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The path back to my kitchen

My passion for mastering sourdough bread had a wrench thrown in a couple months ago when some routine test results indicated bread (along with all other carbs) was going to have to take a back seat to healthier choices.  Let’s just say I’d put off the inevitable as long as I could possibly get away with.  And then some.

So here I am, two months later. About 14 lbs lighter, and feeling much better, but with so far to go. I won’t bother with all the explanations and excuses about how I think I ended up here, but I can tell you it wasn’t by spending too much time in my own kitchen, whipping up delicious, healthy meals.

Don’t get me wrong ~ I’m a pretty good cook. When I do it.

So I’m approaching this from several different directions. The first one is a major purge of the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry.

  • Meal planning (no fun)
  • Once a month cooking/freezer meals (more fun with friends)
  • Small batch preserves (extra fun)

The pantry purge is ongoing. Last Saturday Ashlee, Nicole and I put up several meals, and today I spent making a lovely, sticky mess in my kitchen. Not low carb by any stretch, but how could I resist when Jon called on his way home yesterday and asked if he should pick up strawberries and raspberries at the berry farm?

Last night I hulled, sliced and sugared about 16 cups of strawberries. This morning they went in kettle (1/2 at a time), along with a split and scraped vanilla bean. An hour (or so) later, I had 6 half-pint jars of strawberry-vanilla jam (recipe from Sherri Brooks Vinton‘s book “Put ’em Up”).

I followed that with a batch of raspberry jam that yielded 4 half-pints. This time I used a recipe from Marisa McClellan’s “Food in Jars”. I have the book, but you can find a similar recipe on her blog, too.

The finish was a rosemary stonefruit preserve with currants. The inspiration was a recipe from Urban Preserving. While I didn’t have an abundance of apricots, I did have four white nectarines that, quite honestly, showed no signs of ripening after a week, a dozen or so apricots that were just a little tired, and several plums on both sides of ripe. All just hanging out in the frig awaiting their doom.

A quick trip across the street to “borrow” some fresh rosemary from the neighbor’s rockery and I was in business. Things just got better when I remember the remnants of a box of currants from my lovely irish soda bread adventure. In they went. The results are magical.

I have so many more “wants” to try (cherry jam, bread and butter pickles, tomato jam……), but first I need to use up all these onions and peppers from this week’s produce co-op (you do know about Bountiful Baskets, don’t you?) Suggestions are welcome!

Tomorrow I’ll wrap-up my challenge projects for you. Did I finish? You’ll have to come see!

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