Thursday, November 8, 2012

While I'm waiting on my hands...

While I'm waiting for my hands to stop giving me grief, I thought I'd share what else has been keeping me busy lately. First off, here's the latest in my 'wrist accessories'. 
I have developed a case of trigger thumb. It's affected both joints in my left thumb. I'm pretty sure processing all the tomatoes that I did awhile back is what set it off. I know, self inflicted, no sympathy. However, I'll not sit and hold them all again and try and cut them into my hand. I have learned my lesson, cutting boards have a place and I will use them freely so I'm not spending 3 days with a whole lot of tomatoes being 'pinched' in my hand.
My right wrist has been flaring up again, so while I'm resting one, might as well treat them both to a little 'time off'. Ya...I know, I'm also the one who years ago had to be put into a hard cast when I shredded my pinkie knuckle and insisted on making strawberry jam. Therefore, Doc said the brace didn't get me to stop using it enough. Paaaaaaaaaaaa-lease.....when you have 4 little kids and it's strawberry season, what's a little brace going to do? There was jam to be made! So, I've decided that between messy stuff in the kitchen, etc...I'll wear these and still get done what I'm trying to do. Fair trade for now. So...what shall I get into next?
 I decided to make some pizza sauce. Tomatoes and red peppers, a little garlic....
 Roasted in the oven...(lesson learned, do each tray separately. A little bit longer time, but works much better.)
While waiting, why not put a little time into a puzzle? (Mom's been a long time puzzle fan!)
 After the skins have been removed from the roasted veggies, gather a few extra items...
 and into the stock pot they all go!
Simmer a little bit, and lookie there! You have a veryyyyyyyy yummy pizza sauce-
By the time we were done, I didn't have the patience to wait for pizza dough to rise, so I pulled out the english muffins and ala kid style, made some 10 minute pizzas.
Mom and I are both fans of this one. Next time, can't come soon enough.
I had 6#'s of apples left from the bushel my daughter picked up for me. 1/2 cortland and 1/2 macs. And the cranberries were finally coming into the grocery store fresh style! Soooooo I thought I'd make some more applesauce.
 1/2 c of cranberry cider with the 6#'s of apples, and 3C of fresh cranberries and 2 tsp of cinnamon all into the pot. (lesson learned, I'll peel the apples and process them first next time..
 pulling out the skins after this time was far too much work for me. Then I'll add the cranberries after I've mashed the apples. Less work, faster to the cranberry-applesauce in the bowl!)
It only made 4 pints of applesauce, but, I will make some next time I can get more apples. Delicious! (What a shame the apple crops were so small this year.)
Next up, pumpkin time! Remember this post from 2008? Well, I found a little bit of an easier way to work it this year. You're still going to cut the pie pumpkins itnto quarters,
scoop out the seeds,
scape out the gunk using just the side of a spoon....
lay them skin side up with an inch of water in the roaster pan and bake ~ 1 hour in the oven.
 but this year, they cooled off so much faster when I put them in those mesh baskets I was using on the grill over the sink rather than just piling them up on top of each other in a colander. (Don't you love it when you buy a 'kitchen gadget and you find you can use it with multiple uses?)
 When they're cooled off you can just about peel the skin off and put the pumpkin into a bowl
 and get your next batch ready for the oven. I found that 2 pie pumpkins fit both into the roaster well, (with an inch of water) and then the amount of cooked pumpkin fit the bowl I was using just perfectly. (Rachel Ray 'garbage bowl' in BLUE! from Sam's club-but I don't use it for 'garbage'. It's a great size and depth for so many things in the kitchen.)
 Then, rather than using a food processor, or a blender, or a mixer, the immersion blender I've had for a hundred years sitting in the cabinet was put into use lickety split. (I've also been using it for soups often, too! Yea! Why did I wait so long to start using it?)
 In just a few moments, it smoothed out all the pumpkin to the consistency of applesauce. And the clean up was soooooo much easier and faster than the other kitchen toys would be. (Another lesson learned!)
2 pie pumpkins gave me enough for 5 pumpkin pies.
 8 pumpkins gave me enough for 20 pies, or 40 loves of pumpkin bread or 160 dozen pumpkin cookies or 26 pumpkin cheesecakes. (Just in case you were wondering. ;-) ) Aren't those freezer containers just perfect? The local grocery store chain had them on a ridiculous clearance price and then they'll also be reusable without throwing the zip-lock bags away. RRR! Reduce, reuse, recycle. 'Eh?
 And..all these pumpkin seeds! Now that I have them all washed and dried, I'm pouring over a bagillion recipes on facebook looking for just the right recipe to toast 'em up! Sooooooo many different flavors? What's your favorite?
Now, check these out! Remember all the raspberries that started all this jam and canning in the kitchen here? Well, my very generous friend, Kathie, is now raising some laying hens and look what she gave me! You can't get much fresher - or healthier than this!!!!!! Look how dark those brown eggs are! Next up will be some pumpkin cookies with a couple of these babies!

So, do you like to cook, bake, and can in between your knitting projects? The more I'm reading about diabetic cooking and canning, I'm learning so much about the quality of what our food should be, and how making at home can be so delicious over pre-packaged. I'm also thrilled that Mom's blood tests are really looking better. Thanks in no small part to my daughter's cooking for Mom and Dad that really got me to thinking about how important label reading can be.

So, until next time I have some more creative messes to make in the kitchen! (Hands hurry up-I have knitting waiting to happen again, too! I miss you.)