Sunday Market Score

For once, we remembered when the Glenwood Sunday Market was holding a winter market – the last one of the year. Though with temps nearing 80 today, saying we were going to a winter market was a little weird. And it certainly wasn’t austere – the place was jam-packed and we came home with a nice haul – a pint of field-ripened strawberries (it’s true!) from Hardin Farm, fresh garlic from Montalbano, an entire bag of red potatoes from King’s Hill, and mushrooms from River Valley Mushrooms.We also picked up a breakfast treat from Bennison’s – two chocolate croissants for me and two chocolate doughnuts for husband. And last but not least, we got some lettuce and plant starts from our favorite market vendor, Midnight Sun – a Patio Star summer squash, a couple of Italian parsley and four miniature sunflowers.

It was great to dig in the dirt this morning planting. I put the four sunflowers in our window box on the deck railing, and they look gorgeous. Once the three morning glories get a bit bigger, I’ll plant them in front so they can cascade down to the patio. It’ll look great. The parsley went into our blue glazed planter, and the squash went into one of the mid-sized planters on the patio so it can get plenty of sun. I didn’t go hog wild at the market today with plants because Becky let me know that their seedling list is up on their website and that she’d be happy to put together an order for me to pick up the first outdoor market in a few weeks. So of course the first thing I did when I got home was email over my order –

1 dill
1 lavender
4 Improved Rainbow Swiss chard
2 Lacinato kale
1 Roma tomato
1 Sungold tomato
3 of the container tomatoes we asked you to grow (I am having a brain freeze on the name at the moment)
2 Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers
Other than forgetting the name of the tomato I specifically asked for last fall and that they obligingly agreed to grow out this season, I think I’m pretty well set on plants now. We’ve got our four types of hot peppers that are doing fairly well along with a few basil starts that are looking good. We need to restart our edamame and peas – I know it’s kind of late for peas since it’s getting hot already, but I’m going to try a couple anyway and see what we get.
And of course, despite my best laid plans for what I planned to grow, my list is always a bit different once I start to get things in the dirt. But that’s what I like about gardening – you can always mix it up and see get a lot of good stuff! It’s too bad we don’t have any batteries for the camera today (need to put that on my next shopping list) or I’d take a picture and show it all off. Good thing we’ve got the whole season ahead of – you’ll be able to see the garden in it’s full glory soon enough.

Hibernation Preparation

Well, I finally did it. The larder is stocked. In fact, it’s so stocked that I currently have a bunch of dry goods sitting on the counter at the moment. I have no idea where I’m going to put it all – I’m going to have husband help me reorganize the upper shelves of the cabinets so I can fit in these additional things later this afternoon.

We popped over to the Evanston farmers market yesterday to see Stovers for our annual supply of honey. To add to the five pound (half gallon) jug I bought earlier in the summer, I bought three more. So we’ve got twenty pounds of honey, which should be enough to last us about to when next year’s comes in sometime in the early summer.  I thought about getting some jams and jellies as well, but decided I could make my own quick versions with the fruit I’ve got in the freezer already if I’m so inclined. I did pick up a single jar of pumpkin butter though, for a little treat to stick in the fridge – so tasty on freshly baked bread when the weather gets cool. I also wanted to get a garlic braid from Henrys, but they’re not quite ready yet. Looks like I’ll have to pick that up after the baby is born. But I did get a pair of tiny, amazingly sweet yellow-fleshed watermelons there. I plan on eating one today. 🙂

This morning, we went to our own market and picked up another dozen ears of sweet corn for the freezer. The blueberries are done, so no more of those this season, though we have a respectable supply for pies and whatnot in the freezer already. For fresh eating, we picked up a pint of cherry tomatoes and a trio of hot peppers from Midnight Sun, and a pint box of McIntosh apples from Earth First. Husband tried to talk to me out of the apples since we’re getting a few bushels in October, but I couldn’t help it. I’ve been craving apple pie, and yesterday I scored an awesome Nordic Ware pie mold at Target for only $5.00 –

I couldn’t resist. Apple hand pies are definitely on the agenda for this weekend. We didn’t really need much more this week for fresh eating, since we still have a good supply of potatoes and onions from last week, so that’s all we came home from the market with.

Yesterday when we stopped at Target, I got more than the pie mold. I received a gift card from my coworkers as a baby present, so we wanted to finish our bulk shopping extravaganza. We got shampoo, paper towels and aluminum foil to round out the household goods we needed. I also found a good deal on ten pound bags of flour and sugar, Zatarains Spanish Rice, tomato paste, iced tea bags and pasta. So we really loaded up on those. Today at our regular grocery store, we laid in a serious supply of chicken stock, beef stock, soy milk , egg noodles, white rice, dried kidney beans and dried pinto beans. And since our cow and pig purchasing fell through for this year (we waited until the last minute for this year by virtue of necessity and then couldn’t find anyone to split with) we stocked up on some meat as well – ground beef, ground pork, chicken thighs, chicken legs and bacon. I also wanted a couple pork shoulders and beef roasts, but they didn’t have any at all. Weird.

Paired with last week’s shopping excursion, we’re all set. Literally all done. We have everything we need in this house to get us through at least the end of the year with household goods and toiletries, and about six to eight weeks of food, at least in dry goods and meat. We’ll have to buy the usual perishables like margarine, egg replacer and fresh produce, but it’s so liberating so know we don’t have to worry about doing big, regular grocery shopping.

So now I can relax for the entire rest of this weekend. The only “projects” I have planned are a double batch of Super Pumpkin-Pumpkin Bread,  Crumb Coffee Cake and 15 Bean Soup for the freezer, to round out the freezer meal project. But that will literally take me all of 45 minutes to put together, and I’ll like a little kitchen time tomorrow afternoon. It’s cool and breezy and feeling very fall-like this weekend so I figure that’s a good thing to do on work-free Monday afternoon. And a nap or two – that’s a very good thing to do to.

Sunday Canning

The excitement builds! Husband will be helping me with another round of canning today. And I’m super excited that I actually got to go to the farmer’s market with him today. The market got relocated this week to the parking lot right in front of our house, due to an art festival happening on the street where it’s usually held. This was a windfall for me, since hobbling across the street for a half hour was actually feasible with husband’s help.

It’s the first time in over a month that I’ve left the house for something other than a doctor’s appointment. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, and the market was in full swing. We came home with quite a haul too – three pounds of absolutely gorgeous Hungarian Wax hot peppers from Midnight Sun, a five pound bag of red onions and a five pound bag of red, white and blue mixed potatoes from King’s Hill and a pint of Saturn peaches and four ears of sweet corn from Hardin Family Farms (I wish they had a website, but they do not – they’re from around Eau Claire, Michigan and at our market every Sunday – excellent fruit!). We also picked up some chocolate doughnuts from Bennison’s for breakfast. Toward the end of market, husband is going back to pick up our 50 pounds of tomatoes from Midnight Sun too.

So, the action plan for today – we’re going to can 14 quarts of tomatoes with no added liquid (just like our last batch, only more!) as well as use the Hungarian Wax hot peppers for six pints of pickled peppers. Is this ambitious for someone who’s due to have a baby in about three weeks and still in a cast? Why yes, yes it is. Good thing I have husband here to be my trusty helper.

Stay tuned for a post later today (much later today) where we show off our handiwork. Now, I’ve got to prod husband to get things into high gear. 🙂

Oh Lovely Weekend, We Meet Again

Ah yes – Weekend Time. Is it just me, or has this seemed like a really long week? Weekends are great. Two whole days to relax and recharge. I hope everyone is getting out and enjoying the weather this weekend – still a touch humid around these parts, but the weather seems to have equalized a bit. We’ve been able to have the air conditioning off since yesterday, and I hope we can leave it off for a little while now. It’s certainly hot, but seasonably, so it’s not unbearable. It’s nice to get fresh air circulating through the house and hear the summer sounds.

As for housebound me, I’ve still got some of those infamous sitting projects planned for the weekend. With husband’s help (i.e. strong, steadying arms) I’ve been able to negotiate the single step down from our back door onto the deck, so I’ve been able to sit out on the patio a couple of evenings recently. Slow progress, but progress. So I definitely plan to spend some time lounging back there with a good book.

Otherwise, my fabric order from JoAnn Fabrics arrived in the mail today with the remaining items I need for the baby’s quilt. I mentioned the fabrics I chose the other day in my quilt update post over on Somebody’s Mother if you’re interested in seeing what I picked out. And they were all on sale! So I plan to finish up cutting out the quilt blocks this weekend, which shouldn’t take long. And if I can decide it’s not to hot to work with a hot appliance this weekend, I may even drag out the iron and press and pin them all.

And though I’ve desperately missed being able to walk down the street to the farmer’s market each Sunday, I’ve still been communicating via email with the good folks at Midnight Sun Organics about the canning tomato harvest. They report that the tomatoes are just starting to come on pretty good, so they’ll likely have a small batch (around fifteen pounds) of the #2’s (the less than pristine, canning-quality ones) available this weekend. That’s enough to put up 4-5 quart jars of tomatoes, which is a good intro round for a pseudo-invalid. Husband has awesomely stepped up to help me with the canning this year (is this guy a keeper or what?) since I’m off my game. A lot of the the work I can do sitting down – washing, scoring and and peeling the tomatoes as well as putting them into the jars. I’ll need his assistance with the heavy lifting – getting the stockpot of water set up on the stove, sterilizing the jars, and getting the filled jars from the kitchen table to the counter next to the stove. I may or may not be able to be on my feet with crutches to get the jars in and out of the canner – we’ll see how that goes. It’s working with boiling hot water and heavy glass so he may not even want me to mess with that part (he’s also a good protector-type). But I’m excited that with our teamwork, canning season may officially begin this weekend! 

I also think I mentioned awhile back that I got a new hand-sewn mini blind for the bedroom (from my mother in law) and my sewing table/vanity got a little makeover. I promised pictures, but where are they, you ask? I plan to get those taken and posted for you all this weekend as well. Pretty cool what you can do with a little fabric or paint to make something that’ s just perfect for your space.

And let us not forget pie. I’ve been absolutely nuts about it recently and if I could’ve been, I would’ve been baking two pies a week at least over the last three weeks. Well, this weekend I’m shooting for one. I can’t take a pie-less existence anymore! So I’m going to ask husband to haul all my ingredients to the kitchen table so I can work sitting down. I really want to try to make a batch of mini Shoofly pies. I loved the first full-sized one I made, and I’ve been thinking about doing them up in a miniature for a little while now. I have four five-inch metal pie pans, so I’ll have to have husband dig those out of the bottom of the pantry. And you better believe I’m going to double the crumb topping on these babies. So stay tuned on my (hopefully) successful endeavor in whipping them up on the small scale.

So that’s it – that’s the master plan. Oh, that and not setting the alarm clock for the next two days. I really love that part.

Sunday Scores

I feel like I made up for yesterday’s doing nothing in a few short hours this morning. We were up by 8:30 so we could make it to farmers market at opening. I was glad we had the head start too, because it was really hopping today. I stopped by and spoke to a couple of farmers that I’d been emailing about bulk tomatoes, and I think we have a winner – Midnight Sun Organics is going to have canning seconds for about $1.00 per pound, starting in August. I’m going to have to do a mad dash of canning before the baby comes, but it will definitely be worth it.

And we got an amazing assortment of fruits and veggies this week – a pint of big red raspberries, a pint of cherries, a zucchini, a bunch of carrots, scallions, rainbow chard (since ours is still recovering),  a pint of small wild black raspberries (the BEST kind), ciabatta bread, two chocoloate croissants (breakfast for me) a chocolate doughnut and cup of coffee (breakfast for husband), half a pint of crimini mushrooms, and a bunch of black eyed Susan wildflowers. What a haul! The red raspberries I think I’ll make up into a tart or a small cobbler. Likely a cobbler, since I’ll be making apple hand pies later. The black raspberries probably won’t make it past today, since I’ve been craving them for my entire pregnancy. The rest of the produce we’ll just play it by ear for dinners this week.

After the market we stopped by the store to pick up the few dry goods we needed this week. For some reason, we really had to load up on condiments like rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar and such – isn’t it odd how those things always tend to run out at once? We also picked up some ribs, so we’re going to do Marinated Barbecued Ribs for dinner tonight, and I think I’ll make up some Poor Man’s Risotto with mushrooms to go alongside – we haven’t had that in awhile. To round out my food-centered day, in addition to the raspberry cobbler and apple hand pies, I’m also going to try a delicious-sounding recipe I came across recently for Spiced Chai Cupcakes. I think I’m going to leave off the icing though, so they’ll be more like muffins. So we’ll have plenty of options for breakfasts this week.  

After the market, we picked up some quart canning jars. I found a lady in our neighborhood via a great community networking site called OhSoWe who had two cases of quart canning jars that she didn’t need. I was really surprised that they’re brand new, still in the box. I’m so excited to have them, because it saves me almost $35.00, which is about what they’re retailing for this year. I will be gifting back a few quarts of tomatoes to her in August in thanks. I just need one more case to have all the quart jars I’ll need for this season. But if I can find another two cases, so much the better.

All in all, a good Sunday thus far. It’s quite hot and humid, so unfortunately we’ve had to turn on the air conditioning (which I really hate doing) but since it’s on I have no excuse not to turn on the oven and bake this afternoon. And we’ll hopefully be able to get in some time on the deck this evening once the sun starts to go down. Happy Sunday!