Posted in Crafty madness!, Culinary adventures, Homesteading

Hard-boiled joy

Easter is upon us: a time to reflect & remember that the God I worship literally died so I’d be free. Yet while all that heart-heavy stuff is marinating, windows are opening, the sun is shining and Spring is upon us. It’s as if the world is asking us to shake off our heaviness and come play a little. “Weeping may last the night but joy comes with the morning.” –Psalm 30:5

And over here at the Brookes’ homestead, we’ve been boiling our own joy: naturally dyed Easter eggs! This tradition dates back thousands of years, and I’ve long wanted to experiment for myself. With some help from Mama (who’s in town for a visit), we boiled eggs and made dye baths. Science is fun!

So, without further ado, here are the results:

Top photo: Dye baths -top row: curry, spinach, red cabbage, beets -bottom row: onion skin, green tea, beets. Bottom left photo: turmeric with string. Bottom right photo: red cabbage with string. Loved this process! Definitely repeating!
My favorite dye bath was the onion skin. Super cool (and really cheap!!!)
Dye bath processing. Next time, I’ll double the vinegar.
This year, we did canned beets and a mix of canned and fresh spinach. Fresh is for SURE the way to go. Now I know for next year. Beets are supposed to dye eggs brilliant pink.
Super appreciate my local Co-op making these great reference sheets available! Definitely will try the red cabbage and onion skins again. Stunning color!
Posted in Culinary adventures, Homesteading


It could be the direct result of where I’m employed, but it seems like there’s a lot of talk about turning vegetables into noodles. Our cooking section at Half Price Books has a few books specifically focused on spiralizing: hand-making noodles from veg. As a person who has flirted with the Paleo diet and whose gut responds well to little or no grain, the idea intrigues me. However, Nayt & I have had serious momentum into minimalism, so accumulating another kitchen gadget to experiment with was not my ideal. Enter my friend Karyn!

Friends let friends play with their cool toys. And it turns out, when you’re a grown-up, those toys might be weird kitchen gadgets.  🙂

So, last night, I played around with turning zucchini into noodles.  Olive oil, garlic, roasted onions, dried parsley, salt & pepper, and Herb de Provence* coated my freshly spiralized zucchini. It was tasty and satisfying. I was surprised at how the texture was so similar to noodles. I will say this, don’t try to trick your veg-reluctant spouse or kids by substituting zucchini for pasta. It is obviously veg when you bite into it, both in flavor and texture. BUT very tasty, and a totally ingenious way to mindfully increase your vegetable intake.

Now that I’ve played with it, I don’t know if I’d ever use it enough to justify owning one. Still was super fun! Thanks for sharing your toys, Karyn!





*I’ve never cooked with Herb de Provence before. A 9yr old sealed jar of it was staring at me from the spice rack. Have you cooked with this dried herb? It smells really delicious, but I don’t think I used enough (granted, it’s pretty old). I had a hard time identifying it amidst the garlic and olive oil flavors. If you’ve cooked with it, what dishes have you used it in?

Posted in Culinary adventures, Homesteading

Fry bread ambrosia

Holy fry bread, y’all. I don’t know what tribe is responsible for this delectable treat but they are wonderful people and fry bread is insanely good. Imagine a savory dense cake donut. Yeah. Now you feel me.

So, last weekend I was fortunate to attend the Wild Rice Festival at the Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville. Half Price Books donates to this awesome park and animal restoration center, so we get a booth at this event. I was dressed as the Bookworm mascot and got to hug and high five children all afternoon.

But while I wasn’t swallowed by the neon green sleeping bag that is my employer’s mascot, I was eating Native American food. The Wild Rice Festival boasts authentic fare that blows my mind with its savory comforty awesomeness. I had a roasted ear of corn on the cob that was probably the best corn experience of my LIFE. I dunno what seasoning they put on it but MAN, it was goooooooood.

I really love supporting the native groups that are still harvesting wild rice by hand in the traditional manner. So, this year I bought a pound of wild rice, some cream of wild rice soup mix and a fry bread mix. And tonight, we feasted on fry bread, rice soup and chicken made with vegetables that were farmed in the American soil hundreds of years before Europeans settled here.

I’m full and happy. (Who wouldn’t be after eating DONUTS for dinner?) But seriously, it’s super fun to try new ethnic foods. And while I barely scratched the surface here with Native American, I am delighted with what we’ve tried so far!

Go eat adventurously!