Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey leftover hot pot

Need something to make with those turkey leftovers?  Try a turkey leftover hot pot!


Turkey - legs, wings, breast meat or uncooked chicken or any stew meat
Sprig of rosemary, thyme
Salt & Pepper
1 large potato
1 large carrot
2 stalks of celery
1 bottle of dark beer
1 large onion
Seasonings to taste (garlic powder, seasoned salt, poultry seasonings)
2 tablespoons of butter


Cut your potatoes into thin slices.  Lay half of them on the bottom of a dutch oven or casserole dish.  Lay on top of the potatoes: thyme, rosemary sprigs and season with salt and pepper.

Put on top of this: your meat, then onions, carrots, celery, and any other seasoning.

Then cover with remaining sliced potatoes.  Pour your dark beer (I used Negra Modelo, but you can use any stout) over the potatoes.  Drizzle melted butter over this.  Sprinkle with salt.

Cover.  Bake in an oven at 300* for 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover.  Bake an additional 30 minutes.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Tis the season to giveaway!

I'll reach my 100th blog post this week with Off The Map so I thought I'd give back and give away a small Ash Tree Organics reusable grocery bag and matching wine bag this week!  Thanks for reading!


1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what color you'd be interested in (visit Ash Tree Organics to see what colors we have), making sure to leave a way for me to contact you in case you win. 

2. Only one comment per person. 

3. No spam please.

4. Enter between Monday 11.29.2010 and midnight EST Friday 12.03.2010.  I'll choose one winner using a random number generator and the winner will be announced Saturday 12.04.2010.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving napkins: check.
Wine bottle ruffles: check.
Homemade sides and bread: check.
Local turkey: check.

Looks like we are ready!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ash Tree Organics on Etsy!

Finally, Ash Tree Organics, the company my husband and I own and operate, is up and running on Etsy.  I've been selling mainly through our own website, but I thought I needed to embrace the online community of handmade goods so Ash Tree Organics is now on Etsy.  We love making, buying, selling and giving handmade goods.  Take the handmade pledge this season and give handmade items for the holidays!  As a 'thank you' to my blog readers, from now until Tuesday November 30, 2010 enter the code "OFFTHEMAPETSY" for 10% your order from my Etsy shop!  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New from Ash Tree Organics!

I am so excited to announce this:

If you can't read the picture:

Introducing our new Ash Tree Organics Wine Bags!

They are offered in six different colors, including a 100% organic cotton.  They are perfect for protecting your wine on its way home from the store, as a gift with wine or even to dress up wine at the table.  Visit www.ashtreeorganics.com today to check them out.

As always, we also have reusable grocery bags, aprons, placemats and napkins.

Please remember Ash Tree Organics for green gifts this holiday season.  
Thank you for your continued support!

Danielle & Lewie

Friday, November 19, 2010

Homemade flour

Wheat berries in the hopper

We have recently been making our own flour.  My first reaction was, why haven't we always been doing this?  Although it can be complicated, to start out it is really quiet basic.   Buy wheat berries, put them in the mill, grind them into flour, use the flour.  A year ago we made a good investment and bought the commercial grade Champion Juicer.   We also bought the grain mill attachment, kept it in the box and somewhat forgot about it.  We've enjoyed many Saturday mornings with apple-celery or carrot-ginger juice and now that we have our own place and the juicer has a more permanent location on our counter we decided it was time to start milling.  There are many reasons why milling your own flour is a great idea.  One is price.  A 5lb. bag of organic wheat flour, which is approximately 20 cups, will cost roughly $7.95.  To buy 5lbs. of organic wheat berries, which will make approximately 22.5 cups of flour, it costs roughly $6.45.  So, it's about $0.39 for a cup of organic wheat flour store bought or $0.28 if you make it yourself.  Besides price, freshly ground flour has a lot more natural rise in it.  I've been working on something I call, The Great Bread Experiment, which entails making many bread recipes because my goal is to eventually make all the bread in our house - pitas, naan, bread, rolls, pizza dough, etc.  From this experiment I can tell you that freshly ground flour makes bread that rises really well.   Also, from what I've been reading the second wheat gets milled into flour it has the most nutrients, the longer it sits around the more it loses, so perhaps milling your own flour is also healthier for you?   Either way, I think we'll be milling our own from now on.

From wheat berries to flour in a mater of minutes!

Ummm.. fresh baked wheat rolls with homemade flour

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Before & After: Living room

Before: The living room when we moved in

After: Living room

It took a lot of work but in the living room it paid off.  We took down the bookshelves that the previous owner put up because although we liked them, we wanted a more open feeling and I was worried they would create clutter.  Then we painted the walls Gliddens Smooth Stone, added baseboards, hung artwork and then moved our stuff.  My favorite part are our national park posters that my mom has been getting us for our anniversary's and our coffee table that we made from wood that was on the bench Lewie proposed to me at.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Before & After: Walkway and outdoor stairs

The house had really nice stone stairs that went up to the old dog house when we moved in but they were in bad shape.  They needed weeding really bad and at the top of the stone steps it turned into a walkway that was made from 1' x 1' red brick.  The problem was most of the red bricks were crushed and the yard was growing over them.  So, one of my big projects that I've been working on since we moved in was collecting all the stones from around our property, digging up the red brick and continuing the stone up to the now chicken coop.  The stone stairs were all found on the land so were the ones I used to continue it.  Because of this we didn't have enough stone, so I ended up stopping the stone at the coop and continuing to the coop door with red brick.  We cleaned up some solar lights that were also on the property and gave them a new home along the stone walkway.  It is really nice to do improvements like this and use what you have.  The whole project didn't cost a dime.  I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.  Now, I can walk up to the coop at night and I have some direction with the paths and lights.  I still have a few red bricks left over which I plan to add next to the coop around our future compost bins.  

Before: Walkway when we moved in

 After: New stone walkway

Before: Red brick's leading to chicken coop

After: New red brick path leading to chicken coop door

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before & After: Chicken coop

Before: as it was when we moved in

I think it's finally done!  We successfully transformed an old potting bench and dog shelter into a chicken coop.  I finished up painting it last week and Lewie finished the nesting boxes which still needed a little work.  Here is a picture during construction:

Before: during construction

And here is the after:

After: Chicken coop

And here are the doors during construction:

And the doors after:

After: Door on chicken coop

And lastly, here is a picture of the side before:

Before:  Chicken coop side as it was when we moved in

After: Chicken coop side

The chickens really seem to enjoy their new home.  They are pretty funny animals.  They each have their own personalty and although we haven't gotten any eggs yet, I'm really glad we decided to get chickens.

I have a few more Before & After's I'd like to post this week if I can get my act together.  Keep your eye out for them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to: Build a diamond shaped wine rack

With Thanksgiving coming up, we recently stocked up on wine and ended up with no where to put it.  So, I started researching wine racks.  I wanted something small, something that went with the feel of our house and something easy on the wallet.  All the wine racks I found where either too small, made in China, or way over our budget.  This lead me to try and make our own.  I found a great website tutorial on HomeBrew on how to make a diamond shaped rack and I fell in love with it.  It reminds me of an old wine cellar and looks so natural in our house.  It was made by us, it cost us nothing (because we used what we had here) and it holds just the right amount of wine.  Here's how we did it:


14' of 1" x 10" - we used old barn wood that was on the property
Miter saw or hand saw
8 screws
Drill, for pre-drilled holes


We were lucky enough to have old barn wood on the property that was just over 14' in length, but if you don't, you can just use pine or oak or whatever they have at your local lumber yard.  Either way, you'll have to start by cutting four 2' pieces like so:

Next you'll want to pre-drill holes for your screws. I drilled two holes on one end 2" from each side. Then, on the next board drill two holes on top of the board, again 2" from each side. This will allow your boards to fit together using your screws. I used screws we had in the barn already - 1 1/2" drywall screws.  Screwing all your boards together will make the square of your wine rack.

After your square is complete, you'll need to measure the inside diagonals.  They should be about 32".  Ours were a little different because the wood we used was old and parts of it were warped.  Measure yours just to be sure.  When you have your measurements, cut two more pieces out of your remaining wood the size of your diagonals.  Laying your square rack on the floor, slide your diagonal pieces in and using a straightedge or square mark where the boards meet in the middle.  Where the boards meet you'll need to take out the thickness of one board.  Only take out this amount half of the width of each board.  This will create a slot in each board halfway through that will allow your boards to fit together.  You may need a chisel to get the last bit out.

Slide your inside pieces together and then put them in your wooden square and you should now have a diamond shaped wine rack that holds about 45-50 bottles of wine!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to: Make Thanksgiving patch napkins

I was inspired by The Purl Bee to make these quilted patch Thanksgiving napkins.  They will be a nice touch to our organic and farm fresh feast.  I used my Ash Tree Organics napkins and some leftover scraps from a quilt that I made a few years ago. They aren't perfect, but sort of folksy and I'm glad we won't be using paper napkins that we'll just throw away this Thanksgiving.  I'd love to make the table runner that matches it, but I don't know if I'll have time. Maybe the table runner will be next years project!


Napkins (either bought or make your own)
Sewing machine (or by hand)
Scrap fabric
Fusible interfacing


First, I cut the patch pieces out of scrap fabric.  For mine, I made 2 1/2" triangles.  Then I sewed two triangles together to make a square.  Press the seem open on the back like this:

After you have pressed all your seems on your patches, trim off the overhang.  Next, cut squares the same size as your patches out of fusible interfacing.

Aline your patch and interfacing so that the front of the patch and the fusible side of your interfacing face toward each other (see photo above on right).  Sew around your patch now, leaving a small gap on one side.  Turn your patch inside out, making sure to push out the corners.  Your patch should now look like this:

Next, iron your patch onto your napkins as directed on the interfacing packaging.  Let cool.  Then, sew your patch on in whatever quilt pattern you desire.  I just sewed around the patch and then down the center, 'in the ditch'.

Tis' the season for holiday crafts!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Rolls

You know it's fall when I can make pumpkin rolls instead of cinnamon rolls.  Oh, they are so good.  The smell alone can make your mouth water.  I got the recipe from Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn and I highly recommend it.

No-Knead Pumpkin Rolls with Brown Sugar Glaze from The Kitchn
Makes 16-18 rolls
For the dough:
1/4 cup water
1 scant tablespoon yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups pecans - toasted, chopped, and divided in half (optional)
For the glaze:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove top until the butter is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let the milk mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch - NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and five cups of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it's still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. During this time, it should double in bulk. At this point, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.
To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.

Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the spices. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.

Rub a tablespoon of soft butter into the bottom of two 9x13 baking dishes, two 9-inch cake pans, or a combination. Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick. Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated.

About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are ready, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.

While they are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. When the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted. Remove from heat and strain into a mixing bowl to remove any sugar clumps. Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.

Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then pour the glaze on top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the top, if more nuttiness is desired. Eat them immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Red Hot Fire birthday card

We had a birthday to celebrate this week: Lewie's cousin who is turning 9!  So I made him a fire themed card to go with his fire themed gift (a t-shirt and book).  I have yet to unpack all of my card making supplies so I had to make this one entirely from hand.  I have included templates for the card here and here

Cardstock in black, orange, red and yellow
The templates from here and here 
A printer
Craft glue


Start by downing the templates and blowing up the flame template to the desired size of your card.  You can either print them out as they are and use that, or print them out, cut them out and trace them onto cardstock.  Once you have them on either cardstock or regular paper and they are cut out, glue the red flames onto your orange cardstock.  Cut around the red flames leaving just a small line of orange.  Then glue your yellow flames onto your red and orange flames.  Glue this whole set of flames onto your black cardstock after you cut out the size card you need.  For example, my black cardstock was 8x4 inches, which in turn made my card a 4x4 inch card so my flames were only 4 inches wide.  After you let this dry, print out the other template for the inside of the card.  Cut this so that it will fit inside the card (mine was a little bit less then 4x4 inches.  Glue this on the inside and then you are done!