December 7, 2023

Cooking In The Kitchen...

The last of the potatoes were canned yesterday, adding a dozen quarts of (kind of) cubed potatoes to the pantry. I believe I canned about 30 pounds of potatoes in total. We had eaten some from the bag prior to these two days of canning, I kept about 7 pounds fresh, and tossed about 7 pounds that had turned. I waited to photograph this lot until after they'd all sealed, cooled, and were labeled.

As I was recuperating from surgery as the tomatoes all ripened late summer, there are bags and bags (and more bags) of tomatoes in the freezer. I decided to pull a couple to see how they fared, having never frozen tomatoes before. 

After they thawed, I cut out the cores and popped them in batches into my food processor. I tried multiple recipes for pizza sauce this year, but found the Mrs. Wages Pizza Sauce mix made the best tasting sauce. These four jars were actually half a batch for the package instructions, so it was a good test. 

I can say that the frozen-then-thawed tomatoes passed the taste test and I'll be looking forward to processing the balance from the freezers into more pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa, and as stewed tomatoes.

Today I'm going to do the holiday baking. I've pulled about six different recipes for cookies, bars, and candy. We'll see how far I get before I run out of gas. I'll have to work fast to keep ahead of Handsome's sweet tooth. I'm hoping to have more than a few filled tins by the end of the day. Just one cup of coffee and then the mixing shall commence.

December 6, 2023

KP Duty...

I have a fair idea what it's like to be on KP duty in the armed forces now. Remember that fifty pound bag of potatoes I brought back from Portage last month? It's been sitting in the garage, and I was concerned about the spuds going bad out there. So, I asked Handsome to bring it inside yesterday morning and proceeded to process most of it.

I used my handy dandy Pampered Chef "apple peeler corer slicer", which Handsome calls the "potato lathe". It did a bang up job peeling pears this fall, too. I tossed the few mushy potatoes from the bag, sorting longer ones from the rest of them. Once peeled, I sliced those into french fry spears and then into cold water for four hours (minimum) to pull the starch out of them.

I also cut up the rest into 1-2" cubes for processing for baking, roasting, frying, or mashing. All these potatoes are going to be dry canned, which adds no water to the jars. Each quart gets 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper, and 1 T melted butter. Once the jars are prepared, they go into the pressure canner to process for 45 minutes. This is now my preferred method of preserving potatoes.

By the end of the day, I'd processed 22 pints of french fry spears. I changed the water that the cubed potatoes are sitting in, and I'll jar and process those this morning. I have two LARGE bowls of those, so I should get a nice quantity of quarts for the pantry.

With all the prepared potatoes, I still had about seven pounds to put into the basket to use as baking potatoes, saving me from running to the grocery store for a while. While the jars process today, I'll be moving a few things around in the pantry cabinets to make room for these latest jars. There's nothing I love more than looking into the pantry and seeing all the filled shelves of food we've prepared ourselves. I guess I really do have a pioneer woman deep down inside.

December 5, 2023

Tuesdays With Tag - Dog Tired...

Hi, Everybody!

Hey! You're all lookin' good this week. All those smilin' faces lookin' back at me, really makes my day week. You know what's mostly been goin' on around here with Mom, so I don't have to do a recap of that today.

What I will tell you is that The Girls, The Barn Ladies, and I have been workin' overtime to keep Mom's spirits up. The hard part for us was that we spent more time in crates than usual while Mom and Dad were busy doin' important stuff. Don't worry. It didn't kill us or anythin', but poor Carly almost started runnin' mini laps in her crate, because there wasn't time to run her brains out in the yard when our people were away. Two crated days in a row is unusual, so it's not gonna happen again for a while. YAY!

We're slowly gettin' back to normal around here, and we're happy about that. We had an electrician here yesterday which was great! We got to watch him workin' in the kitchen, and interject our comments from time to time from the comfort of our kennels. He mostly laughed at us, 'cuz he thought we're cute. I guess we have to settle for that because Mom says actin' fierce is not allowed. ho hum

We're thinkin' that Mom is gonna get a little Christmas tree for this year. She says it would be easier for her to take down and store once Dad leaves for Florida. We just hope she gets after it soon, because we do like Christmas trees.

So while Mom thinks about it, we're hangin' out on the sofa and catchin' up on our "zzzzzzzzzzz's". Believe me, we're not the only ones. Mom (mostly) is stealin' a practice nap here and there, too. I've promised to stand guard while she does, so nobody bothers her while she plays Snow White. I'll be her Prince Charmin'...except for the kissin' part. I'll just snuggle with her instead. Speakin' of which, I'd better get back to my post. I'm sure my services will be needed shortly. (no pun intended)

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 
"Be A Good Dog."