14 December 2011 12:08 PM
Christmas Cookbook 2011

Greetings all,

Considering our pathetic blogging, I'm only typing something so that I can upload our Christmas letter.  Instead of the normal letter, we've put together a cookbook of our families favorite recipes.  We hope you enjoy!

2011 Cookbook

Christmas Cookbook 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

D, O & T

The Worleys

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21 October 2012 6:32 PM
Best Silver Polish Tip Ever

Years ago, for Christmas, my Mother gave me a metal plate that was supposed to clean silver.  You would put it in the sink, fill the sink with water and some soap, and put your silver on top of it.  The tarnish was to be whisked away by some magical chemical reaction.

I tried the magic plate and tried to convince myself that it worked, since polishing silver is described in one of Dante’s Circles of Hell.  But the truth is, it didn’t work at all so I finally got rid of it.

Fast forward five years and I’m at my friend M’s house and she had the same sheet of metal.  She said that it works beautifully.  I questioned her sanity, so she proved it.  The trick, she said, is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – the same stuff I buy to make my homemade dishwasher soap.  She proved it by “polishing” a tarnished piece from a Silver Tea Service in about 30 seconds.

So then I started kicking myself for not keeping that piece of metal from my Mom.  As the years passed, and my unfortunate silver became just ever so slightly (okay, really) tarnished, I started thinking – do I HAVE to have that piece of metal?  It was just aluminum.  What about tin foil?

Today at brunch Mom was talking about “those who don’t polish their silver” and although she didn’t direct it at me, my inner guilty conscience was thinking about the slightly (okay, really) tarnished silver I had at home and I decided to try my experiment.

Here goes…

Tarnished Silver cup Cool Knife Holder Thing

Very tarnished glass & cool knife holder thing.

Washing Soda

Super Washing Soda -- Magic in a box.  Get it with the clothes detergents.

Tin foil, water & Washing Soda

Tin foil, water & washing soda in then sink. (We reuse our tin foil so this has already had a life and is working on it's forth or fifth.)

Put silver on top of foil – it has to touch.

Cleaned silver cup & knife holder thing.


If the silver is really tarnished, like the cool knife holder thing, you have to rub it with a sponge for few seconds.  And wrapping the tin foil around it while in the sink doesn't hurt.  But really, that’s it.  All the rest of my silver, like the cup, didn’t need anything extra.

You can thank me later as you leave that Circle of Hell behind.


The Worleys

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02 July 2010 8:46 AM
No time.

Greetings Blog Readers,

We all have a few blog posts in our heads and started on our computers, but the food is here and we have NO time!  The food is in the field and (remember when I said I couldn't wait until it was bursting from my kitchen?) bursting from my kitchen.

Sorry to keep you hanging.  Be back when the refrigerator is empty, the blackberries are preserved (yes, they are yummy), the 20 rows of green beans are picked (read hyperbole), tomatoes still to come, and T has healed from over 300 chigger bites she got while picking said blackberries.

Did I mention I was sick of salad?  Squash coming out my ears.  Stir fries almost every night.  Porky is here and in the freezer and I really will get that BLT before the lettuce is gone and will be happy to have something else to do with lettuce.

We miss you all, but time is fleeting and there aren't just enough hours in the day.  Food, glorious food.

The Worleys

The Worleys

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13 May 2010 6:38 AM
The Power of Self Knowledge

Our amazing, wonderful, talented daughter wrote this essay for her "This I Believe" assignment.  I thought it was so special I wanted to share it.

The Power of Self Knowledge
by Taylor Bartlett Worley

When I was a young girl I thought I would never change, that I “knew” myself. But now as I grow older, I know myself less and less.

I am now a twelve year old girl going on thirteen and for the past eight years I have known myself less and yet I understand the people around me more. I’ve moved two times since I was five years of age. The first time I moved two blocks, but the second time I moved two states away. I was ten when that happened.

But now, at my fifth school since kindergarten, I write about what I believe, and I believe in self knowledge. Self knowledge is more important to me than anything else, though I do not have self knowledge.

I remember when my mom was taking me to some appointment and she asked me what I did that day and I told her that one of the people in my class wanted me to do something. It wasn’t bad or anything, I just didn’t want to do something that—well let’s just go with this: I was being lazy. But my mom wasn’t going to get off the subject that easily, so she asked me exactly why I didn’t do it, and, so, I told her what I thought and still do think today, “it’s like following a path that some one wants you to follow,” I explained, “but if you follow the path you end up doing something you don’t want to do, you’re not your self anymore, you no longer have self knowledge of yourself. But if you don’t follow the path and you go your own way you will find yourself, hopefully, eventually.” My mom was surprised by how I explained what I felt but she said she found it beautiful. But I? I find it life.

Since that day I’ve found that I’ve been following the path that my friend wants me to follow not the path that I want to make for myself. I think it’s because I end up understanding them so well that I start acting like them. I guess that’s the problem with me. I start following the path that the person I’m hanging out with wants me to follow, though, when I notice that I’m following their path, if I notice, I try to get off of their path quickly though it usually takes me months or even a year.

I have nothing to say about other people finding self knowledge, because to me, we all find self knowledge a different way. If my way of trying to find self knowledge is different from yours, don’t find me strange or call me a liar, for to me this is the way but I know there are many, many, other ways.

I thank you for hearing me out. For writing this has unleashed something within me that I cannot explain, and probably will never be able to explain. This is what I believe to be self knowledge; this to me is what self knowledge is. This I believe: knowing YOUR true self.

The Worleys

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04 May 2010 6:43 AM

So I’m waiting.  Waiting and waiting and waiting.  As soon as we started the flats indoors I started dreaming about peppers and basil and lettuce, but mainly tomatoes.  Then my mind jumped ahead, or back as the harvesting goes, to sautéed young greens (kale & collards).  Onward to zucchini and summer squash, but wait, what about that amazing roasted butternut squash and greens pasta?  It was February.

As the time of harvesting anything got closer, my ability to buy fresh produce decreased.  We’re down to 5 jars of tomatoes from last year and the green beans were gone a month ago.  I refuse to buy canned anything.  We ran out of lettuce last week so I’m just waiting until we can harvest the March crop before we have another salad.  Vegetables are pretty slim pickings in the Worley household.  We’re living on frozen meat (thawed and cooked of course) to make room for the ¼ cow that will be here in a week.  There are a few cans of vegetables left from the “old” days when we bought them.  I made green beans last week with those.  I think we might have some frozen peas.  The question is, should I be making my family suffer for my psychosis?  We’re eating solely out of pantry and freezer which on most nights looks very much like the “mystery basket” from Chopped with the exclusion of anything fresh.

I keep saying to D, “Isn’t that garlic ready?”  That would be the garlic he planted last fall.  In my mind I can make the above ground greens a little browner and bendier when looking at them from the porch.  I’m just sure it’s ready.  After all, we only have 2.5 bulbs left from the giant bag of Costco garlic.  I threw out the little green balls that were left in the bag which D then informed me we could have planted.  If it sprouts, it will grow.  Argh, why didn’t I know that?  If only we could harvest the garlic, then we would have fresh vegetables – yes, my mind really does work that way.  It’s my tunnel vision.  If I think I have something on my chin, I will look in the mirror and completely miss the giant dirt smudge on my forehead because I was looking at my chin.  I truly believe that as soon as we harvest anything, suddenly my kitchen will be bursting at the seams with fresh, yummy, vegetables.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll say, but O, didn’t you harvest all those young greens from the backyard last week for that great pasta and the garlicky sautéed mixed leafy greens?  Why yes, I’d answer, we did indeed.  Did you also see a giant dirt smudge on my forehead?  That just doesn’t count.  D is going to make sautéed greens again tonight and again, that doesn’t count.  I guess it won’t count until my kitchen really is bursting at the seams with fresh, yummy, vegetables.  Which will be tomorrow, of course, when we harvest the garlic.

In the mean time I wait and play surrealist Chopped.  Tonight’s meal must include the following 4 items from your basket:  Chicken Thighs, Ro-Tel Tomatoes, French Fried Onions & Coconut Milk.  Time starts now.


The Worleys

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06 May 2010 11:17 PM
What's up with that?

T and I had dinner out this evening (O was in Michigan and I didn't get back from Danville -- a real place, not just a place I hang out -- until 6ish).  After a trip home to drop off stuff, and much hemming and hawing (yes I just typed that), and a remarkable level of opinion and ambivalence from the tiredy-tween, I finally decided we'd go to an old stand-by pizza place (Wick's), that serves one of the best Louisville-style pizzas available.  To make up for the meatza to come I ordered a salad (and, ya know, really, I like salads).

Expectations were low for the salad... you know, iceberg lettuce, flavorless tomatoes... but there would be home-made croûtons!  Of the possible dressings, I thought "Golden Italian" had the best chance to be... well... acceptable (e.g. have less stuff in it that you wouldn't put in it if you were making it yourself).

The salad came.  The dressing was in those little plastic-bag pre-packages.  We dressed it.  We ate it.  It was OK.  Then, while waiting for the pizza (which was just as delicious as I'd remembered), I made the mistake of reading the ingredients on the dressing package.  Soy-bean oil... OK, Olive-Oil would've been my choice, but I get the economics.  Things you would expect, vinegar, salt, red-pepper, dehydrated onion and garlic, herbs... then, because it was unnaturally thick, a couple of those maltodextrine emulisifier things... not my favorite, but, it was in a plastic-bag-pre-package, so they were not unexpected... but then there were THREE FDA Color # ???s!  Which made me wonder, "Just how disgusting looking must it have been before the food coloring?!!"  And... well... "Why?!"  Have we really psychologically moved so far from real things, that we expect... what?...  have we only had access to artificial things for so long that we can no longer tell what real looks/tastes like?  I don't have an answer for anyone but myself... I'd rather have the real... thank you.  (I know this is what I get for ordering a salad at a pizza joint, but it stuck in my craw.)

Post-Script:  I had a similar reaction when I read the ingredient list for  Graeter's (unbelievably delicious!) Peach Ice Cream...  I don't understand why in the world they would add Red #40 to peach ice cream.  What color was it before?  A smidge too yellow?  Could we not handle the truth?

So, you know... what's up with all that?



The Worleys

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07 April 2010 10:30 AM
Radicalized and a New Life

Dan and I achieved food radicalization in similar yet vastly different ways.  We read books.  Books that changed our outlook on food, the soil, carbon emissions, our community and the planet.  Dan started by reading Wendell Berry.  It made him appreciate what a true community can do and how much we’ve lost in our “developed” society.  He followed those with Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” & “The Ominove’s Dilemma”.  The more he told me about them, the more I knew I couldn’t read them.  In  the world of Myers-Briggs, I’m a “J”, and there are no shades of grey in my life.  If I read something like that, I might never eat again.

But then I read Barbara Kingsolver's “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” and went through my own transformation.  She is such an incredible writer and the book bore me through all the emotions of a great love story.  This one with food.  By the time I was finished, I couldn’t go to the grocery and didn’t want to eat the processed foods in our house.  My “J” was front and center and I wanted to eat and drink only things that came from a 50 mile radius.  As usual, Dan had to back me down.  I think he snapped on the night we went to the grocery for lettuce and I told the checkout guy that they really should have local lettuce (in February) and all vegetables should have their country of origin announced because it’s really hard to find the local stuff.

So here we were, two people who really didn’t know anything about gardening, trying to figure out how to start a new life involving plants, and plants growing, and preserving said plants, and of course, eating them.   I think this reminded my Mom of the time I came home from college and announced I wasn’t eating red meat anymore.  She laughed her head off.

The biggest problem for me is that I hate getting dirty.  Really hate it.  I think it’s because I hate bathing – most have something to do with the hair – so if I don’t get dirty, I don’t have to bathe.   I told Dan if he really wanted to do this, he was going to be the farmer and I’d be the dutiful farmer’s wife.  I can preserve and can until the cows come home (that will be next year) but digging in the dirt just wasn’t going to happen.  He accepted this ultimatum with his usual calm.  And thusly, our lines of scrimmage drawn, we have now embarked on what should be quite an entertaining new life.  I always did find myself endlessly amusing.  But I think that Dan’s stories on the evenings he returns from the farm will keep me in stitches for the rest of the summer.  I’m loaning him my endlessly amusing crown for the foreseeable future.


The Worleys

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09 April 2010 10:37 AM
Bottom Line: You have to care!

This morning I woke up, my toes were freezing, and I was suddenly worried about the seedlings.  In February we started the plants indoors that need more time and to be heartier before subjected to the cruel world outside.  If anything happens to them, no tomatoes, cabbage, parsley, or broccoli for us and that would truly be a tragedy.  Look at the What We're Growing page for the list of tomatoes, which is quite extensive.

Dan built a green house last fall that he designed himself. I keep waiting for the neighbors to complain in this little "village" of Green Spring that we call home.  It's really just a neighborhood, but there are lots of rules.  I wonder if the organizers know the Hysterical (oops, historical) Committee in Ypsilanti?  The Frankenstein greenhouse is made with 1x and heavy plastic sheeting and is surprisingly effective.  It lasted through the winter without blowing to Indiana and is now home to our seedlings.

It was with not a little bit of trepidation that I approached the greenhouse this morning.  I kept flashing back to the time Mom visited us in MI and made me throw out our house plants.  I had about five very sad house plants that were a constant stress in my life.  I had a reminder every Monday to water them.  My Outlook alarm would go off and I snoozed it for a day.  Then it would go off Tuesday, and I’d snooze it again.  By Thursday I was snoozing for half a day so it would go off twice.  Finally, the next Monday I would dismiss the reminder from the week before and start all over again with a new Monday reminder.  After a month, I’d water the plants.  They almost never looked good, but because of that stupid outlook alarm, were always on my mind.  Mom came for a visit and just got rid of the plants.  She said that it was okay that I wasn’t a plant person, not everyone is, and if it causes that much stress, I’m better off without them.  She was right.

So, whose idea was it to grow a VERY large vegetable garden?  Last year the seedlings were my job and I grew some tomatoes that I started in May (!!) and thought I had killed when I took them outside.  Fortunately, those hybrid seeds that come with your topsy-turvy hanging tomato pot have quite a long shelf life.  They must since the boxes could be packaged a couple years before the pot sells and the company doesn’t want complaints about tomatoes not growing.  I couldn’t believe how easy they were to grow considering I filled a baking sheet with dirt, threw the tomato seeds on top (regular and cherry), added some toothpicks and plastic wrap.  Surprise, little tomato seedlings popped up.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t labeled which plants were which – yet another important lesson – and we literally didn’t know which plants were the cherry until they produced fruit.  However, since they were hybrids, but the cherry and the regular tomatoes were about the same size golf ball so it really didn’t matter.  I also grew some cayenne & jalapeño plants – thought I’d killed them too, but we’re still eating on the dried the cayenne from last year and probably will be until 2011.

I suspect that all the time I spent fussing over the seedlings, “Hello little seedling.  Please don’t die,” probably had a lot to do with my success.  Either that or it’s not as hard as you think to grow things.  Dan and Taylor kind of took over my seedling job this spring, but I still praise them every day (the plants, not Dan and Taylor) and tell them what a good job they are doing growing.  I was terribly nervous about their first, and subsequent trips, outdoors where they could so easily be overwhelmed.  Dan kept telling me not to worry, they’d be fine.  But he never threw out a bunch of house plants because he didn’t care enough.

So this morning in the greenhouse, the seedlings were really thriving so my worries were for naught.  Dan was right again and my constant fear of my "black thumb" really just boils down to priorities.  I really care about these plants and what they can feed my family.  A household fern just doesn't do it for me.  So we still don't have any house plants, but I'm happy to report that come July, I'm going to scouring the web for tomato recipes.  Maybe I'll learn how to make Mozzarella.  The basil will definitely be here by then.

P.S.  Does anyone know if the cabbage that managed to winter here would still be edible?  I'm thinking of making cabbage rolls from these two heads of cabbage that never got big enough last fall, but are huge now.

(Thanks to those who responded before my posts disappeared into the stupid interweb.  Piece of !@#$ blog!)



The Worleys

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