Not much new on the home front. I've been working on a sewing project that is finally completed and should be posted soon (completely for showing off :) ), with a thousand more sewing projects planned. Able-Bodied Boy has already been mowing the lawn and planting seedlings. Looks like beans, peppers, swiss chard, carrots, and beets this year.
We have a list on the fridge of things we'd like to make/preserve this year. Many of these involve dozens of pounds of tomatoes, and yet we are not growing any ourselves until at least next year. Looks like the CSA and neighborhood farm stands will suffice. In any case, our list this year includes hot sauce (although we are not growing hot peppers), ketchup, salsas, strawberry-rhubarb preserves, drying mint, pepper jelly (thanks to my SIL's sister), canned tomatoes (if there are any left in the county after we make salsa and ketchup), and salsa zucchina. A tall order, but Able-Bodied Boy has PROMISED to help with canning this year. Especially for those items he is begging me for (most of them).
Over at Two Frog Home, I read a neat little post about her grandmother's cookbook (The Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, 1953) and the Food Preserver's Creed she found therein. She posted it and I'm hoping she doesn't mind that I share it with you here.
How beautiful is this? How amazing that we have all forgotten these simple principles? To feed our family year-round from the bounty that surrounds us? To take joy in the process, learning and developing the skills necessary to provide safe, nutritious foods?
I would love to be able to can/freeze/dry all the foods we would need for the year during the times in which they are in season, but I know I'm not quite ready for that. I think it was an old post from Sharon over at The Chatelaine's Keys (who has a wealth of knowledge!) that prompted me to starting thinking of food preservation for beginners. The suggestion was to take your top few meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and start there...
Dinners... We already freeze homemade lasagnas, although the ingredients therein are not always seasonal. We buy and freeze lamb seasonally. We freeze batches of cilantro pesto, not seasonally. We freeze some veggies. We put together a tomato/zucchini sauce base. We could/should probably do more for seasonal preservation of dinners, like tomato-based sauces, stored/grown root cellar vegetables,I'm sure I'm missing a few ideas and/or pantry items we already have, but you get the idea. Start with what you eat, and see what you can do to do it for yourself. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a wonderful book if you're at all interested in learning what it takes to do it full force (she and her family resolved to only eat what they could produce/obtain locally for one year).
Lunches/snacks/condiments.... We have (or will have) pickles, salsa, fruit spreads, frozen fruits. We freeze soups (some seasonal, some not). We eat a lot of frozen "burgers" (mostly veggie, salmon, or turkey) and most of those are store bought, but could be seasonally put together and frozen. We can make our own bread/rolls, but don't always. We could make our own mayo as needed, but don't (yet).
Breakfast... We now have the option of freezing blended eggs and greens as fritatta ingredients. We are stocked with smoked breakfast meat for a year. We do breads on occasion, including a wonderful English Muffin recipe (and homemade Hollandaise which IMO tasted like heaven - mostly because I made it from scratch perfectly on my first try). I know how to make homemade butter, buttermilk, and fresh cheeses.
I would love to be there, but I'm not. But what is life if not the striving for better...?
What are you striving for these days?