tomatoes

Smokey

Saturday I awoke to a yellow, glowing hazy outside. The light was very weird, abnormal, and I couldn’t figure out why until I went outside. Then I realized it was all the wildfires in Oregon. Apparently the wind shifted and Portland was engulfed in a haze. It was gross, smelly and hard for me to breathe. Thankfully I already had plans to go to the gym and not try to run outside or go for a hike. I don’t see hiking in the future until the air quality clears up.

It was the first time I was back at lifting weights since my back injury. I took it easy and focused on things like shoulders, triceps and core instead of my back. I was back at doing my PT exercises and glute/core work. It felt good to do it again. Then I did a walk/run on the treadmill. First run since my 5k! I felt pretty good and did 2.5 miles.

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I burned 559 calories, went home to clean up and have lunch (leftover turkey enchiladas I made). Saturday I spent most of the day inside to avoid the smoke!

Saturday evening we went to a friend’s house for dinner. It was so good to see them! And to get out of the house and be social. After my back stuff I kind of hid in the house for awhile. I was tired, feeling wounded and a little bit mopey I think. I didn’t do much socializing (aside from our parents visiting) so once I was starting to feel more like myself I was glad to see some friends.

They made delicious margaritas from scratch (limeade, rhubarb compote, simple syrup, lime verbena juice and ice). So delicious and refreshing!! Mine was a virgin because me and Tequila AIN’T friends. No thank you!

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Dinner was grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a delicious salad with greens, mint, feta, onions and watermelon.

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For dessert they made root beer floats with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. What a treat! I can’t remember the last time I had a root beer float…

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It was a fun night. The kids are getting so big.

Sunday

Michael made french toast for breakfast. It was quite a treat. I hadn’t had french toast in I don’t know how long…at least a year. I’ve been craving it recently and Michael kindly satisfied my craving. He made the fabulous Martha Stewart recipe (it’s a winner for sure).

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After breakfast I went to the gym. It was too late for yoga class and honestly I was a bit too sore for it I think. Those jump squats always do me in. I was so sore (hamstrings) from Saturday’s workout. Instead I used the elliptical for a mild workout.

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Sometimes doing something like the elliptical can help loosen up the sore muscles. Time will tell. The afternoon was spent in the kitchen working on tomatoes from the garden. I decided to can whole tomatoes. I had so many ripe ones in the garden that needed to be cooked or something. I picked a big batch and got started.

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I did a combo of romas and heirloom tomatoes. I love canning whole tomatoes because it’s super easy and fast. I boiled the tomatoes, peeled the skins in no time, cored the tomatoes and then canned them whole. The longest part of this process was the canning part. It took forever to get the water boiling and I had to do the jars in two batches because my pot wasn’t big enough.

Sunday evening we had Michael’s mom and stepdad over for dinner. It had been way too long since we saw them and I was excited to make dinner using the spaghetti sauce I made last weekend. Michael’s mom made a fantastic salad with greens, tomatoes and lemon cucumbers from their neighbor’s garden. I baked a loaf of garlic bread (my weakness).

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We did gluten free spaghetti and I cooked up my spaghetti sauce with meatballs. I was so happy with my sauce! It was delicious! Thick and flavorful and just right.

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Dessert was a little bit of a cheat. 🙂 I baked cookies.

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It was a busy weekend! But a good one. How was yours?

Fall is Here

I don’t know about you guys, but apparently Fall is here in Oregon. It turned fast, too. One week it was in the high 80’s, clear skies, great weather, and the next day it was pouring buckets, there were windstorms and gray skies. I’m so not ready yet! But looking at the weather forecast, it didn’t seem like summer would be returning. I packed all my tank tops into the spare closet and pulled out my sweaters. Boo.

In other Fall news, I tried canning for the first time!

For a few years now I’ve said I was going to do SOMETHING with all the tomatoes we grew in our garden. Every Fall I do nothing. We eat as many tomatoes as we can and then the rest go bad or I give them away. Not this year. I was finally going to do something with them. At first I thought maybe I’d just freeze them. I looked it up online and figured out a plan. Then I saw this at the grocery store:

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It was on sale and also had a $2 off coupon so for $10 I got to try canning for the first time and not feel like I had to make a huge investment. I had a huge tub of roma tomatoes.

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First I cut the tomatoes in half and then laid them on a pan for roasting. I sprinkled the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning and roasted them for the full 2 hours. They looked gorgeous when they were done!

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Here is the recipe I used for making tomato sauce:

Alton Brown's Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 20 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 cup white wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans place tomato halves cut side up. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. Bake tomatoes for 2 hours. Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly.
  3. Then turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and process tomatoes through a food mill on medium dye setting over a small saucepan. Discard skins.
  4. Add white wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/tomato-sauce-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Nutrition Facts

Alton Brown's Tomato Sauce

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 100 or so depending on portions
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=40400

I didn’t have a food mill, so I tried to get the seeds out the best I could but kind of failed. Oh well. It didn’t hurt the sauce in any way. The skins were super easy to get off. I pureed it in the food mixer a little but but left it kind of chunky. Then into the pot to cook. I added a ton of fresh herbs from my garden–oregano, rosemary, basil and some pineapple sage. I also added some dried Italian spices (thyme and marjoram).

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If I had to do it all over again, I would sautee the diced onion and garlic for a few minutes before adding it to the sauce. Lesson learned! It didn’t affect the taste of the sauce at all, but I think cooking down the onions would be better. Just for future reference.

Now onto the canning part…Thankfully my little packet came with an easy guidebook (with recipes too). I had already cleaned the jars and then just had to heat them up.

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It was awesome that I’d also inadvertently made nearly the perfect amount for the three jars! And it sealed! Woot!!! First experience canning was a success!! At least it looks that way. Who knows 5 months from now when I take the sauce out of the pantry…cross your fingers! If it IS a success, I will definitely do much much more next year.

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Well, wait a second…I’ll be getting married this time next year so probably not canning….but maybe earlier in the summer I can. Anyways, I was happy that I finally tried canning! I might have to practice doing more this winter…..

Are you a canner? Any tips?