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Those are some sexy loaves...
I live approximately 5,760 feet above sea level.  Now, baking bread from scratch is tricky enough, but add all sorts of wacky pressure changes from high altitude?  Yep, we're in trouble.

But never fear!  High altitude baking can be done.  I've been using this homemade bread recipe for months now, and it just keeps getting better.

The recipe yields two loaves of whole-wheat bread that rest between sandwich-grade fluffy and moistly dense.  For those of you at sea-level, I'll include some alternate ingredient measurements.  


 
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My roommates are comedians.
Yogurt is incredibly easy to make.  There's really no reason to buy yogurt in those plastic cartons - especially when you have a source of free milk! 

I know most folks aren't as lucky as I am in the free-milk arena, but free milk happens

First, Morgan worked at a local community organization which had a surplus of free food - much of this food came to me, including gallons of milk! 

Lately, my roommates have been in and out of town, leaving me with soon-to-expire milk. 

My thoughts on this?  1.  Excellent.  2.  Yogurt!  3.  Most excellent.

And the best part is, you can make yogurt too!


 
When I was in the 10th grade, I made an Odd-Couple type of friend.  She shopped exclusively designer and aspired to be the first female president.  Once, we compared the cost of our outfits.

Hers:  easily over $1000.  Between her Prada and Victoria's Secret accessories, her $80 jeans, and $100 sunglasses, she was rocking a month's salary (for me, at least).

Mine:  $5.  I wear free and thrift clothing, nearly exclusively.  Yes, I buy new underwear.  Other than that, my motto is:  why buy new when thrift is so awesome?

 
I drink chocolate almond milk with my coffee every morning.  It's delicious!

Today, I ran out of almond milk - voila!  I made my own.  And you can too.  Making your own almond milk cuts down on packaging (are those Tetrapak cartons really recyclable?), plus you can make it exactly to your tastes!
You will need:
~ 1 cup almonds
~ 1.5 cup water
~ 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder
~ 1 tbsp agave nectar/honey/sugar
~ blender
~ strainer/cheesecloth
~ half an hour

 
Ever since my multiple failures at cold-frame temperature control (read: crispy fried kale plants, and not in the good, tasty way), I've been sprouting my own greens.

Instead of beating my brown-thumb against the wall when my outdoor crops failed (for the 2nd time), I re-evaluated my purpose in nurturing cold-frame greens: having greens throughout the winter. 

Now, my winter CSA provides leeks and cabbage, but that's about it as far as green veggies go.  So, in the interest of year-round veggies, I've begun sprouting my own micro-greens at home.

 
Earlier this month I made a set of cloth menstrual pads, but I didn't know how well they would perform.  Well, the trial period (no pun intended) is over!  And yes, yes, cloth pads work!

Pros
~ No leakage whatsoever
~ The night pad design worked beautifully, even on a heavy flow
~ Much more comfortable than commercial pads, and feel drier
~ No irritation from crinkly plastic & synthetic materials
~ Totally re-usable & eco-friendly
~ The 'period tea' (water for soaking used pads) is awesome for plants!

Cons
~ You have to soak and wash them
~ They will stain anyway

... I can't think of any other cons!

So yes, 5 stars - cloth pads work just as well as commercial pads, plus they're much more comfortable & earth-loving.  Hooray!

Do you have any questions about cloth pads?  Anything I didn't cover that makes you go 'hmmm' or 'yuck'?  Let me know, we'll talk it out!
_
PSKXS78G4ANS
 
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Morgan is satisfied!
_If there were a homemade tempeh church, I would join.

I know that sounds strange, but it really tastes that good!

As a vegetarian-minded/flexitarian-type eater, I've bought my fair share of commercial tempeh.  It's okay.  It's kind of boring, though, so I rely heavily on marinades like soy sauce and honey to spice it up.  Plus, tempeh costs around $4 for an 8 oz. package - $8/lb. is do-able, but not for something that's merely 'okay'.

One day, my partner Morgan and I were leafing through our copy of Wild Fermentation, and saw the section on bean ferments.  She offhandedly commented, "I'd be into making tempeh." 

Two days later, I bought 20 pounds of dried soybeans for $10 on Craigslist, and soon after, bought a packet of Rhyzopus oligosporus (the tempeh spore) from G.E.M. Cultures.

I was committed.


 
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Wild Grape & Mint Kombucha
_I was never a big kombucha drinker -  between its weird floaty slime and the price tag, the hype over its health benefits utterly failed to draw me in.

Then the day came... a dear friend brought me a bottle of home brewed kombucha.

Wow.  It was deliciously sweet and made with love.  Plus, it came in this ultra-cool blue glass bottle (I have a thing for colored glass)!  I used the spore juice left at the bottom to make my own batch, and I've been hooked ever since. 

Kombucha - or 'Booch', as I like to call it - is really easy to make.  Plus, you can make a liter of it (a little more than two 16-oz. bottles) for approximately $1 and half an hour of your time. 

When you make your own kombucha, it's designer - everything, from tea/herb/juice blend and type of sweetener, to the degree of acidity and alcohol content is up to you.

I'm not going to list off its health benefits, because I don't know and I don't really care.  All I know is that live cultures are good for you and it tastes awesome.

So!  Ready to learn?  Good.


 
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_Cloth pads have been on my to-do list for a while now.  I'm easily caught up in small, daily projects, like sprouting and making yogurt cheese - it was time to take more of a high-impact action.

Disposable pads, like disposable diapers, are a consistent source of waste - for me, it's 12-16 pads a month, or about 170 pads to the landfill each year.  That amount of consistent waste, as a lifestyle, is not okay with me. 

By crafting my own re-usable pads out of thrifted materials, I'm able to reduce my waste by about 3.5 pounds of cotton, plastic, and cardboard a year, thus saving trees & other precious resources, and re-purpose materials already in the consumer cycle.  Oh, and it's cheaper than buying pads!  So, thanks to instructions in Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knudsen, I made myself a set of re-usable cloth pads. 


 
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photo via: Food.com - my process wasn't quite that pretty
_My first homemaking project was pickling - dilly beans, or pickled green beans. 

I had a summer CSA share and got pounds of green beans at a time.  I don't particularly like green beans fresh, but I found that pickling transformed the excess into a tasty snack.  This was back in September, but I still have a jar left (talk about self-restraint!)

I used a recipe from Back to Basics, and took over half my communal kitchen for the pickling/canning process.  My roommates weren't too happy (I picked a potluck night for my experiment), but it was worth it.

The process seemed complicated at first, but it's actually pretty simple, and you can do this with any kind of veggie you like.

Short Version, for the simply curious
  1. Wash beans & jar. 
  2. Pack beans and spices in the jar.
  3. Boil a vinegar/water mix with salt.  
  4. Pour hot vinegar mix over beans, and close the jar.
  5. Submerge jar under water and boil for a while. 
  6. Remove jar from water bath & wait for it to cool.
  7. Note the satisfactory lid suction when it's fully cooled, and then store it away!
* steps 5-7 aren't really necessary if you're going to eat the beans right away (i.e. within a month)

So, it's slightly more detail-specific than that, so here's the real recipe, for those who want to do it themselves.



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