Thursday, October 27, 2011

4 days til Hallowe'en!!!!! No, really this time...or is it 3?

Whatever. It's getting close and I have about a billion and 30 things to do before the big night. Adding up days is not one of them.

But, sparking from the sick pit that is my brains (braaaaaaiiiinnnnnnsssss), here is our front yard as it stood yesterday.

It's so pretty.  And at night, sooper spooky!  Notice the mass murder that occurred inside the house.  Lemme tell you, when the sun sets and shines in the windows, it's a total gorefest in there!

This is one of the 5 new tombstones for this year's Senior Prom themed Hallowe'en.  Poor Parker, touched down in heaven on the day before his 16th birthday.  Wonder what happened there???

People cannot pass our house without stopping to gawk.  LOVE IT!!!

I'm having a blast this year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4 days til Hallowe'en!!!!!

Holy Hallowe'en Batman!!!  How did it suddenly get this close!!!!!

Actually, I've been out back building up a storm...

Did you know I had brick columns in my front yard?  Neither did my neighbors until last night! This is the first photo.  There will be more coming tonight and tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

18 Days until Hallowe'en - Updates

Candlery 

I'm about 50% finished with the candles - those should be finished tomorrow night. Last year I made my candles out of toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  They were awesome but they definitely did not hold up.  This year I'm making them out of PVC pipe.  More expensive, less recycling, but at least I'm not wasting a pack of glue sticks every year. These should last for a couple of years at least, and next year I'm definitely going to be reusing them.

I got the idea from Dave Lowe and then Ghoul Friday, two of my favorite Hallowe'enie bloggers. 

Major glitch.  

I special ordered some materials at Home Depot for my cemetery columns and they called me at 8 p.m. last night to let me know that they wouldn't be able to get them in.  Aaargh!!!  I must say, this does put a crimp in my activities.

I love my Home Depot.  Pretty much every time I go in there, they are helpful and friendly and have what I need. This time, they failed me. 

Grrr, I say. Grr. 

Costumery

People keep asking me what I'm going to be this year, but I'm not telling.  It's an '80s theme, so one can start there. The Mr. and I are, as usual, going as a pair.  The year before last we were Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett.  Hmmm. Who might we be???

I hope to have photos of the columns in progress and the completed candles this weekend.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

20 days til Hallowe'en

Today's plan:

  • Make candles
  • check the paints in the garage
  • Order straw bales

We have a ton of paint from when we moved in and had the house painted, but of course, I have absolutely no idea what is in each can, so this afternoon I will go out and check all the cans. Of course, it's going to be 95 degrees in the valley this afternoon which would make for awesome paint drying weather, but I can't actually paint until tomorrow. 

The sickness/obsession/fun that is Hallowe'en, as I am rushing to finish this year's props, is that I have already decided on a theme for next year.  I'm going to do a total Dia de los Muertos theme.  I live in a moderately Latino neighborhood in a heavily Latino city, so that works very, very well. Also, it'll be super easy to add to my existing props - I definitely won't have to make a ton of new ones. 

Nothing like a little planning ahead....

Monday, October 10, 2011

21 days til Hallowe'en - prop building

Aaaah!!!





I did a lot of work this weekend.  Got the framing of all of the columns built and got my new gravestones.  Unfortunately, it's going to be 20 billion degrees in Burbank this week, which is great for paint drying but not as great for me being outside actually putting paint on things.  So I'll probably be working in the garage a bit and then doing whatever I can indoors.  I have candles and signs to make, both of which can be done indoors (though it would probably be easier outdoors, but oh well).  I can also put a first coat on the gravestones and have those dry in no time flat.

The guys at Home Depot are starting to recognize me...

Friday, October 7, 2011

24 days until Hallowe'en - Photos of Hallowe'ens past

Yes, it's a lot of baked goods. Because baking is my secret power....but I'm also pretty good at tombstones!

I wish I could find the photo of the meat foot I made.  I guess I'll just have to make another one and take photos.


Books from a garage sale and a skull from Michael's.




It's a cake. It actually tasted very good. Whatever. You don't have to eat it...

Witches' fingers




Revenge of the L.A. Opera Sale!!!!

I went to the first ever L.A. Opera Sale which was, frankly, quite fabulous.  If you're in Los Angeles this weekend, I highly recommend it (although I also HIGHLY recommend getting there VERY early.  Like 8 a.m. early.  Not kidding.  There was a line last time (I think it was 2 years ago) that wrapped around the block but it is entirely worth it as entire sets of costumes from the L.A. Opera are for sale in addition to hats, props, molds, and other bric a brac.  They completely sold out last time.  Also, this year it is occurring on the same day as CicLAvia, so there will be street closures.

Last time I bought a couple of hats (quelle surprise) and a few molds.  Now where are those things....

Anyway, here's the deets.

I will not be there this year as I need no new costumery, but tell me all about it if you go!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Build is On

Earlier in the week I filled the sprinkler trenches.  You see, I was going to put in sprinklers in my backyard. 

I am very ambitious.  

I dug the trenches.  I have no freaking idea how to install sprinklers though, so the trenches sat.  In fact they sat so long that they were on the Google Earth shot of our home.  Awesome!  Anyway, the trenches were refilled with some dirt from a project across the alley from our house.  I just asked the nice men to dump a scoop of dirt over the wall.  It was mostly topsoil as well, so good for me and my future plants!

This weekend, the building begins in earnest.  Swear to Maude, if it rains Hallowe'en weekend, I'm going to be one very, very unhappy camper. 

But it's not going to rain this weekend and that's good because much building and papier mache-ing will be taking place and papier mache does not do well in the rain...  I'm making one very large trip to Home Depot on Saturday morning.  Wish my poor PT cruiser luck.  She's gonna need it.

So what's on the agenda?  I have 7 columns, one lava pit, 4 hands and some headstones to build.  I'm going to be buying the most random stuff. Buckets, lumber, foam, Great Stuff...My fellow haunters are all pretty familiar with this stuff, but I'm not sure how the folks at Home Depot will react.  After all, someone did call me "little lady" when I rented that sod cutter awhile back.  Whatever.  They must be familiar with prop builders. It is the Burbank Home Depot after all.

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Shed of Dread

So, my regular readers know of the ever-growing farm on my .14 acres of land. I have plotted out the changes and it is only after the High Holiday (not Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, you know...Hallowe'en) will the farm start going in, in earnest.  Part of the plan for the farm includes the "Shed of Dread."

I have some Hallowe'en props.  I currently have about 12 headstones, two coffins, a cauldron, lighting, fog machine, I'm building 7 columns, 3 full size skeletons, one waist and below body, tons of random body parts, I have urns and interior decor, etc.  It takes up quite a bit of garage space.

Recently I read someone's tag on HauntForum that reads: "There's never enough time, storage space or duct tape."  Never have I read truer words, but indeed, the shed of dread will make the storage space issue less of a problem.  I hope.
Not the actual "shed of dread".

Why are sheds so damn expensive??? And spooky? And filled with spiders?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hallowe'en gifts

If ever you were thinking about what I might like as a gift, this is it. 

It's from Williams-Sonoma. Just so you know.

Some of the higher end giftie-type stores (Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie) often try their hands at Hallowe'en merchandise.  I have seen some wins, like the above cauldron coffee mug, and some epic fails.  Here are some other wins from this season.

The Pottery Barn drink dispenser is a total win.


Z Gallerie's offerings this year are not that great, but I'm loving the Phantom Candelabra.

Unfortunately, Crate and Barrel is having more of a traditionally kiddie Hallowe'en offering this year with lots of orange, purple and black tablecloths and napkins and spider cupcake holders.  Someone's style, but not mine.

The ne plus ultra of Hallowe'en gift catalogs is Grandin Road. Their selection is awesome.  There are some rumblings that they have ripped off some home haunters out of hand, which will totally suck if it's true, but they really do have the stuff.  These are probably my favorites, and after having been offered for years, I should really buy these as I'm sure they are going to stop selling them one of these days and I'm going to be profoundly disappointed.

Spoooooooky!
I've enlisted my brother this weekend for some building, so that's happening.  Photos will be taken.

Have a great day!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Already???

How is it already October 3rd? My peeps on HauntForum are having a big giggle by counting down the days until it is go time for all the props to be dry and set up.  For some people, that was this weekend!!! It's kinda stressful though...I only have 25 days to set up!  Crap!

I am slowly gathering the things I need, but they are a sooper seekret surprise until the theme is set up.  I wish I could share all the toys I've been collecting.  I can share one, however, because it's store bought. I'm dressing it up a little, but this year's skeleton from Target is quite a step up.  Fully posable and glow in the dark, it is actually close to full size and somewhat anatomically correct to boot. He's only $40 bucks which, for a blow molded skeleton (also called a blucky) is totally worth it for that kind of quality. Oddly, Target has a super-crappy photo of it.

Odd that they would have such a stupid photo.  It's almost like they don't want to sell them....

Anyway, I bought a couple of these.  They are going to have a pretty prominent place in the haunt. 

In other news.  I had to buy a few Hallowe'en treats for the house after seeing them on x-entertainment's annual review of Hallowe'en goodies.  I got the Eggo Pumpkin Waffles, the Autumn MnMs and the Hallowe'en oreos which are frankly, my favorite as I have the best memory of them.

The year the Hallowe'en Oreos came out, I went to a party where someone brought them.

It wasn't a costume party, I don't even think it was a Hallowe'en party, but one friend was wearing overalls.  He might have been a little stoned.  He put one in his mouth and promptly upon tasting the orange and black treat, he started stuffing them into each pocket of his overalls.  Including the front pocket.  This action was not for my amusement as I don't think he even knew I was in the room, he just really, REALLY wanted some more of those damn Oreos.  I might also have been under the influence.  I started giggling maniacally.  He noticed me and turned red as a beet. We pretty much laughed all night.

Go get some Hallowe'en Oreos.  Yummy ghostie goodness!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Countdown Begins!!!!

Alright all you ghouls!  The haunting season is officially upon us and the Mr. has officially deemed it appropriate to start setting out decorations as of today.  A bit of organizing happened this afternoon. Tomorrow, I have the niece for an afternoon of pizza and skeeball (my favorite!) but later in the day I have plenty of work to do.

I have already planned the front yard and the back yard and house are in the final planning stages. 

I've joined the Countdown to Hallowe'en again this year and therefore am going to try to get a post a day up about the progress of this year's party and decor.



Happy Hallowe'en month everyone!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!!  Things start turning orange and yellow and red. The mornings are crisper and apples are ripe for picking and making into tarts and cider. I feel more alive in autumn than any other time of the year!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Renewal

Deep breaths.

This is my absolute favorite time of the year.

Soon it will be Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish new year, a time for renewal and the beginning of the harvest season. Summer is coming to an end, along with the oppressive heat, the wilted leaves and the slow, tired days. Soon we will have crisp mornings with our breaths in the air, apples and pomegranates ripening on trees and a season of hard work that feels like abundance.  This year, some of the old stuff that has been weighing me down is slowly lifting and I am feeling the lightness.

The new year brings all kinds of changes. I have been very busy planning the new farm. I have been plotting out the yard and making room for all of the ideas I have.  Of course, I don't quite have room for everything, but that is probably for the best. Additionally, the fall will bring Hallowe'en, my favorite holiday, which I am very busy planning.  Finally, I am starting a new job this month, still at UCLA but working more in the community. I am very excited and looking forward to training my replacement.

More updates to come (and more frequently, I hope!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The sweetest posts I've ever read.

I couldn't help but share these with you.  They made me tear up, not just a little, a lot. 

I'm not excerpting or giving teasers because I think you should read all of these, in order, without delay.  I was just filled with joy. I think you will be too.


Mommy, they are just like me.

The follow up.

And the other follow up.

If you don't have a tear in your eye, you are dead to me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The simplificationing continues...

Inspired by my last post, I went on the hunt for more stuff to get rid of. Primarily, this is:
  • stuff that I thought I could use but ended up not using, 
  • stuff I was given that I never needed, 
  • stuff I used but didn't need anymore and 
  • stuff I haven't used in a while and probably won't anytime soon.

Included in this stuff is:
  • Ten tons (or so) of my grandparents, aunts and other distant relatives silverplate which I understand is worth nothing and I'm afraid that if I take it to a pawn shop they'll laugh at me. What do I do with silverplate?  Anyone?
  • An entire set of Sango Sheffield china and champagne glasses and wine glasses that my grandparents got for their 50th anniversary which was sometime in the very, very early 80's
  • About 10 cookbooks that I thought I'd use but ended up not using or used to use but don't anymore
  • Some hat blocks that I haven't used and likely won't
  • Craft supplies, including yarn, that despite my best intentions, have not been knitted into actual items of use

I'd actually like to get rid of more. Here's the problem.  I actually use a lot of my stuff!  I'd love to clean out more of my kitchen but I actually use all of the baking pans and platters and bowls because I entertain fairly frequently.

Everything worth anything is going up on ebay this week.  Other than the silverplate. Can anyone help me with this one????

Friday, August 5, 2011

The simple life

Every so often, I get a bug.  I don't know where exactly it comes from or where it goes, but a couple of times a year, I purge my stuff like I was moving to a monastery. Or a nunnery. Or whatever the equivalent might be for a Jew. Which there isn't, but that's not really the point.  The point is, I got on a kick last night.

When I started, I was just kind of wondering what riches I had in my Hallowe'en drawer.

In my craft room/office, I have a Hallowe'en drawer. It is not like the Garage of Dread. The Garage of Dread is filled to the rafters with tombstones and coffins and body parts and rotten fencing. The Hallowe'en drawer is just a little drawer full of stamps and carving tools and stickers and other small items. So I went looking for treasure.

After I took down the Hallowe'en drawer, I took down the ribbon drawer.  Then the paper drawer and the sewing supplies drawer. Eventually, the entire Wall of Craft came into the living room and onto the floor. It needed to be organized. Cleansed.  I guess they still wouldn't let me take my Wall of Craft to the nunnery...stupid nunneries, but it is organized.

I wound up with a bag of craft supplies that is going directly to the Downtown Women's Shelter.

Last week I cleansed my bookshelves. Here's what I realized. 
  1. There are always going to be more books.
  2. I do not have room for the books I already own, much less the books I want to own.
  3. I need to get rid of books.
The Burbank Public Library was the beneficiary of my need for purification.

I love simplicity. I also love my things. I love my Cupcake Couriers and my collection of hats. I liked owning the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Lysistrata and the entire oeuvre of Edith Wharton, but I was willing to part with them knowing that I can get them on Kindle for free. I like having a Be-Dazzler, but to be honest, I really don't use it and can't imagine the next time I will...goodbye Be-Dazzler. It was fun while it lasted.

Perhaps this weekend I will end up organizing the Garage of Dread. Those rotting fence posts aren't smelling any better and besides, I need some space for my worms.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Harvest, Hallowe'en and Photo drama

Goals were meant to be broken, right?  That's how that cliche goes, isn't it? No?  Well, it is now.

I haven't posted because I haven't been taking pictures!!!!  I hate posting pictures because it involves a bunch of wires and downloading and crap.  Tell me how to do this more easily and I'll do it more often!!!!  Damn it all to hell... I have a Kodak z712. I take pictures, then I have to plug in my camera into the computer. Then I have to go to the folder for the camera and move the photos into the blog folder on my computer. Then I have to resize all of the photos that I want to use because they're usually too big. First world problems make my head hurt....

Anyway, I have been harvesting a crapload of tomatoes.  They are just loving this season.  In the past, I've gotten one or two, here and there.  This year I'm getting what works out to about a tomato a day.  It's awesome and they're gorgeous. They taste all fresh and tomato-ey.  Yum.  Mostly I've been eating them with cheese I got from Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma.

On the subject of strawberries, I give up.  I have two raised beds full of strawberry plants and I think I've gotten 2 whole berries this year.  If I'm going to spend that much square footage on something, it better be something that's producing produce!  I am merciless.  The strawberries are history.

Hallowe'en is officially on the agenda.  I'm working out the sketches on the front and back yards.

I know people who know people.  If you're one of those people, I'm looking for a few things that I will need and if you know a source for borrowed (B), super cheap (SC), F-R-E-E (F), or bulk (K) let me know.  I need:

  1. 10 or more wrought iron shepherd's hooks (B, SC, F, K)
  2. 2 trash-worthy 5-drawer filing cabinets (5 feet tall or taller) (F, SC)
  3. Pink extruded foam in sheets or blocks (where do I get this?  I can only find the white insulation which I've used for years in lieu of the stuff I really want!) (SC)
  4. Fire-pit (B, SC, F)
  5. LED lanterns - these will likely be painted or otherwise messed with so I don't want to borrow (SC, F, K)
  6. A very large stone garden angel or two. Not necessary to match - also will likely be painted or messed with (SC, F)
  7. Fabric - cheese cloth, ivory muslin, plain grey, white or black cotton or muslin, tulle (SC, F)
So if you're someone, or if you know someone or you know someone who knows someone, let me know.  It's going to be an epic Hallowe'en. EPIC.

Friday, July 22, 2011

First Hallowe'en post of the year

Boo!!!!
Courtesy of ExtremePumpkins.com


For those of you who know me, you know my...obsession? fascination? total preoccupation with Hallowe'en. For those of you who don't, well, there are 100 days until Hallowe'en and I've started the planning process.

Wednesday we received a box in the mail. It was about as heavy as a dead body, mostly because it was a dead body. Actually, to be more precise, it was a skeleton and it is now hanging about the house.  I left it in my place on the bed yesterday morning. I know the Mr. loved it! Just kidding, he didn't love it.  He thinks I'm kinda creepy, but he likes me just the same anyway.  I'm not sure what I'm going to call her. Cassandra perhaps...or Lizzy.  Not sure.  Lizzy has a certain ring to it.

So this year the preparations for Hallowe'en are starting a little early.  Usually I start getting frantic in mid-August realizing that Hallowe'en is right around the corner but I'm planning a little shindig this year and need to have all of my zombies in a row beforehand.  I've decided on an 80's theme for this year's festivities.  I'm not sure what exactly that will mean, but it will certainly involve glow-in-the dark paints and Oingo Boingo on the speakers.

This weekend I'm planning to work out some of the plans for the front yard as I have the back yard pretty well sketched out. I've been doing a graveyard for a couple of years in the front and would like to have some other plan for that as after 5 years of the Landsman Family Graveyard, I think it needs a bit of perking up. 


She looks sad... (courtesy of the brilliant and talented ShellHawk)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Word Wednesday - Maker/Make/Making

To make:  to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.: to make a dress; to make a chair; to make a work of art. 


Making is a growing trend, not just as something we do, but as something we aspire to be.  Makers.  Makers of pies, makers of technology, makers of useless doodads that make us laugh and makers of awesome stuff that is beautiful and functional.

Phil from Broken Airplane says:
A maker is a philosophy/worldview that is an alternative to a consumer. Many of us have one skill or trade that we make a living from and we need to purchase everything else that we need or want.

A Maker will examine their life and see what they could do the reduce the amount that they buy and what could instead be made. Everything is fair game, food, entertainment, clothing, electronics, etc. Some do it out of financial necessity, because fixing or making something yourself is often the cheaper way to go. Others do it out of the sheer rush and excitement one gets by creating. To have full control over how a project turns out is priceless.

If you want something that it doesn’t yet exist, there’s only one sure-fire way to get it: become a maker.

We aspire to learn.  We inspire others. We teach what we know. We make community.

How to solder, how to cure olives, how to make a table top letterpress, how to turn a VCR into a toaster, how to build a solar chicken coop door

There is something unbelievably wonderful about the creation of something out of something else.  Sometimes it is an utter failure.  I love utter failures (especially when I haven't spent too much money on them) because they often teach me far more than my successes. Also, the failures tend to make me laugh out loud.  The sprinkler system was a pretty large failure.

Having said that, a successful make is a thing to behold.  Whether it is a garden bed or a Hallowe'en prop; a success will make me giggle and sing the "Fucking Genius" song.  Someday I'll print the lyrics.  It's a song the Mr. and I sing when we've done something successfully that was particularly difficult. I also love saying, "I made that!"

Here are some of my favorite making resources. 

For Hallowe'en

In Los Angeles:
  • Machine Project
  • Any Extension program from city colleges for sewing, jewelry making, woodworking, etc.


If you know of others, add them in the comments section! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breakfast for dinner

Since I will be on the road again tomorrow, I thought I'd post my Friday recipe today. It's a good one.  SUPER tasty.  Can't wait to be making it with my own home-laid eggs.  That's gonna be a tasty day.  You're invited.

Anyway, I harvested all of those tomatoes and so I went looking for something to do with them. A quiche sounded tasty, especially since I had a pie crust in the freezer that was waiting for something.  I would have put more tomato slices on this but instead I ate them.  Oops. Yum. 

By the way, nothing in any of my recipes is exact and usually it's just foodstuffs I happen to have in the fridge.  If you only have a couple of crumbles of goat cheese or you are in the middle of nowhere with no goat source and only have cheddar, just use that.  Assume that all measurements in my recipes come with an -ish at the end, for instance, one cup-ish of milk. 4 small sausage-ish patties. Don't be so literal.  Live a little.

Here's the recipe for Sausage Tomato Quiche.


One pie crust
2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 cup of half and half or whipping cream
4 small sausage patties
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese or both. Whatever.
A sprinkling of parmesan cheese if you've got it
1/2 tsp salt or so
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried oregano
fresh tomatoes sliced thin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Saute crumbled sausage patties until brown.
  • Beat eggs, cream and spices together with a fork. Or a whisk.  Just beat them.
  • Cover a cookie sheet in tinfoil.  Put the pie plate (with crust in it obv.) on the cookie sheet. 
  • Cover the bottom of the pie crust in the crumbled sausage.
  • Crumble goat cheese on top of the sausage.
  • Put cheddar on top of goat cheese.
  • Pour egg mixture on top of cheese and sausage
  • Top the whole thing with tomato slices.  If I hadn't eaten them all, I would have put them overlapping in a circle but I have an impulse control problem. It is mine to bear....
  • Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on top of the tomatoes. If you have high blood pressure skip this part.
  • Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven and you have a delicious quiche that should be eaten. If you're making it for dinner, definitely take some for breakfast the next morning. It's even better the next day. I promise. Share only with people you love. Screw the rest of the bastards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brain Swag

I love business travel.  I know, some of you think I'm crazy, but I usually get an all expenses paid trip to some weird place and I get to learn shit.  Learning shit is my favorite thing to do. If I was in Playboy and I had to list my turn-ons, one of them would be learning shit.  OK, maybe not shit, maybe learning stuff.

Anyway, in my free time at my work conferences, if there is any, I get to lay on a bed that isn't mine that gets made every day, walk around a city that is new to me, pick up conference swag and drink all the Starbucks I can stomach.  It's a good thing.

I also happen to be pretty social most of the time (though I don't like big crowds) and I like finding out about other people (more learning). On my last business trip I learned all about new FDA guidelines (booooring) and about the work one woman is doing at Walter Reed with injured soldiers doing Tai Chi (totally fascinating). As far as physical swag goes, I picked up a carabiner or two and possibly a sippy bottle.

I can only imagine what going to one of the fancy bloggy conferences might be like. All these fascinating women like the Pioneer Woman and the Bloggess talking about their successes and failures. People with smaller followings like the Skepchicks and Tula from Whorange talking about their expertise. People chatting up other people in the hallways and exchanging handmade business cards.  Picking up swag from companies like Google and Blogger and Wordpress and Better Homes and Gardens... But really, the brain swag is always more interesting than a stupid stress ball. I love learning something new. I love coming home inspired and ready to write. Ready to make changes.  Even in my boring ethics meetings I come away fired up for ethical research and really, who does that?

Photo courtesy of formerly phread
Someday I'd like to attend a BlogHer or an Evo conference.  Perhaps if I keep writing, and you all keep reading, I'll get to go someday. It's already on my bucket list.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday morning review


Tractors were a huge attraction at the parade.
 It's been a super crazy week. I went to Utah for the 4th of July, saw my first small town parade with cowgirls and Elvi on motorcycles and tractors and cheerleaders on ATVs.

Elvi - note cheerleaders on ATVs in the background
I came home and went into full on wedding mode for my office mate, Mary's wedding as I made her veil and it needed to be delivered by Friday, hence, no posting last week!  

This weekend I spent Saturday with one of my famous headaches, which, thankfully, wasn't a migraine. Then Sunday I spent the morning with Ms. Peigi who will be leaving for her new life in Peru this coming Saturday and then I did some farm maintenance, including harvesting six of the most gorgeous tomatoes (and one green one that I accidentally cut off the vine) and two huge zucchini. 

I ate two of the little tomatoes for dinner last night with some very stinky cheese but I'm not sure what I'm planning for the remaining 4.  I definitely must do something before they go bad.  Sometimes I have a tendency to wait for the perfect thing to come along rather than just using what I have for something ordinary.  Must get over this, especially since I have about 20 more green tomatoes on the vine right now.
This week I am toning down the busy just a bit.  I have a hat to knit and then I'm heading up to Napa this weekend for said wedding.  I'm definitely going to post a bit more this week though. 

Also, if you have any ideas for four of the most gorgeous tomatoes ever, I'd love your suggestions.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Utah, here I come!

So, this morning I am in a car, traveling with my dear friend Peigi, to Kanab, Utah, population 3,500.  I have always counted having been to a state by whether or not I have peed there.  Since I peed at the Salt Lake City airport on my way to Montana, I have technically previously been to Utah, but only that one time.

This time I am spending 4th of July weekend in Kanab and am looking forward to a small town celebration. One of the downsides of having been born and raised in L.A. is that I have never really experienced any small town community. I grew up in an incredibly diverse neighborhood in the North Valley, moved a little bit south to Reseda, then to Hollywood, then West Hollywood and now Burbank. I did that one stop at a kibbutz in Israel but that doesn't really count. No small towns in the bunch. Now I expect that small towns have their drawbacks. I would hate to live in a place where everyone knew everyone else's business!  But visiting for a few days is going to be fun.  I'm really looking forward to the parade! And possibly some visits with neighbors for good old-fashioned tricks of the jam trade.

I am so attracted to the idea of community, even in a big city, where people share resources and aren't competing for best, most, thinnest, newest. I have always been inspired by the people who are most generous with their knowledge.  L.A. Ell (Ellen) has always been super generous with teaching her crochet skills. Clemence from Gourmandise is incredibly generous with her knowledge of the business of baking. Kirk Anderson is generous with his knowledge of beekeeping. These are people with a passion for what they do and want to share it with others. Thank you!!!

Honestly, I also love a good road trip. Most of my road trips have either been to the Grand Canyon or up north to the San Francisco Bay area and most of them have been on my own. I love being in the car, watching the scenery, playing loud hair music, pulling over at truck stops for breakfast (no matter what time of day) and buying tacky postcards.  I love having no schedule and no one to answer to.

On the other hand, I have had so much fun on road trips with other people.  I drove from Amsterdam to Paris with an accidental stop in Germany and was glad to have someone to laugh with (and cringe with, to be honest) at that mistake. I have taken road trips to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Vegas with the Mr. and others along for the ride. It's especially nice when the other person can show me the ropes around a place I've never been before.

Promise I'll post photos when I return!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goals, objectives and other list making

As far as I'm concerned, the biggest deficit of this blog is the distinct lack of photos.  I'm terrible at taking them, I'm terrible at uploading them, I'm terrible at posting them.  My goal for July, however, is to post at least one photo with every post regardless of how bad or blurry it is.

I may not succeed 100% but I am going to do my best.

Goals are a theme with me lately. I'm a list person - I have a to do list, a bucket list, a goals list for 2011 and under the 2011 list is a list of little things I will do in the next couple of days to move toward those goals.  It helps keep me on track. Sometimes I still get off track. Wev.

With all those lists, as I was explaining to the Mr. this week, my plate is pretty full until October.  You know, it's only 121 days until Hallowe'en, (you didn't?) which is pretty much the high holiday of my year. In July, I am off to Utah for 4 days, home for a week and a half and then off to Napa for another 4 days. I'll be pretty busy in the interim working on getting my labels made for my jams and all that jazz. Tonight is the Pickle Pop Up in Atwater Village and I have some very cute homemade labels for tonight, but if I plan to be in stores, homemade labels aren't going to cut it.

August, September and October are all about prop making and prepping for the Hallowe'en party of the century. Then, in November, the farm work truly begins.

Here's another list: Sprinklers go in first, the chicken coop gets built and the back 40 gets finished out with raised beds and trees all in time for a gorgeous Southern California winter!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Word Wednesday - Heirloom Skills

Sustainability is defined as the capacity to endure. It sounds like such drudgery when you put it like that!
Graphic by NotMadeinChina

I am loving the concept of "heirloom skills" though.  It sounds like something valuable, something precious and useful. These skills used to be passed down, usually from father to son or mother to daughter. Crocheting, woodworking, how often to water plants, cleaning, baking bread, building barns. Today it's primarily passed vertically from those of our own generation to others.  Previous generations, on our moves out to the big cities put down many of these skills, thrilled to be able to buy conveniently pre-made goods.  I'm not against pre-made.  Sometimes, it's pretty damn handy to have someone else make what you need! But sometimes, what's made is not exactly what you need or it's made by people in horrible working conditions or it's shipped 10,000 miles across the planet using up an enormous amount of resources for us to have a $3 knitted hat.

I was pretty lucky in that I learned crochet from my grandmother starting at about 7 years old and cooking and baking were essential skills to learn in my house growing up. I was taught sewing but I didn't like it at the time and so I stopped until I was about 25. I must say, I regret that.

I wish I had learned other skills like canning, woodworking and planting, but I am slowly teaching myself, mostly through trial and error, though I have to admit that the intertubes are really helpful for learning.  For instance, I picked up about 6 pounds of figs from a friend yesterday who has a fig tree but has no idea what to do with them. I'm not particularly skilled in the fig department either so I went online to discover the type of fig (Desert King) and what one can do with them.  I'm going to try my hand at it this afternoon and we'll see what we get.

I'd never really built anything prior to building my raised beds. That was also mostly trial and error and the next beds I build which will be going in the back 40 are going to be a lot more stable than the first set, though I will give myself some credit; the first set is holding up its fourth planting season in a row!

I love to trade skills with people. You show me how to use a miter saw and I'll show you how to crochet or knit or can figs.

OK, so here's my heirloom skills wish list for right now, if you have a skill to trade or you have a list of your own, add it to the comments and we'll see what we can work out!

  • Woodworking skills - Primarily using a miter saw or learning to turn wood
  • Oxy-acetylene welding
  • Photoshop/graphic design (ok, maybe this isn't heirloom but it's definitely going to be!)
  • Weaving
 What's on your list?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pump up the jam, pump it up!!!!

So, when I realized that julienning orange peel for four hours was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, I discovered that jam making and canning might just be for me.

In the last 6 months, I have canned over 150 jars of jam, marmalade and jellies.  I have had some spectacular successes (see Apricot Jam [OMG] and Loquat Jelly) and some miserable failures (actually just one this year, the Rainier Cherry Vanilla Bean Jam). But now a lovely woman named Piper Goldstein, proprietress of the new Atwater Village Farm, is giving me my first start in the real world, selling jam at the Pickle Pop Up this Thursday night in Atwater Village!!!!

What is Atwater Village Farm, you ask?

It is a brilliant idea!  Piper is a chef with a dream of opening a market that provides both a community environment and an opportunity to purchase fresh, organic local produce at an affordable price.  Piper is collaborating with local farmers and food artisans (that's me!) to provide affordable and sustainable food and knowledge.  She is going to be offering classes on having your own little urban farm and how to use what you produce (or buy from her!).

Atwater Village Farm isn't open yet, but I'm anticipating their opening in the Fall, my favorite season.

How can you be involved? Well, you can go to Kickstarter and donate anything from $1 to $5,000 to help Piper meet her goal. Or....you can come out to the Atwater Village Summer Nights on the Boulevard where AVF is hosting the Pickle Pop Up this Thursday night and buy some jam. Preferably from the table of BluestockingFarm!!!! 10% of the proceeds will go directly to the Kickstarter campaign!  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Cherry Bomb!!!

This past weekend I got in my car and went driving up Bouquet Canyon, a super fun twisty road headed for Leona Valley where the cherries grow.  I went to a U-Pick farm up there.

Here's something I'd like to figure out before spending my money. When the crazy orchard owner is listening to the radio after you've given him your money, after you've picked and weighed 9 pounds of cherries and you hear the announcer say, and I quote,
"The liberals never learn, even when you teach them something over and over again! It's like McCarthy. We've taught them that he wasn't the evil person that they say he was and yet they still keep referring to McCarthyism as a bad thing...." 
I wish I had known that beforehand. I really hate giving my money to these people. Anyway, I'll try a new farm next time...

Clearly I'm a bad, bad blogger. I always forget to take pictures! 

The farm encourages you to taste as you go, so by the time I was finished picking my bucket, I was stuffed to the gills with cherries.  I also learned a new trick of putting up old CDs in the trees to scare away the birds. Gotta do this with my peaches and pomegranates.
Pretty cherries!

Anyway, I picked 9 pounds of cherries and headed back toward the San Fernando valley for canning and other enjoyment.  Yum!

I like to pick and use fruit within 24 hours.  I feel like it tastes better that way and I know myself. I get busy. If I make the time to harvest, then I also like to make the time to process within 24 hours. When I harvested my loquats, I would get off the ladder and take them straight to the stove. Same with the apricots and the zucchini.  Otherwise, I tend to have rotting fruits and veggies in the fridge which is kind of a pet peeve of the Mr.

So I arrived home and started sorting cherries!

First I pulled out almost all of the Rainiers and made them into a jam with vanilla beans.  Unfortunately, this is where the bomb comes in because while they taste superb, they are totally ruined visually as I didn't follow the directions for powdered pectin to the letter. They are also SUPER JELLED which is not my preferred way to have jam. I like it a bit runny.  Now I know better, but damn it!!!  I'll be giving out some tasty but bubbly-looking and jello-consistency jam. 

Then I picked out all of the bing cherries and tried again.  This time I made the Bing cherry jam with some kirsch and it just looks like a precious ruby.  Absolutely lovely and tasty.  Yay!  Other than caramelizing my entire stovetop, it was a total success!!!

Utah Giants?

Finally, I had some Utah Giants, which were not giant at all.  Actually, they were quite tiny so perhaps the tree was marked wrong but they were absolutely tasty and quite ripe so I picked a bunch.  I had already canned 2 batches of jam so next on my list was some maraschino cherries.



I went out and bought some Luxardo cherry liqueur which was, if nothing else, in a very lovely bottle.  I don't drink.  I just have absolutely no taste for alcohol whatsoever, but the recipe called for liqueur and who am I to argue? It also calls for cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and because I'm crazy like that, I also added some vanilla bean.

First I used the last of the Rainiers.  I know maraschino cherries are supposed to be super red, but I wanted to try this, and so try I did. From some forums I looked at, the cherries are supposed to be much more tasty after a couple of weeks in the juices, so I'm not going to taste them for a couple of days. They have just a hint of redness to them. I like the color. We'll see if I like the taste.
Rainiers in syrup

Next, I started the "Utah Giant" dwarf cherries. Again, the forums suggested that if you want really red maraschino cherries, you either have to use a certain kind of cherry or use some red food coloring.  I wasn't about to do that, so I just hoped for the best.  Well, not quite a bomb, but not really a success either. The simmering in sugar part sucked a bunch of the color from the cherries, so they're not nearly as red as they appear in these photos before the simmering, but I put them up anyway and in a couple of days I'll taste a few to see how they come out.  I'll update you as to whether at least the taste was a success or it was a total failure.

I've had such resounding success with all of my marmalades, jams and jellies so far this year. These cherries certainly taught me a little lesson in patience...and using pectin, which I haven't used this year at all...Oh well. What's next in the harvest?  Tune in to find out!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Los Angeles Events

While I generally am a cranky bitch when it comes to crowds, one of the things I love most about L.A. is the community.  There are cultural and community events every weekend and it's often a tug of war to decide whether to attend a festival, event, meeting, opening, or stay around the farm. Also, we're so diverse here in L.A. from the smell of carne asada wafting from every carniceria to the Greek Festivals that seem to be held every month at some church or the other to the festivals for agriculture, books, countries of origin, religion,  flea markets and films -- we've got it all.

While I can't or won't always attend an event, I often wish I could tell my peeps about upcoming activities.  L.A. Ell used to do this but she isn't anymore, therefore, a prominent feature of Bluestocking Farm, the blog, will be a calendar of events.  I was thinking that I would post events on the sidebar or a new page so that those of you reading from beyond L.A. won't have to be bothered with the goings on of our fair city. Tell me what you think.

For now, here's what's going on this weekend in L.A. and surrounding areas.  Get outside! It's the first weekend of summer!!!


Saturday, June 25
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drive on out to the Valley, NoHo in particular for the NoHo Rocking Food Truck Fest and Flea Market featuring Ta Bom, Slap Yo Mama, Komodo, Truck Norris, Da Munch Box, Waffles de Liege, The Greasy Weiner, Sweet E's and more!  You know you'll love it!! And it's for a fundraiser for Hope for PAWS animal rescue!


7:30 p.m. Gates open at Cinespia for a screening of The Warriors at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Grab your picnic dinner and your best leather vest and snuggle up next to a mausoleum for a night of New York youth gang life in the '70s.  DJ is TBA.


Sunday, June 26
10:00 a.m. Kickstands up for the June Oedipus Motorcycle Club ride. The last Sunday of every month, this 53 year old gay motorcycle club rides through the hills around Southern California. This month Ojai and Frazier Park.  It's a long one but it's going to be a beautiful weekend.


11:00 a.m. Backwards Beekeeping meeting at the new Atwater Crossing. Interested in beekeeping? Want to help protect bees? The meeting is fun and Kirk Anderson, founder of Backward Beekeeping is a quote a minute kinda guy.  Love him. Also, if you happen to know of a swarm in your area, they'll come take it away for free and give it to someone who would like to keep bees rather than exterminating it!  Call the Bee Rescue Hotline at (213) 373-1104.

1-3 p.m. Pasadena Food Swap at Orange Grove Park in South Pasadena. Diversify your pantry while meeting your friends and neighbors!

2-4 p.m. Santa Monica Food Swap at Salon Vert in Santa Monica - like a Silent Auction and a Potluck had a baby! 

Know of any other events?  Let me know and I'll add them to the list!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh, how I love thee

Because I am a pusher. Ask my friends, they'll tell you.  I'm a really bad influence. So I'm going to share my obsession. It is a glorious thing. Pinterest. Seriously, I've become completely dependent on it as a repository for all of my ideas and flights of fancy.

On the off chance you haven't yet heard of Pinterest or you think that it is yet one more digital distraction, consider this: you already have the need for Pinterest in your life, you just don't yet know it.

You've been planning a party, a remodel of your bathroom, a new small business proposition and you bookmark this link and that,  you save photos in a file on your laptop or worse, you print them and put them in a folder or pile on your desk. Of course, you have no idea what site it came from or what that source for the perfect party supplies was. The solution? Pinterest!

It's an online inspiration board that links back to where you originally found the item.  Additionally, you can browse other people's pinboards (OPP) for new and brilliant ideas. You can make a board for anything. Your bucket list, your dream garden, all of the beautiful coops and chickens you love.

Check it out.  TODAY!!!!

pinterest

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home cookin' - zucchini bread

The zucchini season has begun!!!  This is one half of a zucchini. Not kidding. It is 6 inches long. No exaggeration. I didn't check on my zucchini for two days and it went from a normal looking size to this monster. These are some others....

I've been getting some serious zucchs, so what does one do?


Bake zucchini bread!!!


As far as I'm concerned, this is the best recipe for zucchini bread ever. It's both simple and not too terribly sweet and you can add and amend as needed. I do not eat nuts, so there will never be nuts in my recipes. Feel free to add them if you want to RUIN everything (ok, maybe that's a little dramatic...). But really, it's the season!  Bake a loaf!




Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 2 loaves

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour two loaf pans.

In a large bowl or mixer, beat eggs. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.
Bake loaves for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Super yummy. I'm bringing a loaf to a meeting tomorrow. Hope it's well received!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Carrot Conundrum

In mid March, I planted carrots.  Last year when I planted carrots, some bold squirrel came along, dug them all up and ate the hell out of them. This year, the squirrels oddly left them alone so this week I decided it was time to check on my crop of carrots.  See if they were ready to be made into some yummy treat like a carrot cake, or just a dinner side.  I cleared the dirt off the top of one, just to see what it held and the future looked bright. It was a gorgeous round top of bright orange.  I immediately grabbed onto the base of the leaves and gave it a good yank as if I was pulling out a root from the earth, which I thought I was...

Here is what I got.


I laughed out loud!

My beds are a foot tall and the soil is super soft so it's not as if there wasn't room to grow. Not sure what happened here but it was hilarious!

I thought, maybe that one is a mutant. So I pulled out the rest. 



They're like a bunch of stubby toes!!!  I have no freaking idea what I'm going to do with these. Anyone know a recipe for carrots that are as fat as they are tall?  I have a feeling I'm just going to end up eating them raw with a side of ranch tonight...

Ah, the joys of farming!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Word Wednesday - Sustainability

A trend is afoot called the sustainable living movement. It has noble goals of reducing our use of resources, not buying so much, using less. Less water, less oil, less packaging. I believe in this.  I think there are things that we can do to make ourselves less dependent without suddenly becoming granola-eating, prairie skirt-wearing, kombucha-drinking*, kumbaya-singing dirty hippies (my apologies if you do any of these things!). There is a middle ground.

Kelly Coyne, in the New York Times article profiling her and her husband and their new book railed against "lentils and gloom". I tend to agree. (Note, Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen do not know me, I just love their books).


I didn't get into the "sustainability movement" because I felt I was too dependent on oil or because of factory farming or because I read something horrible about chicken McNuggets.  I got into this lifestyle because I grew a tomato and I found that getting my hands dirty made me happy and at the end of a couple of weeks, I could eat a tomato. I liked coming home from my desk job, putting on a pair of work pants and digging out weeds or sitting at the dining room table julienning orange peel for 4 hours in complete silence.  I also didn't jump into everything at once.

I think this is key.  I think if I had tried to plant a huge farm immediately because "zomg we are killing the earth!!!!1!!!  I would have completely burned myself, not to mention bummed myself out. It would have felt like a chore. Who wants to do that?

On the other hand, what I did is far more sustainable in a personal way. I started with zucchini. I'm now up to 10 different crops and working on the rest of the farm. It is becoming more and more enjoyable instead of being a chore. I look forward to coming home and looking for projects to do in the yard.  Some days I'm freaking exhausted though. I get up at 5 a.m. for work and when I get home in the afternoon, there are days that all I want to do is take a nap.  Thankfully, the way I've built this up gradually has allowed me to figure out how to work at my job, work in the garden and then take a nap, if necessary. Soon I'll be adding on more chores, and I'll just fall into bed every night. But I imagine I'll be pretty happy about it.

Last night I came home from work looking forward to my afternoon. I pulled out the peas (done for the season), weeded a bit in the tomatoes, picked some zucchini and spread some straw in the basil. Then I made a zucchini, bacon and gruyere quiche, ate it and fell into bed exhausted and happy.

I'm not doing any of this because of the big, bad industrial food complex, but it has the effect of being good for me and good for the earth. But I'm not getting rid of my car just yet, and let me tell you, she's a damn guzzler.

Hopefully in the next couple of years, I'll be able to get a hybrid.

*Kombucha is not safe for people with immune deficiency. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So what's a bluestocking?

The term was first coined around 1790, in reference to the blue, worsted wool stockings that were considered "casual wear" as opposed to the more formal black silk stockings. It traces to a London literary salon founded circa 1750 and led by Elizabeth Montagu and was used as a derisive word for a woman considered too educated or with a scholarly, literary, or intellectual ability


I've loved this term since the first time I heard it and always identified with it. While it used to be somewhat akin to calling someone a "strident, harpy feminist", which I've certainly been called in its various forms, I'd always hoped to use the term in some way.  

Farming too, has been ridiculed and maligned. While we used to understand that we relied on farming for our very sustenance, most of us have become so far removed from the sources of our food as to believe that everything is picked clean and waxed from a sanitized patch of air. 

Making has always been something appealing to me. Whether it's farming, baking, sewing, crocheting or building.  There is something so wonderfully rewarding about planting a seed and being able to use the results. Starting from scratch and eventually having a finished product. Building beds, hauling straw, amending soil, harvesting vegetables and serving them to the people you love is so satisfying to me.  None of this takes me away from feminism, but closer to it. When reading, learning, studying, I am in my head.  A place I am infinitely comfortable. When planting, digging, making, I am in my body; a place I am lacking familiarity, but I learn with every shovelful.  

The best part about it, is it makes me giddy. I laugh when I accomplish something and you should see how hard I laugh when I screw something up. It's all a journey.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home cookin'

My grandmother's name is Bubbles.  I'm not kidding. I didn't know until I was nearly a teenager that she had another name. My grandpa's name was Babe. Babe and Bubbles. My grandpa died a few weeks ago and we miss him a bunch.  He was a really good guy.  He loved bowling, playing golf and pool and his grandkids. He was born in Boston, but came to L.A. at 7 months old and grew up with his Orthodox family in the West Adams neighborhood, with 3 brothers they called the little Capones. One day I'll tell stories about the little Capones running around L.A. Needless to say, they got into a heap of trouble.
Grandpa Babe, Grandma Bubbles and mom, June 1946, West Adams, Los Angeles CA.
My grandma also came to L.A. as a baby. They moved to the Edendale area and then all over the place but eventually ended up in the Fairfax neighborhood.  Grandma went to Fairfax High school and grandpa went to Dorsey. Which makes me a 3rd generation Angelena; something I'm pretty proud of.  Anyway, my whole damn family lived in L.A. growing up. Great grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, crazy-ass third cousins removed a couple of times and they all came to family events. If the event was at brunch time, this dish was ALWAYS served.

I'm not sure where my grandma got this recipe originally, only that when I was a very young child in the 1970s I did not like it.  I can't imagine why as it is basically eggs, cheese, butter, some more cheese and Ortega chilies.  Perhaps it was the chilies. I've grown up since then and now I love the hell out of it. It is also super easy to make. Basically you mix all the ingredients and throw it into the oven.

There is some seriously cheesy goodness here.  It couldn't be made vegan by any stretch, but it is very easily made gluten free and you can't tell at all.  I've made it GF before and other than sticking to the pan a bit, it tasted no different. I can't imagine how it would stick to the pan as there's about a ton and a half of butter and cheese, but it did.  I've included the GF measurements in the recipe as well. By the way, this recipe can be modified 8 ways to Sunday. Feel free to make all kinds of substitutes, I'll include some below, hell, mix in some bacon if you're feelin' it.

 Enjoy!

Chili Egg "Souffle"

10 eggs (or an even dozen if you want)
1/2 cup flour (or GF flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 ounces small curd cottage cheese (or regular curd, fat-free, full fat, whatever, it still tastes good)
16 ounces shredded jack cheese (or half jack and half mozzarella or cheddar or whatever you have)
1/2 cup butter (or less if you want, but it doesn't get as crispy on top)
8 ounces diced green Ortega chilis (canned)

1. Beat eggs until a light lemon color. Add everything else. Mix up with a fork or your KitchenAid or whatever you have to mix with.
This is what it looks like going into the oven.

2. Pour into a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish (or two smaller ones). Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until top is brown and center is firm. Serves about 12 or so.

This is what it looks like hot from the oven for brunch with some cheap champagne.