Monday, August 31, 2009

Adventures in Amish Country

My friend Kira and I left at 6:15 am Saturday morning headed for Berlin, Ohio. The heart of Amish Country in our area (at least the tourist-friendly part). The main purpose for the trip was to stock up on bulk food items and just have a girls day. Both were accomplished!

I left my camera in the car most of the trip because the Amish really don't like to have their picture taken and I didn't want to run the risk of offending anyone. It's a good thing I didn't try, my hands were too full most of the time to have taken a picture anyway!

Alpaca farm on the way there!

Bulk food haul! We also stopped at a Goodwill on the way home and
found the stacking tins you see at the back. After a good washing,
that now houses tea bags, hot chocolate mix and drink mix packets.

Antique store finds: 10" cast iron skillet for...$8!! A $9 meat grinder,
a measuring cup/scoop and a $2 linen tablecloth. It's square and won't
fit my table, but I'm going to make it into napkins :)

Cheese! Both my and Kira's hubby's love cheese. We each got a round of baby swiss.
I got a few other yummy hunks as well. I also found a jar lifter (finally :),
a skinny spatula to replace the cheap one I had and melted and
a stopper for my bottle of cooking wine.

Please pardon the blurry shot. But this is freshly ground peanut butter.
Ingredients: peanuts. We each got a big yogurt tub full that we
ground ourselves from the natural food store.

A 50 lb. bag of wheat flour we got for .39/lb.! How crazy is that!
I'm most likely going to be getting some buckets
so we can split this and store properly.

This is a 20-yd. bolt of brown denim. Pre-washed. I got it for $40!
This was in a remnants and leftovers section at a canvas bag store.
I will be doing our furniture in this as soon as I can :)

I got some "overripe" peaches at a fairly decent price at a stand.
Yesterday I canned them. Some were a little more than overripe, but they worked out.
The pieces I tasted while cleaning the peaches were quite yummy!
My fingernails are also stained orange.

And the "after" shot of my haul from Amish Country. Nicely put in jars and labeled.
This is the fruits of half a day's work. I didn't think it would take that long, but it did!
It took a little maneuvering, but it's now all in my pantry where it belongs.
During our antique store trips, I learned that all these blue jars,
bail jars and old lids I have are worth quite a bit of money!

I will try and get a menu up later today as well. I'm a little discombobulated in the kitchen at the moment and need to get my bearings before I do so. Since we ended up with sloppy joe's Friday instead of Funky Chicken, I'm thinking funky chicken tonight!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Monday

This is my unofficial menu for the week:

Monday - leftover baked chicken quarters with homegrown roasted root veggies
Tuesday - grilled chicken and ceasar salad
Wednesday - Baked potatoes and chili from the freezer (Hubby might end up making chili dogs, he usually does with chili in the summer)
Thursday - Pork Loin Roast from the crockpot
Friday - Dinner with the neighbors! Funky asian chicken and noodles. (This is a new recipe, if it goes over well I'll post it!)
Saturday - Kira and I are heading to Amish Country bright and early and won't be home until late. The men-folk will most likely fend for themselves. I may leave some instructions for dinner (or pizza money :)
Sunday - homemade bbq chicken pizza!

For more Monday Menus visit

Garden Update 8.23.09

Did some harvesting this weekend! But before that, I wanted to give an update to my ginger beer making adventures.

Thursday I finally got around to making the Ginger syrup and putting the starter in it. I had about a gallon of ginger beer brewing. I was mixing it about 3 times a day with a wooden spoon. Last night I got home from spending the evening at my Mom's, starting stirring the brew and the glass broke! It made quite a mess all over the kitchen. Luckily I saved about 1/2 of it, but what I saved is definitely a lot less fizzy that the gallon was before. I'll let it sit for a few more days before I bottle it. We'll see.

I'm not sure why it broke, that's what's bothering me. I wasn't stirring too vigorously, and I was using a wooden spoon! Nevertheless, I busted out a hole the size of a silver dollar right near the bottom of the jar. booh.

But on to the harvest!

Yukon golds and some tendersweet carrot thinnings.
The Yukon Gold tops had all died down, so I harvested these.
This was all I got from 8 pieces. A little disappointing really.
We'll be eating them this week :)

Tested a fingerling carrot. Looks pretty cool, just like a finger!
I let it set out too long, so I threw it in my beef stock this weekend.
It was a little wiggly for eating raw :)

I harvested three of the pumpkins that were ready because
one looked a little juicy. It was already rotting from the mildew.
The other two were okay. I just cut them up and froze them.
Didn't have time to do anything else!

Picked some dried beans too, still not much yet but it's adding up!
I'll probably only get enough for one nice pot of soup,
but that's okay. I'm thinking of doing another bean planting
to put under the cover this fall.

Trimmed some rosemary for drying.

And some green basil too
(this is the basil I took from Kira's garden where the animals
had dispersed them where they shouldn't have belonged).

That's it for now. Hopefully more to share soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Garden Update

More night shots everyone. Things are finally happening in the garden! I hope to get some harvest, clearing and re-planting of fall crops this weekend. No signs of blight yet, thank God, but the powdery mildew is still hanging around thanks to all this nighttime rain we've been having.

The pumpkins are growing up and over the fence,
they're definitely still going strong, at least for the most part.

These two little guys are climbing up the fence.
The bottom one is huge, I think I'm going to give him
some support (and when I say huge, I mean in comparison
to the rest). And I'm not sure why the tiny guys is
already turning orange.

My first carrot! I think this was one of the fingerlings,
I forgot to look! I'm so excited to see one full-size!

I harvested all of the white carrots, and most of them were tiny.
I planted 2-3 seeds per hole and apparently each and every
one came up, really crowding some of them in. Oh well.
They taste very strong and almost peppery. I gave all
but the two largest to Kira for her Guinea Pig.

The white carrot harvest compared to the one orange.
I think I'm going to pull up the rest of the
orange this weekend and put them into storage.

I FINALLY have a paste tomato! I didn't even see the blossoms
for these guys, so I was completely surprised last night
when I saw them! Yeah!

Purple Russian 1

Purple Russian 2

Purple Russian 3. All of the Purple Russians seem to be
quite oddly shaped, but they're supposed to be good!
I'm not holding my breath for a huge tomato harvest.
The four in pots haven't flowered at all yet...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


first potatoes 2009
Originally uploaded by angelajiniel
I am trying out a template from flickr. Blogging directly from here for the first time. Please ignore this post for now. Thank you!

Adventures With Food Preservation

So this weekend Kira and I were worker bees. Saturday would blanched and froze 5 dozen ears of corn, made 3 gallons of chicken stock and made jam out of 6 quarts of strawberries and 2 pints of blueberries.

5 dozen ears of corn, fresh from the farm stand Saturday morning.

shucking away!

corn mountain!

Cutting it off the cob to freeze.

The weatherman told us it was going to be in the low 90's with 95% humidity and above. Luckily it was rainy and overcast all day and maybe hit 85 later on, maybe. We definitely struck gold that day!

6 quarts of strawberries destined to be jam!

Lots of freezer jam cooling in the fridge!

Chicken Stock!!

And, we finally found a source for some inexpensive 55-gallon food-grade barrels. Rain barrels, here we come! If they would've been set up Saturday, I'm sure I'd have all three of mine full already :)

The pumpkin plants still seem to be alive for the moment, and it appears as if my efforts have done some damage to the powdery mildew. I think it's gone now, I think. After hacking away, I sprayed with a baking soda, water and dish soap solution that is supposed to kill it and keep it away. So far so good.

On a very positive note, I would like to report that Hubby is now back to work! Today is his second day on the job with Molten Metal Products, working as a contractor in a local steel mill. And it's only 13 minutes away!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Homegrown Dinner

Well...not completely, but close to it! While making dinner tonight I realized it was almost a 100-mile diet meal. (and no, this isn't what was supposed to be on our menu tonight, but I was using things up!)

Beef stew of sorts with my first potatoes, my green beans, beef stock I made, beef from a local butcher and local meat, noodles from local Amish, some spices from my garden and a carrot from God-knows-where. Like I said...almost. The garlic was also from GKW, but the onion came from a local farm stand :) The butter and olive oil were also not local. I'm half-way there I guess!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adventures with Powdery Mildew

Are pumpkins supposed to be orange and full-grown already? It's August!

Yesterday was a sad day folks. I discovered the white stuff on some of my pumpkin leaves was powdery mildew, and it spread VERY quickly. I had to hack away at my gorgeous plants last night. There are quite a few fruits already set, and one that's already orange! Hopefully there are enough leaves left to keep things going.

All gone...

At least the tomatoes will have some more room now!
I just hope the disease didn't spread to them.

And, I don't know if I should harvest the broccoli head yet or not. It looks like it's gonna start to open quickly, but it's not very big at all. Any advice?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adventures with Ginger Beer!

Just a quick post today, didn't get any pictures yet, but I am making a lacto-fermented ginger beer (not really alcoholic though). I am following the recipe from a series of YouTube videos from Herb Mentor.

I just started yesterday. When it looks like something other than a jar of water with ginger in it, I'll update. If this works well I will definitely be making other flavors. Maybe this will help me kick my Dr. Pepper habit (though the cravings are dwindling)!

I am on the prowl for a place to buy bottles locally. I'm looking for the EZ cap kind that can be reused. I know IKEA sells some...but they're an hour away!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Monday

Once again, I'm here for Menu Monday. I have been menu planning right along, I just don't always have the time to post!

Monday - homemade chicken bbq pizza
Tuesday - grilled chicken, corn (from the farm stand) and green beans (from the garden!)
Wednesday - pork shoulder roast
Thursday - spaghetti
Friday - dinner at my place! grilled chicken, corn (from the farm stand) and a big salad from my garden
Saturday - pulled pork sandwiches (from leftover roast)
Sunday - homemade pizza

Menu Monday is hosted at the HappyHousewife this week. Check out the other menus!

I forgot to set out the pizza dough Sunday before we went to church, so we didn't have pizza last night. I set it out in the fridge before I went to bed hoping it would be thawed by dinner tonight. If it's still frozen, we'll have chicken tonight and pizza tomorrow.

And, Hubby has a tentative job through a temp agency, though he doesn't have a start date yet. He also went to two interviews today and said they both went well. I am so very grateful that we've been blessed with multiple opportunities already AND that we are in a good enough position right now that he doesn't have to take whatever he can get first. He's had a couple opportunities at jobs doing mostly commissioned sales, but we've chosen to hold out for something a little more stable in this economy. Thanks for your prayers everyone, and keep up the good work!