Category Archives: Weekend Projects

Natural Easter Egg Dyes from the Kitchen

I just got out the plastic easter eggs the other day and played “Egg Hunt” with my son in our patio. It got me in the spirit to try something new and “green”, especially with Earth Day approaching. Today we are making natural dyes for our easter eggs with cabbage, tumeric and beets. All of these items I already had in my kitchen, all we needed was some extra eggs and some big bibs for my son and his 21 month old friend. Toddler egg dying is an adventure, but well worth the hassle.

I cut the recipes in half, which turned out to be perfect for 2 dozen eggs.

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4-5 beets (for pink)

1/2 head of red cabbage (for blue)

tumeric (for yellow)

I’m too tired to write out the directions, they are all posted here:


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The Challenge: 100 Seasonal Recipes by Summer

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for summer. I am ready to live in my swim suit, put the puffy coat in storage, get some sun and go pick fresh berries. I am tired of these grey, rainy, Oregon February days.  I have the winter blues and I need a good challenge.

My husband actually put me up to the challenge in January right after the new year. I wimped out at first and thought, “No, this would be too hard because I would get tired of eating kale and kohlrabi”. But in order to prove I can do it, get more educated about foods that are in season, and write to the NORTHWEST part of my blog title, I will embark on something difficult in order to overcome these winter woes. I won’t have time to complain, because I will be digging through magazines, cookbooks and websites. Before I know it, summer will be here…

Here is the challenge:

    100 recipes by June 21st, the summer solstice

Rules I have invented:

1. These recipes can be invented by me or borrowed from other sources

2. The ingredients must be something that is in season (or stored in a root cellar)

3. They must be local (from Oregon or Washington, since I like apples)

I do not aspire to be like Barbara Kingsolver and live entirely off the land for a year (even though that would be fun to try if I had a house and a yard). But, I am in a rental house with a tiny lot in the woods, and my gardening skills first need to improve.

I do want to be a farmer. I know it is a romantic notion that others have done in order to truly live with less of an environmental footprint. Eating locally or growing your own food has been touted as even more eco-friendly than eating organic, because the food is not traveling as far to get to the table. But, I don’t have that option now and I imagine many of you don’t either. Although, on a side note I just finished reading: Food, Not Lawns, which I highly recommend. We could all do our part in growing more food at home.  I am now motivated to grow some things in container gardens on my porch (more on that later). But if I can’t grow it all myself, then I will get to know who is growing my food.

But back to the challenge. I must find 100 ways to use local and SEASONAL ingredients.  I have 137 days, and by June 21st, I will feature the top 10 recipes and put them on the menu at my celebratory summer solstice party! (I will attempt to add a voting feature to this blog so you can vote for your favorites come early June.) I will also take any suggestions for recipes to try out if you are feeling up to helping me meet my goal.

Meanwhile, I will work on finding my source: a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Once I find a good source of veggies and local produce, I hope to get to know my farmer. I plan on attending the “That’s My Farmer” Event here on April 14th in Eugene. Hope to see you there and wish me luck.

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Apartment Gardening Project: Sprouting

Sprouting Your Own Beans

When I showed my nephew my newest project he was intrigued. He is used to all the funny things that his Auntie Steph does, like keeping worms on the porch to digest food scraps, but this was especially exciting. Each time he came over he could see the change in my newest little plants.  Like I mentioned before, if you can’t grow your own garden in your backyard, this project will transform your meals into something “homegrown” with as little effort as watering 2x a day. 


You can sprout beans in a variety of ways, and I experimented first by sprouting in my mason jars with cheese cloth. After it molded around the edges, I tried a metal screen, but found that the lid got a rusty ring around the edge.

Frustrated, I finally invested in a sprouter: Sprout People  taught me the basics of how to water them, harvest and care for them. I am on my second batch now, and I plan on using the alfalfa sprouts for a sushi party I am hosting this Thursday.

These little guys here on the left are only 2 days old, and hopefully by tomorrow they will be big enough for lunch. 

Below is a photo of the sprouting devise. It’s simple, you just choose something to sprout (lentils, quinoa, alfalfa, black beans, mung beans, etc). Then you water them each morning and evening. Watering is easy, you just lift the lid, add water and let it drain to the bottom. Next time you water, you empty the bottom tray.

photo-6 On my first try I included the following:

Level 1: Red Lentils

(These didn’t do as well, I think I needed to keep them drier)

Level 2: Mung Beans

These worked great and I used them on the Blueberry, Walnut and Bean Sprout Salad.

Level 3: Alfalfa Sprouts

These were the tastiest! We ate these in our breakfast burritos and this time around I made two layers of these tasty guys. They grow slower (about 4 days total) but have the best taste. 

Let me know if you give this a try! I’ll be anxious to see what other uses you can think of for the harvested sprouts. So far I have included them in 2 salads, burritos, a topping for a gardenburger, sushsi, and a quinoa leftover salad.

Added 8/12/09*** When my mom saw this post she laughed and told me: “This used to be all the rage when you were kids! I used to sprout at home and we had so much fun with it.” She told me how she had forgotten about this and how she should get back to it again. Thanks, Mom for all your encouragement!


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