Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Putting Food By

posted by Lee McKenzie

As a self-proclaimed foodie, autumn harvest is one of my favorite times of the year. For weeks now, our kitchen has been overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden and local farmers' markets—corn on the cob, spinach and kale, root vegetables, carrots and peppers. Mmmmm...

Salad photo from Unsplash.com
One of Lee's summer salads
For the past several weeks, the focus at my house has been on tomatoes and apples.

Photo from Unsplash.com.
Photo from of Unsplash.com
The first project was canning sixty pounds of organic field tomatoes. Eighteen quarts and twenty-four pints later, the pantry is well stocked. I'll be making plenty of soups, stews and sauces this winter!

Lee's canned tomatoes
This year the apple tree in our backyard produced a bumper crop. The variety is called King and they are big and red and crisp and delicious.

After picking hundreds of apples, the tree is still loaded!
In addition to pies and crisps, I decided to make applesauce. First, I quartered and cored the apples, dumped them into a big roasting pan, peels and all, with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and baked them until they were soft.

Baked apples
As the apples came out of the oven, I passed them through my food mill to remove the skins and then heated the sauce in my stock pot. I ended up with six quarts of applesauce and decided to can it as well, filling several pint-sized jars and twenty-four of these baby food-sized jelly jars.

Grandma Lee's homemade applesauce
And when my beautiful granddaughter starts to eat solid food, she'll have homemade, organic applesauce, no sugar added, made with love in Grandma's kitchen. I hope she enjoys it!

Our wonderful Willa
I grew up in a rural community at a time when growing and preserving food was a way of life. Today I can afford to go to the supermarket to buy everything I need, but there's a real satisfaction to being somewhat self-sufficient. Are you a gardener? Would you like to be? Do you shop for picked-today-produce at your local farmers' market? Do you have tips for canning and preserving garden produce? Please share!

On the writing front, I have a cover reveal! His Best Friend's Wife, the second book in The Finnegan Sisters series, will be a January 2017 release.


Here's the back cover blurb:

A second chance for his first love 
Paul Woodward has always known Annie Finnegan was the one. But when she married his best friend, he moved away from their tiny hometown to try to forget the woman he could never have. When her husband passes away, Paul is heartbroken and wants to be there for the love of his life—but how can he, given the way he feels? As he returns to take over his ill father's medical practice, though, it's clear that Annie and her son are the family Paul longs for. As Annie heals and their connection grows, Paul will wait to find out if love really gives second chances…
For Australian readers, The Christmas Secret (originally published as a Harlequin American Romance) is available in a pre-holiday Mills & Boon Western Romance anthology along with Rebecca Winters' Santa in a Stetson. This was my "secret baby with a twist" story, and it will always have a special place in my heart.


And the cover blurb:
AJ Harris needs to leave town, before he confronts his past in the form of a tool belt-wearing beauty who is also the mother of his child. Fate has other plans when AJ inadvertently hires Samantha Elliott to renovate and sell his grandmother’s old house. Now he has to hide the truth: he adopted the child Sam abandoned three years ago. No one can prevent the bond between mother and child. When AJ learns the selfless reasons behind Sam’s actions, AJ’s secret becomes a burden he can’t keep. Will Sam forgive him for having their son all along? Or will one little boy’s love bring together a family…just in time for Christmas?
Happy harvest, everyone, and happy reading!

Until next time,

Lee

www.LeeMcKenzie.com
To Catch a Wife, Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016
His Best Friend's Wife, Harlequin Heartwarming, January 2017
Cowboy, Come Home, Harlequin Heartwarming, release TBA

30 comments:

  1. Aw...Willa is beautiful, Lee. Her smiles lights up her face. I have a feeling she's going to love your homemade apple sauce. I'm not a gardener, but I do enjoy visiting our local farmer's market. Congratulations on your January release...I love the blurb!

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    1. Thank you, Jill! I'm convinced my granddaughter is the most beautiful baby ever...but then I would, wouldn't I? :)

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  2. Wow, that's impressive!! I was just looking at a homemade applesauce recipe on the yummly app yesterday. It's done in a slow cooker. If my sprained ankle ever gets better we are supposed to go apple picking again. I don't garden because the heat and bugs are too much for me, but I do enjoy visiting Farmer's Markets. Willa is adorable!! I love the cover of your new book. I bought To Catch A Wife (it's on my TBR list), and I'll be looking out for His Best Friend's Wife too. Congrats on the upcoming new release.

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    1. Laurie, it's always so nice to hear from you. I hope your ankle heals soon. Take care!

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  3. I don't can anything though my Kentucky grandmother certainly did! I admire anyone who can can (sorry, bad joke). I'd love to come to your house this winter.
    Cynthia

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  4. I wish I had an apple tree like that in my backyard! I bet your granddaughter will love eating all that applesauce when she can :)

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    1. Hi, Amy. I really hope she likes the applesauce. If not, her parents can always eat it!

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  5. I grew up canning and making jams and jellies, but haven't done any of that in several years. We do have farmer's markets here and yesterday I bought honey crisp apples. I've never tried them before. Your granddaughter is the sweetest.

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    1. Roz, I used to make jam and jelly as well. These days we're trying to eliminate as much sweet stuff as possible from our diet, so I no longer make them. Willa is all the sweet we need :)

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  6. Such energy to do all that canning. My mother canned so I had early experiences in helping with that. Not anything I'd ever want to do again. I'm sure your granddaughter will really enjoy that applesauce.

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    1. It's definitely a lot of work, Marion, but the outcome is very rewarding.

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  7. We have an apple tree that's producing for the first time in ages because the big Mountain Ash crowding it blew down two years ago. I've been running out every couple of days to pick apples and make a crisp. They've been yummy! Love the look of your salad! Talk about a Renaissance woman! Writes, cooks, cans, and contributes to the genes of the cutest baby! Congratulations on the book! Sounds great.

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    1. Muriel, I've been called a lot of things, but never a Renaissance woman. I like it!

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  8. Great post and yummy looking food. Have to admit I'm a food junkie too. Only all year. LOL
    Your books look fun. Thanks again.

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    1. I'm a year-round foodie, too, Sandra. I have a family member who is vegan and have been experimenting with recipes that she can eat and will also appeal to everyone else. So far, so yummy!

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  9. Thanks for the applesauce tip. I boil mine but the oven is so much easier.

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    1. I hope the oven method works for you, Sophia. I use the stove top or even the microwave for small quantities, but putting them in the oven really did streamline a large bactch

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  10. What a beautiful baby! I'm so impressed with all your applesauce and tomatoes. I grew up on a farm, and my mother always canned and froze vegetables from our garden. I remember a lot of days shelling black-eyed peas and shucking corn. If our peach tree ever makes it past frost to set fruit, I'll have to try canning again.

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    1. Mmmm...I love canned peaches! I hope yours survive the early frost, Beth.

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  11. I used to can and freeze but haven't in many years, and I greatly admire all those organically grown canned goods. Your salads looked so yummy! And Willa is precious.

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. That salad was a bit hit. And so it Willa :)

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  12. I don't can (or garden) anymore, but your post makes me wish I did. Thanks for sharing it. Especially the picture of pretty Willa.

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    1. Hi, Liz. We don't have a large garden, but we do love having fresh produce throughout the summer. And we're lucky that her in the Pacific Northwest, we can grow things like kale through the winter.

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  13. Spent girlhood summers on a farm that was pretty much self sufficient from peaches, corn, etc. to meat and eggs. Great food. Did a lot of canning but not anymore. Still, I stockpile food in my pantry each fall for winter. And love fresh tomatoes in season. Willa is so cute!!

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    1. Leigh, your farm summers sound positively idyllic. What a wonderful experience.

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  14. I remember the days of gardening and canning. Sadly, life has been too hectic to do that lately. The house we just moved into has a small garden so I'm excited for next year. And what a beautiful grandbaby!Isn't being a grandma the best?!?

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    1. Being a grandmother is wonderful! Next summer, you'll have to tell us all about your garden, LeAnne!

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  15. I'm still picturing that salad - almost too pretty to eat. Enjoying our garden bounty is wonderful, but pales to the pleasure of a granddaughter. I can see she is - dare I say it? - the 'apple ' of your eye, Lee!

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    1. Well phrased, Janice! She is definitely the apple of my eye!

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