Tour my kitchen: the range and double oven

The very first meal I prepared with my new oven is one I will never forget.

It was Thanksgiving, 2013.  We were a small group, and the gas range had yet to be hooked up, yet I was bound and determined to cook us a feast. After all, I had two (electric) ovens at my disposal and I love a good challenge.

I set a pumpkin pie in the top oven of my KitchenAid dual fuel range, and set the lower oven to ‘convection roast’.  The manual for my range, which coincidentally had a roast turkey on the cover, stated that the cooking time would be reduced by 15-30 % on convection roast and how right it was. [Read more…]

My newly-updated kitchen from top to bottom: a tour

Welcome to my kitchen; let me pour you a cup of tea.

Take care, you may step on a stray toy and I can’t guarantee we won’t be interrupted by an ever inquisitive toddler, but I’d love to show you around. After all, this is the heart of the home, my office, work zone, test kitchen, and absolute favorite place to be, ever.

There is no better time for a warm kitchen tour than the quiet, dark days of November. We’ve come in from the cold, the homestead is battened down for the long winter, and the bustle of the holidays is not quite upon us yet. We can take the time to talk shop on subjects like organizing the freezer, storing home preserves, controlling pantry sprawl, and the best home appliances for a kitchen that sees a ton of action.

This visit is long overdue, but we’re going to do it up proper. Every day this week, I’ll post a virtual walk-through my kitchen space and share a few tips for things that really make it work.

But first…the ‘before’: the second-hand appliances to which we happily bid adieu. [Read more…]

How to build a cider press and harvest apple juice

Today’s post is written by my sister-in-law, Laura, who is partnered with my brother, Josh, on their own homesteading journey. From raising wild boars to constructing artful greenhouses, they have inspired me many a time with their projects. Their latest DIY undertaking was to build a most impressive cider press and I asked Laura to contribute an article about how it came to be and the rewards it brought. Take it away, Laura!

The last time Josh and I were graced upon the pages of a food blog it was about how bad our car smelled, all for good reason of course – it was because it was full of fish from our trip to Haida Gwaii.  Well, I’m at the point again where my car smells, but this time it smells good, really good. That’s because on any given day I’ve got between 1 and 6 boxes of apples in the back.

These apples, I’d like to point out, are free, foraged from both rural and urban spaces where they are going to waste.  I think I’m actually addicted to it, as in, “Where can I get more free apples, please?”  I have to confess I sometimes drive around the back alleys in town in search for fruit to forage.  “  ‘Where are we going Mom?’  Uhhh, I’m just looking for apples.’”

How to build a cider press on www.simplebites.net #tutorial #diy #homesteading

The amount of fruit trees in our country that go about un-noticed, neglected and lonely is incredible! You’d think they’d evolve into emotionally unstable creatures… if these trees were in Narnia they would tell us that they need more love…. But I digress, this isn’t a blog about talking trees or the emotional state of a depressed deciduous.  The point is that there are many, many fruit trees that go unharvested year after year.

So, I’ve got all these apples, now what?  I canned a dozen or so jars of applesauce, but what I’ve always wanted to do is build an apple cider press, and this year it happened.

[Read more…]