“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Update - Perpetual Bone Broth

So .. How's the perpetual chicken stock in the pot for a week going?  Today is Day 4.  My pot is on the slow cook burner on the stove top.  I've taken out at least 1-1/2 gallons of stock in the past three days, and enough chicken meat at the end of Day 1 to make several meals.  I must admit, it's going fine ... Day 2 was a bit 'gross' as all the chicken skin and veggies kept floating on top ... making it appear to be nothing but 'muck' soup.  Yesterday, I took a fine mesh skimmer and took the floating debris from the pot.  Now .. it's just a lovely golden clear stock that steeps .. not boiling or simmering .. at a constant temp around 180F.  When I ladle out what's needed for the day, I pour it in a fat separator and through a fine mesh and replenish with an equal amount of filtered water.The liquid is perfectly clear and very flavorful .. no foul taste at all ... and I bring it to just a simmer in a small pan ... just to be on the safe side.  Adding a pinch of salt and a little dried thyme makes for a good hot beverage .. or the start to great soup.  Last night I used a quart of the broth when making homemade enchilada sauce .. the previously de-boned chicken was part of the filling.  



Our computer is finally back on-line now that we got a new service provider.  So far .. so good.

I came across this(chicken) bone broth recipe using a crock pot that is perpetually filled with an ongoing batch of broth for the entire week.  Will try it tomorrow and let you know how it works.  There's even a nifty energy-wise comparison chart here if you think having your crock pot running all week would be too expensive; I hope you enjoy nosing around this great website (The Nourished Kitchen). I signed up for the email newsletter.  Tomorrow, I'll share how I (somewhat) redeemed the sauerkraut that I canned late last summer.  For those that like to keep a well stocked pantry in case of an emergency or food shortage, and yet know the advantages of fermented sauerkraut, stay tuned .. you will be mildly surprised to know you can have both.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

So About The Kraut ...

.... as in sauerkraut. 

This past summer I made my first attempt at fermenting sauerkraut.  It took much patience growing the giant Danish Ballhead cabbage .. harvesting .. and prepping it.  Away it sat in the basement for weeks .. and had hubby in a bit of a tiff when he'd go in the laundry/work room .. with it's fermenting smell.  My advice was to not go in there AND to keep the door shut for awhile.  What to do with 25 lbs of beautiful kraut that only I'd savor?  I decided to can it.  I know .. there goes all the goodness killed with heat.  All has not been lost.  I have discovered that you can re-ferment canned sauerkraut ... one jar at a time :) 

I've gotten in the yogurt/cheese making business of late ... and one of the beautiful by-products of such is whey.  The clear buttery colored liquid that remains when you make cultured cheese from yogurt has so many good nutritional properties .. one of which ... aids in fermentation. 

Now when I get a hankering for sauerkraut, all I have to do is:

  1. Grab a jar off the cellar shelf.
  2. Empty it in a strainer, rinsing it a bit with cool water along with the jar.
  3. Squeeze the water out and pack it back into the jar and cover with whey.
  4. Let it sit tightly covered in a warm (70-75 F) spot for several days.
There is still plenty of salt remaining in the kraut that no extra is needed.  After it's re-fermented, store (tightly capped) in the fridge and use within a week. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Perpetual Bone Broth -Update 1/31/12

So .. How's the perpetual chicken stock in the pot for a week going?  Today is Day 4.  My pot is on the slow cook burner on the stove top.  I've taken out at least 1-1/2 gallons of stock in the past three days, and enough chicken meat at the end of Day 1 to make several meals.  I must admit, it's going fine ... Day 2 was a bit 'gross' as all the chicken skin and veggies kept floating on top ... making it appear to be nothing but 'muck' soup.  Yesterday, I took a fine mesh skimmer and took the floating debris from the pot.  Now .. it's just a lovely golden clear stock that steeps .. not boiling or simmering .. at a constant temp around 180F.  When I ladle out what's needed for the day, I pour it in a fat separator and through a fine mesh.  The liquid is perfectly clear and very flavorful .. no foul taste at all ... and I bring it to just a simmer in a small pan ... just to be on the safe side.  Adding a pinch of salt and a little dried thyme makes for a good hot beverage .. or the start to great soup.  Last night I used a quart of the broth when making homemade enchilada sauce .. the previously de-boned chicken was part of the filling.  

I entered a give-a-way at 'Growing In The Fens' blog and my name was drawn.  This nifty super-protective oven mitt was the gift.  It's made so nicely and of good quality.  Baking bread will be a bit easier with this beauty instead of using two separate hot pads.  Thank you!  I will think of my blog friend every time I use it. 


Our computer is finally back on-line now that we got a new service provider.  So far .. so good.

I came across this(chicken) bone broth recipe using a crock pot that is perpetually filled with an ongoing batch of broth for the entire week.  Will try it tomorrow and let you know how it works.  There's even a nifty energy-wise comparison chart here if you think having your crock pot running all week would be too expensive; I hope you enjoy nosing around this great website (The Nourished Kitchen). I signed up for the email newsletter.  Tomorrow, I'll share how I (somewhat) redeemed the sauerkraut that I canned late last summer.  For those that like to keep a well stocked pantry in case of an emergency or food shortage, and yet know the advantages of fermented sauerkraut, stay tuned .. you will be mildly surprised to know you can have both.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hope To Be Back

... Soon .. having technical difficulties with my internet service.  A 'NEW' ISP will attempt to hook up a signal on Friday. 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Laundry and Cleaning

...revisited. 

My mom and dad were here for the holidays.  They needed to wash their laundry at least twice while visiting.  I'm not sure .. or maybe don't want to know ... what they think about my washing methods .. i.e.  homemade laundry soap (at least assembled at home), vinegar added to the rinse, and no fancy smelly fragrant dryer sheets (I only had an old box of leftover dryer sheets from 2007 that didn't smell too fresh to offer).  Seems she compares me with my late grandma and I could tell it was not mom's cup of tea ;)

  Not even the frugal $26 cost for all of my household cleaning/laundry supplies for 2011 made her bat an eyelash.  I think she's gotten use to sprinkling baking soda and a few drops of dish soap in the sink, toilet and bathtub to clean them when visiting.. and she seemed a little impressed that I add green food color to my window/counter spray .. but it still smells like vinegar.  What's a daughter to do? 

Friday, January 06, 2012

I Blew It!

Done did spent all the money for the entire month of January .. and it's only the 6th.  Well, let me tell you a little secret .. come closer .. I spent the whole wad on PAPER :)  That's right .. on a budget sheet!  Yesterday the hubby and I even went to dinner .. bought pantry supplies ... filled up the truck with gas ... and signed me up for a gun safety class.  Ya know what, not one bit of plastic was used .. er .. I mean nasty old credit.  Not one swipe of a debit card either.  Do you know it's a fact that if you spend cold hard cash or greenbacks that it's MORE PAINFUL mentally than using a bank card??  Do you also know that by SEEING how much cash is in your grocery envelope and taken out to spend lets you know how much is left to get by for the rest of the month.  Not that easy with a debit card.  I even forfeit getting cash back credit points just to 'suffer' using cash.   How do you suffer for money?  In a good painful way .. or in a I don't know 'til I get the bill type of way

Thursday, January 05, 2012

There's a hush .. in my home today.  The holidays are over.  Everybody is back to their respective places.   I feel a bit like a high school student that just graduated.  Knowing that there is work ahead (house cleaning, gardening, canning, etc.) ... but for today, I will bask in giddiness and sip tea any hour of the day, decide whether or not to make dinner ... wash laundry (yes/no) NO!  A day to relax and ponder what the new year might hold.  Tomorrow my feet will be planted firmly on the ground and I'll roll up my sleeves and put on my apron.  Until then .... p.e.a.c.e  o.u.t.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Sky Is Falling

... it hit me on the head.

I don't know about you, but as far as all the talk of the end of the world being later this year, we're plodding along as usual, making gains with our life skills, normal food storage for emergencies and paying off all debt.  Worried?  Not!  Life goes on no matter  what the news reports, or some long ago calendar.  We need to be aware of world events, stay calm, live each day to its fullest and go on with life.  Do you remember all the crazy predictions surrounding Y2K?  (Just saying;)  I see so many folks planning for the end of the world and yet they are ill prepared for today.  Slow and steady progress learning how to make do with little and using available supplies seems more reasonable than buying a year's worth of freeze dried EVERYTHING food that wouldn't appeal to me unless I was beyond starving.  We can't really prepare for such a mega disaster .. and who would want to be around afterwards?  Food for thought.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age ...
Titus 2:11-12

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012 Goals

After looking over my 2011 goals it appears we did well with the majors and failed in the minors.  Majors being paying down on debt, setting up a fenced raised bed garden.  Minors .. knitting socks, etc.

We plan on sticking with the budget again as it has become second nature .. and will allow us to, hopefully, be totally debt free by October.

Garden goals - set up a better compost station for the garden, planting ONLY those veggies that we like to eat and preserve.  Can more peaches.  Plant more sauce tomatoes and less for slicing.  Trim vegetation around the garden, hook up pvc line to garden sink.  Plant a winter garden (this is perhaps a dream).  Propagate geraniums and house plants to give as gifts.

Food storage - more wheat and dried goods.

Outings - Ride the Hiawatha bike trail, visit Glacier National Park (again), river raft trip.





Monday, January 02, 2012

A New Year


A new year, month, day .. and calendar page.  Last year was sparse for posting on my blog.  We had a second half of the year filled with anticipation, hope and worry with the arrival of our newest grandchild ... after learning that she has a heart condition in August .. that would need surgery soon after birth in December; it was a fast paced, hectic time to say the least.  Baby is home with her parents and big brother.  The whole event brought back so many memories 15 years ago when we welcomed our youngest son, Nathan, that needed TLC and surgeries after his birth.  Such challenges try the soul .. and create unimaginable strength.  Life goes on and we have to adjust.  May the new year bring you strength to face the possible challenges ahead in 2012.  Always be prepared, learn a new skill to help you survive whatever economic/health/weather storms may be on the horizon.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Cleaning Suppy (laundry soap) 2011 Cost (ignore post)

  • Laundry Rinse: 2 Tablespoons white vinegar small-medium loads, 1/4 cup for large-extra large loads
  • Laundry Soap Recipe: 2 cups grated Fels Naptha soap, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, mix well in food processor and use 1 Tablespoon for med/small load, 2 Tablespoons for large load
  • Total spent to date on laundry soap/rinse supplies: $26.00.

COST OF FOOD 2011 (for my records .. ignore post)

January - $450
February - $650 (includes extra to stock pantry)
March - $650 (includes extra to stock pantry)
April - $650 (includes extra to stock pantry)
May - $650 (includes extra for company)
June - $500
July - $400
August - $989 (this includes yearly purchase of beef)
September - $900 (this includes groceries and yearly purchase of a whole pig)
October - $325
November - $350 (includes Thanksgiving dinner)
December - $425
TOTAL FOR YEAR $6939

2011 Bulk Purchases (for my record .. ignore post)

  • Aug - 13.5 lbs baking soda, mixed quarter of local beef $489, vanilla
  • Jan - Sept - 11- ltrs organic EVOO (sale price) $154
  • Apr - stocked up on naturally fermented organic soy sauce, raw ACV, vanilla, dehydrated onions, baking supplies
  • Feb/Aug - 15 (24oz) bottles expeller pressed oganic sunflower oil ($110)
  • Feb/Mar/Apr- 3 cases canned tuna, 3 cases canned wild Alaska salmon
  • Jan/Feb 50 lbs Wheat Montana flour $23
  • Jan/Feb - 20 lbs organic 'green' coffee beans from Bolivia $120 .. includes shipping ($6/pound)
  • Feb - 100 lbs Golden Prairie Wheat Berries ($50)
  • Jan/Feb 40 lbs organic carrots
  • Jan - 2 gallons white vinegar
  • Jan - 13.5 pounds baking soda
  • Jan - 10 lbs organic pork sausage ($18), Mar - 15 lbs ($28)
  • Jan - 25 lbs organic ground beef ($66), Mar 35 lbs ($92), May 20 lbs organic ground beef ($73)
  • Jan/Feb 24 lbs organic brown rice $23

2011 Bread Baking Stats (for my record .. ignore post)

  • December - 2 loaves 7-grain bread, 5 dozen rustic dinner rolls
  • November - 1.5 dozen rustic dinner rolls, 4 loaves 7-grain bread, 4 loaves whole wheat (blend) bread, 6 dozen ableskievers,
  • October - 16 freezer waffles, 20 onion dinner rolls, 6 loaves French bread
  • Sept - 40 onion rolls, 2 loaves (accidental) sour dough bread, 6 loaves Italian bread, 2 loaves challah bread, 2 dozen dinner rolls
  • Aug - 20 hamburger buns, 2 loaves potato bread,2 loaves challah bread, 2 loaves Italian bread
  • July - 24 hamburger buns, 2 loaves Italian bread, cheesy-garlic-herb drop biscuits
  • Apr - 2 loaves challah bread, 2 dozen dinner rolls
  • Mar - 2 loaves 7-grain with sprouted wheatberry loaves, 4 loaves challah bread, 56 hamburger/sandwich rolls, 20 rounds of whole wheat pita bread
  • Jan - Feb -14 loaves, 13 dozen rolls

2011 Home Preserving (for my record .. ignore post)

  • December - 10 pints canned beef stock, 5 quarts canned pinto beans
  • November - 6 pints turkey meat in stock (frozen), 6 quarts turkey stock (frozen), 4 pints pizza sauce (frozen)
  • October - 1 quart frozen raspberries, 1 pint frozen tomato sauce, 9 pints canned beef stock, 7 pints Boston baked beans, 7 pints Italian tomato sauce, 4 quarts tomato juice, 8 pints applesauce, 4 half pints raspberry cordial, 4 quarts roasted roma tomatoes with roasted garlic, 4 pints bbq sauce
  • September - 6 quarts canned corn, 8 pints hamburger dill pickles, 6 (additional) pints bread and butter pickles, 15 pints Mexican stewed tomatoes, 13 quarts Italian stewed tomatoes, 7 pints chili (no beans), 12 pints sauerkraut,14 quarts canned tomatoes in juice, 15 quarts canned peaches,9 pints canned corn, 20 pints frozen corn
  • August - 4 med. size and 3 small peach pie fillings frozen, 12 half-pints spiced peach butter, 24 ears frozen sweet corn, 10 lbs sauerkraut, 18 pints fresh pack canned dill pickles, 4 pints bread and butter pickles, 1 gallon refrigerator dill pickles, 4 pints canned chick peas, 6 quarts frozen green beans, 3 quarts raspberries frozen, dried herbs (marjoram ,dill weed, thyme, mint, oregano, parsley, edible flowers),13 quarts green beans, 7 half pints raspberry freezer jam, 4 half pints cherry jam, 4 pints dilly beans, 16 pints pinto beans, 6 quarts pinto beans, 2 quarts frozen broccoli, 1 quart frozen kale, 3 pints canned rhubarb
  • July - 10 half pints strawberry freezer jam, 10 quarts chicken stock, 3 cups chicken meat packed in broth, , 1 gallon frozen strawberries, 6 quarts frozen broccoli, frozen chopped kale, 2 quarts raspberries for jam, and 1 quart sour cherries to marinate
  • March - 17 pints Boston baked beans
  • February - 16 freezer waffles
  • January - 15 freezer waffles, 7 pints red beans, 7 pints beef chili, 6 quarts frozen turkey stock, 3 lbs frozen sliced turkey, 4 pints frozen turkey meat in stock, 4 pints leftover turkey by-products frozen for making dog food