Bathroom Update!

So the incubator is gone now. I bleached the bathroom with a enviro friendly hydrogen peroxide bleach.

 

Uhhhm *cough cough* WARNING: When using hydrogen peroxide bleach, beware of open cut on end of your finger?

 

Okay, we’re good now? Yup, okay, you’re not going to do what I do and end up with the end of your finger fizzing?

 

So I washed the floor, the counters, the bathtub, the sink the toilet. It felt really good.

 

Incubator OUT—-Cleanliness IN!

 

Except now we’ve got this issue again, but with the dehydrator! In a period of two days I got given a whole lot of green onions and parsley from a green-thumbed 75+ swiss neighbour and cases of mango went on sale. Being the crazy lady I am I bought 3 cases, aka 36 mangos. Also there is a case of mangos in my Mom’s cool room that she’ll probably forget about and I’ll end up dealing with!

So while it’s totally fantastic because Cowboy loves dried mango and this is sulphite and sugar free, my bathroom is yet again taken over. And he eats most of it the second it comes out of the dehydrator. So does Emilie. It’s a little ridiculous.

 

P.S. It’s totally fantastic also, how in the picture you can see me wearing black and it looks like I’m wearing a cute dress or outfit of somesort.

(Sporting a lovely Slegg lumber work shirt of Cowboy’s and his uber comfy bamboo boxers. I just got up, give me a break here.)

 

So I just thought I needed to point this all out, how I am my own worst nightmare.

(trays waiting to have more mango on them)

 

Just a second, I’ll be right back, my 2 year old thinks he needs a tampon in.

So I only have 8 mangos left to do

But all’s well in our house and I’m slowly working away at it.

 

In also good news, our washing machine is working again! Yaaay! I’ve been using our landlords while they are away. Our dryer also isn’t working which sucks, but there is a laundry line.

 

Alls well Charlie Brown!

 

xoxo Kate

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Filleting a Tuna

We were gifted a whole tuna last summer. A beautiful beautiful tuna! It took months before we got around to dealing with it (beyond wrapping it whole and putting it in the freezer) and here’s a little tutorial of what we did!

Tuna are born with a built in diagram of how to fillet them, too neat eh!

It’s important to get the skin off right away, and the whole process is easier if the fish is still a little frozen.

Start by cutting along the back, then the belly line, and then by the neck.

See where he cut on the neck? There is a line where you’re supposed to cut on the neck too! Stabbing your knife into the head helps for better grib in the slippery slippery bathtub. (All people fillet tuna in the bathtub, right?) Pulling the skin takes a bit of muscle, but thats why we keep Cowboy around. That and I love him so darn much!

Be sure to have a trusty good helper there for moral support, of course.

You then cut down the middle of the belly, again, there is a line! Then slice them out and really I don’t remember the rest of what he did, he’s the fish cutter, not me!

With any luck, you might end up with fillets like these! This was the first time we had done a tuna, we being used very, very loosely. He trimmed them up more before they went in the smoker, making them look prettier.

We then smoked it in our Little Chief smoker. We love this baby for smoking fish! You can do two regular sized cookie sheets full in it. We do tuna, salmon and trout. Unfortunately, because we’ve done so much fish in it, when I try to do jerky, it ends up smelling like fish, no matter how much I scrub it! Cowboy thought that this smoked tuna was God’s gift to him and practically drools at the thought of taking a chunk out of the freezer to eat!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I don’t even like eating fish!

Marma Duke

Okay, maybe it’s marmalade. But doesn’t Marma Duke sound so much better?!?

I’m not going to lie, there is a lot of steps in this, but it can be split up over a few days if needed. The full recipe can be seen on tasty kitchen. http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/canning/marma-duke/

Start by covering 6 lbs of Seville Oranges in 20 cups water. Use a big pot, I used a 20 quart pot and that was the right size for later in the process. If you don’t have that big of pot, half the batch. Boil them for about 2 hours, or until very soft, turning occasionally for even cooking.

And yes, that is my lens in the reflection!

After they’ve had a good long bath, take them out with tongs or a slotted spoon

And set to cool

Once cool enough to handle, cut in half

And scoop out the insides into a cheesecloth bag. I put doubled over cheesecloth over a bowl so that I didn’t lose the juices!

Tie up the cheesecloth into a bag and put into the pot o juices

And simmer, covered for 10 minutes to extract any extra pectin. After this was done. I put it all in the fridge for 24 hours until I had time again, but you can continue on! It’s just nice to know you don’t have to do it all at once.

Half the peels again and scrape the bitter pith out of the peels. The next few things, up to dicing the peel, can be done when you have extra time at some point, but not enough time to finish the marmalade. (Extra time? With a 1 1/2 old? While trying to get schoolwork done because I’m a part time college student? When there is wood to be chopped? Dishes? Dinner to be made?) I know the concept of extra time is a weird one, but I finished this up during an 1 1/2 hr teleconference on Guiding and Caring! (I’m an Early Childhood Educations Student).

I didn’t use all the peels.

Why? Because some of with some of them the pith didn’t go opaque, and I couldn’t scrape it out easily. Pith=bitter. Bitter=BAD. Orange on the left= good. Orange on the right = BAD.

Next time I’ll make sure I cook longer and turn more often.

Once all peels are scraped, figure out how you want the peels in the marma’. I wanted a small dice. You could have thick strips or thin strips too!

Then dice to desired size…

Oh you noticed the ring? Why am I wearing a ring? That’s because I just got engaged a few days ago!

When you have a good couple hours embark on the next step. Juice lemons and add into orange juice and peels. Measure these three in cups and put into the big 20 quart pot. I got 24 cups. How many did you get? Anyway, now we add 24 cups of sugar! This sounds horrific, but it’s actually not that sweet and is needed to help the marma’ set and counteract the bitterness of the peels.

Put a few small plates in the fridge, you’ll need this in a bit. Boil for a good 30 minutes (20 if you halve the recipe). Test the jelly every 5 minutes after this point to see if it’s set. To test, put a little spoonful on a cold plate and let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes. If the sides crinkle, then it’s done. My jelly never reached this point, but what had spilled on the counter was setting, so I thought it was done. A candy thermometer at 220 degrees works as well. Skim off any froth, froth is bad! Froth is bitter in marmalade!

Remove pot from heat and let sit for 20 minutes before pouring into sterilized jars.

Store in refrigerator. If you wish to can this, please consult your canning guide, as I am not a professional at canning and am not trained to instruct on safe canning procedures.

On the difficulty scale, this preserve is up there, but so worth it as well! Enjoy, and make sure you make it soon, Seville Oranges are only in season for a short time, and it’s now!

How we eat.

Something that boggles peoples mind is how we eat and grocery shop. To me, it’s natural, but it’s how we’ve trained ourselves to be! I believe every family should have a few rules they stick to when eating. Here are ours:

-Only eat produce from our province, BC, or Organic if from elsewhere.

-Meat must be local or organic.

-Sweets and baking are homemade.

We are so blessed to have the land to raise our own animals, for that, I am so thankful! We hunt, fish and farm to our fullest extent including: Our own milking cow, cows, pigs and chickens for butcher and chickens for eggs. Farm fresh is way tastier!

This is one of our Sows before she was pregnant. We raised sows, had piglets and raised them to butcher this year, but most likely will only raise piglets to butcher for a long time. Sows are a lot of work!

Cowboy loves to fish,

and I adore canning! This is my Mom’s cool room, which I contribute much to. Where we live, our canning is in boxes in a closet and I have a small cupboard in the kitchen that I keep a few of everything in.

This makes for a full pantry and freezer that we can call upon when needed. I can’t imagine any other way, but it’s not the reality for everyone, and even many who wish they could.

I’m going to start sharing what we eat during the week, not a meal plan, but what we actually ended up eating! This won’t be for a few days, since I just started writing down.

Questions: Do you meal plan? Do you like to keep a full pantry and freezer for quick meals?