Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tomato sauce

My canning adventures continued today while the girls took their afternoon naps. We'd built up a backlog of tomatoes from the past few weeks' CSA deliveries, so I decided to make and can some tomato sauce.

First I blanched and peeled the tomatoes.

This was kind of gross, because they were somewhat slimy underneath their skins. But also fun, because they were somewhat slimy! And look, naked tomatoes! I was surprised at just how easily the skins came right off. I had considered skipping this step and pureeing them with a food mill, which would keep the skins out, but I'm glad I did it this way... much easier.

Then, I cored, seeded and chopped them.

At this point I started to get a little concerned. I thought I had sooooo many tomatoes when they were rolling around in my fridge. But suddenly, hmmm... not so much.

Next, I threw them in a pot and started cooking.

As they cooked I mashed them up with a potato masher. I also had garlic, onion, and green pepper in there, along with the tomato and spices, even though the recipe in my canning book called for carrot instead of green pepper. This was kind of scary to me, because my canning book warned me that if I deviated from their recipe even one little bit, my lovingly crafted tomato sauce will kill my family with botulism!!!!

So even though the University of Minnesota Extension said I don't have to (because I'm using locally grown tomatoes, and my sauce is at least 3/4 tomato), I added 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to each jar. Just to be on the safe side.

After the filled jars spent 35 minutes in boiling water, the canning was finally done! All that effort yielded me...

TWO PINTS of sauce. You may be thinking to yourself, gosh that seems like a lot of work for just two pints of tomato sauce! And yes, I would have to agree with that. I now get why people do these kind of things in giant batches, and why my recipes tend to call for 10 lbs of tomatoes. I don't think it would've been that much more work to do 5x as much sauce. So, lesson learned... but the two pints do make a nice addition to the growing collection of canned food down in the basement!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dylan's birthday

Still catching up on the backlog... I suppose it would help if we posted more than once a week! Well, it turns out that life with two kids is pretty busy, which I suppose is not news to most of you! So, we're doing our best to keep up with the blog. :)

Dylan turned 6 about a week ago! Auntie Laura had a really fun party for his birthday.

Ella, of course, found the whole thing to be a total snoozer.

But don't let Ella's reaction fool you! The rest of us had fun and nobody else fell asleep even once.

It was a beautiful day, so the kids all had fun playing outside... and there were a LOT of kids there!

As it turns out, between family, friends and neighbors, Dylan has a lot of friends. There weren't even any of his school friends there! (He started kindergarten this year, which is kind of unbelieveable to me. KINDERGARTEN. I still remember the first time he peed on me when I was changing his diaper!)

He got a lot of great presents from generous friends and family!

Maisie wanted to help him open them, but he didn't really need her help, as it turns out.

Finally, of course - birthday cake!

At Dylan's request, the cake had one or two of the trick candles that re-light themselves after you blow them out. But he actually got them all the way out the first time, and they didn't relight. He was bummed about it! But only briefly. Because hey, cake!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba!

I know I've mentioned one of Maisie's favorite shows, Yo Gabba Gabba, on here a few times. For those who aren't familiar, it's a music-based kids show. Every show teaches a different lesson, such as "making new friends can be scary but is worth it," "being different is what makes us all special," and "don't bite your friends." Each show also has plenty of music, and the main character, DJ Lance Rock, frequently reminds us that "Singing and dancing to music is awesome!"

So, last weekend Yo Gabba Gabba was appearing live at the Target Children's Book Festival! We had to go.

DJ Lance Rock was there!

So was Brobee!

Maisie danced and danced.

Dylan thought the music was too loud!

(He did have fun, and danced a lot too! But I thought this picture was too funny to keep to myself.)

Monday, September 14, 2009


I've recently become intrigued by canning, of all things. We got an abundance of tomatoes in our CSA delivery, and my friend Anne showed me how to can them. I was hooked! Next I wanted to try applesauce.

So on Sunday, Maisie and I went to the farmers market and found a guy selling apples with a big sign that said "ask me questions - I grow everything I sell." Perfect! So at the farmer's recommendation, we bought a 5 gallon bucket of Cortland apples. He said they were tart and would make great sauce, and a lot of it.

That apple farmer was right!

I used maybe a quarter of the apples - I didn't want to do them all at once as I was short on jars (and time) - and made 4.5 pints of yummy applesauce! I didn't even have to add any sugar - just some cinnamon.

So now we have 4 pints of applesauce sitting in storage in the basement next to the tomatoes I put up with Anne's help, and more apples left to sauce up this week, or weekend, whenever we find the time to peel them all.

And as for that other 1/2 pint - Maisie's already eaten it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First day of school

Last Tuesday was not only my birthday, it was Maisie's first day of preschool.

She looks a little apprehensive, but she did great. She really loves her teachers and her classmates, and has a lot of fun at school. She went right down the hall without looking back, and certainly with no tears.

I mean, at least no tears on her part... I was another story!