Sunday, August 27, 2006
I don't know if I have mentioned my obsession with duplicating fast food taste with out fast food money or fast food lack of nurtition... but this would be a big deal in my house. I HATE fast food places, but we tend to go there once a month or so just because my family loves the terrible food (I usually get a salad and fries). But every time we go I marvel at how bad the food is, how terribly it is made and I won't even get into the sources that they get their meat from. YUCK! Anyway... so I have a good time trying to make things that make my children say things like "Oooo... just like at the Fair." or something like that and I really enjoy when I succeed. Here is my version of Fair Food... Elephant Ears. The only time ever that I buy those pop can buiskets, but they are perfect for this. Just roll the buiskets flat and drop into a pan of about 1/2 inch veggie or canola oil and when they come out add cinnamon and sugar and perhaps a little butter. They are good, cheap and not completely terrible for you. ;)
I pulled about 5lbs of beans out of the garden yesterday, and then I topped them, and saute'd them, and put 1/2 in th fridge and 1/2 in this wonderful yellow chicken curry. I also grabbed a few baby yellow squash and added those as well. The chicken was cooked with TONS of fresh ginger (not grown by me... lol) and lime juice. The yellow curry was a sauce mix Don likes from Trader Joe's and a can of coconut milk along with more ginger and lime. Everything else was just saute'd in coconut oil (very healthy) and a bit of grapeseed to bring the flash rate up so the beans didn't scorch. You can't see the squash at all in this picture, but it is there... tiny little yellow squash that wern't overcooked to my suprise so it made the dish VERY beautiful. It was a truly yummy meal over perfectly cooked Jasmine rice.
Friday, August 25, 2006
I had just under a quart of peaches left over from last nights peach canning marathon... So I made that into a double batch of peach butter. I was aww'ed at the amount 0f sugar it takes to do preserves... I adjusted it a tad. So the recipe I used is as follows:
5 cups peaches (sliced and pealed)
5 cups sugar
1 box Sure Jell
I cooked the peaches down and used an old potato masher to mash them a bit so we don't have big chunks. Then I added the Sure Jell and brought back to a boil. After it was boiling well, I added the sugar, and mixed until it was thick. I put it in hot wide mouth 1/2 pint jars and processed it for 12 minutes in a hot water bath.
If anyone has noticed I only use wide mouth jars in my canning, regardless if I am making 8 oz of jam or quarts of Applesauce. I have found that it makes the entire process easier if I only have to buy one size of lids.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Peaches... canned with 1 part sugar and 4 parts water for a tiny bit of flavor, but not much sweetness (when you wait for the peaches to be almost over ripe, you rarely need much but a tad to bring out the flavor anyway). I did the first batch with the same syrup ratio, but then added 2 tea of Sigon Cinnamon to the mix. Cyan had some of those for dessert and said they were perfect. She is now excited that we will have peaches all winter. lol... kids are great support sometimes. It kept me going for the rest of the day on these. I now have just over 20 quarts of sliced peaches. Two boxes down, one to go.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
My garage smells like a hot car filled with peaches. This is where I have been storing the peaches until they are ready. They will be ready tomorrow.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
My friend Laurie has been raving about this breakfast for a while now, so I had to try it... unaltered (except I did add cheese... I used my last avo last night in tacos. lol!)
I added a spinich and nasturituim salad on the side becuase I have been needing the iron, and it was delicious! I will def be making this dish again.
Thanks for the inspiration Laruie!
Friday, August 18, 2006
1 1/2 c tightly packed, coarsely grated zucchini
3 Tbs flax seeds
1/2 c water
1 1/2 c WW pastry flour
1 c barley flour (spelt works, and I also have used just unbleached in this spot)
1 Tbs baking powder (Rumford)
1 1/2 to 2 tea cinnamon
3/4 to 1 tea ground ginger
1/4 tea ground cloves (or sub 5-Spice)
1/2 tea sea salt (important to bring out the flavors... have tried it without... not quite as good)
1/2 c dried rasins, currents, or cranberries
1/2 c apple juice
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c canola or safflower oil
(an overripe banana is my secret ingredient to these muffins for my family... they like things a bit sweeter than the average "food muffin" fare.)
Gather your ingredients:
Gather your help, complete with cheesy grin:
#1. Brush the muffin tins with the oil and set aside.
#2. Set the zucchini in a colander over a bowl or plate to drain.
#3. In a blender, grind the flax seeds. Add the water and process more until slightly gumy mixture is acheived, about 30 seconds.
#4. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients including the currents/rasins.
#5. To the flax seed mixture, add the apple juice, maple syrup, oil and vanilla (and here I add in a banana as well). Process in blender until foamy, about 1 minute.
#6. Press zucchini to make sure most of the moisture is out of it.
#7. Blend the liquid mixture and the zucchini into the dry mixture, just until all of the flour is absorbed (too much more and they get dry).
(See mom! There are no eggs! I can eat the dough!!!)
#8. Fill the oiled muffin tins almost to the top with batter, and bake on the center shelf of an oven preheated to 375* until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops bounce back to gentle pressure. (18-20 minutes in my experience)
#9. Set the muffins on a rack to cool, running a knife around the outside to remove them from the pans (you may have to remove them from the pans hot because they tend to get soggy around the bottom if you don't). Serve warm or cool or store for future use.
And what does my future Domestic Goddess in Training do while her muffins are cooking?
For vegan baking these are surprizingly simple. You dirty one spoon, one blender, one large bowl, and muffin tins, and they always come out. I experiment with these pretty often because they are such wonderful canidates, esp this time of year with all the zucchini I have running my back yard
I have added dates instead of rasins with only 5-spice as all the spices, and that turned out wonderful. It is a recipe I keep in my mental stocks for when we need a fast breakfast but not for a couple days or so... Like planning a road trip or something. These are always on the menu. They are perfect with a juice boxed size of chocolate rice milk in the car. (or with a juice box for that matter)
since I have to be in the kitchen anyway... I decided to make a bunch of Vegan Zucchini Muffins to freeze... I added cranberries and rasins to this batch to add some fruit and they were PERFECT. God, sometimes I love food so much!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Here are some approximations to keep in mind when purchasing apples:
* 1 pound apples = 3 medium apples = 2 cups sliced
* 3 pounds apples = 8-9 medium apples = one 9 inch pie
* 1 peck apples = 10-12 pounds = 32 medium apples = 3-4 9-inch pies = 7-9 quarts frozen = 4 quarts canned
* 1 bushel apples = 48 pounds = 126 medium apples = 15 9-inch pies = 30-36 pints frozen = 16-19 quarts canned
So I have approximatly 1 BUSHEL of apples in my kitchen, and I gave a "peck" to Sarah yesterday... good to know.
Two good things... #1, most of these apples were picked off the tree, which means they will last if I need them too, but for all intents they are perfect for canning right this second. and #2 the peaches need to sit in a warm room for the next three days until they are ready, giving me time to finish the applesauce before the peaches are even ripe much less 'over' ripe. So although I am terribly busy, pregnant, and a little crazy... what I am trying to do is at least DO-ABLE. lol...
Monday, August 14, 2006
Twig letters... I have used twigs as art before (in fact I do it all the time) but this is just too cool! I may have to make something for the baby, perhaps when we find out what it is etc...
This is my favorite twig thing that I have done:
It is a mobile in Cyan's room (I painted two of the walls purple and then did little fat freehand butterflies all over the place). I made it out of apple twigs and flower pictures from a gardening magazine I had on hand. I think the whole thing took me an hour but it is one of my favorite home made art pieces in the house.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
I decided that I would wait until next week to get peaches... or at least Sunday. I have about 7lbs of beans left to top, blanch, and bag, and I have two 10lb bags of apples to core and make into sauce tomorrow. I think I have enough to do. lol... I am really tired tonight, but for the first time in a long while (at least since I have been pregnant) I feel really productive. I love that. It makes me staying at home really make sense when I am saving money left and right and storing for winter, etc. This is my job... and I love it.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Alex's are yet to come... he has two shirts that are done, but without him here it seems strange to take pictures of them. I also made a couple hoodies for Cyan, one of which I also sent to my friend. She did a wonderful job on everything and I am very excited to say that she is moving up to the NW as we speak! So I forsee lots of dye and embroider parties soon... :D Our kids will be well clothed that is for sure.
Cyan's 5th birthday party cupcakes. They were yellow cake, with cream cheese frosting mixed with melted chocolate at Cyan's request. Then she went out and picked all of these etable flowers to decorate the top. Everyone was very impressed at the camp where she spent her birthday. And she was THILLED when she came home that we had a few more. :D
These babies were sold to me as "dwarf beans". On the package it said they would get to be about 4 ft high. I made trellis acordingly and set them up around the bottom. The week I pulled out my peas for a second crop I realised that there was no way these were going to stay on the trellis... the two weeks they grew to around 9ft tall... and now they are over 12ft. These were sold to me on false pretenses!! They are in NO way "dwarf" beans. lol... I don't mind, but I sure wasn't prepared.
And this is two months later: Cyan is over 4ft tall... You cant even SEE the orginal trellis it is SO burried! I had to move the pea trellis (when I pulled out the peas of course) over to the beans so that they still had somewhere to go. They were not contented to just continue to go up. They were falling over and attacking the fence.
This is 9 ft up and still growing...
Here they are traveling over to the fence that is over 3 ft away...
On to the pictures:
Here they are trellised on my old rose stakes... they just cling right on there and produce off the ground. I will never do cukes another way again.
These two little bitties are just coming ripe this week. I am pretty excited to pick them too as I picked all the ripe ones over a week ago now and am due for another installment. Can I say they are PERFECT! They look better than anything I have gotten at the store.
This beauty materialized over the weekend I was camping on the 4th of July... I came home and her beautiful face was just at my eye level when I went out to water. Stunning isn't she? The center is nearly scarlet, and it grades out to a nice light yellow on the outer rim. The center is VERY dark brown (almost black) which sets off the color change very nicely. I will be saving some of these seeds. Just beautiful!
This is one of the later yellow sunflowers. These have multiple heads, which is great, but they tend to fall over. Perhaps that is just this year though... It is brand new soil.
Another head on the same plant. Beautiful though. Georgous.
Here is the set above the strawberry bed. This one has much more orange than the first picture does, but the gradiant colors and the super dark center make me think it is a similar variety. They are all now in full bloom. This means that I constantly have them on my tables and for any event (invited to someones house for dinner, house warming etc) I have been cutting many of them and bringing them along as a blessing of bounty. I love sunflowers!