Chickens Love Colorado Springs!

IMG_2069-300x225Welcome to Hungry Chicken Homestead! Six hungry chickens live here as well as some other animals, and people who know where the food is stored.

The chickens love Colorado Springs and want to tell you about local farms and small businesses right here in our community!  Chickens know a thing or two about the importance of a good flock and good things to eat.  Likewise, people benefit from knowing their neighbors and knowing where to get good food!

Look around!  You’ll find stories about Colorado businesses and farms, stories about the Homestead and even listings telling you where to buy food grown or produced right here in our neck of the woods.

We hope you’ll find a little inspiration for your own story too!

A Recipe: Corn and Tomato Salad

Is raw corn supposed to be edible?  I have no idea, but when corn shows up in the CSA share, that’s how I eat it.  I like it raw.  It’s crunchy and sweet and I don’t burn my fingers.

These pretty vegetables came in my Arkansas Valley Organic Growers (AVOG) box last week.

They're delicious AND they make a nice picture.

They’re delicious AND they make a nice picture.

I’d like to tell you something about corn.  Notice how in the picture one end is cut off of each ear.  That’s because organic corn gets something called earworm pretty often.  It’s also referred to as tipworm.  These are moths and the little worms you sometimes find are moths-to-be.  They eat the tip of the corn and turn it into mush.  I remember my mother searching through corn in the grocery store to check for this and discarding any ear that had bugs.  Since then, better pesticides have made it possible to sell corn without earworm, but if you’re reading this blog then you’re probably not a big fan of poisonous chemicals on your food.

Beki from AVOG says, “The worm in your corn is your organic certification”.  That’s exactly right!

The earworms won’t hurt you and frankly, I view them as a free chicken treat.  Just cut off the mushy end, wash your corn and it’s like the bugs were never there.

Anyway, on with our recipe!  My CSA box also came with some sorrel.  I forgot to take a picture and the sorrel is gone now, but I can describe it.  It’s a long leaf that tastes like lemon.  Sorrel is one of my favorites.  You can grow it easily in your backyard too.

I took these three ingredients and made up the following recipe!

Ingredients:

2 ears of corn, husked, tipworm damage removed and washed
10 small tomatoes or one big one, washed and cored
a handful of sorrel leaves, washed and stems removed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and the sorrel into strips.  Cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife.  You can do this by standing it on its cut end and cutting down in rows.  Watch your fingers!

Mix all ingredients together with as much or as little salt as you like.  You can add pepper too, if you like that sort of thing (can you tell I don’t like pepper?).

Serve and eat!  No burnt fingers!

Colorado Springs Local Farm Hungry Chicken Homestead Corn and Tomato Salad

 

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

Recipe: Gluten Free Plum “Clafouti” Cake

It’s really nothing like the cherry clafouti recipe I found on the Martha Stewart Seasonal Cooking website.

But, like so many things, it gave me ideas.

But, like so many things, it gave me ideas.

I’ve got a whole lot of plums in my refrigerator right now.  Maybe you have the same problem.  I ordered an Austin Family Farms Fruit Share this year and even though I gorge myself on fruit every day, I still have more in the refrigerator.

Ok, yes … I’ve had worse problems.  But still, I don’t want to waste the fruit and I went looking for recipes.

A “clafouti” is a kind of French custard pie.  The custard is poured over cherries and baked.  I liked this idea for two reasons:

  1. I could put my surplus fruit in it.
  2. I could use a lot of eggs.  I had 26 at last count and the chickens are out there making more right now.

The only problem was I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making custard.  Luckily, I remembered a really good gluten free pumpkin muffin recipe from Mark Sisson’s book, the Primal Blueprint Cookbook and thought I could try using the same base.

Want to know what I came up with?  Here it is, but remember, you can modify it as you see fit.  As always, I made this recipe up!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs
10 plums

Chop up five plums.  Squish them around with your fingers into a kind of lumpy puree and then measure out half a cup, making up any shortage with the juice.  (You can puree them with a loud machine if you want.  I just don’t like loud noises or extra dishes).

Mix the coconut flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a big bowl.  Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup and eggs in a separate bowl.  Then mix them together.

(Honestly, I’m too lazy to use two bowls.  I mixed the liquid ingredients right in with the dry ingredients and it worked fine).

Mix well and pour the batter into a parchment paper lined pan.  A 9 inch pie pan would work.

Slice the rest of the plums and lay them on top of the batter.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until the batter in the middle is just set.  If you let it get solid in the middle, the outer edges will get dry and burn.  I don’t know how long that takes because I cooked mine on the grill, with one burner at medium and the other side on low.  The cake baked on the low side for about 40 minutes while I weeded the garden.

Cool and serve.

 

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

Kale Salad with Nutritional Yeast

I’m suddenly addicted to kale salad.  It’s the nutritional yeast’s fault.  This has happened before with recipes made with nutritional yeast.

I got this recipe by being in the right place at the right time.  I was chatting with Arlene of Blue Skies Organic Vegetables when a paramedic came by.  Nothing was wrong with anyone, he just wanted to buy some kale.

“I make it into a salad by massaging nutritional yeast and some other ingredients into it,” he said.

This gave me ideas.  I came home, picked some kale out of the garden and gave it a try, landing on the recipe below.  If you have little kids, get them to wash their hands because they are going to like this…

Colorado Springs Local Farm AVOG Kale

Ingredients:

(Remember, I made this up and you can change the proportions.  Add more or less of anything you like.)

a bunch of kale
a tablespoon of olive oil
a tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Get those little kids to mix everything with their hands, squishing the kale as they go.  That softens the kale and helps the rest of the ingredients get into the curls (if it’s curly kale).  Make sure everything is evenly mixed and serve!

Colorado Springs Local Farm Hungry Chicken Homestead kale salad nutritional yeast

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

Colorado Springs Local Farm: Blue Skies Organic Vegetables

Did you know Monument, CO was known for its potatoes in the 1900s?  I didn’t either.  Arlene of Blue Skies Organic Vegetables told me this, along with lots of other interesting things.

She also told me how well greens grow in Monument.  And then she proved it by showing me part of their harvest!

She also told me how well greens grow in Monument. And then she proved it by showing me part of their harvest!

Lots of us hardly know what to do with greens, but Arlene is an expert!  She gave me a stack of recipes that I can’t wait to try.  I’ll include one below, so you can see what I mean.

I already knew kale is wonderful and I have a few uses for collard greens.  I didn't know what to do with turnip and mustard greens, though.

I already knew kale is wonderful and I have a few uses for collard greens. I didn’t know what to do with turnip and mustard greens, though.

Arlene knows what to do with the greens, but her husband Lorell is the farmer.  Lorell grew up on a farm in the American South.  Arlene is from New York.   They lived in California for years where she worked as a teacher and educational administrator, while Lorell worked as a millwright.  In time, Lorell found himself in Colorado and thought about returning to the farming life of his youth.  It took a while to convince Arlene, but eventually they retired to their beautiful property in Monument.

I did not know until I visited them how picturesque Monument Creek is in Monument.

I did not know until I visited them how picturesque Monument Creek is in Monument.

Today Arlene and Lorell live a quiet, peaceful life on their little farm.  Lorell grows greens, carrots, turnips, onions, beets, potatoes and more.  Arlene makes wonderful jams and sells the produce.  You can find her at the Colorado Farm and Art Market with vegetables and jams, such as “Mango Tango” and a Peach Cobbler jam that comes from her mother’s peach cobbler recipe.

It’s easy enough for the average consumer to know what to do with jams, but what about those greens recipes I mentioned?  Here are two for you to try.  Stop by Arlene’s table at the Farm and Art Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays for more ideas.

Kale with Honeyed Macadamia Nuts (From Mother Earth Living Magazine, July/Aug 2014)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons honey, divided
1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts
2 bunches kale, thick stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons creamy almond butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, toss 1 tablespoon honey with nuts and 1 teaspoon water.

2.  Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, tossing 2 or 3 times, until golden brown (about 10 to 12 minutes).  Cool, and roughly chop.  Set aside.

3.  Arrange kale in a large, deep skillet.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, almond butter, remaining honey and 2 tablespoons of water.  Drizzle over kale, cover and cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until wilted and just tender (about 5 minutes).  Scatter nuts over top, and serve.  Serves 6.

And the other recipe?  Try my baked lemon kale chip recipe with any green.  Anything is delicious as a chip!

And when you fall in love with greens recipes and can’t do with out them, order in bulk from Blue Skies Organic Vegetables by calling 719-242-5365, email blueskies80132@yahoo.com or visit with Arlene at the Market!

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

The single most important reason you should eat your vegetables

According to my calendar I am not working today, which means this post is purely for fun.  I’d like to start it with this classic headline:

“Do you want a diet that works?”

Let me explain that I don’t really know much about diets.  I’ve loosely followed the Paleo diet for years, but I’m not strict about it because it would ban my goat milk share and the sweet corn that comes yearly in the CSA box.

I worked hard to get this milk share and if paleolithic people couldn't get goats to share ... well, that's just not my problem.

I worked hard to get this milk share and if paleolithic people couldn’t get goats to share … well, that’s just not my problem.

I have noticed, however, that most diets encourage eating vegetables.  And that’s good because in the summertime, vegetables threaten to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

If there is one thing I have in the summer, it's vegetables!

This pile of vegetation was only part of my AVOG CSA share this week.  It’s outrageous how vegetables just come right in and make themselves at home.

Especially zucchini.  We all know about the megalomaniacal zucchini.

Especially zucchini. We all know about the megalomaniacal tendencies of zucchini.

We really only have one weapon against zucchini and its colleagues.  Eating.  Every summer, the chickens and I feel the awesome responsibility of our role in saving the world from vegetable domination and we work hard to render their threat harmless by consuming as many of these vegetables as an animal can.

I feel that a good recipe helps.  The chickens, on the other hand, don't care one way or another.

I feel that a good recipe helps. The chickens, on the other hand, don’t care one way or another.

The result?  We are full of vegetables all the time.  Our crops bulge with them.  Our stomachs work overtime processing all that soluble fiber and vitamins.  Our skin glows, our feathers become glossy and some of us produce beet pink fertilizer.  Even our hair plumps up and shines.

We become svelte and beautiful, which can only mean we are winning the battle.

We become svelte and beautiful, which can only mean we are winning the battle.

If you’re in the same zucchini boat, I’d like to offer a battle strategy:

1.  Every week, write up a list of vegetables in the house and post it where everyone can see it.  This helps remind everyone that the battle is still raging.

Cross them off as you conquer each one.

Cross them off as you conquer each one.

2.  Visit the Flying Carrot at the Colorado Farm and Art Market for recipes to sharpen your eating.  Or visit the Martha Stewart Seasonal Eating pages for tons of recipes for seasonal produce (including zucchini).

I collect the Flying Carrot recipes like baseball cards.

I collect the Flying Carrot recipes like baseball cards for grownups.

3.  Invest in a “Spiralizer“.  This little non-electric machine cuts vegetables into “noodles”, chips and other shapes quickly and without a lot of noise.  I love this thing.  You can make zucchini “noodles”, stuff them in a bag for freezing and then rinse off the machine in half an hour.  Freeze the noodles and you can put off conquering that bit of zucchini for another day, thus conserving your energy.

I’m sure you have other tips for maintaining your sovereignty in your own home when vegetables threaten to take over.  Tell us about them in the comments!

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

Everybody out! The Chicken B&B is Closed.

The Chicken B&B in my garage closed last month.  It is mourned by chickens everywhere (in the backyard).  The cats are kind of sad too.

Patience loved exploring the Chicken B&B.

Patience loved exploring the Chicken B&B.

I, on the other hand, am delighted!  Chickens have been spending the night in my garage for a long time.  You may have heard me tell the story of the day I had to tell my corporate boss that I couldn’t come in because chickens had taken refuge from the subzero temperatures in my garage.  Since then, the garage has served as a haven for hot chickens, cold chickens and chickens who wanted nothing to do with the other chickens.

The B&B really took off this spring.

The B&B really took off this spring.

Things started to get out of hand earlier this year when Stray Chicken joined the flock.  She wouldn’t sleep in the coop.  She insisted in sleeping in a tree.  We compromised and she set up a bedroom in a cage in the garage.  Sometimes, however, she preferred to sleep in the baskets on the very highest shelf, as you can see above.

Every night, I would pick her up and put her in the garage when the others started roosting in the coop for the night.  This is reasonably manageable with one chicken.

Next, Colleen the Broody Hen came to stay in the B&B.

Next, Colleen the Broody Hen came to stay in the B&B.

Colleen joined us and then we had two hens staying in the B&B, which was alright because Colleen never did anything other than sit on her eggs and stare.  But, of course, one thing led to another and two chicks joined her.  That made a residency rate of four chickens.

(By the way, that little chick poking out from under Colleen is our own Little Red Hen!)

Colleen eventually went back to Easter Egg Acres with her little brood, bringing us back to one manageable chicken in the garage, but then something happened …

Little Red Hen grew up and came back to the Homestead!

Little Red Hen grew up and came back to the Homestead!

Little Red is one of those chickens that makes you shake your head and wonder how you became so soft-hearted.  She was about 15 weeks old when she arrived and she decided that …

a.  She was still a chick.

b.  I was her mama.

She would run to me whenever I came outside and hide under me if I squatted down.

She would run to me whenever I came outside and hide under me if I squatted down.  Sometimes, she even sat in my lap!

This little chicken spent her first few weeks with us hiding on the patio from the other hens.

It's hard to be the new chicken.

It’s hard to be the new chicken.

She weaseled her way into sleeping in the garage by being distressed when I tried to put her in the coop.  It worked.  For weeks, I carried TWO chickens into the garage every night and out again in the morning.

In time, as with all animals, she grew up.  Here is her first egg (next to another egg for size comparison).

In time, as with all animals, she grew up. Here is her first egg (next to another egg for size comparison).

It was a bittersweet time.  She stopped hiding under me and started stealing hardware to bash on the ground.  (I don’t know why my hens do that when they reach laying age, but they all do it for a while).  One night, I picked up each hen and gently put her in the coop.  Stray Chicken looked uncertain for a moment and then marched onto the roost.  I was very proud of her.

Little Red Hen perched on a nest box.  It was a wobbly spot, but it would do.  Since then, she bravely settles into the coop each night … as long as I remember to open the egg door and she doesn’t have to use the chicken door.

All things in this world come to an end.  At least until the next chicken arrives.

In memory of Marshmallow the Strong 2012-2014

In memory of Marshmallow, Head Chicken
2012-2014

 

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

What Everybody Ought to Know About Farmers’ Markets in Colorado

It’s not my practice to criticize other people’s hard work and I’m not telling you where to shop.

I’m just telling you to ask questions and keep your eyes open.

If you see something like this at a farmers' market, the produce is not all from Colorado.

If you see something like this at a farmers’ market, know that the produce is not all from Colorado.

I took that picture at a Colorado Springs’ farmers’ market.  We tend to think that shopping at a farmers’ market means buying local produce.  This is not entirely untrue, but it’s not entirely true either.

This isn't California or the South.  We can only grow food in Colorado during the summer.

This isn’t California or the South. We can only grow food in Colorado during the summer.  The season is short and we don’t have much fresh, local food at times.

If you’ve been to the Colorado Farm and Art Market or the new Acacia Park Market downtown or Hunt or Gather in Ivywild School, you’ve probably wondered why they don’t have as much food as other markets and grocers in Colorado Springs.  It’s because there are two different approaches to selling food here in the high desert.

One approach is to make the market as abundant as possible all summer.  This means buying food from other states or countries to sell along with whatever the Colorado farmer can harvest.  If you find tomatoes alongside greens in June, this is a likely scenario.  The farmer probably grew the greens and imported the tomatoes.

The advantage of this method for the consumer is that you can get what you want.  The disadvantage is that you have to be careful about what you buy.

The quality of locally grown food is usually much better since the food has been picked when ripe.  If you’re shipping food across the country, it’s best to pick it too early and let it ripen on the truck so it doesn’t spoil before it gets to its destination.  Shipping also requires planting varieties that ship well, as opposed to taste good.  Growers intending to sell locally usually select varieties for flavor, since they can pick it right before selling it.

Another problem is that you might find imported food when a locally grown variety is in season.

Peaches and plums are in season here in Colorado, but I found these California fruits at a market last Saturday.

Peaches and plums are in season here in Colorado, but I found these California fruits at a Colorado Springs market last Saturday.

Palisade peaches were available the very same market.  Guess which tasted better.

Palisade peaches were available at the very same market. Guess which tasted better.

I also found cherries at that market.  One might think they were local since the cherry season just ended here.  I had to ask to learn they were from Washington.

I also found cherries at that market. One might think they were local since the cherry season just ended here. I had to ask to learn they were from Washington.

The other approach is to sell only what the Colorado farmer can grow.  This means selling greens, radishes, herbs and turnips in June and foregoing tomatoes until late July.  The advantages for the consumer include higher quality food, being able to talk to the farmer and direct support for the local economy.  The hard part is waiting for the produce to become available, especially fruit and tomatoes.  It means learning to cook unfamiliar vegetables.

I took this picture at the Colorado Farm and Art Market.  Venetucci Farm grew these tomatoes.

I took this picture at the Colorado Farm and Art Market. Venetucci Farm grew these tomatoes.

Personally, I value locally grown food and I’m happier at a market where I don’t have to suspiciously interrogate every vendor.  It’s easier to go to the grocery store when I want something that doesn’t grow here.  Maybe you feel differently and I’m not telling you where to shop.  Just know what you’re buying.  The old adage still applies … Buyer Beware.

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

Hungry Chicken Homestead Recipe: Slaw in a Jar

Picture this:  It’s Thursday.  You’ve gone on a buying spree at the farmers’ market on Wednesday and the refrigerator is full of fresh, locally grown vegetables.  Suddenly, you remember that you pick up your CSA share on Friday and more vegetables will be coming into the house!  Oh no!  What will we do to make room?

I don't know what you would do, but I would make up a recipe.

I don’t know what you would do, but I would make up a recipe.

This very scenario occurred last week on the Homestead and I had to make up a recipe fast.  It had to be something I would eat, that wouldn’t take up much room in the refrigerator and that used the following:

  • a kohlrabi
  • a bunch of small beets
  • a bunch carrots
  • two small cabbages
  • Optionally, it could be something that is good topped with Colorado goat feta.
I had some garlic infused olive oil and some garlic scapes handy too.

I had some garlic infused olive oil and some garlic scapes handy too.

In my panic, I remembered to be inspired by the Flying Carrot.  They had made a lovely slaw to go with their quinoa patties the week I interviewed them.

I pulled out a funny little machine called a Spiralizer.

I pulled out a funny little machine called a Spiralizer.

There is a story behind this Spiralizer thing.  My mother sent it to me back in December.  She has one and has been enjoying making vegetable noodles with it.  Every week, we had this conversation:

Mom:  “Did you use the Spiralizer?”

Me:  “Not yet.  Wait until summer.”

Sure enough, the conversation changed as soon as zucchini season began.

Me:  “That Spiralizer thing is great!  I made six pounds of zucchini noodles this week and froze them!”

Mom: “Why do you have so much zucchini?”

Why DO I have so much zucchini?  That’s a topic for another post.

I spiralized all the crunchy vegetables.  These beets are raw and unpeeled.  Who knew we can eat raw beets?

I spiralized all the crunchy vegetables. These beets are raw and unpeeled. Who knew we can eat raw beets?

Once the vegetables were in pieces, I chopped up two garlic scapes and added them to the mix.

Now ... how would I pickle it?

Now … how would I pickle it?

I mulled over the best way to make the slaw tart and soften the vegetables.  Do you remember the fermented pickle recipe?  It’s water, vinegar and salt.  The proportions are important when you’re fermenting vegetables since you need the salt and vinegar to suppress bacterial growth until the fermentation is far enough along to handle it.  I didn’t ferment this slaw, but the basic principle applied.  I could put water, vinegar and salt into a jar, along with the vegetables.  The salt draws more water out of the vegetables and allows the flavors to seep in.

A day later, the slaw tasted tart and the flavors had melded nicely.

A day later, the flavors had melded nicely.

Slaw in a Jar

(Note:  Remember, I’ve made this recipe up.  You can use more or less of anything or add vegetables and spices.  There is nothing sacred about my cooking.)

1 medium kohlrabi
4 medium carrots
5 medium beets
2 garlic scapes
2 cups shredded cabbage

Shred, chop or spiral cut the vegetables into small pieces.  Mix together.  Stuff into two quart jars or one half gallon jar.

Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar,  1 tablespoon of salt and 1.5 cups of water.  Stir until the salt is dissolved and pour it over the vegetables.  It should come to about the halfway point in the jars.  Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and shake it gently every few hours.  The vegetables will relax a little as it marinates and the water they release will bring the liquid up higher.

Mix in a little garlic infused olive oil and serve with goat feta!

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

Colorado Springs Local Business: The Cheesecake Artist

Kami Coldiron, baker and owner of the Cheesecake Artist, tells the best story about how she started making her fabulous cheesecakes.

“I was about eight years old and I was following my mother around the house,” she recalls.  “‘I asked her if we could make cookies.”

Note that Kami is one of seven siblings in a military family.  Her mother patiently responded, “Honey, why don’t YOU make cookies?”

“I don’t know how,” answered young Kami.

“Can you read?”, said her mother.

“Yes,” responded Kami.  And a legend was born.

Kami learned to follow a recipe and bake on her own.  She loved baking and made all sorts of delectable desserts for her family.  Not long after, she picked up her mothers mini-cheesecake recipe and made it from scratch for a school bake sale.  The cheesecakes sold well and she found her passion.

Kami continued to make these delightful little "junior cheesecakes" into adulthood.

Kami continued to make these delightful little “junior cheesecakes” into adulthood.

Kami has honed the recipe over the years.  Her siblings are tough critics and she had to adjust the recipe for altitude when they arrived in Colorado Springs.  Finally, she had this conversation with her brother when he grimaced over dessert.

“You don’t like it?”, she asked.

“No.  I love it,” he responded.

With that, she knew she had perfected the recipe.

This is Kami's Irish Cream cheesecake with ganache.

This is Kami’s Irish Cream cheesecake with ganache.

Kami has a day job, but her friends had encouraged her to start a bakery.  Finally, she though, “Why not try it?”.  It was a chance to branch out and try something new.  It’s essentially the same way she approaches baking.  Why not try something new?  She patiently works out her recipes and is patiently building her business.

Her friends help her.  She has a way of extending her family out to her friends.  She talked about what a blessing they’ve been.  One friend even comes to the market every week to help her put up and take down her tent!

Kami takes special orders.

Kami takes special orders and does holiday assortments.

You can find The Cheesecake Artist at the Colorado Farm and Art Market on Saturdays at the Margarita at Pine Creek or contact Kami through her Cheesecake Artist Facebook page.

Kami also makes other baked goods, such as these Bride and Groom Cupcakes.

She also makes other baked goods, such as these Bride and Groom Cupcakes.

I’ll leave you with Kami’s own words about why she does this work with her family, her friends and strangers.

“I love baking and I love to see the joy of what I’m doing spread to my customers.”

(Note to the FTC:  Kami once gave me a cheesecake without charging me.  This happened sometime in the winter and it was delicious.  Since then, I have not been able to keep myself from buying them and eating them before noon.)

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

Colorado Springs Local Business: Shark Hat Cafe

Those of you who have been reading for a long time will remember Snowball the Cat.  Snowball was one of the three Traveling Cats with whom I arrived in Colorado Springs a few years ago.

Here they are after a long day of traveling.

Here they are after a long day of traveling.  Snowball is the lone cat on the left.  He and Spot never got along.

Snowball died in 2012.  He was the last of the three and I never had a good outdoor memorial for him.  My friend Lisa Pence, of Pence Design, painted memorial stones for Spot and Kitty, but she had moved away by the time Snowball died.

Catherine Evans of Shark Hat Cafe recently remedied this situation.

Catherine Evans recently remedied this situation.

Catherine is the artist and owner of Shark Hat Cafe.  It’s not actually a cafe, you can’t buy a cup of coffee or anything, but you can buy some very interesting art!

Catherine is fascinated by the human body.  It's not a gruesome interest.  It's "kind of like taking a clock apart," as she says.

Catherine is fascinated by the human body. It’s not a gruesome interest. It’s “kind of like taking a clock apart,” as she says.

After seeing her body part art, I wondered how it would be to interview Catherine.  She turned out to be an engaging and charming woman with a family who made me feel at ease.  Catherine’s art gets its share of double-takes, but it’s not about the macabre.  It’s a way of expressing her view of humanity and our place in the spiritual and material worlds.

Shark Hat Cafe got its name from a difficult time in Catherine’s life.  As with many parents, it was difficult when her daughter went away to college and she was sad.  She didn’t do much laughing during that time, except at a hat shaped like a shark that she saw in a store.

These detailed lemon-slice earrings might make me laugh ... especially if I saw them on a shark.

These detailed lemon-slice earrings might make me laugh … especially if I saw them on a shark.

Catherine actually started selling her unique art to raise money for her daughter’s college education.  She told me the story I often hear from artists.  She had always had an artistic side and loved to draw, but she didn’t think to sell the art until she needed money.  At that point, it really started to blossom.

She started out doing more mainstream work, but the sales weren’t what she had hoped.  Art and creativity are often the children of necessity, as you no doubt know.  She got mad that she was making cute stuff that didn’t really work for her and started making pieces that would “make people flip out”.  And guess what!  They started selling!

This interesting eye is looking at you from a magnet.

This interesting eye is looking at you from a magnet.

Catherine brings her work to art shows around town and gets interesting reactions.  Some people are fascinated, some are horrified.

Personally, I've always been intrigued.  It's unusual work.

Personally, I’ve always been intrigued. It’s unusual work.

We were talking about her family and work when her memorial flower arrangements came up.  She started making them when her grandfather passed on and she couldn’t find one she liked for his grave.  I told her about my late husband and how our cat Snowball didn’t have a memorial.  Do you know what Catherine did?  She volunteered to make one for me and came over to put it on Snowball’s little grave.

I was stunned at this gesture.  At the risk of making a pun, it was heartwarming.

I was stunned at this gesture. At the risk of making a pun, it was heartwarming.

You can buy Catherine’s art online at her website or Etsy. Look for her work at local stores Rainy Day Anime and Warped.

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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