Sunday, March 7, 2010

Odds & Ends Sunday

It's time to cook up a storm and restock the freezer with my homemade TV dinners...First thing this AM I made a tamale pie from a new recipe ...turned out great...will make enchiladas next and another pot of chili...sounds like I'm in the mood for spicy!!!Will try a new recipe for apple cake and a bread pudding...also oatmeal cookies and some kind of breakfast muffin...This sytsem is working out very well for me.

Dried a bunch of apples yesterday...jars look so nice on the shelf...That's something that isn't mentioned often preservation LOOKS pretty...rows of mason jars filled with all the colors of the rainbow...makes me feel so 'back to the land'..

Got an email from the company I ordered my herb seeds from...apparently a mix-up on my order...they thought they shipped and didn't...very nice lady named Betsy took care of it for me and they are on their way as we speak...

My co-op order is in...just buying honey this month...price went up again...damn...but it is very good honey and I need it for I will bite the bullet.

Went and priced peat pots for my herb and garden seed starts...too much $$$ for the quantity I went online and found a method for making them out of newspaper and a soup can...told my 7 yr old granddaughter about it and she is all excited to help me make in the high desert we can't realistically plant till mid June so won't start the seeds till mid so envious of those who can plant in April or May...forces us to look for varieties that mature very early...our local community college is offering a class on vegie gardening in our area...took it years ago...but need a will enroll.

The Klamath Basin is in big water trouble this year...we had 1 big snow storm all winter and a few small flurries that didn't add up to any appreciable snow pack...the drought in the west is 'real' folks and doesn't look to be getting better anytime soon...SCARY


Monday, March 1, 2010

Independence Day Challenge

Just visited Sharon Astyk's site...Casaubon's Book...and signed up for her yearly Independence Day idea conceived by Carla Emery that covers 7 areas of food sustainability...Plant something
Harvest something
Preserve something
Waste not
Want Not
Build community food systems
Eat the food

Anyone serious about their pantry and their community needs to take the challenge...and spread the word


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shopping Day For Preps

Made an appreciable dent in my preps today...Bought the following...

1 galvanized garbage can
1 6 gal water container
1 LED wind-up camp light
1 Doz pint canning jars
a mandoline
fruit leather sheets for the food dryer
brown sugar
plastic bags (2 sizes)
AA & AAA batteries

I'm at the point where I have "some" of most things on my prep starting in April I am going to concentrate on one specific item each month...canned goods..meds..grains..dried fruit etc...I think that will be a good way to increase my stores in decending order of importance.

Spent most of this morning going through my favorites list and weeding out the old and unnecessary...Went from 3 scrolled pages to computer has been having some problems lately...hope getting rid of so much "stuff" will help...already seems to be running better.

Am invited to my daughters for a barbeque SIL requested I make a lemon meringue pie (his favorite) nice to have all the fixin's right in my pantry.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cooking For One...NOT

Cooking for one can be so boring...All my life I've cooked for a crowd...stuff like enchiladas, soups. big batches of mac and cheese...there are so many more choices if one is not restricted to one or two servings.

Unfortunately when faced with consuming a gallon or two of whatever...because even the most wonderful pot of anything will spoil if not eaten in a timely eyes start to glaze over by day 3.

I read Michael Pollan's new book...FOOD RULES...(an excellent little read)... and was inspired to look at my cooking and eating habits...also I was looking for a better way to manage my pantry. I realized I was eating more for convenience than health...not making the most of my stored food...and that big beautiful freezer in my back room could be used much more efficiently.

So I started with a list...matching what I want to cook with what I have stored...Turns out I didn't have to buy much to fill in the gaps...then I dug out a bunch of pint canning jars..lids and rings...and started cooking.

Made 2 kinds of soup...a big pot of chili...and a banana cake...divided the soups and chili into the canning jars (a single serving each)...cut up the cake and put all in the freezer. Have plans today to make enchiladas,lasagna and breakfast muffins...still to come...spaghetti sauce, cookies and more soup. I'm on a roll!!!

This is so I can have the foods I love without the boredom pantry is getting rotated efficiently and I am eating much healthier...Thanks for the inspiration Mr Pollan!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Dreaming

Woke up with a headcold..UGH...wonder if I caught it from ornery bastard!!

Spent most of yesterday drawing up plans for spring and summer. Deciding where to plant what...what areas need cleaning much work I can realistically handle.

Want to start out with a 30' X 50' garden plot...sounds big but most of it will be planted in corn, beans and squash-pumpkins...the rest in lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts and peppers. Inherited a nifty raised bed with permanent tomato cages...grew some there at the tail end of June and got a decent crop. My main effort will be to establish a medicinal herb garden. A combo of containers and beds. Just ordered $41.00 worth of herb seed from Bountiful Gardens in Willits, Ca...all their seeds are heirloom - open pollinated.

Will relocate and expand the rhubarb patch and line the garden fence with berry plants...mostly raspberries.( my favorite)...may try a couple strawberry barrels but haven't had much luck growing them in this area. Already have established patches of chives and sunflowers...also 1 each-apricot plum and apple trees. The apricot is WONDERFUL...quite a producer...made lots of jam last August plus more than enough to eat fresh. Want to figure out what to do with two big trees worth of crab apples...found a recipe for spiced crab apples I might try.

Deer are going to be a problem. Despite living in a fairly dense neighborhood I had 10 deer in my yard a few nights ago...and they are totally unafraid of a TSHTF scenario they will be toast. main garden will need to be considering a hot daughter can help me with that (you up for this Shelly???)

Am going to give Ruth Stout's intensive mulching method a serious go...will need a ton of soil looks pretty and well aeriated.

Bought another 6 gal water container's about the weight limit I can handle myself. Have 3 of them my a good feeling to see them lined up in my pantry.

Snow forcasted for today...think me and my cold are going to get comfie with a cup of tea a blankie and a good book.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If It's Tuesday It Must Be Bread Day

I love making bread...I have a couple of permanent customers who buy my bread every week...I do not possess a certified kitchen so my little enterprise is strictly under the radar. My customers don't care..they've been buying from me for quite some time now and all are still alive and kickin' they think my bread is the bomb!!

The process of making bread is what I love...all the elements come together in such a satisfying and wholesome way...the interaction of the yeast and water with the honey and oil...alternating the flour and oatmeal...saving the addition of salt till the end of the mixing process so it won't inhibit the yeast...then the kneading.

Kneading is the best part...the tactal part...the dough is warm and so plyable in my hands...the cadence of push-turn...push-turn...I always end the process with a gentle slap...just like patting a baby's butt.

Bread rising requires patience and faith...can't be rushed...sometimes if my kitchen is really cold it can take a while...I fire up the oven before anything is started so it will help the dough along...then the rowdy punching down so I can shape the loaves and start the second rise...when the loaf sides are just above the edge of the pan in the oven they go for exactly 35 min...the smell is one of the all time great kitchen aromas!...then pop the finished loaves out and onto the cooling rack...if all the loaves are spoken for I have to restrain my urge to lop off the nearest heal... slather it with tons of butter and honey and make a pig of myself at the kitchen sink...Such a satisfying sight ..that beautiful bread sitting there...and such a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Plan

First I want my garden to be very specific...medicinal herbs have always been an interest and this year I would like to broaden my knowledge...I want to try Ruth Stout's methods and the trinity of corn-squash-beans...I want to improve on the existing rhubarb patch (love the stuff)...get some serious berry plants in and a couple of dwarf fruit trees...maybe apple and pear...haven't decided.

Parts of the yard are overgrown and need attention...lots of shady areas where hosta and begonias would considering bees, but more like next year when I feel I have a bit of control of the situation...Also neighbor has a mini flock of 5 or 6 who come over to visit ...they bring the family cat too...I think he's their protector. This is a perfect house for window boxes...I think that's a project for my son...also lots of container tomatoes and peppers along the sunny front walk.

Inside the house I have a pellet stove and though I like it I want to replace it with a wood stove...this is a small house and it wouldn't take a very big stove to do the job...have the landlords permission and am saving as we speak!!

Have a whole room at the back of the house for my pantry...stays nice and present it holds my freezer, galvinized cans full of pasta, oatmeal, beans etc...and shelves full of preps line the walls...will get better organized there...add more shelves...get a few more galvanized cans.

Last but definitely not least...I have to get in shape...have neglected my health and need to get back on the stick...This is always the hardest part for me...but I am very motivated in these uncertain times...want to be fit so I can be a help and not a burden..

So there are the bones of my plan...would appreciate any helpful suggestions along the way...