One of the ways that I am fostering contentment is by doing things that give me a more settled in, homey feel to life. My August goals of decluttering, organizing and setting up a guest bedroom have gone a long way to making both Bill and I happier here in this house. I often wander into the guest room, look around and sign with pleasure and I have caught Bill doing the very same thing. Investing a good bit of time and money into container gardening has been another way to make our time here in Arizona more pleasant and give us a sense of home, since both Bill and I grew up on farms and feel more complete when we have green things growing around us.
This week I found another outlet for contentment. My garden is producing fairly well and I have picked quite a few banana peppers. I recently have discovered a love of all things pickled, which is surprising to me. I remember my dad liking pickled items and I never really cared for them, but suddenly I do. With all my banana peppers, I decided to do some pickling and canning. Unfortunately, I no longer had a canner or any canning jars or canning supplies of any kind, so that meant a monetary investment was necessary. Plus I did not really have enough peppers to warrant all that fussing, so I ended up also buying more peppers.
Yesterday I washed jars, cut peppers, made the pickling juice and generally heated up the kitchen with a canner full of boiling water to process the peppers. The whole house smelled of pickles! I gauged just right for the amount of peppers, as I had a canner full of jars (7 pints) when I finished. The pickling juice I didn’t gauge quite so well with and I ended up topping off the jars with straight vinegar. All seven jars of my pickled peppers sealed! Success! It has been years since I did any canning and I had forgotten how satisfying it can be to see those filled jars sitting on the shelf, knowing exactly what the ingredients are. Now I have to wait two weeks for the “pickling” process to complete before I can open one of the jars and test them! I sure hope they taste as good as they look.
Today I am making a list of ingredients I need to make the family’s recipe of chili sauce and hope to pick up all I need at the Farmer’s market tomorrow. There are not many roadside stands around here, so if I can’t pick them up at the market, I may end up having to buy grocery store tomatoes, which will not be nearly as good and will also cost more. But chili sauce is definitely next on the list of items to make.
Speaking of making, today I used some of the abundant basil from my garden and made pesto for the first time ever.
It was so yummy that I immediately cooked up some pasta!
The recipe I used was Oh She Glows High Protein Oil-Free Basil Pesto and it is definitely a keeper. I also want to try another recipe I found from Vegan Spoonful for Vegan Pesto Sauce. I was wondering what I was going to do with all my basil and now I know. I also know that I am going to need to bring the basil plants inside for the winter, because fresh basil pesto will be on the menu this winter!