Saturday, June 21, 2014

Odds and Ends, and June Challenge Wrap-up

Okay, I am so incredibly messed up... This post was supposed to link up with Judy's June Prepping Challenge post about the Thermal Cookers. Obviously, I didn't make it. This makes me sad.  :(
I thought her post was very interesting, as I had no idea that they even made such a contraption as a thermal cooker. Although, I have come across something called a "Wonder Oven" during my wanderings through the internet, and now I think that those might be a homemade version of Judy's little cooker. They sound interesting. Maybe if I had more time to play around with such things, I might try it out. (Although, the solar oven sounds like more fun to me.) Some of the articles I've seen about Wonder Ovens even mention being able to make bread in them. Interesting. But I'm not sure it's interesting enough for me to experiment with. Unless, of course, for some reason my husband decides to buy me one of those things... ;)
Now, on to the odds and ends part of the post...
I finally got my bread made. Although, I didn't even attempt my regular recipe. Instead, I dusted off my copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I've had this book for a while, and when I have room in my fridge for that giant bowl, it's handy to have some of that dough just hanging around, waiting.  It took the very last bit of yeast I had in the house, but I managed to make the best loaf of bread I've ever achieved with that recipe. And it was very much enjoyed by all.
Close on the heels of that success, today I managed to make the worst ever loaf of bread I've ever attempted, with that very same dough. (Possibly the worst loaf ever, period.) And it was completely my fault. I forgot all about my (already extremely close to non-existent) time management skills and took the dough out of the fridge first thing this morning. It should have gone into the oven about the same time I looked at the clock and realized we should already be in the car! Little Miss had a birthday party to attend. We made it, just after the stated arrival time, and thankfully, she was not the last person to show up. Whew! So, then, Baby Girl and I raced off to the farmer's market, with only about an hour and a half before they closed shop for the day... We bought tons of yummy looking produce to go with what I managed to get out of our garden this morning. Now I just have to figure out exactly what I'm going to do with some of it. And I'm really wishing I had gotten more of that garlic. He said he won't be back for four weeks! Who would've thought I would manage to use 3/4 of what I bought today. Already! Anyway, back to the bread. It sat there on the counter the entire time we were gone- way too long! So, it's no wonder it turned out to be so disappointing. I might have to try again tomorrow, after we get back from the store. (I can't believe we're already out of milk again!)

This is just a cute picture of Baby Girl that I snapped yesterday evening at supper. All week long, I make a point of trying to put fruits and vegetables and healthy foods in front of them- when I could keep them out of the stinking snack foods (which are all gone now, yay!)- and this is what they decided to scarf down... And this is what Baby Girl considers the appropriate way to slurp the tomato dipping sauce out of the cup! It's a good thing she's so cute, is all...

And here are a couple of quick snaps of my afternoon activities for the day. This is where all my garlic went.  About the only thing doing really well in my garden at the moment- and not getting eaten up by that evil critter- are the pickle cucumbers. (Too spiky to chomp, I guess.)  Although, I did manage to scrounge out a few more things today, too. But not many.

 I'm very new at canning. I've only attempted it a couple of times last year, making jam/jelly. But I love dill pickles, and since we had the cucumbers for it, I tried a recipe from Food in Jars. Well... technically, it came from her book of the same name. I bought it on my kindle a while back. And now I'm going to need the hardcopy version, I can tell.
The recipe says that now I have the jars loaded, I have to wait an entire week, or more, before they're ready to taste. I guess I'll try to be patient. I do still have part of that jar of farmer's market pickles in the fridge... I can't wait to try these, and I really hope they're as awesome as they sound, because it's starting to look like the only substantial harvest I get from my pitiful little garden might be piles and piles of cucumbers. Next batch will be her recipe for bread and butter pickles, I think...

I couldn't believe how long it took to find such simple ingredients for them, though. I found everything I needed at my usual grocery store- except the dill seed. I never dreamed it would be so hard to find dill seed. The last time I ever bothered to notice it, it was a very common spice. Apparently not in this area. I had to go three different places before I finally found any. Boy, I hope these things are yummy! But, at least when I run out, I know exactly which store to go to now!

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