Thursday, August 28, 2014

Canned Mixed Veggies

I had to get out my pressure caner this week to can up some mixed veggies.  A friend down the road from us gave us a bunch of carrots and I grew a lot of celery and beans this year. 

I must admit that the pressure canner does intimidate me some what, but every time I use it, I get better results.  I had to remember what I had learned last year, which was my first year pressure canning.  Luckily, I posted my lessons on my blog and you can find them here.  I found it very helpful to review these.

I ended up with 7 quarts of mixed green beans, yellow beans, carrots, celery and onions. And 7 pints of mixed carrots, celery and onions and 3 pints of just celery and carrots.  These will come in handy over winter when I want to make a big pot of turkey quinoa soup or some other yummy soup.

I am not sure about the difference in hot pack and raw pack on the end result scientifically, but I tried both methods to see which one I liked best.  For appearance, I preferred raw pack.  The veggies in the picture below were canned using the raw pack method and I think they look very appetizing.  When I canned the quarts of beans with all the other veggies, I used hot pack and those veggies are quite drained of colour and don't look that appealing.  I'm sure they will taste great in soup though:)

On a side note.  Here are some pictures of a storm heading our way last night.  I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't as bad as it looked:)

This post is linked up to; The Farm Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

County Fair

Well, we did it again.  We weren't going to enter items in our fair this year because it is so much work. BUT, we couldn't help ourselves!  Once we realized we already had a few things ready, we decided to enter.  I won't detail every item this year because we finally started a file to put our results in, but here are just a few highlights.

I entered this canning jar sewing kit into the Bernardin Jar Craft Contest. I didn't win this year.  Someone entered one of those adorable soap pump jars (which I was going to make next year, but now I don't want to look like I'm a copycat) and they won.  But I like the way the sewing kit turned out.

Here is Rebekah with all her ribbons.  It is the first year she didn't get any 3rd place ribbons.  She also won the Junior Fleischmann's Yeast Bread Contest and she won 2nd over my 3rd in the woman's bread category!  We decided just to throw all our ribbons away right when we get home from the fair from now on, because there are so many and they just seem to lay around the house, so that is why Rebekah wanted a picture with hers.

Jacob did a great job on this wooden model truck and he won 1st place on it.  There is a lot more competition in Jacob and Ben's division than Rebekah's. So it's a little harder to place with any ribbons.

So, there is another fair come and gone.  We kind of still have the bug though and are already working on some projects for next year.

This post is linked up to; Sew Crafty Angel

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Zucchini Spaghetti and Lasagna Noodles

This year I purposely planted a lot of zucchini because of my Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle.  Last year just before I started, people from church brought some HUGE zucchinis to church and I took a few.  They were the hardest things I ever tried cutting through! But, I made them into zucchini lasagna noodles after I started on this new way of eating. I froze the noodles in Ziploc bags.  When I made lasagna, I thawed out a bag of noodles, squeezed the liquid out of the bag and used them as I would regular lasagna noodles.  I would make myself a 8x8 lasagna (that is a few meals for me) and my family a big regular one, but I found that my kids like the zucchini one better, so now I make sure there is enough for them.

You can see in the picture above, first I cut a big chunk of zucchini to work with.  Both ends are cut so that it will not roll around when cutting it with a sharp knife.  I then cut off all the skin. (I still have to cut off a bit more on the zucchini in the picture.)

I then cut the zucchini into slices on all sides until only the seeds are left.  Then I cram the slices into medium Ziploc bags. I find one of these bags will make a 8x8 lasagna.  This big zucchini made 3 bags!  Then I throw them into the freezer,  The reason I like to freeze these noodles, other than for convenience, is when they thaw out, I squeeze the liquid out and that helps keep the lasagna less watery.  I found when I made lasagna with fresh zucchini, it was very watery.
Another thing I tried the other night was making spaghetti noodles with a medium sized zucchini.  I made Shrimp Scampi with it. It was SO delicious! Just tonnes of butter, garlic and a few shrimp, tossed with the zucchini noodles. Only I cooked this a bit too long and the noodles gave off too much liquid and watered down the butter. Next time I will salt and drain them first or maybe cook them a little first and drain off the liquid.
I love this Pampered Chef tool I got at a garage sale. I thought it would take a long time to make the noodles, but it seriously only took me a few minutes to do up a smaller and medium sized zucchini.  It was funny how I got the tool at the garage sale.  I didn't see anything I needed, then they asked what I was looking for.  I told them I wanted something that would make vegetables into spaghetti noodles.  They said, "We have something like that in our kitchen drawer." And they decided they didn't need it anymore, so they sold it to me! 
So now all my big zucchinis are going to end up in the freezer as lasagna noodles and I will enjoy a bunch more as spaghetti noodles.  There are a few more things I'd like to share on the subject, but that will have to wait for another post:)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick Bee Sting Remedy

I have mentioned this on my blog before, but it bears repeating.  I heard about this quick remedy for bee stings 2 years ago from a friend.  She told me to quickly pour some bleach on paper towel and hold it on the bee sting for about 20 seconds.  We tried it on a child at VBS that summer and it seemed to work for them.

We haven't had to use it here until yesterday AND today.  Yesterday Jacob got stung on the inside of his foot. I tried this remedy, but it didn't work.  So we held an ice pack on it for about half an hour. Then today he got stung again, but on the top of his hand.  This time, the instant I put the paper towel on his hand, he stopped crying and said, "It's taking the sting away!".  He was good to go right away.  I don't know what the difference was.  Maybe a different insect, or the fact that his foot area was just skin and bone. Maybe it needs a little fat for the bleach to soak into.

Whatever the difference was, I was glad it worked the second time anyway.

This post is linked up to; Hope in Every Season Thrifty Thursday

Saturday, July 19, 2014

THM Strawberry Cheesecake in a Jar

I found this cheesecake recipe on Pinterest. It is not a THM recipe, but didn't take much to convert it. The original recipe can be found here. It is for one serving, but I multiplied by 4 to make 4 jar servings.  That way I could freeze some and have a convenient, delicious dessert on hand.  I like this recipe because it doesn't call for whipping cream, which I don't always have.

This is how I made it.

  • 1/2 c fat free sour cream or fat free greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c low fat cream cheese
  •  3 Tbsp Truvia
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten fluffy 

    Mix together and distribute evenly into 4 236ml greased canning jars.   Microwave, 2 at a time, for 1 min.  Open microwave door for 20 secs.  Then microwave again for 20-30 secs.
    Place in fridge until cooled.  In the meantime, slice enough strawberries to fill the jars to the top. Mix them with some Truvia or other sweetener.  When the cheesecakes are cooled, fill the jar to the top with strawberries and place the lid on.
    They are better eaten the next day, if you can wait. And if you're not going to eat them the next day, put them in the freezer and take out the morning you want one. Just place in the fridge for the day and you will have a delicious, healthy dessert waiting for you.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    Month at a Glance

    I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post!  We have had GLORIOUS weather here and have been taking complete advantage of it. We also had our Stampede 2 weeks ago and we were able to take in 5 shows this year, including a free Corb Lund concert.  Probably only folks from Canada will know who that is:)

    Anyway, here are some of the things we've been up to this past month;

    We are in the middle of a garage build. Larry found a great deal for a 24x24 garage kit and bought it.  But before we build, we had to move our old "garage" out of the way. 

    Larry and Rebekah are adding cross beams and braces so they can jack it up and put the wheels under it to move it.

    Larry and Rebekah are half way to the new spot! I can't believe we moved it with our small tractor!

    Just this week we were able to pour the cement pad.  You can see the old garage in it's new spot in the background. Hopefully we can get the TranX trailer cleaned out so that we can sell it to help pay for the new garage.

    My hubby celebrated his birthday last weekend.

    My Grandpa passed away last month. I will miss him.

    Now on to my garden.  I am having huge troubles with the quack grass.  This is the first time this ground has tilled up and it is lacking all the nutrients it needs. We added lots of donkey manure and old straw.  Next year I'm sure the soil we be better. But, we are getting blessed with plenty of good plants growing.

    At one end of the garden I planted a berry patch.  Here are some of the blueberries ripening. I can't wait!  We also have Haskap berries, raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb planted there.

    A zucchini plant. I can't wait for zucchini this year. Otherwise known around here as Trim Healthy Mama pasta.

    I planted a lot of cabbage this year. I love it fried with bacon, butter, onions and a little garlic. I'm going to cook up some and try freezing it.

    This is canola.  I noticed as it started growing that bugs were eating it. And from the leaves, it looked like it is from the cabbage family. So, I left it growing around my cabbage and so far I don't have any bugs in my cabbage.

    This is the first time I've grown kohlrabi.  In fact, I don't know much about it. But Larry bought me some seeds for Mother's Day because his mom always grew it when he was a boy. I was so excited to learn (after 20 years of knowing him) that there are other vegetables other than potatoes and corn that he would eat.  If anyone has any suggestions on what to do with it, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

    And finally, some of our apple trees are producing this year.  We just had some hail last night though, so I will have to see if there if any damage.
    We also went to the beach twice, celebrated Canada Day, had our homeschool field day and had a quick visit with our brother-in-law, nephew and neice.

    Now, I'm off to a farm yard sale.  I'll post if I find anything wonderful.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    More Family Vacation - Virginia & Nevada City

    As I was laying in bed last night, I realized I hadn't included pictures of the last part of our trip to Virginia City and Nevada City Montana.  Nevada City is more of a ghost town than Virginia City. It was fun looking around the old buildings and panning for gold.

    Here are some pictures.

    Jacob and Ben looking around inside an old building.

    An old general store.

    Panning for gold and gem stones.

    The expert looking at one of Ben's gem stones.

    An old gold mine entrance.

    This is the oldest school house in Montana. It was my favorite building.

    The other half of the school house. You can see part of the teacherage through the doorway.

    On a Trim Healthy Mama note, I was able to do some shopping while down south of the border for THM things.  I bought lots of Dreamfields pasta from Walmart for $1.78 a box.  In Canada we pay $3.49/box and we have to order it.  I also bought 10 packages of low carb tortillas for $2.60/pkg.  I would have to order them up here for $4.60/pkg.  Totally awesome!