Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Class schedule

The Kitchen Girls are scheduling classes well into spring. We have an upcoming herb class being taught on Sunday, March 1, 2009 from 1 to 3 pm. "Ten Best Herbs to Keep on Hand"

Also in March, on the 28th, we will be teaching an two hour soapmaking class. This one is loads of fun, and is one of our most popular classes.

I'll be covering the basics of making an herbal salve in April. We're excited to add our new Cheesemaking class in May, and in June will be teaching the soapmaking again.

More and more people are inquiring about private classes. It goes to show that there is a great interest in learning how to create things ourselves. Be just a tad bit more self sufficient.

If you are interested in our classes, go to our website at www.thekitchengirls.com . You will find descriptions of what we offer. Or email us at thekitchen@thekitchengirls.com . We are always happy to answer questions and make your acquaintance.

~ Paula

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Kitchen Incubator Project

Kim and I went to a meeting last night concerning the new Kitchen Incubator Project being started in the neighboring town of Bloomington, Indiana. What a wonderful idea.

This projects provides a commercial kitchen space for anyone interested in starting a food based business. The project also provides, if you become a member, business training, networking and a retail outlet for the end product.

While the Kitchen Girls are not about producing a product for retail sale, we do believe in supporting local business, and especially, local grower's guilds and CSA's.

As our world changes and we find that we must adapt to the higher cost of living, I highly suggest looking into your local community. Find the local growers, the CSA's, the community gardens, the small scale organic farmers, and give them as much support as you can.

When the gas prices go back up, we all may find that supporting our local economy pays off, and allows us to keep putting food on our tables. While I don't want to sound like I'm shouting from a soap box, I do think it's important to keep as close of a local connection to our food and our economics as we possibly can.

So, if there is an Incubator Project in your community, a local CSA, a community garden or kitchen, or even a nearby neighbor with a large garden plot, give them a call and ask how you can support or volunteer for their project. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised when freshly grown produce is handed to you throughout the summer. Plus, volunteering can make a person feel wonderful, and these days, we all need that.

~ Paula

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lot's of Snow

Almost 12" of snow, plus a layer of ice, after two consecutive winter storms this week.
It was bound to happen, Indiana getting slapped with major winter storms, but two in a row can be a bit much. At least we didn't lose power here, as some folks in the Hoosier state. For that I am counting my blessings.
One of the things I do have to get done is digging my car out from under all this. Plus try to get out a quarter mile lane. Considering that I drive a VW Beetle, with only 4" of clearance, I could be stuck at home for a while.
If you're like me, and you also have to shovel snow, here are a few Kitchen Girl tips.
Always dress in layers. This way you can shed a layer of clothing as your body warms up. You don't want to sweat heavily and catch a chill.
Speaking of warming up. Take a few minutes and walk in place, stretch your muscles, be active and get your body used to the idea that your going to be exercising. Shoveling snow can be a workout!
Don't overdo. Keep in mind your fitness level. Take breaks on a regular basis. Be kind to yourself.
To keep your feet warmer, put bread sacks over your socks before putting on your boots. This way, your tootsies can stay dry if your boots are not waterproof, or if snow falls down the top of your footwear. This simple little tip works wonders!
Not meaning to sound like your mother here, but lift with your legs, not your back.
While you may have heard most of these tips before, and think I sound like a broken record, it pays to heed the advice. Shoveling snow is hard, heavy work, and not worth a heart attack, or a thrown out back.
I myself will keep this in mind as I head out the door to free my car from Ole Man Winter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baking Bread Class

Wow! I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted. I certainly didn't mean for so much time to have flown by between posts.

I am happy to report, as the picture above will attest, that I taught a bread baking class this past Saturday, which was a great success. The only downer to the day was that Kitchen Girl Kim, my partner in crime, was not able to attend due to illness in her family.

Otherwise, the two hour workshop was fun, lively and well received. And I know for a fact that we will offer it again!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple Butter Time

It's that time of the year to hit the apple orchards and take advantage of the wonderful bounty of apples.

The bowl above are apples my mother shared with me. While she didn't give me the name of these beauties, she told me they would make great pies, holding a firm shape.

Regardless of whether I know the name of this fruit, I look forward to making a pie, and am already planning my own trip to the local orchard so I may put up some apple butter and, my favorite, apple jelly.

Hint: When working with apples, if peeling several at once, mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a bowl of water and immerse the apple slices in this solution. It will keep the apple slices from oxidizing and turning brown.

~ Paula

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saving some energy

I was looking in the latest Lehman's catalogue, and noticed they sell dryer balls. These are two prickly-looking, small orbs you put in your dryer when drying a load. They are supposed to help reduce drying time up to 25%.

Since I wash sheets from my massage therapy business several times a week, this certainly piqued my interest, but I found them to be a bit expensive. So, necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to put a tennis ball in my dryer with a load of wet sheets and see if it made any difference in reducing drying time.

I typically use flannel sheets on my massage table. Their being thicker requires a longer drying time, usually around 100 minutes. I have found that using one tennis ball didn't make much difference, adding two tennis balls, however, reduced the dryer time by about 15 minutes. Not too bad. With my dryer that's a reduction of drying time by about 15%. I'll take it.

Hint: Always look around your home and see what is available to use in a creative, economical way. You might be pleasantly surprised.

~ Paula

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fall cleaning

I personally like to do an autumn cleaning, just like a spring cleaning. It's time to get rid of the spider webs lurking in the corners. Give everything a thorough cleaning before winter sets in.

I also find it a good time to replace the white vinegar and water I mixed up in a spray bottle in the spring. See if I need a new box of baking soda as well. As we all probably know, these two ingredients can get just about all of our cleaning done. Who needs strong, potentially harmful chemicals in their house?

Also, let's not forget Borax. I use it in my laundry to help with the hard water found here in south central Indiana. It can also be used to clean up pet stains and odors, can be used as a bug controller, and a general household cleaner. You can find it in the laundry section at the grocery store. Which reminds me, I am out of borax.

Not to change subjects, but I received a Lehman's catalogue in the mail yesterday. It's like an old time wish book, considering I like practical, rural, older things. As I flip through the pages, it's a trip down memory lane, as well as a reminder of some tips and tricks I was taught, or saw my grandmother use as she went about her day.

I believe we should live our lives with a mix of old and new things. If we come up with a nice blend of new technology, old fashioned habits, and experience, I think we're better able to handle the times when things go awry, such as when we go through a power failure due to inclement weather.

Tip for cleaning: Use a microfiber cloth to dust, and cut out the use of dust sprays. These cloths work great, pick up any mote of dirt, pet hair, lint, etc. Are easy to clean in hot water, and are very reusable. Find them at any dept. store, usually in the auto section.

~ Paula