Canning, Dinners, & the Number 37!

12 Aug

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I am 37 Weeks! Plus a few days. That means this baby can come any day now! Oh the waiting – not knowing when the contractions will strike. When he’ll make his appearance. I just want him here with us. To hold him, look at him, and love him. And I’ll be glad to be done with this pregnancy, for sure!

I foolishly started to question our name choice. Why did I have to go and do that? We essentially had two names thought up, and I didn’t really care to look any further. I am not a fan of reading through the lists of a baby name book – with 97.959% of them so far from anything I would ever choose. And I am of the notion that boys names are much harder to come up with than girls names. Add to the fact that I don’t want a name in the top 50, let alone top 10 – it makes it that much more difficult. When one of the names we selected was found to be moving up there on the list, it was cast aside and the remaining name won out. I love the name. I think maybe I just started to wonder if I should have scoured the book of names…just to be sure.

PHOTOS (A small sampling of some of the food activity we’ve been up to.):

* Blueberries turned into blueberry syrup, and blueberry butter. I can’t wait to drizzle the syrup onto warm pancakes slathered in butter. Mmmmm. The blueberry butter was done in a slow cooker via Food in Jars. She describes it as “blueberry pie in a jar” and I think it reminds me of Christmas. Must be the cinnamon and nutmeg that I kept sprinkling in there in large heaps, adding to taste – apparently I like the way they taste.

* Raspberries were made into what I thought were going to be preserves, but I’m pretty sure they ended up being a jam. My understanding is that preserves have more of the fruit intact, but these raspberries were not going to hold any sort of shape, and were much more content melting into jammy goodness. OK by me.

* Pickles! These were my first pickling experience, and oh what fun. They are Zucchini and Sweet Pepper Refrigerator Pickles. Easy and yummy – so fresh tasting. The zucchini and peppers came from our local college’s Ag Department’s U-Pick located at the Farmers’ Market. We love going “grocery shopping” there! The only bad thing about the pickles is that they made five pints to be eaten up in one month – and well, that wasn’t going to happen. If they were dill, spicy, or garlicky, we could have done it. Good thing they are delicious enough to share!

Jalapenos, potatoes, and squash from the Farmers’ Market and U-Pick. I just love those fresh, vibrant colors. (See them further down in the meals photo. Yum!)

Good eats…1. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies” via Pioneer Woman. These are ever so tasty – spicy pepper, creamy cheese, and salty bacon – you can’t go wrong. I liked that these were made in the oven – a cinch! I did suffer from burning pepper hand though and that was slightly miserable. Nothing like having your hand feel like it’s on fire – can’t rub your eyes or touch your sensitive skinned children. The burn dissipated by the next day, and I’ll be sure to wear gloves in the future! Though this was the first time I ever had that happen from jalapenos.

2. Veggies atop a chicken carcass – boy do I dislike that word – to be made into chicken stock for chicken noodle soup. The stock was frozen for a later date when baby is making it unlikely we’ll get a good, home-cooked meal on the table in any sort of timely manner. This has been the week of freezing meals – and it feels soooo good to have some done! I didn’t do it with the previous two kiddos, but we most certainly would have benefited from it!! And now with Collin starting first grade, we’ll have to be getting him to bed early, so in turn, dinner will need to happen earlier. I’m not going to accomplish the amount I set out to do, but some is better than none! The chicken meat from the, ahem, carcass was made into Chicken Posole from Martha Stewart – also a freezer meal. We roasted another chicken last night, and the same will be happening with it. The Posole recipe makes two batches, and then we get the stock for the soup – so three meals!

3. Long-cooked Beef Ragu from America’s Test Kitchen – to sauce pasta. This is another freezer meal and I’ve made two batches. What a great dish for a cool fall night!

4. The ingredients for pesto from America’s Test Kitchen. I like that they toast both the garlic and the nuts. It is done in a dry skillet. The garlic is done in its skin – like a quick roast. Adds great flavor. I picked basil from the U-Pick, which resulted in two batches for the freezer – enough to sauce two pounds of pasta. I love pesto – and happily, so do Tucker and Collin.

5. Delicious red and purple potatoes from the Farmers’ Market cooked in a skillet by Tucker. The garlicky, lemony dish is a recipe from one of my Cook’s Country Magazine (from America’s Test Kitchen). Not only did these potatoes look good color-wise, they were some very good eatin’!

6. This is what became of the sqaush, jalapenos, and potatoes from the previous photo. Just love how a meal can be made from the food sourced locally. (And yes, I should have taken the picture BEFORE I put on that embarrassing amount of sour cream!)

7. Onions cooking in red wine for the Long-Cooked Beef Ragu. I just love that burgundy color.

What are your favorite freezer meals? I just might have time to add them to mine!

Have you been canning/preserving? I’m now on to peaches!

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4 Responses to “Canning, Dinners, & the Number 37!”

  1. Lindsey August 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    You are amazing! When I grow up I want to cook and preserve food just like you ;) We struggled with our little boy’s name this round too. Naming a 3rd boy was hard for us. He got his name on the way out of the hospital as we were loading him in up to drive home! Good luck deciding:)

    • Paige August 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      I’m glad my novice dabbling is impressive to you, Lindsey! I’m having lots of fun, but have sooooooo much to learn! Three boys names would be tricky! Bridger and the middle name Arthur are both cute, so you did well! I’m feeling pretty good about our original choice now – my mind is just a mess as I wait for this baby to come – too much thinking time!

  2. Erin August 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    http://www.30mealsinoneday.com/page/426451598

    I like the Honey Lime Chicken. It makes a good rice bowl. I made the oven stew and it smelt good, but I sent it with my husband since he’s working our of town so didn’t sample it yet.

    • Paige August 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Looks like a great site, Erin, thanks! And good to know that you’ve enjoyed the recipes so far, because sometimes I’m a bit leery when I’m unsure.

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