Monday, October 24, 2005

Harvest baking, cold season plans

For too long (weeks) I've been mostly avoiding the kitchen, not interested in cooking or baking. We're about out of fresh produce, milk, and other such important things, as well as some essential staples, and for some reason I am rousing from my kitchen slumber at last.

Today I did a careful inventory of exactly what we have in the fridge, its freezer, and pantry, and began to look through my many recipes to start spinning some ideas. I have a recipe database on my PDA with the title and ingredients of recipes that catch my eye, whether printed from the Web or in a magazine (either Cooking Light, which I keep, or torn from other magazines). I love HandyShopper -- free and wonderful; I have so many databases on it! This afternoon I added info on the November 2005 Cooking Light recipes that interest me.

Tomorrow morning I'm hosting and teaching (with Emily of Hazelnut Reflections!) a learn-to-knit gathering for total beginners in my MOMS Club chapter. I'd like to have some nice food to offer. That means, given the state of our pantry and fridge, that I have to make it. Well! I still have flour, sugar, oil, dry milk powder, pumpkin, eggs, spices, and apples -- and cranberries and pecans in the freezer, so this I could do. Extra bonus: delicious food for breakfast for my guys!

After dinner I created my plan of attack and got going. Now, at bedtime, six loaves of CL's Spiced Pumpkin Bread are cooling on my counter. A 9x13-inch pan of my own Busy Mom's Coffeecake is completely cooled. The mix of chopped apples, cranberries, and pecans for CL's Baked Apples are in the fridge waiting for sugar, water, and cinnamon and some time in the microwave tomorrow morning.

Four of the pumpkin bread loaves are for my frozen food exchange group, another MOMS Club chapter activity. My tentative plan for tomorrow's knitting gathering is to cut the coffeecake, slice up a loaf or two of the pumpkin bread, put the coffee on and the tea fixings out, and get the baked apple mix cooking in the microwave. Then I want to try a piece of toasted pumpkin bread topped with the baked apple mix, as CL suggests, yum. All of the food except the hot beverages should be fairly kid-friendly, too, and I can always pull out the chicken nuggets from the big freezer. Everyone brings their not-in-school kids to these MOMS Club things, of course.

For now, my feet are up, I'm sipping a glass of red wine, and enjoying how good the house smells.

A nice bonus to all of this baking: I didn't turn the heat up all day long, and we didn't need to do so for the evening, either. Brisk autumn weather swept into Oklahoma a few days ago, nights are in the 40s F now, and there was frost on open areas of grasses this morning.

Especially with energy prices heading upward, I plan to gang up (group together) batches of oven baking, roasting, etc., to be more efficient with oven use and timed to helpfully warm the house. I plan to do the same with the clothes washer and dryer, though I really, really want to string a clothesline in our sunroom to use solar energy for most clothes drying AND to humidify the heated air entering the house. It is quite wonderful that on most sunny winter days I can open the door/windows to our sunroom and upstairs little room above it after 11 o'clock in the morning, because they provide heated air to the house.

The sleeping homemaker awakes!


Emily said...

And I can attest to the yumminess of it all. . .Mmmm.

Barbara said...

Arrrgh. I deleted the second comment because I don't want commenters to promote their business on my blog. It's another form of spam (my definition: unsolicited self-profiting communications).

Becki said...

I'd have sent you a private email, but couldn't figure out how. You mentioned in your blog your pumpkin bread and your frozen food exchange group -- I am wondering if you do Cooking Among Friends!
P.S. Tried hard not to "promote their business on my blog. It's another form of spam (my definition: unsolicited self-profiting communications)." Wanted to privately email you!

Barbara said...

Thanks, Becki, for your effort. The other comment had affiliate links all over it and that bothered me. You're right, I don't have an email link on the blog -- I'll fix that! The Cooking Among Friends recipes look wonderful. We don't use that cookbook, but the general concept is pretty much exactly what we do as a small group in our MOMS Club chapter.

Becki said...

Hi Barbara,
Just saw that you had posted an answer to my blog.....thanks for doing so! We have a number of the MOMS Club chapters here in West Michigan. I'm glad your food exchange group is working for you! I've been doing a frozen food meal exchange with friends since 1999. I was pregnant with baby number 3 at the time. It's definitely a life saver. I had liked to cook but not EVERY DAY and this is wonderful. How many meals does your group make and exchange? And how long have you been doing it?