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-







Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pork 'n' Beans

The Canning Granny posted this on her site and I just had to try it. Now when the sauce was cooking and I was putting this together, I did NOT like how the sauce smelled or tasted. BUT when I opened my canner to take out the jars.. WOW the smell was awesome. I am hoping that while these flavors marry, the flavor will be what I am looking for.
I did soak my beans overnight. Then I put them in the jars. The jar above is a 1 1/2 pint jar. I can't find them anymore. One of my favorites. I only did four of these, I hope they all seal. I also did 8 pint jars.
You may have noticed that they are not labeled yet.  That is because they are fresh out of the canner and still boiling inside. I used bacon instead of salt pork, as I can not leave the house and that is what I had.  Oh who are we kidding.  Hubby did most of these, all I did was soak the beans, and read the ingredients to him. And tell him what to do.  I did put the lids and rings on, so it was done to my satisfaction. AND, I did set the timer once the pressure canners came to temp....And I turned the burners off when the timer went off. And I did pull these four jars out when the canner was cooled down..
I'm going back to bed. Hubby can open the other canner when it cools down.

Apple Sauce.. for FREE!!


AHHH..That caught your attention did it??  How? I got the apples from my orchard. I also could have gotten the windfallen ones from town all up and down Gilman BLVD. Or asked numerous neighbors for their apples they are letting stay on the trees. It's amazing how much food is wasted!

Ok, now on to applesauce. I am limited on what I can do with being sick and in soo much pain. But hubby put the 4 bushels of apples into smaller bags so I could lift them. I am so happy and he and baby girl got the orchard finished so we could put up apples. YUMMY!

I already made apple butter with the first harvest. This bunch will be made into apple sauce and apple leather. I am saving the best apples aside for apple pie for Thanksgiving.
Super easy. I washed the apples, peeled them and quarted them, cored them and cut them smaller and put them in the crock pot. Then I splashed some lemon juice over the top and set it to high. I rotate the crocks every half hour to avoid burned or hot spots. I just stirred the first crock, it only took 3 hours to cook!!  So then because the apples are tart, I am leaving them that way, the kids can add sugar and cinnamon as wanted when they eat it.  I will use the potatoe masher to mash up any that didn't fall apart on their own, and then ladle into pint jars and process about 20 minutes.
Apples with a splash of lemon juice.

EASY! I sat at the table peeling, chopping and then tossed the apples into my removable crocks. I didn't want to use my food mill.. Saw no need to, I just peeled the apples. The peelings and cores will go to the chickens. BUT the chickens were not appreciative of the peelings and literally just spread them all over the place in their outside yard. Dorks.
Apples, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks cooking down. REMOVE cinnamon before canning.
Don't forget to label.
I got nice thick applesauce that we can eat or bake with. I am sooooo happy!!

Are you adding to your storage daily or weekly?

So in my last post I told you of my new friend who has a fantastic idea to add atleast one canned item to your pantry/food storage everyday until the end of the year. Granted I know you don't go to the grocery daily, so yes you can pick up more than one can at a time.  BUT, I am unable to drive right now, so I have been at home.  I also am not supposed to do much, so I have been "helping" the girls build their skills with canning.

NO I am not doing it. I have been directing. And they get really ticked off at me and say I am bossy. But I informed them that when canning, if you don't follow proper food handling you CAN kill someone. So they shushed up. So first off let me say, I am most likely the only one you have met that has their canner going ON Thanksgiving day! What do I can?? Turkey. We don't like leftover turkey very much. BUT we love canned poultry. It is so versatile, you can make gravy with it, soup, casseroles, taco meat, sandwiches.. LOVE IT!!

BUT this year I didn't cook the bird, and there wasn't enough meat to can. BUT I was given the bones!!!! HURRAH, and I just happened to also have chicken bones ready to do as well. So I was only up for a few minutes and had hubby get the 5qt crocks out for me. Then I put the turkey bones in one and in the other the chicken bones. OH, and ALL of these bones had been previously cooked. I don't use raw bones, I don't like the flavor, previously baked bones (with the meat, like for dinner) have much better flavor.
OK, so put bones in crock pot. Then I added a shredded carrot to both CP. I added about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup dehydrated onion (home dehydrated!!), I didn't have fresh. I then added 3 smashed cloves of garlic, 1 bayleaf and 1 TBS canning salt to each CP. Then I covered the bones with cold water, put the lids on, set the CPs to HIGH and went and layed down. I let these cook from 8:30am until 7:00pm. 
Then I strained the broth, added boiling water to bring the level up to wear the lid sits on CP. I skimmed the fat off the top a couple times. Made sure the water level was high enough.
 Next I filled each quart jar and left a 1-inch headspace. Wiped each rim with a vinegar washcloth to make sure no grease on rim.  Then I placed lids and rings and tightened to finger tight. Put in my pressure canners and processed for 25 minutes at 10-pounds pressure.


**Please check your altitude and make sure you are using the right amount of pressure. We are at sea level, so only need 10-pounds here.

 What else have we canned?? Well in the last week we have done two batches of chicken stock, 1 batch of turkey stock, apple sauce, and pumpkin. Now you can not safely do pumpkin puree, so we did pumpkin chunks, they will be easy enough to puree when we use them.

And yes I do use two canners at once sometimes. 

I use both ball/kerr canning lids and or Tattler reuseable lids. Tattlers do NOT make the ping sound (bummer, because the PING makes me smile and sometimes giggle).  BUT I still love them. I use them for stuff I won't be giving away. I use the ball/kerr lids for things I might send to my missionary, or give away to family and friends.


One of the pretty apples..


Actually all of them were pretty.
 BTW, my girls now HATE apples.  Before I got sick, we had picked part of one apple tree and I made apple butter.. that was in October, but it hadn't frosted yet so we waited to pick more. Hubby and baby girl picked all of the orchard and we had a nice mess of apples to can after a light frost around the 1st week of November. BUT being I couldn't be up for long, I had them all out on the back deck in bags, waiting.. very patiently I might add. Out of all 4 bushels of apples, we only had 2 individual apples that went bad!! THat is it!!  WE thought for sure we might lose half of them. AND so you know, the chickens were not appreciative of the peelings. Dorks.

Apples in crock pot with splash of lemon juice.
We used the crockpots to make the apple butter. Peel, quarter and seed apples, place in CP. Cook onLOW all day, stir (they disintegrated), or chop in food processor, put in CP and cook on LOW all day. I did NOT add sugar, but I did add a little cinnamon to a couple batches. Then I processed like it says to in the BALL canning book. I did mine in pints. 
Apples cooking down in a crockpot with cinnamon sticks.  I preferred ground cinnamon.
 OH, so yes I have been adding to my food storage. And today we will be doing something new.. I will put that in a separate post, but all I will say is I love the Canning Granny.
Don't forget to LABEL your jars. Either on the glass or on the lid with a SHARPIE!!  I love sharpies!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I have a new FRIEND!!

OH I am excited!! I have a new preparedness LDS blogger friend and she has a FABULOUS idea for us to do until January first. I will tell you about it here, BUT I will also include a link to her blog.

So here is it.. Now granted we only have 42 days until January 1st, but that is still 42 days!!!  So the challenge? Buy atleast one can of canned food to add to your food storage a day. Now I know we live a little further from stores than some. So when you go to the grocery, it's ok to pick up 7 different items so you don't have to drive to town everyday. Now you all know I can weekly. So this week so far I canned chicken broth. And today am working on applesauce, which will be another posting.

She started 11 days ago, so here is a quick update for the first few days, and she calls them "BY".. she explains it in her post. I will send you to the first on in the series in her blog so you can read them. They are fun. She is preblogging right now, due to the holiday weekend and such. But she is excited about this and you can tell!  It's a great idea! And a great way for us all to be able to help our food storage to be more flavorful! here is the blog: Food Storage...A Necessary Adventure

BY #1: Chicken Noodle Soup (ready to eat)
BY #2: Evaporated Milk
BY #3: Canned Pasta
BY #4: Sliced Peaches
BY #5: Canned Ham
BY #6: Chili
BY #7: Evaporated Milk (we use milk more than we think!)
BY #8: Canned Potatoes
BY #9: Beef Tamales (we won't do this, but will do canned hamburger instead)
BY #10: Bean Soup
BY #11: Mandarin Oranges
BY #12: Vienna Sausages
BY #13: Salisbury Steak Soup (do not add water)
BY #14: Green Beans

Now, if any of this is in your regular pantry rotation, fabulous, add another can or two. DON'T buy stuff if you will never eat it. These are only suggestions. You can look through your pantry and see something your family might prefer.
I added quite a few comments to the above posts over at the Necessary Adventure, so be sure to check out the posts, great suggestions over there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NeverSeconds

No that is not misspelled. That is the name of what I discovered today. It's amazing how some children can care so very much. Do you all remember that little girl that died in the accident on I-90 a year or so ago? Her dream was to bring water to those in need. Her tragedy opened the doors of people hearts and tons of money was donated to her cause. And many wells were dug in Africa because of her.
Well on the site I was directed to today by my Mom, is the work of a 9 year old Scottish girl, who believes food needs to be healthy at schools and at home, and is working to bring food to children in Africa at school. Infact she has built a kitchen at one or more schools, and donated the food for them to have a meal everyday! It is amazing.
Here is her blog site that is amazing, here she has people guest blog about the lunches in their school for a week, and they rate them. She also talks about her work in Malawi: NeverSeconds

ALSO, if you would like to donate to her organization, here is the link for that site as well: Martha Payne Fundraising

Now I understand that many suffer world wide, and right now we are even having a problem in the states with Hurricane Sandy hitting the east coast. If you can donate to the churches humanitarian fund, all the monies donated actually go towards the items for helping those in need, NOT into someone's pocket. And these funds help people WORLD WIDE. I never knew what the "Humanitarian" part was on a tithing slip until the tsunami of Dec 26 (sorry I don't remember the year, but it was in the last 7 years). We donated a lot once I discovered what it was.

It's amazing where our world is going. I hope more people can be more like Martha Payne, she is truly a humbled, meek spirit.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Now wait, you have to try this. Don't run away. I saw them make this last night on America's Test Kitchen, around midnight or so. It looked so good I dreamt about it!!  And to top it off, Bo ate 2 LARGE bowls!!!  My mom was in shock! She couldn't believe it. When he asked what was for dinner I said green soup. He was all, "All right! I love green soup!"  And he did! He couldn't get enough of it. BUT he is also the one I sent to the freezer to get the spinach, and well, he LOVES spinach. He won't eat a smoothie unless it has spinach in it!  Unfortunately I couldn't find the camera to take a picture of it. IF I am home for lunch tomorrow, I will try to get a picture of it..

Understand I have not been feeling well for about 3 months now. Lots of hospital visits, tests, and more tests.. it has not been fun. I am only able to be up and moving around now for about 10 to 30 minutes before the pain gets too much, which causes extreme nausea.
So I was happy to try to make this soup today. How long did it take me? 30 minutes. And I also got a spinach artichoke dip thrown in the oven too! I did that while waiting for the broccoli to cook for 20 minutes.
The spinach and artichoke dip is in the blog post with crock pot stuff and a butternut squash soup. I love spinach and artichoke dip.. So our dinner was very green today.. no really literally all green!! 



Just a warning.. I didn't really measure. I have noticed that lately our best meals have literally been thrown in a pan, and ready in 10 to 20 minutes. I just need to remember that my best eater is on his mission.. hence leftovers...which is good, I have something for lunch tomorrow.  AND so you know, I always taste things as I go when making so I can adjust seasonings and such.. I almost took the pot to my room so I wouldn't have to share.. Boy #2 was actually listening and said, "HA, she's taking the POT to her room".. we've been having lots of MJ/Pot jokes here because of the legalization thing on the ballot ...

Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 pounds broccoli, rough chopped; stem peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces*
2 tablespoons butter
Water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups Chicken Broth or bouillon**
1/2 onion, rough chopped
2 to 6 garlic cloves minced, depends on size
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan, or Romano, or Asiago cheese, fine grated
2 loose cups FRESH spinach***
Pepper to taste

Put butter into stock pot or dutch oven, heat up until it stops bubbling. Add broccoli, onions and garlic; saute a couple minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Cook about 20 minutes or until broccoli is soft; add spinach for just a minute. Puree' half of the broccoli mix in a blender with the cheeses. Then puree the rest of the broccoli. Return all puree' to the pot and add broth or bouillon. You may need to add water if still too thick. DO NOT BOIL.. Just gently reheat. Serve with buttered croutons.

*I used a bag of frozen broccoli. NOT 2 pounds, infact I don't know how big it was, maybe a pound. It was old too (shhhh).  Because I didn't have enough broccoli, I also added a cup of frozen fresh peas from my garden this year.
**I used 2 bouillon cubes and added them to the first batch of pureed veggies. And instead of broth I used water.
***I did not have fresh spinach. I used two large handfuls of frozen chopped spinach. Which I added right to the blender with the broccoli.

Also, I used Tillamook Garlic White Cheddar, about 2 ounces shredded equalled a cup; I also used Asiago cheese on the larger grind. We did NOT use the pepper, it did not need it, in fact it would have ruined it. I did not need to add salt either as the cheese did this for me.
The spinach dip was amazing as usual. I will tell you though that I prefer the Napolean brand of marinated artichokes. The brand I used tonight were definately inferior, very tough leaves to try to chop up and the marinade was different. Also I only used about 1/3 cup mayo and then put a splash of half and half in.. YUMMY!!!  My mom is actually allergic to mayo, so it was good I didn't have enough for the recipe. And I cooked it at 400 degrees to get it done quickly as I needed to lay down, and this way everything was ready at 30 minutes!  We had french bread with this, and for those who wanted it, I had strawberry freezer jam on the table for the bread for a "dessert"..