So.... I signed up for the pumpkin recipe contest at my church's Harvest Night. I entered it last year and before that too. Ok, and I even got the blue ribbon a couple of times. The question is, do I make something new? or Do I make something that got the blue ribbon in past contests? I lean on the "new" side for now but, alas, I'm finding it difficult to be creative with pumpkin, for whatever reason.
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Too many tomatoes, peaches falling off the tree and “waste not, want want.” – Sounds like a tomato and peach glut to me.
I finally grew a real garden this year after several bad attempts and concluding there’s no way I’ll ever have a great garden. But this year it did amazingly well until the temperatures went three digits. Then everything started to brown, wilt and slow in production. Still I had enough produce to put a few pints and quarts away for the rest of the year. This is how things looked on the west side of my patio sometime in June. (there’s more on the east side)
And again several weeks later.
And just to be sure you get the idea. Here’s some of what was harvested.
So far the 3 tomato plants yielded about 50 lbs of tomatoes and this time I decided it was time I did some canning. So I got busy and canned 12 quarts of stewed tomatoes.
Then I my husband asked me to make tomato jam. It seems he remembers his mother canning tomato jam when he was a boy. Well, I too remember tomato jam only it was the neighbor across the cul-de-sac from our house. (Thank you – Barbara) And I remember being quite shocked at the sweet yumminess in my mouth.
So, tomato jam would be a first for my kitchen but I couldn’t wait to try it out. Another several pounds of blanched, skinned and deseeded tomatoes later and some hot bubbly, sugary, steamy work over the stove and several pints were canned.
I was bummed it didn’t set but no worries I just open a jar when I need it, pour the contents into a saucepan and reduce at a boil for about 10 minutes and… Voila! Perfect tomato jam that my husband seems to prefer over that fancy French stuff I pick up at the specialty shop. (have a look at the little jar there next to the quart of stewed tomatoes.)
This is the way I enjoy my tomato jam … A cup of tea and toast with cream cheese and tomato jam… Mmmmm.. Deliciousness…. Delightful!
Then this morning I got to canning 8 pints of peach butter. I’ve made apricot butter and plumb butter before but this year I decided my neighbors peach tree hanging over my back fence with the puny, boring fruits with bitter skin that don’t ripen on the tree and never get bigger than an apricot wouldn’t go to waste another summer. So I got to work and blanched, peeled, deseeded, simmered and boiled those little lovelies until they were worthy of homemade toast.
It was highly satisfying to hear the canning lids pop (ahhh!) one by one as the jars cooled and sealed in all that sweet fruit.
For my next effort I hope to be canning tomato salsa from a recipe that my mother-in-law made. I lost the recipe years ago and after she passed away I figured I’d never be able to reproduce that awesome flavor until the other day when I remembered a friend of mine has had the recipe for years. I’ll be giving her a call soon.
In the mean time, I’m quite satisfied with my labors. My efforts to eat cleaner and closer to the vine are paying off.
Growing your own produce ensures cleaner food on your table and knowing its clean just makes you feel healthier. Next year I hope to blog my gardens progress more systematically. For now, it was good to finally just get a post on the proverbial paper.
Hope your summer is beginning to cool off. Leave a comment if you like. Let me know about your canning adventures. Tell me if you’ve ever made tomato jam. Maybe we can swap recipes… c’mon… Ask me how to make it. For now I’ll leave you with this…
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
Yes, I suppose I have to confess that it’s been more than a year since my last post here. Too long for sure. I’ve been going through a change in the season of my life and let me tell you it aint no spring season… more like fall or winter. Life seems to whiz by and it’s not waiting for anybody to catch up.
Lots of things have changed in the past year, like I got hooked on Pinterest. One of my favorite categories is homemade stuff. Stuff like bio-green household cleaners, alternatives to lotions, shampoos and the like. Today I decided it was time I shared some of the surprising results with you. Of course, I realize this has been for the most part a food blog but today I guess that will be a thing of the past.
And for my first trick…. watch me pull a rabbit out of my orange tree… well not exactly a rabbit. How about a Citrus Enzyme Cleaner? I didn’t come up with this myself, infact, I found it on Pinterest and figured I’d give it a try since I have an orange tree and don’t like to waste the peelings. (normally they go into my compost pile)
Here’s the link to the original blog post at Homemade Mamas with the recipe and some good information. I’ll forgo some of their details and assume you’ll visit the original post for that. What I will do is share the recipe and my findings.
Citrus Enzyme Cleaner
- 1. In a large 3 liter soda bottle (or similar plastic container) combine 7 Tbs brown sugar and 2 1/2 cups lemon and orange peels and scraps in pieces small enough to get into the container.
- 2. Pour enough water to cover scraps (about 4 cups) into the container.
- 3. Put the lid tightly on the container to make it air tight. Shake the container long enough to get the sugar incorporated throughout.
- 4. Now it’s time to ferment. Write the date on the outside of the container with a sharpie so you can keep track of the progress and remember when you started. The sugar/fruit mixture will ferment for 3 months to get those enzymes going. As it ferments, CO2 gas will build up in the container. The container will swell, open it to release the pressure, unless you want an explosion, then recap it. You’ll need to release the CO2 daily in the first month and less often after that. After 3 months, the process is complete, and the enzymes are ready for use as a household cleaner.
- 6. Filter through a cheese cloth and pour into the containers of your choice. (I recycled some clear bottles with screw caps)
Now look at my microwave… it’s so clean that you cant tell if you are looking through the door at my kitchen or if it’s a reflection. I’ll let you guess which.
So there you have it! Try this at home but I recomend you test this cleaner on surfaces you aren’t sure about. I would hate see you remove the paint off your cabinets or messy up your pretty tile or wood floors. When in doubt go with a diluted solution first then up grade as needed.
Blessings and joy! And happy cleaning. [kiss]
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms. Proverbs 31:17
The following information was written by wordpress.com for my benefit. I figured I’d share it with you. The only thing is, I really have been “off” when it comes to food blogging in 2010. Hopefully, 2011 will show some improvement.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 11 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 60 posts. There were 56 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 55 views. The most popular post that day was “Big Game Suppliers”.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, thepioneerwoman.com, networkedblogs.com, leasehunter.com, and dobetter.wordpress.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for venison chorizo, venison chorizo recipe, christmas crepes, homemade stills, and deer chorizo.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
“Big Game Suppliers” January 2009
Venison Chorizo November 2008
About that no-knead pizza dough….. December 2008
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,
The 12 Hour Pizza or… Chef John’s No-Knead Pizza Dough December 2008
Babies Eat Everything January 2010
Some of the most popular posts were written before 2010. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.
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Since it’s been a while since I played with a wordle I figured it would be fun to see what my blog is saying today…. veeerrrrry interesting!
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Have you ever made that meatballs with grape jelly recipe? I’ve used it several times when I need something quick and easy for potlucks. They are always good but I’m not completely happy with the ordinary-ness of the taste.
Today it was a funeral that made me run to the store, when I should have still been in my pj’s, for a 3-4 lb bag of frozen meatballs. I ran out of the store forgetting the rest of the ingredients. (I hate it when that happens!)
I got home and realized my fatal error. I stood in front of the refriderator, all that cold air escaping, snorting something about how to figure out how to makeshift the recipe, (good thing no one else was up yet) since I only had 30 minutes to get these puppies up to speed and be at the church on time for sound check. (I was singing in said funeral too)
So what does any self respecting pastor’s wife who cooks for all the potlucks do in a pinch? She gets out the raspberry chipotle sauce and some “famous” peppers and onion relish from the “famous chain store” and gets cooking!
Mission accomplished! They were a big hit, my recipe made the requests list and I was relieved.
And a beautiful funeral I might add. We miss you Roy!… Looking forward to our heavenly reunion, minus crock pots and meatballs.
For those of you who asked.. here’s the recipe in all it’s glory….
The Amazing Meatballs Recipe:
- 1 3-4lb bag of frozen pre-cooked meatballs
- 10 oz Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
- 11.5 oz Harry and David’s Pepper & Onion Relish
- 4 oz tomato catsup
- 2 Tbs worcestershire sauce
- Place bag of meatballs in the micowave to defrost for 8 minutes.
- After 90 seconds take bag out of the microwave (because there’s not enough room for them to turn on the lazy susan) and pour meatballs out into a large plastic (micro safe) bowl.
- Now put the bowl in the microwave on defrost… on second thought, maybe just set to high for 8 minutes.
- Stir meatballs every few minutes and repeat the process, (no! don’t put them back in the bag! just repeat step 3 on high at 8 min.) Stir and continue on high as needed, until heated through.
- Pour meatballs into your 25 year old crock pot.
- Now mix together the sauces, relish and catsup in a bowl or measuring cup of your choice. (I didn’t mix first… mistake!) Pour over the meatballs stir and and run out the door!
- Wait, don’t forget the crock pot!!!
- After the emotional flogging of getting a speeding ticket, arrive at the church and unload your amazing meatballs, find the right place for them and plug them in. Set heat level on high.
XO and Enjoy!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7