Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2 Easy Peasy Handy Dandy Crockpot Recipes


This lonely tomato is the last of the green ones that I picked from the garden when I figured that growing season was over.  I loaded up my old orange colander and left them out on the counter.  Every couple of days I'd get a ripe one.  Every one of them ripened and they were delicious, except for the two that also rotted as they ripened.  They went out to continue rotting in the compost.

These tomatoes got me to thinking about how far Americans have come from being good stewards of our households and finances.  I think it started in my Baby Boom generation because my parents were certainly thrifty.  My mother always scraped the butter wrapper to get the very last little bit and would use the wrapper to grease pans before she threw it away.  She didn't waste anything, sometimes endangering our health in the process.

We waste.  And at an appalling level, averaging 30 to 60% of the food we buy.  That is a lot of money which would probably fix the national debt.  But boomers are smart and a lot of us are trying to get back onto our parents bandwagon.  It turns out that they were pretty savvy, also.  Who knew??  There might be something to that butter wrapper scraping.  Say that three times!!

In the spirit of not wasting diddly, I noticed that I had about three pounds of apples in the crisper that were languishing.  I bought a big bunch of those Honeycrisp apples that were on sale for $1.48 per pound but they were not crisp and I just can't do an apple this is not crisp, so there they sat:

I washed them, cored and cut them up, and put them in my crockpot and sprinkled them liberally with cinnamon, and added a half cup of water:

After six hours, they looked like this, reduced by half and mushy.  The house smelled amazing!!

Then they went into the French food mill, which is your old mama's idea of a food processor:

I tasted the applesauce and decided it only needed about a half cup of sugar.  Depending on the apples, I've added vanilla and even a shot of lemon to get it right before.  This is what I ended up with for the freezer:

The other recipe is turkey broth.  After you have cleaned as much meat off the turkey carcass as you can, take it and throw it in your crockpot with a couple celery stalks, couple carrots and an onion, roughly chopped.  I even throw in any skin or dabs of gravy that are left over.  I add thyme and/or any other herb that looks good from the garden and pepper.  No salt.  Cover with water.  Let it cook all night.  Throw away what is left after you strain it.  It has done it's job.
After it has cooled in the fridge, I remove the hard layer of fat and put it in containers for the freezer.  This broth is rich in flavor and color, perfect for soups.  The best part is that it is practically free!! and just waiting for your next batch of chicken noodle soup, or anything else that you need broth for.

Cruise Fund Update:

Old Balance     = $611.30

                        +      41.22 Ebates check

New Balance   = $652.52

My goal is to save $2000 for my cruise in September next year by using "found" money.  Found money is any money that is not a paycheck.  It has been an interesting exercise to see just how much loose money comes our way.  In total, $1002.52 has made its way into my hot little hands, starting February 24, 2012.  I did take $350 out for the deposit on the trip.  I am finding that now that I'm retired and not spending as much money as in the past, that I'm not seeing as much found money,  but I'm still gonna take a big chunk out of that $2000.

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