Treat them well…

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During the throngs of canning season things get tossed around and somewhat abused so with the ending of this season, it was time to treat my kitchen with a little TLC by reorganizing, cleaning and treating my wooden butcher’s block, spoons and cutting boards.  Wood is so nice to work on and work with and with a little maintenance it will serve you well for a lifetime and even those who come after you.  Every month or so, I treat all the wood with a good healthy thick does of heavy mineral oil.  This keeps them from drying and cracking and helps to stop nasty things from sticking to them and staining them needlessly.  The contents of the butcher’s block is now orderly, clean and ready for whatever I might throw at it next.  My kitchen is  my happy place.

Surprisingly Organic.

We have an old apple tree.  It was given to me by my daughter at least 10 years ago.  It is a variety that they used to use over 100 years ago.  It never produced a ‘nice’ apple in all those years.  We essentially ignored this tree, except for cutting the grass around it.  Imagine my surprise when this year, she actually produced an abundance of usable apples!!  Talk about organic!  I decided to can the apples in pieces so I could use them as needed.  I can use them in a pie, or a crisp, or a sauce whatever I happen to need apples for.  It will be so nice to have quick already peeled apples at hand.  And the fact they are 100% organic is a bonus if my little grandson decides he likes apples!

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I was worried that I would not be able to keep them from turning brown during the peeling and preparing.  I did a lemon juice wash and rinsed it off before I brought them to boil in plain water.  Worked great!

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CANNED APPLES: INGREDIENTS: APPLES, WATER.  (water has no fluoride or chlorine)  How ORGANIC can you get?

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Applesauce used for tonight’s pork roast!  Yummy!!

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Waste not. Want not.

I loath the wasting of perfectly good food.  Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to safety, I don’t mind tossing what needs to be tossed.  But, with a little planning and forethought, you can reduce the tossing. 

I remember when I was growing up, when the loaf of bread was finished it was tossed and finished meant, both crusts were considered as useful as the plastic bag itself.  Imagine how many loaves of bread that would equate to over a life time.  Mind boggling.

As any of you who reads my blog knows, we don’t buy store bought loaves of bread, but we do buy hamburger and hotdog buns.  After a bbq of hotdogs and hamburgers there is always that wayward bun or two that gets left behind.  Refreezing leaves a very dry bun and often those buns get left for months if not years in the freezer.  The same goes for when we start a new loaf of bread, there’s always a crust of a couple of ‘staler’ slices left behind.

Here’s my option for avoiding all that waste.  As you notice the left over slices and buns, toss them in the refrigerator until a few accumulate.  When you have a few buns or slices or a mix of both take out a cookie sheet, follow the instructions below:

Croutons:

Slice left over bread into nice sized chunks.  Spread the chunks out on your baking sheet.  Dab each piece with olive oil using a brush.  Generously sprinkle each piece with garlic powder and dried oregano.  Turn them over and repeat the dab and sprinkle.

Put them in your oven.  Set the oven to 300 degrees F.  Set the timer for 20 minutes.  When the timer goes off, turn the chunks over.  Reset timer for 10 more minutes.  When it goes, shut the oven off.  Leave the chunks in the oven until all is nice and cool.  Put your croutons in an air tight container.  Enjoy on salads.  I have a son in law that loves these croutons so much, he can snack on them.

Bread Crumbs:

Break slices and buns into pieces.  Place on cookie sheet, place in oven.  Turn oven on to 300 F.  Set timer to 20 minutes.  When timer goes off, check to see if the pieces are fairly dry.  If not, set timer for another 10 minutes.  When it goes off, shut it all down.  Let it cool.  Put into blender on pulse mode.  You can do a coarse blend and have a panko style (panko bread crumbs are just that, coarse no crust crumbs) or do a fine blend, which I prefer for meat loaves, breading chicken, etc.  Enjoy and save those grocery dollars!!

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