One of the keys to surviving chemo and thriving during this season is to have some really good distractions. Things that allow you and even force your mind in a different direction. Cooking is one of those things for me. This last weekend I went gleaning at the local Gleaners Pantry. It just so happened that it was the right day to go if your someone like me who needed a little distracting. I came away with multiple boxes of some beautiful produce, several bags of bread, and even a red velvet cake for my girls birthday. Now you have to understand, that when I say boxes, I mean large banana box size boxes full. They were loaded with potatoes, onions, leek, peppers in red, yellow, orange, and green, not to mention the hot ones, strawberries, plums, bananas, limes, lemons, brussels, tomatoes, a watermelon, honey dew, cilantro, nectarines, mushrooms, red lettuce, hot dog buns, hamburger buns.... so much food. Now here's the tricky part. It all needs to be used or taken care of cause it certainly won't fit in any fridge that I have. I worked with my mom for the day to chop, mix, cook or freeze all of this goodness. You won't believe what I ended up with.
2 batches of strawberry freezer jam
3 batches of plum freezer jam
strawberry fruit leather
plum fruit leather
a huge batch of fresh salsa
a batch of hot fresh salsa
a giant potato salad
a giant tomato, cucumber, basil salad
enough bananas for 8 loaves of bread
3 loaves of zucchini bread
zucchini and yellow squash with tomato and basil
lime juice for 4 full batches of limeade
sauted mushrooms and onions
onions, peppers, and tomatoes for sloppy joes
and still there's a lot of it we are just using fresh.
It is so fun and amazing to get this surprise amount of food in quantities and varieties unknown before hand and then to be able to take it and turn it into meals for my family. I know it may sound silly, but I love it. It feels so good to turn the boxes of unwanted food into provision and yummy snacks.
I thought I would start sharing some of the recipes I use when I get the massive quantities of food.
For this week it's a very simple one, but by far a favorite of mine. It comes from a friend in California.
Fresh Squeezed Limeade/Lemonade
24 oz of freshly squeezed juice in any combination of lime or lemons Limeade is my favorite!!
2 - 2 1/2 c sugar
1-2 c water
ice and more water
Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil to create a simple syrup. Add more sugar if necessary to cut the tartness. Add the syrup to the juice and add water and ice to equal 2 quarts 3 if you like it a little more diluted. It tastes sooo good. We like it tart! Experiment and see what your family likes.
If you are fortunate and have an abundance of citrus, juice them and freeze them in 24 oz quantities to use when you need a quick and yummy beverage treat!