Binge and Purge

I could feel it building up over the last few days. Work has been making me cranky. On Wednesday I pulled a frozen beef roast and a baking hen out of the freezer to thaw. I also cooked down a big pot of homemade spaghetti sauce, intending to can it on the weekend.  Although cooking can be a lot of work, I still find it therapeutic. I usually walk away from one of my crazy-insane cooking binges feeling mentally relaxed, and a great sense of accomplishment. I guess it must have something to do with the creative process ….. bringing order out of chaos ….. taking random ingredients and turning them into something aesthetically pleasing. Whatever it is, the end result is a temporary purge of stress. By Friday evening I was committed, and set out a pound of white beans to soak for soup before going to bed.

I didn’t set my alarm clock for Saturday morning, but I woke up two hours earlier than normal. Isn’t it funny how our subconscious works?  After a cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat, my kitchen became a major construction zone. I started by searing the sirloin tip roast in my cast iron skillet. I threw it in the slow cooker with some beef broth, and then left it on it’s own to become seasoned shredded beef sandwiches for Sunday’s meal.

The next order of business was to get my chicken rubbed down with salt and seasonings, and into to the oven. About an hour later I had a golden roast chicken that went into a stew pot for a large batch of my roasted tomato and wild rice soup.  My husband and I are hosting a beer and soup swap in three weeks, and this batch of soup is my swap entry.  We will be serving a couple of different soups and different types of beer to our guests, but the real fun is going to be the swap.  Participation in the swap isn’t mandatory, but we’re encouraging our guests to bring six quarts of frozen soup, a six pack of beer they think best compliments their soup, and the soup recipe for sharing. Each guest participating will get to take six different soups and beers home with them. I promise to share my soup recipe with you later this fall.

Once my chicken was in the oven, I filled a pot with water and dried red corn cobs to boil down for corn cob jelly. I know it sounds strange, but I’ve been making this jelly for years, and it’s always a hit as a gift from my kitchen. I got the juice ready for jelly making yesterday, and plan to finish the jelly this afternoon. It’s probably going to be the next blog post I share with you.

Next on my agenda was to finish the spaghetti sauce I started on Wednesday. I pulled the six quart pot from my refrigerator and slowly heated it up while I readied my canning equipment. This is the first time I’ve canned spaghetti sauce, and after the experience I’ve decided I’m going to freeze it in the future. I had one jar crack in the pressure canner, making a huge mess.  Considering the number of tomatoes it takes to cook down into sauce, I was not thrilled about losing a quart.

In between all of these major projects, I squeezed in a few small odd tasks like roasting some coffee for the next couple of days, keeping dishes washed as I worked, starting a batch of sour cream, starting a pot of ham and bean soup with the beans I had put on to soak the evening before, and mixing a batch of cornbread to bake with the roasting chicken.

I went to bed tired, but very content last night, and I slept like a rock. Binge. Purge.

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