For those of you who are done with your canning and have already started on your winter sewing, may I say, good for you!  I’m not quite there yet and my fingers are itching to get the sewing machine out.  It is so tempting to at least cut out something new to sew, but I am working very hard at practicing self control to finish up our canning for the year.

The yellow tomatoes are done, looking very nice in the quart jars filled with tomato soup for those cold evenings when a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese on thick slabs of homemade bread are the greatest comfort food around.  The recipe is so easy to fix up on short notice too, no need to have a large batch to jar up.  Simply melt some butter, add some onions.  Cook the onion until it is tender, stir in a few spoons of flour and tomato paste, cook another minute or two.  Here’s the easy part, don’t bother with peeling, coring and dicing your tomatoes, simply cut the core out and drop into your blender.  For a quick meal, I use a blender full of tomatoes and a half of that amount of chicken broth.  Pour into your onion mixture, add some fresh or dried basil, salt and pepper to your taste.  Bring it to a boil then let simmer for around 30 minutes.  At that point, I use my immersion blender directly in the pot, to smooth the soup down.  If you like, you can simply run it through your blender again too.  Once the soup is smooth, add a bit of honey for sweetener.  It won’t take much, but it really makes it good.  If you’d like the exact recipe that I use for canning, just let me know at hillsofolga@gmail.com.

It seems the leaves have instantly turned this week here in Olga, with those few cold days and nights.  There are more on the ground, crunching under foot, than a week ago.  Morning fog lays like a thick blanket over the Olga hills giving a quiet sense of peace and serenity before daily chores begin.  As we experience the seasons preparing our ground for it’s winter rest, I am always reminded of how God promises us rest when we give Him our burdens.  After the rhythm of planting, harvesting and preserving, families are given a much needed rest and time to regenerate strength through the winter months.  What a great opportunity to use our time of winter rest to build up our families and our homes.  It can be so easy to spend our time unnecessarily on activities and events that do not truly invest in our families or the future of our children and who they will grow up to become.  There are many things beckoning to take our attention away from what really matters.  This is the time of year when we begin to slow down, re-evaluate our goals and make decisions regarding the upcoming year.  It helps us feel a bit more grounded amidst the chaos.  I do have to admit though, that through this period of winding down, I am already formulating plans for next year’s garden and anxiously awaiting seed catalogs from several heirloom seed companies.  Do we ever truly rest from that or is it just me?

With everything that has demanded my attention this week, finding a good sorghum bread recipe didn’t get accomplished.  I hope you weren’t holding your breath for it, but hopefully I can get to it this week between the spiced apple butter and the apple jelly made from the cores and peelings.  The poor chickens won’t even get the scraps!  Maybe a pumpkin or two will make them happy.  On my list of things to do this week….attempting to can with my pressure cooker over an open fire outside.  If you have any tips, please let me know.

Have a blessed week!