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Posts from ‘May, 2009’

A little bit of this and that

I have noticed many bloggers have been posting about trying to plan meals utilizing foods from their freezer and pantry.

This week I have been cleaning out and organizing the contents of my freezers. I have two refrigerators with freezers on the top. We had a large upright freezer in our last house which we sold before we moved. The previous owner of this house left the stove and refrigerator so we put our refrigerator in the garage.
Sometimes I wish I had a bit more freezer space but most of the time this is enough for the two of us.

I went through everything this week, got rid of a few things, consolidated a few things, and made plans to use a few others. I then made an inventory on the computer of what is in both freezers. Hopefully this will help me keep better track of what I have and what I need.

Today for lunch I made vegetable soup using vegetables and ground beef from the freezer.

picture of Vegsoup

I try to keep a small container in the freezer to keep little odds and ends of vegetables which can eventually become soup. I also found some okra from last summer's garden and it went into the soup pot as well.

There were three bags of blackberries in the freezer which were cooked and made into juice last night and then into jelly this afternoon. I found a book at the library this week called All about Canning and Preserving by the authors of the Joy of Cooking cookbooks. I followed the directions in this book for making this jelly with just the juice and sugar - no commercial pectin.

picture of Blackberryjam

It seemed to jell nicely, but I'll let you know when we try it on some fresh biscuits!

I thought I'd better use up last year's blackberries because it looks like we have a bumper crop of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in the garden this summer. The Lord has blessed us with an abundance of rain this spring and the bushes are loaded with fruit.

The abundance of rain has made it difficult to plan certain outside chores for the last few weeks. We had a dry sunny day today so another chore was washing the quilt from my bed. I like to dry it outside and today was the perfect day for it.

picture of Bedspread

The cooler, rainy weather has also helped preserve some of our flowers this spring, including this Clematis which is growing on our mailbox.

picture of Clematis

Rob has learned that if he cuts it back late in the summer it will bloom again in the fall.

Tonight we are going out to a Japanese restaurant to celebrate our DIL, Katie's birthday. It will be a nice ending to a busy day.

Hope your weekend was blessedly busy as well.


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Sunday dinner in the crockpot

I wanted something different for dinner today and I remembered this recipe for Crockpot Lasagna:

Crockpot Lasagna from Taste of Home magazine

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 cups spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup water
7-8 no cook lasagna noodles (oven ready)
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Drain off any accumulated grease. Combine with spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, and water. In a greased crockpot (mine is 5 quart size) spoon 1/4 of sauce. Layer in 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 of the cheeses. (I used two whole noodles and half a noodle for each layer. I broke the half noodle in half again and put a piece on each end.) Repeat the layers ending with sauce and cheeses. You can assemble this ahead and refrigerate overnight. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. My family really liked this.

Sorry there are no pictures, but you probably know what lasagna looks like. By the time I thought about taking a picture we had eaten about half of it and it didn't look very photogenic, as you can imagine. It does make a pretty good casserole and it's nice because you can assemble it ahead of time.

I bought this crockpot about a year ago and I really have enjoyed it.

picture of Crockpot

You can program the time and after the cooking time it automatically switches to warm so your food does not get overdone. If you have an older crockpot without this feature I would highly recommend purchasing a new one. I still use my older one for soups, beans, etc., but this one works great on Sunday when I am often cooking meats or the occasional casserole.

I did try a new dessert from a recipe I found in the summer edition of Kraft Food and Family. It, too, was very tasty and is something that can be made ahead.
If you need a cool, refreshing dessert, keep this one in mind.

picture of Frozendessert

We have berries ripening in the backyard and we were discussing that this might be nice made with raspberry sherbet and fresh raspberries on top.


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Salad supper

It's still a bit cooler than normal here, but I think summer is on its way. Tonight we had an easy supper salad that we both enjoy – Salade Niçoise. I have actually eaten this in France, but all of the ingredients are readily available here. In fact, you probably have most all of them in your kitchen. Here's how you make it:

Salade Niçoise

red skin potatoes (about 1 per person, depending on size of potatoes)
about 1/2 cup green beans per person (can used canned, frozen, or fresh)
1 hard cooked egg per person
1/2 can tuna per person (more if your cats demand a share)
about 1/2 of a nice ripe tomato per person or a handful of cherry tomatoes
Black olives
Italian salad dressing
parsley for garnish

Boil the potatoes until tender. Let them cool a bit and then slice them about 1/3" thick. Cook the green beans if using fresh or frozen. Cool slightly with cold water. Combine the potato slices and green beans in a bowl and drizzle with the salad dressing. Portion onto a serving plate. Top each serving with some of the tomato slices, a few olives, an egg cut into quarters, and then the tuna. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve with crackers or the bread of your choice.

picture of Saladenicoise

This is especially nice with fresh green beans and a nice juicy tomato from the garden!


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Something good (and healthful!) for supper

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? I had never tried it until recently. Both Rob and I really like it and it is very easy to prepare. I can find it here in town at the Farmer's Market.

picture of Spaghettisquash

Here is how you can cook it:

Wash the squash and then cut it in half – this is probably the hardest part of cooking the squash.

picture of Spaghettisquashhalf

Remove the seeds from the squash and discard.

picture of Scoopseeds

Place the squash cut side up in a baking dish, add 1/4 cup water, and tent loosely with plastic wrap.

picture of Bakesquash

Place in the microwave and cook on high for about eight minutes or until you can insert a knife into the squash easily.

When the squash is tender rake across it with a fork and it will separate into strands.

picture of Shredsquash

We ate ours tonight topped with some spaghetti sauce with some chopped up leftover roast beef and some cheese. It was really good, so don't be afraid to try it.

picture of Squashsauce


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Fingertip towel bib

The other night I wanted to sew something but didn't want to start a big project. I remembered I had some cute fingertip towels that I had found in the dollar section at Target. I decided to make some baby bibs for future baby showers. These bibs are easy to make and I remember enjoying them when my girls were little because there were no ties to get caught in their hair. They just pop on over the baby's head.

Here are the directions: (I didn't take step by step pictures of the process, but I will try to insert a couple of staged shots for explanation.)

About 1/3 of the way down from the top of the towel cut out a five inch circle of the fabric. Divide the circle into quarters and mark with pins or chalk.

For the band you will need a strip of knit ribbing 3" wide by 12" long. Seam the short ends together in a 1/4" seam. Fingerpress the seam open and then fold the neckband so that the seam is on the inside. Divide the neckband into quarters and mark with pins or chalk.

Match the pins on the neckband and the pins on the towel. Pin the neckband to the neckline.

picture of Bibpins

Stitch the neckband to the neckline in a 1/4" seam. I usually straight stitch this seam and then go around it again with a stretch stitch of some kind. You could also serge this seam if you wanted to.

picture of Bibdoublestitch

If you are using a plain towel you could add ribbons or trim or an applique. Since my towels were already embroidered and had rick rack on them I was finished. Here are the completed bibs:

picture of Bibsfinished

This is a fun little project and I hope you will try it sometime.


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