....than waiting for one grandbaby to arrive? Well, how about two grandbabies to arrive? Nope, not twins. Congratulations are in order for my middle daughter, Jennifer and her husband, Martin! Duckie's cousin is due next March! And I know of some aunties who are over the moon excited for these little arrivals. More babies for this Grandma and Mom/Great Grandma to love!!!
Life around here has definitely changed over the past 2 years. For one, I'm back to cooking. A lot of cooking. We don't go out to eat very often because so much of what's available is deep fried, fast food that neither my daughter likes nor my mother should be eating. When we do we're very selective in between days when we 'save up' the carb points. Where does that leave the rest of the meals? Cooking from scratch. And what is this area lucky to have? Lots of farmer's markets! Most of the time Mom is at her Day care program when I go pick up some of the wonderful fresh veggies that come home with me, but here she was the first day we made it over to Midland's Farmer's Market this year. We had a blast!
When I was a kid, the local county farmer's market was fun to go with Mom to see. Truck after truck after truck was backed up under the metal roof with bushel baskets over flowing with all kinds of just picked foods. Mom didn't really can, but she would make a little bit of bread and butter pickles and some freezer strawberry jam. Neither are my choices. But I do love what you can do with the fresh veggies for dinner!
As I've been working to keep Mom's A1C low enough to keep her away from insulin and other drugs, we've really been piling on the veggies, leannnnnnnnnnnnnnn chicken or salmon and a whole lot of fresh spinach and kale. Here was the first time she had quinoa and she liked it! We've also discovered spelt pasta as another nutritional source. I've always been one to try new cooking ideas going farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr back into time when I was newly married moving to California. We were within walking distance of 4 grocery stores and a health food store that carried a lot of fresh foods. Life got busy, the kids grew up (who gave them permission to do that?!) and then I wasn't cooking for 6 people anymore. Being here with Mom is changing that all over again.
Here's the 'bounty' from a couple of trips ago. Can you see the little bear down front? There is a 'honey' lady that comes to both the little farmer's market here in town and the bigger one over in Midland. She sells REAL honey! And get this, she infuses some as well! OOOOOOOOOOOH boy! Have you ever had Raspberry honey, or peach honey, or chocolate honey? Or, or, or??????? Died.and.gone.to.heaven. I tell ya! Did you know that nearly all of the 'honey' sold in the grocery store technically isn't honey because it doesn't have the pollen in it? Find yourself a local beekeeper honey supply source and you'll be happy. Over the winter I made a jar of lemon and ginger slices and mixed it with raw honey. One good dollup into a cup of hot water at night and neither Mom nor I had a single cold all winter long! Why is that good? Mom has a long standing history of multiple bouts of bronchitis every winter. And not.one.cold! This year!
I've been reading a ton of new cookbooks and books on nutrition. Fresh onions and garlic and green onions are regulars in our cooking here, too.(Great immunity booster there with the onion family!) Nice, fresh, just picked from another farmer's market day here recently. And, what this township, turned city girl, turned full time family caregiver has learned, if you get your onions this fresh, I don't have much trouble cutting them up without too many tears!
Most recently another new thing I've done, is started with a lot of infused waters. With all the nutritional reading and things I've learned, I've stopped drinking diet coke. If I'm cleaning up Mom's diet, then I have to clean up my secret bad habit. And that's been a really big deal for me. My Dad would have been thrilled that I've finally done it. But, sometimes, just plain water needs a bit of flavor added to it and the possibilities are endless this way.
While I've made strawberry jam living in California next to many of the strawberry fields, that had been the scope of my 'canning' experiences until last year. The more I went past just reading labels, the more sugar I found in foods that just can't 'fly' around here anymore. Soooooooo, what's a girl to do? When your daughter introduces you to greek yogurt that is plain and non fat and then shows you that Trader Joe's makes a low sugar jam that she puts in to avoid corn syrup and high sugar/chemical additives in the pre-fruited yogurts, you start playing in the kitchen! Last year in a few short weeks I learned to water bath and pressure can and there is no turning back now! This year I've already started with the new seasons worth of yummies and won't have to try and get it all done in the last 3 weeks of the farmer's market season. (yeah say my hands!) Here's some apricot butter (like apple butter, only with apricots!)
Chicken stock! Let me tell you how easy that is ! In the crock pot over night...no added sodium, skim the fat and you know exactly what's in your stock to start your soups! Be prepared to dream of food while you're sleeping and your crock pot is doing allllllllllllllllllllllll the work! Organic veggies, Amish grown chicken.....bring on dinner baby!
Life has not been totally spent in the kitchen....Melissa and I took in a baseball game when the Angels came to town-her favorite team vs. my beloved Tigers. (Thanks guys for making the daughter happy when the Angles won that night....)
And to make sure that grandbaby to be is raised correctly, we 'infused' some Detroit Tiger goodness into the Grandma blanket knitting that night!
Note to self....when using the food processor to cut up onions, WATCH what part you're grabbing!!!!!!!!!! Hint, the blade, is NOT acceptable for your thumb to press on, hard. And when you FINALLY can start to pick up your needles again after months of horrific pain, it makes knitting very difficult again....*sigh* still learning here...I guess.
This weekend the Tall Ships came to town. But for this afternoon, I leave you with this....
Traverse City Black Cherries! I pitted these last night. I have a new method of doing so.....pit one, eat two....;-) Like it? Yea, I had to go back to the Farmer's Market this morning to buy some more today because we ate a 'few to many' to make some jam last night. And I'm really ok with that. But for now, I'm off to the kitchen to make some jam before we all start to pick at them again! Oh how I wish Dad were hear to be another taster of all these new things I'm learning to make. He used to loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cherry preserves on his toast in the morning.
There is an awful lot going on around here these days, and most of it I can't share. Please forgive me, but no I have not forgotten you all as some have written. My Momma told me, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. However....there is one little thing to share that is good news!
Tonight via face time and a balloon reveal from what feels to be half way around the world....These two are going to be parents of a darling little boy! For now, he's to be referred to as, "Duckie" I am told. Oh how I hate not being there with them. Miss them and all my kids with all my heart!
Jennifer, First, my apologies for the way your post ended up on the last blog post. I was trying to publish it from my phone and I deleted it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...doggone fat fingered typing...thank goodness for copy and paste!
As to your questions, I don't have a Foley food mill. I had looked at them the day I bought my pressure canner, and then it hit me that I had the food mill attachments for my kitchen aid mixer that I used for the tomatoes. And I was thrilled with how fast and easy it made everything. The one thing I've had a slight issue with, was my shoulders. I'm so danged short, that from reaching up for all the stirring and pouring I've have to remember to stretch in the opposite direction to keep from getting knots in my shoulders. Love being the short one.
The cranberry applesauce was one recipe that I was patterning after another that I'd seen on Facebook that left the apples chunked-if that's a word. I figured if you don't try lots of different ways you won't decide which way you like the best. For the record, next time I'm going to use my apple slicer/peeler/corer....cook down the apples and then add the cranberries. Cranberries are just find in my whole cranberry sauce for the holidays so I won't mind it in the applesauce. And definitely much less work than fishing out the skins. I have learned my lesson well!
As to the lack of power during Sandy, we here in Michigan were warned that we'd loose power, too. After over 30 years in earthquake country, my survival preparedness skills kicked into gear. After all the canning I'd already done, I figured we'd be ok in the food department. But I was trying to find a way to heat water, soups, COFFEE for Mom and hot chocolate / tea for me that was our big issue. We have plenty of warm blankets, wool afghans (thank you very much) and sleeping bags to keep us warm on the outside. Not to mention a whole lot of wool sweaters, hats, mittens and scarves and coats. (again, thank you very much) But...do you know that the ONLY fondu pot here in the area, and I mean the whole area....was electric!!!!!!!!!! and yes, there was only ONE! Good grief! What happened to all the cheese/chocolate fondu parties that people have had in times past! I really wanted a fondu pot, thinking that if Mom has her coffee in the morning, she's human. (I took her several years ago for a scan at the hospital and she wasn't allowed to have anything before hand. The woman on the other side of the check in window not only had a cup of coffee, but a hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cup off coffee. While waiting for Mom's name to be called, she kept pointing out the woman had some coffee. I thought for certain she was about to climb through the window and snatch the cup out of her hands! When the attendent came to get Mom I asked if there was a way to let me know she was nearly done so I could run over to the cafeteria and have a cup waiting for her. Sweetheart of a guy he was, he arranged for an extra large cup for her before he brought her out to me! Yea! Now that's service!) Ok, so back to the story...I figured if we could heat up soups, coffee, etc...we'd have a way to warm up from the inside out, too. Back in California with the non-insulated houses, on the rainy days that seem to permeate into your bones, I would make a big cup of hot chocolate and get my feet under the covers before starting to drink it. Then I'd be toasty warm and fall right to sleep during those days. Worked like a charm! Since no one has seen the 'old fashioned' type of fondu pots that use Sterno cans in stock in the stores for a long time....I bought a small camp type stove that would hold a tea pot/small sauce pan on top and loaded up on Sterno cans. Luckily, we were fine, never lost power, but surrounding communities did. My heart aches for those who are still suffering from all the devastation that super-storm brought with it. Is anyone knitting to send to those who can use some help?
Now that Sandy has left her horrible mark, it's gotten me to thinking about how prepared we are here. I've been looking at the type of foods and supplies we have on hand. Being responsible for Mom, there are certain things that shouldn't be in short supply, like her meds. Check...we're good there. Now I'd like to make sure we have protein based foods as well as all the applesauce, etc...on hand. I'm thinking some vegetable soup is around the corner to make sure we have on hand. I do have a lot of dried beans, but you have to be able to heat them up to cook. I did at least fill the canners with a lot of water so we could make the coffee and be able to scald clean the cups, sliverware, etc...we would need had we lost power.
In the meantime, I made some pumpkin cookies with the fresh pumpkin that I had put into the freezer. I really do love those Ball freezer containers! Nothing to throw out! (another thing in California we were trained with-reducing the amount of trash at the curb every week). After all, man doesn't live by soup and applesauce alone. Right?
And then some toasted pumpkin seeds....
And then some cinnamon-sugar seeds (which I probably won't make again...just not quite what I like)...but there is a recipe for some 'spicy seeds' that sound intriguing.
If any of you who are reading this were hurt either in heart or home from Sandy, know that our hearts go out to you. So sad to have seen how terrible the damage turned out to be. As we all shop and donate to do what we can for the rebuilding efforts, please take a moment and make certain your home is prepared for whatever weather situation that may arise in your 'neck of the woods'. Me? Toilet paper is always on hand. But I'm on the hunt for a fondu pot. I have 3 of them back in California that I can't get to right now. Oh, but not an electric one. And, in the meantime I thought I'd start thinking about making some emergency candles. I found a link here today. Aren't they a cute idea? I wonder how they would be in colors for gift giving? Holiday or birthday colors? I have the double boiler and the jelly jars already, now just to find some other supplies. So, again, until next time, stay safe, dry and warm as we enter into the seasons of weather issues that can keep you at home for awhile. And for those were were personally affected by the recent storms, my hugs to you for rebuilding. I am at a total loss for what to say at this point. It's unfathomable, and I'm certain I don't need to tell you that. You're all in my prayers.
I'm a Bruinmom (a Hoosiermom, a Terriermom, and an Orangemom now, too) with a Wolverine heart! And a lot of yarn on the side.
Ravelry ID: Bruinmom99
Questions? Email me at:
bruinmom99 (at) yahoo (dot) com
(take out the spaces and add the well, you know what to do...
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