Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meat & Sausage Magazine

I recently picked this magazine up at our local Tractor Supply called Meat & Sausage. It is one of those special issues from the editors of Hobby Farm Home magazine. It was ridiculously expensive for a magazine but I was persuaded to spend more than I usually would by all the lovely pictures of things I hadn't tried to make yet like the picture on the cover. Unfortunately I still can't make whatever that is on the front cover because the magazine only went in depth on how to make a few things. That picture was used to illustrate dried fermented sausage in an article that told you the different ways meat could be preserved but never told you how to do any of them.
It was not a total loss however, the magazine did have those 7 recipes for sausage and they were not the basic recipes that you see everywhere online. I totally intend to try at least a couple of these recipes the next time I decide to tackle making sausage.
It also had a section on making bacon where they used just salt and brown sugar- no pink salt. I am not a big fan of bacon that is too sweet but I may try it sometime.
The magazine had a section on making jerky and told about making jerky out of any meat except bear meat. I really have never made any jerky except rabbit and beef and those used a cure and did not cook ahead of time. I was pleased to find I could make jerky from lots of different meat by cooking it before drying. However, the only recipe they gave in the book was for making....beef jerky. Still it gave me some good ideas.
One very useful article was on canning meat and another on pickling fish. I have canned meat but never pickled fish. I really never have enough fish to pickle but next time fish is on sale maybe I will try it.
Overall it was a very good magazine but really wasn't worth the $10.99 price and the pictures were a bit misleading since you think you are going to learn a lot more from the magazine than you really do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pink Lemonade Wine and Apple Wine

Because Deb asked for this recipe and it is so hard to find (even for me) I thought I would write down exactly how I will make the 3 gallons. Keep in mind I am just learning this so I can't tell you that this would be what a "seasoned" winemaker would do.

Pink Lemonade Wine (three gallons)

6 cans of frozen pink lemonade
3 heaping cups of sugar
8 2/3  pink lemonade containers of water "per" gallon
3 tsp yeast nutrient
3 tbsp lemon juice
Campden tablets

Now I am not any expert on which wine yeast to use. I am basically just using up what I have. I believe last time I used Red Star Pasteur Red but I am out of that and only have a few to choose from so this time I am going to use Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast.

I put the lemonade, water, yeast nutrient, lemon juice, sugar and a crushed Campden tablet in the bucket and stirred it well. Then left it at least 12 hours. Then I start the yeast according to the package directions and  then add it to the bucket. I'll leave this at least a week in the primary stirring every day. I then will rack it into the gallon jugs with air lock on them and leave it for a month when I will rack it again adding another crushed Campden tablet. Leave it another month and then add 1/2 tsp. potassium sorbate and then leave under airlock for another 30 days. Then I will sweeten it with Welch's White Grape Juice and rack it into bottles.

Apple Wine (one gallon)

2 cans of frozen apple juice
8 2/3  apple juice containers of water
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 tsp. tannin
1 1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient
1/2 package of Red Star Premier Cuvee wine yeast
Campden tablets

Put the applet juice, water , sugar, tannin, yeast nutrient and crushed Campden tablet in the bucket and stir very well. Leave for at least 12 hours. Add the wine yeast according to package directions. Leave in the primary 7 days stirring each day. Rack to the gallon jug and leave for another 30 days. Rack again adding a crushed Campden tablet then leave under airlock for another 30 days. Add 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate and leave under airlock for another 30 days. Sweeten with Welch's White Grape Juice and rack into bottles.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More wine and other things

It's been a rather dull week. Work, work and more work. Phil says I would miss work if I was home again but I am not so sure of that. Either way, I still have to work so it doesn't matter. I did get my stepping stones moved out back and place approximately where I want them but I haven't gotten any of them actually put in the ground yet. I moved the pots too. The larger ones I put on either side of the swing in the front yard and the smaller ones I put in the back yard but I believe they will have to be moved as I can't plant anything in them with the ducks out there. I have not moved the statue yet since it is just so darn heavy. I'm not sure where I want to put it yet but maybe in the front flower garden if I can get find a place where the 4 o'clocks won't completely overtake it.
I sent for some small container tomato seeds called Sweet N Neat. Here they are in a borrowed photo.

 They are only supposed to get 10-12 inches high. I have planted them in 6 inch pots on the windowsill. I planted 4 pots of them and then immediately dumped one off the shelf in the windows and I haven't gotten it replanted yet.
The plants and seedlings in the garden are growing well but we haven't had any rain in a few weeks and it is very dry. I have watered twice but we all know that water from the tap just isn't the same as rain water. It is likely we will get a bit of rain from the storm though I would rather do without rain from a hurricane that might cause damage to so many other people's homes.
I did get the apple wine racked and into its jug a few days ago. I did not taste it at that time but it smells quite nice and I think it may turn out to be one of those that I will like.
Tonight I have started a larger batch of the pink lemonade wine. It has been my favorite so far and since I know now that I like it, there is no reason to make just one gallon. My bucket, however, is only 5 gallons so I will be making 3 gallons of pink lemonade wine. I was also not able to get the Old Orchard pink lemonade that I got last time. There wasn't any. So I had to get the cheaper Great Value cans. We'll just have to wait and see if there is any difference.
So that is all that has been going on here and I really don't have any plans for tomorrow yet. There are a few potatoes to can and those stepping stones need to be set in but I'm not really sure what I'll actually be doing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Goodies

We went over to my brother's house yesterday to help him with building onto his back porch and cleaning up his yard some. This is a new house to my brother but it has sat unused and misused for a very long time. My brother's health won't allow him to do very much for very long.
We had a good time and I came home with some goodies that he didn't want.
Here is a whole stack of nice large stepping stones. The heart one will go outside gate of the back yard fence. The others will likely make a path from the house to the back shed and greenhouse. There would be no way I could ever afford to buy all these.

I also got these wonderful cement pots. I believe the larger ones will go on either side of the back yard gate and right now I have the smaller ones on either side of the fountain table but I am not sure they are going to stay there unless I find something to put in them that the ducks won't eat (they have eaten everything out there lately--even things I thought were safe).
This is a piece to a fountain that was in his yard. I am not sure how I will fix this into a fountain again but we'll figure out something. The child is holding a duck--very fitting for a fountain in my back yard. Even just as a statue it is nice.
And there were also these:
We think they are grinding stones. At least that is what we are going to try to use them for.

Anyway, my brother ran out of wood for his back porch but it got built enough to let us pull out his new gas grill and test it out on some sausage dogs and hot dogs. I had made a broccoli salad to go along with it. Phil took apart a roof to an old shed that was sitting in the yard and he raked and cleaned up brush. Michelle and I picked up old trash.
It was a good day for all of us :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pork and Potato Casserole

This is rather an awful looking picture but I'm telling you this stuff was good! It was really simple and since Mark wanted to hear what I do with the food I preserve, this recipe was a good representation of that.
I started with one green pepper and onion. I cut them in strips and fried them and some dehydrated mushrooms in a pan with a little lard (a tsp or so) until the onions were translucent and the peppers were just slightly soft. I moved the pepper mix aside in the pan and opened two jars of canned pork and poured the stock out of the jars into the pan where there wasn't anything. I added maybe an 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of flour and stirred it into the stock until it thickened. I added some salt and pepper and then stirred it all into the pepper mix. I added the pork and mixed just a minute until it was well coated.
This was the first layer of the casserole. I spread it out in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
I went and got two jars of canned potatoes and drained them. These I put on top of the pork mixture and then sprinkled grated Parmesan cheese on top (it was the only cheese that I had or I would have used something else).
This went into the refrigerator until Phil got home and then he cooked it in the oven (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes. I am sure it would have made a much nicer picture if I had gotten to take one when he first pulled it out but by the time I got home it was half gone so I could only get a picture of what went into my bowl.
It was delicious though!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apple Pie Filling

Yesterday at the flea market a man had nice baskets of apples. He wanted $5 for them and he said there were about 6 lbs. in each. I was going to get some anyway but he really sealed the deal when he said, "Fresh off the tree". They were red delicious and yellow delicious and I got a mixed basket. Their smell was just amazing. Apples don't smell like that from the store! I didn't know what I was going to do with them (you just can't keep them just so you can smell them) until I thought about Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and I don't have any apple pie filling. Phil does like to have at least one apple pie.
So apple pie filling was one of the projects for today. I also made 2 loaves of bread, started a batch of apple wine and wheeled manure from the pig pen down to the garden. The pig pen is going to take a while and my wheelbarrow is breaking so we'll have to think of some way to fix it.
And there are still chores to do. Steaks that we got marked down at the store needs to be ground into hamburger. I have to blanch and freeze that other cauliflower and there are 3 peppers in there as well that should be cut up and frozen before they go bad. Plus there is some leftover roast in there. I'll see how much then decide if I want to can or freeze it.
Anyway, back to the apple pie filling. The recipe said it would make 6 quarts but I was pretty sure it lied and I was right, it only made 4 quarts but that will be plenty of pie for us.

Here is the recipe:

4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 T. lemon juice
5 1/2-6 lbs apples, peeled cored and sliced

In a large pan blend the first 4 ingredients and 1 tsp salt (I missed the salt entirely. I am not sure why the recipe is written this way instead of just putting the salt up there and saying combine the first 5 ingredients). Stir in 10 cups water; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add lemon juice. Pack apples into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Fill jars with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes (quarts), 15 minutes (pints)

For your pie: Prepare pastry for 2 crust 8 or 9 inch pie. Add 1 quart apple pie filling. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam; seal. Bake at 400 F. for 50 minutes.

Since I only got 4 quarts, I had a lot of syrup left- a whole quart. So I canned it as well. Maybe it will be good on ice cream, pancakes or something.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I really don't have anything spectacular to post about today so you are getting the "soup" post. Most of you already know how to make soup but I can remember a time when I never made soup. Soup came in a can. It was good and it was cheap. You didn't need to know how to make it --then. And now, soup is ridiculously expensive when you think about what is actually in that can and it isn't real tasty either. It's possible that I have just grown to know what good food really is or just that I know how to make my own soup now so it seems stupid to eat the awful stuff in the cans. But whatever the reason, soup is one of the easiest things to make anyway. You can make it out of just about anything and if you like what you put in it--it will be good. It is as simple as that.
My soup for lunch today involves discounted vegetables. I buy them all the time since my little garden just isn't big enough to be real self sufficient yet. The problem with discounted vegetables is that they have to be eaten or processed...soon! Today I had a package of mixed fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots and snow peas or podded peas), and a couple of cauliflower. I will blanch and freeze one cauliflower (if I can fit it in the freezer) but the other one I put in the soup with the mixed vegetables. I also had a can of water chestnuts. I love water chestnuts but never get them. This can was at the Dollar Store so I got it.
I am not much of an all vegetable person so I added meat. I put in one jar of my home raised and canned chicken with its juice and another quart of home canned stock. I have made soup with just water but home canned stock (NOT STORE BOUGHT) is just an essential to getting a good soup. Just absolutely not the same without it.
Salt is the other ingredient it can't do with out and it is a bit more than just a sprinkling, at least for my soup anyway. We are used to canned soups with lots of salt in it and if it isn't there, it just doesn't taste the same.
I also like onion in my soup. Almost all my soups have onion. Since I have not had a lot of luck growing onions, I should probably be dehydrating a bunch of them to stock up but I hadn't thought about it until today.
Other than that, today I added pepper and sage. Pepper just because I always add it (and yes, I do have a good bit of pepper stocked up) and sage because it was chicken and vegetable soup. Sage from your plant outside tastes totally different from sage in the little jar at the store so grow it if you can.
Simmer it until everything is done.
Anyway, here is the chicken vegetable soup:

It was excellent!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wine Tasting and Bottling

Between this weekend and last weekend the wine was all bottled. As you know I had tried the cranberry wine an it was quite good but even better when sweetened with a little white grape juice. This weekend we bottled the Welch's grape wine, pink lemonade wine, lemon balm wine and cherry pomegranate wine, and tasted it.
I started with the lemon balm wine and it was not encouraging. I drank one whole glass but I really disliked it! It just left me with this bad after taste. I can't explain it but I dislike sweet tea (a crime in the South!) for the same reason. I just don't like the taste it leave me with. This wine was a bit worse than drinking sweet tea to me. I just didn't like it.
The next one we did was the Welch's grape wine. After the lemon balm wine I was a bit hesitant but I didn't have anything to worry about. It was so good! And it was even better after being sweetened with just a little white grape juice. I was so glad that I had made two gallons of it.
We then bottled the pink lemonade wine. It also was exceptionally good when we sweetened it and tasted it. It may have been even better than the grape wine (hard to tell with just a taste). It was definitely good.
Then came the cherry pomegranate. It was a bit rough on tasting before sweetening and it actually was a bit rough after sweetening but better, just not as good as the grape or pink lemonade.
So out of the 5 we have three really good drinking wines and one that won't be so bad after the first few glasses :) As for the lemon balm. I have bottled it. Maybe it will be good to cook with.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Steps for Juliet

As some of you who follow me on facebook know, we adopted another little dachshund. She was a stray and my sister and brother-in-law are volunteering at Charlie's Angel's Rescue and I had asked him to let me know if they ever got a dachshund. This one was found down by the lake past our house so they brought her to me.
We named her Juliet, of course, (what else do you name her when you already have a Romeo?). This was the first day, she was very tired when we got her as she had been out there for a week or so. She has some issues that we will eventually have taken care of at the vets. and she is quite badly over weight as she is a toy dachshund and weighs 17 1/2 lbs (Romeo is a standard and also over weight and weighs 22 lbs, he used to weigh 19 lbs anyway, that is another story).
She is doing quite well here. She does have a real issue with protecting her food and her and Romeo have gotten  into it a couple of times because he has an issue with protecting his food as well but for the most part she has settled in really well except for one thing. She can't jump on the bed. It is too high for her. We made a "make-shift" kind of steps with a laundry basket and a tin but she didn't like it so today Phil made her some real steps.
Most of these don't need explanation. He had 2x4's left from building the fence and some pallet wood so that is what he made the steps out of.

This was one side. He made another just like it for the opposite side.

Yes, she has used it a couple of times already and if Romeo learns to use it, then it will be good for him as well. Dachshunds really shouldn't have to jump that high even if they can because it is bad for their backs.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Food Storage Article from Guest Author

The following article is from a guest author Lee Flynn

Getting Food Storage Off Your Shelves and Onto Your Dinner Table

A depressed economy and turbulent environment are just two factors that have recently led to a heightened interest in food storage. It seems that now, more than ever before, people are conscious of the possibility that catastrophe (in any one of its ugly forms) could strike at any moment. While it probably isn’t good for your mental or emotional health to live in fear from day to day, it is certainly a good idea to prepare the best you can in case things do take a turn for the worst. And food storage is certainly one of the fundamental ways that you can be prepared.
Building a good supply of food storage requires a lot more than just buying excess food. Acquiring and maintaining your food storage can be simple but it does require effort and persistence in order to ensure that you prepared for tomorrow, next month, or two years from now.
The most obvious and essential item to begin with when building your food storage is water. Experts suggest that adults should drink around 2.5 liters of fluid per day (while any fluid will do, water is the cheapest and safest to store for extended periods of time without refrigeration) so you will want to ensure you have plenty stored away. Grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats and beans should be the staples of your food storage. Flour, rice, and macaroni are easy to find in large quantities and will last for a long time. Dried fruits and vegetables, powdered milk, yogurt bites, and freeze-dried cheeses, as well as dried beans and freeze dried meats will ensure you have the basic food groups covered.
Once you have a well-balanced and well-stocked food supply you are not going to want to just forget about it until disaster strikes. The immediate value of food storage is more than just peace of mind – there are plenty of ways to utilize your food storage every day so make the most of your investment by putting it to use often. Plus, constantly using items from your food storage and then replacing them will provide a nice rotation that helps to keep your supply fresh.
Using food storage daily can be easy, will save you money and should never mean that you have to compensate for taste. There are dozens and dozens of recipes out there that can help you get food storage off your shelves and onto your dinner table without your family even knowing that the ingredients came from your food store. You can probably even find a number of full and varied recipe books that are centered entirely on using food storage as ingredients for meals. There really is an impressive variety so you’ll have to do a little research of your own if you are looking to make a specific dish. That being said, there are some simple ways that you can use standard food storage items as fillers for common ingredients that are called for in a lot of recipes—using beans instead of butter or oil is one example.
If you’ve built up your supply of food storage correctly then you will most likely have a good supply of beans, whether they are pinto, black or white. Many people aren’t aware that you can use beans as a replacement for oil or butter in many of your desserts. In addition to being much cheaper, beans provide additional fiber and protein so they are actually healthier too. And no, they won’t make whatever you are preparing taste like beans (they may influence texture, however, so if you want a chewy texture for cookies etc. you may want to do half beans and half butter/oil). Here are the basic things you’ll want to keep in mind when substituting beans in these recipes:
-If the recipe calls for butter you will use cooked, dried beans. If the recipe calls for oil you will use bean purée (beans blended to a liquid).
-Match measurements and match colors. If a recipe calls for ½ cup of butter, use ½ cup of beans. If you are making chocolate cake, use black beans. If you are making a white cake, use white beans.
-Follow the recipe just as if you were using oil or butter. If it asks that you add the oil in the first step, add the bean purée in the first step.
This is just one simple way that you can use the food storage items you already have to supplement your meals on a day-to-day basis. Utilizing food storage consistently is more affordable and, in many cases, more healthy. And if you do it right, your family won’t even know the difference. Take some time to look into recipes that specifically call for food storage items, you may even come across your new favorite dish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in long-term food storage and emergency preparedness.