Friday, September 23, 2011

Nitty Gritty has Moved!


Wonderful news! Oak Tree Apothecary and Nitty Gritty now have their very own website! I have been working on this site off and on for some time and finally found the inspiration through a friend to get it up and going. This means that this blog and address is going to remain open, but I will no longer be updating it. Instead, I will continue to publish blog posts on the new site!

(or: http://www.oaktreeapothecary.com)

There are a few pages attached to the website for you to browse. So here is what you will find:

Oak Tree:
This is the home page. When you go to the site, this will be the first thing you see. It is all about Oak Tree Apothecary. Check it out!

Birdie:
This is my "About Me" section where I am introduced to the world at large.

The Haps:
Here I blog about my daily adventures. Trips to the beach, Izzie, and family time will be found here.

Wellbeing:
A balanced well-being, or, complete wellness in the mind, body, and spirit, allows us to present ourselves to the world at our very best. This section of Nitty Gritty is designed to offer insight, suggestions, and inspiration to help you find your balance.


Dig It:
Allow this section of the blog to be your window into our world, our homestead, and our garden. Allow it to act as a resource and guide for your own endeavors. Let’s build a community between our gardens and share in our experiences.


Sanctuary:
To ensure our peace and serenity within the nurturing walls of our abode, this section of Nitty Gritty has been created to offer resources, informational guides and studies, as well as a glimpse into my own domicile. 


Hearth:
This section is dedicated to the kitchen. You will find recipes, designs, and posts about our own kitchen here.


Photos:
Just a collection of photographs of events and follies that I may or may not have written about else where. Enjoy! I am happy to share these photos if you need them, but please honor where they came from by offering this web address as a source for others.

As explained in "The Haps" side column, I did not transfer all of Nitty Gritty's blog posts to the new site. I did, however, pick a few that I want to use to start off on the right foot. Please feel free to use this blog as an archive to older posts that I did not select.
Thank you all for your amazing support over the last year and a half! Let me know what you think about the new site by emailing me at: oaktreeapothecary@gmail.com
With Gratitude,
~Birdie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made this recipe last week and fell in love. We had a lot of hot cocoa mix left over from a winter or so ago and I wanted to bake cookies, so I began a search for the perfect recipe to pair the two. This is what I found:
Check out her photos too - they are great!

As for the recipe and my journey with the cookies, take a look below:

I recently discovered that I absolutely love brown sugar - texturally speaking - this is the best ingredient on Earth. 
Here is what you will need. Official recipe below.
You will also need an awesome cool apron made by a friend.
Mine comes from THIS amazing woman.
Delicious, no? I only had two kinds of chocolate chips...
which I borrowed from our neighbor...
so I put a 1 1/2 cups of chips each. 
Be sure to let them cool on a wire rack. It really does make a difference.
The end. These cookies lasted a day and a half in my house.
Beware of the sugar tummy ache to follow.
Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 3 1/4 cups flour

  • 4 packages Hot Chocolate Mix (not sugar free)

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup each white, milk, and semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350*F.
  • Mix White and Brown sugar together in a bowl with the butter.
  • Mix flour, hot chocolate mix, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl.
  • Add Eggs and Vanilla to the brown sugar mix. Stir until incorporated.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to the brown sugar mix, adding a little at a time and mixing it together.
  • Add the chocolate chips, adding a little at a time and mixing together.
  • Scoop small dollops of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes.
  • Let cookies cool for 5 minutes while still on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire wrack to complete the cool down process.
Tips:
I typically never add Vanilla or Baking Soda to my cookies and I end up with fluffy, plump cookies every time. It is when I DO add these two ingredients that they become flat and hard after baking. I have kept these two ingredients on the list for your use, but as a suggestion, I recommend leaving them out. 

Happy Baking Adventures,
~Birdie

Crab Fritters and Avocado Salsa!

*I am posting this out of turn, but I just couldn't wait to put it up here!*
Crab Fritters with Avocado Salsa
Organic Seasonal Cookbook by Liz Franklin – pg. 79

Autumn - Serves 4
Ingredients:

Crab Fritters:
  • 2 cups lightly cooked corn kernels
  • scant ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 10 ½ oz cooked white crabmeat
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp grapeseed oil (or any other oil that has a high smoke point)
  • salt and pepper
  • lime wedges, for serving
Avocado Salsa:
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 firm but ripe avocado
  • 1 firm but ripe mango
  • 4 firm but ripe tomatoes
  • juice and finely grated rind of 2 limes
  • 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Directions:
  1. First make the salsa. Put the onion in a bowl. Remove the stalks and seeds from the bell peppers, and cut the flesh into ½ inch dice. Add to the onion. Peel the avocado and mango, then remove the pits and cut the flesh into ½ inch dice and add to the other ingredients. Stir in the lime juice and rind and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the corn kernels, flour, and eggs in a separate bowl and stir until well mixed. Lightly fold in the crabmeat and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skilled over medium-high-heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and cook in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crips and golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with the salsa and serve with the lime wedges.
Variation:
For salsa with a little more bite, add a small finely chopped red chile or a shake or two of Tabasco sauce.
Tips:
  • Tossing the ingredients for the salsa into a food processor is much faster, I recommend this when there are hungry bellies waiting for dinner.
  • Purchase a fruit juicer, the glass kind that has the reservoir to catch the juice - juice by hand, not by machine. You will get so much more juice than if you squeeze the limes.
  • Do half of the parsley and see how much it takes up in the batter, add little by little after that. I had too much parsley from one bunch, so just be aware.
  • Please do not use Olive Oil as your frying Oil... or canola or vegetable for that matter. Best try to use grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, or any other oil that has a high "smoke point" - we have no need to make our food carcinogenic. 
  • I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop my batter and plop it into the pan. With a large sautee pan you can plop about 4-5 at a time to fry. That makes the process much faster... particularly useful, again, if you have hungry bellies waiting. The tablespoon was a perfect size, squishing it down to be more flat once it was in the pan.
  • Eat!!
With Love,
~Birdie

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out, Mr. Rogers

The Hubsy and I decided to take a walk one evening last week (Thursday) after being in town all day. Our wonderful pooch was stuck at home, inside, while we were out so she was as pleased as we were to get our legs moving and enjoy the evening's sunset.
Our walk is a short one, typically only a mile or so round trip, but it gets the blood pumping and it makes our puppy happy and as we all know - a happy puppy is a happy parent! We head out of the property and go down the road, heading down the hill. This hill is fun to walk down and will certainly get you into a sweat once you head back up it - the perfect way to end a gentle walk in the cool evening air.
Allow me the pleasure to introduce you to, Our Neighborhood:
This is my favorite tree in the whole neighborhood. She is so beautiful, aged, and wise.
I love her. Her energy is contagious.
Time to go a-picking. Black berry bushes line our drive home.
Time to harvest and make a cobbler or pie... or both!
Hubs and I want this little piece of property. Honestly, you can't beat the view.
Sadly, it is not for sale.
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.... Oh, won't you be mine?
~Birdie

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spaghetti with Fresh Pea Pesto and Fava Beans


It was delicious!

Spaghetti with Fresh Pea Pesto and Fava Beans –
Organic Seasonal Cookbook by Liz Franklin - pg. 63
Summer

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Pea Pesto:
3 cups fresh shelled peas
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 ½ oz Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated, plus extra, shaved, for serving
2/3 cup blanched almonds, chopped
pinch of sugar

Spaghetti:
9 oz shelled fava beans
1 lb dried spaghetti
salt and pepper

Directions:
  1. For the pesto, cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese and process to a coarse paste. Add the almonds and process again. Add the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Blanch the fava beans in a saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain and let cool. Peel off the dull skins.
  3. Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain, then stir in the fava beans and toss with the pesto. Add a good coarse grinding of pepper and serve immediately with shavings of parmesan cheese.


    Yum,
    ~Birdie

20-ish Things


Things I Have Realized Since Moving to Oregon

(Listed in no particular order)
We named him Floyd.
  1. There are a lot more bugs than I remember. Big ones. Little ones. All sorts of ones.
  2. Leaving the house to go into town without your wedding ring on is not pleasant, especially since you cannot just turn around and go back for it. That's a 50-mile-round-trip-whoopsies.
  3. I am content to think that I will be living off of soup and hot cocoa for the rest of my life.
  4. I have too many tank tops...
  5. I need more long sleeve shirts.
  6. I still do not like spiders, no matter what size they are.
  7. People are wonderfully nice and helpful here... except when they are driving.
  8. Los Dos Amigos is not the Mexican Restaurant for us.
  9. I can sleep in until late in the mornings with weather like this...
  10. I need to invest in an alarm clock.
  11. My skin looks amazing!
  12. I am much more conscious of my energy use and water consumption. No more running a bath and keeping the lights in the house flipped on even if I am not in the room!
  13. I really enjoy cooking.
  14. The cats are not fans of Hammer-Hammerton-Ham Bone.
  15. But they do love exploring the forest right outside our back door.
  16. I am far more diligent about keeping a clean house. I contribute this to the fact that my parents can pop in whenever they want now because I am only 3 hours away. It is a good feeling.
  17. I need more books... this obviously is a good thing.
  18. It is important to be organized, especially when going to the grocery store. Creating lists helps in this process.
  19. I miss my friends in Arizona, but look forward to seeing them again soon... I'm sure.
  20. I only live 65 miles away from the beach.
An Oregonian Once More,
~Birdie

PS- (21) I have missed Shari's pie!


The 42nd Annual Umpqua Art and Wine Festival


After Hubs got back from his travels to Portland we decided to pop in on the 42nd Annual Umpqua Art and Wine Festival that just so happened to be taking place on his campus. Throughout the festival there was music, food, and beer.

We walked the booths and met some great local artists and wine makers. One gal to note, although I do not have a photo of her booth, was Heidi the Hempress. She makes women's clothes out of organic hemp fabrics. The designs are whimsical and fun – perfect for everyday wear, yoga practice, or lounging around the house. She makes hooded sweaters, hooded vests, short and long skirts, and pants. My favorite, and I made sure that Hubs knew it (Christmas present!!), was one of her hooded vests that had a beautiful lotus flower on the back side at the bottom. It was perfect. Follow the link attached to her name to see her etsy shop. She makes high quality clothes and truly embodies what she is trying to accomplish with her designs.

Another booth was for a winery, Tesoaria. The husband of the wine maker was manning the booth and offered a few tastes for us. The wines were of a cherry and other fruit blend and was absolutely delicious. It certainly wasn't a taste you had to acquire, but rather one that instantly teased your taste buds. We will definitely be purchasing some of their wine as gifts and for our home collection.

After walking around for a bit and meeting some of the faculty members of the college, we decided it was time to get some lunch and finish running our other errands for the day... since we were in town. I'm not sure it will ever cease to amaze us how openly welcoming people are here in the Roseburg area. Every hand we shook was genuine and happy to meet us. This place is truly a treat.


Drinking it In,
~Birdie