Food Rules.

I really want to take a picture of every page in this book, but alas- that would not only be impractical, but also probably violating more than a few copyright laws. So I’ll say this- you should read it.

This book is incredible. It dictates what we should and should not be eating, in the best way possible. I agree whole-heartedly with the rules: they sum up my beliefs on food. Yes, we shouldn’t be eating foods with more than five ingredients listed. Yes, we shouldn’t be eating foods pretending to be something they’re not. A lot of these rules I’ve grown up with following, others are unfamiliar, but make sense to me.

Some of my favorites!

Rule 12:

WIN_20151029_20_17_15_Pro

Hmm. Makes sense.

Rule 13:

WIN_20151029_20_17_24_Pro

Hey, look- if it rots, there probably are no preservatives! (I didn’t make that connection until now.)

Rule 27:

WIN_20151029_20_17_53_Pro

An excellent idea- you are what you eat, after all.

Rule 33:

WIN_20151029_20_18_16_Pro

Yogurt! Kefir! Enough said.

WIN_20151029_20_18_27_Pro

Ohhkay. True, but kinda harsh.

WIN_20151029_20_18_56_Pro

It’s too easy to succumb to the apocalypse nachos. Try not to (and this is for myself as well as y’all) utilize it too much!

Read this book. End of story.

Advertisements

Shredded Chard Salad

This salad is incredible. I don’t like salad.

That was supposed to convince you to make it.

It is my hope that this salad converts me into a salad eater. It was delicious. And it took me literally three minutes to throw together. It kind of needs the dressing, and that takes a little longer, but it really doesn’t need that much.

IMG_6174

For the salad:

Several leaves of Swiss Chard (bonus points if the stems are colored)

A handful of shredded mozzarella

For the dressing:

1/2 a garlic clove, smashed and diced 

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Several grates of black pepper

Cut the stems off of the chard.

WIN_20151024_09_24_47_Pro

Roll up the chard lengthwise, and chop into thin strands. It takes a couple tries to get the hang of it, but once you’ve got it, it makes you feel like you’re in the kitchen of some fancy restaurant.

It’s a lot of fun, too.

WIN_20151024_09_25_26_Pro

If you have trouble, try using a back-and-forth sliding motion, but only lift the back part of the knife when moving it. It’s hard to describe- try imitating the cooking show contestants’ chopping motion. If that makes any more sense.

You’ll figure it out.

WIN_20151024_09_26_34_Pro

This is what you’re going for!

Next, mix all the dressing ingredients together in a lidded container, and shake. Hard. It’d be a good idea to get the lid on really tightly, so that nothing splatters.

Add your handful of mozzarella to the chard, and toss with your hands. Drizzle the dressing over it, and serve.

IMG_6175

That wasn’t so bad! You may end up eating this three meals a day, seven days a week. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s easy to throw together!

And our chard plants are still growing like crazy.

And we’ll be eating a lot of this, this fall.

But it tastes too good.

Zucchini Relish

Zucchini Relish

There’s a reason it’s called relish. I would lick my plate after eating this, in the same way that I (have a bad habit of) lick pie plates, or cheesecake plates, or coffeecake plates, or cinnamon roll plates.

Shh- I’ve just trusted you with my deepest, darkest secret.

But I trust you, lovely readers.

I do feel absolutely awful about not having any pictures of the process, but it shouldn’t be difficult to follow the recipe.

Zucchini Relish

(Makes about 25 ounces)

1lb zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

 1/2 an onion, diced

1/2 a red bell pepper

1 garlic clove, smashed and diced

1 tbsp kosher salt

Mix all the above ingredients in a colander, and sit over the sink for two hours to drain. Rinse in cold water until all the salt is gone, and pat dry.

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional, but it doesn’t make it too hot- I’ve cut the original amount down quite a bit for our non-hot-sauce-loving family)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp mustard seeds, or mustard powder

1/2 tsp celery seeds

A few grinds of black pepper

A pinch of salt

Place your veggies in a stock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Check every five minutes, and mash as much zucchini with your spoon. In the meantime, sterilize two 12-oz jars, lids, and rings.

Note: The steam will smell very strongly of vinegar. It will definitely clear the sinuses- but don’t worry. That’s evaporating vinegar. It’ll help flavor the zucchini and pepper, but it won’t overpower it. Just turn on a fan, and try not to get a face-full of steam. Personal experience here, people!

When it’s thoroughly cooked, soft, and smushed (there should be a little bit of liquid in the pot), take it off the heat. Take the cans out of the water, too, and dry a little. It doesn’t really matter, but I personally don’t like working with wet jars.

Fill your jars. Smash as much relish in there as possible. There will be a little extra, in case your jar spills half of the relish (like mine did), or you want to freeze some, or in case you want to put some in a bowl and pick out the pepper and zucchini with a toothpick (like I did with my remaining piece of zucchini).

Put the lids and rings on. Don’t burn yourselves, people!

Process for about 30 minutes in boiling water. When you take them out, if they don’t seal in 10-15 minutes, let them boil a little longer.

Relish your relish! I’m not a huge fan of relish and pickles, but this stuff I had to try- and it’s tasty! Like the salsa, you don’t have to can it- you could freeze it, or eat it right away, or do all three. The main thing is that someone eats it, and gets to taste this awesome food.

Enjoy!

Hi y’all!

IMG_6086

Yesterday, I noticed that I had gotten a number of new visitors. Hi, new friends!

At some point in time, every blogger wonders, ‘If I’m not counted as a visitor, and the family hasn’t seen it for a while, who is coming to read the blog?

So- I’ll start. Hi, I’m Katie. I don’t live on enough land to fully homestead, but I have an obsession with preserving, gardening, and crafting. I am a teenager- not married, no kids. I do have an an almost-thirteen year old younger sister who loves to join me in my adventures and misadventures alike, and two incredible parents who love to support me- and pull me away from the kitchen when I am avoiding my homework.

I also really like pie.

WIN_20151013_18_56_55_Pro

What about you? Do you have a homestead/half-homestead? A wilted basil plant? No judging on this blog. Any animals? Frighteningly large plants?

Seriously- I’m curious. Please, don’t be strangers!

Drop-of-the-hat Salsa

WIN_20151020_17_14_20_Pro

I finally got to use my new canning equipment today! We’ve had a bumper crop (for us, at least) of tomatoes, and had at least two or three pounds sitting in the fridge up until now.

Before you say anything, our harvest dates have been odd- some peoples’ tomatoes peak in July and August, ours peak in October, a few days before the frost date no less. I’m still expecting to visit the garden in a few days to find a frozen watermelon. Yep- those too.

That put aside, I decided to make salsa with the tomatoes. We have a few cans of spaghetti sauce already, and I am already tired of peeling all of the tomatoes. Also, the majority of the tomatoes we had were tiny, and it would be way too much work to process all 7,264.

WIN_20151020_17_32_41_Pro

Salsa, on the other hand, requires no peeling, and aside from dishes and prep, very little involved work. I literally left it for three-quarters of an hour to go and do my Geometry. It did fine.

Ingredients:

  • About 7 or 8 cups of tomatoes (should make about 5 cups of puree, see step 1)
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced (or sliced thickly and passed off as okay, like mine)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup medium-hot peppers- I just used the rest of a jar we had. Before you shout at me and call me a hypocrite-

WIN_20151020_17_41_36_Pro

There. Certified organic. There’s my excuse.

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp each of:
    • onion powder
    • oregano
    • cayenne pepper (adjust to taste- we’re not huge hot-pepper fans, if you want, add more)
    • cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  1. Wash your tomatoes. Cut the big ones in half. Dump all of them on a cookie sheet. Fill a stock pot with water, and begin sterilizing your jars.

WIN_20151020_17_36_19_Pro

Seriously- make sure that it’s a cake pan, or at least something that is not flat. The tomatoes will produce a lot of juice, and if you don’t have something to catch it… I’ll leave it to your imagination. Use a cake pan!

2. Put your tomatoes in the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for 30-45 minutes. If you are using a convection bake option, preheat to 400 and roast for 30 minutes.

3. Combine all ingredients (besides tomatoes, ACV, salt, and pepper) in a large bowl. Stir until combined, and set aside.

4. Let the pans cool for a minute or two before pouring as much of the liquid off as possible. Take your jars, rings, and lids out of the stock pot, and pour out the water.

5. Once the tomatoes are completely cool, pour into the blender, reserving about a half-cup to a cup, depending on how chunky you want it. Puree, then pour into the stock pot.

6. Pour the mixture in the big bowl into your stock pot. Add the rest of your tomatoes, along with the ACV, salt, and pepper.

7. Stir, put the lid on, and let simmer for as long as you want- anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, stirring ever so often. It’ll reduce as it cooks, so if you want a thicker salsa, let it cook longer. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in mine, but it all is a matter of preference,

8. Fill your jars, and water-bath process them for 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then check to see if they processed.

WIN_20151021_06_57_54_Pro

If you don’t (or your family doesn’t) feel comfortable with your canning skills, you have a few options:

  • You can process the jars the same way, but leave a little extra headspace, and freeze them
  • You can process the jars the same way, but refrigerate them.
  • You can dump it all into a container, jar or otherwise, and freeze or refrigerated them.
  • You can make it right before your party, and eat it all quickly.

Don’t feel obligated to can something- freezing is a safe option in many circumstances, and as long as you’re careful, refrigerating is good too. Use common sense, and you should be fine!

Always remember- when in doubt, throw it out!

Katie

My Dragon-like tendencies

I’ve been going through my stuff lately, and have discovered a frightening trend.

I’m a book hoarder. I have one hundred thirty two books in my room alone.

Is this normal? I cannot bring myself to get rid of anything- most of the books are at least thirty years old, some of which I’ve never read, others of which I haven’t read in at least ten years.

I also hoard seeds. And yarn. And papers.

What do you all hoard?

Canning. And Stuff.

Y’all. I’m too excited for this.

WIN_20151010_20_59_29_Pro

Some people get excited when they get a new phone, or computer game, or whatever. I get excited when I get canning jars, a jar funnel, and a jar lifter.

Prior to this, I’ve only had a pair of salad tongs to lift my jars out of boiling water. Never, ever do this- it is futile, and while it will eventually work, it’ll scald you along the way. I’m almost impervious to boiling water- that is not a good thing.

WIN_20150827_20_58_01_Pro

On a different note, I love canning. The realization that you can eat food grown in the summer in the winter, without worrying about produce being shipped from Central America- it’s incredible.

8af79c29cce7cb257760e2041596fdee

It would be more incredible if I had remembered to can things in, say, April- but no matter. At least I have an apocalypse-style hoard of mason jars in my dresser.

WIN_20151010_22_02_48_Pro

Ignore the yarn. And the bad lighting. And the fact that a lot of my jars are in the basement right now.

IMG_5292

Incentive to can more next year!