I’ve fallen in love with cooking again. I used to love trying new recipes and making fancy dinners for my husband, but now I’m falling in love with good old-fashioned baking, canning and cooking w/ fresh produce.
This summer we decided to experiment and grow some tomatoes and basil in pots on our deck. I had no idea how things would turn out, but it’s been wonderful! Last week I canned four pints of salsa using roma and beefmaster tomatoes. After a few more tomatoes ripen I’m hoping to can some pizza sauce. I’ve made three or four batches of pesto throughout the summer from just one basil plant. Last night I made caprese salad with our cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and some fresh mozzarella. Over the last few weeks I’ve loved picking tomatoes to add to various salads and dishes without having to pick any up at the store. I can’t wait until next year, when I can apply what I learned this year and do it all again! Next year I’m growing LOTS more basil so I can make and freeze pesto to last us through winter. It has become a new family favorite! I’m also going to try some different tomato varieties (we did roma, cherry, and beefmaster this year). It’s made me wish I didn’t live in the woods so I could grow a proper garden. I think I’ll have to come up with a new patio furniture arrangement on the deck next year so I have room for more pots!
We also went apple picking for the first time this year. We had no idea what we were doing. We wandered around the orchard until I asked another couple if they knew much about apples. The lady told me we were by the cortland apples and if I was looking for good baking apples, these were it! So, the kids and my husband and I had fun picking 29 lbs. of apples. Yesterday we spent a good part of the day cooking apples. My hubby did all the peeling, we both chopped and I cooked. We made apple butter in the slow cooker, canned 8 pints of applesauce (4 plain, 4 cinnamon), and made spiced slow-cooker applesauce which we had with dinner. I also made an apple oven-pancake for breakfast (sinfully good!) and apple crisp for dessert. I still have a lot of apples left and plan to do some baking with them throughout the week. I printed some recipes for apple muffins and apple bread. I might also make some apple cake. There are so many things you can make with apples! And most of it is freezable, which means we won’t overdose on apples by eating all this stuff at once. 🙂 I think apple picking will become a new tradition for us, just as strawberry picking has.
I’m dying to have a really big baking day. I wish the boys were old enough to help, because baking with them in the kitchen can be a challenge. I’ll have to bake a little here and there for now I think. I have recipes swirling in my head for things I want to make. I think it’s because fall is such a great time for baking. I’m craving pumpkin bread, carrot muffins, and more of those apple goodies. Hopefully I can take an afternoon or two this week to get some of these things baked and in the freezer to enjoy whenever the mood strikes!