Yesterday we finally had a break in the heat and I decided I couldn’t delay baking and preserving any more. We had some early tomatoes, not enough to give to customers but enough to do up a batch of tomato sauce. This is my all time favorite tomato sauce recipe but I should be clear, I don’t can this, I freeze it to make sure it is completely safe. Tomatoes are best canned without additives due to their acidity level though Animal Vegetable Miracle has a pretty great one that is safe to can. I did up 7 quarts of this last year but because I was using ground spices the end product was brown which the children didn’t really dig. I like it anyway and will probably do a few more this year.
Here’s the recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce
8 cups tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 cup onions
4 cloves garlic whole
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
Mix together in shallow baking pan, and roast at 450 degrees for 35-40 minutes. As it cools mash with potato masher or fork and add 1/3 cup basil.
My goal is 12 freezer quarts of this sauce. Last year I only did 4 and it was such a treat eating it in winter. It tastes like summer! Actually this picture is from a winter dinner when I was really craving summer.
I also did up 4 quart bags (about 1 serving each) of pesto and baked some Good Brown Bread. It was a pretty sucessful day.
This weekend I was talking with another blogger friend, Organic Sister. She and her husband and 10 year old son live a life of unschooling, traveling the country in a vintage Winnebago, looking for a place to lay down roots but also having a great time in the pursuit. While I can’t imagine only having one child, or living out of a Winnebago or traveling the country I found some unique similarities in our philosophy on life and I found myself drawn to the concept of unschooling (though I am not sure it will look the same for a family of multiple aged children). Anyway I called her because I needed help. I found myself getting more and more short tempered of late and I knew the atmosphere in the home was being affected.
We went over the specifics of our schedule and daily life in the Doeun home and I realized (upon further reflection) that I was still adding things to our already jammed schedule trying to “do everything.” Tara gently reminded me that I just can’t “do everything,” some things have to give. I was familiar with the concept in the area of housekeeping. New mothers are often given the advice not to worry so much about cluttered tables and dirty dishes but in our case there was more going on.
I was trying to live the ideal (of mine) of no or little TV for my young children. That is now out the window. Granted they work and play hard in the morning out of doors and the girls at least often play all evening I knew I needed to allow some electronic entertainment into my home to buy me the peace and relaxation that I needed. I even upgraded our cable to include a variety of age apropriate channels so now at least I feel better about what they are watching (Hannah, Zack and Cody will have to wait until they are older).
Naps are now out. We do lie down and rest for about 1/2 hour after taking Proeun to work while we listen to a lullaby CD and Mavis gets a nap on the way home from the farm normally. Then I let the children get up to enjoy some electronic media and I take a solo nap or relax.
Dinners are sometimes boxed macaroni and cheese, though I do try to add at least carrot sticks and ranch dressing.
And Proeun I am sorry there may not be alot of pickles or canned tomatoes this year.
But finding the balance for our family is what it is all about–enjoying the children on a daily basis and making sure everyone feels important and nurtured, not an easy task to tackle.
So in the realm of the blog I am trying to stick with Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts with an occasionally Sunday thrown in. It is just one of those things I have to manage and balance.
Call it nesting, good planning, good housekeeping or just being fed up I am up for some big changes in our home. When we first moved into our home the home inspector recommended to us that any improvements that we wanted to make we should do before you move in because once you move in it gets harder and harder to get things done. Well we had no additional money to make improvements and our first baby coming soon–sooner then we thought. We moved in on Sunday and he was born on Tuesday at 35 weeks.
Anyway long story short we just cleaned a bit and moved in. No painting even. Over the years we have made some small improvements like removing the nasty carpet to reveal the beautiful, original wood floors and some small changes to furniture. But I really would like to beautify a bit (a lot) more. So last night I begged my husband to take me to Ikea. I haven’t been then for around 2 years, but now I was ready to make some changes.
We had gone on-line and found a bed we liked for the children, metal bunkbed with a single bed up and double down. But unfortunately they didn’t have it in the store. I guess I will just have to go for another trip in a week or so. But we did get a step stool for the kitchen, an art easel (something Proeun has been wanting for a very long time) for the children, a set of stainless steel pots, a new children’s potty, placemates for the table and shelving for the children’s room.
So my current projects are culling, organizing and beautifying the children’s room and dining room. I am trying not to spend too much money at once and will supplement my Ikea finds, with things I already have and thrift store finds. For example I couldn’t find any good cloth tableclothes at Ikea, luckily I had some and realized when I got home the table from my grandmother we have is so beautiful underneath the protective pad maybe I won’t use a cloth at all, we’ll see.
Sunday Proeun took the children to the farm and I went through toys and clothes trying to get the overflowing room under control. Today I am planning to continue cleaning and hopefully it will stay nice until we are able to get the new bed and set things up.
Still on my to-do list in organizing the big bedroom yet again, living room and basement workroom. The porch still looks beautiful.