Saturday, June 25, 2011

I've Opened a Store @ Etsy

It's called New 2 You .  Since I am going to estate sales with Dad every Friday, I thought I would pass on some great buys.  I will add a small mark-up and pass the savings on to you.  The first item posted is an orange clutch purse and gloves set.  Pumpkin orange and fantastic.  I will be adding more items as I take photos.  I have some great items, so check the store often.

Thanks for the Update, Millie

 A faithful reader of the blog, Millie, sent me the comment below.

My son lives in a farming community and as of now they had not been able to plant their corn, alfalfa and their tomatoes because of the dreadful rains they have been having this year. It has been a total loss for them. Also as of Jan.1st, the electric companies will no longer be making regular light bulbs...the companies will be selling only the spiral efficient light try to stock up on the regular light bulbs before they are all gone.

We have been asked by our church to become more self-reliant. There is still time to plant your own garden.  Even if you live in an apartment, try growing a tomato in a pot.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Your Pasta Now!

From Bloomberg News:

Pasta Price May Surge as Swamped North Dakota Cuts Durum Supply.

Unrelenting rainfall may have slashed U.S. planting of durum wheat to the lowest level in more than 50 years, fueling a surge in the price of pasta and noodles as mills scramble for supply of the grain.

Farmers who normally are finished planting by now had completed just 44 percent as of June 19 in North Dakota, which produces more than two-thirds of U.S. durum, government data show...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Zucchini Candy

It's already starting.  The zucchini is taking over!  Lucky I found this recipe from Suzy Homefaker.

Zucchini Candy
10 cups peeled diced zucchini 1/2 inch cubes ( I use "worms" about 3 inches long and 1/12 inch thick and wide. The little dice would be good in muffins, though.
3 cups water
2 pkgs. unsweetened  Cherry Koolaid
2 1/2 cups sugar
Peel zucchini, dice or slice, removing seeds. Mix the liquid syrup together. Add zucchini. Bring to a boil and them simmer for 25 min. Drain. Put on dehydrator trays. Dry 14 hours at 125 degrees. Turn pieces over and dry another 4 hours. This will feel dry and not sticky when done. Store in jars or other tightly sealed containers.If you dip in sugar when you turn them, they will be more like "gum drops" on the outside.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 61

How about this great idea, salad in a jar.  Check out this site namely aptly, Salad in a Jar, for the how-to.  If you have mason jars and a Food Saver with a vacuum lid attachment, you got it made. The site says the salad can be done a week at a time and stored in the fridge.  It lasts a week or more without browning.  How great is that?  I'd go a bit further and put the extras in jars also.  Pre-cut the peppers, jicama, fruits etc. to the fixins bottle. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garden Bounty 2011

I've been a bit busy this week.  The garden is coming along quite well.  I pulled all the onions out this week. The strawberries are coming in nicely as are the cucumbers.  DH and I ate our first tomatoes, also.  They taste so good.  The beans are coming on and the zucchini is giving us lots of tender blossom-ended zukes. I did find some zucchini that were hiding on the ground under some leaves.  Not so tender.  I also picked our first green bell pepper. Since the cukes are on, I made our first pickles of the year.

If you are wondering what my great recipe is, wonder no longer.  I cheat.
This mix is great.  Everyone loves the pickles made with this mix.  I bought four packages at Wally World for $1.97 ea.  My local Wal-Mart was out, so I had to find the packs at another store.  The directions are simple.  You dissolve the mix in vinegar and water, let it boil and then add it to your raw pack cucumbers.  It doesn't get much easier that that.  After processing for 10 minutes in a BWB.  This is what you wind up with.
One packet made seven pints and three half-pints. After a week the flavor has developed enough to eat. Open, Eat, Enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 60

Okay, here's a tip for you I bet you didn't know.  You can use your blender base on a regular mouth sized mason jar.  This is great for me because, with my arthritis, I often drop things, if I don't get a strong grip. This very thing happened to me when I was picking up my blender jar. Not only did the jar break, but I  also broke my 8-cup pyrex measuring cup! Dang, I hate when I do that!!!!  But, for some reason I keep the blender screw on base. The blender also has food processing attachments, so that's why I didn't get rid of the entire machine. Any whoo, I can now use the blender again by using a canning jar. I have been craving a berry smoothie...

Oh and something else, am I the last person to find out about Pinterest? It's a great site to store the pix of all those fabulous ideas, thoughts, trends and whatever else you like.  I am loving the fact that I don't have to store tons of things in my bookmarks never to be found a second time.  All I have to do is look at my board and click on the photo.  For example, I love doing miscellaneous things with old maps, so I made a board I entitled 'maps' (how original) and can dump the inspiration photo or link to a tutorial directly into that board.  Then when I want map inspiration I can go to the board and bring up whichever photo I want to.
Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Yesterday, after taking Dad to breakfast, we hit the estate sales in his retirement community.  I got all these jars for $15, They originally quoted me $20, and I countered with $15.  There were even some blues and wire tops with the glass lids.  Not bad.  After washing them all, I think I did pretty well!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 59

How about a 'new' pickle recipe? Try this one at your own risk. ***

Joe Loftin Smith's Pickles:


Fresh jalapeno peppers OR Pickling cucumbers (whole, cut lengthways or into small chunks or sliced) OR whole green beans OR Fresh asparagus

Canning or Kosher Coarse Salt (no iodine)
Garlic (lots-peeled)
Boiling onions OR chunked onions
Red cider vinegar
Dill seed
Dill weed (fresh if possible)
Option: Mustard or celery seed (highly recommended)

Sterilize everything close to the kitchen with bleach and water - sink, counter tops, etc. - rinse. Carefully wash and rinse the jars, shake dry and place in 275 degree oven with their mouths upwards.

5 quarts water
2 1/2 quarts red cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups salt for peppers
1 1/4 cups salt for pickles, jardiniere, green beans and okra (some add up to 1/2 cup more)

The above ingredients make enough brine for 12 quarts of pickles. Mix everything in a large metal pot with a lid. It takes about 2 cups of brine to do a quart of veggies (seems I always need just a little more). Bring to a boil and turn
burner down to keep the solution simmering hot.

Place peppers, green beans, asparagus (trimmed on the bottom) or cukes (cut 1/2" off blossom end of the latter), 1 large bag of peeled carrots, small pieces of cauliflower and onions in a sink filled with warm water. Use any combination or just one veggie, like string beans. Scrub and drain everything at least twice to remove dirt, leaves, and slime. Prepare all the garlic you can stand to peel (don't over-blanch in the hot water) or you can use the prepared chopped type.Rinse the latter before using.

As the brine heats assemble canning tools and place rings and lids in slow boiling water as with any canning. Clean all of the counter tops and stove.

Put clean towels on cabinets to contain spills and insulate jars to prolong heat. Wash the veggies, place in a large pot or in a very clean sink and cover with hot water to preheat them. Drain and repeat 2-3 times during the process.

When doing dill pickles, cut a few cukes lengthwise to facilitate packing the jars.

Cut the sharp top off of each jalapeno pepper and put one in each jar of dill pickles, green beans, etc. I do not cut off the tip when I do just jalapeno peppers alone.

Remove a hot jar from the oven and add 1/4-1/2 tsp peppercorns, 1/4 tsp dill seeds, 1/4 tsp celery (or mustard) seed and a small amount of real dill weed to the jar. Then quickly pack it with the hot veggies - mixing large and small pieces. Use the packing tool that comes with canning kits to pack the jars as full as possible.

I usually do not add the cauliflower and carrots except when I am making jardiniere.

Keep everything hot - do not answer the telephone!

Fill the jars slowly to the top with the hot brine, keeping air in the jar to a minimum. Wipe salt, fluid and debris from jar tops - most important! Carefully place lid and ring on each jar - tighten very snugly.

Place all jars upside down on a very thick layer of towels and cover/wrap them in more towels to retain heat. Prolonged heat, salt, vinegar and heat from peppers makes it unnecessary to water-bath or pressure cook the whole mess. Only great crunchy veggies result. Properly wrapped, the warm jars will be sealed the next morning. Those that do not seal can be put in the back of the fridge and eaten first. Let age as long as you can stand it before eating - at least 1 month for pickles, slightly longer for jardiniere and 3 months for jalapeno peppers and beans.

Disclaimer: Use at your own risk. Since this doesn't water-bath or any other methods of preservation, I don't claim that this is safe to eat. However, I believe that this brine is strong enough that everything is 'preserved'. Many
people preserve things using brine without any ill effects. Growing up, there was a country store (that had a dirt floor, I might add) that had a huge wooden barrel full of brine that they sold pickles out of. As they sold, they just
dumped more pickles into the brine. No refrigeration at all. But since we live in a society where everyone sues everyone else, I feel the need to post this disclaimer.

Mary Ann
McCurtain County, Oklahoma

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What's New in the Garden

I was watering in the garden yesterday and found some small zucchini that were just the right size.  I'm still pulling up onions.  Our giant pumpkins are going great guns and taking over the garden, backyard and soon the neighborhood!  We still have strawberries that are a race to see who will get them first, us or the bugs.  I checked the cucumbers tonight and pulled off enough for a jar of pickles.  That was one of the entries I made for the county fair this year.  I entered dills and a some jam.  I did eat some snow pea pods the other day.  There weren't enough to save so I chomped them down raw.  Can't wait to see what's new tomorrow.

How to make Homemade Dough Enhancer

Another great money saver for us bread makers.

Homemade Dough Enhancer
1 cup wheat gluten
2 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals
2 tablespoons powdered pectin
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For
100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe
along with the flour.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Sale Items

Here are the items to keep a lookout for in June.
Ice cream
Bottled water
Iced tea mix and bags

Tools (around Father’s Day)

Week 58

I am trudging through the onions, still!  I did make something that is super yummy with them, Caramelized Red Onion Jam.  Stop right here if you won't cook with wine.  The taste just wouldn't be the same.  Personally, I don't drink, ever, however I do cook with wine.  If you're a bit adventuress, give it a try. This recipe is from Small Batch Preserving.


2 large red onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 fresh bay leaves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)

Stir the onions and brown sugar together in a large, heavy bottomed enamel pot. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the onions are very soft and deep brown in color (about 25 minutes). If the onions stick while cooking, stir in 1/4 cup of water and stir vigorously, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine, vinegar, and herbs. Turn the heat to high and bring the onions to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove the relish from the heat, pick out the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Pack the relish into hot half pint jars, seal, and process for 10 minutes.

Cook's Notes: Since I don't drink I didn't know anything about the wine.  I bought an inexpensive bottle of red wine from the store. It was under $3.  I  actually used red , brown and white onions, since that is what I picked.  I also skipped the bay leaf and thyme. (DH and  I don't like thyme.) I used more onions than what they called for, so I doubled the rest of the ingredients.  I had sliced the onions into rings, but the next batch I will chop in the food processor.  The mixture turns into a tar-like substance.  We tried it on grilled!