It’s halfway through October, and the dust of a new school year is starting to settle. As parents, we’re busy adjusting our schedules with an influx of homework, sports, and extracurricular activities. Trying to manage it all can be stressful, and meal-planning is just one more thing to worry about.
After my successful trip into British Columbia’s Okanagan region, I got the ‘bug’ to preserve and can all of the produce I possibly could. Because, well, zombie apocalypse. Or simple healthy organic food that doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing! The 90 pounds of roma tomatoes I purchased from Covert Farms yielded 16 1 litre jars of organic canned tomato sauce.
Organic Canned Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
35 to 46 lbs roma-style tomatoes
14 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
Prepare the jars and lids:
Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars, lids and rings in gently. Boil for 4 minutes and remove with the tongs, placing them on a wooden cutting board.
Peel and core the tomatoes:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large cooler of ice water at the ready. Gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for 60 seconds. Remove with a strainer and transfer them to the ice water. Once cool, the skins should peel off easily. I reached into the cooler with sleeves rolled up and did this job with my hands, easily removing both the cores and skins.
Prepare the sauce:
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them to a large stockpot. Place stockpot over medium-high heat, crushing and stirring the tomatoes to keep from burning. Continue until all the tomatoes are added and crushed. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce. For a fine, smooth sauce you can blend in a Vitamix in batches.
Fill and close the jars:
Add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt to each jar; add a teaspoon of sugar to offset the added acidity if desired. Use a ladle to pour the sauce into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.
Seal the jars:
Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner, taking care to keep them vertical. When all the jars are in the canner, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 40 minutes.
Remove and cool:
Using canning tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately.
Label and store:
Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.
I adore fall and winter. Not so much for the weather (I’m personally more of a summer gal) but for the fashion! Living in Vancouver, fall and winter fashion stretches all the way from fall to spring. Fall clothing for kids is just as fun (if not more) than the clothing for adults.
At Urban Mommies we are currently loving kids clothes from Noch Mini, a New York based children’s line designed by Jina Jang. Noch believes in protecting the environment and our children’s bodies by using only certified organic materials and low-impact dyes.
Check out the Noch Mini Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook for great looks for your kids for the fall.
Daylight Savings always messes up our kids’ schedules! To help households get ready for the change and keep the daily schedules moving smoothly, we’ve compiled a few tips to make the transition a bit smoother. Good luck! (ps. Spring is just around the corner. Kindof).
1. Reset your clocks early in the weekend. Change your clocks on Saturday morning rather then waiting until Sunday. Doing this early in the weekend will take one thing off your plate for the day and allow you and your family to adjust to the change. This is also beneficial as the work and school week begins, as it will help with the overall sleeping patterns of your family.
2. Prepare your young kids for the adjustment. It may be easy for adults and older children to adjust to losing an hour of daylight and gaining an hour of sleep. For younger children, this change can be more difficult. Something you can start early in the week is to push your kids to stay up later or to change your clocks back about 15 minutes each day – this will allow for a smooth adjustment not only for your kids but will give you time to adjust as well.
3. Check or replace smoke, carbon monoxide and natural gas alarms. Are you one of those people with many disconnected smoke alarms after burning toast a few too many times? Daylight savings is a great reminder to check the batteries and functionality of your home safety detectors. Make sure you have full batteries in your devices and that you are using the best product on the market to keep your family safe.
4. Try to absorb as much natural light as possible. Once we fall back an hour we tend to miss out on all the natural light that occurs during the day. Remember that it is important for your body and mind to absorb as much natural light as possible to generate vitamin D. Absorbing the light will help to avoid the ‘winter blues’ and just put you in an overall better state of mind and body.
5. Reset your timer lights on your home. Make sure your lights are not set to come on while its still light out to save on electricity and ensure potential thieves know if you are out of town. This is a good time to remember to set your timers so that your lights come on earlier as is gets dark earlier – you don’t want to find yourself arriving home to a dark house.
6. Winter car emergency kit. How many of you have you have been stuck on the side of the road with an immobile car? (It’s even scarier with kids). Be car smart and prepare for the worst. The whole family can be involved in thinking about what is important to have in your vehicle should you find yourself stuck in cold weather and likely bored waiting for help. Think about warmth, hydration and things to keep busy while someone is on their way to save the day!
7. Home disaster supply kit. This is a worst-case scenario, but with global warming, our weather patterns are certainly becoming more challenging. As the snow blows in and the temperature drops, it is important to make sure your house is prepared. We have some great suggestions for What to Keep in your Emergency Kit.
Babies and Daylight Savings:
Babies can have a difficult time adjusting to time changes. These tips are written based on a baby or child who goes to bed at 7pm and wakes at 7am.
Option 1 – Cold turkey: On the evening of the time change – put your baby/child to bed at the normal time (7pm) and before you go to bed move all of your clocks back by one hour.
Set your alarm clock or your child’s alarm clock if they use one to their normal wake up time (7am for example). Initially their body will think that it is 8am so they may wake early. It can sometimes take a day or two – but then they will be fine.
Stay on the new time all day – don’t make adjustments for the time change or try and compensate for the extra hour – keep all naps according to the new time and at the regular normal time.
Keep all meals/feeds on the new time and at the regular normal time.
Put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on the Sunday evening (7pm) even though it may feel like 8pm to them.
Option 2: Gradual
You can do a gradual approach 2 ways –
1) On the Saturday night that the clocks are going to change – put your child to bed 30 minutes later than normal bedtime (7.30pm) and then 30 minutes later the next night (7.30pm new time)
2) On the Thursday night on the build up to the time change make small changes of 15 minutes later each night. (7.15pm/7.30pm/7.45pm/8.00pm) – then the 8pm will be 7pm once the clocks have gone back.
Along with the time changes come shorter days and longer nights – or so it appears. You may be tempted to put your baby or child to bed earlier as it feels natural to put them to bed when it is dark. Don’t give into this temptation.
What are the cooler months without comfort food? Mushroom Risotto is amazing for families and needn’t be as intimidating as it often seems. Kids can help ladle, and you and even form their meals into balls – or make a shape with a cookie cutter on their plate.
Heat 4 cups of stock in a separate pan. Make sure the stock is hot or it won’t absorb quickly enough. Chop 2 onions and 2 cups mushrooms. Melt 2 oz. butter in risotto pot. Grate 4 oz. parmesan cheese. Add diced onions and cook until translucent. Add 2 cups of risotto to the pot and coat grains with melted butter. Add stock one ladle (cup) at a time. Make sure it is absorbed each time before adding more. Add 1 cup white wine early in the liquid process. Stir constantly. (We like flat bamboo or wooden spatulas.) Taste the risotto and wait until al dente (a bit tough in the middle). Add mushrooms. (or asparagus, peas, mint). Melt 4 knobs of butter, and or 1 cup of cream, along with the grated parmesan at the end just before serving. Total cooking time: 25-30 minutes. A risotto pan makes it a tad quicker.
Here’s our Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe. Yum! It’s great for Hallowe’en night or any time to give an energy boost to your little goblins.
* 1/2 c. pumpkin
* 3/4 c. almond milk
* 2 dates, pitted
* 1/2 banana, frozen
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
* 1/2 cup ice
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* optional: candied pecans
Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Article by Alyssa Schottland-Bauman, Nourished.ca
As summer slips into crisp and busy autumn, we have always been taught to switch gears. When we were in school, this time of year meant new outfits and funky pencil cases. Time to learn. Time to re-aquaint with the friends who were at the cottage all summer. And then you got older. Don’t you remember pouring over the thickest Vogue of the year to master that year’s trends? Tweed? Chocolate brown?
With the weather cooling and everyone gearing up for the winter, we thought it was appropriate to share one of our favourite tummy warming dishess: Roasted Red Pepper Soup. A big warm bowl with a chunk of fresh bread is the perfect chilly evening meal.
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 onion
- 1 Stalk of celery
- 1 Red pepper
- 1 Yellow pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp fresh parsley
- ½ tsp chervil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 4 ½ cups chicken stock
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp whipping cream
Sauté the onion in butter for 5 mins, covered. Add celery; sauté 5 minutes more. Add peppers, sauté 5 to 6 minutes, and then add spices. Turn heat to low, sprinkle evenly with flour; mix well.
Add chicken stock, bring back to boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes with lid partially covering pot. Puree with either a hand mixer or food processor. Add salt & pepper to taste, and whisk in cream. Voila!