Monday, 3 August 2015

after the rain comes a rainbow or two !



Well hello folks how are we all diddling ?
 I'm feeling good and have flung myself into the wonderful homey hanging out with the kids time that is the school summer holidays ( I may not quite have this happy tone....... erm in about 3 weeks as the end of the school hols are in sight and the boys have had enough of one another and me !! ) 
But at present  we are in a happy chilled out place and long may it last.
There is so much I am really enjoying about the summer hols but one particular thing is not doing the daily dashing about , this inevitably goes with having school age children . However at this time of year we can indulge in not having to watch the clock and take our time in whatever we fancy doing .
 We do seem to be  having quite a lot of rainy indoor days but that's fine with us as we all find things to occupy our time with . I am inparticular  making the most of these indoor rainy days by making the most of what the season has to offer us in the kitchen .  I am still on my quest to make as much good quality produce for the family to enjoy and  as cheaply as possible . I am taking advantage of all the cheap abundant soft fruit that is available in our rural town at the moment . We so love to eat the sweet juicy soft fruits that our English summer has to offer and I want to capture  this for eating over the winter when these fruits are not available . 

So I've been Jam making , first I made Strawberry Jam , which worked out at 90p a Jar and I made 7 jars all packed with big chunks of strawberrys in the jam. 





Then because I had made Strawberry jam Mr P requested Raspberry jam , his favourite . Well how could I refuse , I was a little concerned at first it was going to be expensive to make but I bought 2 frozen trays of raspberrys from Aldi and 2 big  fresh  punnets of raspberrys from our local market @£1.49 each which meant I ended up with 1200g of fruit & because frozen fruit is often lower in pectin than fresh I used a scahet of pectin with my sugar to make sure it set well . I ended up with 8  jars and they worked out at about 87p a jar , very good value I think .


Well I was on a roll then next was marmalade bubbling away in the pan !!
  I was also nearly out of my homemade peanut butter so I made another couple of jars of that too .
 The peanut butter came in handy yesturday when I made the family these honey and peanut butter boost bars from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday recipe book .


Well I have been on a roll so I thought in for a penny in for a pound on the preparation front , I decided to make my own Christmas mincemeat this year , last year it was quite expensive to buy and I do get through quite a lot as I do volunteering and baking to raise money at Christmas and Mince pies are offered up at events , as well as baking mince pies for family and friends . So I had a search about on the Internet and found Mary Berrys Christmas Mincemeat recipe on pintrest , this recipe uses butter rather than beef suet which means its good for vegetarians . Well I've made 6 jars so far and still have lots of base ingredients left so a few more batches will be made over the coming weeks . I'm glad I've got around to doing somethings that will benefit us later in the year , in particular the build up to Christmas as I know from previous experience things get a little crazy for me from September onwards . I'm sure in the  months of  November & December I will be grateful of my endeavours in the kitchen now , I'm sure my purse will be a lot happier too !!
I have also brought a little bit of sweet homemade goodness to a couple of friends with my jams and marmalade as well , its always make me happy to share what I make .
 I have also been making sure that while my garden herbs are abundant that I am regularly harvesting and drying them for winter , I started late in the growing season last year and I ran out of a few of my dried herbs in mid winter and had to buy shop bought ones . Which slightly niffed me off as my garden ones are free . So hopefully this year I should be ok over winter if I keep on like this .

 In fact Autumn and winter have been on my mind recently and I don't know if its to do with the lack of summer heat and sunshine and the quite cool temperatures were having but I have  really been getting into my newly learnt skills of sock knitting . Thanks to Christine @ www.winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk and her fabulously inspiring sockalong I have now vanquished my arch nemesis 'sock knitting ' . I have nearly finished my second pair and have the wool in my basket for the next two pairs , I have decided  I am going to make sure all the family has a least one pair of lovingly hand  knitted pair of socks to keep their tootsies warm in the colder months . I am now quite addicted to it and I cannot wait until September and Yarndale when I will be making a couple of purchases in the sock yarn department , ooooo I can't wait !!





I've also been enjoying lots of family time , the other morming me and my youngest laid on our living room floor in our P.j's colouring .....it was sheer bliss !



So here is to more blissful days !!
I hope you can find moments of bliss in your days too ,

Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now .
Tracy xx

9 comments:

  1. Ooh, I love all of your pictures - such yumminess in those jars! - but especially the socks! It looks like the sock bug has well and truly got you now - and you're going to be absolutely spoilt for choice at Yarndale! xx

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  2. My goodness Tracy you have been busy and it all looks wonderful. I wish you had shared the gorgeous bars recipe they look delicious. I finished my gorgeous socks today and am onto my next pair! A lovely homely post thank you for sharing xx lots of love Joy xx

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  3. You've certainly been a busy bee, all those lovely scrummy jars of jam, mincemeat etc. glad to hear the school holidays are going so well for you all - so well deserved. You certainly put a lot into your days. Your socks look lovely, I've just bought Christine's book from Amazon for my son who is coming on well with his knitting. Liz x

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  4. Wow you have been busy. I always have a ready supply of homemade jam curtesy of my mum but I'd never thought of or considered making peanut butter. What recipe do you use and how long does it keep? I am very intrigued as no sugar peanut butter is one of my top ten foods. I just adore it.

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  5. So much wonderful making and doing!!! All that lovely produce!!! xx

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  6. You've been enjoying your downtime! The jam looks scrummy and well done with the socks.
    Happy days!
    Jacqui x

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  7. Hell yeah to unscheduled summer days! We have the same thing here. Nothin' but an old-fashioned summer that's full of heart-pumping exercise. Your jams look so yummy. The bright purple striped socks are great. I think coloring is ageless.

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  8. Love the socks----especially the pink and purple striped ones. Someday I will gather up my courage and take a sock knitting class. Turning the heel is mostly what puts me off the most and getting them to fit. I have a very small foot and a very high instep both of which I have read make for some adjustments when knitting them. I can follow directions pretty well but adjusting as I go along is something that I really don't feel comfortable doing. The directions just really scare me.

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  9. Lovely post I really enjoyed reading. I am just making mincemeat myself for Xmas. Your jars looked lovely a real homemaker. Really inspiring post.

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