how do you support your DIY lifestyle?

or, "You're drinking what they're [not] selling"               (with apologies to CAKE....)

In an attempt not to talk about the weather, I thought I'd look back at the off-season to see if we've made good use of this downtime. 

There were some minor house projects:

Discovering you can utilize the space in your basement staircase is a treat--a lot of houses in our neighborhood do this, and we finally took the plunge  Now we're looking at our walls with a whole new eye.  Also--having most of your cookbooks in the actual kitchen?  Kind of convenient!

Also baking, as always. A flickr friend sent me a really good sourdough recipe, which has turned into a weekly habit.  It's not so much that the recipe is unusual; it just works, and fits my routine well.  Two major points there.  Sometimes you wonder how many DIY habits you can squeeze in your routine--and I think the key is that type of fit.  Another friend gave me a kombucha SCOBY, which led me to discover that--I don't really like kombucha, ha!  The culture was successful and not very difficult, we just didn't drink it regularly enough to warrant the counter space and time. 

Another HUGE addition to our routine (albeit starting last summer) is homebrewing.  One reason for this successful hobby is that it's NOT MINE.  I jump in as needed for various stages, but mostly get out of the way (and happily drink the results!).  While rather a time-consuming habit, it does, like most of it's fermentation siblings, involve a lot of inactive time.  And oh the by-products!

After composting and feeding chickens with the spent grain, I finally started snagging it for baking.  Crackers are SO easy and good, and after experimenting with adapting my own bread recipes, I located a recipe online that gave me the results I wanted.  (Spent grains are super sticky and can really change the texture, so my attempts to just replace soakers from whole grain recipes were not as successful).  It also makes the BEST burger/brat buns.

And the routine has just integrated itself into our life.  Yes, there are bottles to wash, but in a house full of food preparation adding a few more dishes doesn't seem problematic.  Discovering your neighbor has a stash of vintage pop bottles also helps!  I feel good keeping these babies out of the recycling bin!

We used up much of our last frozen berries to make the one above, a Raspberry Amber Ale.  It seemed like a good use of fruit, heh.  And summer fruit is right around the corner, right?  RIGHT?

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