August 30, 2011

Toby and Lilly

I think they've become friends!

(But, maybe it's more of a tolerance...)

August 27, 2011


Doesn't this look yummy?!

A friend posted this on facebook and
I tried it today. Of course I adjusted the
recipe a little bit to suit our tastes!

Here's the original recipe in black and the
adjustments I made in blue!


3 cups rolled oats  (4 cups)
1 cup slivered almonds  (1 1/2 sliced almonds)
1 cup cashews  (1/2 cup pecans)
3/4 cup shredded coconut  (1 1/2 cups shredded coconut)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBsp dk br. sugar  (scant 1/4 cup dk. br. sugar)
1/4 cup plus 2TBsp maple syrup (1/4 cup + PURE maple syrup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil  (1/4 cup Smart Balance oil)
3/4 tsp salt     (none)
1 cup raisins   (I haven't put any raisins or craisins in yet)
I also added 3/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 250* F
In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts,
coconut and brown sugar.

Combine the oil & maple syrup in a separate bowl
and mix then pour over the dry ingredients and mix.

Pour this onto 2 large baking sheets
(or 1 large turkey pan).
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes,
stirring every 15 minutes.

It is finished when it is an even tan color.
Remove from the oven to cool,
mix in the raisins and store
in a large plastic lidded container.

Next time I make this, I will add sunflower seeds and
 pumpkin seeds along with the coconut & nuts and I'll triple
or quadruple the recipe!


Preparing for Irene

Listening to the news & weather over the past few days will do one of three things to a person. It will either make you totally freak out and plan as if we are facing an apocalyptic style catastrophe, be totally lethargic remembering how many previous storms we've prepared for only to wake up to nothing or next to nothing happening outside, or to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other!

I tend to take the last option, I'll keep one eye on the weatherman and the other on my 'to do' list! I went to the grocery store this morning. I bought cat food & dog food because the current bags are almost gone, oatmeal & coconut so I can try a new granola recipe, cereal for the hubz, lunch meat because we are out, sandwich bags, apples & bananas and a gallon of milk! OH YA... and my two purchases for the hurricane: M & M's and Chocolate Kisses!

Now honestly, I'm NOT taking this storm all that lightly. We will have water in 5 gallon pails in the tub for flushing & we already fill jugs at the spring for drinking, so we are set there. There are candles in the cupboard from years of waiting for the nor'easters to hit, and the pantry is stocked because the garden is in full season of producing veggies!

We still need to put the lawn chairs in the shed & batten down the rabbit hutch, maybe I'll get a batch of cookies made and perhaps start a pot of soup... JUST IN CASE! Here's to preparing for the worst and praying for the best!! PLEASE IRENE, take a sharp right as you leave the Carolinas! Praying that you are all safely tucked in as Irene makes her presence known!

August 26, 2011

Lemon Cucumbers... Dill Pickles

I've never heard of 'lemon cucumbers' before
this spring. We were given a package of
seeds to try!

 They look like lemons ...  
They are perfectly round and  when less ripe,
 they are slightly yellow!

When ripe, they become 'lemony' in color

All sliced and pickled
and in a dill brine!

Don't they look like lemon wedges!?
I can't wait to try them!

This jar belongs to the friend
that gave us the seeds!!

Lilly's New Sweater

Okay... my kids told me I'd probably become
'one of those' people!

I didn't want to believe them.... but, it's only been
 a week and a half and already I've
crocheted a little coat for her!

Maybe they were right!

August 22, 2011

Ziploc Vacuum Freezer System

After seeing the Ziploc Vacuum system, I thought I'd
give it a try. The cost wasn't too bad...
(If I'm remembering correctly, it was
only $2.99 for the pump & 3 bags
and maybe $3.99 for a dozen bags!)
and they are available at the grocery store.

The bags are a different texture then the regular or
freezer Ziploc bags and they have a little patch
 in the upper corner.

After the bags are filled, you zip it shut and put the
plunger to the corner. It works like a bicycle pump,
work the plunger until the air it gone!
Wipe off a little bit of juice
and viola... it is ready for the freezer!

I don't know how these bags will compare to other
freezer, air tight bag systems. But it was easy
to use! I'll let you know....  

August 17, 2011

Introducing Lilly

Here's Lilly

She is an eight year old mini -
dachshund that needed re-homing.

Toby and Lilly made friends
pretty quickly! 

Well we got through the first 24 hours....
I think she'll be just fine!

August 15, 2011

Purple Plus Green Equals... Green!

If you've ever taken an art class... you know this
is just NOT going to work out on a palette..

but, in the garden & canning world,
it's a different story!

We planted green & purple bush beans and no,
I don't remember the specific names... but they
are fun & pretty to watch grow!

(FYI: Green beans have white flowers &
purple beans have a light purple flower!)

We've picked & canned quite a few already, but
Sunday afternoon they were ready to pick again!
I don't know how many this is... maybe
1/2 to 3/4 of a bushel or so.

 Toby LOVES veggies from the garden!
He is intently watching Pete's hands
just waiting for him to toss a tail or two his way!
He's such a funny dog...  lucky for him, there
were some beans that were just too big!

Here they are
 all cut up and in the jars!
Aren't they pretty!
Now, off to the canner they go.... 

 25 minutes in the canner at
10 pounds of pressure for quarts!
(20 minutes at 10 pounds for pints)

The cool thing about the purple beans...
when they are cooked, they turn green!
They are tasty & tender and hard to
tell the difference once they are cooked!
From this pile of beans we canned
12 quarts & 9 pints!

This post shared on Healthy 2day Wednesdays
and Simple Lives Thursday!

August 9, 2011

Sending Chickens To Freezer Camp

OK, you've been forewarned! Proceed with caution...

We got 30 day old chicks 9 weeks ago...
It is amazing how fast they grow!
(We lost 3 over the nine weeks)
This isn't our first time raising meat birds... 
but each year we learn a little something new
or something to do differently next time!
We belong to a group called
Small & Beginner Farmers of NH
where we share experiences and equipment.

Our family oversees the MPU (Mobile Processing
Unit) for our county. We teach others how to use
it and rent it out to members.

Above, you see the trailer that everything is
housed in... the removable 'cones' are attached to
the doors. We have portable pens that can be
set up (behind the door area) for the "poultry in waiting".
After the head is removed and blood drained,
the carcass is dipped in HOT water (about 150*)
in the scald tank for a few minutes, just until the
feathers can be pulled out by hand.

The Featherman Plucker works really well!

In just a few minutes the birds
are all ready for the next step!
Evisceration...  a fancy word which 
means 'to gut out'.

The chill tank... is kept filled with ice so that
the core temperature is brought down FAST
and they are ready for the freezer!
Sitting pretty.... awaiting bagging and
weighing and then off to 'freezer camp'!
(Average weight... 5.65 pounds)
All in all... the process is not bad or hard.
My husband and I finished up all
27 birds in just a few hours.
(Not including the clean up!)

As to cost effectiveness.... you decide.
I kept track of EVERYTHING this time around!
Our total price per pound is $1.29
We are happy!!

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August 8, 2011

Ana Sapphira at Soulfest...

 Travis & Austin
playing together in their band
Ana Sapphira
at Soulfest in
Gilford, NH
Travis, John, Doug, Austin
(Jordan is to the right of Austin)
on stage... playing for a large
crowd of over 500 people!
Austin & Jordan

It was so much fun to watch them play.
They have matured in their music and
have gotten really tight as a band!
The end of this week they go on
tour... NH, VT, NY,
with another local band.
PLEASE keep them in prayer ....
as a mom, of course I think of all the
'obvious' things like
but the unseen and less obvious things
could be even 'more important'.
Please pray for the dynamics of the band
members while traveling together.
For their witness as Christian young men.
For their dealings with the other musicians.
For WISDOM in the decisions that
need to be made, etc.
It is awesome to see how God is using these guys!
Yes, I'm a proud mom. It is fun to see
them grow and mature!
Curious as to their style?
Go to youtube! 

August 2, 2011

Beans, Beans and More Beans...

I have been buying and saving dried beans with the good intentions of making; baked beans, re-fried beans, black beans & rice, hummus from chick peas and so on...  well, they've been stored in large plastic containers and I've just never used them. I'll admit to cheating... for the sake of ease, I've bought the large cans of kidney beans to make chili and the cans of black beans for soups & black beans and rice... BUT NO MORE!! 

I discovered in a favorite old cookbook of mine, a paragraph written by a Mennonite woman, Ada Beachy, the NEW TO ME concept of canning the dried beans so they are all ready to use! I LOVE THAT CONCEPT...  if you want to read her paragraph, check it out here!

I checked out online how other people did this and found a great lot of advice of what to do and what NOT to do too! (Like... LOOSELY fill the jars with the prepared beans NOT solid pack and then fill the jars with the hot water leaving the head space.)

I'm SOOOO EXCITED!! I tried kidney beans and black beans first... it was a lot of work, but I think it will be well worth it come winter time! NOW, I'm going to try the navy beans & pinto beans & chick peas... and keep on going!

Since I didn't soak the beans overnight, I quick boiled them, timing it for a couple of minutes after they started to boil then soaked them in this hot water for an hour.

Afterwards, drain and rinse the beans and then fill the pots back up with fresh, water and allow them to boil for another 30 minutes.

NOW drain the beans (KEEP THIS LIQUID) fill the quart jars LOOSELY to the shoulder area of the jars.

Add 1 tsp. of canning salt and then add the saved liquid allowing 1 inch of head space. (The headspace allows for the beans to expand a bit more during processing.)

You need to use a pressure canner (NOT a water bath)...  90 minutes (for quarts... 75 minutes for pints) at 10 pounds!

It's so much fun to see the jars starting to line up on the pantry shelves!

PLEASE: IF you are going to try this method... do your own research! Different areas of the country require different pressure canning times. (ie: the length of time may be greater if you live higher up in elevation!)

This post shared on Healthy 2Day Wednesdays and Simple Lives Thursday! Go check out some of the other ideas!

SIDE NOTE:  I did try to can chick peas (garbanzo beans) the next day. I tried the dry method putting a scant 1/2 cup in a pint, 1/2 tsp. salt and boiling water leaving 1 inch of headspace...  pressure canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. I can't say I'm overly thrilled with this outcome. They didn't fill the jars like I assumed they would. It could be they were too old. I will try again using BOTH methods and see if it is the peas/beans being a little too old or if the 'presoak/cook' method just works better for me.  I'll let you know! :)

Dill Pickles & Canned Green Beans.....

The processes are different...
but the end results are the same!
Food put up in jars
for the long winter months ahead.
Our family favorite...   DILL PICKLES
This recipe has been used for a few generations
 on my husband's side of the family! I used
my mom's recipe for a while... then after
trying this dill pickle, sorry mom, but
this is got my vote!! I've been making
this recipe for the past 28 years!

Ingredients above....  cucumbers, grape leaves
and dill heads! Yup... we grow our dill and use
the heads. I've also used the fern part too
when I run short! (SIDE NOTE: the ferns
are awesome in cucumber or potato or tuna salads!)
Wash the  grape leaves & dill heads. Put one
in each WASHED & WELL CLEANED quart jar.
Then, wash the cucs, slice and put in the
jars too! Top with 1 tsp. of alum and
add the BOILING HOT brine.
(10C water, 5C cider vinegar, 1C salt)
Seal the jars with hot, clean lids & screw tops!
This recipe as it has been handed down doesn't
call for water bathing. BUT... I KNOW THE USDA

NEXT on our agenda for the day was green beans!
Pete, being the wonderful, helping husband that he is,
picked, washed & cut up all the green beans! HE EVEN
I added 1/2 teaspoon of
canning salt and then boiling water leaving 1 inch
of head space before putting the lids on.

(Head space is the amount of air space between the
top of the vegetable or fruit in the canning jar
and the underside of the lid.)

Now the jars go into the pressure canner. Inside
I had about 2 inches of hot water. The jars are added
and the top put on and sealed. The stove heats up the water
and pressure builds... this type of canner is controlled by
the heat from the fire. If it has too much pressure, we turn
down the fire or if there is too little, we turn it up.

I cook them at 10 pounds of pressure
for 20 minutes for pints.