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Archive for the ‘anything goes’ Category

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Too many tomatoes, peaches falling off the tree and “waste not, want want.” – Sounds like a tomato and peach glut to me.

I finally grew a real garden this year after several bad attempts and concluding there’s no way I’ll ever have a great garden.  But this year it did amazingly well until the temperatures went three digits. Then everything started to brown, wilt and slow in production. Still I had enough produce to put a few pints and quarts away for the rest of the year. This is how things looked on the west side of my patio sometime in June. (there’s more on the east side)

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And again several weeks later.

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And just to be sure you get the idea. Here’s some of what was harvested.

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So far the 3 tomato plants yielded about 50 lbs of tomatoes and this time I decided it was time I did some canning. So I got busy and canned 12 quarts of stewed tomatoes.

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Then I my husband asked me to make tomato jam. It seems he remembers his mother canning tomato jam when he was a boy. Well, I too remember tomato jam only it was the neighbor across the cul-de-sac from our house. (Thank you – Barbara) And I remember being quite shocked at the sweet yumminess in my mouth.

So, tomato jam would be a first for my kitchen but I couldn’t wait to try it out.  Another several pounds of blanched, skinned and deseeded tomatoes later and some hot bubbly, sugary, steamy work over the stove and several pints were canned.

I was bummed it didn’t set but no worries I just open a jar when I need it, pour the contents into a saucepan and reduce at a boil for about 10 minutes and… Voila! Perfect tomato jam that my husband seems to prefer over that fancy French stuff I pick up at the specialty shop. (have a look at the little jar there next to the quart of stewed tomatoes.)

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This is the way I enjoy my tomato jam … A cup of tea and toast with cream cheese and tomato jam… Mmmmm.. Deliciousness…. Delightful!

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Then this morning I got to canning 8 pints of peach butter. I’ve made apricot butter and plumb butter before but this year I decided my neighbors peach tree hanging over my back fence with the puny, boring fruits with bitter skin that don’t ripen on the tree and never get bigger than an apricot wouldn’t go to waste another summer. So I got to work and blanched, peeled, deseeded, simmered and boiled those little lovelies until they were worthy of homemade toast.

It was highly satisfying to hear the canning lids pop (ahhh!) one by one as the jars cooled and sealed in all that sweet fruit.

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For my next effort I hope to be canning tomato salsa from a recipe that my mother-in-law made.  I lost the recipe years ago and after she passed away I figured I’d never be able to reproduce that awesome flavor until the other day when I remembered a friend of mine has had the recipe for years.  I’ll be giving her a call soon. 🙂

In the mean time, I’m quite satisfied with my labors. My efforts to eat cleaner and closer to the vine are paying off.

Growing your own produce ensures cleaner food on your table and knowing its clean just makes you feel healthier.  Next year I hope to blog my gardens progress more systematically. For now, it was good to finally just get a post on the proverbial paper.

Hope your summer is beginning to cool off.  Leave a comment if you like. Let me know about your canning adventures. Tell me if you’ve ever made tomato jam. Maybe we can swap recipes… c’mon… Ask me how to make it.  For now I’ll leave you with this…

Proverbs 31:15-17

She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

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Yes, I suppose I have to confess that it’s been more than a year since my last post here.  Too long for sure.  I’ve been going through a change in the season of my life and let me tell you it aint no spring season… more like fall or winter.  Life seems to whiz by and it’s not waiting for anybody to catch up.

Lots of things have changed in the past year, like I got hooked on Pinterest.  One of my favorite categories is homemade stuff.  Stuff like bio-green household cleaners, alternatives to lotions, shampoos and the like.  Today I decided it was time I shared some of the surprising results with you.  Of course, I realize this has been for the most part a food blog but today I guess that will be a thing of the past.

And for my first trick…. watch me pull a rabbit out of my orange tree… well not exactly a rabbit.  How about a Citrus Enzyme Cleaner?  I didn’t come up with this myself, infact, I found it on Pinterest and figured I’d give it a try since I have an orange tree and don’t like to waste the peelings. (normally they go into my compost pile)

Here’s the link to the original blog post at Homemade Mamas with the recipe and some good information.  I’ll forgo some of their details and assume you’ll visit the original post for that.  What I will do is share the recipe and my findings.

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

  • 1.  In a large 3 liter soda bottle (or similar plastic container) combine 7 Tbs brown sugar and 2 1/2 cups lemon and orange peels and scraps in pieces small enough to get into the container.
  • 2.  Pour enough water to cover scraps (about 4 cups) into the container.
  • 3.  Put the lid tightly on the container to make it air tight. Shake the container long enough to get the sugar incorporated throughout.

3 Liter Fermenting Bottle- sugar, water, citrus peels.

  • 4.  Now it’s time to ferment.  Write the date on the outside of the container with a sharpie so you can keep track of the progress and remember when you started.  The sugar/fruit mixture will ferment for 3 months to get those enzymes going. As it ferments, CO2 gas will build up in the container. The container will swell, open it to release the pressure, unless you want an explosion, then recap it. You’ll need to release the CO2 daily in the first month and less often after that. After 3 months, the process is complete, and the enzymes are ready for use as a household cleaner.
  • 6. Filter through a cheese cloth and pour into the containers of your choice.  (I recycled some clear bottles with screw caps)

Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

You can use full strength or dilute as needed.  For light cleaning I went with a 50/50 cleaner/water solution poured into a spray bottle. You can use it around the house, on floors, cabinets, appliances and it doesn’t streak!  You can also pour a couple of tablespoons into laundry to help remove stains.
Let me tell you this stuff is awesome!  The proof came when I used it on that gunky built up grease that collects above your stove.  You know the stuff I’m talking about, don’t you?  Just look and the ugly mean stuff that has built up since last spring.

Gunky built up grease on the plastic vent cover to my microwave over the stove.

 I’m talking gross!  Now watch what happens when I sprayed on a 50/50 solution and let it sit for a few minutes… not long, just maybe 5 minutes at the most.

After a few minutes I wiped off the gunk with ease! I was flabbergasted!!!

Now look at my microwave… it’s so clean that you cant tell if you are looking through the door at my kitchen or if it’s a reflection.  I’ll let you guess which.

My microwave after cleaning with the same 50/50 solution. It's never been so shiny.

So there you have it!  Try this at home but I recomend you test this cleaner on surfaces you aren’t sure about.  I would hate see you remove the paint off your cabinets or messy up your pretty tile or wood floors.  When in doubt go with a diluted solution first then up grade as needed.

Blessings and joy!  And happy cleaning. [kiss]

She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.  Proverbs 31:17 

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gotta get me one of these!

 

Have you ever made that meatballs with grape jelly recipe?  I’ve used it several times when I need something quick and easy for potlucks.  They are always good but I’m not completely happy with the ordinary-ness of the taste.

Today it was a funeral that made me run to the store, when I should have still been in my pj’s, for a 3-4 lb bag of frozen meatballs.  I ran out of the store forgetting the rest of the ingredients.  (I hate it when that happens!)

I got home and realized my fatal error.  I stood in front of the refriderator, all that cold air escaping, snorting something about how to figure out how to makeshift the recipe, (good thing no one else was up yet) since I only had 30 minutes to get these puppies up to speed and be at the church on time for sound check. (I was singing in said funeral too)

So what does any self respecting pastor’s wife who cooks for all the potlucks do in a pinch? She gets out the raspberry chipotle sauce and some “famous” peppers and onion relish from the “famous chain store” and gets cooking!

Mission accomplished!  They were a big hit, my recipe made the requests list and I was relieved.

And a beautiful funeral I might add.  We miss you Roy!…  Looking forward to our heavenly reunion, minus crock pots and meatballs. 🙂

For those of  you who asked.. here’s the recipe in all it’s glory….

The Amazing Meatballs Recipe:

Method:

  1. Place bag of meatballs in the micowave to defrost for 8 minutes.
  2. After 90 seconds take bag out of the microwave (because there’s not enough room for them to turn on the lazy susan) and pour meatballs out into a large plastic (micro safe) bowl.
  3. Now put the bowl in the microwave on defrost… on second thought, maybe just set to high for 8 minutes.
  4. Stir meatballs every few minutes and repeat the process, (no! don’t put them back in the bag! just repeat step 3 on high at 8 min.) Stir and continue on high as needed, until heated through.
  5. Pour meatballs into your 25 year old crock pot.
  6. Now mix together the sauces, relish and catsup in a bowl or measuring cup of your choice.  (I didn’t mix first… mistake!) Pour over the meatballs stir and and run out the door!
  7. Wait, don’t forget the crock pot!!!
  8. After the emotional flogging of getting a speeding ticket, arrive at the church and unload your amazing meatballs, find the right place for them and plug them in.  Set heat level on high.

XO and Enjoy!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

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Grilled Birds, Smashed Potatoes and Burgundy Mushrooms

A few weeks ago I posted this to my Facebook page and neglected to share it with you.  So here goes…

The weather was still in the 3 digits and using the oven to heat the house didn’t sound too good but I had come across a recipe that I couldn’t ignore.

I follow The Pioneer Woman Cooks who had posted a recipe for Burgundy Mushrooms.  Now if you like mushrooms you have to admit these sound more than tempting.

Off the the grocer I went to pick up 2lbs of button mushrooms, pulled 2 gamebirds from the freezer and dug around in the pantry for some potatoes.

We grilled the gamebirds and smashed the potatoes with lots of garlic and olive oil.  The resulting dinner was amazing and thanks to The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Chef Michael Chiarello and Hunter Angler Gardener Cook it was a feast worthy of a blog post!

The internet is truly amazing!  I can find any recipe to fit any desired result.  There’s such an abundance of free information and so many great chefs and cooks out there that are gracious enough to share their secrets with us.  No wonder we are on perpetual diets.

Now my daughter has requested that I post something original the next time I get a chance.  As I think about it… is there anything new under the sun?  Maybe.  I’ve been working on perfecting some javelina recipes.. could be our next adventure.

Pr 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

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A couple of summers ago I wrote a post about gardening and in it mentioned , “teaching your children and remembering Who it is that has provided the bounty on your plate!”

Pictured above is my oldest daughter, who posted the photo on her facebook album. She reminded me of the impact we can have on our children while they are growing up and how important it is to pass on the things that are most important in life.  Her “sense of adventure” and being a “berry picker” are, apparently, a result of my example.

The truth is these qualities were passed on to me by my parents who took my older sister and I camping, made us work in the home garden and picked wild berries on the side of the road with us, not to mention a number of other things that have stuck with me into my 50’s.

I learned from my parents to keep an eye out for wild critters and learned to spot a deer when most folks would miss it.  I count and track the birds that come and go each year in my back yard.  Even begging my husband to stop on the side of the road so I could enjoy the multitude of wild flowers in the spring was a result of parental guidance.

The things we pass on to our children can last into eternity… It’s up to us to choose what it is that they will live with forever.  Teach them rightly and they will live rightly.  Teach them evil and they will reap the consequences.

There is no greater joy than knowing your children have taken on the heritage you’ve handed down to them.  The next best thing is watching them share it with their children and others.

2 Timothy 1:5 I remember your true faith. That faith first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I know you now have that same faith.

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I started making these precious little crochet caps especially for babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital.

For every item sold at my ebay and Etsy stores ONE PREEMIE CAP IS DONATED for a premature baby.

A packet containing a scripture card and a crocheted cap can bring warmth for a preemie and love to a family who finds themselves in a fearful time.

I’m so blessed to be able to offer such a simple gift for such an important cause.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:40

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