Thursday, January 22, 2009

Success! & The Sweet Tooth (otherwise known as my Beloved)

I did it! And I didn't blow up the house. I canned 9 pints of turkey broth. It was a whole lot easier than I thought it might be. It was so rewarding to hear the lids ping when I set them on the towel. Next adventure? Either chili or pinto beans. I really want to do some soup and chicken, but the price hasn't been right yet.

Now that I've accomplished that goal for this week, I am seriously debating whether or not to satisfy my Beloved's sweet tooth. I have spaghetti for supper and I'm thinking of baking some cupcakes (I can't imagine why cupcakes would be the thought given some of the cooking blogs I read). He seriously loves cupcakes. The only dessert that is higher on his list of favorites is Snickerdoodles. He had some of those for Christmas, so he should be good for a few more weeks.

So, cupcakes it is. I would love to make from scratch, but I have several mixes that really need to be used before I get too far ahead of myself.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Am I Crazy?

Well, let's not get personal here, ha!

Today I am going to try my hand at pressure canning. I finally got my new pressure gauge and installed it this morning. The turkey broth that has been sitting in the freezer since Thanksgiving is thawing. I'm a bit apprehensive. But, it's cold outside, the wood stove is not putting out the heat like I would like it to. So............. let's see if we can avoid putting a hole in the roof, yet have some awesome broth to use for cooking as the months go by.

Wish me luck! I'll report back with pictures if everything works.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warmth in a Mug

I went to Kroger's on Tuesday. While there, I discovered a Bigelow herbal tea called Pomegranate Pizzazz®. I am hooked! It's awesome! And, I found the natural stevia sweetener called Only Sweet. I've always wanted to use stevia, but could never figure out how to make it sweeten the way I needed it to. I never got it right. These little green-on-white sachets are perfect! Since I am diabetic, I struggle to find something I like that is good for me. The pink, blue and yellow packets just never did it for me. Always an aftertaste. Not with the stevia. I can't wait to try it in my next cup of Kaffree Roma.

Cracking Eggs

Well, it's been a bit interesting over the past couple of days. Last night I decided to make an omelet (I'm still working on it) by cracking a few eggs.

In my house, making an omelet means I'm totally gutting an area and decluttering it, or re purposing it. Last night was re purposing. I have a pantry with pull out shelves in the top that holds my small appliances (an appliance penthouse since its on the top shelf) and my baking / cooking ingredients like spices, honey, oils, etc. That only takes up the top half of the pantry.

The bottom half was originally built to hold a portable dishwasher. Since I am the dishwasher, that space it pretty much wasted with things I had totally forgotten about. Such as the sauce pot that I tried to use for a wash pail............until I discovered the hole that was in it. Then I remembered that I used that with the hot air popcorn popper because of the hole. That went into the recycle bin!

Anyways... After I cleaned the "stuff" from that nice open space and washed it down, I decided to put my canning supplies in there. So far it's several cases of jars (pint and quart) that I have here, and will have more when I bring the cases I have at my mom's over here. I have 2 pressure canners and 2 water bath canners. I also have my food mill and various spoons and gadgets. I'm hoping to be able to add a steam juicer to the collection. I don't think I'll have room to put my dehydrator when I get it, but I'm going to try.

So that's my re purposing day.

Monday I was inspired by a post featuring Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Fresh Goat Cheese from Gastroanthropology to try my hand a Roasted Root Vegetables. I had Idaho and Sweet Potatoes on hand and a couple of "fresh" beets. I don't normally have beets (let's just say I have never had fresh beets in my house), but I had tried to do root vegetable chips a couple of weeks ago. Suffice it to say that didn't work out but had two beets left over.

I diced the potatoes and beets, tossed them in a bit of olive oil and salt, poured them into a not-so-deep roasting pan then put them in the oven at 400 for a bit (25 - 30 minutes if I remember correctly). These turned out so much better than the veggie chips. There are some improvements needed. Next time, I'll skip the sweet potatoes which were too sweet and figure out how to cut that rutabaga without breaking my knife or breaking the counter into small pieces.

It's supposed to get down to single digits tonight with wind chills -10 to -20. I have the wood stove going and I'm thinking about canning some turkey broth that I froze at Thanksgiving. Not sure if I have time since the broth is still frozen. If I don't get to it tonight, I'll try to get an earlier start when I get home from work on Thursday. I'll probably need the extra heat from the canner to keep the furnace from coming on (it's set at 60 right now and doing ok).

The cold front is roaring through as I type. BBRRR Time to throw another log on the fire! The wind is blowing really good now. Until next time.............

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Cup Cake Test

I found this cute test on the "Cake Makes the World a Better Place! blog and I just couldn't resist taking it myself.

Your Cupcake Says You Are Lovable

At parties, you tend to be a social butterfly. You enjoy making conversation and making sure everyone is having fun.

You hardly have any restraint. You only hold yourself back when absolutely necessary.

The most important thing in your life is love.

You are laid back, flexible, and easy to get along with. To know you is to care for you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More than Pictures

Welcome to my blog "Reflections on Life and the Warmth of Home and Family". I have a picture blog that I enjoy, but it's hard to keep up with a picture a day (yes, I'm far behind). I want to share the more mundane, yet awesome, aspects of life. So, once I get it all prettied up, you can come back and see what's mundane or awesome in my neck of the woods.