October 28, 2011

This Morning...

Do you see what I see?

What do you see?

Extra layers of clothes
Windshields to scrape
2+ inches of snow on the railing
Walkway that might be slippery
Need of winter tires
A future of shoveling before work
COLD toes & fingers

shining over the trees and 
reflecting off the garage?

It may be the beginning of winter...
but I still know spring is on the way!

Life is all about perspective isn't it?!
I've always been a Pollyanna...
I've actually been called that by a few.

Well, anyone can see the doom and gloom.
It's so obvious, it's ready to ruin your mood
or day if you let it!


October 22, 2011

A-Z Get to Know Me

A. Apples or oranges?: Like them both... but apples make better pies and aren't so messy!
B. Bed: Queen size with quilts!
C. Chore you hate: Vacuuming the floors, don't know why, but I've always hated it!
D. Dog: Have had 3 dogs .... 1 as a child and 2 now!
E. Essential start to your day: Cup of hot tea with milk.
F. Favorite Color: Medium pinks, periwinkle blue and sage green!
G. Gold or Silver: Gold
H. Height: About 5' 5" I'm now the shortest in my house.
I. Instruments you play: Does the radio count? Played clarinet & bassoon in high school, but not anymore!
J. Job You Most Liked: Working at home with children!
K. Kids: Two adult sons and an adult daughter
L. Live in: New England and love it!

M. Make of Car: Don't have one at this time.
N. Nicknames: Mom, Mel, Auntie Mel
O. Overnight Hospital Stays: Tonsilectomy at age 4 then childbirth as an adult!
P. Pet Peeves: People who claim to have integrity but don't live like it.
Q. Quote from a movie: “Houston we have a problem!"
R. Right or Left Handed: Right
S. Scary Movies-yes or no: Absolutely No!
T. T.V. Shows: Crime shows; NCIS, In Plain Sight, Castle and Feel good shows like; Everwood, Wildfire etc.

U. Underwear: Yup!
V. Vegetable You Don't Like: Lima Beans, Shell Beans... GROSS!! Pretty sure it's a texture thing! 
W. What makes you run late: Sometimes the kids, sometimes the husband, most of the times... me, remembering the last minute things!
X. X-Rays: Teeth...
Y. Yummy Food That You Make: I like to make LOTS of things... breads, soups, pizza, jellies, pickles, roasts....  
Z. Zoo Animal: I like the looks of giraffs... The last time I was at a zoo I was 4!

Want to play along? 
Copy and paste the A-Z questions to your blog
and then change the answers so others can
get to know you too!

October 21, 2011

Roots & Squash Soup

Here's an interesting soup I made for dinner tonight! 
After reading the recipe from "Stuff I Feed Brian"
and having been wanting to use butternut squash as a base
 for soup, I'm trying this recipe!! I used the recipe almost as
written... but made a few adjustments for our family's
 taste. It is a soup that will be making its
way into the regular rotation here!!


1 small to medium butternut squash (or winter squash of your choice)
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
3 medium to large beets
Dash of salt

Peel & boil these veggies with just enough water to cover them.

Sweet red pepper - diced
1/4 vidalia onion - diced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Continue to boil until the veggies are soft.

Using a slotted spoon, remove about 3/4 of the veggies and put them
into a bowl. Use a potato masher to mash them up and then
add back to the remaining veggies still in the water/juices.
Stir in well. (You could also put the veggies into a blender
or food processor to mash or use an immersion blender!)

Add a hand full of cut up kale and/or beet greens and
cook on low for a few minutes,  just until the greens are wilted.

Serve warm with optional toppings of
sour cream, grated cheese, parm. cheese or plain yogurt
and salt & pepper to your own taste!
 (Warm cornbread is yummy with it too!) 

Be prepared for a DELICIOUS SOUP!
Your taste buds will be very excited
with the combination of  flavors!!
(Next time, I think I'm going to add
some back beans to it! Maybe make
it ahead and keep it warm in the crock pot!)


October 15, 2011

Grape Jelly

  My mom called the other day....  she had LOTS of
grapes on her vines and would I like some!?
OH YEAH....  we're in business now!

First of all I needed to get the majority of
the vines & twigs out of the grapes!

 I added just a little bit of water...  maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups
so they would begin to boil and smoosh easily!
Handy old potato masher mashes them down
really easily and within the hour the grapes are
simmering and the juices are smelling sooo good!

Using one of my favorite kitchen tools.... the
'Foley Food Mill'  the seeds, skins random twigs
all get separated on top and the juices and 'meat'
press through the mill into a pot or bowl below!

Voila! In no time at all the juice is ready

32 Cups of grape juice.....

Grape Jelly

5 Cups grape juice
1 Box of Sure-Jell

Bring this to a boil and then add
7 Cups of sugar and bring back
to a roaring boil (stirring continuously!)

 Boil for a full minute (or two). Skim the foam
from off the top and then carefully
pour into canning jars. Seal with lids and rings.
Each batch makes approx. 8 cups of jelly!


They all must be put into a boiling bath for 5 minutes.
Remove from the water and allow to cool!
Store in a cool dark area!

Here are two of the 5 batches I made today!!
I always put the little bit of leftover jelly
in a mug for immediate use!

I'd like to figure out a recipe to make
BBQ sauce with grapes.
I did do a search and found the
grape jelly and add stuff to it, but I
wonder if there is a way to just
make and can the BBQ sauce ahead of time?!
Hmmm, gonna have to think on that one ...
I know more grapes are on the way next week!

I shared this on Simple Lives Thursday!
Go check out what other fun ideas have
been shared this week....

October 10, 2011

Have You Ever Tried Mincemeat?

I've heard of mincemeat.
 I've said no thank to mincemeat.
I've looked at recipes
for making things with mincemeat.
And then, I've put those recipes away!

And now, finally...
I trying my hand at MAKING mincemeat!
(I will admit, it is at my husband's request!)

OK, it is on the stove top.....
I just tasted it for the FIRST TIME EVER.

I have to admit, it wasn't bad!

Pete's 89 year old aunt shared this recipe
with me ... so I had to try it!

Green Tomato Mincemeat
2 Quarts ground green tomatoes
2 Quarts ground apples (firm apples)
4 Cups brown sugar
1 1/2 Cups vinegar
3 Cups raisins
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. pepper (I used 1/2 tsp.white pepper)
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. mace (I used nutmeg instead)
3/4 Cups butter
Chop apples & tomatoes and drain.
Add this and the remaining ingredients
except the butter in a stock pot and
bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 hours.
Add the butter and stir in until melted.
OK, here is what I did. I read a few
other recipes, including the one in the
Ball Blue Book. In the Ball book, it
said to combine all the ingredients and
simmer for 15 minutes then ladle into
hot jars and PRESSURE CAN both
quarts & pints for 90 minutes!

So, I compromised... I used Pete's aunt's recipe
with the exception of mace. I didn't have any.
When I looked it up to see just what it was,
I discovered it was kinda like a peppery nutmeg,
so I used nutmeg instead!

Also, since I wasn't
sure about NOT at least water bathing the
jars, I decided to follow the Ball Book
instructions to be on the safe side and
used the pressure canner!

This recipe made
3 quarts and 3 pints
AND 3/4 cup that I held out!

NOW... to try this stuff in a recipe!

1/4 Cup softened butter
3/4 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 Cup mincemeat
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Cup Choc. chips
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter &
brown sugar. Add the eggs & mincemeat
and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and
mix well before adding the chocolate chips
and walnuts. Bake on GREASED cookie
sheets at 350* for 10-12 minutes or
until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Yield: about 4 dozen.

I shared this on Healthy 2Day Wednesdays and
Simple Lives Thursday!
Go check out the other wonderful posts!

October 3, 2011

Sun Dried Tomatoes ... Who Knew?

Who knew it was this easy?!
We LOVE sun dried tomatoes!
(Ok, technically... dehydrator dried!)

It is nearing the end of the garden season and 
I am TIRED of canning tomatoes.
I never thought I'd say that...  but I am.
I think it is mostly because the more I can, the more space
I need to come up with to store it!
(But that's a discussion for another day.)

I decided to give the dehydrator a try. Check this out!
Saturday night was my test run was with 2 apples and
one tray full of fresh picked cherry tomatoes ...
washed & cut in half!

I sprinkled the tomatoes with a little bit of sea salt
(didn't do that for the following batch)
and I lightly sprinkled the apples with cinnamon sugar!
Can you say DELICIOUS!!! I AM SOOO ExCiTeD!
Sunday night I loaded up the trays with more cherry tomatoes
and left them overnight (roughly from 9PM to 5AM)
and they came out perfectly!

Storage for these little guys is a mason jars
with olive oil and in the back of the fridge!
There is a total of 7 dehydrator trays in these 2 jars.
It doesn't look like much... but it is!
You ask, 'now what?'... 
I can't wait to use them in pesto-chicken,
turkey sandwiches and can't you just smell
the bread cooking!?
Ahhh, I'm going to start drooling if I don't stop now!
I'll share pictures with you as
I figure out more recipes to use them in!

The apples came out awesome too!
I only did two apples... but everyone like them!
I'll definitely be doing more of these as well,
but, most likely without the sugar!
I need to do some more investigating,
but I've seen both tomatoes
& apples stored in zipper type bags (remove air)
and store on a pantry shelf or in the freezer.
 I'll let you know how that all works out!

Next up.... regular sized tomatoes. I'm going to try thinly slicing them and then adding a little basil & sea salt before dehydrating them!

(Posted on Healthy 2day Wednesdays )