Sunday, January 30, 2011

Canning And A quilt

Oh my gosh!!!
We've been canning since last Friday,
a few hours here a few there. (After work)

We finally finished up today.


The pineapple will be lunch bag snacks,
kabob fillers, diced for cookies, ham additive,
could even be squashed and simmered for syrup over pancakes.
(Use your imagination.)

The veggie broth is a beautiful amber color,
looks like a French Onion Soup starter.
Onion and garlic skins/ends with celery ends
simmered then strained and canned.
(Used the waste from the Tomato Veggie mix.)

The Tomato Veggie mix is toms, celery, onion, garlic,
mixed color bell peppers and dried chilies.
No seasonings, we'll use this base for tacos, spaghetti sauce,
pico de gillo, guacamole, lasagna, spanish rice ETC. 

Even managed to make a few batches of soap,
mow some of the lawn weeds, clean house and do laundry.
The temps. have been in the high 70's for the last 3 days
so I was able to hang the laundry out and
open the doors for some much needed fresh air.
Snow predicted on Tuesday, damm darn bipolar Texas weather.

Steve planted the carrot seeds, the lettuce, spinach and more of the onions.
We're spacing the onion plantings so they don't all come in at the same time.

Sure do want to finish that quilt.



I think I spy some of the rose fabric from the placemats in the lower left corner of the quilt close up.
Frugal me.

Well, thats all I got!!
Till next time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sewing The New Placemats and Napkins


The holidays are over, the festive adornment is put away......
Plain dining table now!
What's a girl to do?
Sew of course!!!
4 placemats, 4 napkins and 1 table runner to be specific.
Are you ready?

What you need.
Sewing machine (optional, but very useful)
Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but very useful)

What you do.
1. Cut 8 rectangles 15 1/2" X 12 1/2 " (mats)
2. Cut 8 squares 10 1/2" X 10 1/2" (napkins)
3. Cut 2 rectangles 21" X 11 1/2" (runner) 

4. Place 2 of the placemat rectangles right sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam around all 4 edges, leaving a 3" opening in the middle of one of the seams.
5. Remove from the sewing machine and press to set the stitches.
6. Clip corners.
7. Turn right side out through 3" opening.
8. Press again, tucking in raw edges on the 3" opening.
9.Top stitch close to the edge around the whole rectangle.

10. Continue this same process for the rest of your placemats, then move on to the napkins, then the runner.

You now have beautiful table top adornment!!!!

I made my placemats from a different fabric on the back because
I didn't have enough of the rose fabric for both sides.
The napkins are a little small for this same reason
but look very nice folded in half.
The napkins and runner match the placemat's back fabric.
(runner not shown)

This project was quick and easy and you might
even consider adding some ribbon trim to the edges.
The rose fabric used to be throw pillows and
I don't remember what I had the swirly fabric for.
Fabrics come and go here, today curtains,
tomorrow throw pillows, the next time placemats.
I never get rid of fabric!!!!

I've also been working on a quilt.

Till next time,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brendies Christmas Gift Part 2



As I was putting away Christmas decor last week I was reminded that I wanted to publish another post on Brendies present from our gift exchange.

I was so excited when I opened the mail box
and saw a package all the way from New Zealand.
Woo Hoo!!!
It was like opening a mini treasure chest.
In addition to the adorable tree ornaments, she had included a really cool necklace, (which my grandson Nathan immediately snagged) a souvenir Kiwi ink pen (hanging on my fridge for making the market list) but most impressive were these really awesome dinner napkins with matching rings.
(Rings made out of PVC pipe covered in fabric, how inventive is that?.)
The fabric is oh so pretty and festive but the most impressive part is that she took the time to hand stitch all the hems on the napkins! That she would take the time to hand craft the ornaments, hand stitch the napkins, for someone she doesn't even know is truly amazing to me.

The reason I bring this up is, now, my dining table is blah, no more awesome table adornment!
So... thanks to Brendie,
I was motivated to get off my butt computer and sew.
Thanks’ Brendie, your lovely gifts were what I needed to
spur me to get back to my crafts.
Some new place mats and napkins are in order I think.
Till next time,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Candied Citrus Peel Cookies AKA Super Yummy Lunch Bag Treats



Are you sick of recipes yet? I hope not because I have another one.
We're going to be using those fruit peels we candied yesterday.
This is a super yummy cookie recipe that
bakes up fluffy and moist, biscuit style.
This recipe is from the Doubleday Cookbook circa 1976. I
 can't believe I've had this cookbook for over 35 years. OMG.
A little  lot frayed and stained, but still useful.

Brown Sugar Drops, makes about 8 dozen
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter or shortening, softened (can do 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortning)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk  or (3/4 tsp. lemon juice with enough milk to equal 1/2 cup. Let sit for a few to meld. I make the lemon juice milk mixture first thing so it's ready when I am.)
2 tsps. orange extract
2 cups candied fruit peel

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine flour, salt and soda and set aside.

In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter,
sugar and eggs until fluffy.
Mix in sour milk and orange extract.
Slowly add dry ingredients till blended.
Fold in fruit peel.
After everything is mixed/folded, drop by rounded  tsp. 2" apart onto a greased baking sheet.
I use the wrapper the butter came in to grease my cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer to racks to cool.
Raisins, apricots or most any other dry fruit can be subbed for the orange peel.
Feel free to experiment with the extract also.
I keep my dough in the fridge between batches
and also let my cookie sheet cool before the next batch.
This makes for a more biscuit like cookie with very little spreading of the dough.


These cookies can be eaten for a quick breakfast or as a snack between meals. (very filling.)
Much better, less calories, than anything Mickey Dee's has to offer!!!!

I hope you try these and let me know what you think.
Sue, you might try these for your coffee drinkers!
Now I'm off to the kitchen to can up the pineapples.

Till next time,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Candied Fruit Peels


Remember those fruit peels I suggested you to save?
This is what we're going to do with them.
You can use any citrus you like,
just keep in mind that the smaller the fruit, the more peel you'll need.
You can scale this recipe up or down to fit your needs.

What you need.
Peels from 3 large oranges or 2 grapefruits or 5 lemons or 6 limes (about, depending on size)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2  cups sugar

What to do.
With a sharp knife remove as much pith from the peels as you can.
(Please be careful, cut AWAY from your fingers, (I can't be held responsible.)
Slice peels into 1/4" strips then cross cut.
Place peels into a sauce pan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil.
Repeat the boil, drain thing 5 times.
(Side note, you can save your water from each draining to pour on any fire ant mounds,
they don't like the citrus. AKA, dead ants!!!)

Now it's time to get down to it.
Combine the 3/4 cups water, the 1 1/2  cups sugar in a sauce pan
and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and add the peels.
Cook slowly until syrup is nearly evaporated, stirring often.

Drain peel (maybe save this part for a marinade?)
At this point you can roll the peel in sugar and place on a rack to dry,
then package and freeze.
I drain, then package in recipe size portions (without rolling or drying)
in freezer paper for use in cookies ETC.
These make a wonderful addition to cookies, fruit cobblers, slow cooker pork or chicken, maybe even a stir fry.

This recipe is from the Settlement Cookbook my Mom gave me, third edition, circa 1976

Shall we make cookies next? I'm feeling it!!!

Till next time,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Canning Citrus Recipe


What to do with all those oranges and grapefruits from The Dallas Farmers Market?
Can them of course!!!
These make great snacks for taking to work, pureeing for a marinade, chopped for cobblers or
whatever else you can think of.

5 lbs. peeled, deseeded grapefriut

Here's the recipe for canning your citrus fruits.

13lbs. of citrus fruit to yield about 9 pints
(you can mix and match fruits if you like. (It will take more fruit if you're using lemons or limes)
 4 cups sugar
6 cups water or citrus juice or combo of both

Get your water bath canner set up with the water and jars inside and bring to a simmer.
Put your lids in a sauce pan with water and simmer.

Wash fruit.
Peel and deseed the citrus fruit. I like to peel with a knife. (Save those skins for candied peels.)
Pull segments apart and put into a large bowl.
When you are done peeling and deseeding all the fruit you're ready to make the syrup.

Combine the water/juice and the sugar and bring to a boil stirring to incorporate.

Pull your jars out of the canner, drain, and fill with the fruit to 1/2" of top,
then add your syrup to 1/4' of the top.
Slide a wooden spoon handle down the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp clean cloth, apply the lid and then the band.
Place the jars in the canner as you fill them.

Once you get the canner filled put the lid on and bring to a boil.
Make sure the water covers the tops of the jars by about 2".
When you have a rolling boil set your timer to 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes are up remove the jars and place on a folded dish towel to cool.

My canner only holds 7 pints at a time so I have to do 2 separate batches.
If you don't have a canner you can use a large stew type pot with a folded dish towel in the bottom.
(You don't want your jars on direct heat.)
If you have any of the syrup mixture left over you can ladle it into jars to make juice. Just can up as you would the fruit.


I hope you give this a try and let me know your results.

Till next time,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dallas Farmers Market

I had to make a trip into north Dallas yesterday for soap supplies and since
The Dallas Farmers Market is on the way we decided to stop.


Lots of local greens, onions, south Texas grapefruit,
farm fresh eggs and honey.
Also plenty of the more exotic fare, pineapples, mangoes and papayas.

Well needless to say I parted with a little green!
We came home with 25lbs. of tomatoes, 14 pineapples, 10lbs. of oranges,
5lbs. of grapefruit, several bell peppers, (yellow and green) and, (I'm not saying how many) onions.
Guess what we're doing tomorrow?
Stay Tuned for canning day!!!!

Till next time,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pressure Canning Project #1 Chili

This was our first venture into pressure canning meals in a jar.


Notice that square looking jar 2nd. from left? Vintage, found at one of my favorite shops. I've had it for about 10 years, it's seen many food items. Says Atlas, maybe I should Google that!

After my last post I was cold, so  I decided I wanted to turn the oven on which required cooking something.
Had some canned stewed tomatoes with celery, colby cheese and some summer sausage,
I got out the bread machine to make my dough,
pureed the tomatoes,
sliced the sausage really thin, (makeshift pepperoni)
grated the cheese,
Chicago Style Pizza
(More or less)
I call it Chicago Style because I remember as a teen, 
pizza being cut into squares, not wedges.
Just because you don't have the proper ingredients doesn't mean you should be deterred.
It was super yummy, really, I swear.
Till next time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Food and Knowledge...These are a few of my favorite things...


The goodies have finally arrived.
No more onions from the BIG BOX PEOPLE,
small box delivered right to my mail box!
(My, that's a lot of boxes for one sentence)
I didn't know there were short day, intermediate and long day onions, or that some were better for storing than others, or that you leave them to dry in the garden after you pick them.
Seems I knew nothing at all about onions.

After some research I now know that in Texas, we need short day onions.
And there's a local supplier in east Texas. Brown's Omaha Plant Farms Inc.
I like to shop local when I can.
We are now the proud parents of,
TX 1015 - Y Supersweet
Red Burgandy Hamburger
My husband's choices!
The snow has melted so maybe tomorrow we can get them in the ground.
I'm still doing research to understand which ones store better. 


We subscribe to Backwoods Home Magazine and they had a few books we've been coveting.
I finally loosened the purse strings and ordered one for me and one for Steve, the third one was free.
My choice was,
Jackie Clay's canning book.
This is not your run of the mill canning book, this is the SUPREMEO CANNING BOOK!!! (I'm sure that's a word)
I have several canning manuals but not one covers the range of foods to can as this one does.
Canned cheese, meat, milk who knew?
There's tips on growing a wide range of foods, recipes and even info on raising animals.
I can't wait to put this book to use.
I love knowledge.

Steve got,
 Butchering Smoking Curing and Sausage Making.
I haven't looked at that one yet so I have no opinion to share.

The third one is,
 Recession Proof Your Pantry
It starts out listing everything you'll need in your pantry to survive for one year, just in case you can't get to the market.
You never know what will happen, flood, hurricane, snow, ????

Great info on how to store different types of foods.
It lists the requirements for most veggie, how cold, how much humidity etc.
Also gives you ideas on where to store if you don't have a root cellar. (NOT)
I haven't finished reading it yet but so far I'm learning alot.

We do ok in respect to canning but I feel that we need to take it to the next level.
In addition to what you grow why not take advantage of the market sales, buy it on sale, can for later use.
That's one of the goals I have for 2011
Self reliance is a good thing!!
 Till next time,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I live In Texas For Pete's Sake!!!!



I think tomorrow should be a vacation day
with a dose of Nancy's sugar cookies!!!
And Brendie, you are a lucky gal!!!

Till next time, if I make it...

Friday, January 7, 2011

I've been sick. Really, I have!!!

We had a really great Christmas here, no excess, just great times with family.
Steve's daughter Amber and her husband Felix came up from Houston bearing many homemade gifts. We don't see them often enough so it was quite a treat to be able to visit and exchange gifts. Amber made me a brown sugar scrub which smells and feels wonderful and gave me a spiral notebook with my soap display on the front, very cool! Forgot to photo Amber and Felix, !!!SNAP!!!


My youngest daughter and the grandkids came by for Christmas lunch, we did a Mexican Fiesta theme.
Fajitas, refried beans, spanish rice, enchiladas, guacamole. YUMMO!!!
We did the traditional lunch at Thanksgiving so something different was in order.
Forgot to photo the food but did remember to photo the kids.


My oldest daughter Heather is in Alaska so she wasn't able to attend our little party.
She's been sending me photos of all the cool stuff there. I'm  planning  a post about her adventures.
She's a traveling nurse and  has a 6 month contract there, we sure do miss her!!
The tall boy in the US photo is her son Brian and the girl in green is her daughter Lauren.

I've been sick, but I'm feeling much better now.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Till next time.