Monday, March 30, 2009

Tomatillo Salsa

I got some great tomatillos at the farmer's market last week and since I delight in salsa verde I wanted to try canning some. Here is the recipe I used.

Tomatillo Green Salsa (for canning) (What I actually did 3/29/09)
Yield: 8 pints

7 cups chopped tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped long green chiles
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup white vinegar
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner 15 minutes.

Chopping the tomatillos was a little time consuming,
so I used the Cuisinart for the onions, garlic and cilantro.

Cooked everything together for 20 minutes.
Poured into clean jelly jars.
Final step: water bath. Wrapped in old Tshirst (to prevent breakage) and boiled for 15 minutes.
And that was it! We haven't tried it yet. Hope it's not too vinegar-y!

Coming out of hiding...

Michael's levels are really coming down. He has a Geiger counter and on the first day his levels were somewhere around 100. After a shower that evening it dropped to the 40's. He is now down near the single digits. Tomorrow he is supposed to get checked out to see if he can come out of hiding.

He did come out yesterday and sat in a chair to enjoy the sunshine. Annie and I kept our distance but it was nice to have some face time. He IS feeling a little sick and naseous. His brother John told him to take some Prilosec. Hopefully that will take care of it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The quarantine quarters

We finished the to do list and the room is fixed up and the prisoner....er....patient...is in there. I thought you might like to see the transformation to our room. Sorry for those of you who didn't know what it looked like before. I'll try to post a picture after we restore it to it's usual look.

We stripped the bed of the decorative pillows and down comforter and replaced them with easily washable blankets.

We removed the dog crate that is usually in this corner and put in a trash can for all those disposables he'll be using.

He stocked a disposable cooler with waters so he wouldn't have to ask for a drink everytime he needed one.

Here you can see the hamper lined with a trash bag as well as the DVD player, movies on loan from friends and the flat screen TV on loan from my parents! A folding table is set up (in the background) as a desk.

We removed the dog bed which is usually in this spot and put up a folding table to be used as a desk. This is a closeup of the desk. He is all set with disposable gloves, laptop wrapped in plastic wrap. The remotes and geiger counter are also wrapped. He has reading material and a supply of candies in the plastic bag in case his throat gets sore.

And finally the bathroom. He is supposed to bathe often since the iodine is secreted through the pores. He has a good supply of towels. Here you can see his supply of medicines on the left. He wrapped the tube of toothpaste, the soap dispenser and the sink handle!

Don't feel too bad for him. My son said he would LOVE to have all the TV and computer time they want, with food coming whenever he asked for it. But you can pray for him because he is missing contact with people! He is looking forward to getting this behind him so he can get back to normal with his energy levels.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


We are getting ready for Michael to receive his radioactive iodine. The list of things to do to get ready keeps growing! He had his surgery three weeks ago. They removed his thyroid due to papillary carcinoma.

He has been off of his medication for a week and his energy is declining. Yesterday we got the call from the endocrinologist that his TSH levels are at 54. That's excellent! We can go ahead and schedule the radioactive iodine uptake. He will have to be in isolation for at least 3 days. We will probably err on the safe side and make it a little longer. So in preparation for that, I need to:
  • pack up my clothes and toiletries (he must have exclusive use of the bathroom)
  • remove the dog bed and crate from the room
  • stock his bathroom with extras (towels, tp, etc)
  • set up a table and chair to serve as a desk
  • put in a trash can for all the disposables he will be using
  • set up a clothes basket with a trash bag for his radioactive clothing
  • remove our good down comforter and replace with easily washed blanket
  • stock up on things to do: magazines/books to read, movies to watch, etc.
  • stock up on snacks/drinks
My parents have very generously donated the use of a flat screen TV (we only own one television) for the bedroom. It is HD so we are receiving channels we don't normally receive.
All this, plus homeschool, shuttle kids around and do my Sonlight stuff. Whew!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Herb Garden

I have a separate herb garden that is closer to my back door so I can pop out and snip the required herb. All I had left after the winter was my ever-increasing thyme patch and some parsley that had self-seeded.

I bought basil, oregano, marjoram, peppermint, spearmint, sage, and lamb's ear (accidentally, I thought it was sage!) I also planted parsley and basil seed that I had collected but nothing's come up yet. Here you can see all the new plants I added. You can see the largish parsley bush in the background and the big thyme patch in the foreground.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The harvest!

The jars have cooled and now I have the "problem" of finding places to store them! I jokingly call the coat closet my cellar. This is right about the time I pack away our winter clothes so I have some room in the coat closet for two boxes. I will try to squeeze the other box in my pantry. Oh the pasta sauce, chili, salsa we'll enjoy!!

Last year I had my husband and dad put in a shelf above my white board in the kitchen so I could have space to display/store my pretty jars. When the jars were gone this year I replaced it with pasta. Now they are sharing space!

My Garden

Yesterday we (finally) put in our garden! My dad had tilled it about a month ago but we got busy (of course) and so it didn't get planted. But in the meantime greens had started growing! Every winter I sow fiarelli (an Italian green like rapini) because I love them and rapini are so expensive in stores and they are easy to grow. My first batch had gone to seed and so when my dad tilled, all the seeds that were lying dormant woke up!

So we picked all the greens and filled two clothes baskets full. My mom had agreed to wash and cook them (I have a garden to plant!) and we will freeze them for summer use. When we finally had the plot cleared, my dad tilled it again. He has a little tiller that works just right for our sized gardens. (He has one too). He also dug out several roots that grew in from our neighbor's yard.

We had plenty of help raking and grading. Here is Timothy who wanted to help our but he was leaving for a soccer game. He raked from the grass so as to not get his cleats full of dirt.

After getting it all level we decided to use the leftover wire I had from making compost bins to fence in the garden from our yellow lab. I just happened to have some wire poles (rebar) that worked well. I planted 3 cherry tomatoes, 2 celebrity tomatoes, 2 stupic tomatoes and 4 red pepper plants. That only took up about half the space so I went out today and got more peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber. I never did find ichiban eggplant so we'll have to do without this year. (My husband is happy~he doesn't care for eggplant!) Maybe some lettuce and carrots too. I've never grown zucchini and cucumber before so that should be fun. So now I have everything in except for the mulch and tomato cages. Hopefully I'll get around to that next weekend...
Michael has shown some interest in gardening too so he took over the strawberry patch, dug half of it out and planted hot pepers. We have a dat'l pepper bush that is coming back after our freezes this winter, he planted cayenne and a jalapeno. We plan on making lots of salsas this summer!

Annie had received a gardening set for Christmas and seeds were a part of the set. She planted a bunch of them today too~cayenne! So we will have LOTS of hot peppers if they come up!

Oh, I love spring!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Canning tomatoes

My mother and I can tomatoes every March here in Florida. We were so excited to find boxes of tomatoes at $9/box at the farmer's market. We bought 7. I wanted to make 2 into sauce and 2 into chopped tomatoes. My brother and mom will share the other 3 boxes. They wanted all sauce. We had a perfect day...not too hot and not too cold. Timothy and Annie helped out as well.

First we boiled the cleaned tomatoes to prepare them for making sauce.

While those boiled I diced tomatoes. After I filled a big bucket, we added salt and started filling jars.

After we finished those, the tomatoes were finished boiling. We drained them and the pureeing process began.

We filled more jars. Then dad wrapped each jar with a rag and placed them in the big drum while Annie filled it with water. The jars will boil for 30 minutes.

In the meantime Mom added salt to the puree. What a big pot it made!!

After all our hard work, we stopped for lunch. What did we eat? Bread and tomatoes of course! We call it pane e pomodoro.

I have caught the blogging bug with my other blog, but whereas my other blog is about our homeschooling adventure, this one is intended to be about my other interests (see profile). I have many friends who want this or that recipe, or want to see pictures of my projects, or WHATEVER, this is my way of sharing what is going on in my life with others. So welcome to my potpourri of things and ideas. I hope you will share with me as well!