Sunday, September 30, 2012
This is something I have thinking about.
I recently prepared 13 meals for freezing and cooking in the crock pot, but now I am wondering, should I pre-cook before freezing them, or continue freezing and cooking them after the fact.
So far I've cooked 2 freezer meals on the BBQ, 3 in the crockpot, and 2 in the oven.
There are pros and cons for both making the decision that much harder. The biggest pro for not cooked is saving space in the freezer because they are in gallon freezer bags.
The other pro is the cost of freezer bags is a lot less than baking pans.
The biggest pro for precooking is time saving on the day I serve it.
What are your thoughts, do you precook or just freeze?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Friday afternoon I received a small package of water kefir grains from one of the speakers. I was grateful for the gift and to meet another homeschooler in the community.
I used organic sugar, fresh ginger, lemons, and homemade raisins. I was surprised how easy it was to put together and how quickly it brewed. It took 18 hours to brew on the counter for the first batch. The second batch pictured here is brewing faster, partially I think because I added an extra lemon slice and there was more kefir grains. I didn't realize they would multiply so quickly. I think my third batch will end up being in a half gallon instead of the quart.
I decided to do a secondary ferment on part of the batch with some of my grape juice from last season. I let it brew for another 12 hours and then poured a glass before dinner while I was writing a couple of posts for our homeschool blog. There is very little alcohol content (I suppose I should test it to find out the exact percentage, but not tonight). Tonight I am going to just enjoy the drink and enjoy my homemade sauerkraut with campfire hot dogs.
I am enjoying this new adventure and will continue to share as I find new goodies to create.
I have so many verses this week, but will share just a few.
Psalms 119: 90 NKJV Your faithfulness endures to all generations.
Psalms 119: 142 NKJV Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.
1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV ... Eye hath not seen nor ear heard neither hath entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I pray you have a blessed week.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
I was blessed to attend a local day of talks about Fermenting. Since this is new to me, I decided to share my experiences with you. I am by no means an expert, I’m just learning and experimenting to see what will work for my family.
So far I have a jar of saurkraut, a jar of kimchi, and a jar of leeks fermenting in the pantry.
The leeks have a weight holding them down so I wrapped a towel and rubber band around them. The saurkraut is almost done maybe another 2 or 3 days before I move it into the refrigerator. The kimchi is new today so I am guessing a couple of weeks. I am very interested in the natural advantages to lacto fermenting as well as the cost savings in that I don’t have to process it, just store it.
I also started a small batch of milk kefir that I am excited to try for breakfast smoothie on Monday. The next on my fermentation bucket list is kombucha and I will hopefully have a batch going tomorrow night.
I still have traditional pickles in the pantry and will continue to process some of our food stores in the traditional manner like the Dilly Beans and Salsa.
So while I explore lacto fermentation, I’m not totally abandoning my traditional methods.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Now what are we going to do with all of this?
So far I have made spaghetti sauce only once, hamburgers several times on the BBQ, taco casserole, homemade sausage and hamburger jerky.
We had a wonderful Italian pot roast last night with fresh garden veggies simmered with Italian Seasoning.
Before I made the roast though, I made a batch of Beef Broth. I have mentioned making broth on our Facebook page before and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share how I do it.
I LOVE using broth for rice, veggies, pasta, soup, etc. I don't love the price or the sodium content.
I started with 1 package of soup bones (neck bones this time) and my crock pot.
I added 1/2 glove elephant garlic, 1/2 sweet onion, 1 bay leaf, and 1 Tablespoon of salt to the crock-pot and filled it with water (3 1/2 qts) turned it on high and walked away.
I cooked it all day Sunday (from 1:30 until 7:30) and then turned it onto the "keep warm" setting over night as I didn't want to deal with it that late Sunday evening.
Monday morning I skimmed the fat off the top and put it into pint jars.
7 pint jars of strained broth into the pressure cooker. Refer to you canning/ preserving books for guide (pressure and time can vary)
Now I have 7 pints of beef broth ready for soups, rice, pasta, veggies, etc...
I have been known to buy some broth in cans when I find an amazing sale (usually with coupons during Thanksgiving) but beef is always more expensive. This way I have it ready and it didn't cost nearly what it would have otherwise.
Do you use your own broth? How do you save it?
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Our garden is blessing us, our friends' gardens are blessing us,my parents' garden is blessing us, and our local gleaners group is blessing us.
Yes I used the word blessing four times. Truly the harvest is a blessing.
So far this year we have harvested and put up: cherries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cauliflower, brocolli, kale, corn, greenbeans, apples, and peaches.
On the coming list cabbage, leeks, garlic, squash, pears, more corn, more cauliflower, more broccoli, more kale, and hopefully beets, and root vegetables.
What do I do with all these things?
Can, freeze, and dry them.
I added a teaspoon of honey and 1/2 a teaspoon of citric acid for a preservative to each jar.
I still have 8 gallons of apples to juice, dry, and freeze so there will be more to come. I am also hoping for a few more varieties later in the season.
Later this week I will post more of the harvest season. Kale, veggies, pickles, pears, and organizing it all.
I switched to just 1 sidebar and the footer (still tweaking on that a little). I love my header and blog button and decided to keep a variation on the header the Danielle did last year for me. I added the tabs back to the page top rather than the header and made the blog post space a little larger, I wanted to show off the food pictures so needed a larger post space.
I am working on adding a few new pages over the coming weeks to help sort the posts a bit for everyone. I am thinking of a tab for reviews, scripture, PR/ media kit, about us, recipes, and frugal living. The idea that my readers all come from different seasons in their lives and I want you to be feel like you can find what you are looking for quick and easy.
Hope you have a great week