Normally I go to the grocery store on saturday evening so I can pick up some vegetables on sale. We don’t eat meat often so I mostly focus on vegetables. Last Saturday I didn’t go to the store: I have so much food on the shelves so I thought I can skip this week. Then I thought: this is quite a good idea because I want to buy some more handy kitchen supplies. I ordered an universal vacuum sealer to go with my solis vacuum sealer.
I also want to get better organised: I made a start with the shed. I need a better place to place my canning jars, canning supplies, cheese making supplies, candle making supplies.
This weekend I started with the candle making supplies: I collected all the bits and ends of old candles I had. I melted them down for later use in a large tin can. I have white, pink, red and some brown wax. These are the red-ish candles I melted: I also saved some of the wicks from the old candles. I got all the wax bits and pieces from others so the candles I will make are for free.
I am quite happy I started with this huge task of organising the shed. I have still some shelvings in storage which I will use to get the shed more organised. Again no money spend. I need to find a good source for some plastic bins to put my canning jars in.
The other savings will come from:
- cooking from scratch from food storage
- no grocery shopping
- having soup for lunch which I already canned
- bake bread from scratch
New year, new changes. I have been absent for some time because I have been very busy last year: finishing 2 university courses, trying to get the youngest on track in her first year in highschool, food preservation and of course trying to be as independent as I can. Not all the area’s work out very well (had a big fiasco in my rented allotment) and I am still behind with heaps of laundry. But a new year with a new beginning just started. I have done well the last couple of weeks: fixed my vintage wooden bed, that fell apart, did a lot of decluttering and started a lot of other projects.
This week I hope to do this:
1. Organise desk drawer for laptop and such
2. Organise legumes under the bed storage (under the bed I just repaired)
- Youngest daughter’s bed
1. Clean the path way
2. Plant lettuce and other greens
1. Repair some clothes in the clothes-need-repair-basket
1. Make food mostly from the pantry
2. Can apples
3. Dehydrate apples
4. What to do with savoy and red cabbages?
5. Remember to make a soup for lunch from canned goods (today I had tomato soup with crudites to work)
Not a lot of weekly frugal savings blog posts lately. Unfortunately, because I really like writing about savings, some obvious savings, some more out of the box savings. Weeks just fly by and making a lot yourself just takes a lot of time. I also go weekly to flea markets because it is that time of the year now. I noticed that a lot of less ‘good’ stuff gets to the flea markets, it looks like the older stuff is already been bought and is now getting more rare. I did find some good stuff still:
This week I did my share of pantry cooking:
* I made green lentil/cracked wheat curry with jasmine rice and a salad.
* Some leftover ricotta I turned into an Italian lemon-ricotta cake.
* We had rosemary roasted potatoes in olive oil with canned tomato/bell pepper sauce and some vegetarian ‘meat’.
* Our weekly home made pizza with tomato sauce made from canned tomatoes and all kind of canned toppings like canned peppers and roasted bell pepper. I always make double portion because we can take an extra slice to work or school for lunch.
* I made sour dough bread, our favorite and made another bread with herbs in the Römertopf. All over the world people use clay pot for cooking food. This particular one is a German clay pot used to make all kind of dishes in the oven. You can make all kind of dishes in the Römertopf but it is also wonderful to bake bread. It gives a wonderful crunchy bread.
bread in the Römertopf
Yesterday we had “captain’s dinner” a somewhat famous Dutch dish. It is a dish with marrow-fat beans and small side dishes like pickles, caramelized apples, bacon, raw diced onions, (Indonesian) peanut butter sauce and small meat balls. We had some beans left so tonight I will be making left-over bean pâté.
1 2/3 cups cooked leftover beans
30 ml oil (olive or sunflower)
½ cup diced onions
½ cup diced carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
handful of parsley
1 teaspoon fresh sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven at 350 Fahrenheit. Dice the onions, carrots and garlic (I use a kitchen machine but be careful it will not mush). Put some oil in the pan and fry the onions, carrots and garlic until glazed.
In the meantime mince your leftover beans with the eggs in your kitchen machine. Add the parsley, sage, salt and pepper, lemon juice and a splash of oil.
Mix in a separate bowl the bean mixture with the onions, carrots and garlic. Pour in baking pan which you lined up with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown on top.
You can eat it warm with a nice salad or put it in the fridge and eat it on home baked bread for lunch.
You can use all kind of leftover beans for this recipes and also try to experiment with different herbs.
It was a busy week, I did a lot of canning (tomatoes and wild peaches) and dehydrating 10 kilo’s of carrots and a couple of kilo of bell peppers.
I was able to buy blueberries on sale (1 kilo for 3 euro) and i bought the remaining 5 kilos. I dehydrated them.
There was one big surprise when I opened the door I found a present from one of my neigbors:
I will make some nice meals from this pumpkin, perhaps can some as well.
Canning season really started this week! I bought 20 kilos of nectarines, 4 kilo of Spanish garlic, 7,5 kilo cherry tomatoes and 20 pineapples. This is what I made from it:
* canned nectarines in honey syrup 27 liter jars but 5 seals were broken. This never happened to me before. But my children know what to do with these open jars… the cost per jar is 0,60 euro cent.
* 14x 1/2-liter jars of pickled cherry tomatoes
* 4x 3/4 liter jars of whole cherry tomatoes The cost of the tomatoes were 15 euro. These jars were 0.83 euro cent per jar. I have to mention that I had all the other ingredients in stock so I didn’t calculate them for now.
*The pineapples I canned in a light syrup in pieces. I have a total of 19 liter jars of canned pineapple in a light honey syrup. Cost per jar: 1.05 euro cent per jar. Not really cheap but the difference between home canned and store bought canned pineapple is amazing. Home canned is next to the taste of fresh. My children love home canned pineapple as a dessert with some whipped cream.
From the leftover pineapple peels I started a bucket full of pineapple vinegar, for cleaning only. I am not fond of using fruit peels because you don’t know what is sprayed upon it. For cleaning purposes I think it is ok to use. The pineapple hearts and the juice I put in one of my sauerkraut jars and I think I will have a total of 10 liters pineapple vinegar but for consuming only. I use pineapple vinegar mostly to start a fermenting proces.
* I picked 2.5 kilo of blackberries and made the blackberry/apple fruit leather. I made 9 leathers. I cooked the blackberries so they release their juices and when it cooled down I put the cooked blackberries through a sieve. The blackberry pulp I mixed with some home canned apple sauce and put it on my 9-tray excalibur. I cut up the leathers in 4 or 5 long stripes and rolled them into baking sheets. I have made 40 little rolls. Now they are ready to go!
* 2x 1/2-liter jars of pressed eggplant with oregano and chili peppers. This is an Italian way of preserving eggplant and a wonderful addition to sandwiches and salads.
I still have the garlic left, but I have still time to do that.
We will have a wonderful winter again!
I added the wine to the vin de noix and finished my total of 8 liter blackberry vinegar.
When I translate the Dutch word ‘braam’ I think of Bramble berry, while I should be thinking blackberry. We love blackberries and this year they are about a month early. Last year was a very good blackberry year and I canned a lot of jars of jams, preserves and syrup. I have still enough left. So I decided to do other things this year. This is what I will do and already did
I made blackberry vinegar. That is so simple to make. Get your blackberries, wash them or treat them you would normally do (I put them in cold water for a while so if there are little worms inside, they will get out). I let the blackberries air dry for a while. Put them in a large jar and cover the blackberries with your vinegar of choice (I use my home made white wine vinegar). Stir the concoction every day twice. After 3 to 5 days strain the vinegar and measure it. I use 450 grams of sugar for every 600 ml of vinegar. Cook the vinegar until the sugar is melted and put them into sterilized jars. I will give them as a gift this year. Blackberry vinegar is lovely to use in salads and in gravies to soften meat.
Another thing I want to do this year with blackberries is cooking them and put the cooked fruits through a sieve. The fruit pulp I will mix with some home made apple sauce and dehydrate it. It will be lovely snacks for the children to take with them to school.
Last thing I intent to do with blackberries is canning them whole in a very light sugar syrup. I want to can more fruits like this so we can make lovely fruit salads when winter comes.
I will post some pictures in a later post.