Thursday, August 25, 2011

Food Processor Salsa

Food Processors are incredible.  I'm not sure how any kitchen survives without one... and mine didn't even have one 'til a year and a half ago.  Today I'm combining two faves, Food Processors and...wait for it... Pinterest.

We finally got enough tomatoes and sweet banana peppers from our garden to make salsa and this recipe seemed WAY easier than the slaving I remember as a teen when my dad had a garden.  I didn't bother removing the skin or seeds from the tomatoes and used way fewer jalapenos, but I really love the proportions and it was so easy to make.  My biggest complaint is I only got 5 1/2 pints out of it, and it irks me that I always wind up with half jars of everything I make in the fridge.  

Oh, and I got a chance to use some of the stash of antique canning jars a friend gave me.  <3

Oktoberfest Mustard

I really need to quit being such a picky eater, or I'm never gonna be able to taste test the stuff I make.  This one was a particular request of the hubbs.  German-style beer mustard.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Our poor garden only produced two (rather puny) cabbages, bless it.  Thankfully they were both ready at the same time and equally thankfully, right before we leave town.

To Dye For

(ah hah ha) corny, I know

With our beach week quickly approaching, we've been doing an awful lot of packing and stuff-gathering.  Amongst those items is my beach cover-up.  It's seen better days.  It was a hand-me-down from my mum and It's been to numerous camps with me and is a little dingy and even had a few rust spots.  The thing is though, structurally there was nothing wrong with it.  My bath robe had a similar story, but i've even singed it's sleeves once or twice while making Sunday morning breakfast.

Sorry 'bout the particularly mangy look, they'd just come out of the washer.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poor Nick Can't Keep a Secret From Me..

... and he never has been able to.  Even as far back as our first Christmas, he couldn't keep what he had gotten me a secret.  I must admit, I think his transparentness is completely adorable.  Is there any better sign of a completely whipped devoted and honest man?

This evening, I was putting away china.  We'd had dinner guests this weekend and I never pass up a chance to haul out the good stuff.  After all, why have it if you don't use it?  I noticed there were only 3 regular dinner plates in the dining room and went looking for the fourth.  This is what I found in a less-used corner of the kitchen:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preserve Swap

Every canner has only two hands, 24 hours in a day, a certain set of talents, recipe knowledge, equipment and produce availability  That being said, I feel like I never have the variety in my canning cellar I'd like to have.  I'm willing to bet you have the same problem.  That is why I'm proud to announce the First Annual Living From Scratch Preserve Swap!


Our tomatoes are having the best year they've ever had despite a little more neglect than i'd personally like to own up to.  We never got around to buying cages and they were in some serious need of both weeding and staking.  Nick fed the weeds to the chickens, he called it a salad.  They loved them tho!

Aren't they gonna be tasty when they ripen?

Banana Butter... Who Knew?

About a month ago, my dad gave me a book called "Preserving the Fruits of the Earth".  He got it from his grandma (my great-grandma).  The Sub-Title is "How to "Put Up" almost every food grown in the United States in almost every way".  It's not kidding.  Its hard to believe only 230+ pages could contain all that info, but it figures it out.  There are multiple preserving methods and recipes for every american plant, fish and animal you can think of.  Some of its more exotic entries are Buffalo Berry Jelly, Pickled Eel, Candied Kumquats and how to clean and can snapping turtle meat.

Amongst all that craziness, I uncovered a recipe for banana butter.  I've never heard of such a thing, but it sounded wonderful AND bananas are cheap.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Victory Garden

For those of ya'll who know me, it's no secret that I'm not a big fan of war or the modern american understanding of patriotism.  Knowing that, you'd prolly be surprised about my new obsession.

I was stumbling 'round pinterest looking for ideas for the canning cellar that i'm cooking up when I came across these:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Julia was Right

...when she said fresh eggs poach much more easily.

Of course, I first broke them into separate dishes to investigate and check for blood spots.  Apparently thin shells, no yolks and blood spots are all more common in the small first eggs.  Our chickens have been on layer feed probably a little longer than they should have been, so the shell was anything but thin.  Thankfully both of our tiny eggs had tiny little yolks to match and were blood-spot free.

Aren't those yolks yellow?

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I'm just speechlessly ecstatic.  I'm so proud of my girls.  I don't know which laid today, so im just gonna be proud of all of them!

Washington County Fair

The last few years, ever since moving to a county that takes their Ag. Fair seriously, I've been telling myself I was gonna enter some goodies.  Didn't matter what, I just thought it'd be a cool thing to do.  Last year, I even had some stuff together, but was quickly discouraged by not knowing the ropes.  This year, I stumbled through the ropes and regs and actually entered some stuff, and Nick did too.  Yesterday, I dropped our goodies off and the judging was last night.  The results are in and I'm so excited to share!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well, it's still got some ice on it, but 24 hours in the fridge has at least thawed our capicola enough to investigate a little

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Questions, Questions

Well folks, i've been meaning to freshen up around here for some time.  What do you think about the new look?

This afternoon, I decided to pull out a LARGE slab of bear that has been making me nervous.  It's huge, crusted in ice, and labled "Capicola Ham".  Like the lunchmeat?  Do you think it's already cooked, or will i need to cook it?  If it needs cooked, how on earth does one go about that? How does one slice their own lunch meat?  Is there any other way to eat bear capicola, besides between bread?  The internet has apparently never even heard of bear capicola and can't answer any of my questions.  Oh internet, how rarely you fail me so!  Get ready for an adventure! know, in a few days when it's all defrosted.

Preparations are well under way for our yearly corn roast so stay tuned to hear more about that too.

Monday, August 8, 2011


No, Pennsylvania hasn't had a freak summer snow storm (actually, it's been quite miserable here), I've just been taking inventory of our freezer stock.  Of course, tomatoes aren't in and the corn is only about halfway in, but it's getting a little full in there so I figured it was time to take inventory.

On a tangential note, we've started to pick our corn (unfortunately, too soon for our corn roast next weekend.  Looks like we're gonna hafta buy some).  The method for freezing corn is simple: Husk it, blanch it, cut it off the cob, cool and freeze.  Unfortunately, I ran out of vaccuum bags just as the corn started coming in.  I sent Nick to the store for more.  After much frustration on both our parts, he came home with freezer quality quart-sized ziplocs and a straw (what a stinker!).

Banana Ice Cream

... I know, everyone on the planet has blogged this stuff, but it's so yum I just can't help myself. 

A couple of weeks ago, I had an entire bunch of bananas about to go bad.  I had forgotten about them.  Just before they went bad, I remembered about them , peeled them, chopped them into pieces and tossed them in the freezer.  Then I forgot about them again.  Tonight I remembered about them and boy, am I glad I did!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Thai Sauce

Lately, the hubbs has been taking sandwiches for lunch while the refrigerator pickles are still crispy, but his primary lunch during the year is rice, "chinese sauce" & veggies with a side of fruit.  Chinese sauce is usually a purchased thing.  Aside from mixing marmalade with soy sauce, I'm at a complete lost when it comes to all eastern food.  Nick dug this little jewel out of Ball's Complete Home Canning Guide to save me from having to buy chinese sauce for a while.  Oh, and he's a fan of spicy stuff.  Good thing, this is definitely spicy.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bread & Butter Pickles

... because we're still getting cucumbers in, though thankfully they are slowing (just in time for corn and tomatoes to pick up!)

15 to 18 Pickling Cucumbers
2 to 3 Medium Onions
1/2 c. Pickling Salt
3 c. Sugar
2 c. White Vinegar
2 c. Cider Vinegar
2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 tsp. Celery Seeds
1 tsp. Ground Turmeric

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm in Love... with a Pie Crust

(Don't worry Nick, I'll always love you more)

I've made my fair share of pie crusts in my time.  I've *gasp* bought crusts, I've used my mom's recipe, my grandma's recipe, Julia Child's recipe, the recipe that came with my bread machine.  All but the latter, while each very nice, call for varying amounts of shortening (sometimes with butter).  The only time I ever have shortening is when i'm planning on soaping with it, and I haven't soaped in some time.  I have too much soap backed up to be making more.  The only fat in my bread machine recipe is canola oil.  I always have it on hand, and it makes a perfectly functional pie dough...but it's highly mediocre and lacks flakiness.  The new recipe calls for butter exclusively (hey, I didn't say it was healthy... it's a pie crust!).  I always have it on hand and the crust it produces is sufficiently flaky, quite flavorful and smells like shortbread as it bakes.  I think I might keep it.  It isn't perfectly easy to roll straight out of the fridge, it needs a little kneading or it cracks, but it still does need to be refrigerated before rolling.

The recipe says it's enough for 1 crust, but I was able to make two 9 in. crusts with it.  That being said, i had to work to get 2 out of it, and anything bigger than 9 in. would definitely have required doubling the recipe.

1 1/4 c. Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. Butter, chilled and sliced into pats
1/4 c. Ice Water

Put everything but the water into the food processor and spin 'til it looks like flour.  Then add the water 'til it forms a ball.  Refrigerate 4 hrs to overnight before rolling.

Make a Pie.  Eat It.  Love It.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Zucchini Pie

Last Summer, while sharing my Zucchini Diaries, I shared a recipe that is a favorite, but I never got around to making.  This week, in addition to needing something scrumptious to serve to some dinner guests, I decided this would be a creative new way to preserve some of our zucchini.  Production is slowing so it's my last few chances to get creative with it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Summer Edition

Ok, so if you haven't been on pinterest, you have no idea how much awesomness you are missing.  (If you'd like to find out, let me know and I'll send you an invite)  Pinterest is the social media version of keeping magazine clippings of inspirations in a binder.  It's inspired me to do a couple of things around the house and hopefully will inspire many more.  Sherry of Young House Love and a couple other DIY bloggers have laid down the challenge to not just let pinterest be eye candy, but to get up and do something.  Here is my response to the pinterest challenge: