Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indian Summer

... the Indian summer, attains its amplitude and heavenly perfection, -- the temperatures; the sunny haze; the mellow, rich delicate, almost flavoured air: Enough to live -- enough to merely be.
Walt Whitman

I love when Indian summer arrives.  We have experienced a little taste of the cold, the leaves have changed colors, and the days grow shorter.  Then, almost out of no where, the warmth returns one last time to tease us - to give us a brief time outdoors without the nipping cold begging us to go inside. 

Last weekend, we saw Indian summer.  We harvested the last of our fall crops, raked and burned leaves, and cleaned out the garden.  Maggie, our lab, sat patiently in the garden, waiting for brussel sprouts picked straight of the stalk or a cherry tomato that escaped the frost.  It was a simple and peaceful weekend.

Money Savings Tip

I just heard of a great way to save money.  Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.  There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications.  Simply go to their website, http://www.angelfoodministries.com/, and place your order on-line. 

What do you get?  For $30, you get a variety of fresh and frozen foods, enough to make a week's worth of food for a family of four.  I've been told that the food is good quality and delicious, and you won't believe how much you get.  The $30 Signature Box includes meats, vegetables, breakfast products, and some dairy items.  The average retail price for these items would be around $60.  They say that there is no second hand, damaged, or out-dated products.  In addition, the food selection changes each month.

They also have specials that vary from month to month.  This month's specials include 3 meat specials and 1 fresh fruit and veggie box.

Orders must be placed by a certain date, and items must be picked up at the designated site (usually a church) during a certain time frame.  For November 2009, for my area, orders must be placed by November 11th, and picked up at the church on Saturday, November 21st between 9:30 and 10:30 AM.  The dates may be different in your area.  If the order is not picked up, many churches donate the food to those in need.  In addition, Angel Food Ministries encourages using the money you save to help others in need.

This is a wonderful ministry, and one that many can benefit from.  I placed my order tonight, and have encouraged family and friends to place their order (so we can carpool to pick it up).


My mother-in-law cans applesauce every year, and, if my nieces find out we brought some home, they are over in a heartbeat.  I even have to hide the jars, or they would disappear (after one of their visits).  Trying to remember it from memory, I think that the following recipe may be pretty close.

Homemade Applesauce

Apples - I use apples that are sweet
Cinnamon, to taste
Sugar, if needed

The amount of apples you use will depend on if you want it for a meal or two, or for canning.  You will get about 12-16 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples.

Wash, peel, and cut apples into chunks.  I usually use my apple wedger, and then cut each wedge into about 4 pieces. 

Fill pot with about 1 inch of water.  Place cut up apples in pot.  Turn heat to high, and when it starts really cooking, turn it down to medium until the apples are soft.

Put the softened apples through a sieve, or, if you like really chunky applesauce, use a potato masher to mash to the consistency that you like.  Mix in cinnamon to taste.  You can also add sugar if needed.  Just remember, add a little at a time.  Rule of thumb:  You can keep adding, but you can't take away once it's added, so just a little at a time.

If you are canning, please follow the directions for canning applesauce in your canning cookbook.  If you're just making it for dinner, you can either eat it warm or cool it for later use, and enjoy!

My Pets

For those of you who follow my blog, thank you for your prayers and patience during my time of loss.  She fought until the end.  I saw the pain in her eyes, and I knew.  The vet said that she was a very brave girl, and stuck it out until the pain was too great.  Just to let you know, we miss her terribly but we are adjusting.  Yes, Maggie still looks for Puppy to go outside, and we have not picked up her bowl yet, but the memories of her keep us going.  At first, I kept myself so busy that I did not have time to grieve.  I did not write because I knew my feelings would surface.  I was afraid that if I cried, the tears would not end.  She was definitely my baby, my Puppy.  Towards the end of her stay with us, I couldn't leave the room without her barking for me to come and get her (she needed help standing up).  So, my friends, thank you again for your understanding.  I know that, along with those who have gone before her, Puppy is waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.

Oh - by the way, Maggie is trying to tell her dad that she is mature and old enough to have her own puppy to mother and teach, just like Puppy did with her.  She misses her friend, mentor, and dog-mom very much.  Usually, she's the first out of bed.  Lately, we've had to go wake her up.  Also, we believe that she's having more seizures due to her grief.  Puppy played with her until the end, not as rough and no running around, but laying on the ground, barking, growling, and play-biting.  Puppy was always very verbal with Maggie.  One thing I did learn is that Maggie followed Puppy everywhere, not me :(  Now, Maggie shares her time between her dad and me.  But, dad, she needs a friend that would play with her the way dogs play - barking, growling, biting, running and jumping.  Are you listening to your Maggie, dad?

So, hopefully, I'm back.  That is, after I get through everything I scheduled for the rest of the year.  (I am a big distractor - I'll keep myself so busy that I don't deal with what really needs my attention.)

Aunt Janet

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