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Friday, August 20, 2010

Preparing for Winter

The weather seems to be changing. It has been so dry here that the trees are starting to lose leaves and the grass isn’t growing as fast as it had been and the heat wave has broken. This is putting me in the preparation mood.

Over the weekend I made onion soup mix and taco seasoning mix, put more tomatoes in the freezer, cleaned out my food cabinets and did some major cleaning.

This weekend will be spent doing some more cleaning, the fridge and freezers need to be cleaned out and organized, and canning a few more tomatoes. We pick a 5 gallon bucket full every time we go out to the garden. There are also peas to pick and freeze. I plan to buy 120 ears of corn and get that in the freezer, also.

It looks as if the elder berries are almost ripe and I plant to make elder syrup for medicinal purposes. It is said to be really effective on colds and sinus problems.

The upstairs bedrooms need to be straightened and I plan to rearrange the office area. We have gained a new book case and file cabinet. The old file cabinet needs to be cleaned out and everything needs to be reorganized.

We are having friends to dinner tonight. There will be barbecued chicken, parmesan potatoes, peas, corn and dump cake for dessert. Yum!

Shopping this week has been really good. This week I got all this for FREE:

40 Sobe drinks

A $23.00 bag of cat food

Hot dogs


A Netti Pot

2 Purex 3 in 1 (sample size packages)

The list just keeps growing, and the pantry gets fuller.

I am very thankful that God allows me to find these deals and has allowed and continues to allow me to learn how to stretch the items and the money.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

The tomatoes have started pouring in. I picked a 5 gallon bucket full last night. All shapes and sizes, mostly red and yellow. Saturday will be spent canning tomatoes. They will be so tasty this winter in soups and stews. I am actually considering canning just yellow ones just to see if I like yellow soup, instead of red. Even though I know the taste is pretty much the same, yellow soup just seems kind of weird to me.

I tried to make my own spaghetti sauce this week. I am not sure that I am going to like the taste of it. It seems kind of bitter now. Maybe if I mix it with store bought spaghetti sauce it will be fine.

One tip I'll share about store bought spaghetti sauce is to keep a large baggie in the freezer. When I use a jar of spaghetti sauce, I turn the jar upside down in the baggie and let it drain. It takes a while to get enough to use, unless you use a lot of spaghetti sauce. But you will be surprised how much sauce is left in the jar after you use it.

Zipper cream peas are doing well. I have another mess (as we call it in the south) to shell and get in the freezer. The raccoons ate all of our corn so I am having to buy corn to put in the freezer. And something is killing our chickens. We lost one of our prettiest older hens last night. It is pretty upsetting when you've had a chicken for so long.

It has been pretty hot here in Northern Kentucky, it reminds me of Florida this week. The good part of that is it doesn't last long.

We have been cleaning out my mother's in law home this summer, they have moved into assisted living, and I have been bringing home lots of cook books. I have an addiction to cook books. I keep getting more and more, so I have decided to try to make at least one recipe from each book. This will probably take the rest of my life. But this week I made a recipe from an old cook book on potatoes. I think it was called Terrific Taters or something like that. Here is the recipe and it was delicious.

Seven Layer Dinner
2 cups sliced potatoes (I used red unpeeled potatoes)
1/4 cup chopped celery (I omitted)
1 lb ground beef (I used ground chuck)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced carrots
2 cups canned tomatoes (I used fresh and added a little water)
1/4 cup rice (next time I will put the rice under the tomatoes)

Layer in order in a 1.5 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours. I had to put it in the microwave for about 6 minutes to finish cooking the rice. I don't think there was enough liquid to cook it very well so next time it will be under the tomatoes.

Did I say this was yummy!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fair Time

It is fair time. We went last night and took April, Pete and Lily. We had so much fun. Lily enjoyed the Merry go Round (it was the only ride she was big enough to ride.) We won her a big teddy bear and ate fair food. It was really hot but was also really fun.

It is also harvesting time. Our peas are coming in faster than I can get them picked, shelled and frozen. The tomatoes are starting to come in. And the Lima beans and green beans are probably ready to be picked again.

So far I have put up 6 bags of corn, 5 bags of green beans, 4 pints of blackberry jelly, 3.5 quarts peach pie filling, one bag of peaches and 3 bags of tomatoes. That really isn't a lot, but we have been eating a lot of what we are picking. I have more tomatoes ready to be canned and some zucchini I need to shred for the freezer. I think I will make chocolate zucchini bars for the freezer, then when we want them we can just thaw them and ice them.

This summer has been really busy and we haven't had a lot of time to put into gardening and canning. We have to go to Louisville this Saturday and then I hope the rest of the weekends in August can be spent at home. There is a lot to do to get ready for winter. Fields need to bush hogged, the garden needs to be finished, flower beds need to be weeded & mulched, and blackberries need to be trimmed and trellised. And I need a few more days to float around in the pool. Oh well! That's life.

Enjoy yours!