Kitchen Fun with Carol
Hello everyone! This heat wave has been unbelievable! We are set to break the record high for the day. That is something that I can personally do without. I am not a hot weather person. I love a cool crisp autumn day. I am so glad that I have lots of grill recipes in the freezer. It really helps to keep the house cool when you can cook your meal outside or use the slow cooker. What a lifesaver!
The other side effect of this heat wave mixed with bouts of torrential rain is a bumper crop of vegetables from the garden. We are “stealth” gardeners. Technically we are not supposed to grow vegetables so we mix them in with the regular bedding plants in the yard. So I have Black-eyed Susans and perennial geraniums growing with my cucumbers and cantaloupes. It looks pretty so no one in the neighborhood complains! I only have three cucumber vines. The first picking alone yielded six cucumbers. I have had three more pickings with about the same quantity. Our green peppers are going crazy too. I have already frozen a gallon freezer bag full of chopped peppers. They will be great in the winter. Do you need some tips on freezing summer produce? Click here to read some tips from the August 2002 edition of Chewin’ the News.
My mom has had a bumper crop of zucchini. She brought me ten on her last visit. We grilled several of them trying different marinades and seasoning combinations. I shredded and froze the rest for muffins, bread, and soups.
One fresh fruit that we are starting to see in the local market is peaches. I love peaches. Our local grocery store sells them by the basket full when they are in season. I always take this opportunity to freeze some for smoothies in the winter. The easiest way to peel peaches is to blanch them. Boil a large pot of water and put the peaches in for about 1 minute. This loosens up the skin and makes it very easy to peel and slice. You can put them directly into quart freezer bags and freeze them. If you are concerned about browning, you can rinse the sliced peaches with an ascorbic acid wash. Lemon juice mixed with water works well or you can look for commercial products that are available in the canning section of your local store. This recipe is another great way to preserve that great peach taste.
This is a great recipe to use up that bumper crop of zucchini. The muffins are rich and moist. As soon as I they come out of the oven my sons ask if they can have one. They are great for a quick breakfast when you are on the go.
Recipe of the Month Contest Winner
Recipe of the Month… Chewy Granola Bars
Our winner this month is Chewy Granola Bars. I know it is only the beginning of August but it also means that there are only three more weeks until school starts. Time flies, huh! This is a great back to school recipe. I am always looking for things to pack for lunch for my kids. The nice thing about the recipe is that you can substitute ingredients so that you can make the right combinations for your family. Try it!
I was unable to reach Kristi, so we’ll have to meet the creator of this recipe next month.
Click here to view/print the August Recipe of the Month.
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Our winner this month is Mary. Mary shares the effect that freezer cooking has had on her life over the past year.
What an incredible blessing my freezer meals were for my family this last year! Last August I spent much of my free time making up a variety of meals to have on hand for after the arrival of our third child. I was able to complete approximately 45 meals, not counting the “singles” such as Make-Ahead Chimichangas and Pizza Burgers.
Our son arrived on August 31st and we immediately appreciated the convenience of having dinner already done- it was wonderful! I was able to relax and enjoy the afternoons with my newborn without any concern over getting a meal around. It all went perfectly as planned until our dear boy was exactly two weeks old. He stopped nursing and started to fuss where he had not done so before. I tried not to panic, but after a day of him not eating I followed my instinct and took him to his pediatrician. On the way to the doctor’s office, which is an hour from my home, my baby started to have trouble breathing. As soon as I got him to the doctor’s office, he was put on oxygen and life-flighted to Portland, OR where it was determined that he would need two major heart surgeries, immediately. We spent 18 days in Pediatric ICU with him while he recovered. Thankfully, God granted him a full recovery with no recurring problems!
While we were in the hospital with him, my mother flew in to watch our older two boys. The meals in the freezer were then fully appreciated by her! When we returned, we still had plenty of meals to use, but while my mom was still here, I added extras to compensate for what we had already used. It was months before I had to cook a full meal, again! The time I saved was spent enjoying the precious gift of my healthy, thriving new baby and his big brothers.
I have vowed to never be without at least a weeks’ worth of meals on hand in the freezer since you just never know what can happen. Having them on hand is so simple and a huge weight off your shoulders when all your time is used up in other, more important ways. We have so much to be thankful for!
That’s what this is all about. Cooking the 30 Day Gourmet way helps you free up time for other activities in your life. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone!
Closing Comments from Carol
I hope you enjoy the recipes and find a way to beat the heat.
Do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Click here to send me an email. I enjoy hearing from you!
Have fun in your kitchen!