• Better Than Bacon: Roasted Pork Belly
  • The Backyard Medicine Cabinet: Elderberry
  • Roasted Salsa Verde
  • The Best Graham Cracker Recipe
  • A Slice of Tomato Pie

Better Than Bacon: Roasted Pork Belly

Pork Belly - lifefromthegroundup.us

Everyone knows bacon.

Almost everyone knows that bacon comes from a pig (turkey bacon is not bacon).

Fewer people know that bacon is cured pork belly (know where your food comes from!).

And not many at all have experienced the magic that is a roasted slab of fresh, uncured pork belly, before it undergoes that transformation into bacon. But we’re going to remedy that situation right now.

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The Backyard Medicine Cabinet: Elderberry

Elderberry Tincture - lifefromthegroundup.us

About a year ago, I started to take an interest in using more natural remedies for the everyday ailments that we face here on the homestead.

Minor cuts, scrapes, bee stings, and the occasional coyote attack are all regular occurrences, and instead of relying on antibiotic creams, Benadryl, and Tylenol, I wanted to find something a little less… pharmaceutical. So I stepped outside.

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Roasted Salsa Verde

Roasted Salsa Verde - lifefromthegroundup.us

Tomatillos grow really well around here. I’m guessing they probably grow really well anywhere, since northeast Ohio isn’t really prime tomatillo climate and they still go crazy in these parts. And they reseed really, really easily. They’re practically weeds. Just saying, if you’re thinking about growing them sometime.

I planted four last year and found out the hard way how wild they become. I planted two this year (and switched to a purple variety). But I was also inundated with many hundreds of volunteers, so I ended up with four again. Since they produce prolifically, and I don’t know of very many ways to use tomatillos (though this chili is good), I just make lots of salsa verde (“green sauce”).

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The Best Graham Cracker Recipe

Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe - lifefromthegroundup.us

There’s a chill in the air, and the nights are crisp and cool (when they’re not rainy). Perfect weather for cozying up around a fire, which means fall is the perfect s’more-making weather. You’ve made the marshmallows, picked up some good dark chocolate (sadly, no cacao trees grow in Ohio, so that’s kinda hard to make at home), and now all you need are the graham crackers. Yes, you could go buy that blue box, but where’s the fun in that? So grab a bowl and your mixer, and let’s get started!

Graham crackers are kind of part cracker, part cookie. They’re traditionally made with graham flour, which is a coarsely ground whole wheat flour, so if you were really stretching, you could almost call them healthy-ish. They have a unique flavor that can be tough to replicate (although if you’re trying to reproduce store-bought flavor, maybe you shouldn’t be).  But you don’t have to search anymore – this graham cracker recipe, with its graham flour and a hit of molasses, creates something pretty delicious.

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A Tale of Two Beans: Fortex and Coco Noir

From time to time, I like to do a quick post on some of the new vegetables that I’m growing. I personally like hearing from an actual person (since seed catalogs make everything sound nearly perfect), so maybe I can offer that service to someone else.

I’ll have a few more of these coming out as the gardening season winds down, but today we’re focusing on beans: one, a pole green bean, and the other a dry bean.

I grew Fortex beans for the first time this year, to go along with my Kentucky Blue pole beans. All the beans got off to a good start and fizzled a bit as the cool, wet summer dragged on, so this probably wasn’t the best year to set a benchmark. In spite of this, the Fortex performed well enough that they’ll be part of the regular rotation for the foreseeable future.

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