No Pumpkins Here! October 17, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in canning, Cooking, random stuff.
Have you ever noticed that this time of year, right around October 1, practically every single food blog in the world, it seems, is all pumpkins, all the time.
I mean, pumpkin is okay and all – I like it all right. But to be honest, I prefer sweet potatoes or butternut squash, myself.
And what is UP with this pumpkin latte stuff that everyone’s so obsessed with, anyway?
So anyway. I’m more of an apple gal myself – and you should still be able to get some good late varieties, though locally, the apples, what there were of them, anyway, are pretty much done already. It’s been a really short season!
I am hoping to score some Granny Smiths at the public market, though, this weekend – those are Peeps’s favorite, and I do love a crisp, tart apple too.
So far, I’ve only gotten Honeycrisp and some Empires – the Honeycrisps are early and very, very sweet, and the Empires, well, they’re still on the counter. I’ve been taking them to work with my lunches, just like when I was a kid and lunch was a sandwich and an apple. (Only now it’s salad and an apple.)
What I did with the Honeycrisps was . . . make jelly!
Yes, I know it’s kind of a no-brainer – after all, where does pectin come from?
What do we add to other, low-pectin fruits to help them gel?
What’s going to be the safest jelly for a veteran jam-maker but a novice jelly-maker?
Guys, I made apple jelly!
Without a recipe!
Who knew it would be so easy?
This was basically the same deal, only a little different.
I macerated the washed fruit – skins, cores and all (I used about 3/4 cup of sugar to a pound of fruit – Honeycrisp apples are SWEET!), and then I strained them – I ended up with about 4 cups of apple liquid.
Then, I took the strained apples, added 3 cups of water, and brought them up to a boil.
I wanted to get the full effect of the pectin in the apple skins, you see.
I strained the apples yet again – this time, though, they’d been cooked, and I ran the remains through the food mill, with the pectin-y water/juice getting added to the syrupy sugar/juice from straining the fruit before.
And I actually made about a quart of respectable applesauce – I enjoyed that over the course of the week with my breakfast.
After all, an apple a day, and all that, right?
So I took what was, in all, 6 cups of sweetened apple juice and I used the same process as I’d used for the peaches, only I didn’t add any fruit.
So you know what I got? I got apple jelly – three and a half (half-pint) jars of apple jelly.
Apple mint jelly.
Or apple cranberry jelly.
Or maybe apple vanilla cinnamon jelly.
Endless possibilities, I’m telling you!
Monday Musings: 10.15.2012 Edition October 15, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, canning, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff, Stupor Kitty.
Tags: monday meal plan
Well, the garden is pretty much tucked in for the fall. It’s kind of a sad day, isn’t it? They were forecasting a “killing frost” for Friday night, which, apparently didn’t happen. Or maybe it did – it’s hard to tell. Peeps had frost on the top of his car Saturday morning, but not on the windshield. And the late row of green beans seems to be unscathed, yet of two baby “volunteer” tomato plants I found, one was brown and shriveled (frosted for sure!) and the other, just inches away from it, was at least partially sheltered by ridiculous kale leaves, was as good as new. (Until I pulled it up.)
So we were out shopping this weekend, and Peeps pointed out that we didn’t have anything sweet in the house.
Now, while that is probably a good thing in the long run, we’ve grown to enjoy something dessert-like in the evenings, without actually committing to, say, baking anything.
We came across this new candy – it’s called Unreal. The idea is that it’s better for you than “regular” candy in that it’s got more real ingredients and NONE of the objectionable ingredients – no corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors, no hydrogenated oils, and no GMOs.
Basically, it’s hippy candy. But it’s really, really good hippy candy. If you see it available, do give it a try. Really. You’ll thank me.
So we’ve been working on Puppy-Kitty Tolerance – and boy, is that fun!
Basically, after I get back from our morning walk, the dog gets fed, and the cat gets a little one-on-one treat time with me.
Then, when the dog’s done with his breakfast, he comes out to the kitchen and lies down next to me while the cat skitters away.
However, the magic of chicken, pork and hot dogs will lure her back, even to within a tongue’s length of the Big Scary Dog that she goes out of her way to annoy.
The two of them take turns having treats, and I’ve been getting them closer and closer together. I even got Peeps to play along!
Besides the whole treat thing, the two of them are becoming ever-so-slightly more tolerant of each other – the Kitty will come out and prance around the the living room and dining room, and the dog will pretty much ignore her as long as she doesn’t start whining to be fed.
It’s something. . .
Poor Jar – every time I set up his pills, I marvel at just how much “stuff” he’s on!
Mostly it’s because of his joints – he’s on MSM supplements (from the horse aisle) and glucosamine supplements twice a day, plus the meloxicam (his miracle drug) once, and antacids with it because it tends to cause nausea.
And he’s still on the Prozac, too – we’ve actually increased it a bit, so now he gets the big pill in the morning and the smaller on in the evening.
I feel like a pharmacist sometimes. . .
Oh, exciting news!
For the very first time EVER I canned a batch of soup! I made one of my absolute favorites – the Spanish kale and bean soup. I made a couple of adjustments to the original recipe (and may make a couple more), but I researched the heck out of canning soup, beans, bean soup, and soups with meat, and I have had 8 pints of lovely, lovely soup.
And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. Gosh, doesn’t it seem like there’s always so much going on? I started to say “in the fall,” but then I realized that there’s a lot going on in the summer, too. And the spring. So I guess the only chance we get to really relax is in the winter, and even that’s not without its share of busy-ness, either.
Monday - You know about Groupon, right? Well, Peeps and I try to get out periodically on Saturdays for lunch – it’s cheaper, and going out for dinner gets late. However, I have one that’s expiring very soon, and we just weren’t able to get there Saturday for lunch, they are closed Sundays, so Monday we’re going out to a Korean place – and I’m very much looking forward to it!
Tuesday - We dug some veal chops out of the freezer – Peeps picked them up on sale a while back, so, rather than let them get lost in there, we’ll go ahead and grill them while we can. We have some sort of fries in the freezer and some fresh broccoli from the market.
Wednesday - You’ll recall that I picked up a couple of nice squashes last week – time for soup! I found this Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder that sounds quite nice – Peeps will start the squash roasting when he gets home from work, so the soup will be freshly made at dinnertime.
Thursday - Part of our never-ending project of emptying the freezer is to cook and eat the large hunks of meat that have made their way to the bottom of the freezer – this week it’s roasted chicken with potatoes and the beets I pulled from the garden. And for bonus points, we’re going to take the the leftover chicken and mole it up for dinner over the weekend.
Friday - Friday pizza night - the tomatoes are done, though I did manage to make a micro-batch of roasted tomato sauce that went into the freezer – just enough for two meals for the two of us. We may use that, or I may save it for the depths of winter. I guess we’ll see what kind of mood we’re in, huh?
Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.