Wordle fun!

I decided to make a Wordle of the blog*, just for fun.

I'm glad one of the largest words is "thinking".

I'm somewhat startled another of the largest is "tomato".

I might need help.  

*I'm pretty sure Wordle  just captures the first page of any web site, so this is not an accurate portrayal of my blog.  Except the "thinking" part :)

$5 Dollar Challenge Vegetable Soup

I had heard about this challenge from a couple of different blogs, but decided to pass, given the busy weekend ahead of me.

I made a run to the CSA farm last night, and to the Welland Farmer's Market this morning, without even thinking about this challenge.

I ate a late breakfast of local eggs and toast made from bread bought at the market, without even thinking about the challenge.

I canned up some tomatoes today, and worked a bit in the garden, without even thinking about the challenge.

I ate a "lunch" of an apple and pear from the CSA basket, without even thinking about the challenge.

I decided that vegetable soup sounded like an excellent supper idea, without even thinking about the challenge.

Half-way through making the soup, I thought about the challenge.

$5 Challenge Vegetable Soup*

2 quarts canned tomatoes, from last year's garden
2 quarts of water (use the jars from the tomatoes to measure, thus also rinsing out the jars)
All the tiny potatoes found from digging the potato patch, from the garden plus a few from the CSA basket
4-5 carrots, from the garden
1-2 onions, from the garden
Green and yellow beans, from the CSA
Corn, cut from 2 cobs bought from the CSA farm
Salt, pepper and a dash of celery seed and some thyme
Vegetable Oil

Warm the oil in a large pot, add the chopped onions and carrots (and celery, if I had any, would be added here), stir and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the chopped potatoes, tomatoes, salt, pepper and any spices you are using, then simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots and potatoes soften.  Add the beans and corn, cook until tender, then serve with slices of local bread.

Of course, I'm not really following the rules of the challenge since I'm not sharing this meal with anyone but the dogs, who may get to lick my empty bowl, and the salt, pepper, spices and butter on the bread aren't local.

I also didn't keep track of costs - how much does home-grown produce cost?  How much for the stuff from the CSA share?  The corn was $6/dozen, so two cobs comes out to $1.00.  The bread was around $3, so two slices is... somewhere around $0.50 maybe?

So I didn't really do the challenge, but thinking about it made me realize something.

Almost everything I ate today come from local suppliers.

Without even thinking about it.

And that makes me happy.

* of course I didn't follow a recipe.  It's vegetable soup.  Clean and chop some vegetables, toss in a pot with some liquid and some flavouring, cook then eat :)

CSA Basket 8 of 10

My horrible composition of Week 8's haul :)

I stopped at the farm after work to pick up this week's basket, and realized I had forgotten (yet again) the box.  As I had reusable shopping bags in the car, I used one of them instead - which means I had to take everything out of the bag and set them on the porch railing to take a photo. 

As you can see, I should have picked another spot!

Oh well.

This week's goodies include beans, tomatoes, a green pepper, an onion, potatoes, a squash (yea!), and the first of the apples and pears - SO good!

I think one of the reasons I love fall so much is because of apples and pears.  It sounds odd, I know, but that very first bite of a freshly picked Macintosh? 


I  think I could go for days eating nothing except apples and pears, but luckily enough, it's also the season for so many other goodies!

The tomatoes, onion and pepper will go into a pasta dish, the squash will probably join some of my carrots in a roasted veggie soup, the potatoes and beans will form part of my supper for the next few nights (along with some grilled steak), and the apples and pears will very quickly disappear :)

Bread & Butter Pickles

So, I said, more than once, that I wasn't going to do any canning this year.  Because, you know, lack of a kitchen* kinda gets in the way of actually working in the kitchen.

But then Liz went and posted this.  And it made me remember I really wanted bread & butter pickles

And then I went to pick up my CSA basket, and found out they had pickling cucumbers for sale.

Thus, for the first time ever, I made pickles

$7 worth of cucumbers, onions from the garden, some vinegar and spices... and I now have 10 pints of pickles for the coming year. 


*Technically, I still have a kitchen, but it consists of one sink, one stove, one fridge and one counter, 3 feet long.  Have I mentioned lately I'm tired of living in a reno site?

A bowl half full.

I spent a couple of hours outside today, pulling up the dry beans and "threshing" them.

A couple of hours, for less than 2 cups of dry beans.  

A couple of hours, for a couple of pots of chili con carne.

And, since shelling beans is pretty mindless work, I had a lot of time to think:  why do I do this? 

Let me be quite clear up front - I garden, first and foremost, because I enjoy it.  But why beans and not begonias?

If I grow it myself, I know what went on it.  I try to grow organically, but I'm not adverse to using chemicals when warranted. 

If I grow it myself, it means I'm that much less dependent on industrial agriculture.  I still buy a lot of food at the grocery store, but every meal I grow myself means one less meal that needs to be grown, processed, shipped and stored.  

If I grow it myself, I have a start on a decent food storage.  It's not enough to feed me for more that a few weeks at most, but I'm not going to starve if the power goes out for a week.

If I grow it myself, I know that two rows of dried beans this year means a few meals, and a whole bed of them next year means somewhere around 1/10th of my meals for the entire year.  

A lot of blogs are written by "preppers".  

I'm not just a prepper.

A lot of blogs are written by locovores.

I'm not just a locovore.

A lot of blogs are written by "greenies".

I'm not just a greenie.

A lot of blogs are written by "frugals".

I'm not just a frugal.

So, when some read my blog, they see the inconsistencies of growing my own beans, but buying a large, brand-new fridge with built-in ice maker (even though my current fridge still works - for now, anyhow).  They see the inconsistencies of buying a dishwasher, but spending labour day weekend canning.  They see the inconsistencies of buying new living room furniture but growing a yard full of vegetables instead of buying them.

Yes, I know I can buy 2 pounds of onions for 99 cents, and dry beans are cheap cheap cheap.  I know spending a few thousand on new appliances, new furniture, house renovations (okay, more than few thousand here...) can't be recouped by a vegetable garden.

But this all part of me.  So, when you question my choices, please keep two things in mind:

1. I'm not just one thing - I'm a normal Canadian, doing what I think is best at this point in time.
2. They are MY choices, and I am not forcing them on you.  

I write this blog to keep friends and family up-to-date on the house and my life, and I hope some others find it useful, or at least amusing.  I'm not just one thing, and this blog will not be just one thing either.

Now, I have a pot of vegetable soup to make for lunch this week.  YUM!

Saturday in the garden...

 Yes, that carrot is as big as my foot.  My size 8 foot.

 White and red onions, 4 varieties of taters and some carrots.   The onions I grew from sets bought at a local big box store, and should have come out weeks ago.  Since they didn't, I lost a few to rot, but it seems I still have more than enough :)  I plan on dehydrating them for use over the winter.  I planted just over 1/3 of a bed for each kind, and they grew quite well this year, unlike the garlic, which was in the rest of the bed :(

The potatoes came from seed potatoes bought at a local feed store.  They were selling four different varieties in bulk, for some insanely low price.  I bought a handful of each, which together cost less than $5.00 - much less.  I don't remember the final price, but it was CHEAP.  Compared to garden centres that were only selling 5 - 10 pound boxes, it was a good way to try growing potatoes for the first time.  I bought Chieftain (the red), Yukon Gold, Kennebec and Superior (white).  Then, with no malice aforethought, I simply plopped them in the ground - no trenching, no hilling, no nothing.

And from each 4 foot row, I got over a 3 quart basket of potatoes.  There are a lot of tiny ones, but quite a few good sized ones too.  There doesn't seem to be any big difference in variety, but I will cook a few of each to see if the taste varies.

And really, why didn't anyone tell me how FUN digging potatoes is?  Seriously, it's like an Easter egg hunt - just more dirty :)  I was almost giggling every time I found another batch of tubers.  Definitely going on my "grow" list for next year.  I harvested all those potatoes from 1/3 of a bed, with no special growing techniques, so now I'm interested in seeing what I can grow with more space and a bit more attention.

The carrots are from last year's seed - I only planted a couple of rows due to space issues, but they always grow good.  And BIG. 

The other harvest today was all the hot peppers.  My sweet peppers did NOTHING this year, but the hots did great!  I grew the cayennes in pots this year, and I'm quite happy with the results.  I'm seriously thinking of expanding what I grow in pots, which will give me more "ground" for other crops.  Like potatoes :)

The banana peppers will be pickled, along with some of the jalapenos.  I'm going to try grilling some as well, then popping in the freezer.  And the cayennes will be strung up and dried. 

CSA Basket 7 of 10

Lettuce, tomatoes, corn, onion, zuchinni zuchhini zucchini, beans, sweet peppers, peaches and a couple of patty pans.

The squash will be grilled, as usual, the maters, lettuce and peppers will go to a salad, the onion is already in a batch of chili sauce and the beans and corn will be suppers (or lunches, as I'm on afternoon shift this week).

Only 3 more weeks... wow!

Roasted Harvest Tomato and Sausage Pasta

I've been canning all weekend, and am tired, hot, tired, hungry and tired.

Oddly enough, after about a bushel and a half of tomatoes, I'm still not tired of them.  Go figure.

So, faced with the prospect of making a quick, tasty supper with few pots (two batches of chili sauce are still cooking down) and the last of the fantastic garden tomatoes, I went with a roasted tomato sauce over pasta.

And since I had onions, red peppers, and some sausage in the freezer, I tossed them in too.  If I had garlic, that would have gone in too, but I'm suffering a garlic shortage this summer :(

And, of course, there is no recipe :)

But this is basically what I did:

Fresh tomatoes, cored and halved - one large baking sheet full (I used a mix of "normal" and paste tomatoes, simply because that's what was in the garden)
1 pound of sausage
2 medium sized onions, halved
2-3 red peppers, cleaned and halved
(1 head of garlic if you have it, top cut off and roots cleaned and trimmed)
Cheese, either mozzarella or Parmesan or both or whatever makes you felice*
Pasta, ~ 300 g dry (~2/3 pound)

Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up.  Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt.  Throw the sausage, peppers and onions (and garlic) in a roasting pan (one with sides), and pour more olive oil and salt over the peppers and onions (and garlic).

Bake in a 350 F oven for around one hour, or until the veggies are very soft, and the sausage is cooked.  Meanwhile, cook pasta until just underdone (does that make sense?).

Place all the veggies in a pot, and blend with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender, but I find the immersion is quicker and cleaner).  Remove the sausage from the pan, slice it, then add the sauce and sausage back to the pan, making sure to stir up all the good bits from the bottom of the pan.

Drain the pasta, add to pan, and mix everything together.  Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese (or Parmesan, or both) on top, and place back into the oven until the cheese is all melty, around 5 minutes.  Then broil until the cheese is nicely browned and bubbly. 

This doesn't have to be a baked pasta - you can just add the sausage and sauce to the pasta like normal (in which case, fully cook the pasta, of course!).  However, I needed the same pot that I blended the sauce in to cook the pasta, so I went with putting everything in the roasting pan, which then let me top it with cheese and bake it :)

This recipe is very easy to modify (well, it's not really a recipe, so it must be easy to change!).  No sausage?  Go meatless.  Other veggies, garlic?  Toss them in.  Basically, the key to the sauce is the heavenly taste of roasted tomatoes - so sweet.  I like it with sausage, since that adds a smokey flavour to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes, and if I didn't have sausage, I would probably go with a Parmesan cheese instead of the mozzarella, just to add a salty note to the sweet.  A dash or twenty of a good red wine would add to the flavour as well.


* happy in Italian.  I think.  If not, le mie scuse**

** my apologies in Italian, I think.  If not... oh, never mind.

Guess what I've been doing?

She is going to be the death of me...

This is what I found when I went to let the dogs in after a potty run at 5:30 am this morning.

Fortunately, after 30 minutes of driving around looking for the damn dog pretty little Katy, I found her waiting for me on the front porch.

 Really, I don't NEED this much excitement in my life. 

Next up:  the installation of the new fence. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...