Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Did You Know That Goats Can Smile?

A few months ago we decided that Brian should hire a photoediting assistant for his business. After lots of searching, we hit the jackpot. Jenna is not only a terrific photographer and photoeditor, but she's an animal lover as well.

Lucy and the cats spend lots of time lounging on Jenna's lap while she works at the computer. Instead of coffee breaks, Jenna takes "goat breaks" outside in the barnyard.

During a recent goat break Jenna brought her camera and shot several lovely pictures of Dasha and Peaberry (plus one of Rosemary, for good measure). To see all of the photos, please click here to visit Jenna's blog.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Before the First Cooking Class

Our first Heirloom Gardens cooking class was a wonderful experience, thanks in large part to the fantastic co-chefs who participated.

I'm sure that, as we move forward, the class prep will become more routine for me. This first time, though, had all the excitement that comes with launching a new project.

(Thanks to my husband for snapping the lovely pictures.)

Late afternoon sun.

The work stations.

Of course we have to coordinate the tasting spoons and the water glasses!

Aprons and dish towels - very important.

My lovely new cheese plate (a gift from Mom) alongside the rolling pins we used for the apple dumplings.

Apples, butternut squash, onion and bell pepper - just waiting to turn into dumplings and soup!

Our dinner table - a little tight, but everyone was a good sport! We'll use a bigger table for subsequent classes so we have plenty of room to stretch out while we enjoy the food.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I've been indulging in some kitchen deep cleaning to prepare for the first Heirloom Gardens cooking class tomorrow. I have a bit of a romantic attachment to spices... not only are they fun to cook with, but I think they're beautiful to look at. A couple of years ago I devised a way to magnetically attach windowed spice boxes to the sides of my kitchen cabinets. This made my 54 spices easy to access, and an accessory as well!

The spice boxes had their 15 minutes (well, more like 5 minutes, probably) of fame when they were in 5280 magazine last year.

Now it's time to take the spice boxes down for a little cleaning.

Aren't they lovely?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's a Tough Job, But...

I'm finishing up with the recipe testing for the Simple from Scratch Cooking class. This Sunday's class is full, but there are still openings for the classes on January 17, February 23, and March 26. Shown above are the Apple Dumplings Stuffed with Dried Winter Fruit, served with...

...homemade caramel sauce! It's awesome - just as delicious as it looks. We also eat the dumplings with vanilla ice cream (just for good measure).

This is Jenna, Brian's photoediting assistant. One of her unofficial job duties is to help us consume all of the food that's produced as a result of recipe testing for cooking classes. We know... we're slavedrivers.

I'm very excited about the cooking classes, which will teach adaptable recipes that people can make at home. For example, our Simple From Scratch class will include:

Homestyle Vegetable Barley Soup
No-Knead Multigrain Bread
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
Roasted Beet Salad with Green Beans, Roasted Garlic, and Sour Cream Horseradish Dressing
Apple Dumpling with Caramel Sauce

The soup is a basic recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever vegetables you have on hand. The bread can be made a hundred different ways, depending on which grains you'd like to use. The beet salad could be made with walnuts and blue cheese, or goat cheese, or with curry powder instead of horseradish in the dressing...

Sign up for one of our cooking classes to learn great recipes and eat a wonderful meal! In addition to "Simple From Scratch," we're also offering "Simple Indian" and "Seasonal Soups and Breads."

Whew... I've got more recipe writing (and testing) to do!

In the News - Highlights of the Decade from the North Denver Tribune

Elisa Cohen reviews some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the last decade, especially as they relate to North Denver. Heirloom Gardens is mentioned about 3/4 of the way into the article.

Loungin' in the Sun

Soaking up the rays on the ramp. Don't mind the chickens.

Relaxing on the straw bale.

"I can still see you!"

Deeply ignoring the chickens.

(yawn... smack smack) "What can I do for you?"

The Daily Show: Michael Pollan on the Real Cost of Cheap Food

Entertaining clip of Michael Pollan talking about his new book, "Food Rules." Especially interesting how he proposes that the food industry is creating patients for the health care industry.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Video: Live Action Backyard Barnyard!

Brian shot a little video during our recent Christmas snowstorm. I thought it would be good to post the video because:

1) The animals are, of course, as cute as the dickens.
2) There's something about seeing a video image that gives you a much better idea of the size of the animals, and what it's like to keep them in a backyard. For those who wonder how backyard chickens and goats work - here's what we're talking about!

Enjoy, and thanks to Brian for the video.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Check Out the New Website for Sustainable Food Denver

Denver has a vibrant sustainability community, with numerous organizations (including Transition Denver, Feed Denver, Denver Urban Gardens, and many many others) devoted to promoting a variety of sustainable living issues.

I support what those groups promote, and I applaud their efforts. But - as I'm sure is abundantly clear from this blog - the issue of Food-Producing Animals (FPA) is something that's near and dear to my heart. I believe that this issue is important enough to warrant its own organization, solely focused on advocating for hen chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats in the city.

Therefore, I would like to present Sustainable Food Denver! (www.sustainablefooddenver.org) The website is finished, complete with a variety of information about fowl and goats, a little myth-busting, a review of the current permitting process, and an overview of what we'd like to achieve for our city. I'm especially excited about the "Economic Benefits" section, which details how much money a family can save by raising FPA in their backyard (while enjoying healthy, sustainable food in the process!).

So, please visit the website and poke around. Let me know if you find any errors, or if there's something additional you'd like to see. Be sure to join our Facebook group so you can be part of our efforts to lobby City Council for more appropriate FPA rules for our city.