Saturday, January 9, 2016

canning, melting and lots of good food!

i thought i would start this post with a mysterious spectre that i managed to capture when getting a pic of this evening's beautiful sunset:

any guesses? any supernatural /paranormal peeps out there who can explain this phenomena?  come on - give it your best shot!

bahahahahaahh! do you want to know what it really was? we had just gotten out of the hottub which is in the back yard and we walk through our glassed in porch to get into the house. we also have a door at the front of the porch that leads to the front yard. when i saw the sky i ran in the house and grabbed my camera to take a pic. that spectre you see is steam rising from my "just out of the hottub body" - bahahahahaah! cool eh? but then i was able to snap another pic once dressed but the sky had lost it's vibrancy.

a pink sky at sunset means it will be sunny and warm tomorrow. there will be only standard jobs done - tomorrow we are going to party like it's 2016! and we deserve it! jambaloney has been spending several hours a day and in the evening working on his contract and he is really busting that baby out! then we have been canning like mad! 6 pints of green and yellow zucchini puree and 8 pints of pumpkin and squash puree - deelish!

here's a nice, quick and filling dinner:

a chicken wrap with mayo (and hot sauce for jambaloney) sprouts, cucumber and raw onion with orange slices, some olives and hearts of palm.

yesterday our friend j brought our truck back to us. he did a fantastic welding job and charged us a very reasonable price. j and our besties' son d drove the truck out here and then jam drove them back. but he turned welding work that would take a garage goodness knows how long into a 2 day job - start to finish. it's good to have friends that are highly skilled and trained, and more importantly - trustworthy.

while jam was gone i busted out our big bag of frozen tomatoes from our harvest surplus and started cooking them down. many people get fancy with their canning - like canning only romas or only big beef at one time. not me - i chuck whatever surplus tomatoes we have in a big bag in the freezer and then cook them all together....i think it makes for a more robust flavour. other people get fancy and make tomatoe sauce, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, rotel tomatoes, etc. but again - not me. i make a tomatoe "stuff in a jar". i also don't peel my all of my tomatoes all the time, sometimes i do in order to make tomatoe powder for paste - but once i have enough tomatoe powder, i just toss the remaining tomatoes in skins and all. we don't mind having tomatoe skins in our "stuff in a jar" - extra nutrients, kids!

because these tomatoes were frozen, there was a lot of extra liquid. no problem! strain your tomatoes and then save the strained liquid. fill your jars with your "tomatoe stuff in a jar" and then fill other jars with the strained liquid. the strained liquid becomes your base for your homemade tomatoe soup. here's 8 pint jars of "stuff in a jar" and 4 pint jars of tomatoe soup base:

oh, one last thing, when i can tomatoes i add no additional ingredients like spices or anything. i start off cooking the tomatoes with a big glop of EVOO and slice an onion and cook it in it until soft and translucent. then i scoop out the onions and toss the tomatoes in with only salt and pepper. when we fill the jars, i use one tblspn of freshly-squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of sea salt. i have tried variations of canning tomatoes a variety of ways over the years and find that this way keeps the tomatoes the most pure-ish tasting. i do the same with soups and purees. then when i am making something with the "stuff in a jar" - that's when i add the garlic, onion, celery, additional spices, etc.

anyway - that makes 26 more jars of stuff that we grew ourselves to add to our already pretty-well stocked pantry.

of course we had to have some of the soup base that was left over and not enough to fill a jar. absolutely divine. i added a big dollop of coconut milk, some crushed garlic and a bit of salt and a ton of pepper. we wanted to keep it simple. and it was absolutely lovely!!!

normally when i make tomatoe soup from a base like this i'll add crushed garlic (of course!) turmeric, cayenne, cumin, lemongrass, celery, bok choi, tatsoi - whatever is on hand. but for the taste test we wanted it simple.

we're still de-cluttering the attic and packing up extra linen and moving furniture out to the shed. we have stuff shoved everywhere and the shed is really helping us finally have a place to store stuff that we need but is cluttering up our lives. remember kids, this is a very small house and it has been a challenge for us since we got here to figure out job priorities and what to build and when. jambaloney does the majority of the building and he is only one guy. now with all of the outside projects finished for the winter, and with him working on his contract, and with us trying to re-arrange and find proper homes for our kitchen appliances ( we have a lot of them - but we make everything from scratch and so need them), this de-cluttering and re-arranging process takes some time. but we are enjoying it and backing off of a lot of community events in order to focus.

here's an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink stirfry. the rice is white korean sticky rice (my fave) but looks brown because of the soya, ginger, rice vinegar, and garlic sauce that gets poured over the whole stirfry at the last minute. served with some orange, melon, kimchi and pickled ginger - yummeh!

more yummeh? last night's netflix snack. we always have a snack when we decide to watch a movie. mixed beans, hearts of palm, red pepper hummus, celery sticks, olives, toasted tortilla, grapes and artichoke hears. we scarfed most of that back before the movie even started!

jam's on a roll working on his contract and i am gonna hit up some blogs. no netflix tonight as we have to be up early tomorrow "to party like it's ta-wen-tee-six-teen" (that last bit sung to Prince's 1999).

oh and fantastic news! jam has to go into work on site on tuesday and a few of our friends have said that rumour has it - the fish guy and his truck full of fish will be in town on tuesday - woohoo! can you say more fresh-caught tuna, swordfish, salmon, haddock, cod and who knows what else. he does not freeze his fish - he sells it fresh on the spot. guess who's freezer is going to be fully replenished with a variety of fresh fish. come on sillies - it's us!!!

i hope you are all having a good weekend!

(EDITED TO ADD: the "melting" part of the title of this post refers to the fact that the snow is melting - woohoo! tomorrow is supposed to be bright and sunny - so more melting! and then monday we are expecting heavy rain and winds - and those things both help with melting. should be almost clear ground by tuesday. woohoo! least until the next snow fall!)


  1. I think it's marijuana smoke wafting up in front of the camera. I mean, it would fit the hot tub environment, right?

    Great picture. You guys have it made up there. You're own river, your hilltop, and right by the ocean. Plus it's hard to get there.

  2. Probably a good thing the photo was taken by you and not your security camera! lol

  3. Wow, special effects!! Glad you aren't charging extra for it. :-) And, as usual, you're food pics make me hungry. Now, you must post a kimchi recipe - The 'local' store sells a pint jar of kimchi for $6 US. And it sure did NOT look as good as your kimchi, full of all sorts of preservatives that would preserve you into the next millennium!

    Lovely sunset! Oh, and what do you make with the zucchini puree?

  4. Bitter cold here to night -15F with a wind chill of -30F. I still would rather put on every piece of clothing to stay warm then strip down to boxers or birthday suite to stay cool....Check out my blog pics of Sammy and Scott outside in the snow.

  5. You sound very happy. Could that be because you start and end the day in the hot tub???

    My tomatoes are just starting - thanks for reminding me about tomato powder - I, too, just chuck whole tomatoes in a pot and let them mush down. Why make the preserving of the best salad / vegetable item complicated? ;)

  6. It kinda looks like one of the ghosts from the Harry Potter movies when it takes off in mist form though. Perhaps Moaning Myrtle has moved into your hot tub?

  7. OOOHHH you steamy hot girl you! :)
    Another delicious food blog with your wonderful snippets of information!

  8. Beautiful evening to be in the hot tub. The way you eat home grown, home made food is inspiring. Maybe you could take a picture of your canned stash for us? I need a photo to see what I'm aiming for!! Also pretty jealous of the fresh fish man, I could make a mean fish pie with all that fish x

  9. And I thought I was the only one who canned tomato stuff in a jar. The only thing I do differently is that I don't add any salt, pepper, onion, EVOO or lemon juice. There is nothing but tomato in my jars. I like the flexibility of grabbing the jar and deciding if I want to make soup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, lasagna filling, etc and add things accordingly.

  10. Sweet Kymber,

    First, I have to say great catch on your camera of the steam from your naked bodies, LOL......
    I love the color of the skies with this sunset, it's just gorgeous.

    I'm having a hard time getting motivated to get canning done, and to get back on the computer after dealing with this estate stuff. After reading your post, you've motivated me to pull out the carcasses and start making bone broth.

    SciFiChick would be so proud of you canning all your tomatoes together to make your sauce.

    Wish we lived closer to you, I would kill for some really fresh fish. The last several months we haven't gone fishing, so our supply of fish is down. It sure would be nice to replenish the freezer with purchasing fish from your fish man.

    Life is finally starting to slow down with the estate, soon we will have it sold and I can start getting back to my normal routine.

    Love you and Jam.
    Your Friend,