Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Tale of Two Consumers: Halloween Fright...or Delight?

Both of the consumers in this little tale are me.

It struck me, as I drove home Sunday evening with the smell of very ripe apples permeating the van and my youngest son singing softly in the backseat, that my weekend was split in two; each day had been spent consuming, but in ways distinctly unalike.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Saving Tomato Seeds

This is really so simple. I've included pictures for each step of the way, but don't be intimidated; it takes so little effort!

Apricot Lentil Soup

I had three last-minute fresh tomatoes from the garden waiting to be used for something. I peeled them using the boiling-water-to-ice water method, and made this soup. I am absolutely in LOVE with it! Lemon is such a good thing in so many soups...and the bits of apricot add little explosions of flavor. Just amazing!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Can Can. But Why Bother?

Canning was all the rage, and in fact necessary for most people, in the not too-distant past. I found this 1940s-era photo in a local photo history book; I really love body language shown by the girl 2nd from right ;)
*This takes a long time.
*There are a lot better things I could be doing right now.
*Ugh, I am hot and my legs hurt.
*It's so beautiful outside, and I'm stuck slaving over this big canning pot...and...oh geez, am I supposed to get those air bubbles out of the applesauce? Why is there applesauce coming out of the tops of those cooling jars? Great, now what am I supposed to do? ...guess I will google later to see if the sauce is still safe despite overflowing.
*Ya know, wow...this actually, kinda sorta, sucks.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

A good friend shared this 'copycat' recipe with me a few years ago. The ingredient list looks daunting, but keep in mind there are a lot of spices listed there too! The recipe calls for only 1/2 c. zucchini, but I always add a TON more, especially during the peak garden months. :) This is a wonderful, flavorful, and filling soup.

Olive Garden Minestrone

3 T. olive oil
1 c. minced white onion
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. frozen cut Italian green beans
1/4 c. minced celery (about half a stalk)
4 t. minced garlic (4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (do not use chicken or beef...only vegetable)
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 oz) cans small white or great northern beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. carrot, julienned or shredded
2 T. minced fresh parsley (can sub dried)
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
3 c. hot water
4 c. fresh baby spinach
1/2 c. small shell pasta

Heat three T. olive oil over medium heat in large soup pot.

Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.

Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Showing the Love for our Puny Potatoes

Check it out! We harvested our potatoes!

Craig saw the above picture before he saw the actual potatoes. When he saw them in person, he started laughing. "Wow, those are some tiny potatoes. In the pictures they looked bigger, like...real potatoes." I beg to differ, Mr.!