Things are pretty quiet here at Mist Cottage. As the weather continues to get colder, it seems cozier and cozier indoors. With the tree up, the living area is filled with light and colour in the evenings, and how pleasant that is. We entertain ourselves by reading, playing Christmas music, which this year I am finding particularly comforting, chatting, and watching programs we enjoy. We have just finished watching the series Upstairs Downstairs, starring Jean Marsh. The series ended in 1975. Good grief, that was 46 years ago, in some ways it feels like yesterday. Despite our slow and quiet way of living, time passes quickly.
This past week I decided to make a soup using the odds and ends in the refrigerator and freezer. I started with 5 ounces of ground beef, a handful of onions, frozen celery, frozen red peppers, frozen kale, frozen fried cherry tomatoes, frozen mixed vegetables, frozen corn niblets, freshly cooked navy beans, a jar of home canned tomatoes, the water from blanching carrots, and lots of herbs and spices. I don’t remember everything that was thrown into the pot, but I can say the refrigerator and freezer look a little bit neater without all those little bits of lots of things. It was arguably the best soup I’ve ever made! All gone now though, the last of it was served for lunch yesterday.
Since it is the holiday season, I’ve taken to baking loaves of sweet bread. The sweet bread recipe is rather heavy but delicious, it is made with home milled whole wheat flour. I add dried fruit to make it festive, raisins, and candied melon peel. The candied melon peel has been a delicious surprise, it is lovely in the the holiday bread. I made it for the first time in 2019, using the rind of a watermelon we purchased. It is a candied fruit for baking that I can make myself.
We frequently make homemade pizza. I have had a devil of a time finding low sodium pepperoni. It used to be available, made by Hormel, but is not to be found these days. I did find some Turkey Pepperoni that is slightly lower in sodium, so I use that in small quantities. I’ve started spicing up my pizza with home grown and pickled pepperoncini, and a spice mixture of our own powdered celery, garlic granules, and black pepper. The pizza sauce is our own homemade, no sodium added. The cheese is the the real culprit in increasing the sodium levels in my pizza, but I find a pizza without cheese unthinkable. The sodium in the pizza does not put me over my limit, as long as I am very careful that whatever else I eat during the day is low in sodium.
Recently we drove by and observed a line up for Covid vaccinations. I took a quick camera shot from the window. Where the spaces were clearly marked, people honoured social distancing. The line up was long, and there was a point where the markings ended. This is where people lined up close to one another, as if it were perfectly safe to do so. In Ontario only those considered most vulnerable are eligible for booster shots, so many people in that line were elderly, grey hair, stooped bodies, walkers, wheelchairs, all cozied up to one another in the line. I would have thought this population cohort would have the sense to practice social distancing. I am a foolish optimist. I hope no one in the throng actually had Covid-19. We are fussy, we only want to be around people who practice social distancing – so we say home for the most part.
Attila has begun the floor reinforcement project. At this moment he is jacking up the broken floor joist, preparing it for bridging. There are a lot of loud thuds, and creaking. I am very curious to see if leveling the kitchen floor in this area will at the same time level the kitchen counter. As it is, any water on the kitchen counter flows rapidly towards the other end. This little house is sound, but not level, or built with new materials. Every single door is a different size and material. The builder of this house used parts of other buildings that had been torn down. The longer we live here, the more work we do on the house to make it our own, the more we love it.
While Attila is working in the basement, I am busy in the kitchen conjuring up another batch of Stone Soup for our dinner. The thing about Stone Soup is that you never know just how it will taste. Although we can feel sure that it will taste good, it tastes different every time I make it.
Updated on Sat, Nov 27, 3:05 PM
FEELS LIKE -5
A few clouds
Wind 15 W km/h
Humidity 40 %
Visibility 27 km
Sunrise 7:18 AM
Wind gust 22 km/h
Pressure 101.1 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 4:32 PM
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”
1804 – 1876
Hi, Maggie! Your soup and sweet bread sound delicious! I would have loved to have tried the soup that you really liked. Hopefully, you can figure out a way to semi-replicate that by using similar spices.
When we got our second shots there were a few people trying to crowd us as we stood in line. I turned around and stood facing them until they backed off, which they hung back the next time the line advanced. 😉 We have our appointment for our boosters on Dec 17th. Ironically, the appointment is in the next time slot from my FIL’s partner, so we may see her there.
Our tree and other decorations are finally up. I’d put up some pictures but I can’t even put up emoticons, so I don’t think it would work.
Oh! This time the semicolon and parens worked to do a wink. I guess only the picture based emoticons don’t work.
Teri, so glad to hear you are getting your third shots. Hopefully social distancing will be practised without your insistence this time! Suddenly we have another variant to consider, but by the time you are going in for your booster more will be known about the variant and if it is spreading.
I think your Christmas tree must be very nice!
I will have a look at the image in comments thing in the weeks to come, it is on my radar, lol.
Had to tell you about something unusual I saw, today. Would you believe that Miele has created an oven that can also steam, so it can do canning? A steam oven!
Teri, neat! Steam in the oven is a method used in bread baking, so that oven would be very handy 🙂
You wouldn’t be able to can in it, canning involves precisely measured constant pressure, so a canner designed to do that safely is required.
Well, I’m having trouble getting to sleep tonight, so I came to check for a response. I was actually watching a demonstration by the seller. The stove has a canning mode. They just placed the glass jars in the stove, selected canning mode, set the temperature, and hit start. It sure surprised me!
Oh, wait. It wasn’t the temp they set, it was the length of the canning cycle. The time.
Teri, thanks for the heads up. Always follow USDA recommendations for canning.
I found this video from Miele, is this the one you viewed?
The video demonstrates untested methods of canning, which is dangerous, and I feel it is irresponible. I have alerted the USDA about the video and techniques demonstrated. This and many videos like it are why I would never ever eat anyone elses home canned foods!
The way she has canned the tomatoes she might, might, get away with because of the steam – but this has not been verified in a lab as adequate in this device, so personally I will stick with devices that have gone through lab testing for safety, which does not include steam ovens. The Miele oven is NOT USDA APPROVED for steam canning. Perhaps someday it will be tested and found safe, but for now it is “Russian Roulette”, you don’t know if it is safe or not and you would be risking your health to find out.
She doesn’t know what she is talking about, in my opinion. She does not understand canning, and therefore is an unrelaible source of information. She mentions canning vegetables using this method. She also mentions “beans in brine”, who pickles beans? Beans, vegetables, meat are low acid foods, which must be pressure canned for long periods of time to kill the botulism spores. They will not be destroyed at 212F, the food must be heated to 240F, and that can’t be achieved without pressure.
Canning is completely different than cooking. Canned foods sit on the shelf at room temperature for long periods of time, which can be very dangerous if tested methods are not followed. There is very little room for innovation of technique, or ingredient proportions. I follow only USDA approved methods, to prevent botulism.
If you would like to create shelf safe products that are canned safely, I would recommend using the tested equipment and methods at the USDA affiliated site: The National Centre for Home Food Preservation, https://nchfp.uga.edu/.
To be honest I found the video shocking in its claims, and I hope no one dies as a result of following those directions.
Companies are jumping on the canning bandwagon without having their claims verified through legitimate lab testing. Instant Pot did the same thing, and I believe has withdrawn its claims to pressure canning.
Botulism is serious. It is invisibe, no off taste or smell or visual quality. It kills and maims. It is completely avoidable if safe methods of canning are used.
Hi, Maggie. No, That’s not the video I saw. It was a video on Instagram with a woman putting some jars in the oven and then turning on the canning mode. The irony of the video you showed, among many I guess, is that I looked at the Miele site and they actually have a safety warning to never exceed 208F on the canning oven – and yet on the video you showed they set the oven at 212F.
Wow, that is scary irresponsible that they would be selling this oven with canning as a feature when the function isn’t approved!