Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Canning Day

Yesterday, I decided to relieve our cherry-plum trees of some of their burden. The branches were almost touching the ground, so heavily laden were they with fruit. I picked about a third of what I could reach from just one tree. The picture below is about half of what I picked.

There's enough there for about 8 small jars of preserves. I know, because I already cooked the other half and they are cooling on my counter, now:

We've never really figured out what these fruits are. They're about the size of cherries, but they definitely look like plums, inside and out. It's not a cherry pit, either - nope, it's a plum. But little ones. So we just call them cherry-plums and let it go at that.

This was my first experience using pectin. I have an extra jar that I didn't have space to boil, so when it cools, I'll have a chance to check out my attempt. I do have to say though, that the jam tastes good!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cooking Day for Me

This morning, in a cooking frenzy, I chopped, steamed, and roasted my way through all the veggies in my frig. I cut up all the carrots (3 bunches), one to add to tonight's lamb stew, one (the pretty purple ones) were steamed whole to serve as a side dish one night, and the third was chopped and sauteed with the Napa cabbage.

I roasted the young garlic, and dug out the Cuisinart to shred my block of parmesan and make pesto. Yum! The pesto inspired me to take a rib-eye steak from the freezer to thaw. I'll coat it with the pesto and broil it. Maybe tomorrow night.

So now that I've accomplished all that (and tossed the refuse onto the compost pile), I'm all set to get the rest of day accomplished. Including this entry!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dinner Plans

I have some masa, so I think I'll make sopes and serve them with some of the leftover meat from the other day. I wish it were dinner time, now.

I'm going out of town for a couple of days, so I need to have meals ready for my husband. That should be easy - we have lots of leftovers. Sometimes, he ends up just having an apple or something, but that's his choice. I always try to leave him a good meal.

Today is a CSA day, so I have to remember to pick up my box. I am behind once again. I need to use up the peas from last week.

I need to make granola, too. I've got enough for one more breakfast, which will be tomorrow. Should also check on the waffle situation. I haven't been eating them, so I don't know how many are left.

I do have plenty of yogurt. I'm not always able to find raw milk, so when it's there, I buy half a gallon and make a double batch. For a while, I tried to "be good" and make yougurt using nonfat milk. Ech. I mean it's okay, but nowhere near the creamy, yummy goodness of the real thing. I find I'm much more satisfied after eating half a cup of my Real Yogurt, than I am eating an entire cup of the nonfat stuff. I need that fat charge in the morning and there's no use pretending I can do without it. I just end up eating more food to make up for it and still don't lose weight. Might even gain some!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Successful experiment

My experiment in the crockpot went pretty well, yesterday. I had a package of meat in the freezer labeled "soup bones" and I had thawed it out to use in making the meat sauce for the lasagna. But upon unwrapping it, I discovered it was one bone with LOTS of meat around it. The kind that would need a few hours to cook, and I didn't have that much time.

So I saved it for the crockpot. Before leaving yesterday, I sliced up some onions, carrots, and cabbage, and added them to the pot, along with some green chilies, jalapenos, the meat, white vinegar, beef broth, some cumin, and salt and pepper.

Oh yeah. This was good. I served it simply, with some corn chips and a nice salad. It would be good on sopas or in tacos, too. There's plenty left; I'm sure I'll do something like that.

Today will just be leftovers, I think. I've got some lamb curry that needs to be used up. I'm getting hungry now - need some lunch!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Diets and good food

Cooking has been rushed lately and my meals are also falling victim to my intense desire to lose a little weight. I won't "go on a diet," meaning I'm not going jump on someone's bandwagon and eliminate carbs or eat only tomato soup, or anything like that. I already eat a nutritious and varied diet, I just need to eat LESS of it.

That's really hard for me to do. But I'm working at it. And yes, I'm trying to exercise more. "Trying" being the operative word, there.

But Saturday, I made a yummy chicken meal by crushing some homemade croutons and breading the chicken with them. I browned the chicken on the stove, then transferred it to the oven to finish cooking. Mmmmm, tender and juicy. I only ate a small amount, along with a substantial helping of salad.

Then followed it up with a tiny bit of ricotta ice cream over a bite of brownie, garnished with a sliced strawberry and a few blueberries.

You see my problem.

Yesterday was my grandson's birthday and I made a lunch of lasagna (meat sauce with sliced zucchini and chopped beet greens layered with the ricotta cheese and noodles). We also had a big salad and lemon meringue pie for dessert.

This was a great meal and I had just one serving of lasagna. No dinner later, I just had a slice of whole grain bread with some hummus. That was pretty good, too.

Today I have an experiment in the crock pot, because I'm spending the day shopping for a wedding dress with my youngest daughter. That should be fun!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I've Been Challenged!

My daughter, Mary, has issued a challenge in response to my entry in April on "Feeding Our Families": she's going to try and start a food co-op in San Diego if I work on one in Pleasant Hill.

If anyone can do it, Mary can. I hope I can, too!

Mary already has a step in the door, since she and her husband have a weekly "shared meal" with their friends. This is what's missing in American life - friends and family getting together to share the planning, preparation, eating, and cleaning up, of a meal! Not just the women, either! The guys do just as much as the women!

Me? Nada. I'd have to start at the beginning, like advertising for people who'd like to share. That seems a little iffy. I need the co-op part of the co-op! I'm keeping my eyes and ears open. This is an idea whose time has come and I suspect the people are out there, waiting.