Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Tiny Tips

Tip # 1 ~ When you can food, and take the jars out of the canner, while they are still hot, use a crayon to write the date or whatever you like on the lid. When they cool, it will stay in place nicely.

Tips # 2 ~If when you are growing tomatoes, something always bites or ruins them about the time they get fully ripe, pick them a little earlier than that and let them ripen in the kitchen. Often, that will save them, and I promise they will still taste very good.

Tip # 3 ~ If you keep a cow or milk goats, you can use a metal mesh coffee strainer to strain your milk. Here you can see how I place it at an angle inside of my canning funnel. It works wonderfully well and fast!

Tip # 4 ~ I blogged about this last year, but want to mention it again ~ put a little apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish detergent in a shallow bowl and set it out in the kitchen. The fruit flies will drown.

That's it for now! This post is linked up with Simple Lives Thursday #54 !

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cushaw Squash

Look what I found in the garden this morning! It is so large (at least to me) for this early in the season and beautiful!

I believe this is a Cushaw winter squash. I am not certain. If any of you know differently, please tell me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Have you heard of "Ghee?" It is clarified butter. That means that all the water has been simmered out of the butter and the milk solids removed. If kept in an airtight container, it can be kept at room temperature, and it is suitable for much higher heat cooking than butter, as the milk solids are the part that burn when you fry with butter. It is composed almost entirely of fat and is very high in Vitamins A and D and can contribute to eye and bone health. It is also a delicious cooking oil and has been used in India, Egypt and some other countries for a long long time.

I have been reading about ghee, and watched some YouTube videos on how to make it, but it just seemed rather complicated.... until! Last week, on the wonderful Simple Lives Thursday, at the GNOWFGLINS blog, I found instructions on how to make ghee using a Crock Pot! Here is the link.

Above is a picture of the 1 gallon Crock Pot that I used. Before I went to bed I put 3 pounds of butter (mine was salted, but unsalted is usually recommended) into the Crock Pot and I set it on low, with the lid OFF and let it cook all night.

Here is what it looked like the next morning:

I placed a piece of paper toweling into a stainless steel strainer, and that into a canning funnel on top of a glass jar:

Then I carefully ladled in the liquid:

The clear ghee flowed slowly into the jar:

Here is a jar full. I got about 2.5 pints from the 3# of butter:

I asked the lady who posted the recipe what kind of paper towel she used because I had problems. She said she used a 100% recycled paper towel that was 2-ply. I am going to look for that kind, because I had to keep changing the towel, as the flow would stop before long. I also tried 2 types of paper coffee filters and they did not work either. Other than that, this was extremely easy to do.

If you have ever priced ghee, you will know it is expensive! So, now you can easily make your own.

Many many thanks to Yolks, Kefir & Gristle!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My husband hates Zucchini.

Many years ago, when my husband was raising hogs for a living, next to the hog farm he grew a large vegetable garden. We had a smaller one at home, but he enjoyed tending this other garden himself, and particularly enjoyed the cherry tomatoes. He would pick a gallon-full in the cool of the morning, put them in the shade and enjoy eating them throughout the day.

Another thing he grew was winter squash and also some pie pumpkins. When it came time for us to harvest the squash and pumpkins, we took our International Scout (kind of an early SUV,) took the back seat out of it and filled it up to the windows with pumpkins and squash. We took them home and found places to store them. There were a LOT of butternut squash.

I subsequently began incorporating the squash into our meals. After about the 3rd day, he told me, "You know... I don't really like squash." :-0

One of my favorite things about having a garden is the wonderful, prolific, delicious zucchini squash that thrives here in Indiana. My favorite way to prepare it is to slice and saute it with sliced onions in butter.

Two days ago, I served that at supper. He told me.... ta dah! "I don't really like zucchini." :-0

To his credit, he will eat it when I prepare it. We've been married 40 years and he never mentioned it before.

Today there was more zucchini, but I made up a new recipe that he DOES like that contains it. Here it is:

Camouflaged Zucchini

2 small zucchini squash
some chopped green onions
1 T ghee (more on that in a future post)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
salt and pepper

Chop the onions and saute them in the ghee (or butter) in a cast iron skillet for 2 minutes.

Add the sausage and diced jalapenos, and chop it up and cook the sausage well.

Add the sliced zucchini and, stirring often, saute at low temperature until the zucchini is tender.

Salt and pepper to taste.

I served it over rice. Very nice. And he liked it! :-0

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm a Genius! ;)

When I make cornbread, I usually bake it in my cast iron skillet. I made some for dinner today and wanted to add melted butter to it. I also needed to butter the pan before pouring in the batter. Aha! I measured out the cold butter INTO the pan on medium/low heat on the stove, melted it, swirled it around in the pan and then poured the melted butter into the batter. Wow. I felt so smart! :)

This little post is linked up with Simple Lives Thursday #51 !

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th in the Garden - 2011

Independence Day - The Fourth of July, as we call it here in the USA, is today. For me, it is a day to reflect on the Founding of our Nation, of all those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in a land of Liberty. I am more grateful than I can express to those who have served, and those who serve now.

Today I was privileged to visit a friend who is hospitalized following surgery. Her husband stays with her as much as he can, so he was there. He is a Navy veteran and I was able to thank him for his service. He was touched. He served nearly 30 years ago, and yet he was obviously moved by what I said.

This evening I took a walk in the vegetable garden and will give you a quick tour.

In the foreground you can see the lovely flour corn growing. Mely from Mexico in my Kitchen shared the seeds with me and I am so excited to think I might be able to make my own hominy and masa this fall!

The lovely zucchinis!

You can tell it is humid here. This is the potato patch:

Some green tomatoes!

Green snap beans with sweet corn in the background:

Sweet potato vines:

My Finnish garlic. I have a friend in Finland. She sent me some seeds and so it takes two years to grow them to bulbs. I am looking forward to digging them up!

A sweet little cucumber:


Sweet peppers:

See the little honey bee visiting the leek blossom?

Baby pumpkin:

We are already eating zucchini, onions and cucumbers. I even "robbed" the potatoes and we had a few "new potatoes" with our supper tonight. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Family Reunion

We returned last night from a 3-day family reunion. 13 children, ages 3 - 15, 12 adults, all stayed in a very large and very beautiful cabin in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We had a wonderful time. All of our family was there except our youngest son and two granddaughters. They were sorely missed. I thought I would just share a few pictures.

Here is "Uncle Jason" playing Barbies with Amelia:

A view from one of the many overlooks:

A few of the grandchildren (all cousins to each other!) having a quick lunch before going on to the next activity:

That's me. Everyone else had gone up on the observation tower above Clingman's Dome, which is the highest peak in Tennessee. I have acrophobia, so was quite content to wait at the bottom.

My favorite thing was to sit on the couch in the living room when everyone was in the cabin. The adults were all busy, talking and cooking and just enjoying being together. The children were running around playing and yelling and screaming and having a fabulous time. I would just drink in that marvelous family sound. Everyone happy, everyone together, I could recognize all of the precious voices. Oh, my... what a week I had!

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday :)

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