* Garden stuff. I went to pick this tomato today. In my view, it was lovely and ripe. Then this is what I found.
Is this from birds? Squirrels? Argh. I am not growing tomatoes for THEM!!! Any advice from anyone? Maybe I’ll have to try bird netting to protect them. Although my daughter said she used bird netting, then sat and watched as a bird carefully lifted up the netting and slipped under it to feast on the fruit.
* I found this SpiceChart on the internet.
Again, not sure if it’s cheaper to store all the ingredients for pumpkin pie spice mix or to just store some pumpkin pie spice. Right?
LONG TERM FOCUS: Fruit
Canning fruit is easy to do, because you just need to boil the jars, not pressure can them. Peaches, pears, cherries, and tomatoes are probably the easiest. We have kind of missed that season, though. Plus, here in So. Cal. we don’t really get “cheap” fruit, even at the Farmer’s Markets. I try to watch the sales at Sprouts or Cardena’s and see if I can get fruit for less than $.75 a pound. I checked out prices for canned fruit last week and It can be $1.95 a can!!! If you have room, consider planting a fruit tree. It probably won’t bear fruit for a few years, but now the road, it could be invaluable! Berries are another fruit easy to grow. In my yard, I have blackberry vines that grow like weeds. Literally, in some places they ARE weeds. You have to be careful they don’t overrun everything. I also have blueberry bushes. Unfortunately, I never get enough fruit to can or make into jam. The reason is that I just eat the berries as I pick them!!! LOL Did you ever read the book, Blueberries for Sal? As a side note: I do the same thing with the cherry tomatoes. All that garden fruit just explodes with flavor in your mouth. Mmmmmm.
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Batteries
October and April are my “check-your-batteries” months. In fact, all our smoke alarms went off last week and we had to replace all the 9-volts. I also bought a large pack of AA’s and several C’s and D’s and went around checking all the flashlights (in the nightstands, and in the cars). Batteries are pricey, but you just gotta bite the bullet and do it. This is a good time, because batteries are usually on sale right before Christmas. Your batteries should last 1 year. Still, check every 6 months.
MISC FOCUS: Diapers
I’ve heard that there might be an upcoming shortage of diapers. Parents with babies, you should SERIOUSLY consider getting some cloth diapers just to have on hand. I don’t have any particular recommendations, ask a friend, or search online. But get something. And put some in a baby backpack that you could grab in an evacuation emergency.
I read a very sad story about a mother after Hurricane Katrina who had no diapers and was reusing the same diaper day after day, scraping it clean when needed. She was begging at a gas station for anyone to help her buy diapers.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
Granola Apple or Peach Crisp
From the book, Cookin With Home Storage by Peggy Larson
(I wanted to make this one because I have about 5 dozen jars of canned peaches that we are just not eating. I’ll try this dessert, and then maybe just dehydrate some of them so I can use the jars for other things.)
5 medium apples, sliced or 4 c. canned peaches, drained
Place apples or peaches in a square baking dish.
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c. granola
Combine other ingredients. Mix well. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake 25-30 min at 350˚. Serve warm or cold with milk or whipping cream.
Caramel Apple Dump Cake
This recipe was created for a solar oven, but can be cooked in a conventional oven at 350˚. It tastes like apple pie and can be put together very quickly at a campsite or tailgate party and baked in a solar oven right on the spot.
2 cans apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter, melted
1/2 jar of caramel sauce (like ice cream topping)
1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)
Pre-heat the solar oven while preparing the recipe. Dump the apple pie filling into a 9X13 pan. Add the caramel sauce and stir to mix. Spread evenly in the pan.
Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top. Carefully spread it evenly over the top with a knife or spoon if needed. Pour the melted butter over the top of the dry cake mix.
Place the pan into a hot, pre-heated solar oven. Do not cover. Bake about 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the cake is browned on top and bubbly around the edges. Serve with ice cream or whipped topping if desired.
From the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book
1 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp baking powder
3 TB powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
Blend dry ingredients, add milk and egg.
Add 2 medium-sized apples (1 1/2 c.), pared, cored, and cut into narrow strips about 3/4 inch long. Drop from tablespoon into deep hot fat (365˚-375˚) 2-5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper. Sift with powdered sugar. Serves 4-6.
Corn Fritters (okay, not a fruit – but they still sound good)
1 1/3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 c. milk
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 c. drained whole kernel corn.
Mix and drop into hot fat. Drain, serve with maple syrup.
Apple Fritter Bread
(This was just shared with me today and doesn’t it sound so yummy!!! From the webpage: houseofnasheats.com)
3/4 c. milk. Heat in a small pan until bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil. Add:
1/4 c. butter, stir till melted and let cool
In a large bowl:
3 c. flour
1 TB yeast
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Mix well. Add…
1/4 c. apple cider or water
1 egg lightly beaten
Warm butter/milk mix. Stir until the dough forms into a ball and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth. This can be done in a stand mixer using a dough hook.
Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise to double, about 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, prepare the apple filling.
3-4 apples peeled and diced
1 c. brown sugar
2 TB butter
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TB cornstarch
Combine in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples soften and release their juices. The juices will thicken slightly from the cornstarch, but it will be very syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while the dough rises.
Assembly: Prepare 2 large bread pans with a parchment sling.
Divide the dough into two equal-sized portions. On a very clean, lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough into a rectangle. Evenly spread half of the apple filling mixture, including juices, over the dough. Roll the dough, starting from the long edge, cinnamon-roll style. Don’t worry about the syrup leaking out too much as you roll.
Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the loaf diagonally in 1-inch slices, then change your angle and cut again in the other direction, creating an “X” pattern and slicing the rolled dough into small chunks.
Scoop the chunks of dough and apple filling into the prepared bread pan, using the scraper to scoop up and add any spilled syrup into the pan. This part gets messy but it’s the best way I’ve found to make sure there is an even distribution of apples and syrup throughout the bread loaf. Repeat with the remaining bread dough and apple filling, then cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more minutes.
Heat oven to 350˚. Bake loaves 35-45 minutes until brown on top and cooked through. When done, immediately remove the loaves of bread from the pans and place on wire racks.
Prepare the glaze:
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 TB melted butter
3 tsp apple cider or milk
1 tsp vanilla
Drizzle over the top of both loaves of warm bread and allow to set before slicing.