Friday, September 30, 2011

The Price of Civil Service

My jury duty a few weeks ago?


I've already spent it in my mind 22 times. But if my dream house savings account doesn't win, I might squander it toward this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pandora Channels

Oh goodness, Pandora, thank you so much for removing the 40 hour a month limit on your free service! This means when I'm canning salsa, making summer sausage, and tomato paste on a quiet Thursday in September... I can dance around my kitchen to lovely music without wondering if I'm about to hit my limit.

My channels are:
  • Hank Williams Radio
  • Rockin' Robin Radio
  • Bing Crosby Radio
  • White Flag (Dido) Radio
  • Jewel / Sarah McLaughlin Radio
  • Jingle Bell Rock Radio
  • Fryderyk Chopin Radio
  • In the Mood (Glenn Miller) Radio
  • Sergey Rachmaninov Radio
  • Johnny Cash Radio
Hm... classic country, oldies, crooners, indie, easy-listening pop, Christmas music, classical, big band swing... I like my taste.

What channels do you listen to on Pandora? (or what's your favorite music?)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10+ Things to Do With Kale

As far as leafy greens go, I'm most familiar with Romaine, red leaf, and spinach. It's a pretty limited repertoire of a pretty vital element of nutrition. Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, beet tops, radish leaves, the whole range of lettuces, and any other green leafy vegetable are either completely foreign or mostly unfamiliar to me.

But I'm really trying to remedy that.

So I browsed a list of green leafies and resolved to pick up some kale. It sounded more appetizing than beet tops. After I stared at it in the fridge for a few days, I realized at some point I was going to have to do something with it, other than compost or chicken feed.

But WHAT??

Below is a list of ideas for kale that will hopefully introduce you to the wild and wacky wonderful world of kale if you are (like me) uninitiated. I've now made several of these and can vouch for the fact that they're delicious.

I'm a kale fan of epic proportions now. I mean, it's not chocolate hazlenut crêpe cake, but as far as leafy green vegetables go it's really tasty and adds bulk and nutrition to a lot of things I make anyway.

It will make its way into my garden next year.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta -- I just made classic southern shrimp and grits with kale -- really good!
Lemony Kale and Quinoa with Poached Egg -- I haven't tried the Quinoa element yet... that's the next foreign food to tackle -- just lemony kale with fried egg and it was great
Poached Eggs and Kale on Toast -- an easy way to incorporate greens into breakfast
Sausage, Kale and Pepper Quiche -- I didn't do this in a crust, just as scrambled eggs and it was tasty
Also: added to an kind of egg

Italian Wedding Soup -- this will be on our rotation regularly this Winter -- SO good
Spicy Kale Lasagna -- holy yum!! a not-so-penitential meatless Friday meal
Irish Colcannon with Kale -- I like my baked potato mashed potatoes better for the potato element of this recipe, but the idea is to add kale to them which is a wonderful addition
Raw Kale Salad -- okay, I haven't been brave enough to go this au natural yet
Also: added to any soup, beans, pasta, or rice dish


Baked Kale Chips -- it took 3 attempts to finally get this down, but they're really tasty when you perfect it. Overbaking is really easy to do (gah!), but when done right they're crispy salty and earthy crunchy good
Roasted Kale -- another kale chip recipe, but on top of roasted potatoes -- a great combination
Kale and Gorgonzola Swirls -- tres chic appetizer right here, y'all

What's your favorite way to eat kale?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Late Farmwork Nights

Soon and very soon, the irrigation will be turned off and I'll have my husband back. It will be wonderful. Until then...

Delphin Enjolras (1857-1945)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Exceptional Customer Service

We need to have Ofelia (our Jersey cow) pregnancy tested. We really do. If she's not pregnant, tragic as it is she's just going to have to go into the freezer. If she is pregnant, we need to prepare for an onslaught of milk. Either way, we really do need to know, though I keep putting it off.

I read somewhere that you can mail in a blood sample to a vet lab to confirm (or deny) cow pregnancy. We thought this would be a <i>lot</i> easier than trying to get the cow to the vet. So I popped on over to the feed store to see if they had the necessary items for the draw.

The lady working there didn't know much about it, but she gave me the store phone and dialed up an employee at home... the resident cow expert.

No, she said, they didn't have the supplies necessary at the store, but she did have some of her own. She then gave me a 22 minute highly entertaining and informative discourse about taking cow blood samples and packaging them for shipping, and told me to hang tight and she'd drive in (on her day off, remember) to give me the supplies.

When she arrived shortly thereafter (with extra supplies in case we messed up) she then copied down the phone numbers for two more vets in the area who might do house calls in case we needed backup. I left educated, armed, and exhilarated.

Despite the fact the chicken feed is an extra $1.15 at this mercantile, I can assure you I'll be patronizing them in the future.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Varied Day, a Varied Life

I love my life. It's pretty weird. But I love it.

Today, with my nieces, I made an edible human cell out of jello (jello was the cytoplasm... various larger and smaller candies represented Endoplasmic Reticulum, Ribosomes, Lysosomes, DNA, RNA, Centrioles, the Nucleus, Golgi Bodies, etc.).

Then we made plaster of paris plaques to carve Egyptian cave drawings into.

Then I went for a four-wheeler ride with my husband at the farm and talked to the harobed driver (more about harobeds next week).

Now I'm reading about making summer sausage, salami, and pepperoni from the leftover ground beef in our freezer from last year's cow.

Now that's something to get excited about on a Friday night.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spotted On Our Walk Today

Normally at 6:30am I'd be sawing logs. But as per our new schedule, today I was out walking with the early birds.

Image credit

A Great Blue Heron, to be exact.

No kidding, it was pretty majestic.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Overheard in the Classroom

"I like the fig part, but not the newton."

I agree.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do You Plant Fall Crops?

At 45°, this morning was definitely sweater weather.

Sweater weather around here means it's high time (or perhaps a little past time) to plant fall crops.

Kale, lettuce, peas, overwintered onions, cabbage, garlic, cilantro, and cabbage are the plants picked precisely for this purpose.

I don't know about you, but the boundless enthusiasm for gardening that comes each Spring after the long cold dreary winter is utterly lacking for me this time of year. As I try to scheme up more uses for zucchini, clear a little more shelf space for canned tomatoes, and free up some freezer space for the bumper crop of green beans, the thought of hoeing, weeding, mulching, planting, and watering another round of crops isn't quite as appealing.

And yet, a fresh salad would be pretty great about now.

Image from Covered Bridge Produce
Do you ever plant late season crops or have an overwintered garden? Do you use cold frames, hoop houses, greenhouses, row covers, or mulching to extend the seasons?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our New Morning Routine

6:00am -- Alarm goes off. Snooze button.
6:09am -- Repeat.
6:18am -- Repeat.
6:27am -- Turn it off and get up.
6:35am -- Head for park at the river. Walk / jog and pray a Rosary.
7:15am -- Come home, take a shower, eat breakfast, prepare for school day, clean house.
8:25am -- Head to Mass.
9:00am -- Bid husband goodbye, come home and start school day.

It's just three hours, but it's bliss I tell you, bliss.

At the tail end of the day we can't have much schedule or routine because we never know when the farm work day will be over (dinner could be as early as 6 but is usually closer to 9:30 or 10pm). Having these morning hours together with my husband with prayer, exercise, cleanliness, and schedule is incredible.

Do you have a schedule? How will do you stick to it? What works for you and what doesn't?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dry-Erase Fridge Inventory

When I was a kid, my parents would often remind me that the refrigerator was not a TV. Why? Because I would open it and stare and stare and stare, trying to find something deliciously appetizing.

Some habits die hard and this is one of them... I'm still a refrigerator gawker. I can stare at the same bag of carrots for two full minutes, imagining the possibilities while wasting energy and warming up the contents of my ice box.

Enter: the school year. Enter: dry-erase markers. Enter: flash of inspiration.

We've got an ancient refrigerator, so I can't recommend this across the board. I don't know what it does to the finish after doing this for a long time (though that's what magnets and photos are for, right?) but so far it wipes off really well with some rubbing alcohol.

Now it's kinda hard to keep reminding myself that this isn't an inventory of all of the fruits and vegetables we have in our house -- just the ones in the fridge. Of course I could list those on there, too, but I'm trying to keep it kinda simple for now.

Looks like I need some Parmesan. And whaddya know? It didn't take me four minutes to stare in the cheese drawer to figure that out (while dreaming of Chicken Parmesan)!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Peek Inside My Lacto-Fermented Fridge

This post is going to be pretty long because I have writer's block. Trust me, it's much harder to write an articulate, short, pithy post than a long one when you've got writer's block.

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with lacto-fermentation these last two months. It all started with the dilly beans.

In case you've never heard of it, lacto-fermentation is an ancient method of food preservation that utilizes the beneficial bacteria already present on vegetables to preserve them while increasing the available vitamins and enzymes, enhances flavor, texture, digestibility of the vegetables, offers antibiotic and anticarcionogenic substances, all while helping support the growth of healthy flora in our intestines. It's beautiful, really. In the days before freezers and pressure canners, food was preserved in this way. The end result lasts several months in cool storage (a fridge or root cellar).

"Lacto" makes it sound like there's milk in it, and while you can aid the process of lacto-fermentation by adding whey (the liquidy stuff that floats on top of yogurt, even commercial yogurt), it's not necessary to do so. As I understand it, "lacto" in this case actually refers to a strain of beneficial bacteria called lactobaccili which produce lactic acid; the preserving compound.

Sourdough is a form of lacto-fermentation most people are familiar with, and sauerkraut (not the vinegar shelf-stable kind in the store, but the traditional kind made in crocks) is another, but there are so many other things you can lacto-ferment!

Anyway, my point here is not to deliver a discourse on lacto-fermentation but to remark how the interior of my fridge has changed!!

Among my lacto-ferments right now are dilled carrots (not pictured, 'cause I ate all of them right before I thought to take a picture), dilled green bean pickles, Kimchi (Korean sauerkraut), Cortido (Central American sauerkraut), beet kvass, pickled daikon radishes, Kombucha (a fermented tea), dairy kefir, water kefir, and salsa.

It's crazy!! Those cherries are from our farm and I have to make a conscious effort to stay out of them. I only dried a quart's worth and need to make 'em last a whole year. It's my incentive to make more next year.

The O'Reilly's White Chocolate Irish Cream is a Sunday coffee treat.

Stuffed peppers are my favorite meal on earth. It's what I make for my birthday every year and as often as I can outside of that. Besides ground beef and a little pork sausage, these (in an effort to sneak extra nutrition), also contain beef heart and liver. I couldn't taste the organs at all; they were really good.

Kimchi is fantastic with Chinese food, on rice, and (I know this sounds really gross but my palate is really changing) in canned tuna. Cortido is fantastic in tacos, burritos or fajitas. It's also perfect with pupusas, gorditas, tortas, good gravy my mouth is watering. The salsa (because it's fermented) is kinda tangy, so I prefer on something bland like scrambled eggs (though it's great anywhere cortido is, too, and of course on chips though I rarely eat those these days). Beet kvass is a tonic, not a sip-for-fun beverage, so I just drink a little in the morning and at night. 

And I LOVE raw milk.  Holy cow it's expensive around here, but until I get a "working" milk cow, my husband allows me some extra $$ in the grocery budget to buy it (in part 'cause he really loves it too, I think, hehe).

As I said, dilly beans were the first thing I lacto-fermented. I've since made three more 1/2 gallon batches 'cause I really like them. I'd love to say I eat them on the side of a liverwurst sourdough sandwich or something exotic like that, but honestly I just snack on them by themselves. They're sour, salty, crunchy, dilly... a unique and acquired taste, perhaps, but one I've certainly grown to like (and, er, crave?).

Kombucha I brew because a little bottle costs $3. I can make a gallon for around 50 cents (for the tea bags). Honestly I'm still working to like this one 'cause I always let it ferment a little too long so it's usually pretty tart. I made one batch perfectly and really liked it, but my husband loves it and would down the whole 1/2 gallon in a day if I didn't remind him it takes me a week to brew another batch.

Water kefir I've yet to score a real success with. I'm letting the grains hang out in my fridge (in sugar water) until I've got enough courage to try again. I tried every day for 3 weeks to make a successful batch but it never got fizzy and I just didn't care for it, much (and neither did my husband, though he liked it a lot when he lived in Europe). 

We still eat Jimmy Dean sausage (MSG and all) until this Fall when my husband's cousin will butcher our first hog (well, we bought 1/2 of the hog, anyway). 

I really like dairy kefir. I strain it (you can see it in a coffee filter inside a strainer over a bowl) until it's really thick and then use it like sour cream. It's especially good mixed into baked potato mashed potatoes (in place of sour cream). I keep saying I'm going to try kefir ice cream but I never have enough for a batch... someday soon I'll have to do that. I also want to try kefir bread.

The whey is used to make lacto-ferments, but there are at least a dozen other uses for it, too. 

And these aren't lacto-ferments, but I've usually got radish, broccoli and clover sprouts going, too.

They make lovely salads, are so fresh tasting on sandwiches (or wraps or tacos), and surprisingly are a wonderful last-second topping/addition to soups, especially Asian soups.

So you can see we've been eating and drinking a lot of lacto-fermented things around here the last few months. I'm really quite new to it all but enjoy experimenting and look forward to many many more adventures in this area. Sourdough is my next project to tackle.

As to our health, it could all be the placebo effect of trying something new, but since trying to eat according to Nourishing Traditions and the recommendations of the Weston A. Price Foundation (which includes these lacto-ferments), my skin is much clearer, I have more energy (no afternoon "give me a nap or shoot me now" slump), I don't have labored breathing, my digestion is... er... awesome, my mood has mostly stabilized (I was an emotional roller coaster for a while, there) and my crazy hormonal infertile body seems to be showing the first signs of marked improvement, too.

So there you have it. This is what happens when I've got severe writer's block. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Farmy Coupon

I'm not much of a coupon shopper.

I mean, if it's a grocery store coupon (for milk, butter, cheese, sausage) in the grocery's circular ad, I'm all over it, but by and large I don't buy anything that comes in the coupons of the Sunday paper. It just doesn't make much sense for me to clip, file, and store a "save 30¢ on four Progresso soups" coupon.

But this week I hit paydirt.

$5 off any Purina animal feed product.

Now there was a deal to get excited about!

I took outta here on two wheels for the feed store and now my chubby biddies are happily pecking away at their discount feed.

There's not really any point to all of this except that I wanted to publicize my parsimonious paltry poultry purchase.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Great End-of-the-Day Phone Call From My Farmer Husband

"I'm about to leave for home. Do you want a box of Fujis, Red Delicious, Pink Ladies, or Granny Smiths?"

"Yes, please."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Being a Farm Wife RUINED My Chance at Serving Justice!

56 citizens were called upon.

I was juror #35.

Hours upon hours of questioning, deliberation.

Cut after cut... "you may be excused," and I was still hanging on!

We were down to about 26 people and I had survived all of the previous parings. Anticipation was running high. Adrenaline was pumping.

The case is going to be huge. A suit of possibly millions of dollars, a trial lasting nearly a month, and no murder pictures to have to examine.

I was getting so excited to be on the 12 man team, I could already taste sweet justice.

And then...

"Madame Juror #35 -- are you related to..."

My heart sank.


"And you help on the farm and are familiar with farming terminology and implements?"


"Do you or your family have any grievances against or issues with the irrigation district?"


The suit is against our irrigation district, you see, and a farmer's wife isn't a fair and unbiased person to pick for a trial of this scale. Tainted by association!

Who'd've thunk it? Before going in, I had a thousand ideas of reasons I might be kicked off, but never did I dream it'd be because I'm a farmer's wife!

But, as my husband so jovially reminded me... it makes for great blogging material.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Careful What You Wish For

There are 5 flies buzzing around my house right now.

It may not seem like much, but they keep banging against my glass door. When I open it up to let them out, two more buzz in. I'm not skilled enough with newspaper (my husband, sharpshooter that he is, can kill them in the air with the classifieds) and my flyswatter is MIA.

"What I need," I thought to myself, "is a nice big spider."

Or maybe not.

Well, I'm glad to say that while I'm not so great with newspaper...

... I'm deadly with a shoe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Showstopper Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Crêpe Cake

Take one bite, and you'll be transported to a European bakery.

This is no American dessert. The flavor is sophisticated, refined, elegant, and... how else can I say it? European.

It's rich but not overly sweet. It's quite possibly (and I know I'm prone to say this about a lot of recipes, but I really mean it this time) one of the three most delicious desserts I've ever had in my life.

32 layers of chocolate crêpes.

Filled with chocolate hazelnut meringue buttercream filling.

More than a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, a pint of cream, a pound of chocolate... and 2 days in the making...

This was one of the most challenging but one of the most rewarding culinary confections I've ever tackled. I'd never made crêpes nor meringue before, but I'd call this an unqualified success.

In fact it was so good, I couldn't photograph this slice of it without first having taken a bite. As a perfectionist, that's saying a lot.

I'll give it to you straight. It's tricky, it's time consuming, it's expensive, it's MIND-NUMBINGLY DELICIOUS! Please bookmark this page and when you've got some time on your hands and are feeling up for a challenge, make this show-stopper.

Showstopping Chocolate Hazelnut Crêpe Cake
Printable Version
serves 14-16

For the Crêpes
makes about 30-40 crepes (I got 36)

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup (6 ounces / 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate (bars NOT chips), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee granules)
2 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature
6 extra large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling
makes about 8 cups

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 extra large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces / 3 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Frangelico (optional)
1/3 cup Nutella
Pinch of salt

For the Ganache / Frosting
makes about 2 cups

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate (bars not chips), finely chopped

Topping / Garnish
handful of chopped hazelnuts

For the Crêpes
In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.  Add the butter one piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until completely smooth; set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and espresso powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth.  Gradually add the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.  Once rested, pour and press through a fine-mesh sieve; discard any lumps.

Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or 10-inch non-stick skillet with melted butter and heat over medium heat; wipe out excess.  Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan, swirling to coat bottom.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the crêpe, flipping once until edges are golden and center is set, about 30-45 seconds per side.  Transfer crêpe (I invert the pan with a whack on the counter) to a sheet of waxed paper.  Continue with remaining batter (no butter needed for non-stick skillet), placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crêpe.  Crêpes can be made and refrigerated for up to one day.

For the Filling
In a medium bowl using a wire whisk or a hand held mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture registers 160º F on a candy thermometer, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high until slightly cooled and stiff (not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Switch the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added).  Add vanilla, Frangelico, Nutella, and salt; beat until the mixture comes together, about 1-2 minutes.  (Mixture may separate at first.  If the mixture looks grainy, place in the refrigerator to cool. Then beat again until smooth and fluffy).  Using a rubber spatuala, fold in the refrigerated whipped cream; use immediately.

To Assemble
Place an 8-inch round of parchment paper over a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet (I used a cardboard cake circle cut down to the size of my crêpes).  Place a crêpe on top of the parchment (or cardboard).  Evenly spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on top of the crêpe.  Top with another crêpe.  Continue layering with filling and crepes, using about 32 crêpes and ending with a crêpe on top.  Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.

Ganache Frosting:
Heat the cream over medium heat until almost boiling (stir frequently to prevent scorching). Add in pinch of salt and corn syrup, remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Let sit for about a minute and then stir until smooth, rich, silky, creamy, chocolate amazingness. 

Slowly spoon about 1/2 of the warm ganache on top of the cake, letting it run off the sides (evenly) and spreading it around the sides with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, then briefly rewarm the remaining ganache (about 30 seconds on medium heat over the stove) and repeat the pouring/spreading. Top with chopped hazelnuts. Refrigerate until ganache is firm and set, about 30 minutes.

Cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living (January 2006), via The Galley Gourmet

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Little Teaser

I had cake for breakfast today.

Recipe and details tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Watermelon Massacre

Observe the order and beauty of cubed watermelon.

Image from Marine Corps Nomads

This is my preferred way of serving it... cubed, in rounds, or in quarter rounds.

At an undisclosed hour, however, within this very house, watermelonicide was committed. 

The suspect is tall, dark, and ridiculously handsome.

Authorities are still investigating.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Tale of a Stubborn Grocery Cart

I went to the grocery store yesterday. (Golf clap, please... I really dislike going grocery shopping by myself).

It was during the peak time of the day for shopping, right after work, so the store was the floor of the NYSE, all vying over the same grocery stock.

List firmly in hand, I tucked in my elbows, put down my head, and pulled out one of the last remaining carts. There was a reason it was still there; it had a strong will.

Now I've studied Thomistic philosophy, at length, and I know that an inanimate object does not and cannot have a will. But Thomas never met a grocery cart with a wonky wheel before. There is no pushing them around; they will dictate precisely where you can and cannot go. In this case, there would be nothing but right turns during this shopping experience.

I wanted to put the danged thing back, but the herd was ushering me along and there was no place for a legal U-Turn. So I made peace with the cart, charted out a course through the store that would only take right turns, and turned my attention to finding a banana left without black spots. Slim pickins, but I waded through the fruit flies and troop of customers who had morphed into banana-loving-monkeys and managed to get a just-ripe bunch, then moved on to the onions.

When there are that many people in a store, you have to leave your cart in a semi-clear zone (in front of the tofu display), shimmy down an aisle, grab what you need and beeline back to the mother ship. So on my quest for Portabella mushrooms, that's what I did.

The rest of the trip was harried but mostly uneventful, until I examined my cart and noticed there were only three bananas in there!! WHO in this herd of miscreants had the AUDACITY to steal my just-ripe bananas OUT OF MY CART?!!

I tsk tsked, shook my head, prayed for the state of this sorry world, and headed back to the bananas. But there was something red in my cart.


When I have a garden teeming with them, why on earth would I have bought tomatoes??

And pears?? They're not in season, yet. They'd be little flavorless chunks of cardboard this time of year.

Just then I turned my cart left; I had broken the will of that wheel... but no!!! Instantaneously it hit me like a paparazzi flash. I felt the proverbial sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I had stolen someone else's cart.

Sure enough, there parked in front of the lonely tofu, was my cart with a beautiful bunch of bananas, untouched.

I learned something important from this epicurean episode.

If you think you've tamed a wild grocery cart... you've got the wrong one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Make Your Own Custom Font for Free

If you have a printer and a scanner, you can make free custom fonts (of, say, your own handwriting?).

You could, potentially, type up a hand-written letter. Wrap your mind around that one!

Thanks to the wonderful, free (as of September 1st, 2011) website,, it's really quick and easy.

Just open and print the template.

Use a black felt-tipped pen (not a Sharpie, it makes it far too bold), scan the document using grayscale and 300 dpi, upload it to, download the TrueType Font, click "install," and in just a few minutes you're typing in your own handwriting.

I broke the rules. I didn't use a felt-tipped pen, so my font doesn't look so great; it's kinda scratchy. But rest assured, armed with a PaperMate, I shall overcome.

Oh, and if for some bizarre reason you want to download a font of my chicken-scratch, be my guest.