Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Between garden harvesting/preserving and all the outdoor projects we’re trying to finish before the weather gets cold, we’ve been pretty busy. I have 19 quarts of tomato sauce canned now, and no longer have to hover over the directions to make sure I’m not making any mistakes. We still have a lot more tomatoes to harvest, but the process of canning tomato sauce is no longer daunting to me.
Each time I’ve canned, I’ve saved a bit of the sauce to put in the fridge and use right away. I made this pizza sauce, which was honestly better than any sauce I’ve ever bought. I love to make my own pizza, but I’ve always purchased those (expensive!) little jars of pizza sauce, and I can’t believe how easy it was to make my own. I used pureed tomato sauce since that’s what I had on hand. Starting with some of my tomato sauce, it took about ten minutes to make the pizza sauce, and cost almost nothing. Much better all around than the store-bought variety.
I’ve also made spaghetti sauce, which turned out great and only took a few minutes. No recipe – I just used peppers, basil and onions from our garden, plus garlic, mushrooms and some dried Italian herbs. It turned out great, and like the pizza sauce, only took about ten minutes starting with my basic tomato sauce. So I think we should be pretty well set for tomato-sauce based dishes this winter.
I also baked bread last week, which was another great success. I used this recipe, but (you know me!) I tweaked it a bit, Instead of five cups of white flour, I used three and then added two cups of whole wheat flour. Later on, when the recipe calls for adding whole wheat flour, I subbed half a cup of oats and used whole wheat flour for the rest. I also cut down the honey in each step to about 1/4 cup. The recipe makes three loaves of bread, but I only own one bread pan, so I made one loaf and divided the rest into 24 bread rolls (after the initial rise/punch down of the dough). They’re in the freezer now, and all I have to do when we want bread rolls is let them thaw/rise on a baking pan for a couple hours and then bake them for 15 minutes. Simple, and much less expensive than buying organic whole wheat bread and rolls at the store.
One more kitchen experiment that turned out really well recently was this raw cinnamon raisin bread. I followed the recipe just as it was written, except I used honey instead of agave (there has been some controversy about agave lately, and I’m just more comfortable with local honey right now). Anyway, this recipe is definitely a winner. Both my husband and son came back for thirds, and it’s a great way to get lots of really nutritious foods like seeds, nuts, veggies, and fruit. The zucchini and carrots came from our garden – we have plenty of each, so I like recipes that help me use them up. I know that a lot of my readers probably don’t have a dehydrator, but you could always spread the dough in a pan and bake it in the oven for a while. Definitely a toddler-approved recipe, so I wanted to share.
We’re also working on putting up a fence around our utility area in the back yard. That’s where we have our compost bins, our cold frames during the summer, our scrap wood/metal, and stuff like shovels and rakes. It’s all stuff that we need in order to have our mini-farm, but it’s not the prettiest area, and not particularly safe for our son. We’re hoping to have that finished within the next week or so.
Other than supplies for the fence, we haven’t been spending much money at all lately. Far too busy! My thrift store habit is completely gone – I don’t even think about shopping these days. I’m still getting rid of clutter, although at a much slower pace these days, because there just isn’t as much stuff in our house anymore. It feels good. The time I used to spend browsing around in thrift stores is now devoted to hanging out with my husband and son, or tinkering around in the kitchen. Much better.
So that’s what we’ve been up to. I hope you’re all having a good September so far!