Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bread Baking Day

I haven't baked bread since July and figured it was about time I got back to doing it.  Mixed up a batch of no knead Artisan bread and mixed up a large batch of Amish white bread both were made using left over potatoes.  The Artisan bread will be put in the fridge and an amount taken out each time we want some.  It is good in the fridge for 10 days and makes about 4 loaves.
The white bread made 4 nice loaves and I will put 2 in the freezer for later.  Brandon is coming tomorrow for the weekend and he can go through a loaf in no time at all.  He is the world's pickiest eater and when he is here he either eats what we are having or find something else to eat.  He is 14 so he is able to cook something but he is also a lot lazy and won't do it himself so he for sure will be eating sandwiches with the fresh bread.
Sure wish that I had "smell-a-blog" so you could enjoy the wonderful smell, OMG it is like heaven in here.

No knead Artisan bread.

Bread made with left over potatoes.

Corn Chowder

I made a pot of Corn Chowder, something I haven't had in years.  I used the flowing things:

I cut up about 3 pieces of bacon and browned until almost done then I added 1 chopped medium onion and finished browning the bacon and cooking the onion.  Next I added 1 pint of chopped ham pieces, 1 pint of corn, 1 pint of potatoes cut into cubes, 2 tsp parsley, salt and pepper to taste and 4 cups of milk.  I simmer this for about an hour.   The corn was sweet and the ham had a good smoked flavor which made the soup very good.
Soup for a simple but delicious supper on a cold day.

Corn Chowder

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

People and Garbage

Went outside for a while to "get the stink blown off" and to collect the garbage cans from the end of the drive.  Usually Ron brings them in when he gets off work but I decide to do it.  Two of the cans are on wheels and I decided to pull one behind me and go along the stretch of road by our house and pick up garbage.  I managed to fill the can half way up with garbage collected on both sides of the road for about half a block.  It amazes me that people throw garbage out of vehicles like they do.  What is wrong with people?  This is public and private land and not a public dump.  There is a proper place for garbage and it is not along our roads.  There were 3 beer cans and at least a dozen plastic water bottles along with paper and cardboard.  Keep the stuff in your vehicle and dispose of it properly when you arrive at your destination.   Do I feel better now, NO.

Re-purposing an Old Rolling Pin

I've had some free time this month and have been surfing looking at a lot of blogs. I ran across a blog about re-purposing old kitchen utensils and saw a cute idea using a rolling pin as a towel holder.  This past weekend at a auction I got 2 old rolling pins, one for $1 and another for $3.  The $3 one I will be using it for the towel holder.  I am still trying to figure out the details on how I want to hang it.  The $1 rolling pin I decided to use it as a door decoration.  I used a vintage doily and added double stick tape to it, an old spoon bent up to use as a hook and some old skeleton keys.  The spoon is attached with a small u nail.
It's amazing at some of the things people make using old items.

An old rolling pin with a vintage doily, a old spoon and old keys.

Spoon bent to hold the keys.

PJH Desisgns


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey Leftovers

Yesterday I finally canned the leftover turkey and broth from Thanksgiving.  It's not that I've been too busy to do it, it's that I have been feeling "down".  I need to pull myself out of this deep hole and get back into the swing of things.
I divided the turkey among 4 quart jars and then added the broth.  I can use this for soup or noodles and will come in handy this winter.  Yesterday was also our first day not to have leftover turkey since Thanksgiving.  I know we were getting tired of turkey but it was so easy to rely on it.  I was hoping to get a couple of turkeys to can but didn't get that done.  I will keep watching for some sales and hopefully get some to can.
I used one of the 17 quart canners I got at an auction to do this canning and it was wonderful, small means it heats up faster and cools down faster than my 23 quart canner.  It also was much easier to handle with having my left hand still in the brace.  Love those bargains.

4 quarts of turkey with broth.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Must Read for Canners

If you can, please take some time and read the below post.  Patrice in my opinion is a wonderful writer and she has wrote an excellent article on canning.  I've heard some say "well this is what my grandmother did it" or "I have done it for years like this and have never had any problems".  The USDA has a lot of research behind what it says and employs food scientists to do nothing but test recipes and safe practices.   Please be safe and follow the guidelines they publish when you can.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Ted and Thelma wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your day.  



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dehydrating Celery

I picked up 8 bunches of celery for 49 cents each so I could dehydrate some to use for the next year.  Got all of the celery cleaned and use the Kitchen-Aid slicing tool to cut the celery.  This cut the celery up very fine so it will dry faster.  I stacked the celery on the 5 trays as deep as I could so I would have 1 batch only. When slicing the celery a lot of the liquid drained from the slices and I kept this to use when making the dressing for Thanksgiving.  The celery scraps went to the chickens and turkeys for a nice green treat so nothing went to waste.

8 bunches of celery.

One of the 5 trays celery.

The dehydrator full of celery.

Some of the liquid from the celery that I saved to use when making dressing.

This is the 8 bunches of celery dehydrated.

One quart and about 1/3 of a pint of dehydrated celery from 8 bunches of celery.

A Poem

As I was looking through an Amish cookbook I saw the following poem:

"It's Up To You"
Author unknown

Have you made someone happy or made someone sad?
What have you done with the day that you had?
God gave it to you to do just as you would.
Did you do what was wicked or do what was good?
Did you lift someone up or put someone down?
Did you hand out a smile or give them a frown?
Did you lighten some load or some progress impede?
Did you look for a rose or just gather a weed?
What did you do with your beautiful day?
God gave it to you.  Did you throw it away?

I need to start asking myself this everyday, I want to live everyday with purpose and not regret.   I never want to say "what if" or "I should have done that".  I believe things happen for a reason and for some reason I saw this poem and for some reason it just struck me.  Would I have a positive answer for each question asked, no.  Can I work on some things, yes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Late Fall Weekend in Pictures

This past weekend Brandon spent the night and on Saturday afternoon we took a ride.  Below are some scenes he captured.

An old twisted tree.

Idle irrigation sprinklers.

Some turkeys, I carried on a nice conversation with them.

A tombstone that looks like a tree trunk.

A very brave doe gleaning a corn field, this was the second day of shotgun season.

A different looking house that has its own wind turbine and solar panels.

A horseshoe is holding this old headstone together.

It looks like winter is on its way.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Canning Cranberries

Yesterday I picked up 10 bags of Ocean Spray Cranberries for 99 cents a bag, some cranberry juice, 4 oranges and a can of frozen orange juice.  First batch I made cranberry sauce; and used the following ingredients:
4 bags of cranberries rinsed and bad ones picked out
4 cups of cranberry juice, you can use any liquid you choose
4 cups of sugar

Put the cranberries and liquid in large pan, bring too boil and boil about 10 minutes or until the cranberries are soft.  I then ran them through the food mill to create a sauce, I took the "waste" and ran it back through the mill to make sure nothing went to waste.  Put the sauce back in the pan, added 4 cups  of sugar and returned to a rolling boil for 1 minute.  Cranberries are high in natural pectin so nothing is needed to make it jell.  Put in jars and processed for 15 minutes.  I got 12 half pints and a small bowl for Thanksgiving.

Second batch I made cranberry orange sauce and used the following:
6 bags of cranberries
4 lg oranges
1 lg can of frozen orange juice and then cranberry juice to make 6 cups of liquid
4 cups sugar
6 Tbsp no sugar needed pectin

Washed the oranges and then cut them up in chunks, added the liquid and brought this to a boil and boiled 5 minutes.  Then I added the washed cranberries and cooked this mixture until the cranberries were soft, about 10  minutes.  I put this mixture through the food mill and again ran the "waste" through again to cut down on waste.  Put the sauce back in the pan and added 6 Tbsp of pectin, with the addition of the oranges and orange juice I needed added pectin so it would jell.  Brought this to a boil and then added the sugar, returned to a boil and boiled 1 minute.  Put in jars and processed for 15 minutes.  I got 4 pints, 8 half pints, 3 quarter pints and a nice bowl for Thanksgiving.

Of course I tasted both and both are very good.  For the liquid you can use water, or any flavor of juice.  If you use honey or any other sweetener you will need to add pectin to make it jell.

Cranberries washed and ready to make sauce.

Cooked cranberries going through the Kitchen-Aid food mill.

Ingredients for the cranberry orange sauce.

Cut up oranges with the liquid ready to cook.

This is the waste from 10 bags of cranberries and 4 oranges, not much went to waste.  Feed this to the chickens.

Pectin used for the cranberry orange sauce.

Finished product, cranberry sauce on the left and cranberry orange sauce on the right.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend in Review

Friday was doctor day where I got the cast off and stitches out and a brace on.  I will have to wear the brace for 2 weeks and then will start therapy.  The brace is hot and for sure a fashion statement.
Brandon came over to spend the night and to take some pictures for me of the canning jars that I am putting on eBay.   He took pictures on Friday night and some more yesterday morning.  Then we went for a ride out in the country and Brandon took some nice pictures of the scenery.  Renee picked Brandon up when she got off work.  Before I put all the stuff for taking the pictures up I took some more pictures.  Now I need to get the descriptions done and will post them later this week.
Went shopping today to get some things for Thanksgiving and picked up 8 bunches of celery to dehydrate and 10 bags of cranberries to can.  I plan on doing the cranberries tomorrow and Tuesday Ron will help me do the celery.  I was hoping to get a couple turkeys to can but the prices are higher than I wanted to pay.  I will keep my eyes open after Thanksgiving to see if I can get a bargain.   

My beautiful brace.

It's black and will go with everything.

Hand after first washing in 2 weeks.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have I Said How Much I Love Craigslist????

Craigslist it is the worlds best site.  I know I've told you about how a couple months ago I placed a "wanted ad" for canning jars.   I've had several people answer it and have purchased jars from 1 person and 5 have just given me them free.  So far since Saturday I've gotten 11 dozen jars free.  1 dozen of the wide mouth quarts I got today are still in their sealed box.   The 7 dozen jars I got today are from an older gentleman that lives less than 2 miles from our house.  If you have craigslist in your area it is worth it to place an ad that simply says "canning jars wanted".  I put a picture of my canning closet on the ad and the last 2 people who have given me the jars have mentioned the picture and both said they wanted to give them to someone who would use them.  We were talking to the gentleman today and he was telling me about all the fruit trees he has and said I could come and pick the fruit he doesn't want.  Free jars and the possibility of free fruit.  I will never have to buy jars again.  Again if you use craigslist take all security precautions.   

Vegetable Soup

This week I made a wonderful pot of vegetable soup using ground turkey.  I browned the turkey in a soup pan then added a jar of my mixed soup vegetables, pint of tomatoes, quart of tomato juice and 3 tablespoons of beef base.  The soup had a wonderful tomato taste and was very low in fat.  The turkey used was some of the turkey breasts that I ground last month.  Soup is one of my favorite meals at this time of year, an easy one pan meal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Check Your Weekly Grocery Ads

Now is the time to check your weekly local grocery ads to check for items that you use and are on sale.  You can dehydrate, freeze or can these items to enjoy later.  Items to check for right now that will be on sale will be:
turkeys; can, freeze, grind your own ground turkey
hams; can or freeze
celery; dehydrate or freeze
cranberries; can, dehydrate, freeze
sweet potatoes; can or dehydrate
potatoes; can or dehydrate
onions; freeze or dehydrate
If you are too busy this week to put up any of the above items up remember you can freeze the meats until you have time, cranberries can be put in the freezer right from the store and done later and the potatoes and onions will be OK for a couple weeks.  The only thing that really needs done immediately is the celery.

Also on sale will be cream of mushroom soup, green beans, sugar, flour, baking items.  If you use any of these items now would be the time to stock your pantry.  If you buy items ONLY when on sale you can save  a lot of money.  I can't remember the last time I purchased an item that wasn't on sale.  Even when I did not can I always purchased items when on sale only.  If you can change your buying habits and buy on sale items only and stock up this is the only way to do it.

Example, if you eat canned green beans regularly, buy a case when on sale and put them up.  Then when you see something else you use all the time purchase it in bulk.  Slowly you can build up your pantry and save money doing so.  Don't forget watching for meat items to be on sale and stock your freezer.

To me it's a challenge, be a wise shopper and buy when on sale only.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Husbands Clean Vs My Clean

Before I had surgery on my hand I told my husband he was going to have to step up and do some things around the house to help out.  Well that lasted maybe 2 days before I had to beg him to help which always ends in an exchange of words.  This weekend I asked him to do a couple of things including doing the dishes.  After 2 days of dirty dishes I proceeded to do them the best I could with 1 hand.  As I was doing them he came in and said "I was going to do them, you just didn't give me enough time".  Now it's not like he had other things to do unless you call gluing yourself in front of the TV something important that needed done.  Right now there is another stack of dishes that need done and the house cleaned which he was going to do yesterday.  So far I have swept and moped the kitchen, did the sink of dishes, washed a load of laundry, dusted furniture, stripped the bed, put clean sheets on that took me 20 minutes to do and vacuumed the house.  When he gets home he WILL NOT notice that anything was done today.  Most of the time he says "well what did you do today and looks around"?
Why is it some men do not see a pile of dishes, laundry piled high or the house a mess and do something?  No one tells me to clean, cook, laundry or dishes; I just do them when I see the need.  WOW I feel a little better after this rant and a couple of pain pills one of which was Norco; not a lot but a little.

My Find at the Auction

This past Saturday we went to an estate auction, one of my favorite past times.   I bought 2 Presto Deluxe 17 quart canners for $12.50 each.  They are in excellent condition and now when pressure canning I will be able to do more at a time and cut down the amount of time it takes me.  I was hoping to fit the 2 new canners and my 23 quart canner on the stove all at a time but will be able to use only 2 at a time.  I thought the canners looked much smaller than they were.  Oh well I have a spare or a loaner to loan to the girls when they have huge amounts to put up at one time.  For the price I couldn't pass them up.  All I need to do is wash them up and I will be ready for my next canning adventure.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Free Corn and Soybeans

When we go shopping we cross the Illinois river and on our return trip we always look down at the road that leads down to a barge terminal that grain trucks go down to unload onto the barges.  There is also a pumpkin field down there that has had the pumpkins gathered in rows but is still sitting in the field rotting.  I am just amazed that good food is going to waste, oh well not much I can do about it.  When I looked down at the field I could see that there was a couple places on the road that grain had been spilled.  Last month we went down the road a couple of times and swept up a 5 gallon bucket and a 3 gallon bucket of spilled corn and feed it to the chickens and turkeys.   After we put groceries away and ate some supper we went back and swept up and brought home at least 175 lbs of corn and soybeans.  The majority of the spilled grain was corn and a little wet from the little rain we got today.  I have it in the garage and will take some out each day to the chickens and turkeys.  If it was dry we could make it last longer but because it is wet we will have to use it before it spoils.  The road is only about 4 miles from our house so I guess I need to check it out a couple of times a week.  There was still a good 20 lbs still there but we ran out of bags.  For about 10 minutes of work we were able to bring home all this good grain that other wise would have just rotted.

Weekend with Miss Reagan

This weekend Reagan our 10 year old granddaughter spent the weekend.  Reagan is a diabetic and was diagnosed a couple months before her 9th birthday.  When she comes her mom goes over everything with me (refresher course) so I am able to do what needs to be done.  Reagan takes care of her blood sugar, does her pump and knows what she needs to know to be able to live with this horrible disease.   The only thing she doesn't do is calculate the amount of carbs she eats.  You or I just sit down or grab something to eat anytime; before Reagan eats anything someone needs to look up the amount of carbs something has so she can program that info into her pump so she gets the correct insulin amount.   Her parents pretty much can figure that out without looking things up now.  I use the internet to look things up, a scale to weigh the stuff or measuring cups.  Her life is in your hands so I am pretty nervous when she is here. I want to make sure that I do everything as close to perfect as I can.  At supper her blood sugar was high, 400, and I was upset as to what did I miscalculate.  At bedtime we did the blood sugar again and this time it was 407.  Now it was time to call her mom to see what could possibly be wrong.  Stacey went over things and she decided it could be her pump, Reagan changed her pump and did the other things her mom told her to do.  It was the pump, there was a kink in the tube.  Some tense moments but we got through them.  Having the high blood sugars meant that I needed to do them every 2 hours throughout the night if needed.  Stayed up to 11 did the blood sugar and it was down to the high 200's, down but still high.  Called her mom with the update and she gave me all the directions I needed and what to do.  Got back up at 1 AM and the blood sugar was down to the high 100's so we were going in the correct direction and meant I could sleep the rest of the night.  Can't say I slept real good, you always worry about the what ifs.  This morning her blood sugar was 108 PERFECT.  Childhood Diabetes Type 1 is horrible and her parents are saints to go through this everyday.  This year she is being home schooled because of some serious neglect at school last year.  I don't think that people understand how serious having diabetes is.  Not doing things correctly can be devastating.  If you get the chance please donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation to help find a cure.  Thanks

Reagan sitting with the Kindle.

Playing a game on the Kindle, she earned some time by being good and cooperative.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie

For supper tonight I made a turkey pot pie.  I used a frozen double pie crust that I made last month, 1 pint of shredded turkey, 1/2 pint of yukon gold potatoes and frozen mixed vegetables. In a sauce pan I put in 1 cup of mixed vegetables, pint of shredded turkey, cut up half pint of yukon gold potatoes, a package of turkey gravy mix and 1 cup of water.  I simmered this for 5 minutes and then took another cup of water, added about 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed this and added to the pot to thicken the turkey mixture.  Baked at 375 degrees for about 90 minutes, cooled for about 5 minutes and then cut it.  Very good flavor and something different.

1 cup of mixed vegetables.

Potatoes and turkey.

Cut up potatoes.

Turkey mixture after adding cornstarch.

Ready for the oven.

Out of the oven.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cloudy, Ugly Day

It was a icky day today.  It was wet, cool and the sun was nowhere to be seen.  Made a trip into the village to the post office; then back home to list several jars on EBay.
For supper tonight I took a package of ground chicken and made a meatloaf, a quart of potatoes, drained them, drizzled some olive oil on them and sprinkled some garlic powder then baked uncovered for about an hour.  I also heated up a pint of calico butter beans and called it a perfect meal.  I love to open the pantry and see what wonderful things I can use.  Since I have been canning we eat a wide variety of things.  Before if I couldn't find an item on sale I wouldn't get it.  Now if I find it on sale I preserve it to enjoy for a long time.   Someone said to me once that they didn't can because they didn't have a garden.  You don't need a garden to can, watch for things to go on sale or glean the neighbor's garden/orchard.  Every week I look at Aldi's ad to see what fruit or veggies are on sale to see if there is something I want to put up.  Examples: carrots can be canned plain, pickled, dehydrated or add to jars of soup veggies; mushrooms can be canned or dehydrated; onions can be dehydrated or frozen; celery dehydrated; potatoes canned and dehydrated the possibilities are endless.  The key is to make sure you wait until things are on sale.   November and December you can get celery, cranberries, sweet potatoes, turkey and ham on sale.  The week between Christmas and New Years you can get lemons on sale; I dehydrate slices to add to ice or hot tea.  Again the key is to wait until you find things in season and on sale.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Food Sales to Watch For

I have started to watch the sales and am watching for the following items so I can dehydrate or can them to use all year for bargain prices.
Celery, I dehydrate this to use in soups, stews and will use some next summer when I can mixed vegetables for soup.
Cranberries, will can this in 1/2 pint jars to enjoy all year.
Sweet potatoes, can or dehydrate to enjoy all year long.
Turkeys, want to can the meat and also can some turkey broth to use all year long.
In December I will start watching for ham and plan on canning some.  If you want to can some dried beans and ham this would be a good time to get the ham.

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