Last week, I went to Dallas. (2 hours away) I found out about a display at a resort hotel called ICE. I mentioned it to Josh and he politely declined so I took advantage of my day off and made the trip myself. Totally, totally worth it! Here's the description on the website:
Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince for a magical adventure in more than 2 MILLION POUNDS of hand-carved ice sculptures and slides! Relive your favorite scenes from the classic ballet, accompanied by the original Tchaikovsky score and featuring thrilling rides down our most extravagant slides ever!
You must know my mom and I go to the Nutcracker ballet every year and I look forward to it so much. I may not have made the drive if it wasn't Nutcracker themed this year. But, come on, 2 million pounds of ice....I was intrigued. So, I pulled out my hat and gloves, purchased my first Peppermint Mocha and away I went. Pictures do no justice, but here are a few I took.
EVERYTHING in these pics is carved from ice and colored. It was breathtaking. I seriously might make a destination trip to Dallas every year to take this in.
Yes, I was borderline the creepy lady with no children, there alone just walking along. Whatever. I don't care. It was awesome. Plus, I totally refrained from going down the ice slide which would have been super fun, but I had to draw the line somewhere.
That brings me to today and my day off work. I had a really rough day considering my biggest concern was where to hang our stocking since we don't have a fireplace in Texas. I know, tragic. Anyway, I started my day by entering a contest that you should too! One of the blogs I follow, Mix and Match Mama announced they are giving away a $500 Nordstrom gift card. That's right. Go enter and then come back. It should go without saying that if you win, you will buy me something.
Later in the morning, I went and visited Sunfood Farms, a farm I've been getting veggies from every week. You all know I love me some veggies! I was so incredibly excited to find Marty and his wife, Tammie. They have a garden in Rogers, TX, which is about 20 minutes from me. Normally, I meet them here in town each week and pick up my box, but they offered a visit to the garden anytime so I took them up on it this week because the weather today was absolutely incredible. I had a blast! In a perfect world I will develop a green thumb magically and someday have a beautiful garden. We shall see. In the meantime, I'll enjoy learning all about it and pick the produce of others. :) Huge thanks for Marty for spending a couple hours showing me around and answering all my questions.
Picture on the right is spinach. I picked some myself and enjoyed a delicious salad for dinner tonight. The level of excitement that gave me was ridiculous.
Top left pic is where it all begins. Good old compost of manure. Soil in Texas isn't ideal so that's what Marty uses for prime growth. He has thermometers in all the piles and he had me look at one. It was over 100 degrees in there! I was shocked. Pretty amazing to see it from start to finish. Picture on the right is kale. One of my favorite things to eat now. He had me guess the bottom pic. I wasn't even close. It's garlic! It's not ready yet, but I can't wait for some of that!
So, that was my morning. Pretty awesome stuff if you ask me. I think I made it worth Marty's time too. I was pulling carrots and I got so excited each time I got a "big" one. He just laughed and said he couldn't believe the joy I was getting out of it. I've said it before...it's the little things in life. That's all I need. Plus, he gave me beets. I LOVE beets. Josh always makes fun of me when I eat them and says, "Who eats beets?" Well, for one, I do. They are delicious. Plus, they always make me think of this:
Dwight owned a beet farm on The Office. I rest my case.
Okay, enough of proving my point. We can all agree, I keep myself productively busy when I'm at home. Although, Josh may beg to differ. He opened the fridge when he got home from work and said it looked like Jurassic Park in there with all my greens. I got him purple carrots and that was his response. I mean, really?! Anyway, on to the recipe. It's an easy one! As almost always, credit to my mama for this idea. She read about it online somewhere and then I gave it a try. Why I never thought of this I have no idea.
Homemade vegetable broth is genius. It minimizes waste, allows you to control the salt, and saves you money. All you need is a crockpot and some scraps. That's right. Start saving your veggie scraps. I thought it would take me awhile to collect a whole bag full, but it only took a week. If you don't cook with a lot of fresh food it will take you longer, but it's still worth saving. Simply start a gallon freezer bag with leftover scraps and keep it in your freezer. Keep adding to it and when it's full you're ready to make your broth.
My bag had onion skins, carrots (that were going bad I didn't get through), celery tops, cob from corn, spinach, garlic peels, potato skins, bell peeper tops, kale scraps, the greens from some beets and more! You'd be surprised at all you toss in the trash when you start to save. Once your bag is full, empty the contents into your crockpot. (Make sure you wash your vegetables before you add them to your freezer bag. For example-I usually don't wash onions or garlic before I peel them, but now I do so the skins are clean)
Then, fill the crockpot with water. Turn it on low and leave it all day, overnight, whatever you want. Just walk away. I started mine about 9 p.m. and finally got around to dealing with it mid morning the next day. You aren't going to hurt it by letting it simmer.
Here it is after many hours of soaking. The thing at the top is my tea sachet from my tea pot. I don't have a strainer so I use it as needed. You say ghetto, I say innovative. Anyway, simply remove the veggies and strain your broth and place in containers or freezer bags. I measured mine out for a couple recipes I have. I did a 3 C. bag, a 4 C. bag and a 3 1/2 C. bag. I got 10 cups of broth, but I added a bit of water to get the exact measurements I wanted.
I've already used some of this for a batch of soup and I already have enough veggies to make some more so I plan to do that tomorrow. I didn't add any salt to my crockpot, but you absolutely could if that's important to you. I'd rather just add to taste in my soup or whatever recipe I'm making to control it more.
Easiest recipe I will ever share with you! Who doesn't want to save money, save on salt intake and not waste food. You're welcome. Now, you can use that money to buy something even if you don't win that Nordy's giftcard! Enjoy!