to do-list week 14 – 2014

This week to do-list:
* Onions, I need to do something with the onions because they are going to sprout

* It has been extreme warm for this time of year so my green cabbages are almost going into seed. I will dehydrate them

* I need to make a double portion of the Mix and Match Granola

* Re-organize canning jars

* Pull weeds

* Plant broad beans under mini green houses (made from 1/2 liter bottles)

* Plant some lettuce and spinach

* Wax cheeses which have formed a thin crust

* Write a letter to my parents who are abroad and make them a nice surprise parcel

* Make a start with my translation assignment

Frugal savings week 13 – 2014

I haven’t done much this week because I have been under the weather and been in bed for most of the days this week. I did, of course baked my breads and made all the lunches and meals from scratch. Our favorite meal this week was falafal from scratch with tahini  and yogurt garlic sauce.

I didn’t go to get milk and make cheese. I had prepared everything for making some Camembert cheese but figured I should focus on getting better instead of making more cheese. I did do something in the cheese making area: I have been reading up about storing cheese and how to make cheese caves. I am getting better and better in making cheese and I sure want to keep on going. The prices of milk went up, while I haven’t been ‘looking’. In the store the milk is now 60 euro cent per liter. I still pay 40 euro cent at the farmer (for the most fresh and raw milk). There is always a next week to start make some cheese again.

I always have potatoes, onions and garlic in the shed, but spring came early and they need to be eaten soon because they start to sprout. This time I dehydrated grated potatoes which are very convenient to make a Swiss dish called rösti. The sprouted garlic I planted in my green house (tent). I know you get bigger bulbs when you plant the garlic before the winter, but I have sprouted bulbs now and don’t want to waste them. It will be a nice experiment. I will deal with the onions next week.

I have mended some clothes again. Second hand clothes are seriously more prone to small holes or missing  so I frequently have to repair the clothes. I was very lucky because my sister gave me a lot of clothes for my smallest daughter. Her clothes are always the most special and original.

We went to the thrift store and the children picked out some clothes which they liked. It is nice to buy second hand clothes: you can find such a lovely clothes. My oldest daughter found a short, black cardigan with a draped front. It was from a designer’s brand from Amsterdam. It is expensive when you have to buy retail, but we bought it for 2.50 euro. It seriously had never been worn or washed!

What I did start this week is trying to fix the old wooden floor in the living room. It is very nice old wood but the wood is dried out a lot. The floor had also a lot of paint stains on it and I tried to get most of it off with a heat gun. I had some vegetable oil and I am rubbing the oil into the wood. It looks a bit strange now, but hopefully when the oil penetrates the wood it will get more nice.

My shovel broke last week so I decided to buy a quality one this time. It is a special shovel for clay ground. Quite expensive 39 euros but I hope it works better then the other one I bought.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will go to a neighbor who is Colombian and we are going to learn how to make 2 Colombian dishes. I am looking forward to that.

Not much this week… Hopefully next week will be more fruitful.

Mix and Match Granola Recipe

We love home made granola. We eat crunchy granola in the morning, but also as a snack. This is a recipe we use for a very long time and it is a family favorite. You can use the ingredients you want and have on hand or what is in season. It is healthy and very easy to make.

Mix and Match home made Granola

4 cups cups oats
½ cup sugar of choice
¼ cup of honey
1 ½ cup nuts or seeds
¼ cup of oil (we use a neutral flavored oil like sunflower oil)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon, pumpkin spices or any spice of your choice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, apricots, apples, dates, banana’s etc.)

Preheat the oven on 160 degrees Celsius. Mix in a large bowl the oats, nuts and seeds, sugar, salt and spices. Heat in a small pan the oil, honey and mix in the vanilla extract. Pour this heated mixture into the dry ingredients. Put the well mixed mixture in a baking pan. Bake the mix and match granola 30-35 minutes in the oven until they are golden brown. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes so it will not easily burn. You can keep this granola for about 2 weeks in an airtight container or jar.

Frugal Savings week 12 – 2014

This was a busy week, I spend a lot of time outside of the house but did manage to make every dinner from home and pack lunches and snacks for school and work, all home made. I didn’t buy any groceries this week, we had everything canned, in the  freezer and some in the garden. We had home made cheese and eggs from our 2 chickens. I never thought we would have enough eggs to feed a family of 3 with only 2 chickens.

The meals I made from food storage was Indonesian food (eggs in a coconut sauce, green beans sajoer and a chicken dish). We had enough for 2 days. They always say that spicy Indonesian food is best the day after, because all the spices will taste better after a night of marinating. We had huevo rancheros for dinner but my oldest is in a “I am not eating eggs from a chicken I know”, so she had a sad looking tortilla. We had a pasta dish with home made tomato sauce and a home made fries and apple sauce. Not the healthiest meal, but something the children really like. I also need to finish the potatoes I have in storage and making fries is a good way to use them.

I bought 20 liter raw milk from the farmer and made another wheel of Gouda cheese in my wooden cheese mold I bough for only 3 euro. I calculated that my raw milk Gouda cheese cost 2,50 euro per kilo. Normally a quality cheese starts with 10 euro per kilo. I also made yogurt in small jars so I can take them to work.

Another visit to the thrift store was fruitful: I bought a pinkish, woolen blanket for my daughter: it was only 1 euro! I am not fond of pink, but this shade is a bit more pink/purple. My daughter loved it, way better then the standard yellow we have now. Her room is the coldest room in the house and she needs extra blankets during winter time. I got an heavy, steel water bowl for my dog for 0.50 cents. And for my daughter a wooden spice rack with those glass spice jars for 2 euro. I will paint the wooden rack in a fresh colour and she can use it for her collection of beads.

I cut the hair of my children, which is always a good saving. I bought one of those real hairdresser  scissors and cutting with those scissors makes all the difference.

The sprouted garlic I planted in my green house (the tent). I know you get bigger bulbs when you plant the garlic before the winter, but I have sprouted bulbs now and don’t want to waste them. It will be a nice experiment. I started strawberries, peppers and some flowers in the green house. I planted 5 strawberry plants I had saved from last year and I planted 2 apple trees, a pear and a plum tree.

I  finished my article for a magazine about oats and cooking with oats and made pictures for it. I am writing for a magazine which is about being happy with little means. I write about food, food strategics and cooking from scratch with  food storage.

Frugal Savings week 11 – 2014

Last week I got a 20 liters of raw milk and made Neufchatel and hard cheese… I thought. The hard cheese mixture was too acidified and clabbered milk was the result. The only thing left to do was to make ricotta cheese. That was a lot of ricotta cheese, so this week we have been eating a lot of dishes with ricotta. Cannelloni with ricotta and spinach, 4 sweet ricotta cheese cake with mandarin (simply put in some of spicy mandarin jam I made a couple of months ago). I will freeze the cakes in 1 portion size so the children can take them with them to school. I made calzone with Swiss chart and ricotta, frittata with ricotta and wraps filled with ricotta. Lot’s of ricotta that was, but experimenting was really fun.

I bought some herbs for my small herb table and planted them.

I also bought berry bushes to be planted later.

I made some of the onion, garlic and ginger pepper sambal (you can find the recipe here: https://greenpioneerwoman.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/food-preservation-onion-garlic-and-ginger-sambal/ )

I repaired (again) some clothes.

Someone gave me 2 boxes with 29 Weck jars from 1/2 liter. I am so happy with them, they are the ‘older’ model then you can buy now in the stores. It does look that these are stronger then the ones you can buy now, which are made in China. Not in Germany, where they originally were made.

Photo: Someone brought me 29 1/2 liter weck canning jars. They are the 'older' model and still made in Germany. They make them in China now, have more greenish glass and are poorer quality then these. She didnt want anything for them so im going to make a soap-spoil-yourself- package for her.

Soups: Rutabaga and Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Cream of Rutabaga and Pumpkin Soup

The rutabaga, swede (from Swedish turnip) turnip, yellow turnip, or neep  is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between cabbage and turnip. The roots are prepared for human food in a variety of ways, and the leaves can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. The roots and tops are also used as winter feed for livestock. Rutabaga has an earthy flavor and its taste is somewhat unusual. We love Rutabaga soup, plain or combined with pumpkin which gives a milder flavor and tones down the earthy kohlrabi.

2 chilies, you can use dried chilies as well
1 onion, in cubes
500 grams Rutabaga, diced
500 grams Pumpkin, diced
3 Tbsp oil (sunflower or olive oil)
Bay leaf
½ to ¾ cup heavy cream or to taste
Freshly ground pepper & salt to taste

In a heavy bottom stockpot sweat the onions in 3 Tbsp of oil until softened. Add the Rutabaga and Pumpkin stirring until they are well covered with oil. .

Add the water or stock and add the chilies  and bay leaf. Simmer until the Rutabaga and Pumpkin are soft. Let the soup cool a little bit and take the bay leaf out. Mix the soup in a blender. Pour back in the stockpot and season to taste. Before serving, stir in some cream to taste. Enjoy with some fresh bread.

Pantry cooking: Spicy Adzuki Bean Chili with Chicken

I didn’t feel like cooking much today so I went ‘shopping’ in my pantry and this is what I came up with a spicy chili with a dollop of home made yogurt.

1 quart home canned tomatoes
1 quart home canned Adzuki Beans (Black Beans or other beans you have on stock will work too)
3/4 quart home canned chicken
1 pint home canned corn
2 medium onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (like olive or sunflower oil)
1 handful dehydrated tomatoessalt, pepper and chili powder to taste

In a frying pan heat the oil and add the onions. Stir the onions until they are caramelized then add the garlic. Then empty all your canning jars in the frying pan and add the dehydrated tomatoes. Simmer until ready on a low heat. Add salt, pepper and chili to taste.

We ate it today with a dollop of home made yogurt, but tomorrow we will eat it as a filling on soft tortillas. Very easy recipe but also pretty tasty!