House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October Challenge Week 3: Oct 20 - 26

First... Did you work on your laundry area? I was able to get it all done, except for #17 cube. Out of 18 that isn't bad, I just haven't replaced the cardboard box with a plastic one yet. Otherwise, yes, I got my laundry room done.

This weeks challenge, should you choose to try. Do you have a new appliance you have never used? Instant pot (IP), crock pot (CP), stick blender??? Time to break them out and try them. It's not difficult.. AND to make 2 brand new, never been made by you in your kitchen recipes. If you have never made cinnamon rolls from scratch, make them. If you have never made something you get at a restaurant (maybe because it seems too difficult?), make it. Time to try out  your new device, which one is it?

We are going to try to make some butter chicken (Tikka Masala), sticky coconut rice, and chicken coconut curry. And then for canning, I am going to make some pear chutney, I have never made this before.

Here is an easy Instant Pot first run recipe.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

6 - 18 chicken Eggs
1 1/2 cups water
IP trivet

Ok, after you wash your instant pot pan, because this is the first time you are pulling it out of the box, make sure it is completely dry on the outside of it. Place into the IP. Next add the water, then the trivet, then put the eggs on the trivet. Plug in.

Put the lid on, should make a nice electronic game noise. Make sure you have the pressure weight on the top, and have it pointing to seal.
Select STEAM, make the time say 3. After you leave it alone, it should beep to let you know the cycle is starting. Let it do it's thing. Meanwhile, get out a big mixing bowl, add water and a bunch of ice, then wait.

It will beep when it is done. Then when it says L00:10, which is 10 minutes after it is done (I have to set the timer on my stove because I can not hear the IP if I am doing chores). Turn the weight to vent or release, usually the pressure is gone, then open the lid away from you so you don't get steam on your skin (OUCH). Carefully remove eggs with tongs to ice water and plunge those hot eggs under the water. Let them take a long swim if you want to chill them completely, but if you want to eat now, give it a gentle crack when you put it in the ice water, then pull it out and peel and eat.

I store my eggs in a plastic bag or bin in fridge for about a week, if they last that long.

It seems to me that the only thing holding us back from doing things is ourselves. You have to embrace the challenge (fear) and let it power you, let it not hold you back but put you to do it. This is not easy, this is not always fun, but usually when you are done, you feel so good because you DID IT! I love cooking for people, I love the challenge, the flavors and the company.

Yes I want to know everyone's opinions on the meal that day. Why? Because if they didn't like it, I never want to make it again. Hubby has stated he does not like pear butter, until I served it to him with cream cheese, he said it cut the sweetness. He had no idea that you could do that. I made a soup once, Cream of Onion, and my kids devoured it, in fact I had to make another pot because I didn't double the recipe, afraid everyone would hate it. That was the first soup I made that my 2nd DS ever liked!

I made a chicken stock once that was so bland. I saved it and had to doctor it to get the soup where I wanted it, but I didn't give up. If you need help, just ask.  Usually a nice mix of mire poix and garlic can save quite a few meals, oh and SALT.. Seasoning people!! I wrote about food storage and seasonings a few years ago, Spices. It talks about food storage and appetite fatigue, but to also think about your food storage in another way.

UPDATE: So our first never ever been made in my kitchen recipe was Coconut Chicken Curry. We served this over jasmine rice, with salad on the side. My family rated this 10 out of 5 stars! And some of us added a little sriracha sauce to add some heat. This was such a yummy dinner. And the leftovers will be fantastic.
Now the changes. I doubled this. I did not finish this in the pan. I got to step 3, but I did not add all the chicken, I just added half the coconut milk, and some of the chicken. Then I poured that into my warming crock pot. Next I added more chicken to the pan and rubbed the spices into the chicken, then poured into the crock pot. I did this 2 times, then a third time I added the rest of the coconut milk to make sure I got every last bit of goodness out of the pan. Then poured it all into crock pot, set it on HIGH for about 2 hours, then down to low for 2 hours.
We served this with the hot jasmine rice. Some of the kids added some sriracha to theirs after they tasted it. It was yummy! I added just a little sriracha to mine as well. I am not afraid of heat, but I wanted to be able to taste all of the spices. This was delicious, and we had enough for leftovers. DD4 took some for lunch today. Right there is testament to how yummy it was.
I would describe it as flavorful, warm, and homey. It is pure comfort food.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

October Challenge Week 2: Oct 13 - 19

I don't know about you, but I can not concentrate or focus in messes or clutter. So this week. We are tackling a very used area of the home.

YUCK, the laundry room! Did you know this room gets super linty and dusty, and why are there empty boxes of OxyClean in here! UGH.

I do not know how big or small your laundry area is. Ours is long, and has storage, although the storage areas have not been used well, and that door goes to the dog run.

I am going to work on organizing the reptile/snake items into plastic totes, go through my laundry soap container, throw away empties, figure out what is still in cardboard boxes (yes, I have not finished unpacking yet) and either donate the stuff or use it.

What you see is one of my washing machines (the top loading one), the orange pail is the diaper pail, the red bucket is for mopping but we put dirty kitchen towels in it, that oxyclean box is new, I found all of my kid's old glasses, the black pail has dirty diaper rags in it from cleaning up puppy pee. I have no idea what is in the giant storage cube, except the top right (oxyclean and laundry pods). And on top of that storage area you can see a spic and span bottle (filled with water, these are great spray bottles to reuse), dryer balls, a pink tie, poop baggies are in that box at the far end to clean up the dog run, some food storage buckets that are holding up a wedding bouquet for my cousin (it's drying, I will give it to her on her anniversary, or close to it, or maybe now). Not sure what else is up there,I am short, I will have to get the step ladder.

We have an entire week to clean the laundry room/area. Don't procrastinate, get it done.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October Challenge Week 1 : Oct 6 - 12

Now that fall has arrived. It's time for a different challenge.

This week's challenge is to use something from your garden. What did you have to mad dash harvest so the frost wouldn't ruin it? zucchini? onions? kale? berries?

We harvested the ripe strawberries, some kale and moved our tomato plant into the garage, under a grow light. I think it needs some heat too, so we might set up a small heat lamp as well.

What did you harvest and use? How did you use it or preserve it?

Friday, September 27, 2019

October Challenge: Will be posted

Hello Fall.. I was not wanting you to arrive yet. I was just starting to enjoy my visit with summer.

Yes, we will be having an October weekly challenge. It will be posted Saturday Oct 5, the week will go from Oct 6 to Oct 12, just like September.

Monday, September 23, 2019

September Challenge Week 4: Sept 22 - 28

Last week I was able to get a lot of bone broth canned and put up. Whew, 32 # of chicken backs, makes quite a bit of broth!

I also made some "beef bouillon".. ya it doesn't smell or taste like beef bouillon. You take 3 cups minced carrots 3 cups minced celery and 2 onions minced, and half a pound of ground beef. You put it in a pan and slow cook it for about 3 hours. THEN you blend it smooth. Guess what. It just tastes like mire poix. You can not tell there is any beef in it. The people that reviewed that recipe, they must have no taste buds! So I froze some, and dehydrated some. So now I have cooked pureed mire poix in my freezer and in a baggie in my pantry, ready to add to any soup or casserole I desire.

So that is what I did in week 3. I canned broth, and dehydrated mire poix (celery, onion and carrot).

We are now in the last week of September. I am very sad with how fast this year has gone, especially the summer. The family reunion and vacation was not long enough, my growing season for my garden was not long enough. It really is sad.

So this week, I am putting some freezer meals in my freezer. Yesterday we made a yummy butternut squash soup, carrot rolls, green salad and then a berry salad for dessert. It was yummy. So this butternut squash was 6 pounds!!  So I put some cut up in 1-inch cubes in a freezer bag, added 1 quart of homemade chicken broth,a bay leaf, onion, garlic, potato chunks and some rice, and froze it. I will season it after it cooks a bit. But this will be a nice easy meal to put in my crock pot on a Sunday when I am not feeling with it.

I am also assembling some other freezer meals for my crock pot (cp) and instant pot (IP) on Wednesday. These can be thawed then cooked or cooked from frozen and are amazing!

Canning this week, or dehydrating has not yet been decided. So much is coming on! I could do apple pie filling, peaches (almost gone), more pears, pear butter (delicious!), zucchini butter (YUMMY), tomatoes, pumpkin, banana squash or any winter squash.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Part of the September Challenge

I am finally getting to my chicken broth. This is the broth I mentioned the other day. I am not canning it until tomorrow morning. BUT, I got the chicken backs baked! Our favorite seasonings on baked chicken are salt, pepper and paprika. Super easy, and super yummy!
Yes, I ate some of the cooked skins, delicious!

Then I through some mire poix (carrots, onions and celery), bay leaves, turmeric, garlic, salt and kale into my crock pots; today I used curly, dinosaur and purple kales.

I used 2 crock pots, that is why you get 2 pictures.

 Really pretty right? What next? I tossed 14 backs on to the pile of veg. 

This almost looks like some kind of fancy salad. Now I added water to cover everything.
My goodness, my mouth is watering just looking at that deliciousness. Now we have to wait about 24 hours cooking this on low. Sometime in the morning tomorrow or the next day I will strain the liquid, then can it in my pressure canner. My next batch will be smaller and will be for working on my recovery.

Now if I needed this because I was sick, or using this as a medicine during recovery, I would NOT can this. I would strain it, then put it in the fridge. The collagen (gelatin) and minerals in this broth are amazing for helping one to heal, and the canning process kinda kills them.

UPDATE: Ok, just pulled these out of the canner.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

September Challenge Week 3 : Sept 15 - 21

Well, I barely made it! But I did it!

I was able to can pears, and dehydrate pears, plus I got raw honey!

Aren't they pretty? I got 38 pints of pears, plus 4 quarts of dried pears. And I got 4 quarts and half a pint of raw honey! The pear chips are perfect and I am half tempted to go get some more pears and dry another 5 trays.

This week I am working on chicken bone broth. When I picked up my honey, I also picked up 32 pounds of chicken backs. First I bake them with seasoning, then I will pull off any meat and freeze it for a casserole. Next the chicken backs, and some onion, carrots, garlic, celery, ACV and a little salt will go into either my crock pot or my pressure cooker (cp for 24 hours on low, pc 3 hours on pressure of 2). Then I will strain the broth, and pressure can it. Seems like it is harder than it really is.

What will you be canning, or dehydrating to add to your food storage this week?