Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Monthly Goals: June 2016

You know, really with everything that went on last month I'm overall proud of myself with everything I got done.  Sure, the yard work didn't get done that I wanted, but I managed to nurse my rhubarb plant to the best health it's been in since we moved here (it's actually looking like a rhubarb plant vs. a weed this year!!!), I got a new rhubarb plant and got it planted.  The garden is alive and growing (I might be going to war with bugs here very quickly, but so far we're doing okay).  I got a lot of canning done, earlier than I have done in the past couple of years and in greater quantities which I am happy about.  And I managed to keep my sanity in tact...well mostly ;) despite everything that's been going on.

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 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 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 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

Sewing Goals:
  • 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*) 

General Goals:
  • 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 :).

Cleaning Goals:
  • 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?


  1. You have one advantage with the mustard...your husband has never tried it before! As long as he likes the mustard you made, that's all that counts! Great job thinking out of the box for that special gift.

    I'm so glad to hear that your depression is getting better. It's an amazing feeling when the cloud of despair starts to disappear and you feel more like yourself again, isn't it? Just keep going, Erika. You're going to be so amazed at what you can accomplish now!

    1. Ha! I never thought of that. I had an image of sticking just some random Dijon mustard into a jar, labeling it "Dusseldorf" and giving it to him ;). But, yeah, so long as the mustard tastes good I think we'll be okay *laugh*.

  2. Your mustard looks awesome! Just seeing the picture, before I read anything I thought: "that's my favorite type of mustard" and my mouth watered :) All my grandparents emigrated (Austria & Germany), and we have 8 or so types of mustard at holidays. I can't recall all the names, though, so can't identify "Dusseldorf" mustard. In the house, we generally always have 3 (1) dijon, (2) yellow, and (3) "sand" (spicy, grainy) mustard, which looks just like yours. It can go with all sorts of things. Yum.
    Congratulations on your anniversary! My parents are almost 60 years happily married, and they only spent money on their 25th and 50th, when they had parties. For the other years, my mom would make a nice dinner (like one of my dad's favorites), and have dessert, which we only ever had on special occasions. They never got each other gifts, etc. (1) They didn't have the $ and (2) They grew up in families without a lot of $, so they never had high expectations for spending $ for special occasions, just enjoying the day at home. If they had $20 they didn't need for food, they saved it for retirement or our college funds. Of course we'd all like to have more $, but I think you hit the nail on the head: just celebrate the day and the person! I hope you have beautiful weather and can do something like enjoy a lovely dinner on your deck. Enjoy your special day.

  3. That mustard looks amazing! What a great idea.

    I'm glad you are fighting the blues. Your attitude is very encouraging to me.

  4. This Nov will be 15 years for us, too! We never do much for anniversaries either, usually I make a nicer than usual dinner and we find a movie to put on and call it good. When we were first married we had plans to do trips and etc for milestone years, but really, its not as important to me as doing family stuff while the kids are young, and oh, I dont know...paying bills and making a nice Christmas for everyone!

    How clever you are to try and make that mustard!! What a brilliant idea. And you really can't go wrong with a food gift for a guy!

  5. Erika, I have question for you. My ds wanted to buy something on Amazon and we tried going through your link but on his computer. There was no link from his but mine had the link. We did go through my kindle, change the Amazon account to him because he has prime but during the school year that is too much to expect him to do. Is there anything I can do to make sure his computer has the link at your site? Cheryl

    1. Depending what ad blocking software he has on his computer the link is probably being blocked as an ad by his software. I have "Blue Hell Firewall" on Firefox on my computer and it blocks my Amazon link.

      I'm not really sure what to do about it as Amazon has kind of strict rules on how I can post links to them for Associate things. I really do thank you for going through all the effort to order through my link, though :). I really appreciate it. But seriously, if it's going to be a pain for your son, don't worry about it. I get like a 2-4% commission on sales through my links and end up making about 10.00 a year overall through them (how's that for disclosure *laugh*). I don't want to give your son a migraine as I'm sure his time is worth worth more than my associate fees :).

  6. I am betting on the ad block too. While he is home we will definitely go through the link. Might try having him remove the blocker when ordering stuff. He buys guitar strings and stuff for school all the time. It really isn't a problem, just reminding him. Cheryl

  7. On Valentine's Day I made a "date night" basket for my husband. I put several fun, inexpensive treats into a basket I already had. Then I printed out some cute coupons from pinterest. I used some red tissue paper to wrap it up and added a valentine card so it turned out really nice.

  8. While the guts were gone over Memorial Day weekend I was able to knock out a bunch of projects. I didn't get everything done but I'm happy with what I was able to do. I did a lot of work in the yard. It's been very hot here so I got up extra early instead if sleeping in. I even got a couple of hours of work done before church on Sunday. Once the heat got to be too much I moved to the basement where it was nice and cool. The basement was more of a mess than I had thought. I spent hours down there both on Saturday and Sunday but it look sooooo much better! The goal was for my sin to be ask to play down there. Goal met! I got our fountain working and a lot of the garden planted. Let me tell you I was tired by the end if the weekend but felt great about all that got done. I got the downstairs cleaned and organized. I'm hoping to keep the momentum going.

  9. If the mustard is good, I would love the recipe you used! My dad is impossible to shop for as he needs nothing, but he loves mustard. I think this would be a lovely gift for his birthday in July. Please let us know if it turns out and share the recipe! Love reading your blog each week and have put you and your family in my prayers!