Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lemon Balm Cough Drops

That's right! I actually did it! Found a good use for lemon balm. One that I will want to make again!

I have allergies here, I don't know to what (my doctor is just not real good) so I cough a lot. I play violin and it vibrates my throat and causes more coughing. Once I start coughing there is nothing to do but just let it happen. My throat stays clogged. Cough drops help. I like the lemon and honey ones. So I had been looking at recipes for making cough drops at home and came up with the idea to use the lemon balm.

Lemon balm is in the mint family. It is considered a calming herb as some studies have shown that it reduces stress in people who took it and another herb valerian. Oil from the leaves contain terpenes which play at least some role in the herb's relaxing and antiviral properties. It also contains tannins, which may be responsible for lemon balms antiviral effects. Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which can calm muscle spasms, numb tissues and kills bacteria.

I went out and collected a large handful of lemon balm from the wild jungle of them that grow at the end of our house and I rinsed them off.

I boiled them for 5-10 minutes and then drained off the water. You need enough water after you drain it for 2 1/2 cups. 

Put the 2 1/2 cups back in the pan and add 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Bring to a boil. Turn the fire down to medium and let it keep boiling. (I have seen recipes that just use honey but I just thought that would be too strong a honey taste). 

You have to boil this to the hard ball stage on your candy thermometer. Then shut it off and give it a minute to cool before you start dripping it from a spoon onto a lightly greased sheet pan. Just so you know, this was the second batch I made. The first one I used waxed paper and they are still stuck on that waxed paper in my trash can so I strongly suggest you just lightly grease the pan.

It didn't look like much but I needed two pans.

Let it cool and then take the tip of a sharp knife and gently pop them off the pan.

They do stay slightly sticky so you have to dust them with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to each other. I then just wrapped them in the  paper towel and put them in a paper bag which I hope will keep moisture away as we are so humid here all the time. 

These did taste really good and I hope will be useful with my cough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

8 Jars of Organic Carrots

As some of you who are friends we me on facebook know, we finally bought a new, larger air conditioner that actually keeps the house nice and cool so now I am able to do more things canning...that I have been wanting to do but it was too hot to do before. Anyway, today was a canning day. I had gotten these bags of organic carrots this week marked down to $ .99 each plus I had gotten two vegetable "party" trays that also had two sections each of carrots in them (for $2.50 each. They also had a section of celery, broccoli and podded peas that I will use for other things). I took them all out of the bags and sliced them up mainly because Phil likes them this way.

That pan wasn't quite large enough and I had to switch to a bigger one. 

I brought them to a boil and boiled them a few minutes. Meanwhile the jars were put in the canner and were sterilizing.

Then I packed the carrots into the jars, ran a knife around the edges to remove air bubbles, added about a 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar and then into the pressure canner for 25 minutes.

After all eight jars were filled there was some left...

..I put it in a freezer bag. Just the right amount for a meal.

And here are all the jars. The tops have all popped down and they are ready to be dated and labeled and put on the shelf.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Carpet Cleaning Solution

I should be butchering chickens this week...but I'm not. It always seems like a good idea until you actually have to butcher them...
Anyway, I did get the carpet cleaned. I have had several Bissell carpet cleaners ever since we have had dogs and cats in the house because while I keep the dogs on flea prevention, the fleas still get in the house and all the spray in the world will not get rid of fleas like a carpet cleaner can, PLUS..unfortunately we have not had much luck training Suzie and the livingroom has to be cleaned on a regular basis.
This is the current model of carpet cleaner I have
and it has always worked pretty good, however, the cleaning solution is fairly expensive. We started making our own solution a few years ago and never bought any again. It is so simple.

To a gallon jug add :

1/4 cup laundry soap (liquid works best and the better laundry soap, the better it works)
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. baking soda

Fill the rest of the jug with water and shake it up. Fill your cleaning solution container completely with this solution instead of just filling it to the mark with solution like you usually would. Works great. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hot Wing Sauce

It amazes me how ridiculously expensive chickens wings are here now. When I first came to Georgia, wings were the cheapest chicken you could get, followed closely by legs, then thighs. Breasts were the expensive chicken. But not anymore. We have made wings the best things to eat for some reason. Anyway, they happened to have bags at the store for buy 1 get one free so I had wings this week.
Phil and I love wings with hot wing sauce on them and we have a particular brand that we buy for just a dollar here but today I was supposed to make the wings and had no wing sauce. So I did my usual search for the recipe and then just used what I had in the refrigerator to make my own.

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup hot sauce (I used the cheap Southern Home brand)
1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or what I did was sprinkle it in until it looked like 1/4 tsp to me)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (a few less shakes than above)

Put it all in a pan on medium heat until it melts and heats up good.

Now since I have already used this I can tell you that the sauce taste was excellent. Very much like the one we usually buy only a bit better as far as I am concerned. However, when I make this again--and I will-- I will cook it a bit ahead of time and probably double the recipe and cook it down until it is thicker as it was a bit thin.
I brushed some on the chicken wings before it was cooked and then poured the rest over the wings afterwards.

It was definitely good! Now I need to learn how to make my own hot sauce.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The First Egg

I have three hens that have been laying all summer but this was the first egg from the baby chicks I bought this spring from Tractor Supply. This is what the "chicks" look like now.

I did have some losses from this batch. I lost several of them when the door came open one night and something killed 4 of them. Right now there are 7 hens and 5 roosters (yes, some of those roosters will have to go). I have been waiting to see eggs because my sister-in-laws "chicks" that she also got from Tractor Supply at the same time I did, have been laying for about a week now.
This morning when I went out to feed the chickens I saw this.

No, not the stupid rooster who thinks he's a hen but the only leghorn hen I had left was in the nest box. She is a very small hen and I didn't expect her to be the first one to lay but she was in there and definitely nesting. 
So I waited...and know when you are waiting on them, they take a lot longer. 

After about a half hour she started to pant and close her eyes now and then and I knew she was really going to lay and egg, then she stood up and we had our first egg. My only white egg layer of the bunch.

I can't wait until those Barred Rock hens get laying too. They were very interested in what the little white hen was doing in the nest.