No crystal ball needed here...I can see more tomato canning in my future!
Not that I mind. It sort of gives me a little bit of security knowing I am using some of our garden to provide for us this winter. I also use some of our canning as presents at Christmas. Fortunately I have some friends who like home grown, home canned produce. After awhile, what do you honestly give to people who basically buy what they want? Especially when they offer to buy some of your canned goods from you? I would never accept money, so I often wrap up some for Christmas and they are happy and so am I.
DH has given away tomatoes to 6 different families just this week. He wound up planting more than he usually does. Due to our shelter at home early this spring, he prepared his garden a little earlier and some of his plants were nipped by frost although we covered them. He then bought some others to make sure the original ones were to be replaced, except they did OK once he cut away some of the nipped parts. He planted the new ones too and I guess we are in tomato heaven!
July was a very expensive month for us with DH's tooth problems. Two regular dental appointments to figure out which tooth was the problem and what to do, a root canal, a temporary crown, and soon to be permanent crown. I have already told DH he may be crowned, but I am not practicing my curtsey nor am I referring to him as "his royal highness. " OK, a bit of levity there, sorry! I also had my regular check up as did DH so our young dentist should be getting some extra help with her school loans from us!
I worry as I see our Covid cases starting to rise again in Illinois. We wear masks everywhere. My hands are so dry from washing them so much and using hand sanitizer when we are out. I hope the cases will plateau, but then, they are testing more people, so I'm sure there will be more cases as more are tested. Some friends who were sick in January and February with respiratory things now wonder if they had been some of the first to have had the virus. We can pray that things will soon get better.
Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category
No crystal ball needed here...I can see more tomato canning in my future!
I apologize in advance for this rant. I'm tired and hot and frustrated.
I enjoy either crocheting, loom knitting, or doing embroidery. Many of the items I make take time and materials. Materials that are not cheap. I try to make individual gifts for people that I think might like them. I also work on hats and scarves and dish cloths for my church's knitting group that we donate to area nonprofits.
My husband took up vegetable gardening late in life. He has always loved gardening, but never thought he could grow vegetables. I suggested he start with a couple of tomato plants, then he would get onions, then bell peppers, and herbs. We don't grow our own from seeds, so most of the stuff we have to buy as plants or in the case of onion sets. The only thing we do get from year to year is garlic; a friend gave us some starts a few years ago and when we pick it, I save enough back to plant more. As many of you know, a garden is not free food. You buy the seeds or plants, you spend a lot of time working the soil, you fertilize and water and weed. You worry about too much sun, too little sun, too much rain, too little rain, too much wind, hail, and varmints eating your stuff. It's a lot of industry, but for some, it is worth it.
I started canning tomatoes a few years ago because DH got a good crop. I had to buy jars, rings, lids, as well as the canning supplies. As DH has started planting more plants, I had to buy more supplies. Granted, I haven't bought many new jars as far as quarts and pints because I have really stocked up on them, but I do have quite a bit of money invested because I can a lot of things besides tomatoes.
I am absolutely shocked when someone claims that the tomatoes I canned were free. I asked what do you mean, free? He said that they came from your garden. Yeah, the garden DH spent lots of time working on not to mention the water, fertilizer as well as tomato cages and the cost of the plants themselves. I said canning them wasn't free either, and it was hot, messy work. It means bleaching my sink before I start, bleaching it after, and washing and sterilizing jars that I have washed before, but you can't be too careful. Then this person whom I had stupidly given some jelly I made said well, you didn't spend much on the jelly. I said, have you priced what goes into jelly. He had no idea. And I had to beg this person to return my jars because he didn't think they cost that much and felt he could just pitch them!
DH planted lavender and I made some jelly. Not a ton, but I wanted to try the recipe. One gal who has culinary training and is always throwing in my face she's a chef said she'd take a jar off my hands. I wasn't offering her any. I was making conversation that I had tried a new recipe.
Last year I canned so much, I ran out of room for storing, so I emptied shelves and stacked up dishes and stuff to put the stuff away. I can't say we would have had the best and most varied diet, but when the grocery stores had empty shelves, we had plenty of applesauce, green beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and jellies.
So, I wonder why people think homemade, home grown, or home canned are free?
The week is starting to wind down. DH is out in the yard. He's mowing since it is a tad bit cooler and less humid. We had horrible heat and humidity last weekend and most of this week. He spent some time watering his garden before the mowing and we had a few tomatoes to pick! Most were cherry, but homegrown is homegrown, right?
There's something gratifying about going to the garden and getting a few things to use. I pulled up some onions that I'm going to use for a meal. I will be getting some herbs to add the spaghetti sauce tonight. It's my canned sauce, but I think fresh Basil tends to add to it although when I made it, I had cooked it with Basil.
Yesterday the looming group church met for the first time in months. There was a small group, we sat at a table each so it was like more like ten feet apart, we wore masks, used hand sanitizer before we sat down and used it again on the way out. The church hired a lady to come in and sanitizer the tables and chairs for every group that uses the room. But, it was so fun to catch up and visit with people. Many have been working on hats and scarves and they brought them. Our totals are as follows:
Baby hats: 54
I don't think we will make as many hats this year as we did last year, but we aren't in a contest nor are we trying to break records. Another church had brought us a huge amount of dish cloth cotton so two of us have been making dish cloths. We are going to donate the lot to a local food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. This year I think we will have enough for every basket to get one. I know it's not a big thing, but I would think if I were on the receiving end, it would be nice to get a little surprise like that.
DH has had some tooth problems, so we are trying to have foods that don't aggravate his tooth. Lots of soft stuff. Glad I canned applesauce and tomato sauce last year. I know any money we are saving on food now will be more than taken and then some as he has a root canal and a crown, but that's why we save on other things.
I went to the Chobani site and did the "contact us" and asked for coupons. They are very generous with coupons and encourage me to write in each month. Talk about wanting to keep customer loyalty.
It's been great that our library has opened up. Not entirely, but I can still go and pick out books. I missed reading when the library was closed. I hate to buy books for my personal reading. I tend to read a lot and don't want to buy books that I will only read once. I finished book #58 last night.
We went to some thrift stores. I found a box of nice greeting cards for next to nothing. They were older, but that is fine. Made in the U.S.A. Yay!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. DH is almost done with the yard and I have the biggest share of the house cleaned. A good way to start the weekend off!
It's hot and I don't handle heat well. DH went to the mall to walk so I actually had control of the TV remote. I was messing around and saw a show about paying off debt on Crackle. Crackle is a free streaming service so I figured I would check it out.
It was pretty interesting. Kind of reminded me a little of Gail Vaz Oxlade's "Till Debt Do Us Part." I wanted to check out the host who is CEO of Chegg which I had never heard of before. Apparently Chegg is some sort of educational resource for folks so it makes sense the person wants to help 20 some year olds with their debt, especially those with student loans.
Here is the website for the show and it looks like there are different sites to help people with information: https://www.goingfrombroke.info/?fbclid=IwAR1DHCSs9TemEo58GMFlpMX2FoRlIfplR6yOKhlXhohc1vVHrd6jHDTQgZA
Other than that, not much new or exciting. DH has been seeing the dentist and there is a root canal and a crown in his very expensive future. I'm reading book #58 so far this year besides doing the crocheting and looming for church and keeping up with housework around here. We've had a few cherry tomatoes from DH's garden and some onions.
There are things that I tend to procrastinate about. One is the kitchen pantry. I keep telling myself that I will straighten it up, and then I don't.
Well, today was the day and I did. I had straightened it up when we were first locked down, but I'm sad to admit that a lot of times I tend to put things where it is easiest instead of putting things away like I should. I always mean well, but...
Anyway, I had been saving a few things here and there. One thing was those mesh bags that fruit comes in. I had enough to make a scrubby out of them. Hubby was laughing at me as I was putting it together wondering what I was doing with them and I said getting ready to make a scrubby. It took me about 20 minutes to cut and trim the labels off the bags, but got it put together and with a little thread, sewed it into a nice fluffy one. Basically something out of nothing.
I am a jar collector. I like buying things in glass jars because I like the option of using them later. I used some of them as well as some canning jars to put things like oatmeal and popcorn in. It does help the pantry look a lot better.
We haven't been able to use our reusable grocery bags and we have a ton of plastic bags. I asked this week at both Aldi and Kroger and they said we can bring our own bags in. Kroger said we have to bag our own groceries if we do, but that's fine. It's always a gamble when you have them bag them because sometimes you get a kid who doesn't understand that cold stuff should be all put together. I have a lined bag for that and prefer to use it. So, hopefully I can recycle the plastic bags somewhere.
So, hopefully I will do a little better, at least for awhile, in keeping things straightened up in the pantry. I'm just glad I have a small one. At our other house we didn't have a pantry or much storage. I always drool over the food network shows where the cooks have a walk in pantry, but maybe it's a good thing I don't have one...more pantry to clean!
I haven't blogged for awhile because I simply don't have too much to report. Just doing stuff around here and sheltering in place. I finished everything on my initial to do list so I'm starting another. Many of the things on my original list were things I had to do outside. I don't like working outside due to allergies and I get sunburned very easily, even with sunblock. So, when I finished everything I needed to do outside, I was ready to celebrate. It included painting the shed door, painting the sunroom door, and of course cleaning my car which I wrote about earlier.
I have my year's worth of green beans canned. I do it every April and May. Usually I can get fresh green beans on sale, but not so this year. Only one week did the grocers have them on sale and that was when things were still wild, so I didn't want to buy too many and look like a hoarder.
I have continued to crochet and loom scarves and hats for our knitting group even though we haven't been able to meet. Hopefully things will calm down before long and we will be able to meet.
I've come to the point where I make a bunch of lists. Maybe it's because I need to feel like I've accomplished something.
Our library finally decided to offer curbside pick up, only books they have, no interlibrary loan. I checked out 6 books last Friday and have read 4 of them already. I missed being able to read because I had basically read through what I had at home.
I wish I could report we are saving money big time, but it seems like groceries have gone up. Plus, when we do get something curbside, DH wants to give a bigger tip because he knows the restaurants and servers are struggling. We aren't going broke by any means and we figure they need the extra money.
I have only ordered once online for something and it was frustrating because it was to be shipped in 2-3 days (I paid for shipping) and it took over 2 weeks. Fortunately it wasn't anything that would spoil, but it was discouraging.
Our thrift stores opened up about a week ago with limits to how many could come in and we have to wear masks. We went through the 4 that were open. I did score a brand new case of wide mouth canning jars for $6 (name brand) and thought that was worth it. DH found a like new shirt he wanted. So, that made it fun at least that we found something.
Well, just thought I'd pop in and say howdy! Hope you are all doing well.
It's been a busy week as I tick things off my to do list.
One thing I've been waiting to do until it was a decent day with no rain is clean up the car. We had road tar on the bottom half of it, probably from the pot hole filler they put in. We have so many pot holes, they are filling them and even when you try to avoid them, you still wind up running over some of it. So, yesterday afternoon was spent working on the car. About 4 hours later, it looks a lot better inside and out since we vacuumed and put some of that Armor All stuff on the plastic inside and out and washed and waxed the exterior. It's 7 years old and other than a few paint chips here and there, it isn't faring too badly.
DH worked some in the garden too. We had so many gloomy, rainy days, he was very worried about his vegetable garden. We've had some sun the past couple of days and I think the plants are excited.
We were hoping our peonies were going to open so we could put them on graves for Memorial Day. Sadly, only a couple have.
I asked DH to plant radishes earlier this spring and he did so, reluctantly. Well, we've had a few ready to eat and I pointed out how healthy they are for us, now DH can hardly wait to get more planted since we've eaten all that are ready. Funny how when you have to stay home and not go out, your taste buds appreciate different things.
Since we do not have room to grow green beans, I buy fresh ones from the store and can them. I'm about done canning beans for the upcoming year. I also decided to try my hand at making dill pickles. I've never made them before. DH doesn't like them, but I do, so I bought a couple of cucumbers to work with. I was pleased with the outcome. Here is the original recipe:
8 pounds of small pickling cucumbers
4 cups distilled vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c Kosher salt
4 c water
3 T pickling spice
7 heads fresh dill
7 cloves garlic
Place cucumbers in large pot and cover with ice. Let sit for 2 hours. Drain and pat dry. Place all other ingredients in sauce pan and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add to large pot with cucumbers and cover. Put cucumbers in sterilized jars. You can hot water can them if you wish.
I of course did not make this much because I wanted to try making them and I didn't have fresh dill; I used dry so I used less, but they are pretty good and will satisfy my dill pickle craving I have every so often. I guess I continue to be astounded how expensive pickle products are. So, I made 2 1/2 pints of dill pickles for myself for a little more than $2 since I had the vinegar, sugar, dill, and garlic. Figure that is a good way to save money.
As Ceejay wrote, everyone's life has been touched by the pandemic and everyone's is a little different. Yes, indeed.
DH has put in a little bigger garden as far as tomatoes this year. He had 18 last year. He has 20 this year. We've been enjoying green onions and radishes so far and a little bit of lettuce. Our cool, damp, gloomy weather has not helped. I sure hope we get some sun this week.
I took stock of my canning pantry. I noticed I was about out of sweet relish. We don't use tons of it, but I like to have some on hand for things like egg salad, tuna salad, tuna cakes, etc. So, while at Aldi I bought some cucumbers and some bell peppers. I used the green onions I had on hand. I made 2 pints and 4 half pints. The two 2 pints will be enough for us (I still have a little left from last year) and I plan on giving the half pints as part of Christmas presents. There's a meme on Facebook of people wrapping up rolls of toilet paper for Christmas presents. Funny, but a little of sad truth. I thought, perhaps I could make some food baskets for Christmas gifts this year. In the past I have shared some of our canned goods at Christmas with a couple of people, but thought maybe I could do a little more this year.
I bought some grapes and after using some for chicken salad and fruit salad, I thought I could make some grape juice and make some grape jelly. I have the grape juice made. I plan to make the jelly later this week. Again, a jar for me and the rest for Christmas gifts.
I have already crocheted a few Christmas presents. I am working on a table runner for a friend that I am embroidering. Fortunately I had everything I needed. I guess I could order stuff, but at this point, I don't need anything.
So, anyone planning for Christmas yet?