Monday, December 29, 2008


I haven't posted for a few days we've both been down with the stomach flu here - I guess which is also known as the norovirus. No pictures of that - Praise God right!!! Will post some pictures tomorrow of my newest plant baby additions to the family - two lovely spider plants.

Until then here's my aunt's xmas present I've been working on and should have had done by now, it's NO where near being finished

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tree

View from a different angle, the tree is a little pathetic looking at the moment ;-)

It's halfway decorated, I need to go to the attic and get more ornamets etc., this will have to wait until John gets home from work as there's a squirrel that lives up there and she thinks it's her territory! We name the squirrel trouble and NO she's not a pet!!!

Somewhere in this house is a large damask table cloth when I find it I'll put it under the quilt - Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern, it's probably 50 years or more old, all hand stitched and hand quilted. As you can see we did get my mother's china cabinet in the house, yeah, now John needs to fix the shelves so I can put my mother's china into the cabinet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Apple Pie

Made an apple pie tonight using up some granny smith apples - it was tart and way yummy! As you can see there's not much left of it now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beans to Soak or not to Soak

I didn't soak the red beans for the Red Bean Soup but did soak them for the Black Bean Soup, the consensus is next time soak the beans! Also I will leave out the ham flavoring the next time I make Red Bean Soup. NOTE: I've heard that adding salt to the soaking beans prevents them from softening properly I don't know if this is true or not.

Tonights Menu

Black bean soup most excellent on a cold snowy day.

John's bowl of black bean soup, over corn bread.

Cranberry Applesauce over corn bread, this is royally delicious!

Black Bean Soup with fresh hot Corn Bread and Cranberry Applesauce.

Cranberry Apple Sauce or Saucy Apples

I used six rome apples, cutting them up into small chunks. I leave the peels on the apples this adds fiber to the sauce. If you want a smoother sauce blend it in a mixer when the sauce is done.

Add Cranberries to the apples.

Add one cup of sugar.

Add an inch and a half of water to the pot - I used a 3 quart pot.

Cook on medium heat until the apples are soft and the cranberries are cooked, about 20 minutes.

Stir frequently so as to not scorch the sauce.

I start with the sauce covered but to keep it from being too liquidy I take it off in the last 7 minutes or so.

Cook the sauce down until very tender and slightly thickened.

6 - 8 tart apples, I used Rome Apples for this batch of sauce and 1 bag of cranberries fresh or frozen do NOT used canned. I use one cup of sugar for sweetener. Dh want me to add a bag of cinnamon red hots next time instead. This can be canned up as is in a Boiling Water Bath, I used quart jars and processed it for 20 minutes - adjust for your altitude.

Black Bean Soup - canned

Soaked black beans that have been drained and rinsed. Partially cooked pork butt roast - it's ok to partially cook as it will be pressure canned for 90 plus minutes under 10 +/- pounds of pressure which yeilds a very tender meat.

I love this old jar it unfortunately had a chip in the rip and I didn't catch that so the jar didn't seal. I guess I have no choice but to take it to my studio and store buttons and beads in it now!

Fill the jars half way with black beans. I soaked the beans for two days, draining and rinsing them once a day.

Add cubed pork to the jars, about a half cups worth more or less.

Got pork?

Top off with pork broth, I had broth left over from roasting the meat, or just warm water.

Black Bean Soup ready to be pressure canned.

We had left over pork so we canned it up in quart jars (made two quarts) and canned it along side the Black Bean Soup. In retrospect I should have put the meat into pint jars. Oh well it'll make excellent bbq pork!

Black bean soup with pork - canned at 10 pounds of pressure for 110 minutes (I forgot to shut it off in time). Canned pork (from a pork butt roast) NOTE: It is better to store your jars with the rings off, one removing them ensures that the jars are indeed sealed properly and two the rings cannot rust to the jars which is a common problem esp. in humid areas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Making Potato Leek Soup

The remainder of the the leeks and my potatoes ready to be sliced thin.

Leeks and onions ready to be sauted with a little butter.

Some russett potatoes, I used six for this batch of soup.

Slice your potatoes thin.
Saute leeks and onions with three tablespoons of butter for three minutes - I actually saute them for about six minutes.

Take a taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper, I added more because we like it peppery.

Onions and leeks have been sauting for about three minutes and I've added more salt and pepper.
Chicken broth left over from last nights chicken canning session, I didn't strain the stuff out but no one will know it's in the soup when all is said and done.

Add potatoes to the onions and leeks.

Add salt and pepper to the potato broth mixture.

Cover in chicken broth and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

When potatoes are fork tender blend everything using blender or food processor, I used my kitchenaid stick blender.

Add 2 cups cream or milk slowly to the potato stock.

The cream being blended with the blender stick, the heat is off so the cream doesn't curdle.

Blend cream/milk thoroughly and your ready to serve.

If you like bacon in your soup then see the previous post, this is my bowl without bacon. The recipe is from The Joy of Cooking cookbook. This made three quarts of soup, two of which I gave to the neighbor otherwise we'd be eating it for four days! The soup is very rich and is excellent on a freezing cold evening, currently the wind chill here is -28F so it's chilly here right now.

Potato Leek Soup

Add a few bacon crumbles to the soup for a bacon flavor - my husbands favorite part!

More Chicken

I canned up some more chicken last night - this makes the most excellent chicken salad sandwiches! I'm really getting into canning my own convience foods I haven't been able to really eat any for years now due to food allergies - apparently after dozens of allergy tests I'm allergic to the vitamins that most foods are fortified with, so here's to a tasty sandwich!!!

Maderine Oranges

Today's snack after lunch - better known as desert in this house.

Macaroni and Cheese with Tuna and Peas

Bring your macaroni noodles to a boil - as per directions on the box.

About two minutes before the noodles are fully cooked I added about a cups worth of frozen peas to the noodles. Yes I know this slows the cooking time down but I do it anyway - my bad. NOTE: If you are going to use canned peas add them to the noodles when you add the tuna otherwise they will be way mushy. ALSO if you are using canned peas you will want to drain them and rinse them well before adding to the noodles to reduce the salt content and that oh so special can flavor.

Drain noodles and peas, I use a collander to do this part so I don't burn myself.

Add drained tuna to the noodles and peas.

Add cheese and butter to the noodles, peas and tuna. Mix until butter is melted over low heat try not to scorch/burn you macaroni.

Add milk and stir well over low heat.

Add black pepper to taste and stir well.

All mixed up and cheese thoroughly blended with everything.

Ready to eat!

Lunch for two adults for less than a $1.50!!!