Today it rained. Boy, did it rain! Rain, rain, rain!
What is a gal to do when it’s raining out? Well, I’ll tell ya– I found plenty to do:
First, I made some vanilla extract. I poured 3/4 cup of Everclear and 1/4 cup brandy (I didn’t have any dark rum) into a glass jar and dropped in 6 vanilla bean pods that I’d slit wide open and chopped in half. In about 8-12 weeks, as long as I shake the bottle up every now and again, I should have some pure vanilla.
I have had that Everclear for years! I bought it to make herbal tinctures, but I had quite a bit left over.
After I set my vanilla in a dark place (my pantry), I decided to try out the Excalibur Dehydrator I scored at the thrift shop a few days ago. For a little under six dollars, I can dry just about anything I want to. It has a heater and a fan, so I can make jerky with this too. I decided to give it a test run with the left over strawberries I had in a little sugar. I threw on the few blueberries I had left that were just about to shrivel too. I also sliced a Golden Delicious apple and sprinkled it with a bit of sugar and cinnamon. I had a few slices of canned pineapple from some other meal I’d prepared, and I decided the dehydrator is better than the garbage can.
These dried fruits will be excellent in sweet breads, cereal, or just all around snackin’.
Dehydrating takes a loooong time, so I knew it was bread baking time. I made my usual 6 loaf recipe for Italian bread, but I decided to keep one piece out for a nice homemade pizza. I whipped up some homemade pizza sauce, sliced the remaining fresh mozzarella, and covered it in sliced pepperoni. Oh, it was a great pizza too.
While the bread was rising, I cleaned out the pantry. I have a lot of rice and I need to think of some good ways to put the rice to use in a meal. I want to empty the pantry and freezer before I have to shop again. We’re on a tight budget this month, and I’m convinced I can get away with cutting way back on groceries this month if I can be more creative.
OH! Last night I scored a small truckload of canning jars for FREE! I believe I have at least 500 canning jars. A very kind family of 12 (yes, they have 10 kids! wow!) are moving, and answered my CraigsList ad and told me they would give them to me free of charge.
I may be canning for two months straight…or longer.