going here too! :)

  4. Chris Crayton permalink
    April 2, 2010 7:09 am

    i love the word “snarked”! i have been loving your last few posts, and josh loved the roadkill one (i think he was jealous since our meat is running low). so great to see pictures of other kids butchering. give amy and iris a hug for us, chris

  5. April 2, 2010 7:28 am

    Thanks for the update on March’s food exchange. It is inspiring me to consider setting up something similar for my April’s challenge. It’s funny because I thought of rules right away (like yours) and that seems to be holding me back of trying to do it.

    There is nothing like homemade mayonnaise, but it is one of those things that always spoils before I use it all. Much better to make and share.

  6. April 2, 2010 8:12 am

    Ok, you are making me homesick! I am not a big beer person, but I miss the local breweries and grabbing a growler. :) Breakfast at Carver’s-mmmmm! I long for their sundried tomato bagels with cream cheese and fresh tomato slices. Guess I’d better getting baking! And get breakfast.

  7. April 2, 2010 8:13 am

    And congrats on the 20,000 views!

  8. April 2, 2010 8:15 am

    When I started getting raw, local milk the layer of cream sort of freaked me out a little too (especially in Spring when the jar is about half milk/half cream), and I skimmed it off to make butter. But making butter is a time-consuming and not overly rewarding activity, so, convinced partly by the movie Fat Head and my friend Liza who is a member of the Weston-Price society, I decided that cream is really, really good for you (practically a vitamin you can drink) and now we just shake it up and use it whole (unless I need to make scones or whipped cream)…I never cared to drink straight milk anyway, but it’s good in tea.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      April 2, 2010 3:17 pm

      I feel that way about the cream too Andrea.

  9. April 2, 2010 8:31 am

    this whole post gave me happy little goose-bumps!!!!

    and speaking of fresh milk…guess what i just found out this week??

    one of my friend’s (who i do some work for) is planning to buy a pregnant jersey to milk this summer and i get to be a once-a-week milker!!!!

    my daughter literally squealed with joy when i told her. (and it was almost *exactly* the same sound i made when i got my friend’s e-mail asking me what i thought about it.)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      April 2, 2010 3:17 pm

      That is SO exciting Erin!

  10. April 2, 2010 9:16 am

    Happy April to you, too!

    Love this post. Now I want to run to my kitchen and make mayo and yogurt and red cabbage sauerkraut!

    We also fill growlers from a local brewery~love that! I find myself wishing my husband would clean his home brewing supplies and make some good beer. It’s been too long.

    And the moonshine~love it! I get this mental image of a few beautiful ladies sitting around in the night, kids sleeping soundly, sipping moonshine while strengthening spirits and laugh lines. Nice. My parents live in Kentucky. A few years ago we bought my mom a mason jar of locally made moonshine at the grocery store! Oh my, did that make for a fun night.

    PS..your garden plot is fantastic! When I see space like that, my heart leaps. That’s one downside of living in the city~super small yards.

  11. April 2, 2010 1:29 pm

    Now I really, really want to make that mayonnaise. (Gardening, I’m not so good at, but I’m okay in the kitchen.) Have you ever used homemade mayo as a dip for French fries? Heaven.

    Any chance you would like to share your chard, potato, cheese pie recipe?

  12. Melissa permalink
    April 2, 2010 3:23 pm

    You are so cool.

    I am a fan of cream on top–which is why I (guiltily) buy the cream top yogurt. Sure, my tupperware collection is comprised of the containers but what to do? I cannot even fathom making my own.

    Bread-making feels more approachable.

    Glad I found your blog and that you now must be over 20,000 hits! Congrats!

    And can I just say that a growler full of good beer sounds like a little piece of heaven right now? Oh, just wait til I birth this girl . . .

  13. April 2, 2010 4:08 pm

    I agree… you are too cool. I wish I could do more home-made goodness.
    But for now, I’ll stick to the growlers (we love those too!) from the brewery down the hill (Red Hook!)
    and I adore the picture of all the flat empty 6 pack cartons.

    PS – and you’ve heard the hype about cabbage right? They say it is just as good as giving a man viagra. Really. Scientifically proven fact. happy Friday :-)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      April 2, 2010 9:13 pm

      In that case, no more cabbage for Dan!

  14. Chris permalink
    April 2, 2010 8:37 pm

    Your recipe for mayo will make my sister’s day! Hope you don’t mind me sharing. She is allergic to every preservative concocted by humans. Now she can add this to the limited list of things she can eat. I may give it a go here too in an effort to keep us eating healthy. Thanks!

  15. April 3, 2010 12:52 am

    Goodness I am so grateful to have found this blog. And you. xo

  16. April 3, 2010 9:19 am

    I agree. Feel so happy knowing you are out there really living a life we aspire to. (Yikes, is it scary being a role model?). ;)

    Love your writing and hilarious post. My mother always said every woman could use a wife, by the way. How fun. :)

  17. Anonymous permalink
    April 3, 2010 9:20 am

    I agree. Feel so happy knowing you are out there really living a life we aspire to. (Yikes, is it scary being a role model?). ;)

    Love your writing and hilarious post. My mother always said every woman could use a wife, by the way. How fun. :)

  18. April 3, 2010 9:24 am

    Oops, I was accidentally the previous anonymous commenter! (Didn’t mean to travel incognito but maybe a secret admirer would have been fun!). ;) Congratulations on so many visitors. Glad we all found you!

  19. April 3, 2010 12:54 pm

    Oh goodness I’d be in heaven with all that creamy milk. We get a gallon of goat milk a week, but it’s just not the same for yogurt. If that was me I’d culture all that cream into sour cream on a regular basis and eat it on everything. How we miss sour cream. Lucky, lucky you to have local, raw, creamy cow milk in glass jars.

  20. April 3, 2010 7:47 pm

    love the cabbage cutter; too cute! and, we’ve recently switched to local milk. yummm! the cream and the difference is amazing. great post.

  21. April 4, 2010 10:54 am

    When the wives move on to home beer brewing, count me in!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      April 4, 2010 2:29 pm

      Awesome. Home brewing’s got to be the natural progression, right? If it’s a good apricot year, I’ll start with apricot beer, which I’ve been saying for three years!

  22. April 4, 2010 11:18 am

    Also, where do you get your milk? We get ours from Nativo Farms and love it, love it (we started with a share, then 1.5 shares, then 2 shares and we still run out before the week is up. At the risk of being glutinous, I think we’re going to kick it up to 3 shares if she can accomodate us).

  23. April 4, 2010 10:18 pm

    I do believe we have to have some fun with the “one small change” challenge. I think your goal this month is perfect! You remind me so much of my friend Rachael at the Slow Cooked Sentence!

    I wish I could find a group of moms to exchange goods like you do!

    xo Kyndale

  24. April 5, 2010 11:01 am

    Wish I lived in your ‘hood. I love to cook in quantity, but have to pace myself (small freezer and empty nest). I use my cupcake pan to freeze portions of my veggie chili and various other cooked beans, wild rice, etc. Once frozen I pop out like ice cubes and store in large ziploc freezer bags. It’s great to come home and take a cupcake or 2 of chili, a cupcake of rice and put in oven (no microwave here either) in covered pyrex dish, and a square of jalapeno cornbread (cut to fit the toaster).

    By the time I change clothes, pat cat, do a chore, and pour a glass of wine, my dinner timer rings.

    ps – thanks for the mayo recipe. I threatened to start making my own since my fav ‘Dukes w/o sugar’ went to plastic containers (I don’t do plastic), and all other brands have sugar in one form or other.

  25. April 6, 2010 9:55 pm

    Great update! I have not forgotten about the milk, I should really motivate myself to get out there with you one day.

  26. April 7, 2010 8:53 am

    without the oppression. awesome. i’ve gotta rally some of my local chickies to sister-wife with me.

  27. April 7, 2010 4:36 pm

    Thanks for all you do to make the world a better place for us consumers of white sugar and wasters of packaging. It’s all about balance :) I pass farm fresh eggs every weekend, and for some silly reason, I’m still buying them from the store. I need your chickens!!


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