Monday, July 22, 2013

Ode to a housewife

I have published this poem before, but I think it bears repeating.  So for those of you who may be new to this blog, here goes :

Ode to a Housewife

Now I lay me down to sleep

Alas my house I could not keep.

Kitchen, floors and laundry to do

But distractions came and time flew.

I did accomplish a few things

but many of them contained calories

I find that on a cool rainy day

I am less apt to work and more apt to play

At cooking and baking in my kitchen

Making chocolate cookies and fried chicken

So while my waist gets wider and my house is still cluttered

I look to tomorrow to find another

Day in which to give a try

To keep my house as women gone by

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And Panic ensues.....

So yesterday I was so excited to see that I had enough green beans to fill a canner for the first time this season.  For the past few weeks I have been getting some, but never enough to warrant all the joys of pulling out the ole pressure canner.  Finally!  I could start filling up the larder with all the goodies coming in from the garden. To date all I have put in the larder are blueberries and beet jelly.  Don't get me wrong, every little bit helps, but pulling out the pressure canner is a sign that things are taking off.  SO last night while watching a movie, I snapped said beans and then informed my DH that I will be staying up late to get the beans canned.  I get everything situated, jars washed, etc.  Then I go to get out my pressure canner.  Well it isn't in the cabinet where I keep it.  Hmmm, maybe it is in my boys, UP!  On top of the  It shouldn't be in the shed, but I check it anyway.  Not there.  This goes on for a while.  I can't find it anywhere.  Well I know it has to be here somewhere!  I then message Diva on FB to see if by chance I loaned it to her and didn't remember.  I didn't hear back by midnight so I went to bed knowing I couldn't can these beans.  I dreamt about that canner, finally waking up at 4:30 am.  I thought and thought about it.  Finally I gave up on sleep and went to the computer to see if Diva answered my message.  She had answered and she did have the canner.  I swear I do not remember loaning it to her and she even says to me that she told me the other day it was up there.  That will tell you how with it I am this time of year.  Now the panic comes in when I was facing a life without my pressure canner.  Sure I could buy another one, but they are pricey.  The worst thing though is that my pressure canner is 72 years old.  Yep!  It was made in 1941 when my dad was 2 and it belonged to my grandmother.  It was a National Pressure canner.  Presto bought them out a looooooong time ago.  Fortunate for me, Presto was nice enough to replace the gasket and weight for just the cost of the part and shipping it up there.  They shipped it back.  I had it checked out at the county extension office (a great resource for all things domestic and agricultural)and aside from the gauge being off by one notch, it works fine.  I just have to look at 11 lbs pressure as the 10 lbs called for in the recipes.  Here are my newly canned beans and my ole pressure canner

I know it looks kinda worse for wear, but it is 72 years old. 

I have decided that I cannot let this thing out of my site.  I will have Diva come to my house to can her stuff or I will go to hers.  Anyone need a lesson, I can go to your house or you to mine, but it stays with moi.  As I told me mommy, and in the words of Charlton Heston "Out of my cold dead hands!"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beet Berry Jelly

I know, are you thinking "Beets?".  Yes.  That is what I said.  I have made Beet Berry jelly for the past few years.  All thru the  year I keep a freezer container(in the freezer of course) and add the blueberry juice drained off my canned blueberries as I use them.  In the spring I plant beets, which are then harvested, and cooked.  The cooked sliced beets are frozen to give to my parents who love beets, and the juice from the beets is strained thru a coffee filter and saved in the freezer until I have enough to make the jelly.  See my family, including my DH hate beets.  I made Harvard beets from fresh picked beets one  year.  The response was less than stellar.  My Dh tactfully said they were good.....for beets.  Rubic said "They taste like dirt", and Einstein said "Uh I think you forgot to wash them".  FYI, They were washed, and peeled.  Need to have that disclaimer.  I would like to think I can cook.  SO!  Anyway, while my family won't eat the beets, they will eat the jelly.  Go Figure.  So I split the diff.  My parents get the beets and we get the juice.  So anyway, here is the recipe for anyone interested in trying something new.

Beet Berry Jelly

4 cups beet juice (Or in my situation a mixture of beet juice and fruit juice.  Any type juice would work except OJ)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 pkt sure jell
6 cups sugar

In a large pot mix the beet/berry juice, lemon juice, and sure jell(Pectin).  Bring to a rolling boil for 1 min.  Add the sugar.  Bring back to a rolling boil and let boil for 3 minutes.  Have some clean, hot, jelly jars ready.  Fill each jar leaving about a 1in head space.  Wipe rims and put on your sterilized lids and rings.  Process in boiling water bath canner(With jelly jars I just use a reg stock pot.  You just need to have a pot deep enough to cover the jars by 1.5 to 2 in of water) for 10 min. Makes about 8 jelly jars.  Well it makes 8 if you don't do what I did and knock one over.  FYI that is hot and very messy. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

It Soooooooo pays to ask! Tee Hee!

Today was my monthly main grocery trip.  It was an excursion to Kroger (Ralphs for those in that area), Aldi, and Sams.  My plan for Kroger was to pick up some bone-in chicken breast which was on sale for .99 lb.  They were out mainly because two ladies came in and cleaned them out of what they had out.  I shrugged it off thinking I would check meat prices at Sams to find an alternative.  Well as luck would have it (In other words, I was blessed), I happened upon 7 whole Tyson chickens with an expiration date of today.  They weren't marked down, so I asked the meat dept lady how much they were planning on marking them down.  I made sure she understood I would buy them all if (and I do mean if) she gave me a good deal on them.  I got those 7 whole chickens for .49lb!  Now some of you may turn your nose up at mark downs, but they are a staple of my grocery buying.  They are what allows me to keep my grocery budget under $400 a month (including pet food, toiletries, cleaning) and still keep a well stocked pantry.  The only concern you need to have when buying markdown meat is that you either use or freeze it that day.  Well I do that anyway.  I buy meats on sale and in large quantity, and freeze them.  I also look for breads marked down as well as dairy.  You can freeze milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.  Cream cheese doesn't do as well frozen, but you can still use it to cook with.  Many items like milk, yogurt, etc are good refrigerated after their sell buy date.  I used to scout out markdowns in the dairy dept at Kroger so much, that I met the manager, Robert.  He is no longer in that dept.  He is in produce now, but he still throws up his  hand to say hey and notices when I haven't been around.  Oh, and I do scout out markdowns in the produce dept as well. Things I can either use quickly or can.  So I guess I have typed all of this to say, it pays to search out mark downs.  Although if all of you realize the treasure trove of savings when buying markdows; you will start buying them all and there will be nothing left for me.......hmmm.  Okay!  Change of plans!  Forget everything I just wrote!   Uh  I was....Kidding.  Yea that's it!  Nothin to see here, move along, move along.