Frugal Savings Week 32 -2014

We returned home and my niece joined us for the last 2 weeks of the holiday. I managed to put all my groceries away and finished with my pantry inventory list. I decided that I needed some more tomato sauce (we use for pizza’s and pasta’s) so I placed an order for 90 kilo tomatoes at the local organic grower. I will pick it up next week. My mom and sis are coming so we will be canning all together.

My niece is a bit of a picky eater but she is brave enough to try the food  I make. I am trying to make up for the strange things she sometimes is served, with other home made goodies she does like.
I made salad with pickled green beans and tomatoes from the garden. She isn’t fund of tomatoes but she did like these tomatoes and also in combination with the salad.
I made stewed pear pie (from canned pears in elderberry syrup), buckwheat pancakes with the rest of the stewed pears, zucchini soup with corn bread (made from home grind corns I dehydrated myself). A while back I bought a German electric wheat grinder. This grinder can grind oily and harder kernels then my other grain mill which is grinding with stones. The smell and taste was incredible so different then bought corn meal. We had bean burgers with salad and fries.
I baked sweet potatoes in the oven and we ate that with feta cheese, home made dried tomatoes in olive oil, olives and oregano and fresh parsley from the garden.
Of course we had home made pizza: the girls like it mostly simple: home made tomato sauce, pesto, olives, mozzarella and grated home made cheese.

My niece and my youngest daughter have been picking the last blackberries. We made some more blackberry-apple leathers. We rolled them up and my niece is taking some home with her. When I told her they were all hers and she doesn’t have to share with her brothers and sister because she picked the berries so religiously every day and helped with making the leathers. She was very happy. Normally I wouldn’t say that but she is going to high school this year and an healthy snack policy is in place. The amount of blackberries-apple mush wasn’t enough to fill 2 dehydrators so I made some extra apricot-strawberry-thyme fruit leathers. I also made some gooseberry fruit leathers. They are wonderful and will be lovely snacks.

We also went out to gather elderberries. I am making pontack sauce and some elderberry tincture for my mom.

I dehydrated the papayas I bought and also dehydrated the small black papaya seeds. I had some extra figs from my sister’s garden and I dehydrated them in slices.

The hot sauce I started last week is now fermenting away and I will can the sauce next week.

The pine apple vinegar I started before I went on a holiday is really going well. I hope to be able to bottle them soon.

The peppermint I harvested before our holiday and hang drying is put away in bags so we can make easy teas this winter. Also I like to sprinkle some dried peppermint in my red lentil soup.

Hamburger meat was on sale and I bought 4 kilo. That is how much I can can in one evening. I don’t have room in my refrigerator nor in my 3 freezer drawers.
I spend 20 euros for 4 kilo of meat and I have 10 pint jars. The costs of one jar is 2 euro’s. I make small meat balls and I love to add a lot of oregano so it tastes a bit like kofte.

We picked some small wild plums and made that into juice and then used the juice to make wild plum syrup. We use syrups to mix it with water and have a lovely fruity drink.

wild plums 2We picked nettles to make some tea so my niece can take that home as well. I also picked some wild pears, not much because most of the pears are too high to pick. I made an Indian chutney from the pears. I love to spice up simple food with lovely pickles, chutneys and relishes.
My neighbor gave me 2 more zucchinis and when life gives you zucchinis, you make cucumber pickle, of course. That means that I used the zucchinis in stead of cucumbers when making my cucumber pickle recipe and they turned out lovely! I really like to eat all kind of pickles, chutneys, relishes and piccalilli on home made bread with some butter. No need for anything else.

I buy potatoes at a farmers house, whose girl happens to be my youngest daughter’s BFF (that is what they call each other). I ordered 50 kilo’s for my sister, 20 kilo for my mom and I bought 20 kilos for myself. We pay 30 euro cent per kilo at the moment.

I placed another big, big order of canning jars (Weck jars only this time) to be able to can more. I am not sure what will happen with the prices next year. I did notice that prices secretly going up: they just put less in a bag and put on a higher price. So I like to can as much as I can when the prices are low. A friend will bring me a garbage bag (!) full of green beans, so I will be canning a LOT of green beans.

Frugal Savings Week 31 -2014

We are still on a holiday and stay at my parents house. We don’t see them too often so we combine holiday with family gathering. My parents are always abroad for 6 to 8 months. Right after they come back we stay with them, have wonderful meals and even better stories to share and tell.

I try to combine pleasure and stocking up so I go to the city near my parents house and stock up what I think I need for a year. As I said in my last post we have been to the Chinese supermarket and bought all kind of miso pastes and soy products which we can hardly get where I live.

This week we also went to the Big Market and to the Turkish supermarket. I got a LOT of different peppers which will be turned into home made hot sauces. I bought some papayas, which has not yet gotten a destination. I am sure I will cook up something nice. I also bought some sweet potatoes, they are very difficult to get where I live. I stocked up on garbanzo beans, red lentils, black-eyed beans, grits, corn meal, corn and a very big har of red bell pepper paste. I always use this paste where I normally use tomato paste. I think I will dehydrate some paste as well.

I went to a supermarket to get some horseradish in jars. I found a fantastic good deal for canned coconut  for half price 0.49 euro cents per jar, 6 cans black-eyed beans half price  and some jars of olives also for half price.I got 4 jars of my favorite (bought) mayonnaise, 3 bags of green lentils, 7 small bags of corn, all for half price.  I saved 37 euro’s on the normal retail price! That is quite some money imho for items I buy all the time. Now I need to find a place for it all.

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 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!

Pantry Cooking: Where the West meets the Orient Carrot Soup

I try to eat as local as I can. I moved to this town almost 2 years ago. There is a lot of farming of potatoes, carrots, onions and wheat. All are good storage items. I buy in bulk from the farmers. During my years at the university, I spend during the summers, at least 3 months abroad, mostly in the southern parts of Europe and the Middle East. There I learned a lot about herbs we don’t know here and my interest in cooking with all kind of herbs was a fact. Nowadays I make sure I have a good supply of herbs in stock. I also have a lot of herbs from the Asian continent, which I buy at the oriental supermarkets which you can find in most big cities here. Herbs are a fantastic addition for spicing up simple recipes. In this recipe I use a mixture called Garam Masala, which you can use to give your dishes a curry flavor. Make sure you fry the Garam Masala in some oil to bring out their flavors even more.

Where the West meets the Orient Carrot Soup is a very easy but delicious carrot soup. Wonderful as lunch but also a super easy and fast dinner.

1 quart home canned carrots + one quart of water
2 medium onions, minced
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tablespoon of Garam Masala (a yellow curry mix you can buy at most oriental supermarkets)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil (olive, sunflower or any other neutral oil)

Heat the oil in a frying pan and mix in the onions until they are caramelized. At the garlic and the Garam Masala and keep stirring so the mixture will not burn. Add the carrots and water. Keep stirring until the water boils. Then put the heat on low. The soup is ready when the carrots are soft. Puree the soup in your mixer and serve with some sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.