Barefoot in the kitchen

I can't seem to stop cooking.  And for someone who never really enjoyed cooking (or had time), I'm amazed at how much fun I'm having.  Unfortunately, it is coming at the expense of working on the house, but I'm not all that concerned right now.  It's been pouring rain all day, and cooking is good therapy.

Shayne and I made a quick stop at the market this afternoon and picked up a chicken, about 6.5 lbs of roma tomatoes and a smallish basket of peaches.  I popped 3 of the peaches in the freezer to see how that works out.  Tomorrow I'll give canning them a shot. 

With the tomatoes, I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce.  I used my new food mill, which was worth every penny I spent on it.  It's absolutely amazing to shove tomatoes in one end and watch juice and pulp come out the other.  All the seeds, skins, and stems come out the waste pipe.  With the different screens, you can make all kinds of juices, jams, and salsas.  All that from a little hand-cranked appliance.  As much as I love technology, I think manual gadgets are awesome.  I boiled down my tomato juice/puree mixture, added 1 can of tomato paste (to speed things along), seasonings, mushrooms, peppers, onion, olive oil, sugar, and fresh-grated parmesan cheese.  The result was the best-tasting pasta sauce I've ever made.  I hesitated about using the tomato paste, since I wanted it to be completely homemade, but it really helped thicken it up.  I probably could have simmered the tomato puree and juice for another hour, but I'd have lost another quart or so of liquid.  As it was, I had 6.5 lbs of tomatoes, started off with about 6 quarts of puree/juice, and I ended up with 6 pints of sauce.  If I can find less expensive romas, maybe I won't feel so bad cooking them down to nothing...

I also baked a chicken, made granola bars, and cooked breakfast for dinner (mushroom and pepper scrambled eggs, chicken-apple sausage, and biscuits). 

What's even more amazing is that I don't think I'd mind giving up my job and becoming a stay-at-home mom/homesteader.  I'd love to have a big garden, some chickens and goats, and lots of property for it all.  If someone had told the 20 year old me that homesteading would be my adult aspiration, I'd have thought they were nuts.  I wanted a career, independence, and a moderate amount of success.  I still want independence, just from "The Man" instead of from men...  :)

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