a long weekend is coming….

A long weekend is coming and for the first time in a while, I do not have a plan.

Is this good? Bad?

Sometimes I see this as an opportunity to be spontaneous, which would be awesome to exercise this week. Maybe I would see a friend or invite over a couple of them. Maybe I will go visit a thrift store again – always fascinating πŸ™‚

Sometimes it just makes me bored or feel like I am wasting a great opportunity (3 days off, come on! this is a great time to enjoy) only because I did not long for it. This past week has been light in terms of work and stress, and as such, I have not dreamt of how great it would have been to have an extra day off from work. Anticipation, they say, is a joyful experience. I now know what they mean πŸ™‚

It is not too late to have the aim of enjoying this long weekend.

  • Maybe I will try a new recipe. As a matter of fact, I have become interested in yet another fermentation product, kvass. Maybe I will try it πŸ™‚
  • I can make some more parsnip and carrot pickle – the one that I made last weekend was amazing. Parsnip has a sweet smell that makes me excited about it.
  • I may try a new type of jam or marmalade, and share with friends. I want to try something unusual and challenging. Orange, clementine, berry marmalades are not interesting at this point (done that, been there). If you have any recommendation or recipe for a different type of jam, please feel free to let us know in the comment area.
  • I may visit my yard and maybe help it rejuvenate. I think I have seen the bulbs I planted last fall coming out a few days ago! Our winter is not over, but it has been such a mild one that I am not surprised to see them sprouting πŸ™‚ I am excited to see how they will come along.
  • My mom suggested that I give a dig or two around my garlic shoots. Yep, I have around 35 garlic that I had planted in fall and seem to be coming around πŸ™‚ What an exciting experience! If this experiment works well, I am sure to plant more in fall. Cannot wait πŸ™‚
  • Perhaps I can sew a couple of cloths to use during baking. I have had many, some of which were thick and really useful. Sadly they have got old and not usable anymore, but I am sure I have fabric here and there that can make my new cloths from. Let’s do this πŸ™‚
  • This week is also one of these weeks when I am attempting some kind of pantry challenge. I have a lot of food in the pantry and in the freezer – it is time that I consume them and open space for fresh ones. This will also help me save some money – I really need to do this so that I can have a healthy chequeing account while also I continue to regularly invest and finance my vacation in summer.

radish pickle with jalapenos and mis-fortune of a strawberry marmalade trial

I wanted to cheer myself up with two new recipes; radish pickle and frozen strawberry marmalade.

It turns out I bought extra packs of radish, so why not to try pickling it? An adventure for me and a chance of limiting food waste. I think it will turn out to be right.

Frozen strawberry marmalade, on the other hand, turned to the dark side right at the end. I decided I could boil the jars to help preserve them. I was wrong – the pot was not deep enough. Then, I turned them upside down to sterilize at least the neck of the jars, and one or two of the jars leaked somehow. Goodness help me…..I aborted the attempt. Sadly, these marmalade will go to garbage now. Nevertheless, I am posting the recipe here because there was a 1/4 cup of the marmalade I had in a jar that I did not attempt to water-can and it is delicious. At least I have got 1/4 cup of it!!! πŸ™‚

Radish pickle

  • 600 gr radish; washed and diced as thinly as possible
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, washed, and diced with the seeds
  • 5 garlic, grated
  • 1tbs+1tsp sugar
  • 1tbs+1tsp salt
  • 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water-boiled

Boil the brine (vinegar and water); add sugar and salt – mix

place the diced radish, jalapenos, grated garlic in clean jars (mine were 750 ml jars; it made 2 jars)

add 2 cups of brine or as much as the jar can take

close the lid and secure the rings. Must be ready in a week or so

*added the next day: as being a pickle person, I could not help and try this pickle the next day. To my surprise it was ready and it was hot – thanks to jalapenos. If you are looking for a quick type of pickle, this is a must to try πŸ™‚

 

Frozen strawberry marmalade

  • 1.5 kg of frozen strawberry
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1.5 lemon (9 tbs)

place the strawberry on a container and mix with the sugar; wait for 1 hour util strawberry starts to release its juice, mix every once a while

add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil at medium heat (takes around 15 min)

boil for 15 min and then lower the heat to medium and boil an additional 30 min. It must reduce at the end

remove the scum and pour down the marmalade in sterilized jars (I boiled them for 15 min together with the rings. Lids were placed in hot water); leave around 1/2 inch room

clean the rims of the jars, place the lids, and secure the rings.

if you can pressure-can or water-can, you can keep these for some time. But if you are like me and cannot do this for some reason, then keep it as it is at the fridge and consume within weeks.

 

 

I hope you will be able to enjoy these recipes! πŸ™‚

 

 

holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month πŸ™‚

Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.

My plans for this year are as follows:

1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.

2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.

3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! πŸ™‚

4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.

5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? πŸ™‚

6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.

7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses πŸ™‚

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures πŸ™‚ My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items πŸ™‚ Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish.Β 

What a wonderful list πŸ™‚

 

my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited πŸ™‚

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week πŸ™‚ I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy πŸ™‚

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread πŸ™‚ Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it πŸ™‚

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends πŸ™‚

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut!Β 

How about this?Β 

I think I am moving in the right direction πŸ™‚

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade πŸ™‚

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too πŸ™‚

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

Squirrel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/XSKhFtfGr1HYA

 

 

fried nerves and the Don Quixote syndrome

I woke up feeling like I was ready to charge and take down anything and everything that bothered me.

After an hour or so fuming with annoyance and having two productive meetings, this feeling thankfully subsidized.

I blame my fried nerves and extended period (since July) of non-stop working, shouldering every single problem at work, and resentment created by finishing tasks that others can do for this recent Don Quixote syndrome episode.

Don Quixote Illustration GIF by Sean Mirkovich - Find & Share on GIPHY

I just decided to take a week off from work to recuperate. I have a business trip to make soon, but after that I think it is best that I soothe my nerves by being away from the office and its problems, by reading books, by baking, jamming, and pickling, and by sewing the blouses that I was meaning to since last year but never found time to sew. Great plans!

Have a wonderful night everyone!

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/gif-animation-don-quixote-xTiTnwxx65Hnm7fyVO

fast beet pickles

I have got a great recipe from my mom which I am happy to share.

1. Peel the beets (I do that – many people boil beets in their skin, but I do remove them so that I can use the beet-water later) and chop

2. Put beet bits inΒ  boiling water and boil for 15-25 min. I like my pickles kind of crisp and not mushy; but you can adjust the boiling time as short or long as you please

3. Put the beets in jars that are clean and sterilized (I wash them in the dish washer and let the steam work on them. This time I also kept them at oven heated up to 212F (100C)Β  for 20 min. I treated the rings the same. As per the lids, I only washed them in the dishwasher and then dried with paper towel)

4. Close the lids but do not tighten yet; let cool the beet-water

5. Brine: per 750 ml jar; peel and grate 3 mid-size garlic; add vinegar+beet water (1 in 4 ratio), 2 tbs of sugar and 1 tbs of salt. Mix well

6. Pour down the brine over the beets (around 1 1/3 cup brine/each jar), make sure it covers them. Close tightly and preserve the jars in the fridge or a cool place (mine are always on the kitchen counter; we have a cool climate and my kitchen is heated up to around 17C).

7. These pickles can be enjoyed immediately. ConsumeΒ within a short time (2-4 weeks).

 

TIPS:

  1. You know beets will create a mess and you will clean and clean and clean, right? So, be careful and gentle while handling it πŸ™‚ I placed a number of towels around to make sure the mess will be contained, yet sill needed to clean my wall. Oh, well. I may be just clumsy (and I am) πŸ™‚
  2. You can increase the ratio of vinegar to water and reduce the sugar; this will help with keeping the pickle longer. I personally love this ratio; it does not smell like vinegar and tastes sweet. Just the way I love it πŸ™‚
  3. Since this pickle is not sterilized like in water baths or pressure canners etc, it is best consumed soon (like within a month). Always keep in the fridge to protect it from getting spoiled. Use sterilized tools and cans to reduce the chance of spoilage.
  4. I found the long beets rather than round ones make better pickles; I think it is easier to cut them and have decent sized bites.
  5. Use fresh beets – cannot believe what a difference it makes! One of my colleagues had brought me a bunch from her farm and the pickle I have made using these beets were the best. I purchased today’s beets from farmers market. Crunchy beets they were – the best πŸ™‚

 

 

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