I found this on a site that I’ve been learning canning on and loved it. I had to jump on here and share it rather quickly.
A side note – this site is also great for learning how to can. It’s the same place I acquired the recipe for the Baked Brown Bread in a Can. She cautions that the canning of Baked Brown Bread is not approved by the USDA but she has done it and it worked. I’m going to caution everyone I give mine to that they should eat it rather quickly so we don’t have to stress too badly getting sick and dying.
Oh, yes. I did actually “can” Baked Brown Bread today! Eight pint-sized cans of it! It looks great and we opened one and it was, quite simply, delicious!
I also made some Chex Party Mix and then bagged 1 cup at a time in a plastic Zip-Lock bag to freeze. Individual snacks frozen for the boys is the point; however, I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t say I was also preparing for the worst. I never want to hear my son come home from school to accuse me of not sending him to school with a snack – ever again! Of course, he doesn’t realize, mom had nothing to send with him.
We can also use this when we go on trips. Just take out the snacks pre-made and save tons of money on the trip! We now have frozen grapes, strawberries, molasses cookies and Chex Mix. I think that’s good enough. For now, anyway.
I just read on her site that I can can ground beef, as well. I’ve hit a sale on ground beef and ground sausage and I think I want to try it. Jen’s mom just said she’d loan us her pressure canner – a must for canning meat. However, Granny over there says that canning ground beef makes dinners a snap when you get home late or forget to thaw something. She’s right but, I’m also thinking about breakfast in the morning. If I forget to thaw sausage, I can pull out a can of pre-cooked and breakfast is half-done. I have got to try this! Of course, I have to figure out what kind of broth to can with the ground sausage.
I feel like I am embracing another aspect of the “Living the 1950s.” I am cooking and baking in preparation for my family instead of living for the day. Purchasing bunches of meat when I have the funds (or it goes on sale) and doing something to preserve it long-term. Planning ahead instead of living off what I have – when I have it. Those of you that survived November with me (and by the grace of God and Friends, we survived very well) know that I would rather never return to that again!
Like the Chex Mix. I would normally not making it for my children. However, Albertson’s has a sale – 3 boxes of the required cereal for $6. I bought it. I made a batch and threw it in the freezer. Later, when my boys have no snacks, I can pull it out and all better. Planning ahead.
Like the frozen grapes. I haven’t quite mastered the grape jam thing so I took the grapes and froze them. Boys need a snack? Pull it from the freezer and done. Planning ahead.
I got another recipe in my inbox from The Spiffy Cookie on Friday and tried it. Again, that recipe failed but I was able to pull off some fun with it. It said to refrigerate overnight and then form tiny little balls with it the next day – the cookies will spread massively and you must prepare for that. Ok, so I did that. Except the cookies didn’t spread. They stayed tiny little balls while cooking.
I even tried smashing them with a jar. One website said to give them a small smash to help them to spread out. Yeah. Didn’t work.
That is as big as they got.
I had fun with it, after trying several times – including letting it sit on the counter during our Saturday excursions to get to “room temperature” and then maybe spread the way it was supposed to. No dice. So, I broke out the cookie cutters, rolled out the dough and cut molasses cookies from the Christmas Cookie Cutters. We bagged it up, 3 cookies to a Zip-Lock bag and froze most of them.
Those are yummy cookies! Of course, for a diabetic? Maybe not so much. I’ve taken to drinking quite a few shots of vinegar a day while I’ve been baking.
I bought a box of oranges yesterday. I want to figure out how to freeze them or can them for future snacks. That’s my next goal. However, I’m almost out of the jars that Mark (ex #1) purchased for me when he was home. I’ll have to find the funds to get more cans and lids to keep going. Someone mentioned getting the jars and lids off Craigslist and just replacing the o’so important top part to seal them with. I’ll check into that after I get my allowance and do what needs doing.
One question bugging me, though. If any of you have the answer, please tell me. I bought a jar of Pectin instead of the packets or boxes. The recipes I see say “one packet” or “one box” but there is no written conversion on the jar of Pectin for what that means! How much is in a packet or a box? I should go back to the store and look but I haven’t gotten out of the house since Saturday.
I had Jen get me a bag or two of grapes so I could try the grape jam again. However, she picked up the ones with seeds. After a couple hours of peeling the grapes and then cooking them to mash and getting the seeds out (Thanks, Jen!), I gave up for the night. The resultant juice is in the fridge until probably tomorrow night. Then, I’ll start adding Pectin or whatnot and trying to can it as a jam/jelly. I have got to figure out the whole Pectin Box/powder conversion, though. The can thing was so much cheaper – same name brand but just purchased in “bulk.”
Speaking of Saturday – we had fun! At the last minute (I’m so sorry, my babies), I remembered the Museum had a “Discovery Day” for children that included real-live train Conductors and lectures on safety, usage and workings of trains. Anyone know knows me knows that my children had to go there! They didn’t know about it but how could I not take them!? They are train fanatics and I am not talking about just the toy trains like Thomas. I mean all trains – big ones, fast ones, old ones, toy ones. Doesn’t matter.
We got there at 10:15 a.m. and they were supposed to finish up at 10:30 a.m. It went on a bit longer than that but I know my babies enjoyed it! They had a great time – especially when the conductor announced that the train sitting outside (blocking traffic on one of our downtown streets) was for them to climb on. Oh, I am quite sure they about had heart attacks, hearing that.
In fact, they didn’t even seem to mind the blinding, freezing cold of the outdoors while they waited almost 30 minutes in line to get on the train.
When we finally got on board, we learned a cute tidbit no one ever tells you. The train has a unique key. It’s not a key like you would use to drive your car. I mean, look at that small metal key you have. Not very big. Made of metal. Right? Not the train key!
It’s plastic! And huge! That single piece of plastic makes the train go. Forward, backward – either way needs that piece of yellow melted and shaped plastic. Isn’t that awesome?
Getting off the train. Can’t linger too long. There are other children freezing their toes off waiting to see the train!
Does anyone else find the irony in a sign on the steps that says, “Watch your step” but then we are told to walk backwards down the stairs and can’t see where we’re going? Yeah. Thought so.
From there, we went off to Rigby. The supermarket out there was having Santa visit from 1 to 4 p.m. and I promised the boys they could go see Santa. I told them that he was visiting for the day to make sure all the children would be able to tell him their Christmas wishes. This little baby was in the store and I couldn’t help but take a picture of it. I mean, seriously, is there anything cuter in all the world!? Not even Anne Geddings can do better, in my opinion!
Brendan shocked Santa with his Christmas request. When he was asked what he wanted for Christmas, he replied, “I want whatever you bring me.” Santa didn’t quite know what to do with that request. You could see that my son completely flabbergasted him. I was so proud! My son didn’t ask for a million hard-to-get things! And no. He was not coached.
And, of course, Caiden confused Santa by asking for what he got last year. Santa played it off very well while being confused, asking questions that did not give away that he had no clue what Caiden got last year. Caiden said, “Well, you remember the train you put around my tree? I want the same thing again, please. And it has to have electricity. Don’t forget!” Santa said it wouldn’t be a problem (he saw me nod at him and smile) and Caiden’s face exploded with happiness. My plan is to take the train he got last year and set it up all nice and pretty downstairs with a piece of string to lead him around the house and then downstairs to find the train all set up for him.
I let the boys completely destroy the fireplace room, today. They have this thing they got last year. Every now and again, they break it out to play with it some more. The goal is to act like archeologists and get the plastic dinosaurs out of this chalk-like substance that’s been hardened. And yes, it is extremely hard. A year or randomly working on it and it’s still only about halfway done.
I also put some “Hot Buttered Rum” mix in a jar to send out to friends and family. I only have 2 of those cute jars, so only two people will get it – with the instructions on how to make it from there. I included the instructions for both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions because I’m not sure who is going to get them. The two cinnamon sticks are for garnish after it’s made.
At this rate, my homemade Christmas presents might arrive to their intended after Christmas but that’s ok. Some people enjoy prolonging Christmas by receiving gifts in the mail after.
Remember I said I’d be back after I finished the boys’ Christmas quilts? I did get to work on Brendan’s on Friday night. I managed to get the top ready for the borders (have to find $$ to buy them) and then put the backing on. Since it is flannel, it’ll be a tied quilt. As soon as I get the funds to get the materials.
Brendan’s quilt is exactly the size of the top of a twin bed – exactly as I planned. I’m terribly pleased and can’t wait to finish it. I’ve a week to get it done. Of course, I have to sew Caiden’s together, as well. Brendan’s has green strips in the centers of each block; Caiden’s has blue. Their respective colors.
If you look at the center of each block, you’ll see the blue stripe I was talking about. That’s Caiden’s quilt. It’s all laid out and ready to go. I have to sew all the little blocks together on his and then get the borders and backing. Being flannel, I’m not quite sure I want to add any batting to it. I think it might cause it to be just a tad too heavy. I am still undecided on that.
Oh, and, I must say, I was terribly pleased with how my blocks lined up. There was nary a one that was off and if it was, it wasn’t by much. I’m so stoked to finish and give them to the babies.
That’s about it. Hope y’all had a great weekend!