Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Passing Thoughts

For the very first time, this week, my brain connected the dots and I figured out that what I did during Katrina actually did help a lot of people.....I guess before, I always thought about all the people I couldn't help, all the people I couldn't make understand how much their aid was needed, all the people that I worked for that didn't even know that there was an emergency, and I let myself believe that what I was doing wasn't the "real" work but just stupid organizing.  I thought, that because I wasn't getting my hands dirty everyday removing mold, tarping roofs, cleaning debris, that I wasn't doing the import stuff.  On Tuesday, I finally saw that what I did made it possible for that kind of work to be done in multiple, cities, counties, parishes and states and that even though I couldn't help everybody, that I did help a whole lot of people.

I hope everyone gets a moment like that in their lives, even if it is many years after the fact.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You say tomatoe, I say tomato

Today, along with our regular veggie box, we also received a 20lbs box of Organic Roma tomatoes. No, I don't have any canning tools (maybe next year) but I do enjoy using our extra freezer to store fresh pick berries, homemade soups and fresh frozen veggies for use during the winter, which made me start wondering if I could freeze all the amazing tomatoes that are coming in our veggie box lately. I did a little research and found this website telling me that I I thought, lets give it a go. I love the ease of canned tomatoes but have been disappointed to find out that all tomato cans are lined with BPA, something I am trying to completely cut out of Orson's diet. I can't wait to see if they are any good this winter. What do you like to freeze at home?

Here they are in the box, I saved a few to make fresh salsa later in the week.

After washing them, place them in a pot of boiling water for around a minute, I found these needed more like 3 minutes for the skin to loosen up.

Then dump them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Next you peel and seed them and then let them drain off their excess liquid. After I finished all of the tomatoes, I squeeze them by hand to get even more liquid out.

Then dice, halve or crush them (however you prefer, I diced) and place them in zip lock bags (which are BPA free). Make sure to label the tomatoes and remove the air. I added home-dried herbs (basil, rosemary,thyme and a little lavender) from my garden to half of them to make Italian tomatoes for sauce later. Place them all on a tray and then....

...clear out a spot in your freezer to start the freezing process. Once they have been in there for three or so hours you can move them to a deep freeze (or more convenient spot in your regular freezer) as they will hold their shape.

I can't wait to use up my canned tomatoes and start in on these!

In other news, my good friend at Healthy By Choice created a work out plan just for me. I have been trying hard to follow it and feel better and have more energy (thus, tomato making got done all in one blow!). She has years of experience creating work out plans and healthy living plans and I am sure she would love to help you reach your goals too. Check out her blog when you get a chance :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life and some receipes

We went to the Hoes Down Festival this past weekend. It is a festival put on jointly by all of the CSA box farms in Capay Valley, including the two farms we get our veggies and fruit from every week. We meant to meet up with Jessica, Maddox and Andrew but never managed to find them amongst all the fun, games and people. The three of us still managed to have a great time (despite the heat), Orson especially loved the river and painting a flower pot. Matt and I enjoyed the ice cream the most. I was a little disappointed that all these organic farms couldn't tell me if there was gluten in the food they were serving, maybe there will be an improvement on that next year. But it was a good weekend and we will be going next year if we are in town.

It did get chilly for a little while last week, so Orson and I shared his first hot chocolate....he prefers tea and milk :) But I still got some cute pictures.

As usual Orson has had lots of friends over to visit, not so usual, I had one of my best friends blow through town (well San Fransisco) on her way to and from exotic places. It was so wonderful having breakfast with her this past Sunday.

Lucy still comes over every Thursday. We had a rare hour of just the two of us last week, so I got out the pudding paint and we went to town. It was so much fun to get to spend one-on-one time with Lu.

Because of school, I have started having Orson go over to Grandpa Black's house on Tuesday and then taking Penny and Griffin on Wednesdays. I really get a lot done on Tuesdays, including an occasional lunch date with Matt, but sometimes I question my sanity by the end of the day on Wednesday. That being said, Orson is in love with Griffin. It is so much fun to watch him interact with a baby.

I have been trying my hand at home made treats lately, and since the weather is not turning to fall as quickly as we wish, the treat have been in frozen form. First, I created some frozen yogurt treats for Orson. We had a big thing of Greek yogurt about to go bad, a watermelon in the same shape and some blueberries from our farm trip. I threw them all in a blender with 1/4 cup of sugar and then poured it into some really cute ice cube trays I got at of Orson's new favorites. Frozen Yogurt fish and hearts. They were a big hit at Wednesday playgroup, unfortunately I totally forgot to take pictures :)

The outstanding new favorite in our house, for everyone, is my strawberry and chocolate flecked 5 minute ice-cream (no machine needed!).

The recipe is super simple, one pint of heavy cream, 1lb bag of frozen strawberries, some really yummy dark chocolate shaved and 1/4 cup of sugar. Put it all in a blender (slowly and I save the chocolate for last) or a food processor and mix. You can eat it right away if you like your ice cream a little soft, or you can put it in a container and let it sit for a few hours. Its best if used up in a week (but it won't last that long, so don't worry). This is a great ice cream option if you can't eat eggs or are gluten free like me.