Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Aren't Mondays Supposed to be the Long Ones?

Boy, today was a long day. My daughter and I started cooking at 6:30 a.m. this morning and made cookies, bread, jam and bar cookies. Oh, and spinach & mozzarella hot pockets.

We made the chocolate chip cookies I have made and shared before. Jessica was in love with them at first bite. She left a few for my youngest and a few for Steve, who likes them as a snack now and then.

Mangoes have been about 50 cents each at Aldi's, so I made some mango jam. It looks beautiful in the jars, so golden. I will water bath process them tomorrow.

My kitchen was a disaster in the midst of all of this cooking ... 

Goodness, look at all that flour! Once we were done, I cleaned the kitchen while Jessica did the dishes. It's so nice to come home to a clean kitchen when you know you will be late and dinner will have to be quick.

The bread I made from a new recipe from here. I have attached a link since I've asked her, but you could also look her up on google. She has some great recipes there. She's also on Pinterest. I made her bread recipe using coconut oil and coconut milk and it looks beautiful. The hot pockets were made using her pretzel recipe.

Awesome texture, good flavor and a chewy crumb. I used half bread flour and half plain flour to get the best of both worlds. This is the first time I've used coconut oil in anything. The bread has a nutty flavor, probably from the oatmeal and a nice texture that would work for sandwiches once sliced.

I managed to catch Jess and give her a Mrs. Doubtfire look! We had a lot of fun cooking. She also did the driving in the afternoon taking me to a doctor's appointment and then picking up a trailer from my parents home so we can move some things (last time I used the hubby's truck I put a dent in it :( ... as you can imagine, he was NOT happy about that, no matter what he told me).

And, my kitchen, nice and clean before leaving home. I love this kitchen. Nice work triangle, views from the windows and some decent appliances (dishwasher, stove, microwave ... not that I wouldn't like a newer dishwasher and stove in the future). The only thing I really dislike about this kitchen ... the microwave is right over the stove and there is no vent to the outside.

So when I want to use both large burners, i have to put the tall pan in the front and the smaller or shorter pan in the back because the microwave limits how much space is available between it and the burner. Once that microwave gives up the ghost, the next one is going in another location and an exhaust fan is going over the stove.

Anytime I cook anything that requires the temperature to be close to 500 degrees F or broiled I manage to set off the smoke detectors. As there are three in our house, the hubby has to go around and turn off each one it turn. We have had the windows in the kitchen open on some very cold nights in order to keep the smoke detectors from going off while cooking (laugh). An exhaust fan would definitely keep that from happening!

Me and Jessica
Jess said we should have a picture of our morning together. We really did have a great time cooking. We got so much done. She has several days worth of homemade hot pockets to reheat, plus cookies to share with friends. I've got a nice loaf of bread and we're going to divide up some rhubarb oatmeal bars in the morning.

Once the jam is processed in the water bath, I will send her a jar once she's used the strawberry-rhubarb jam. It's been a long time since I canned anything. When I was a teenager, my parents and grandfather had a garden one and one half acres big. My grandfather used to take produce with him after his weekend run to help weed; he'd sell it on his route as a liquor salesman.

And, do I remember that garden. The beans seemed endless and the corn seem just about as endless. And, then there were lots and lots of tomatoes. Everything needed to be weeded and watered constantly. Then, once the produce started coming in, we would can tomatoes, green beans, jellies and freeze squash, apple cider, green & red peppers and anything else that would come from the garden. We had a huge shelf in our basement that would start empty at the beginning of the season and end up full of garden produce.

Funny how what seemed like so much work then seems so practical now in light of the cost of food and the amount of chemicals in most foods. I wish I could share the experience of what food should taste like with all those who just stop for fast food instead of cooking at home.


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