Creativity and Crafts

Big Box of Citrus: Week 3

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 2 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative (project 1 of 12)

orange

We’re wrapping up on our bushel of citrus. You can check out weeks 1 and 2 if you’re interested. Who knows? One day you may receive a bushel of oranges and grapefruit in the mail. Now you, too, will have ideas on how to beat the mold race and use them up. Here are some more ideas from this past week:

Refresh the garbage disposal. Most people recommend lemon peels, but I found that grinding up any citrus seems to make a difference. And speaking of “freshening” and “peels”…  You can make all-purpose cleaner, too. I have been following Crunchy Betty’s recipe and grapefruit skin  is my infusion of choice. With the abundance of citrus rind around here, I figured I may as well start another batch. I’ve dropped in some orange and mint essential oils for a boost to the senses.

Capture

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Treat yourself to a face mask: 1/4 grapefruit and 1 Tbs. raw organic honey. The directions I had didn’t say how long to keep it on so I decided 30 minutes. After the first night my skin (and even eyebrows) felt soft. Night two made my skin feel smoother – no bumps.  I didn’t go past three nights because there was a weekend getaway that interrupted the progress, but I’m convinced this may be an effective treatment. With the antioxidant power of the grapefruit and the antibacterial properties of the honey, why not?face

Share a smoothie with your family. One morning my son wanted to make strawberry juice with the citrus juicer…apparently we’ve been juicing a lot around here. Since I could imagine that this plan wouldn’t work so well, I convinced him to make a smoothie instead. Mindful that this needed to be kid-friendly we made it sweeter than some of the other recipes I’ve tried: 1 pink grapefruit, 2 bananas, 1 c. strawberries, 1/2 c. yogurt, 1 Tbs. honey, 1Tbs. flax meal. It was definitely a hit.

Smoothie recipe #2 was my favorite so far, but it didn’t get very far with Kid: juice from two grapefruits, 2 bananas, 1 avocado, ginger (to taste). It was probably the ginger that turned him off. Not a big deal. More for me.

We included Dad to the smoothie party over the weekend with a revisit to #2 and new recipes 3 and 4.  #3: 1 orange, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup yogurt. #4: 1 grapefruit, 1 pear, 1 cup strawberries, ginger. We liked all three so instead of each choosing one each  we passed the jars around the table and enjoyed them all. Dad even taught Kid how to enjoy two at the same time.

CaptureCapturesmoothiesosmoothie

Enjoy breakfast (or dinner). We made orange French toast. You can find a recipe here. You can probably make it the way you normally do by just replacing milk with orange juice. I discovered low and slow was the way to cook it so it wouldn’t burn but still cook through. We also agreed that topping it with syrup brings out more of the orange flavor than topping it with orange marmalade and powdered sugar. However, both options were pretty tasty.

There was also some cornbread on the menu this week. So I citri-fied it by following Joy the Baker’s recipe for Brown Butter Rosemary Orange Cornbread. Typically I am not a huge fan of rosemary so I was skeptical, but wanted to stay true to the recipe for the first go-round. Turns out, I like this cornbread as I ate about 1/3 of the pan in one night.

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Make dessert. I found making grapefruit sorbet to be incredibly easy. The hardest part was waiting overnight to eat it. This recipe is definitely one to keep in mind for the summer. It was SO stinking good.  The mix was 1 cup grapefruit juice (chilled), 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. We don’t have an ice cream maker so I followed the technique at the bottom of this post.

Or, if cookies are more your speed how about some Melting Moments? I adapted Itty Bitty Kitchen’s recipe from lemon to orange. My problem was deciding how much orange juice and zest was equivalent to the juice and zest of one lemon. My frosting wasn’t nearly as thick as hers even after another cup of powdered sugar…I must have over estimated the juice a bit. These cookies were good in orange, but I am eager to try them in lemon.

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Number of fruits left: 4 and so ends the Big Box of Citrus Project. It will probably just be juice from here on out.  Thanks to my trusty tools without which I would not have survived this month.

kit

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Big Box of Citrus: Week 2

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 2 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative (project 1 of 12)

Another week and more citrus…

It inspired some “art”this week:

“#1 Self Portait: Shadow and Citrus.”  – Grapefruit bears a striking resemblance to a 25 1/2 week pregnant belly.

“#2 Self Portrait: Consuming and Consumed” – I have fruit on the brain so often now I am even dreaming of  these little yellow and orange spheres.

bellydream

I took on another smoothie: 1 pink grapefruit, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 banana. This one was better than the last, although I am not sure grapefruit will be a staple to my smoothie recipes in the future. I threw in yogurt, 1/2 cup of spinach, and 1/4 cup tofu to round it out more nutritionally. At the last minute I put in a heaping gob of some mango sorbet that we had on hand. The crazy straw added some nice photo flair, but proved impossible to drink from.

chiffon

It was time to go grocery shopping but we didn’t get around to it. Why not orange ricotta pancakes? (It just so happened we did have ricotta, go figure.) I replaced the raspberries in the syrup with blueberries that’s what we had. I also added more orange juice to the batter to thin it out and give it more orange flavor. This was excellent. Although, with the ricotta and the berries this may not be an in-a-pinch recipe. In the future I would just adapt my typical pancake recipe. (RR Author) Graham recommended replacing milk with orange juice then adding ginger, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. With more fruit to go, that may show up in the rotation the next few weeks, too.

pancake

And yes. Sometimes I do actually eat the grapefruit as is. Not the normal way people eat it in neatly packed triangles. I like to dig in and get really juicy as I tear the pulp away from its white encasement.

“And what are the health benefits to such a snack?” you may ask. Apparently grapefruits have over 73% of your daily value of vitamin C, which helps the immune system. Twenty four percent of your vitamin A is in there, too, which does good things all around your body.  In addition, red and pink grapefruits have cancer-fighting lycopene. Do a quick search and you can find so many more benefits to eating grapefruit. Even when you eat it the messiest way possible.

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I adapted a lemon vinaigrette recipe to make an orange dressing for a salad. Dressing: juice from 1/2 orange, zest from 1/2 orange, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Salad: mixed citrus over mixed greens and some sunflower seeds.

peelssalad

After some scoping out the produce section, I am pretty sure we were delivered some tangelos and pink grapefruit. These went into another citrus salad and (as if I needed more citrus around) I also bought two blood oranges just to make the colors a bit more interesting. It was good, but I much prefer unadulterated fruit.salad

We had some frosting left over from that orange chiffon cake I made previously. Spread on graham crackers, it made a nice little sweet treat in the middle of the day. The frosting recipe is here. I added about 1/2 cup of orange juice to it because I had some left over and I wanted the frosting to taste orange-y.

graham

Number of fruits remaining: 27

Big Box of Citrus: Week 1

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired (x2)
  • Read a classic (x4)
  • Try a new recipe (x6)
  • (Re)connect (x12)
  • Get selfishly creative (x12)

What have I done so far with my bushel of citrus?

1. Juiced it. I have recently become an advocate of “juice in moderation” especially since Kid was born. My theory was that you would rarely consume as many fruits in one sitting as the number that offer up that full glass of juice that you pour from the container. You also lose the fiber, et al. when you only take the juice.  After officially seeing how much juice two oranges yield, I feel validated. (Further internet “research” concurs.)  On a less soap-box note: this morning’s OJ was especially good! If boxes of fruit are going to be an annual thing, it might be time to look into a citrus juicer. Or I need work on building my squeezing muscles.

juice

2. Shared it. I’m so happy my son digs grapefruit. It helps that I chose a pink grapefruit. He was more willing to admit that he liked it because it was “red”, which is his absolute favorite color.

3. Blended it. There was a quick visit to Pinterest before this morning smoothie just to get some ideas of fruit combos and proportions. I ended up with 1 pink grapefruit, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, and 1 cup of spinach. For extra nutritional boost…as if all that vitamin C wasn’t enough…I added some tofu, flax seed, oatmeal, and yogurt. The taste was a little bitter, though on reflection it makes sense with the grapefruit. I added about a tablespoon of agave syrup to sweeten it up. I liked it, but it may not be a crowd-pleaser.

share with sonsmoothie

4. Baked it. Twice. Mornings start at 7 a.m. around here. That gives us plenty of time to do fun things before breakfast. I broke out an old grapefruit muffin recipe and Kid and I set to work. Kid insisted Dr. Dog help with the baking, too. We three made a double batch and refrigerated half for Grandma and Grandpa’s visit the next day so that they could try them fresh. The other half was baked and consumed for breakfast and throughout the day. Yum.

P.S. One softball-sized grapefruit yields about 4 tsp. of zest and 1/2 cup of juice (when you rely solely on your muscles for juicing).

little bakeDD bake

5. Juiced it, again. The oranges are particularly juicy and don’t make for good eating. I DID invest (a whole $4) in a citrus juicer. It is much more effective at getting juice out.

  juicer

6. Tossed it. Natural decay started to show. A quick visit to the internet reveals that citrus is best stored in a cool place. As there are still too many fruits to fit into the fridge, they moved to into the garage instead. Indiana winter should help keep them cold.

mold

7. Baked it (again) and decorated. I have been holding onto a recipe for an orange chiffon cake for a while. With a work party on the horizon, it seemed time to bust it out. Orange zest and juice went into the cake. Orange juice went into the frosting (that was my addition). And why not try a little orange peel flair? The public has yet to taste it, but if the frosting is any indication it should be pretty good.

chiffon

Number of fruits left: 40

Early to Rise

by Graham
“The artist is not a special kind of person; rather each person is a special kind of artist.”
Ananda Coomaraswamy

I’m a musician. I have been since I was 9 and took up the violin in my school symphony and the youth symphony in my hometown. That’s not the real story though. There is no point at which you really start or stop being a musician. There are milestones of individual fluency or skill with the language and the tools which are externally identifiable. There are even more internal milestones for which there are no words to describe. There are also many ways to “be a musician”. To some it is a vocation, others a lifestyle, a world view, a social activity or a past time. The first category is the focus of my energy this year; Making a living from my musical output.This is going to take a handful of things which I’m not exactly an expert at and a plan to execute them. They all involve writing in one way or another. At the top level these are:

  1. Audience Development – I need more folks to be interested in The Sunrise Review
  2. Performance Opportunities – This is related to #’s 1&3 on both sides of their respective equations. 
  3. Funding Development – It’s going to take an influx of money to achieve my goals for the year
  4. Media Recognition -Radio interviews, blog posts, music reviews, etc. . 
  5. Team Growth – Doing everything by myself is technically possible, trained professionals are probably better and quicker for some tasks, though.

To accomplish these goals I have a framework to apply them to, American Heritage. I am traveling to World Heritage Sites throughout the US writing and recording music. It’s the focus of my activities and something I conceived of to provide a diverse range of opportunities for myself. It also presents some new challenges, not the least of which is the sheer scale of the project,  21 sites in over a dozen states (and one territory) some of them only accessible by air or sea (one only by sea). I started the project at the top of a volcano in Hawaii 14,000ft above sealevel. I’ve since visited Olympic National Park and Yosemite. I am currently on the East Coast where I intend to start recording the music I have written so far. I’ve started by contacting Independence Hall to arrange for a permit to record in the birthplace of America. They were less than enthusiastic, independent musicians are clearly of the unsavory ilk. If that doesn’t work out I will see about Mammoth Cave, or the Everglades. I hear Florida is nice this time of year. . .

Big Box of Citrus: A Project Begins

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired (x2)
  • Read a classic (x4)
  • Try a new recipe (x6)
  • (Re)connect (x12)
  • Get selfishly creative (x12)

Every year for the past three(?) years my father-in-law sends us a box of citrus from Florida. He doesn’t live in Florida. Who knows where the idea came from, but you won’t hear me complain. We usually get about half a bushel, which lasts about two months between two adults and a growing tiny person. But this year…a whole bushel. I think the time for lazy grazing is over if we want to make use of these guys before they spoil.

citrus

It’s a good thing I was on the look out for some resolution fulfillment. These sunny orbs are going to help me get through a creative project AND a recipe series. Double duty and lots of benefit. Recipes that I have started to stockpile include orange ricotta pancakes, citrus salad with feta, and orange chiffon (cup)cake(s). In addition, I will be documenting the use of  all this vitamin-C goodness through “photography” (using the term loosely here as I am not a skilled photographer and I will rely heavily on Instagram). Get ready. It’s going to be rather orange around here for a while.

P.S. If you have a  favorite recipe or use for oranges/grapefruits, feel free to leave a comment. I’m always happy to get some new ideas!

Bright and Shiny

by Graham

I’ll admit, New Years Resolutions aren’t necessarily my thing. I’m all for self awareness and personal goals. I just find a once a year approach to them to be wholly inadequate. It is best, in my opinion, to adopt a regular approach to conscious and intentional growth, development and boundary pushing. Incorporating it into your life fully and integrally, rather than piecemeal and arbitrarily, is how real change happens in my experience. That said, life presents many opportunities which offer extra effect for our actions. Relating your personal intentions to the cultural celebration of a new calendar year is one of those. It’s certainly not a new phenomenon either. Throughout history, all the way back to the Babylonians, humans have been making commitments of personal improvement for various reasons (personal, religious, social, etc. . ).

At the point I find myself in this life I have adopted an approach which is not entirely functional. About 5 years ago I was given advice by someone very close and dear to me with regard to my approach to life. I took it. It has ultimately been the worst advice I have ever received.

“Be less intense”

I’m a pretty easy going fellow. I live a relatively stress free life by design. I’m also, as someone recently put it, “a smarty”. I have been my whole life. My High School ran out of math to teach me and I have continually been at the top of classes with relatively little effort on my behalf. Consequently, I have to challenge myself. When I stepped my intensity back, that is primarily how I achieved it. By taking less risks, smaller projects and accepting things I wouldn’t normally. As a result my happiness, wallet and personal relationships have suffered. I have put aside my passions for more mundane things to create a more easily socially acceptable persona. This is changing in 2013.

My New Years Resolution is easily put

“Be more intense

There is no list of individual things I would like to accomplish. Just the one behavior/mindset/mantra. I like to think big. Big thoughts become big goals. Big goals require big actions. As someone who rarely has partners on my projects those big actions become my responsibility and mine alone. It takes intense, direct actions to accomplish these goals. These accomplishments are a by product of my resolve.

Watch your face, it’s about to get bright!