Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallow's Eve

Tonight if you're in the process of making applesauce, maybe try out this form of divination:

Peel the Apple
Girls would peel an apple then throw the peel over their shoulder onto the floor or into a tub of water.  The letter formed by the apple peel was the first initial of the man they would marry.  I tried this once in my youth, but the dog always stole the peel before I could see the initial. I was once told by someone that if you recite the ABC's while twisting the stem on an apple, the letter you're on when the stem comes loose is the initial of the man you'll marry.

Happy Halloween!

If you want to read more about Halloween or read some ghost stories check these out:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just Peachy!

Since I've managed to conquer my fear of canning
I've become a canning fool.
I have scoured canning cookbooks and marked recipes I want to try:
Brandied Apple Rings, Applesauce, 
Mint Jelly
and my famous Chicken Corn Soup
(though I'm still slightly apprehensive about canning meat).
When I went to the local store and saw they had some peaches, 
I grabbed some of those for some jam
(because Big E loves peaches and I love Big E)
The recipe I used was delish!

Vanilla Peach Jam

8 cups peeled and chopped peaches (about 7 large peaches)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp of pure vanilla extract)
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp Bourbon (optional)
Put the peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven
slice the vanilla beacn in half lengthwise and using the flat side of the knife
scrape out the seeds and place in pot along with the pod
(or dump in 3 tsp of pure vanilla extract like I did)
Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer.
Add the bourbon now if you're using it.
I didn't because I didn't have any
but next time I think I'll try it
(it's supposed to enhance the flavor of the vanilla)
Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours
stirring occasionally
Allow to cool slightly 
then ladle into jelly jars discarding the bean pods.
I canned this in a water bath canning method
for 20 minutes.

This was super easy to make because it didn't require constant stirring or attention
and used only a few ingredients.
It's definitely on the list to make more!
Plus, it made the entire house smell fantastic
and it tasted fantastic as well.
Can't wait to have some on some vanilla ice cream!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

'Tis The Time for Pumpkin Cookies

I decided to bake some pumpkin cookies
for the annual bingo night at my son's school.
It is, after all, pumpkin flavored season. 
Pumpkin cookies baking in the oven
 Bailey laid down ever so innocently 
as though she had no interest 
in what was being placed in the oven to bake.

 Knowing only too well (from experience)
that Bailey will make a beeline
to whatever she can reach on the counter,
I had to make a barricade for the cookies that were cooling.

Golden raisin filled deliciousness.
She's nothing if not predictable!
Here is the recipe for the cookies.
I can't take original credit for them, though.
One of my coworkers used to make them for the annual
Open House he and his wife hosted at their craft store.
I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin things
but I love these cookies.

Bob's Moist Pumpkin Cookies


1/2 C butter                                              2 1/4 C flour                             3/4 C raisins
1 C packed brown sugar                       1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C granulated sugar                         1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 C canned pumpkin                      1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg                                                             1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                                               1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 F
Beat butter and sugars until creamy, beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla, mix in flour and other dry ingredients, stir in raisins. Drop heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet bake 12-15 minutes, store in an airtight container.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Why Do I Can?

so maybe it's not really the looming Zombie Apocalypse 
that got me canning.
the possibility for some other real life crisis
(natural disaster, power loss, alien invasion...)
I'm not saying I'm a full on prepper
because seriously, I don't think 8 quarts and 6 pints of canned tomatoes,
6 jars of red pepper jelly and 2 quarts of roasted garlic pasta sauce
are going to see me through in the long term.
It's a start, though, and knowing it's there is a little piece of mind.
I also think canning and preserving is a smart economical decision.
Food prices have increased pretty steadily over the past few years
and with that price increase, the quantity has reduced.
So you're getting less for more.
And don't get me started on all the genetically modified food
or the antibiotics and hormones pumped into everything.
(really, and people wonder why kids today are so different than kids of the past??)
 When I can, 
I know what goes in the jar.
I know how it was grown because I grew it.
I grew it from plants or seed that I knew were organic.
And finally, I'd say I have a nostalgia for the simple ways.
I'm not sure why that is since I never grew up on a farm,
and though my mom canned at one time, I don't remember it.
Maybe it comes from my hectic life running from one thing to another
and constantly feeling like I'm spinning.
I want to spend time at home
doing homey domestic things.
I want to pull my family back into 
being a nuclear family.
Spend time together
can together 
eat together.
And survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Talking Turkey

Big E Showed up yesterday morning with a photo of a bunch of turkeys down the road.
Not the neighbors, a real bunch of turkeys.
So we left for our Sunday jaunt in hopes that they would still be around.
They were.
Being the nut I am, I opened the window and stood up so I could get a good photo.
That's when I decided to gobble like a turkey.
They responded immediately.
I did this for several minutes
before another car came and I was forced to get out
and shoo them away from the van
(they had surrounded us at this point).
The Brat Child now thinks we need to go find and capture these turkeys and
keep them as pets.
Check out the video

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bring on Fall

I managed to get all those new falls seeds planted this week.
(Not all by myself- Big E manned the tiller and 
pulled some weeds and 
took care of wedding photographer details. 
I know, he's awesome)
Just in time for some steady rain rain today.
Hoping to can some beets and sauerkraut later this fall.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Fall Seeds

I received my latest order of seeds yesterday and can't wait to get them in the ground. Because I've managed to use my canner and not blow anyone up, I've become adventurous and plan on attempting to make my own sauerkraut. So I have 2 varieties of cabbage to try. I also have Autumn King carrots, Dwarf Curled Scotch Kale, Siberian Dwarf Kale and a beet blend. All these were ordered through Annie's Heirloom Seeds. I wasn't too impressed with the germination of the kale and cabbage seeds I got from Seed Savers so I'm giving this new company a try. Now to talk Big E into building a couple of poly tunnels...