It is now March 30, 2011 and spring is no where to be found! As much as I enjoy Michigan winters, I have grown tired of snow and winter coats. Would like to be getting the garden ready, to plant the lettuce and peas before the last frost. It’s hard to believe that in just over 2 months we are suppose to be able to enjoy fresh Michigan strawberries!


Successful Farmer’s Market

Well, my farmer’s market experience has been a success! I have enjoyed it and have sold my wares. By day a work my “regular” job and then in the evenings I have been canning. Two nights a week for home use and Two nights for the farmers market. I did have a horrible experience with the jalapeno jam making though.

I forgot to wear gloves! I cut up and seeded 48 jalapeno peppers without gloves, not a smart thing. My hands were on fire for about 8 hours and feeling heat for about 18. I tried rubbing alcohol, lemon juice, olive oil, milk and ended up with ice packs on them for a couple hours. I thought every time I looked at my hands the flesh would be falling off of them they hurt so bad. The jam turned out good though. K was over and helped with the stirring because my hands were to hot to keep stirring, I had to run them under cold water every 5 minutes.

The jalapeno jam has been a huge success along with the bran muffins with fresh in season fruit.

Port Austin Farmers Market

Well have blueberry lemon preserves, roasted red pepper spread, jalepeno jam and veggie spread/relish all canned and ready to go! I’m very nervous about attending my first farmers market as a vendor. Never realized what a scardy cat I was!

Zucchini Relish and Squash Relish

So I have another 13 pounds of blueberries picked! My 16-year-old helped in the pouring rain. It was sprinkling when we got there but then it poured for about 30 minutes. I told her since we drove there we weren’t leaving without at 1 full bucket. Well, it only took about 45 minutes to get the 13 pounds picked. I was very proud of her for sticking it out in the rain. We talked and laughed and enjoyed our morning immensely.

So many zucchini and summer squashes…..Just mixed a batch of veggies for a new relish. Currently I have

14 cups of zucchini

2 cups of summer squash

6 cups of onion

1 lb carrots

4 large green peppers

3  purple peppers

1 white pepper

1/3 coarse kosher salt

mixed and sitting for the night.

Whole Food Challenge

Last night my eldest daughter arrived home from her freshman seminar abroad in Ireland and had already facebooked me with a dinner request for her first meal at home.  She was so tired of eating out that she couldn’t wait to eat “real food” again. I had picked fresh lettuce, spinach, and kale for a delicious salad topped with grilled chicken breast, baked potato on the side. I though that this would be a great time to bring up the whole food challenge. So while  we where spinning our greens, i explained what it meant. Becca wanted to know why was it some new kind of diet. I informed her that it was just so we could actually see how much processed food we were actually still eating. As I said before we eat pretty healthy, even more so since my eldest daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at almost 14. Eating out has never been something we did with 4 children and a husband who is in law enforcement, it just never fit into our budget. We prefer homemade pizza and I love the fact that my kids call popcorn made on the stove “homemade”. I have never cared for much fried food and processed food is general more expensive that cooking in the kitchen.  So I have the almost 18 year old and 16 year old daughter on board. My husband not so sure still have to figure out how to present it to him. Have a question in on the sugar. Sugar beets are grown all over the county we live in, the plant that makes the sugar is less than 20 miles away and they sell the sugar in the store so wondering if we can use sugar? So I am working on menus for August and figured might as well start August 1st. I have a dry erase calendar on the frig for what seems like forever, which we use for menu planning. It is so much easier when I only have to think of meals once a month and then can wake up and know what we are eating!  Though being dry erase it can be changed at the last minute. So back to menu planning.

10 Days of Whole Foods Challenge

Well, I am seriously considering the 10 days of whole foods challenge. Thinking of making it a 30 day adventure to begin with though. Have to do a little more research before I present it to the family. Yes, I have been known in the past to try different healthy living plans. I really am trying to find the one that works for our family. This one actually seems attainable since we rarely eat out and live in a rural area where local meat is actually easy to attain. When we had 4 teenagers in the house we were known to buy a 1/2 a steer locally and fill our freezer. We can and have done the same with fish, pork and chickens. Veggies in the winter are harder but I currently can or freeze: tomatoes, peppers, corn, green beans and peas. Guess I can check into adding more and some fruit. For today I will begin the research phase.

Fish Fry

We had a really nice fish fry last night. I realize a fish fry isn’t that healthy…….moderation is the key.  We had freshly caught walleye, blue gills, and a few perch, with fresh sweet corn on the side. It was an amazing night! Good friends and family made the night just wonderful. We had good food and great conversation. The moon was bright red as it rose above the tree line. The higher it rose the whiter it got and gave off a bright glow that lite up the yard. Then we noticed fire-flies flitting around and no matter how old I get their magic never stops fascinating me.