Weekend work

I hope there are not any more “last weekends of summer” because I really can’t take another one. I just want a weekend of doing a few odds and ends then resting for the upcoming week. I want to say that the resting part is more important to me now that I am getting nearer and nearer to the age when I should be retired (from the looks of things retirement is not in my life plan). The truth is that weekends have always been very important rest and rejuvenation times for me in fact one of my sisters commented on it just last night, how I would come home from college and just sleep. Currently sleep is not really a factor, but just a nice slow down would be good. Today was Labor Day, the day you should relax, have some family time, not go to work, take a break. Well, not so much around here. I wanted to work out in the yard, but the wind is keeping most things inside. Instead I was in the kitchen from the time I got up until Paulina and Katie packed up and left. I see I forgot to finish the post about Paulina coming home for the weekend and bringing her roommate. Opps!!

plums

Today I decided it was time to tackle the plums. I picked a large bowl of them last week and they have been sitting on the counter ripening ever since. I washed them up and got them ready for preserving last night before everyone came over for the Labor Day picnic thing that Paulina decided we needed (which was a good decision by the way). It was a good idea not to do it in stages. I did the cleaning, cooking and pressing through the jelly cone last night and so this morning all I had to do was cook them up for jelly. The recipes mostly call for using cheesecloth and letting the juice drip out. I am sure you can squeeze a bit more juice from them using that method, but I am just so used to using the cone. Of course that is much easier to use with tomatoes. It seems the larger the seeds or pits, the harder it is to get all of the juice by using the cone.

zucchini (cookie) bread and plum jelly

Bottom line is that when all was done, I had about seven cups of juice. I was supposed to add a packet of pectin which I did then boiled it for a bit. Next I was supposed to add more sugar than I had juice which I didn’t do because with the chokecherry jelly it ended up too sweet and sort of rubbery. Well after 4 cups of sugar both James and Paulina said enough (they like it a little tart) then I boiled it for about two more minutes and sealed it into jars. It appears that this will be a nice batch of syrup to use on pancakes or for a runny jelly bread. Oh well, there are more plums on the tree and I can try again if I am inclined to go through the process one more time. The bottom line is that they like it and they seem to. I have set aside a jar for Jaxon. He is always willing to take jelly as a small gift from grandma, so the next time I see him it is coming his way.

The other two projects were with zucchini. Paulina is always complaining about never getting any zucchini cake. She loves my recipe for chocolate zucchini sheet cake, which really is just right for a 9X12 pan. It starts with the standard zucchini opener: 3 eggs, 2 cups sugar and 1 cup of oil. Beat that while mixing the dry ingredients: 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of baking cocoa, 1 teaspoon of soda, 1/4 of salt and baking powder. I add about half of this and it gets pretty thick so then I add the 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 1/2 cup of milk and the 2 cups of shredded zucchini before I put in the rest of the dry ingredients. As I am typing this, I sort of think that I might have forgotten the vanilla today. I will have to find out from Paulina if it tastes ok. I also made a batch of zucchini bread. It was the kind with cinnamon in it that comes from our community’s Centennial cook book. Jaxon calls that cookie bread. It makes two large loaves, or at our house it is one large and three miniature loaves. I kept two of the small ones and sent one to Elisabeth and the large one to Jessica. I hope everyone enjoys their treats.

Digging in the garden

Potatoes

James and Paulina took a little time while I was making the jelly and the zucchini items to dig potatoes in the garden. Hurrah!! We sent a few of the baking sized potatoes to Jessica along with some cucumbers. I love being able to send little care packages from the garden. I just wish I were able to do it more often. We are finally maybe seeing that the tomatoes might ripen and then we will some of them to share also. So far the only things producing are cucumbers, zucchini, beans and a few beets, except for now the potatoes will also be ready to dig. James said what they did today was about 25 percent of what is there. I guess there will be a few nights in the garden after school this week or maybe even next weekend. I was impressed by the size of some of the larger ones. He thought it was quite odd that in the best soil the plants had larger potatoes, but very few. In the poorer soil there were lots of potatoes, but all were small. A few had to be tossed because something was eating on them. I guess the sooner they are out the better.

In the middle of the baking and before the garden digging, Paulina made the hamburger-rice and green bean hot dish that she loves. We had that for lunch with fresh corn on the cob from the corn that my sister Adie dropped off last night, yummy!! There was just enough of the hot dish left for Paulina to take back to college for a midnight snack. She and Katie commented that this year the cafeteria seems to be much busier than in the past. They are still trying to figure if the enrollment is up or if it is just that everyone seems to be on the same schedule. They are thinking of dropping to the lowest food plan and doing more cooking on their own if and when they finally get into the apartment housing that they signed up for. Currently their floor is under construction and they are hoping to be in place later this week or next.

So, that is all for my Labor Day 2017. If you want to read about the Labor Day when we watched the outdoor movie and had a bigger bash, you will have to find the post from early September of 2013, I can’t believe it was that long ago. Hope you all had a great weekend!!

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