It All Started When...

January 1, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wow, a brand spanking new year, all pristine and clean, like a fresh sheet of paper, just waiting for us to write another episode in our lives. As for the latest episode of my life, I should start with,

It all started when...

...our family went to my in-laws the day before New Years Eve, to have a late Christmas gift exchange. We were visiting, opening gifts, etc. I went in the kitchen to throw away some gift wrapping, and momma in-law followed me. As I noticed a large flat of produce on the counter, she said, "If you want any of that, please take it. Someone gave it to me, and I will never eat all those tomatoes before they spoil."

I looked it over, and saw there were several containers of small tomatoes getting near the spoiling point, a small bag of onions, also getting old, and a bunch of small oranges. I said I would take it all if she didn't want it, and she was thrilled to not let it go to waste. She knows I will use up every bit of food I can--heck, she knows I can use up everything on a chicken but the cluck!

When we got home I unpacked the tomatoes from the containers, and started cutting away all the bad spots and rinsing the good fruit in a colander.

I plopped them into a crock pot, along with oregano, salt and pepper, a couple of the onions I got chopped up, and a lovely bunch of chopped garlic. I put the lid on, set it on low, and went to bed.

The next morning, I used a potato masher to crush and mix everything together. I could have left the lid off and let it keep cooking down to reduce the extra liquid, but I had plans for it, so...

The Redneck helped me strain off the excess liquid into a bowl, leaving a lovely thick mass in the strainer.

I put that into my food processor (blender will also work well) and whizzed it about to make a nice smooth sauce. I added a little of the liquid back in to thin it just a bit.

I ended up with about a little over a quart of sauce, and a bit more of the liquid. The stuff smelled delicious. Now, what to do with all this goodness?

To start with, make pizza of course!

I made a basic pizza for lunch, like in this post-- I used about a cup of the sauce, and it turned out really tasty. I forgot to take photos, but trust me--it was good!

I had only used a cup of the sauce, so what to make for supper...? I got it--CHILI!

Again, I made a batch of chili from Kent Rollins' website, using my homemade sauce, from this website--

I thought I had taken photos of the process, but this is the only one I found, of the finished chili. I love my smiling spoon--looks like he approves of the taste! We had chili and cornbread for supper New Years Eve. I still had a cup or so of the sauce, and about five cups of the liquid. Hmmm...what else can I make for New Years Day?

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup was just the thing.

I had this much of the sauce and liquid left, so I combined them and put them in a pot to heat. I washed and chopped up a couple of potatoes, and when the liquid was boiling, I dropped them in.

I also added in a half cup of barley.

In another pot, I browned a pound of ground beef, along with some onion and carrots, added a container of leftover corn, and sprinkled flour over the whole thing and stirred to blend, then took it off the heat.

When the potato-barley mix was done, I mixed the two pots, and heated them a bit to thicken, then poured the whole thing into a crock pot on low, and now it's simmering away, while a batch of dough is going in the bread machine. By suppertime we will have a feast fit for celebrating a new year. And it all started with a flat of produce no one wanted. Oh, if you're wondering about the oranges...

They will be peeled, and the pulp put out for the birds, then the peels will be steeped in some vinegar that's left over from cleaning the coffee pot for a few weeks. After they are strained out and composted, the remaining liquid will go into a spray bottle to be used as an all purpose cleaner.

Not a bad frugal start to the new year!

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018


  1. Looks delicious, I love how you watch and use things everyone needs to do this.

    1. Thank you. It's nice when someone appreciates my 'ninja level' skills!

  2. Happy New Year! Campari tomatoes are my favorite in the winter - they cost $6.99 for a container here! That was a big score ;)

    1. Wow, didn't know they were high dollar tomatoes! Happy New Year back!


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