Thursday, August 20, 2015

FOOD!!! (Green Tomato Chutney Recipe (sort of))

I've struggled with depression for decades (thankfully not at the moment). It always passes but its never fun at the time. I am very artistic and pretty unorganized by nature but I'm a perfectionist in most aspects. I'm certain that perfectionism raises stress levels especially when you're always juggling 100 balls at once. While I know that I'm a perfectionist there's a catch 22 because I don't believe perfection is attainable.

I heard on the radio the other day that the human mind is incapable of experiencing two conflicting emotions at the same time. Stress, sadness, fear, anxiety; these all go together. Just go ahead and experience the lot of them all at the same time. Happiness, excitement, contentment, joy; again, our mind can handle these all at once. But try and mix happiness and anger together, or try stress and contentment and apparently our little finite minds can't do it. Interesting to say the least... 

I shouldn't admit it but there's absolutely no denying that food really makes me happy. I suppose you could surmise that while I'm eating momentaryly stress just melts away, the anger subsides, and the anxiety of a perfectionist trying to keep 100 balls in the air all the time takes a little break. No wonder we human beings spend so much time (and money) with loved ones at restaurants dining out and chatting over food or hot beverages or cold beverages. We almost create for ourselves these little moments of happy, of peace, of "shut down all those negative thoughts little mind of mine because I'm going to work on being content for a few moments."

Now these "few moments" is probably why I really enjoy cooking as well as eating. I love food! I love the billions of different flavors one can experience through combining a few different ingredients. I love what heat can do to a few eggs, some flour, butter, sugar, and just to bring it up a notch add some cocoa powder. Food is amazing! But the experience of eating it is, lets admit it, short lived (unless you eat all day long non-stop; I've been there). I enjoy cutting up all the fruits and veggies for a meal or a salad. I relish mixing together flour, sugar, and salt for a loaf of bread, combining it all with milk, butter, water, and yeast. Putting my hand in the bag of flour to sprinkle all over the table so that my son and I can take turns kneading the dough is delightful. Pressing the rubbery ball of ingredients out on the table and working it back and forth with my hands, taking turns with my little helper, is therapeutic. Then once the very long process of bread making has almost come to a close and the loaves are ready to go in the oven that wonderful aroma begins to fill the house. All the work, all the anticipation, that smell; it's so close to the moment when we can take the hot loaves from the oven, cut them up immediately and spread melty butter on that first slice that steam is still wafting off of. For me, baking takes those happy moments of eating food and extends them much further along. I suppose gardening has a similar role. Not only am I transforming food into delicious dishes but I'm growing the plants that grow the food, tending to them, watching them come to life and bring forth life.

I love to bake, I like to cook, I am delighted at gardening and I really, really enjoy food. 

Lunch today consisted of that green tomato chutney I made yesterday spread on slices of homemade bread that I lightly buttered, topped with chunks of pepper jack cheese and popped in the oven until the cheese was hot and melty and the bread was nice and warm (I spread the chutney over the cheese after it came out of the oven). I ate the wonderful treasure with a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee (even though I normally try and keep my caffeine intake to mornings only).

Needless to say, and I sort of did just spend four paragraphs saying it, I am at peace right now. Green tomato chutney made from tomatoes grown in my garden on bread that little Abe and I baked together yesterday, yep, that's happy, happy, and happy right there.

^ Longest intro ever to a recipe but here it is, not so much so you can try it because I altered it quite a bit and I've never made nor eaten chutney before now so I am in no way qualified to give anyone a lesson on chutney, in fact I'd read it was to spread on toast but a little birdy just told me it should be eaten on cheese or cold meat (notice I added cheese to my toast up there? That's partially because I love cheese and partially for you Frugally Challenged) but because I love the way this turned out and in case I ever lose the note card I jotted it down on I can at least come back here and find the concoction I've done up.

Linked HERE is the original recipe I used to make my crazy concoction.

Green Tomato Chutney (my recipe)
2 cups Green tomatoes - diced small (that's 2 cups diced, not 2 cuts whole tomatoes)
4 ounces of balsamic vinegar
4 ounces of water
3/4 cups raisins
1 cup brown sugar
about a quarter to a half of a large sweet onion - diced small
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 large apple - diced small

Boil for about three hours (until desired consistency)

Add juice of half a lemon just before removing from heat

I made a pretty small batch seeing as I wasn't really even sure what chutney was and I was trying to use up all of my fallen tomatoes. As for the vinegar water thing, I feel I should explain. I did not have any white vinegar on hand and although I'm fully aware that it's not the best idea to add balsamic vinegar in place of white vinegar I actually love balsamic vinegar, did have it on hand, and decided to just chance it. I used half the amount of vinegar called for because I knew the strong balsamic flavor would cook down and I might be left with something gross and substituted the other half of vinegar with water because again, I knew the balsamic would cook down and I figured the water would counteract that a little. I'm pretty sure I put in too much brown sugar, but honestly who is ever going to notice that, and I did not put in the chili peppers called for in the original recipe. I added the lemon juice at the end simply by intuition. I read no where about doing so but I like the little hint of tangy it added to this savory sweet yumminess. Despite my madness and possible chutney blasphemy I am very happy with how this turned out. It is super yummy and as usual I'm thrilled to have made a new food/ recipe.

Spending rundown today: $16.95 on groceries. The basics really; milk, cheese, eggs, butter, an apple, strawberries. Can you really get more basic then that. Oh and I bought a bag of frozen french fries (a rare treat around here) and some lunch meat that I ate while working (placed between two slices of bread I'd made the night before).

My budget for the month is $436 which leaves $186.80

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.04
^ SOOOOO close to being under $18 a day again!!!
A no spend day tomorrow would put me under $18
Darn it I think I need to buy dog food tomorrow, gah!


  1. Not sure about the chutney - not a big fan of either tomatoes or raisins, but that bread is making me drool!!!

    We were supposed to go shopping today but Ted had to work overtime so we'll go tomorrow - good thing he is working overtime - my friend texted me from the grocery store yesterday - eggs were $5.99 a DOZEN & milk isn't that far behind!!!!

    1. um $5.99 a dozen?!?!?! for plain old regular eggs? Are you kidding me? Wow!!! Does that have to do with your lack of water, I'm guess? Since chickens and cows do need to drink water too. Oh. My. Goodness! that is terrible!

  2. I never knew those facts about conflicting emotion interesting. I smiled reading your satisfying lunch menu. I oo enjoy all those things (not gardening though) and a simple meal prepared with my own hands with wholesome ingredients gives me double satisfaction. Perhaps if i ge my hands on some extra tomatoes I'll give it a try.

    1. I had not heard that before either. I have a hard time accepting it as fact but the more I think on it it does make some sense. Even if you can manage to go from happy for say 30 seconds back to sad again, I imagine there is some truth to not being able to feel both at the exact same time.

      I'm glad you appreciated the post. Thank-you SAM! This is actually one of those posts that I spent some time typing out and I'm thinking to myself I'm writing all this long blah, blah, blah about food but this post means A LOT to me. It's not just about "food." I'm really glad you appreciated it.

  3. I feel very honoured that you added cheese to your chutney! And impressed that you are now down to £18.04 per day. Well done you!

    1. Thankyou , thankyou and thankyou. The chutney was fabulous with cheese too!