This month holds a special milestone for me. At the end of this month my husband and I will be celebrating our fifteen year wedding anniversary. Doesn't seem like it's been near fifteen years (I'm hoping that's a good thing *laugh*).
We were hoping we'd be in better financial shape by this point in time, but it wasn't to be. I have to admit for quite a while I got really depressed that we weren't going to be able to celebrate yet another occasion as I was really looking forward to doing something special for our 15 year anniversary (my parent's marriage was really failing by this point in their marriage even though they stayed married for 20 years, so to me it's kind of a big deal that we're here and our marriage is still healthy). I've lost birthdays, Mother's Day and other holidays for a long while now and just kind of just took it without worrying about it too much, but this one was bugging me.
Then, I woke up one day, mentally smacked myself upside the head and yelled at the depressed part of me, "SNAP OUT OF IT!" And I did :). I mean, really, what is a day in the whole scheme of your life? Not much. And the important thing is to take each day and try to make the best of what you have. Since the mental smack down I started brainstorming on things I could do for gifts for my husband and things using materials we had around here. Just because we can't go out to a fancy restaurant or something doesn't mean I can't work on making the day a little special.
At first I thought I could at least grill steaks that day, but found we were out of propane. Even if we had money right now to fill the tank, we wouldn't, we'd spend the money on food or something else, so that was out. I went through list after list like that and then I finally came up with a plan of sorts.
See, my husband has been wanting to try Dusseldorf mustard for ages and I kept putting it off for a holiday gift or something because buying it wasn't going to be cheap as the only places we could find it was online and since the mustard was imported it was going to be spendy.
So, I looked at the mustard seed I have around here and thought, "Heck, I can make him some!" So, I started researching last month. I finally found some traditional recipes in various library books, online e-books and other sources for Dusseldorf mustard...some going back to the 1800's. I found a couple that I wrote down as a guide to the ingredients and spices involved (which honestly had me a bit discouraged as they called for white wine and wine vinegar...one I don't really have around here other than a couple of splashes for cooking and wine vinegar isn't cheap and I don't have a lot to spare) and then started working on adapting them to recipes that were safe to can and at a much lesser amount (a lot of the recipes were for estate kitchens or farmhouse recipes that made a TON of mustard at one time...like 64 oz of wine vinegar as one of the ingredients).
I finally settled on one that really intrigued me from an old farmer's wife recipe that had been translated from German that I found that called for "apple wine". I was like, "Wait, apple wine? Isn't that apple cider?" So, I know it PROBABLY isn't the same (who knows if it was translated correctly too from someone's old handwriting and such), but I decided to sub out some hard apple cider I had in the recipe and while the recipe called for wine vinegar I decided to use apple cider vinegar instead (sticking with the apple theme). I did stick to the spices that all recipes for Dusseldorf seemed to agree on (to a degree...it really did seem to shoot all over the place when it came to what spices were used...probably due to regional availability of ingredients or something). I then looked up some safe for canning recipes for mustard, subbed out my alcohol for the ones in the recipe (since it was all 5% alcohol by volume...or whatever beer and wine have in them), subbed out my vinegar for theirs (5% acidity all the way around) and I was good to go.
Traditionally, it seems like Dusseldorf mustard is kind of like a dijon mustard but spicier/hotter and is supposed to come out looking like a nice creamy mustard. Well, my blender wasn't up to the task of making a smooth emulsion of the mustard, so I ended up with a grainier final product. It tasted good once you got past the heat (1 cup of brown mustard seeds=hot out of the pan!). I canned the mustard and placed it in the pantry as it is supposed to mellow/mature for 6 to 8 weeks before consuming. We won't QUITE meet the 6 week mark (since I finally got a chance to make it last week), but I suspect it'll taste good all the same. But, yeah, really I didn't really make Dusseldorf mustard like you'd get from the store, but I do sure hope it tastes good (seen above before I stuck it in the pantry).
So, yeah, anniversary plans are part of my goals for this month :). Here's hoping I'm off to a good start!
Monthly Goals: June 2016
- Work on dress (I pray I have more time this month to work on this)
- Fix husband's work jackets
- Make gift for new niece (she might be getting it for Christmas the way I'm going, but I'm hopeful *laugh*)
- Work on anniversary plans/gifts
- Work on emptying and resetting pantry
- Try to work out two week menu plans to better fit with the shopping every two weeks schedule
- Continue to process/can cheap produce if I run into any
- Work on ideas for bulk things to make for breakfast for husband so he gets added protein in his diet (part of doctor's orders)
- Save money (goes without saying really, but I like things to be written down. It keeps me motivated :).
- Work on getting stuff weeded and out of den
- Clean out master bedroom closet and reset
- Wash down walls in children's rooms (my daughter is going to help me with this :)
- Clean ceiling fans (this is a monthly chore as the fans get pretty dusty).
I'm sure that I'm missing a few things, but those are the tentative goals so far. So, how about you? Got anything planned for this month?