Bountiful Baskets 9/29/12

This week has been crazy! On Monday, My mom and I canned 150 apples. We ended up with 20 quarts worth of applesauce, apple rings, and apple pie filling. I hope it is delicious, but I’ve been too sick of apples to try any of it yet. I packed the apple rings too tightly, and I lost almost half of the simple syrup in the water bath process. so I ended up storing those in the freezer. I’ve read that they will be fine in the pantry, as long as they sealed, but it made me really nervous, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Next time I pack fruit, I need to make sure to pack it without crushing it.

I picked up my fruit and vegetable baskets from Bountiful Baskets today.  On the website, it suggests that families that have more than 4 members should buy more than one basket. I bought two this week, and we are swimming in fruits and veggies. Here is my double order, it was only $30 for all of these fruit and veggies. I apologize for the poor picture quality. It’s raining and dreary outside, so I couldn’t get any natural light in the house.

Here is a closeup of the veggies. I ended up with three bunches of salad greens, two bunches of spinach, two bunches of collard greens, two avacados, three bunches of brocolli, and eight tomatoes. I had to run to the store and buy carrots and onions this week, hopefully we will get some of those items in our basket next week. I was a little bummed that there were no potatoes, as I was expecting some, but we still have a few sweet potatoes left over from last week, so we will make do.

Here is a closeup of the fruit portion of the basket. Between the two baskets, I ended up with two melons, two lbs of strawberries, sixteen bananas, ten red pears, and ten apples. I cleaned the strawberries, and a few of them were moldy, but I think I salvaged most of them. I am flash freezing half of them, and I might dehydrate the other half if the temperature gets low enough to keep the oven on overnight.

I’m a glutten for punishment, and I ordered some tomatoes to can this week. Aren’t they pretty? There were 50 tomatoes in my 20lb box. It was an add on that cost $12. I’m not going to have to buy tomato sauce for awhile.

I’m so happy that my house is almost back together. My kitchen is working, and I was able to do something I haven’t done in at least two months. Bake Bread!!!! My kids are addicted to Amish White Bread. I try to make it a little healthier by using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, I replace half of the flour with wheat flour, and I use local raw honey instead of sugar. Homemade bread is so much better than any store bread out there. This is an older picture, but the loaves I made this week look just as nice.

This week, we are going to get the soil ready so we can start planting our fall garden. Our first frost date is towards the end of October, so I might be pushing my luck by starting so late. It never hurts to try, right?

Bountiful Basket 9/22/12

I picked up my first food co-op order from Bountiful Baskets today. I’m seriously excited. Want to see what we got? All of this was just $15 (plus $1.50 processing fee, and a 1 time $3 “basket fee”).

I also ordered a “lunch box” add on that included lots of yummy fruit. It was an additional $10.50.

Lastly, I ordered 38lbs of Gala Apples for $24. My mom bought another 38 lb box of apples, so we are going to spend Monday canning applesauce, apple rings, and apple pie filling. Aren’t these apples delicious? The kids keep snacking on them. There are/were 88 of them in the 38lb box.

Here is the bountiful basket that my mom picked up at a location 20 miles away. It looks like the basket is mostly the same as mine. She has more bananas and I ended up with more sweet potatoes. (That’s mainly because a lovely lady at the pick up gave us her sweet potatoes, so I gave her a few of our bananas to trade.)

In the last few hours, I’ve cleaned my canning jars, cut up carrots, made 3 quarts of refrigerator pickles, juiced the limes and made honey limeade, cut up the melon for lunch, froze the grapes (after the 3 yo ate 1/5 of them), and cut up half of the sweet potatoes to go with our roasted maple chicken for supper. It’s been a productive day.

For bountiful baskets, I have to order on their website Monday morning. I’ve already marked the calendar and I can’t wait to see what we get next week.

Food Co-Op and House Update

I flew to Maryland this week to spend some time with my sister and her family. It was a great mini-vacation, and I already miss them; but, I missed my kidlets and my hubby, so it is very nice to be home.

The kitchen is finally working (as of yesterday), so I’ve spent most of today grocery shopping and washing the dishes that have been sitting out for the last few months. Three months ago, I was hoping to have the house on the market by now. I had no idea we would have so many plumbing issues. I’m glad they are taken care of. We still need the contractor to finish up the floors and to replace the baseplate on the west side of the house, but the interior is fully functioning now.

It’s so nice be cooking at home again. Our bodies were really starting to feel the effects of eating out so often. The 3yo and I have already made granola today, but I still want to make bread and start yogurt before the day is done.  I filled up the fridge and pantry with staples; flour, coconut oil, beans, split peas, lentils, herbs, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, ect. It was strange not to buy any fruits or vegetables, but I still think we will have plenty of those this week.

I recently learned about a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets. There is a pick up location just a few miles from my house. Last Monday, I ordered a regular basket for $15, a “lunch pack” add on of fruit for $10.50, and a 38lb box of Gala apples for $24 dollars. There is a one time fee of $3 per customer, and a $1.50 processing fee.  With that, and the remaining veggies from my garden, I should hopefully have enough fruits and veggies to feed us for the week as well as enough apples to make 25-30 pints of applesauce. Yummy. I pick up my order tomorrow morning, I will make sure to post pictures.

This week, my goal is to have at least two vegetables or fruits with each meal. I’m also going to be packing lunches for all of my guys. I forgot how much planning is involved in eating well on a budget. I’ve done it before, but it suddenly seems so daunting.

One meal at a time, right?

So excited!

The plumbers are coming tomorrow and the flooring guys are coming on Saturday!

I will have a functioning kitchen again by this time tomorrow. Woohoo!!!

I’m very excited, as I’m sure you can tell by my overuse of exclamation points.

We still need to replace the foundation base plate, but they are going to access it from outside, so all of the inside renovations should be finished this weekend.

(knock on wood)

We’ve been eating out for the last 8 weeks, what should I make as our first homecooked meal since mid-June?

Gnats

One of the biggest things we’ve noticed since we have been doing all of the work in the house, is an overabundance of gnats and fruit flies.  After searching throughout the house, I finally found a bag of decomposed canteloupes in the garage. I thought that this explained the bugs, but after I buried it in the compost pile, the bugs still called my house their home.

I noticed them the most in the bathrooms, and after a few minutes of thinking about it – I realized that the reason they were there is because we have been using the bathroom sink as though it is a kitchen sink, and sometimes they kids would pour watery juice down the drain.  This juice would get stuck in the P-trap and the bugs were loving it. They were literally living in the P-trap.

I poured a cup of bleach down the drain, and let it sit for a few minutes, then I ran the hot water for about 5 minutes. I did that yesterday, and today – all of the bugs are gone.

Yay! I love finding simple solutions for problems.

Hall Bathroom Renovation

First of all – we are back in our house! Yay! I don’t think it will be completed for another week, but it’s nice to be home (even if we are still missing a kitchen, dining room, and living room).

Secondly, I was going through some pictures I took of our hall bathroom renovation a few months ago, and I thought I would share. My hubby is a mechanic by trade, but he went to school for construction and he is very handy around the house. That’s a great thing, since our house still needs a lot of work. I don’t have a before shot of the bathroom, but there was a lot wrong with it. The drywall was two layers deep, the ceiling was not supported correctly, the fan had stopped working, the plumbing to the bathtub was broken, and the entire thing was a mess.

When we took down the drywall, half of the ceiling fell down. We had to insert a few extra supports. We bought mold resistant drywall and redrywalled the walls. We spent too many hours playing around with texture paint to make the walls match the other half of the bathroom that we didn’t touch. It took us about three days to finish it. I think it turned out pretty nice, and it only cost us about $400. It would have cost us less than that, but we had to replace the insulation that fell from the attic as we were working. The last picture is the end result, I’ve done a few finishing touches since then, but it gives you a good idea of what it looks like now.

 

 

This house drive me crazy some times, but I sure am learning a lot of skills by working on it.