Monday, September 29, 2008

Manic Monday

Well, not really manic.

Ethan just said he wanted falafel. I wish! That's one of my favorite foods, yummy! They feature food on CBC kids and the kids sometimes tell me they want to try what they have but I don't think they would actually eat it. They say they want to try, so maybe I'll make some. I usually use a mix but someday I need to get adventurous and make them from scratch if I can find a good & easy recipe.

My side of pork is all ordered up. I had to tell them what cuts I wanted. I wanted lots of chops and steaks. I know the kids will eat those. I was all "huh?" half the time. I told him I never ordered one before so I had no clue. I probably won't next time either, lol! I'm getting my hams and bacon smoked, mmmm! Those will take a little longer but we'll get the fresh stuff on Friday. He said it would be around $100, not including the smoking.

Apparantly there is a potato crisis going on. I don't know if it will affect Canada or not, but Red & White has 50lbs bags of new potatoes for $7.99 so I think I'll pick one up. We have about half of a 50lbs bag, but you can't go wrong with potatoes. After we have our meat, I am going to do the assembly line cooking thing for fries. Every time I shop, I go to grab frozen fries but what's the point when I can make them for pennies and the kids like the ones I make better. I need to get more oil in storage. The price of that has shot up.

I made a delicious smelling casserole for someone yesterday. I fried up some green peppers and onions with lean ground beef. I put in some fresh tomatoes when they were nearly done so they didn't overcook. I then mixed sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce with milk to thin it out a bit. I stirred this into the ground beef mix. I put a layer of whole wheat rotini in a casserole dish, layered with some marble cheese and topped it with the ground beef/Alfredo mix. It smelled so GOOD! I was drooling over it. I am definately making this for us sometime. I wanted to do something with gravy but tomato goes better with pasta, but Alfredo kind of seems in the middle.

I have decided to make more sit down meals with more veggies but it's so hard to work around Mark's schedule. I need to figure out a way to use up all our potatoes and carrots before they go bad. I also have lots of apples and pears. I am going to can the pears when I can get a hold of the pressure canner. I am going to water bath them, but my pot is not big enough for quart jars. If I could get a hold of some peaches I would make fruit cocktail as I have lots of grapes. I could just can them. I got a ton of organic red grapes for only 99 cents a pound last week!

I have been in super stock up mode and it's making Mark crazy! I am concerned about hyperinflation happening due to the economy crisis in the USA. I'm not freaking out about it, I just think we need to buy now while prices are reasonable. I figure if we buy now, we can save money while we are eating our storage. That's how we managed to save a lot of money last time.

Well, I need to take advantage of this beautiful day :)

Friday, September 26, 2008


I had to wait to dehydrate the peppers since the tomatoes were taking so long. I tasted on and they were gross! I don't know what is up with them (edit to add that Shayee was playing with cleaning supplies around the sink and I think some got into the peppers). Most of them were from Sobeys. I may have to go to the Fruit and Veggie stand to get some fresh ones because I was looking forward to having dried ones over winter. The tomatoes are fabulous! I had to stop myself from tasting them, lol! It's amazing that you can take about 6lbs of something and dry it to something that will fit in a quart mason jar (roughly).

There is a buy one get one free sale at Sobeys starting tomorrow. I need to go through the flyer. I got to the BOGO whole wheat pasta and got too distracted, lol! The kids go through a lot of pasta and I'm getting low. I bought a 5lbs bag of regular but I prefer whole wheat. I'll probably load up and they won't like it anymore, lol! That happened with the macaroni and Kraft Dinner, now Ethan won't touch it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Triumphs and Losses

I forgot to mention I bought a new food processor. I broke mine a while back while I was trying to make relish, but it was just a tiny little thing so it was pretty useless. I mostly only used it for hummus as it wasn't big enough to do much else with. I borrowed Veronica's but I haven't gotten around to using it. I've been meaning to make more relish. Well, I was at Walmart the other day to see if there were any cheap kids clothes and went through the housewares department. They had a really nice General Electric 11 cup food processor for only $19! That's not much more than I paid for my little one. I hadn't gotten around to using it yet, but last night I had a pile of peppers I needed to chop, hot peppers and green peppers. I just had to seed them and chute them through (looks like I missed a few seed :o). It took less than a minute to chop up 11 cups worth! Wow! That would of taken me all night and I would not of had them cut uniformly. I think the food processor may just win a spot on my counter :)

Well, I made bread yesterday. I don't know what went wrong but my bread was hard as a rock and my banana bread was soggy, even after cooking it twice as long as I should (I baked the banana bread for the proper amount of time, but I tried a different banana recipe this time; I won't use it again). I think I need to get new yeast. I buy it bulk at the health food store and keep it in the freezer. At least the bread dough made delicious pizza crust, which is what we had for lunch. We need to get our oven looked at as the temperature is wonky and I can't trist it to cook things properly. I've been saying it for ages but if I want to start making more bread, unless I get a bread machine, I need a good working oven.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I am really behind in keeping this food blog up. I am terrible lately with blogging anyway. Sometimes I sit to write and draw a blank.

I wrote in our main blog about our Valley Day, which resulted in all the food in this picture here. I have been kind of lazy and haven't done much food processing since. I did cut up all the peaches and froze them as they were on the verge of total ruination (they make wonderful smoothies, but not good for much else) and froze some other things. I need to do something with the rest soon as it will spoil otherwise. I was going to make green tomato mincemeat but the tomatoes turned red before I got a chance, lol! I think I'm going to dehydrate them instead.

I did get my carrots all buried in sawdust. Shaylee had a lot of fun helping me. I think I am going to do the same with my beets as I haven't had the energy to can them and this method is good for all root vegetables (or so I've read).

Today I'm also making bread. I want to stop buying it from the store, even though it's more convenient. Eventually I'm going to start buying our own wheat berries and grinding our own flour, but things keep coming up which makes it hard to budget a couple hundred bucks for wheat.

I was looking at a website called Living On A Dime and this thing popped up at me: "Five Simple Steps To Save $500 A Month On Your Grocery Budget". It totally doesn't apply to me as I try to spend a lot less than that (except when I'm building up my food storage). I can't possibly imagine a way to spend less than I do except if I were to raise and grow everything myself and right now I'm willing to pay for that convenience living in an apartment and all.

Speaking of food storage, I have been totally stocking up. I want to be ready to face the winter. My goal is to try and only spend about $100 a month over winter for groceries but also have an extra $100 a month in reserve in case there are good buys (although the sales have stunk lately!). I have really been putting a lot of effort into having enough and getting our storage in. I even bought a side of pork; they are $1.39/lbs at Red & White but I have no idea how big or how much. I was going to go with a quarter side of beef, but that would of ran us around $500, which is a little pricey. I want to try to budget for it to buy one next year as it would be soooo good. So I've been making room as with all the frozen fruit and veggies, one freezer is solid full and the other is about half. At least if the economy crashes, we'll have enough to eat ;)

One really good dish I made this week was just fried peppers, onions and tomatoes with a can of chili beans served over rice. I also made a really yummy cornbread in the microwave which went well with everything (especially homemade jam). It's good kept in the fridge with pieces sliced off to serve with soup/stew/chili or eggs for breakfast. I have probably said that I have given up the microwave but it is in the basement. With the oven not so reliable, sometimes it's better, especially for brownies and frozen foods/dinners.

Here's the recipe for Microwave Cornbread:

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into ungreased 9 inch pie plate or round microwaveable cake pan. Microwave at HIGH 5-6 minutes, or until surface appears dry, rotating pan after 2-3 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's this?

So, what do you get when you mix 50lbs of carrots with a big bag of sawdust? Carrots that will last all winter long! I heard about this at a food storage meeting ans thought I would give it a whirl. For $10, it's not an expensive experiment. It was only $4.99 for the carrots and $5 for the shavings! Wow, that's like 10 cents a pound for the carrots, 20 with the shavings. They were sold as deer carrots but they're just smaller than the ones they sell for a lot more. They are good, sweet, crisp and very tasty! I'm going to either put them in a big box or tote (haven't decided yet) and they should stay well and crisp until next year.

I have really been on a buying kick. I am getting my larder in for winter. Things are so cheap now that I hate not to take advantage. We got 50lbs of new potatoes for only $8.99! I am going to try to bury them in the sawdust too. They're supposed to keep well.

I'm thinking of turning part of my basement into a cold storage room. The far side of the basement would be a great since there is a window that opens to the outside. I just need to find a cheap way to cordon it off. I'm also going to try to store apples and lots of squash. I have read about different ways to store things so I'm open to try. I'll still do up some apples, like applesauce and pie filling, maybe more chutney. I'm also going to dry some more this year. Apple chips are so yummy :) I'm also going to dehydrate some green peppers.

I need to read over the Little House books to see how Ma Ingalls and Mother Wilder did things. I love reading what they did. Of course it was a lot colder back then and they could rely on hanging meat outside and in the attic in the winter where we couldn't do such a thing today (thanks global warming, lol!). But we also have a global system of food transport where you can eat fresh strawberries in the dead of winter, but I want to try to eat more seasonally and locally.

Well, I have things to do before bed but I'll try to write more. Autumn is such a yummy time of year!

Canning Tons

I have been meaning to write here, but I keep putting it off. Part of it is the last post I wrote. I honestly don't know if I'm gluten intolerant and feel bad making such a big deal of it. I don't know what's going on with my body and I should see the doctor, but I'm scared. Just being honest.

Well, I have been canning up a storm. I've made tons of salsa, chutney, relish and sauces plus jams. I've probably done close to 150 pints of preserves so far. I love canning! It's hard, hot work but so worth it!!

Here are some images of what I've been up to:

Fresh, local Fred Kingsbury tomatoes. I've gone through more than 30lbs of these babies :)

My part of my first batch of salsa. I also did more.

The chopped up ingredients of one of my batches of chutney.

mmmmm!!! Yummy, simmering tomato chutney. I love this stuff! I went through a jar in one day, it was so good.

My zucchini relish ingredients. Looks like little fingers got into it, lol! My food processor broke halfway through, so I had to use the blender, which didn't work too well since the zucchini was on the dry side. I'm going to borrow Veronica's food processor so I can make cucumber relish.

I thought I had more pictures of the canning I've been doing but sometimes I just forget. My counters have been covered but I'm finally getting things put away. I wish I had more counter space, but I make do with what I have :)

I've also been up to more yummy things but I will save things to write about later.