Beans 101 (Return of Bean Friday!)

...eans Beans after an overnight soak It’s easy to make a pot of beans, and while it takes time to make beans, it doesn’t take effort, or even brains. Prep time probably totals around 5 minutes, and add to that whatever time it takes to keep half an eye on the pot. What it does require is a small amount of pre-planning. You need to remember to soak beans. That’s the tricky part. Yes, there’s speed soaking t...

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Thoughts on Samhain

...rking the changing seasons of the year by making these old festivals my own. It’s so easy to lose track of time in an electronic culture. It’s even easier to lose track when you live in Los Angeles, land of the perpetual sunshine. Samhain marks the last harvest of the year. The weather is cold enough to keep meat, so it is also the time when all non-breeding livestock was slaughtered and cured–otherwise they’d have to be f...

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Do Hens Make Noise?

Yes, indeed hens make noise. Far less than a rooster, but when it comes time to lay an egg you often get the stereotypical hen vocalization, technically known as “cackling,” which goes something like, “cluck, cluck, cluck, CLUCKAAAAAWWWWK!” Thankfully this only happens around laying time, which for our three productive hens is no more than once a day, and usually at a respectable time between around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Som...

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Loquat season is here!

...with thick, glossy leaves that remind me of citrus leaves and magnolia leaves and avocado leaves all at the same time, meaning it’s vaguely tropical looking. They don’t seem to require much water or pruning–so they do well under benign neglect, though I’d suspect the fruit is best on trees which are not completely ignored.  This is the time of year when the fruit comes ripe, and it’s always kind of an exciting time b...

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Return of Bean Friday! Chickpea, Pasta and Tomato Soup

...ng, optional The recipe called for not only an overnight soak for the beans, but also for three hours of cooking time. That seemed like overkill. What I ended up doing was letting my two cups of dried beans soak on the counter for 2 or 3 hours, by which time they’d doubled in size.  I’m not sure if pre-soaking is necessary at all, really. The long cooking time may be necessary to get the beans silky enough. This will all be the subjec...

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Non-GMO Versions of Grape Nuts and Cheerios Less Nutritious Than GMO Versions

...ve natural food expo, I attended earlier this month, I saw a lot of unhealthy foods with a “non-GMO” label. In the case of Cheerios and Grape Nuts, the “non-GMO” label is either a marketing gimmick or an attempt to start a voluntary labeling program to head off voter mandated efforts. Here’s where you can help. I need to kick my Grape Nuts crack habit and find a healthier breakfast alternative. Any suggestions? Note...

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The Return of the Fraternal Society

...tions Greer has mention in passing is the fraternal organization. Greer is both a Druid and a Freemason. In this time of economic uncertainty, I suspect that Greer is on to something. It may be time for the revival of the fraternal organization. Fraternal societies provide a number of benefits: A “third place,” i.e. a gathering spot outside of the home and work. A social safety net. Moral and spiritual guidance. A model for and way t...

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Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

...e, or less, depending on your experience.Vegetables: take out of hay chest after 110 to 125% of ordinary cooking time. Experiment! Don’t use a lot of water.Stock… why not? It even works with things like meat balls and chicken wings. Have the meat on high fire until the outside develops the right crust or color, then keep in hay chest for xx time until inside is ‘done’, Mr. Google can lead you to various resources on this...

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Clean your bathroom without resorting to Poison

...wiped down to remove dust and other surface dirt. Whatever I clean, however I clean it, will get dirty the next time it’s used, so why all the struggle and germ phobia? All cheap white vinegar is the same, but I like El Pato brand because of the duck on the label. Why doesn’t El Pato make t-shirts? The vinegar spray is great because it doesn’t leave any residue behind (which soap does), shines up things fairly well, di...

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