Archives for May 2013

Preserving Spring: Strawberry Rhubarb Butter

A few years ago, I decided to spend a summer focused on preserving fruit butters instead of my beloved jams.

I went the butter route because I realized that while I loved the act of making jam, I needed my canning habit to involve less sugar and have smaller yields.

weighing rhubarb-1

Fruit butters are made from whole pureed fruit that is cooked down slowly over low heat, until the water is dissolved and the natural sugars are concentrated and delicious. You end up with a fairly small amount of spreadable, flavorful product that needs very little in the way of additional sugar.

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Crunch-crunch: A week of (make ahead) spring salads in jars

Rainy conditions and toe-tingling cool temperatures dissuaded any notions I had of going out this past weekend. Instead I donned Danny’s hoodie for an extra layer of warmth, and flew about the place, tackling my to-do list with vigor, a cup of tea never too far from my reach.

I managed to tuck a delicate chicken and coconut curry with lentils away in the freezer, accompanied by a dozen soft chocolate ginger cookies, and a few other goodies. Danny is plenty proficient in the kitchen, but he’ll have his hands full looking after our three kiddos when I’m away; the least I can do is prep a few meals.

I even assembled a batch of salads in jars, so they are certain to get a serving of vegetables at least once a day.

Layered salad-in-a-jar is another one of my favorite strategies for warm weather batch cooking. The salad dressing can be added right in the jar and when the ingredients are packed correctly everything stays very crisp and fresh.

All you need is a quick shake, a fork and you can crunch away to your hearts’ content.

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Weekend Links – Eat Well, Spend Less Summer Entertaining Edition

It’s hard to believe that at the end of this week we will be June! June, with graduation parties, wedding showers, Father’s Day and a host of other special occasions where we’ll be entertaining.

To help you get in the groove, our Eat Well, Spend Less crew posted this week on summer entertaining on a budget, and man, are these posts packed with tips. Remember, we’re all busy moms, hosting realistic gatherings, without a padded bankroll. If you can relate at all, then be sure to make the rounds on the posts below.

Wishing all my US readers a wonderful Memorial Day long weekend.

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies and (not) getting organized

Sometimes an action as simple as baking cookies can make you feel as though you are getting ahead, or at the very least, catching up. That was my experience this week as I faced a daunting to-do list.

I won’t name all my impending tasks at hand, but I will note that the potatoes and carrots are not yet planted in the raised beds. The weeds are starting to pop up and as I have vowed to maintain order in the garden this year, this makes me nervous.

Indoors, the laundry is washed but not folded. A suitcase is lying open with a pair of heels in it – an attempt to pack in advance for my trip to Las Vegas next week, but I’ll undoubtedly end up tossing items in willy-nilly hours before my flight. Oh, and I wanted to make up some meals for the family for when I am gone, and schedule a few posts in advance so I can leave my laptop at home.

But how does one get ahead when life’s daily upkeep threatens to escalate out of control? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I prioritize, then prioritize again. I make lists, and star the mega-important items.

I said to Danny recently that I feel like I am failing at the little things – or maybe he kindly pointed it out. I can’t remember. The feeling was mutual, anyway.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? The major undertakings he and I team up on: children are fed, bathed and bedded, email is answered (mostly), the chickens are tended, the fridge is stocked and meals are prepared, and the car had a tune-up recently.

This corner of the internet, and the opportunities it brings, keeps me busy. It’s not quite a 9-5 gig, but it is a big chunk of my day, my weeks. Most days and weeks, I’m the master of my own domain (no pun intended) but those ‘little things’ are getting away on me.
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Stocking the kitchen for post-delivery days with baby

Now that I’m in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I’m double-checking to make sure we have everything we need. This is our second baby, so we have a better idea of what to expect for those intense days and weeks after birth.

High on the list of priorities? Making sure there is a well-stocked kitchen to take care of our eating needs.

Whether you’re on your first baby or your fourth, chances are cooking is the last thing you’ll want to do in the days after delivery. Making sure you’re well-nourished, however (especially if you’re breastfeeding), is critical for getting through the tough first weeks.

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