31 July 2014

Making my own

As everyone has likely noticed, the prices in the grocery store are looking a bit "anti-pretty" nowadays.  In fact, some of the prices seem a bit ridiculous compared to the ewffort required to make the items myself ... so I have been learning to make my own.  It started back in the fall (autumn) with bread, which also played into our home heating plan for the winter.  Here is a recent loaf, that looked pretty enough to inspire grabbing the digicam:
homemade wheat bread loaf cooling
I have not only become proficient at baking the bread, but also slicing it up into sandwich-thin slices with just a bread knife and a wooden cutting board.  The only kind of bread we buy at the grocery store now is sourdough, as we don't love it enough to keep some starter in the fridge.

The next item that just got ridiculous in the grocery store was mayonnaise.   Last year, the jar of mayo were around $3, but they have steadily risen to over $5 per jar.  So, I went searching for a recipe, and discovered it is surprisingly easy to make my own!  The main trick seems to be drizzling the oil in very slowly while running the stick blender on high.  We have not bought any since I learned how to make it myself.

Last night, I noticed we were almost out of ketchup.  A quick hunt through the pantries showed nothing in reserve, and I have become extremely picky about my ketchup since the no-HFCS/real sugar stuff was brought back onto the market ... but if you don't catch it on sale it is pricey.  Enter a recipe, a good sale on tomato sauce and tomato paste, and a little motivation ... I will need to update the results as it needs to simmer all day.

08 July 2014

Lettuce seeds collected

I just spent some time collecting lettuce seeds from the one spectacularly-growing lettuce plant in the garden box I also had peas in.  According to my previous post, the box was seeded with two varieties of lettuce back in February.  Here's the punchline: I am not sure which variety grew the one plant so well, as I had only two sprouts make it and one was puny and weak.  They are both the same ... but nothing to compare it with!  Oh well ....

So my plan of action is to plant the seeds I just harvested this fall, pick out a couple plants that look strong and impressive and collect seeds from them, and repeat for a few years.  If what grew this spring is a hybrid, then I'll have all kinds of interesting specimens to choose from come next spring.  If it breeds true, then both hubby and I shall feast on green salads through the winter and maybe even share with the chickens.  The chickens will probably feast all winter either way.  I estimate I will have a good, vigorous variety of green leafy lettuce that thrives in my yard in approximately five years ... with a bit of luck, of course.

My dirt, my dream.  Oh, and hubby has been getting some garden ideas of his own (usually involving his jalapenos).