Super fun news! Local shop & swap website Krrb just did a sweet profile on Raganella. We made it to the Hot Corner!
Super fun news! Local shop & swap website Krrb just did a sweet profile on Raganella. We made it to the Hot Corner!
Whoa, mama. I’ve got a busy month ahead of me. Starting this week actually. This is my first holiday season with Raganella’s Botanical Solutions and I’m doing the local craft fair circuit. So please forgive me if I have a hard time keeping up with you, my dear friends. My weekends will be dedicated to fairs (plus a workshop), but I hope to squeeze in time for holiday fun time somehow. Here’s the schedge:
Saturday, November 19
10am to 5pm
Park Slope Holiday Craft Fair
(to benefit Park Slope Collegiate students)
@ John Jay
237 7th Ave, Brooklyn
(btwn 4th & 5th Sts)
Sunday, November 27
2pm to 4pm
Create Your Own Body Care (workshop)
Homemade goods make the best gifts
Third Root Community Health Center
380 Marlborough Road, Brooklyn
$15 materials fee, $5 to $15 sliding scale instructor’s fee
email or call to RSVP: 718.940.9343, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, December 4
12pm to 5pm
Vegan Holiday Shop-up!
@ Pine Box Rock Shop
(off the Morgan Ave L)
Saturday, December 10
10am to 5pm
Stuff You Should Buy
The new Holiday Shop at PS321
180 7th Ave, Brooklyn
(btwn 1st & 2nd Sts)
Saturday, December 17
10am to 5pm
Crafted at the Canal
Build It Green! NYC
69 9th St, Brooklyn
(F,G,R to 4th Ave/9th St)
That should do it.
Hope to see you at one (or more) of these fine events!
Waking up to the pitter-patter of raindrops on my window, slowly getting out of bed, looking out to see the dark day – I knew this was a day for muffins.
What kind of muffins was the question. Looking in the fridge and cupboards, I saw I had the makings of something interesting. I did a quick search and found something close to what I wanted to make. Something with beets, apples, olive oil, and maple syrup. Something dairy- and egg-free, which is something I haven’t yet dared to attempt.
I found a recipe that was an improvised version of another recipe, and I improvised on that using local and/or organic ingredients. I like to try new things in the kitchen with whatever I have available, and I’m usually pretty lucky with the results. Here’s the recipe I concocted, based on this one here.
Improvised beet-apple-orange muffins
Mix dry ingredients, except for sugar. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients plus sugar. Combine dry and wet ingredients, just coating the dry ones (don’t overmix). Fill a greased or lined muffin tin. Drop some cashew pieces on top for some extra flavor and crunch.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes (my oven took 20 minutes).
Enjoy your pink, healthful & delicious treat!
For the last few Christmases, we’ve been taking advantage of my dad’s penchant for woodworking. The first year, he made us filing cabinets. The next, a TV stand. And then the following, a curio cabinet. While all of the pieces thus far have been beautiful and much appreciated, this year, he outdid himself.
Using locally grown and milled quartersawn white oak from Woodman’s Sawmill & Cabinetry in Long Valley, NJ, he built us a hall tree (kind of a funny name, but I guess it’s appropriate).
The lovely hall tree.
The back is even beautifully finished to conceal the mirror backs and hardware.
In addition to building us this great piece of furniture, my dad rescued a chifferobe from the neighbor’s trash. It turns out it was solid cedar, but whoever owned it before had painted it (!). My dad stripped it using a non-toxic soy-based solvent. And then he completely rebuilt it into this new cedar chest of drawers for my auntie.
He even fashioned the keyhole out of recycled tin.
Not bad, eh?
We’re a luckily lot to not have to depend on mass-manufactured furniture. On top of that, these pieces are instant family heirlooms, hand-crafted by my dad. (And I get to brag about it!)
It’s been 400 years since Hudson “discovered” what is now the great city of New York. And people are celebrating this historic occasion in varying ways. Here are a handful of interesting events happening now:
New Amsterdam Market
I got a taste of delicious local food at this open air market where the old Fulton Fish Market once called home. Pasture-raised dairy from farms like Hawthorne Valley, Painted Goat Farm, and Valley Shepherd Creamery; natural meats from Fleisher’s and Dickson’s; and other tasty treats from the like of Marlow & Sons, Stone Barns, Saltie, and Hot Bread Kitchen filled the stalls, doling out samples and food for purchase. A couple of newcomers included Maple Hill Creamery and Basis, a healthful/local/affordable food market coming soon to 14th Street in Manhattan.
Three more opportunities are coming up for you to get in on the scrumptious action: Sundays October 25, November 22, and December 20. Get the details.
Pioneers of Change
Longing for a bit of the old world? Look no further than Governors Island this coming weekend:
A festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture on New York’s Governors Island to celebrate a 400-year Dutch-American friendship
Conceived and curated by Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog, as part of the NY400 week celebrations, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Dutch to New York.
Pioneers of Change highlights a more responsible and sustainable approach to living by celebrating the blurring of low- and high-brow, establishing new collaborations, encouraging involvement, emphasizing sustainability and valuing handcraft and the local context.
Activities will take place in and around eleven officers’ houses at Nolan Park, Governors Island, New York.
Open: Fri 18 Sept, 10am – 4:30pm
Sat 19 Sept / Sun 20 Sept 10am – 6:30pm
Download Ferry schedule.
Get the full details here.
Enviromedia Mobile: Urban Trekkers’ Summer Festival ’09
Designated as an official Quadricentennial Ambassador by the State of New York.
I happened upon The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy’s Enviromedia Mobile Museum yesterday in Red Hook (after hopping on the free water taxi to Ikea). What an impressionable display complete with tepees, information on falconry, info about threats to native wildlife and health, and a live barn owl!
The Enviromedia Mobile Museum will be back at Erie Basin Park (next to Ikea, one of the sponsors) on October 10th. But if you can’t wait that long, here’s their full schedule.
BK Farmyards is itchin’ to grow food on your tiny parcel of city land. So mosey on down to this Saturday’s fundraiser to support the cause (RSVP here). Then take a gander at my latest post about BK Farmyards on the Brooklyn Food Coalition blog. But before you leave this here page, check out this video on Stacey Murphy, the lady behind BK Farmyards:
Here’s the info again in case you missed it:
Live bands, original artworks, dance troupe, local food & drinks, growing display, cooking demonstrations, and games: Fun for all ages. Bring along a blanket to picnic on the grass. Suggested donation $5 at the door or pay what you can. All donations go toward creating more farmyards. We are currently working with developers on converting 3 acres to farm next year. Gift certificates for Get Fresh Table and Market, Ici, Franny’s, The Farm on Adderley, Brooklyn Kitchen, Edible Brooklyn, and more will be auctioned off.
Pass the word along! Help us build more farms!
I get so tangled up in the web these days – emailing, facebooking, tweeting, googling, blogging – it’s easy to forget what life is like without these technological time suckers. I recommend everyone take a week or so away from their computers, turn off the mail function on your Crackberry or iPhone and really just live like we used to – sans digital extensions of our bodies.
Here’s a little rundown of how I spent my week computer-free.
To prepare I contacted anyone I had set appointments with for the week and made sure they had my phone number. I set up autoresponse on my email to let everyone know where the heck I was all week. I tweeted and posted to facebook (and this blog) my intentions. I cleared out my inbox so as not to completely overwhelm myself upon my return to the ‘puter. I also looked up any addresses I might need for the week so as not to put myself in a spot where I’d have to hop online for any reason.
ditching digital detritus
Apropos to the diet, on Monday I took a friend to an ewaste recycling center in Brooklyn, so that she could recycle her old computers, a VCR, and some other random electronic waste. I had a few batteries, orphaned remote controls, and wires to return as well. Feels good to get that clutter out of the home and into the hands of someone who will use it, rather than just tossing it into the landfill.
reading & writing (not much ‘rithmetic)
Like a step back in time, I reached for my low-tech informational recording implements – books, paper, pens. Oh, old friends, how could I have neglected you for so long? I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing long hand in a journal, letting thoughts flow through ink. It’s such a different thought process than typing, where you could easily edit yourself by just deleting what you’ve typed. There’s more time to stop, reflect, look around. And there’s also something more personal about seeing my own handwriting for pages on end, recording my thoughts as they come, making little starred notations on things I want to remember, and being able to physically page through to see what I had written the day before. No keyboard, no screen, no clicking, no virtual folders to search through, no software applications to open.
I’ve got a big ol’ pile of books collecting on my coffee table – mainly around the subject of permaculture, as I’m studying for my permaculture design certificate. It was great to not be tempted by email & all of its cohorts so that I could focus on reading.
raspberry picking in the park
On Monday afternoon I headed into the park to check in on some raspberry bushes I came across a few weeks ago. Some of the berries were ripe, some rotten, and still others had a ways to go. There wasn’t much of a harvest, but I had fun nonetheless. Listening to bird calls, the trickling of water on the waterfall trail in Prospect Park, observing sunlight filtering through foliage. And observing patterns in nature. I noticed that in many places where the raspberries grow, so does poison ivy. Luckily, so does its antidote, jewelweed (if you know what to look for!)
Leaves of three, let it be!
I was hoping to have enough berries to can, but alas, it wasn’t so. But we did stock up on peaches to can and we did this on Tuesday night. A messy affair, but a fun process. My favorite part was peeling. An easy way to peel peaches is to throw them in boiling water for about 60 seconds then put them in a cold lemon bath (to prevent further cooking and browning). The skins come right off.
more natural observations
I think my less used senses were heightened during this week. While in the park, I heard a hawk before seeing it land in a tree. On Houston Street near 6th Ave I was surprised by a bird call not too common in those parts. I looked up and saw a cardinal. On both occasions, I looked around a few times to see if anyone else noticed these creatures. And on both occasions not one head was tilted up in its direction.
In Prospect Park, I closed my eyes and listened. I did an inventory of every sound. Lawnmower grumbling, children shrieking, cicadas chirping, sneakers hitting the path, a beagle baying, picnickers chatting, tires humming and construction equipment slamming on the road outside of the park, the wind blowing against my ear. I felt the damp earth beneath me. The twigs and grass I was sitting on, the tiny insects crawling on my legs, the warm sun on my feet, the gentle breeze on my skin. I smelled only fresh cut grass. I think I could taste it, too.
enjoying every bite
Another benefit to staying away from the computer, an often attention-deficit-inducing place, I was able to focus on something as simple as mindful eating. Breathing, chewing slowly, noticing flavors, appreciating where the food came from and how it was benefiting my body. All great things I should do whether or not I’ve been typing the day away or not.
On Saturday, on lunch break from permaculture class, I went with a friend to this great raw food joint, SproutCraft. We had the most amazing squash blossoms stuffed with almond mozzarella cheese. I didn’t even know you could make mozzarella with almonds (though I make my own almond milk, and that I only figured out a few months ago). I found this recipe for making almond cheese, but not sure if it’ll come out as mozzarella.
being the sloth
Usually when I’m walking about in the city, it’s to get somewhere. In those cases, I tend to walk quickly, passing people in front of me, getting impatient when someone is blocking the way, etc. But this week, I didn’t care to go fast. I took my time getting places, not really even thinking about getting anywhere, more enjoying the walk itself. I had heard that sloths have highly developed brains because they move so slowly, carefully calculating each movement – not a bad creature to emulate.
up on the roof
On two occasions I found myself up on the roof, overlooking the tetris-like vista that is NYC. The first was at GreenSpaces, a shared office space in downtown Brooklyn. A friend works in the building and told me about the happy hours they have on Fridays. So I tagged along and enjoyed a few glasses up on their roof.
GreenSpaces veggie garden
The second time was during class (ssshhh don’t tell the building manager!). We went to the silvery, bare roof to imagine what was possible from a permaculture design perspective. Veggie gardens, rainwater gravity fed showers, noise barriers to block the constant hum of air conditioners. We all had a different vision, creating possibilities on a blank slate. With a multitude of underutilized roofs in the city, so many opportunities to create abundant landscapes exist.
I rode my bike to class on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised to turn onto Lafayette Street to find no cars (!), only a highway of bicycles and joggers. Imagine if there were streets designated just for pedestrians and bikers? What a healthier, happier, less stressed out city we would have.
Car-free & carefree
On Sunday, I returned to the technologically driven world to an inbox of over 750 messages. Forcing this deluge of information was partly intentional. I wanted to get a sense of how much information I actually process every week and how I could cut back on it. By having a culmination of a week’s worth of emails, I was able to determine which newsletters I could unsubscribe from, and which information I could actively seek instead of passively receive. I took myself off of all non-essential email lists and instead signed up for RSS feeds in Google Reader. This way I can control my exposure to information more easily. Email is a great communication tool, but it generally takes up too much time. My goal is to strictly limit time spent on email, ultimately getting it down to about 30 minutes a day.
I also laid out a basic structure of how I want to spend my days, giving time to activities like reading (offline), creating (crafts & such), and exploring. I think these are vital to keeping oneself sane, happy, and full of creative energy. Of course I’ll still be blogging, tweeting, and emailing, but I’ll be sure to make time for all of the other great things happening in the world around me.
How do you find balance in this tech-driven world?
Do you like food? Do you like food that’s healthful and sustainably produced? Want to get involved in shaping the way food is produced and distributed locally?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to the first
Brooklyn Food Coalition General Meeting!
What: Brooklyn Food Coalition General Meeting
Why: To approve the mission and structure of the Coalition and the convening of neighborhood groups
When: WEDNESDAY, JULY 22nd from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society
53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Get the full details here.
I don’t usually think of summer as a time to bake. In fact, if you can’t take the heat of the oven and end up offsetting it with air conditioning, summer baking can be a pretty wasteful endeavor. But blueberries are in season and I had the craving for a good, healthful blueberry muffin. It doesn’t hurt our energy bill that we don’t have an air conditioner in this part of the apartment — and I don’t mind sweating a bit.
I like to experiment in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. I’m often not satisfied with a recipe as is, and like to doctor it up or combine two or three recipes. When I was a bit younger, I was apprehensive about messing with a baking recipe. I was always told it was like chemistry, one misstep and it blows up in your face — or at the very least it won’t taste like it should. Somewhere along the way I dropped this notion and decided to take a risk. I’ve found that, for the most part, a little adaptation isn’t a bad thing, and it often turns out in your favor.
2 1/4 cups organic spelt flour
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk – sans sweeteners or vanilla)
3 organic, free-range eggs
1/4 cup local buckwheat honey
1 1/4 cup almond milk (see above)
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) local pastured butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 3/4 cups local blueberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. [NB – I usually do this about 3/4 of the way into prepping the ingredients so as not to waste too much gas (or electricity, depending on your oven)].
Combine dry ingredients, stirring in almond pulp last.
In a separate mixing bowl, whip eggs. Whip in honey, almond milk, and vanilla. Then add the slightly cooled melted butter, being careful not to cook the eggs.
Gently mix dry and wet ingredients. Do not over stir. The mix should be lumpy.
Fold in blueberries and cranberries. Blueberries and cranberries can be dusted with flour prior to folding into the mix.
Spoon mix into a greased or lined 12-cup muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and enjoy!
A couple of notes:
I’m on a food post kick lately. Maybe it’s the thrill of summer produce getting me all excited about eating again… berries, asparagus, various peas, basil (though these days we grow our own), heirloom tomatoes! (coming soon).
If you’re in the same boat, head on up to the New York Botanical Garden for The Edible Garden, an all-season-long celebration of food. The program kicks off this weekend with a local food festival. A shiny list of culinary celebs had their hand in the garden’s program, including Martha Steward, Dan Barber, and Peter Hoffman.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the Seed Savers Exchange edible landscape, proof that heirloom seeds make edible gardens both bountiful and beautiful.
Get the full scoop here.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it!