Weekly Mothering Challenge: Try Batch Cooking

I have been endeavoring recently to perfect the art and skill of batch cooking, making lots of food at once to eat and then freeze for later. With Daddy taking some time off from work this week and Thanksgiving festivities happily drawing me closer to the kitchen, this is a good time to work on batch cooking. I am trying, as best I can, to *simply* double (or triple) everything I am making these days. We eat some now and save some for later to maximize time and effort.

Once I become more skilled at batch cooking, I am thinking we may purchase a separate freezer for our basement storage area for extra food that won't fit in our small pantry refrigerator. So far it's been helpful to have extra bowls of lentils, and lasagna, and pasta sauce waiting in the wings for days when I don't want to cook or know what to serve.

In this month's issue of Natural Life Magazine there is a great article about using batch cooking to promote community and convenience, suggesting strategies for forming small batch cooking groups that work together to make large meal portions to serve several families throughout a month. Such a fabulous idea!

In addition to preparing quarts of spiced squash and apple soup, mounds of biscuits, and many other goodies this week, I am also using farm-fresh cranberries to make several batches of this very yummy cranberry bread recipe that my aunt graciously passed along to me:

Auntie's Homemade Cranberry Bread

1 1/2 C chopped fresh cranberries
4 tsp grated orange peel
3 T sugar
(mix these three ingredients and set aside)

3 C sifted flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 C sifted sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 C orange juice
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 C chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 C water
1/2 C melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, add eggs to orange juice, water, and melted butter and mix. Add to dry ingredients and stir enough to blend and moisten. Add cranberry mixture and optional nuts and mix, being careful not to over-mix.

Add to greased 9x5x3 loaf pan (or separate into two pans), bake for approximately 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Eat immediately, or for best results, cool completely, wrap in tin foil, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Enjoy!