Now on to making a couple pies.
Not pictured - 8 containers of cut up veggies for roasted veg tomorrow.
Now on to making a couple pies.
Even though it looks like I haven't made a dent in my plum supply, I really have. I made a batch of Asian plum sauce and some plum barbecue sauce and emptied and refilled the dehydrator for dried plums.
I now have it on good authority as well that the Nutty Plum Conserve from yesterday is delicious mixed into oatmeal. So there you go.
The recipe for the Asian plum sauce is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It turned out very good. I only put in one Anaheim chile and I think I should have put in just a little more of a jalapeno or more chile period. I would like just a slight more bit of spice. The recipe from the Ball book is very similar to this one here on the internet. Try it out on chicken or pork or rice or ummmm, maybe a piece of mozzarella cheese that you are snacking on while cleaning your pots and stove. It was very good. Racer doesn't believe me, but what does any 11-year-old know?
Now the plum barbecue sauce was one that I was a little unsure of although I thought, in theory, that it should work out. I have a few recipes I want to try after I buy some more honey. (I totally spaced it when I went to the store today for my other ingredients. Always put everything you want on your list even if you are totally sure you will remember because that one ingredient with no substitution is in three of your recipes!) I went with this recipe from Bay Area Bites because it looked good and the title called to me. It really, really spoke to me. And I had all the ingredients. (Remember honey next time.)
I used my Cuisanart pressure cooker again. Funny story. My husband's cousin introduced us to this gadget and while I thought it was a neat toy, I wasn't ready to invest money and cupboard space into it. My husband was very into it, thought it would be a great purchase and bought it even though I told him not to. When he gave it to me, I even told him that I would never use it. So, umm, you can see how that has turned out. It's a great pot for freeing up the stove area, making soups and keeping them warm, making jam and sauce and it also does pressure cooking.
Anyways, I sauteed my onions and garlic, threw in the plums I pitted yesterday along with a spice bag mixture and some chiles and gave it an occasional stir. Very occasional since the pot it non-stick. For the chiles, I went with one Anaheim and one jalapeno. When it started to look mostly broken down and my Asian plum sauce was done, I used my immersion blender to blend it up and make it smooth. It turned out great.
I left one jar unprocessed since I am using my sous-vide (another product I told Dear Husband not to buy :) Are you seeing a trend here, too?). Anyways, using my sous-vide to do some pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches on Wednesday. Mmmmm, I can't wait. It's going to taste so good.
The taste is just a little sweet with quite a bit of savory and a nice heat that sits in your throat. I like that it doesn't burn your tongue. It just catches you in your throat and keeps you warm.
I should have taken more pictures today, but I wasn't thinking. But, trust me. Both recipes are very good and I'm excited to use them.
So this is what my counter looks like now after I went through a couple buckets of plums.
I think my tree in the backyard still has the same amount still left on it.
I made 16 pints of Nutty Plum Conserve.
10 pints of Cinnamon Plum Jam.
6 pints of Cardamom Plum Jam.
I love, love, love the Plum Conserve. I got the recipe out of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving but it is similar to this one on their website. It's sweet with just a little bit of orange taste and the walnuts just add a great amount of texture. It will be great on English muffins and sturdy toast. I might even make more if I buy more pint jars. It's that good.
Fun fact. I ran out of stove space and pots so I made the conserve in my Cuisanart Pressure Cooker. (I actually have the older version than this, but it's a great product.) I thought I had time to make the conserve and can it before church. Not quite. The conserve was made, but my jars were still in the dishwasher, sterilizing. Love the sterilize cycle but I have to remember it takes for...ev...er..... So, anyway, my conserve is boiled down except for the nuts and I need to walk out the door with the kids. I set the pressure cooker on Keep Warm and walked out the door. I got home three hours later, tossed in my walnuts and brought it back up to boiling on the Saute option. While that was coming up to temperature, I jarred my Cinnamon Plum Jam. Then I jarred the conserve and last the Cardamom.
I haven't tried the other jams but they smelled great. I tried doing the Cardamom jam in the crockpot and I really like how it turned out. I didn't have to pay attention to it at all. In fact, I scorched the bottom of my Cinnamon Plum Jam on the stove, but it still turned out okay. I just didn't scrape the bottom and there's no burned taste at all. Thank goodness!
All sealed! I swear, there is no better sound than jars popping on the counter.
Mmmm, tart, sweet, juicy!
Tomorrow we will try some Asian plum sauce and some barbecue sauce.
It is so hard to know what you are supposed to be eating and, as a mom, what I should be feeding my kids. I have been watching several documentaries with my husband and reading books on nutrition from our library. There are so many different philosophies and studies and I don't have the training and time to read through them all to evaluate their truth and methodologies.
There's the vegan diet, the vegetarian diet, the Mediterranean diet, Live Dirty-Eat Clean, the Daniel plan, high protein, Paleo diet, and now the pegan or veleo diet. My religion has a Word of Wisdom and some people have turned that into a standardized diet. Weston A Price Foundation, Nourishing Traditions, GAPS diet, diabetic diet, DASH diet.
Doo, doo, doo, dooo. You are now entering the Twilight Zone.
Some people swear that dairy is bad for you and the environment. "Dairy is only for baby cows and makes you gain weight and makes your girls enter puberty earlier. It introduces too much waste into the oceans and creates dead zones.". Oh, but how will you meet your calcium requirements? You're going to give your children rickets. Yogurt has good probiotics and protein. No, yogurt is really just a vehicle for sugar. Dairy will kill you! Or at the very least, mess up your gut microbiome.
Gluten is a bad guy also for many diets, but wait! It's not really gluten or wheat that is the problem, it's that we have changed the wheat from what it once was or that we are not using natural yeast that is being fermented by lactobacillus. Ban all the carbs! But, but bread is the staff of life. We need carbs for energy. But the carbs have to be prepared correctly. Oh no, you're wrong. You can live on fatty meats alone like the Inuit. No, you can have carbs but they have to be gluten-free carbs grown under the full moon in your own backyard. And, if you stop eating gluten, you can never eat gluten again.
Fat is good for you and needs to be about 30% of your calories. No, no, fat is the enemy. All products must be low fat. No, if you take out fat, you will add in sugar to make your food taste good. Fats are needed to properly digest your vegetables.
You need more salt in your diet. You need less salt in your diet. You need special Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt or special Real Salt with clay.
You should eat heaping servings of kale everyday. But, wait, there's a new study that shows people who eat kale everyday have a higher level of something bad in their blood. Okay, blueberries are the new superfood. (Expensive.) Now it's pomegranates! Now it's quinoa! Now it's coconut oil!
The average American needs more protein in their diet. Oh, no they get too much protein already. You can get all your protein from a can of lentils. (I don't know that I want to eat a whole can of lentils.) Meat is much more efficient to get your protein and iron requirements. If you don't eat meat, how will you get your B6 or B12 or whatever it is? But red meat will kill you. It's worse than cigarettes and it's killing the environment.
What's a reasonable person to do? Especially if we are trying to live on a budget and be wise with our money? These special, low-carb flours are expensive and they only come in little tiny bags. Non-dairy milk is quite a bit more expensive than regular milk. I have no clue what actually is the truth or if there is a one truth. Maybe in the future there will be a study that says this diet is right for that person and that diet is right for this person. Are we so different from each other that we need specialized, customized diets? I just want to feed my house, not get a degree in dietetics. But, wait, the science on dietetics keeps changing anyways, so it probably wouldn't even do much good.
There do seem to be a few things that there is a consensus on. First, sugar is the devil. (Dang it!). Second, we should be eating a lot more vegetables. Third, if you eat grains, make them whole. Other than that, facts and opinions keep changing all the time.
We have chickens! Our super-generous neighbor decided that she no longer had time for her chickens, so she offered them, the coop, the rest of the food and their waterer to us for free. I couldn't believe it, but she did! Last night, my awesome DH along with a couple other guys opened up the fences between us and moved all the stuff over to our yard.
So we are now the proud owners of four Rhode Island Red hens. I think they are about two years old and are laying well.
In the freezing, biting cold last night, DH added another side on the run and shored up a couple pieces. I am so grateful to him for sacrificing his time and energy to support me in having chickens. I know he wasn't terribly excited about it, but he loves me and showed me by helping me move the coop and fix it up for our yard. I love him so much.
There are a few more modifications I want to make to the coop so I can use the Deep Litter Method in their coop, but I am so grateful and excited that my neighbor thought of us. I'll be interested to see if they lay today considering their big move and all the noise from last night while we were putting up the fourth side of their run.
I'll get some more pictures of them free-ranging later today when we get back from the library. I want them to free range as much as they can because I think it will be good for the ecology of our backyard and for them also. It should lower our feed costs too and we have to be economical with these guys and the rest of my other "chicks".
Racer and Chicklette have been in school now for about a week and a half. They seem to be enjoying it, but they also seem a lot more tired. Racer, of course, placed highly in his leveled reading and math groups. I don't know where Chicklette placed, but I would assume it is in the mid- to high-levels. They look so cute in their uniforms.
This was a casual dress day. On formal dress day, Chicklette gets to wear a jumper with a white or light blue button-up shirt and a tie. Racer wears a light blue button up shirt with a tie also and slacks.
Our foreign exchange student, Nimo, was with us that day also.
On to the meal plan. I decided to try to make Mondays more or less meatless as an experiment. Hopefully everyone will get full. I also made all of our Thursdays crockpot days because we have homeschool co-op for the other kids in the morning and a few other activities on a couple of those evenings. It will be good to be able to have dinner ready with less fuss. I am going to try doing a lot of stuff for breakfast ahead of time as well so that's done in the mornings. I am not really a morning person. Maybe on a Saturday I will make up a bunch of our breakfast stuff. I was thinking of doing it each night ahead of time, but it may be easier to do it all on a Saturday before I get so tired in the evenings.
Our bathroom does not have much storage and we share it with everybody in this house. Our bathroom storage was just a shelf things got kind of piled in there. The flossers were always falling out and you had to dig a little for the hairbrushes. The dentist gives the kids little toothpastes and those were scattered all over the counter because no one knew where to put them. I was never happy with it, but I didn't want to buy anything and didn't really know what to buy to help our problem. Then, DH brought home a box he made me with the help of our neighbor and I had an extra organizer from my grandma that was taking up space on my dresser and was holding nothing but a bunch of rocks. Inspiration struck!
I threw all the rocks into the box and put the lid on. That stayed on the dresser. The organizer went into the bathroom cabinet.
Yes, it is still kind of stuffed, but at least everything has a place and if the little toothpastes run out, we on't buy new ones. Hair stuff goes in the first compartment. Hygiene products in the second and dental hygiene goes in the third. I bought some wire Command hooks and mounted them for our brushes. I put up a magnetic strip on the back of the cabinet that holds bobby pins, hair clips and fingernail clippers.
I'd still like to make it look a little better, but it's better than it was so I'm happy.
I've been on a little bit of an organizing kick lately, or maybe it's a homemaking kick considering the blanket I'm also working on. Anyways, our linen closet was functional, barely, but I knew there was a better way. For the past several weeks I've been collecting boxes and covering them in fabric. I also got rid of a few items, but mostly I just refolded and organized. Anyways, here are some pictures for your enjoyment.
The top shelf is mostly baby blankets that I really need to give away, but I just can't quite yet. I moved any of the homeschool stuff into my closet with the rest of the supplies and put all the crafting supplies on the bottom two shelves. I would like to find one more narrow box to hold washcloths and kitchen towels that I don't need yet. I think it looks a little better than it did and it is definitely easy to find things.
I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the corners of the closet. Right now it's either wasted space or stuffable space. I want to be able to pull out the baskets/boxes like drawers which I can't do if they are pressed against the wall, but I have about 4"x15" of space on the side of the closet.
Oh, I got the tags from the Better Homes and Gardens website and I think they pull it all together.
I've been wanting a carrier that would work well on my back for a long time. My DIY Moby style wrap wasn't quite long enough for me, at least with the ties that I saw online. I saw really good things about Mei Tais so I wanted to give them a chance. I found this one on Make Baby Stuff.com and loved the idea of being able to put different fabric panels in to change up the style a little bit.
So I spent about $20 on 2.5 yards of fabric and came out with this.
All three of my youngest kids like it. In fact Bubbers #1 liked it so much that he threw a fit when I took him out.
It only took me about four hours and was mostly sewing rectangles to rectangles.
I still need to practice tying it because it's a little awkward yet, but I think I am really going to like it.