I’m kind of fixated on a new breakfast. I kept seeing recipes online for “egg muffins” or things that looked a lot like them. So, I tried making them to see if they would work well for quick breakfasts on working days. They do make fast breakfasts so I’ve been making them on Sundays. (You know my routine by now, right?)
One of them in a muffin tin just didn’t seem like enough food though, so I pulled out my trusty silicone granola bar pans and tried them out instead. Here’s some pictures of most recent version using cherry tomatoes, shallots (from my garden), mushrooms and bacon. They were both good but I gotta admit the ones with BACON were better. And, I tried try cooking the veggies in coconut oil on the first batch and my opinion is that made the muffins taste a little too sweet for my liking. I’ve also been topping them sometimes with salsa.
I broke my habit this week and only made two lunches Sunday night, instead of my usual four. So, tonight I had to make lunch for tomorrow.
I am also kicking it up a notch this month, trying to be even more unprocessed. I’ve taken the 5th Annual October Unprocessed Challenge. The easiest way to eat “real food” is to make it yourself; you just can’t trust restaurants.
So, here’s the lunch I made tonight. It’s not my usual, but it looks pretty good. I made it by scrounging in the kitchen (not that different, I guess, from what I do many Sunday nights.)
On the menu: Tri-color pepper salad with shallots (from my garden), dressed with olive oil and white vinegar; cottage cheese (doesn’t look that good?), red grapes, a few green olives, a chunk of white cheddar cheese, a snack-size Cashew Cookie Lara bar and a square of dark chocolate.
See, I canned a bunch of stuff this fall, like applesauce, tomatoes, peaches, vegetable juice, maybe a few other things. They’re all sitting there on my shelf, looking awesome. They’re just waiting. And waiting… and waiting.
You see, I can’t use them yet. I just can’t. I feel like I need to wait until it’s colder outside before I dig into them. (Yesterday, I needed applesauce in my breakfast cookie recipe and it about killed me to open that jar and use it now.) I know, I get it, I canned them to use but it just seems like I should be saving them until a little snow flies.
How about you? Do you start using your fall canned goods right away, or save them a while, like I do?
On Sunday’s, I like to actually make something for breakfast that takes a few minutes. Often, it’s eggs over easy with sausage or bacon. Today, it was breakfast cookies.
I tried out a recipe by Danielle Walker, who wrote the “Against All Grain” cookbook. These cookies were easy to make and tasted pretty good. I didn’t have any currants so I substituted mini dark chocolate chips. I even had enough to package a few up in smaller bags for commuting to work this week.
My cookies didn’t look quite as chewy as Danielle’s did, but they looked pretty good.
I’m still getting small heads of red cabbage from my garden, so yesterday, I looked up ideas on how to preserve it. It turns out you can just blanch it for three minutes and then pop it into the freezer. So, that is what I did with about four heads that were ready.
Way too easy! These will taste great in soups later this winter.
Both Sunday and last night, I made and canned batches of spicy V8 juice, using a hybrid of several recipes I found on the internet. Not even both batches that I made are the same, and I think the second batch, which is slightly more spicy, tastes better. But both are quite good.
Here’s the recipe:
Home canned tomato/vegetable juice
12 cups tomatoes, quartered
3 ½ cups combination of spinach, cabbage, celery (other green vegetables that you have), chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
½ cup onions, diced
7 sprigs fresh parsley
2 cups chopped peppers, any color, chopped
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
Chop all vegetables into large chunks. Puree vegetables in a high-powered blender in batches. (I used my Vitamix and it worked great.) Add a little water to each batch, if needed.
Place vegetable puree and other seasonings into a large kettle and bring to a bowl. You can cook it a bit or just get it to a boil before canning. I let my simmer a bit before canning it.
Place into hot jars and place into canner for 40 minutes.
If your garden is like mine, you’ve reached the point where you can’t eat as much as the garden is producing. I think it’s a good thing, but sometimes also feels hectic and a tiny bit (self-induced) stressful.
Over the last week, I’ve spent much of my spare time canning, preserving, freezing and dehydrating everything in site, including a lug of peaches that I ordered a few months ago and, of course, those also were delivered this week!
I didn’t take exact counts, but here’s a list of what I’ve made:
- Canned salsa
- Canned tomatoes — lots!
- Canned peached
- Canned applesauce (I made the applesauce first in the slow cooker, and that was a really easy way to get it cooking)
- Frozen green peppers
- Dehydrated roma tomatoes (sliced with my vintage tomato slicer!)
- Dehydrated peaches
I stole an idea from a friend of mine and used the outdoor turkey cooker as the base for my canner. The propane heats up the water super fast and the mess and heat stays somewhat outside. And I wish I had a dollar for every sinkful of dishes that I washed!
With the garden coming in full force, I’ve adapted my breakfasts over the past few weeks. Here’s what I’ve been having:
Top it with salt and pepper and grab a fork on the way out the door. It’s pretty easy to eat this in the car (believe me, I know!) and with the garden tomatoes, it’s delicious. A few days, I added a splash of flavored balsamic vinegar, as well. That’s good too but not essential.
The only prep you need on this breakfast is to boil a few eggs Sunday night!
Hey, it’s been a while, huh? Thought I would get back in the groove by showing you my lunch today.
- Blueberries with a splash of white balsamic vinegar
- Garden salad (literally, with most of the items from my garden), including spinach, cucumber, tomato, carrots and purple peppers, plus left over Asian salmon from dinner the night before
- A round of cheddar cheese
- A piece of dark chocolate
A great example a real-food lunch that was easy to prepare and tasted great!
TM and I had a really cool vacation with our nephews and niece this week. We rented a houseboat in northern Minnesota and spent four nights on the boats and four days cruising around in Crane Lake, Namakan Lake and Sand Point Lake. We saw some beautiful scenery, had lunch at Kettle Falls and met a lot of mosquitoes.
The trip took place essentially in Voyageurs National Park, a remote park centered around the water and boats. There are essentially no resorts on the water (although you can find a couple on nearby rivers and on Kabetogoma Lake) and planning is key to this vacation.
Even as avid campers, it was a bit different for us, since we can rely on having some of the basics already in the camper. Plus, we usually camp in locations where we can run to a store, if we really need to. I began my managing this vacation with a massive list, created by culling through camping lists shared by others on the Internet and by compiling a menu for the week. I knew we would be busy, so I didn’t plan any lunches, just breakfasts, snacks and dinners, plus a couple ideas for dessert.
My goal was to bring along as much “real food” as I could, but I did take a few shortcuts. Here’s the meals we ended up with, along with some notes.
Our two planned breakfasts were eggs with venison breakfast sausage and pancakes with bacon. I also had along some “breakfasty” snack items that would work for breakfast, including homemade granola bars, string cheese and fruit. We ended up having scrambled eggs twice; the second time we had scrambled eggs, I stirred in some leftover vegetables (this is something my family affectionately calls “eggs with stuff in it.”)
Here’s the list of snacks that I brought. We were able to mix and match these into some ”lunches” and even desserts. And as I said, a few were used for breakfast.
- Eggs that I hardboiled on the houseboat (ask me sometime how that went after TM started driving his fishing boat in circles around the houseboat and it started really rocking
- Trail mix
- Venison summer sausage, cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers
- Homemade granola bars
The first night, we roasted hot dogs over the campfire and served them with chips and a homemade whole wheat pasta salad. Our next dinner consisted of chicken kebabs with peppers, onions, muchrooms and cherry tomatoes and everyone pitched in to put the kebabs together. Our other two dinners had a lot in common, including baked beans and chips. But one was more hot dogs on the grill and the other was elk burgers with Italian seasoning.
We ate more than our fair share of S’mores, but we also tried out a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake on the Grill cooked individually in tinfoil packets. We liked these but all agreed we could make them better the next time with a bit more brown sugar and butter for more sauce.
As I said, the key to having these meals come together is planning:
- Start your list early. As you’re cooking in the weeks ahead, jot down additional items that you use for various meals
- Write out the menu and then think through the details. If you want seasoned elk burgers, you need to remember to bring the seasoning.
- Keep spices to a minimum but make them count — I brought premixed “Italian” seasoning that I used in the burgers and in the pasta salad dressing, for example. I did also bring salt, pepper and garlic seasoning.
- Use camping lists you find on the web and Pinterest as a way to “remind” you of the basics that you might forget, like butter, olive oil, maple syrup, ….