New Face Book Page!

Hello everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that we have a new Face Book page! Just search Janssen Produce and Specialties! Like us so you will get up to date info on our products.

The white asparagus season will be winding down this week. It’s been a very brisk busy season so far. The cooler weather and rain made it a challenge to keep up with demand but we managed. The quality is excellent!

https://www.facebook.com/Janssen-Produce-and-Specialties-1446758972241904/

I will be getting back to my recipes here soon, so stay tuned. Next up will be garlic!

Thank you for stopping by, much appreciated!

Leasa

Aruba

Recently we just returned from a trip to Aruba. We stayed at the Tamarijn Resort. A few people have been asking how it was, so I thought I’d simply do a blog posting for those interested to see. The Tamarijn is an all inclusive resort. You can eat yourself sick or drink until you fall down and it’s all included. This resort has really top notch restaurants al la cart and an amazing daily buffet that changes every day.

These are some examples of food from the a la carte restaurants. The one place we also really liked was the Ginger that had a great assortment of Asian cuisine that was all very very good. One night we really wanted to go back there for a second time as we were both craving Indonesian food, but it was all booked up (you have to pre-book your a la carte restaurants). So we decided to go to the buffet, we were thrilled to see the whole thing was FULL of fresh Indonesian foods!!! Everything from bami goreng to kroepoek and everything inbetween!

So, yes, we were really well fed! Peter and I kept our drinking down to a reasonable level so we could fully enjoy all the amenities of this resort and country. A couple of drinks in the afternoon, a couple at supper and a couple after supper. I have to admit one evening when we had just gotten back from a super tour of the entire country, I did have my afternoon drinks with my supper and after supper drinks…yes, I giggled like a school girl all the way back to my room. Thanks for leading me to safety Mr. Janssen! (that was sooo fun!)

One afternoon we took a cab to a nearby village that was having a children’s parade in celebration of the upcoming Carnival. We expected a small parade but were totally amazed at the size and organization of this event!!! After a couple of hours of waiting and a couple of hours to see it go by we were also amazed at the completion of the organization…the town had large trucks to immediately clean up all messes and equipment, and towns people were following with brooms and bins to sweep the street clean!

When we went to this parade of course we had no chairs with us. A family from Aruba provided us with shade and a place to sit. They are very happy friendly people! Aruba is a very safe place to wander around and it is true they are ‘One Happy Island’.

The weather in Aruba never changes. It’s 26 C in the morning, it’s 29 to 30 in the afternoon and 26 C at night. There is always a breeze blowing. It is like this 365 days of the year. We were told that in September the breeze might go away for a while, which really lets everyone know how hot that sun is!! Tourists like us, have a tendency to get very bad sun burns because that beautiful breeze makes you think it’s cooler than it is. One young woman got so burned on our first day there, we didn’t see her again. So we were very careful about sunscreen!!

One day we took a taxi, oh, by the way, taxis are regulated. They tell you up front from point A to point B exactly what the fair will be before you go. Which is super nice and really not expensive at all. Anyway, we went to the city of Oranjestad , the largest city in the country. We easily spent a day there. It is vibrant, exciting and oh my goodness! One Jewelry store after another! We went to an upper open air restaurant and looked over the town. If you go, you gotta go there!!

These blue horses are in different poses all over the city! How cool is that?

This is one of our views from the upper open air restaurant.

Another things we loved about the Tamarijn is that they don’t pack people in like rats. There was plenty of room for everyone even when they had new people come in while the others were still there. Our room had it’s own Cabana off of our private patio. Then over the walkway was another cabana for the upper room above us. At no time did we have to reserve a beach chair early. We had two that belonged to us, fresh every day. We also had two beach towels. There was no ‘hurry’ no stress. Our room opened up to the ocean on one side through our patio doors and on the other was a walkway to the main restaurant/entertainment area. On the walkway we saw iguanas and lots of lizards.

This photo was looking toward our beach bar. A lot of partying took place there!!

This was our neighbour’s beach lounge chairs, the birds here are very colourful and always looking for a free meal. The crows here too are very brave and love the beach bars and open air cookeries.

I think my favourite thing was swimming in this ocean every single day with Peter. We had so much fun.

I really need to talk about the all day tour (they have a half day but really take the full day!) This is where you learn so much about your host country’s people’s lives and see so much! Aruba is 19 miles long and 7 miles wide. The tour bus makes A LOT of stops, air conditioned and it has big windows! We preferred the bus over the open air jeeps as they were a rough ride and very dusty. The bus finished our tour with a stop at the Baby Beach where the ocean water is warm and shallow (for the non-swimmers or weak swimmers). Part of this also included snorkeling. Which I did. We went to the ropes where the water gets deep and they have a man feeding the fish. The first time I looked down I said “OH SHIT”! , not realizing everyone above me could hear. I saw my dad’s huge fish tank come to life, except the fish instead of 1 inch long were now 2 and 3 feet long! So many and so many colours…it was amazing and spectacular! So glad I did this! I did take on a bit of salt water, as when I came up my feet no longer touched the bottom. But I didn’t care…it was so beautiful.

This is one of the stops during the tour, this is all lava rock. Aruba is just that, lava. Aruba was created 19 million years ago with a volcanic eruption.

Another stop during the tour, a natural rock garden created by the volcanic eruption. Very beautiful.

Some of the many, many cacti here.

During the tour we took a ferry to a tiny island where we had a buffet lunch. This island can be rented out by private citizens with full service.

The view of the tiny island from the ferry.

So I’ll leave you with the following images. We’d both recommend the Tamarijn! It’s very clean, the staff and people there are super friendly. The rooms are a bit dated and a bit small, but really, with the ocean outside your door, you don’t spend much time in your room!! There is nightly entertainment and a host of things to do. There’s a list of daily activities by the Concierge ‘s desk, there’s open air pool tables, giant chess games and others. There’s two pools… The food is great…what more can you want? The cost is higher than most resorts, but remember, no over crowding, no fighting for a beach lounge chair, no lines and all in. We will go back I’m sure in a couple of years. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and thanks for visiting my blog!!

Plastic.We need it, can’t live without it. But, Let’s Get Real!

I am trying very hard to reduce my use of plastic. Living in the country, you’d think this wouldn’t be on my radar, I mean, how much plastic could I have to be bothered about?  You’d be surprised at the amount of plastic pollution in our bushes (forests), ditches, creeks, fields and so on.  I had a major plastic pick up all along our farm fence line and bush line and it would not fit on my wagon or wheel-barrel.  My husband had to go alone with the tractor and scoop up my piles.

As, any of you know who check out my blog know, I am a rabid whole food scratch cooker. I also believe that we should try very hard to eliminate plastic bags and containers that especially have wet especially warm wet foods sit in them, unfrozen.  The leeching that goes on is frightening, even if the plastic product has a  BPA ban, there are 4000 potentially harmful chemicals in plastic.  Some products have had BPA banned but not all.  BPA mimics estrogen and is dangerous for girls and especially damaging to boys.

So, here is my conundrum.  I do like plastic bags to freeze food in. I like the air tight seal they give to keep crystals and freezer burn from my foods.  So, I am trying to use them, but make it as safe as possible. Hard frozen foods before placing into a freezer bag cannot take in chemicals from the bag, so all of my veggies, I freeze first on cookie trays then vac-pac or put in regular freezer bags.  I’ve tried glass containers but find they let the food get crystals and freezer burn very easily.

I also reuse my freezer bags, over and over.  Do you like money?  Think about this, a large freezer bags is 15 cents.  I can wash in soapy water with a hint of chlorine, rinse and dry three bags in one minute.  The math works out to 45 cents per minute or $27 dollars per hour.  Tax free.  That’s also three bags that do not need to be made, trucked, boxed and potentially end up in a landfill.  When the seals no longer work, or I’ve had a product like raw chicken in them, then I rinse them and put them in my recycling.

To the guy who invents a reusable vacuum seal bag…I’ll take a case please.

I’ll never live plastic free but I’m trying to do my part.

I am stopping use of pump hand soaps. I am shocked at how fast we go through these.  A bar of soap gets your hands just as clean, smells as nice and lasts longer and is half the price.

I am stopping use of shower gels.  Again, each person can have their favourite brand of soup in a bar, have their own bar and it lasts just twice as long and half the price.

Plastic shower scrunchies.  They fall apart go straight to a landfill.  There are natural scrubs you can get, I have one now that do twice the job, last longer and is totally biodegradable.  I’ll never buy another plastic scrunchies again.

I might buy 10 cans of commercial goods a year, all my veggies  and sauces are in glass jars home canned.

Water bottles…no brainer here.  Totally unnecessary.  No reason for them. At all.  Ever.

I was inspired to write this non-foodie post in celebration of the tough plastic laws the EU has introduced.  I hope they stay strong with this and follow through, and I hope Canada follows their lead.  I have some great reading links here for you if you are interested.  I really believe this is something we must do for this earth we owe so much to and all the generations to come. The first link is about the EU’s new rules and laws and the second link is letting you know scientifically just how many chemicals are in plastic and what they do.

Thank you for stopping by.

https://environmentaldefence.ca/2018/10/26/eu-plastics-ban/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130092108.htm

Fancy Molasses

Just a quick post.  I want to talk about molasses.  I know ‘sugar’ gets a bad rap, but did you know there are aspects of ‘sugar’ that are good for you?  Besides good solid energy.

It’s true.  Let’s take a moment to look at molasses.  Molasses is made from cane sugar.  Not a man made substitute but it is actually a whole food.

One tablespoon of molasses a day gives you 5% of your daily need i potassium, 2% of your needed daily calcium, 4% of your daily needs in iron and 5% of the carbs you NEED to survive.  (yes you do need carbs for your heart to beat and your brain to work).

Did you know that brown sugar is actually normal sugar and molasses?  The darkness of the brown sugar depends on how much molasses is put in.

I use pure organic cane sugar at home.  And honey, we are big on honey.  All of my bread is made with pure Ontario Posch honey. Which is the closest you can get for pure organic honey.

So, rethink your sweets.  Stay clean, stay whole and ENJOY!!! Thank you for dropping by…always appreciated.  Leasa

 

fancy molasses

 

Home Stretch…

Today I washed and labeled the near end of this season’s preserves. Tomorrow I’ll do a few jars of mint jelly and in about a week I’ll catch up with my broths, chicken and beef.  For now, I will concentrate on getting caught up with my company books and household chores.  I also want to paint the rec room.

I am happy that Peter has decided to build me a pantry on the main floor so I won’t have to precariously carry all these jars down those stairs.

I have taken inventory of my stock downstairs and here’s what it looks like; Tomato sauce 5 quarts and 24 pints. Tomato juice 3 quarts and 1 pint, whole tomatoes 5, 1.5 quart jars, crushed tomatoes 51 quarts and  1 pint, salsa 25 250 ml jars, pasta sauce with meat 18 pints, vegetable soup 16 pints, 3 pizza sauces (2017), corn 68 pints, green beans 55 pints, sweet pickles 18 pints, beans tomato sauce 6 pints, chick peas 6 pints, sandwich slicer pickles 5 pints, bread and butter pickles 10 pints (2017), chili con carne 4 pints, onion soup 7 quarts, dill pickles 24 quarts, beef broth 4 quarts, pickle beets 5 pints, reg. beets 3 pints, chicken soup 10 pints, mushrooms 13 half pints, navy beans 11 pints, salmon 8 250 ml, roast peppers 7 pints (2017), green relish 5 250 ml, zucchini relish 8 pints, pinto beans 3 pints, jams various kinds 28 250 ml, dilly beans (2017) 3 pints, peaches 10 pints (2017).  And we’ve been eating from the garden since June. Then there’s my freezers….haha

So worth it.  So very worth it. NO PESTICIDES and grown with love. ❤

 

MUSHROOMS!

I love mushrooms.  I add them to stir fries, sauces, as a side dish or make creamy dreamy mushroom soup.  I know I’ve probably done a post in the past on mushrooms…but my, aren’t they worth two?

I find it frustrating while making a sauce or planning a dish that needs mushrooms only to find out the ones you have, have turned or you are simply out.  That’s why I try to keep some jars home canned.  250 ml jars, pressure canned, 10 lbs pressure, 45 minutes. (Bernardin)

I still buy fresh, but have my trusty jars on hand just in case.  I manage to go through these fairly quickly.  They were on sale, .98 cents for half pound of very fresh mushrooms.  I processed 8 pounds!

Ingredients: water, mushrooms.

If you ever decide to pressure can, send me a note and I’ll try to help you through the first time jitters!

Thanks for visiting, Leasa

Canning Season Winding Down

This year’s garden was a huge success!  I lost track of how many tomatoes I’ve processed this year.  I’m guessing at least 800 pounds.  The paste tomatoes were so meaty, that I turned them all into a sauce that I let simmer down over night.  You go through a lot this way, but the sauce is so very versatile. Open a jar add onion powder, pepper, salt, sugar, garlic powder, cook it down a bit more and you have ketchup.  Or add garlic powder, sugar or honey and some oregano and you have an awesome pizza sauce.  Use it in your spaghetti sauces, soups, stews, as a baking sauce, anything goes.  That is why I stopped processing tomato sauces for ‘just one thing’ and leave it as a blank slate for winter cooking.

20180926_104932

I run two pressure canners and two water bath canners as needed.  My only wish is that I had a larger stove.  Well I make it work with an extra hot plate on the side.  I follow only tested safe recipes and use common sense.  The following pictures capture some of this year’s bounty:

I think my pantry has well over 600 jars of fresh goodness from the garden.  I haven’t done a final count.  Tomorrow is mint jelly day.

Thank you for visiting.