Before the canning of tomatoes, we made freezer jam. I was really shocked to see strawberries at the farm in August! My friend and I bought the last three flats and made jam with most of them while the remaining berries were frozen whole. Earlier this (short) Summer I was convinced I had missed strawberry season and was feeling disappointed at the prospect of having no delicious summery jam in the freezer for the coming winter. But alas, my fears were put to rest after this fun afternoon of hulling, smashing, mixing—and tasting, of course! When I think of my many jars tucked snugly into our chest freezer, I can’t help but smile a little.
(We also made peach jam, which is equally delicious and fragrant, although I didn’t get any photos of that.)
P.S. The toast in the top photo is “Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from this book and it’s excellent! So yummy and easy, my kids had store-bought bread in their lunches last year a total of three times. They love this bread and so do I.
Hello, poor little long-neglected blog! (And reader friends, too).
We have been soaking up every sliver of Summer around here. This week we’ve been enjoying the bounty that our little corner of the world provides. Wednesday was spent on Sauvie Island visiting twofarms. We were on the hunt for blueberries, peaches and tomatoes. Those last two we found, but the blueberries not so much.
Today my friend and I canned thirty pounds of tomatoes. We got a super deal on them because they were so ripe—much too soft for slicing—and a few looked sort of nasty, but perfect for canning. I have never canned tomatoes before and was somewhat intimidated. It was so easy! We used this method, which requires no boiling of the jars. I have enjoyed the sound of jars lids pinging all afternoon.
What a fun and satisfying day—especially with a friend and kids’ friends playing nicely in and out all day. And oh, how I look forward to popping open a jar this winter to make fresh soup or pasta sauce.
We made beignets this morning, using the recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Since I have never had beignets before, I’m not sure if they turned out the way they’re supposed to, but they were yummy. I like the way they flipped themselves over while cooking. Sort of cute—if food can be cute. My house still smells like hot oil though and I do not like that. They will probably be made again despite the lingering smell because anything easy, fun and delicious deserves to be repeated.
On Sunday we made Gingerbread Boys. I loved this tradition so much when I was a kid. My mom would put a hole in the top of the head before baking and then we would thread a bit of ribbon through and hang the finished ones on the tree. I have done away with that part of the tradition but the rest lives on, especially since I use the same recipe my mom used way back then. We invited friends over to bake and decorate with us, so I doubled this recipe.
Puddinghead Gingerbread Boys
1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 3.5 oz package butterscotch pudding mix 1 large egg 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cream butter and sugar. Add pudding mix. Add egg and mix well. Then add all dry ingredients. Roll out 1/8–1/4 inch thick, cut shapes and bake at 350° for 8–10 minutes. Decorate when cool.
This sweater has been on its needles since February. A smaller version began in January, but once I realized it was going to be too small I ripped it out and before casting on again I had an earnest conversation with Will:
Me: Are you really sure you want it? W: Yes, Mom, I really want it. Please. Me: And you will wear it? W: Yes, I promise.
I think you know where this is going.
Yes, seven months and 90 dollars later he doesn’t like it. Upon our return from camping I asked him to try it on so I could check the length of the sleeve. His review came quickly. “I don’t really like it that much Mom. I’m sooo sorry.”
Remorseful tears ensued (not mine, his) and my disappointment was soon replaced with trying to figure out what the hell to do with it. Some friends have advised finishing it in the hopes that he will change his mind, but I am really not very optimistic about it. Will had a suggestion: “You could put it away and save it for my son.” Oh my. I could finish it and try to sell it for the cost of the yarn. And truly, the yarn is exquisite. I am really leaning towards frogging the thing and re-using the yarn to make this or this for myself. Especially since I am almost finished with this for Lauren. The problem with frogging it is right now it’s double stranded but I would need to use it single. How am I supposed to separate and rewind all that yardage?!
What would you do?
And on a completely unrelated topic, look what I just took out of the oven! It is taking great willpower for us not to cut into it right now, slather it with butter and jam and gobble up the whole thing.
Apple pie cooling on my counter. Made with the recipe from this book, using Newton Pippin apples bought this morning at our neighborhood Farmer’s Market. Daughter napping, husband and son playing soccer. Now that’s my idea of an October Saturday.