Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canning Inexpensively

I home can foods a lot. There is no denying it. If you were to see my pantry, it is mostly jars of food not cans of food. I enjoy canning and have been doing it for quite a few years now. But what if you want to learn or start canning more often, how do you get started?

I would recommend that you start s-l-o-w-l-y and do only one simple item/recipe at a time. Start with canning tomatoes or jam. These are easy, meaning; they don't require a lot of equipment or processing, the jars can be sealed using "Boil Bath Method", and you will have successful products. Which is important, because you want to like what you preserve and have gratification and satisfaction in an accomplishment well done.

Now canning is not as expensive as it might seem, if you plan, watch, be organized, and follow a few simple things.

1. If you start with canning "high acid" items that can be sealed using the Boil bath Method, then you can use a deep stock pot that you already have. As long as, there is at least 2 to 3 inches of room above the jars to the rim of the rim of the pot. This is so that you will have enough room for at least 1 inch of water above the jars and space for the water to boil without spilling over.

2. Watch for canning jars at thrift stores, yard sales, tag sales, flea markets, craigs list, local newspaper, etc. I am always picking up a jar here and there. Before you know it you will have several dozen. I have target prices that I try to limit myself too for different jar sizes. Quart size .75 cents or less each and pint and half-pint sizes .50 cents or less each. Just make sure and check that there are no nicks on the top of the jar or the lids will not seal.

3. Each year, early Summer and late Fall, the Sunday newspaper will usually have a coupon for $x.xx amount off 2 cases of Ball/Kerr canning jars. This is a great deal, since it brings your cost down to right around my target price for used jars and you get the band and a lid.

4. Check out your local discount stores for jars, lids, and bands. Some stores that I frequent are Fred's, Dollar General, and Wal-Mart. I recently found standard lids at Fred's for $1.00 box/12. Wal-marts price is about $1.50+ a box. So, I brought home 20 boxes, They are an off brand, but I have had no trouble with them not sealing.

5. Plan to continue canning. This is an investment, not just a passing fling. You will get the most for you money if you use and reuse your jars and equipment. One of my pressure canners was my grandmothers. So there was no investment in it by me, except to have pressure gauge checked periodically. I also have jars that are 20+ years old still in use. You have to be careful with how you store them when they are empty, so as not to chip the rim. Other than that, good jars will last a long time.

I do hope this gives you some ways to begin or expand you home canning endeavor. Just remember, start slow and simple, otherwise you might give up to soon. Keep you thoughts to how wonderful home canned food tastes. It is so much tastier than store tinned. And the benefits of having food items without all the added preservatives and chemicals, especially if you use organic fruits and veggies.

Happy Canning!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recipe using HC Item: Peach Raspberry Lavender Jam w/Mock Angel Food Cake

Did you know that you can use Jams for more that just slathering on a hot buttered homemade biscuit or piece of toast?

You can use it for sauces on a variety of meats, baked into cookies or fruit bars, a sauce for ice cream or cakes and so much more.

Saturday's we treat ourselves here at Rose Bud Cottage. We typically don't have sweets during the week, so on Saturday I will make something like cookies, pie, or cake to last the weekend. Today was no different.

I was in the kitchen, my usual hang out place, straightening up and prepping for dinner later. My son comes in and says, "Mom, what you planning on for today?" I tell him that we will be having Venison Roast, beans, potatoes and glazed carrots for dinner. For dessert I was thinking of making a Mock Angel Food Cake with Peach Raspberry Lavender Sauce on the side.

His reply was, "Yum! I love today. It just keeps getting better. Why can't every day be like this?"

Mock Angel Food Cake
Great cake! Moist, easy, and only uses 3 egg whites!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar or splenda or combo of both
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk, heated
3 large eggs, room temp

Measure first 4 ingredients into sifter and sift four times. This lets the flours get lots of air in them for a lighter fluffier cake. In saucepan, heat the milk just to the boiling point then remove from heat. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. In separate bowl, beat the egg whites until still. Fold, do NOT stir, into the batter until no streaks remain. Turn into a greased and lightly floured angel food pan. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Invert pan and let cool before removing.
Forgot the black-eyed peas, sorry!

This cake will not rise as high as a standard angel food cake, but it is still light and airy.

The rest of our menu for tonight's dinner consisted of:
Home-canned Glazed Carrots
Home-canned Potatoes
Fresh Black-eyed Peas
Venison Roast

Thursday, January 13, 2011

$82.78 for Only $8.15 ~ Now That's a Bargain!

I love shopping at Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, and Flea Markets. I never know what kinds of treasures I might come across at a really excellent price that can fit into our extremely tight budget. I am always on the look out for anything, home decor, possible gifts, linens, etc.  But since I practically live in the kitchen, except for when I am working at my job, I usually gravitate toward dishes, bake-ware, etc. I think I end up in those areas of the store because I am always on the look out for canning jars on the cheap.

Anyway the other evening, I stopped into a local Thrift Store (Potters House) and here is what I found:
I love cooking on pampered chef stoneware, but it is too expensive to buy new. So when I came across this little gem, a never used 8" mini baker by Pampered Chef for only $2.49, I couldn't pass it up.

Internet price: $23.95

Internet price for a NEW one is $23.95.

What a Deal! $21.49 Savings

Next, I found 3 Johnson Brothers Plates. Two match the set that I have (The Friendly Village) and a bread plate from a different set (Pennsylvania Fieldstone), but it matches close enough that no one will ever know it didn't really go with the set. I got a Dinner Plate $1.99, Salad Plate $1.79 and Bread Plate $1.29
Thrift Store ones - sorry about pic color

 Internet price for:
Dinner Plate $24.99
Salad Plate $8.00
Bread Plate $9.00

Savings of $36.92

Now the Best Deal of that Day...
 I happened across this Early American Press Cut Glass Syrup Pitcher in perfect condition for ONLY $.59 cents. We make our own pancake syrup here at Rose Bud Cottage, so this lovely piece will be great for those Saturday breakfast when everyone is here and we get to enjoy a hearty breakfast together.

Thrift Store find

  Internet price: $24.99
  Savings of: $24.40

 Now you see why I enjoy shopping at these places.....I find treasures, I    get to shop, and it fits within my really tight (and I mean-you can't squeeze anymore out of it) budget. Win! - Win! in my book.

Total Spent    =  $ 8.15
Total Savings = $82.78

Do you like thrift shopping, yard sales, or flea markets? What do you gravitate to, collect, or enjoy? Have you found a really great deal lately? Why not share....Would love to read about it.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Storing Home Canned Goods

This post is a re-post from June 2009 from a previous blog I had. Hope you find it helpful.

What does one do with all those canned jars now that you have put in all that hard work into preparing them? How does one store them?

Here is what I do. After my processed jars have set for 12 to 24 hours the first thing I do is to check and make sure the jars have all sealed. Then I remove the rings and lift the jar by the lid to verify a good seal. Once the jar has sealed there is no need for the ring. If by chance the food in the jar started to spoil you wouldn't be able to tell until you went to open the jar. But, if you take the rings off and store them without the rings, if the food was beginning to spoil it is possible that the lid would start to bulge or pop and you would be able to tell that it was bad immediately.

The second thing I do before putting away is to wipe my jars down with a damp cloth. This is to remove any residue on the jars and dry them. Thirdly, I label what it is and year made. Sometimes I just write on the lid or put a piece of tape on the lid and write on it, other times my daughter likes to make up fancy labels (especially if using as gifts). Then I place them on my shelves. They are best kept in a cool dark place, such as a basement, root cellar, or closet. Keep at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees are best and ideal.

When placing on the shelves REMEMBER to rotate your stock. Move the oldest items to the front and the newest to the back. This insures that a jar doesn't get forgotten about and goes bad before it gets used.

I do hope this gives you an idea as to how to store those jars so that they last until you are ready to open it up and Enjoy!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Ball Canning Contest on Facebook

Ball Canning & Recipes Contest
Starting today Ball Canning is having a contest on their Facebook page (here) until January 14th at midnight EST. You don't have to be a canner to enter. You can be a crafter too. You just have to up load a photo of how you use Ball jars. It's that easy.

They will then select 10 winners through a random drawing for a Stainless Steel Canner with Canning Rack and Ball® Blue Book. Approximate Retail Price - $85.00.

Detailed contest rules and regulations can be found here.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipe using Home-Canned Items: Italian Cabbage Soup

Some have asked....What do you make with all those different home-canned (HC) items? "I don't can because I don't think I would every use the stuff."

With those thoughts and questions in mind, I am going to start sharing more of the recipes that use the HC items.

Today's I will be sharing what we call Italian Cabbage Soup. This is just a soup that I have made up that conforms to the diet that My Knight and I are on. We eat a lot of cabbage on this diet and have come up with numerous ideas for soups using it. Why soup? Because it is more filling. Some of the other soups we have came up with are: Chicken Cabbage "Noodle" Soup, Mexican Salsa Cabbage Soup, and Cabbage "Spaghetti"  and Meat Sauce.
Chicken Stock
Stewed Tomatoes

Italian Cabbage Soup - serves 2

1 pint jar of HC broth (chicken or turkey)
1 pint jar of HC stewed tomatoes (tomatoes, peppers, onions)
2 cups cabbage, large shreds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of Italian seasoning
8 oz. of ground meat (venison or chuck)
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and drain. In sauce pan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. This blends all the flavors.

If you like, you can top with some Parmesan Cheese, and croutons. For a more creamy soup add a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Food Channel Predicts Top 10 Trends for 2011


Look what just happens to their number one prediction? 
I love it...... Read the full article here.

Top 10 Predictions
  1. The Canning Comeback – “Putting Up” is gaining popularity for both economy and health.
  2. Men in Aprons – Layoffs have led to more men cooking.
  3. Local Somewhere – We care about hand-tended no matter where it’s grown.
  4. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – We’re tired of being told what we can eat.
  5. Appetite for Food Apps – Social media is our guide and our coupon source.
  6. Small is the New Big Business – Corporations are thinking like small businesses.
  7. Fresh Every Day – Rooftop gardens are just part of this trend.
  8. Chefs in Schools – Better flavor is possible in an institutional setting.
  9. Discomfort Foods – Change makes us comfortable with more change.
  10. Eating for Sex and Other Things – We are working longer, and want all the gusto.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

This is the second of our family's 2011 New Years Resolutions. This saying, "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without" first came a commercial saying during the era of WWII (as noted above from the WWII advertisement). Even though I am sure that it was something that people had been saying for hundreds of years before it became a WWII poster.

So, what is out family's criteria for trying to meet this resolution for the year?

Use it up
-We are going to use up meal leftovers. By saving for another meal (example: lunch the next day) or combine several leftovers to make a new dish, casserole or soup. Hopefully this will help accomplish one of our other goals, which is to Waste Less. Items that we just won't eat or use up will be either composted or fed to the animals.
-We are going to use up household supplies and items that we currently have on hand (i.e. cleaners, toiletries, colognes, make-up, etc.), then we can make our own (which I prefer) or purchase (if making is not a good option). I will share recipes for cleaners and toiletry items i.e. shampoo, face scrubs, etc.

Wear it out
-We will be using items to their fullest in order to get the most for our dollars spent. This will include things like: furniture, clothing, bedding, towels, wash clothes, dishes, kitchen appliances, etc.
*Note: My Knight and I are going back on our diet (the one we did this last fall) starting this week, if we lose the same amount of weight as we did before, there will be a need for "smaller" clothing. We will be first shopping from home and seeing if we can "take-up" the clothing. Then we will shop from Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops and Yard Sales. Last resort will be buying new.

Make it do
-We will be making do with the items we currently have, which is way too much STUFF. We will be finding unique and creative ways to re-create uses and items out of the things/items/stuff we currently posses. This will help us accomplish another goal on our list, which is to recycle and reuse what we have. And it will help us to save more money.
*Note: One thing my sister, Amy, is doing is to not buy any wrapping paper or wrapping supplies for the year. Thus, she will be finding creative alternatives to wrapping gifts or recycling wrapping supplies she already has or receives during the year.

Do without
-This can be a tricky one....but our goal here is to find alternate ways to make do, trade, barter, share, borrow, recycle or recreate items that will get us the final product we would like or need. Now, I won't go as far as to say that we are going to go the whole year and not spend on anything....I don't think any of us (I am thinking one family member in particular - you know who you are) could totally commit to that. But, what I would like to see us as a family do is to begin to STOP and THINK about our purchases before giving into them.

Asking ourselves the questions:
Is there something that we currently have that will work or be just as compatible?
Can I barter, trade, or borrow for the item in need or want?
Do I really need it?
Can I make do without it?

All in the concept of really Simplifying our home and purchases.

Do you have any other ideas or concepts for each of these?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tips: Easy Breakfast/Snack for Family for Less than a $1.00

Starting today and continuing through the year, I hope to share tips and hints that will make that will be easier on the pocket book, helpful and overall making life a little simpler.

Don't be surprised to find tips and hints in many genres. 
Cooks in Training
Such as:
Low Cost Meals and Recipes
Cooking and Baking
Canning and Dehydrating
Kitchen Cleanup Tricks
Laundry and Bathroom
Homemade Cleaners and Toiletries
Plus, anything else that comes to mind.

Today's Tip:
20 Doughnuts + Holes for less than a Dollar

What you need
2 cans of off brand canned biscuits (.40 cents each)
Cast Iron Skillet
Powdered Sugar

Heat shortening in skillet over medium-high heat. You will want between 1/4 to 1/2 inch of melted shortening in pan.
While shortening is melting, open the biscuits and separate each, then punch out center. We used a hand-held apple corer; it is just about the right size for the holes. Also, prepare a platter with paper towels on it to absorb extra grease.

Once shortening is hot, gently place several holes or doughnuts into the pan. Do Not crowd the pan, but you can put several in at a time. After about 30 seconds flip the doughnut or holes over to brown on other side.

Once golden brown on both sides remove from grease and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with powered sugar while hot. These are best when eaten while still warm.

There you have it a simple and delicious (not so healthy) Breakfast or Snack for under a Dollar.

Do you have a simple and low cost recipe that that you would like to share? 
You can by simply linking it below or by submitting it in the comments.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Live Simply - Simply Live

One of our families 2011 New Year's resolutions is to Live more Simply.

How does one go about doing this in our "over indulgent, tremendously complex, excessively electronic, got to have it now, compounded multitasking, keep up with the Jones', work more for less" society? Honestly, I don't have the answer to that question.

For my family to start living a simpler life style within the confines of our small area of the universe, I have began a list of things that we here at Rose Bud Cottage can do to begin this process:
Get Home Better Organized - a place for everything, everything in its place
Follow the Budget - we have one, but get lax at times with it
Declutter ALL Areas - home & storage
Have TAG Sale  - of items gathered in decluttering
Donate - remaining "decluttered" items to Charity
Waste Less - time, food, water, electricity, etc.
Recycle More - compost more, find unique ways to reuse, etc.
Use Cloth grocery bags - keep in car & not forget to use
Watch less TV, Movies, Games, etc. - limit time for all areas
Buy Local - Buy Better - Buy Less - better bang for our buck
Use Low Cost/No Cost Resources more wisely - Library's, Thrift stores, etc.

This is the start of my list...Hope to add more to it as we progress and accomplish some of the items. Do you have any ideas on how to live simply, so that we can simply live? Share, please?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Home-Canned Summer Squash Soup

I received about 4 pounds of yellow crookneck squash this past week. Knowing that I would not be able to use that much squash up before it began to go bad, I decided I needed to find a way to preserve it.

I have several quart jars of dehydrated squash already, canned cubed squash gets too mushy, and nobody put me will eat pickled or relished squash, thus I had to find an alternate way to preserve.

So began the search through my numerous cookbooks and on the internet for soup recipes whose main ingredient was squash. Most recipes that I found contained flour and dairy products.  Therefore, I modified a recipe that I found to fit the criteria for canning and here is the result.

A beautiful golden summer squash soup that is full of flavor and will make a wonderful quick meal. Convenient - Easy - Quick. My kind of meal planning.

Home-Canned Summer Squash Soup

3 onions, chopped
5 cup chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth)
5 cups water
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots, sliced
4 pounds yellow squash (you could use zucchini  or combo of both) about 16 cups
salt and pepper to taste

Saute' the onions with some of the water until translucent. Add remaining water, broth, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add squash, salt and pepper. Simmer covered for another 10 to 15 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let cool until able to handle. Puree small batches in either food processor or blender until smooth. Fill hot sterile jars with soup, leaving 1 inch head space. Process in pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure for 35 minutes (pints) and 40 minutes (quarts), adjusting time and pressure for altitude. Makes approximately 4 quarts.

Bring to a boil. Heating through well before serving. May want to add a little liquid: water, broth, milk or cream, depending on preference and thickness of soup. Also, you can add fresh parsley or basil for more intense herb flavor. Or possibly add a dollop of sour cream. Use your imagination and flavor preferences.

Happy Canning!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Resolutions

2011 is here. Time for planning all those Resolutions for the upcoming year. What do you have planned? Weight loss? Become debt free? Use a budget? Save more? Be more frugal?

We here at Rose Bud Cottage have several things listed on our resolution list:
1. Live Simpler!
2. Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without!
3. Grow Spiritually.
4. Be more attentive to others needs.
5. Eat healthier.
6. Exercise more.
7. Spend more time with Family and Friends.
8. Make out home a Sanctuary.
9. Detach and rid our lives of "unimportant things".
10. Be more Grateful.

Wishing you the Best for 2011!

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