Saturday, November 10, 2012

This started as 'Dear Jennifer'....

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) 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.