Friday, July 27, 2012

Tomato Soup

Today we made tomato soup and canned 7 qts. This recipe is one I've posted before, its an old 1948 Kerr recipe and very good. The best one I've ever found with the greatest flavor. I cut up about 14 qts. of tomatoes, along with some celery, onions, and parsley. Let it cook until the celery was soft, than ran it through the food mill (which was work, believe me!) (had to call in the big guy to help with that).
It left a few seeds but nobody seems to mind, you could run it through again if need be. Then I put the soup in hot quart jars, sealed them and put them into the water bath canner for 30 minutes at a full boil.

Ta Da!

As Alan planted almost 50 plants, we'll probably have at least another 7 qts, before too long..plenty for the fall and winter. You can do so much with this soup from adding it to stews, in meatloaf, and much more. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tomatoes and more

The tomatoes are ripening now and we are getting quite a few...I've canned 12 pints of sauce so far and the above are slated for soup. We pick them as they start turning, bring them inside to ripen so the squirrels don't get them. Last year, our plants didn't do well and the fruit was very tiny. But with the raised beds, they are wonderful. We have one plant of giant ones, which are still green.

The weather here has been hot and a little humid all last week but the humidity broke over the weekend. Back to our normal warm and dry.

Our grandson Jayden will be one on August 15th! Here he is after enjoying a piece of red licorice.

I've been doing alot of cross stitching lately...special orders for two weddings. I'll post a photo when the latest one is finished. Its to go in the center of a wedding shower quilt. I used to do exclusively cross stitch but found the tiny stitches were getting harder and harder to see. Now I'm just using 11 and 14 ct. Aida cloth, thanking the Lord I don't have arthritis!

 We are so looking forward to the fall and cooler weather! Here is a little vintage graphic to  help us out...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summertime Wednesday

Like much of the country, we're having our share of warm weather. The tropical storm is slowly going away, leaving us still with some humidity. But it has cooled down some, back to our normal 80 to 90 degree weather. Yesterday, I hung our linen out to dry in the sun..there is nothing, and I mean nothing that compares to the scent of freshly dried sheets on the bed...
Grandpa Alan bought Jaydon a wonderful product that is still on the market. We had one for our son when he was little and now Jaydon has one..he loves it.
This is perfect for a year old and older..Jaydon will be a year old next month. The inner tube is connected with a onesie. We all watch him of course, but he loves to paddle around in the above ground pool. Alan bought it on Amazon...Walmart carries them also but believe it or not, they're more expensive than Amazon. He is almost ready to walk, and can stand on his own. Jaydon can use this innertube  until he's two or so.

I also wanted to share a wonderful website with so many very practical frugal ideas.....
Its called A Mum 'n the Oven... She is also on Facebook by the same name and shares so many handy tips...the one I used this week was something I (at 61) never thought of...
using the lid of a parmesan cheese container on a pint canning jar. I used the one I put together for baking soda..The lid fits perfectly. I usually get the biggest container of soda I can find as I use it not only in the kitchen but in the laundry.

The tip today, which I used also was to put a drop or two of essential oils in the cardboard insert of the toilet paper roll.....your bathroom  and nose will thank you for it....I put the only oil I had which was a holiday cinnamon scent but it works so well, I intend on getting some lemon or lavender which would be better.

Closing for today, I ask for prayer for Nancy Huggins...she is facing some health issues and needs our prayers. She goes in tomorrow for some heart related tests and will probably have some surgery on Friday. Praying for peace, healing and encouragement for her.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hot, Humid, Ants and Canning

Its hot hot hot here and humid. Just like much of the country, although our summer was rather cool before this last week. Last night we had a thunderstorm with rain. Unusual for Southern California to have a good shower in July, but our garden sure liked it.

We've been enjoying fresh corn on the cob from our garden..this variety has both white and yellow corn on the same ear. So sweet and good just picked. The kids have been putting it on the barbecue in the husk, just like they do at the state fairs. Best year for corn so far! I've also froze some for this winter.

About a week or so ago, we discovered that there were aphids on  the corn stalks and of course, with aphids comes ants. The ants actually encourage the aphids. I sprayed them with a natural spray and then put down ants traps which are wonderful.
In the past, when the weather gets hot like it is now, we would be invaded with ants, not only in the yard but in the house. It really drove me a little nuts frankly.

But thankfully, we found a product that works so well that we no longer have a problem. We see some of the neighbors hiring extermination companies to come in to spray which neither of us like with the grandson and all our pets. So, if you are having trouble with the little critters...we highly recommend this product  (we are not getting compensated in any way..just passing on a good thing.)We're recommended these to others and everyone says they work well. I got this photo off the internet. Terro Liquid Ant traps. Ants love these things and eat it up, they take the bait back to the nest also and it kills the entire nest. I don't recommend them inside but around the areas where the ants come in because they will come back for more.
In the garden, I found that the ants had made a hill, right in the raised bed. So I simply put down two traps by the ant hill. Within a few days, all the ants were gone. We put down 3 traps down at the house, one outside our French doors where they were starting to come in, one outside the front door and one by the garage door as they had started invading at those points. Within a few hours, no ants.These traps are ALOT cheaper than calling in someone.
This works for our common tiny little Argentinian ants and also the larger red ants.

You can find these traps at most big box home improvement stores, both Lowes and Home Depot carry them. You can also get them online at Amazon.

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen also and I've canned, so far, about 6 pints of sauce. The last batch, I added a red pepper to the pot which is giving the sauce a little snap to the taste. This year, I am canning more pints than quarts as its enough for the two of us. Plus its nice to add a pint to a stew or soup. You can see the tiny little red pepper in the photo. This is just a green pepper that is ripe. Not hot or spicy.

So easy to make the sauce. I  just put the tomatoes, after washing them, and cutting out the stem area, in a pot, cook them down well, put the result through the food mill, cook the sauce down a bit until I get it thick. Then put into the hot jars, with a 1/2 t. of vinegar or lemon juice and process in the water bath canner for about 20 minutes or so.I've got everything set up so I can do this easily whenever we find enough ripe tomatoes. As its been so humid and hot, I did this at night after supper. I'm planning on  canning tomato soup as soon as I get enough for that project.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Zucchini Bread

I've been busy baking zucchini bread and muffins...these are sugar free and very good indeed..I added some crushed pineapple to the recipe. With the zucchini and the pineapple, these are very moist and yummy. Of course, they also have chopped walnuts.

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 c. flour
1 12 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup Splenda
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. drained crushed pineapple
1 t. vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 c. walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with your choice of cooking spray.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Beat eggs and Splenda. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 5 minutes. Add oil, applesauce, pineapple and vanilla, beat at medium speed for a minute or two to mix well. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in zucchini and walnuts.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. I put a walnut half on the bread and muffins just for fun.
Bake 40 minutes or until tested done. Cool about 10 minutes before taking of pan and cool on wire rack.
I doubled the recipe and made muffins too..baking time was 5 minutes longer for the muffins.

I've also been busy stitching some special orders. Plus doing  needed housework..with 7 in the house, there is always something that needs to be done! as well as taking care of 3 cats and 2 dogs. 
As you may know, I collect vintage cooky cutters...but am getting too many so I have a few in my Etsy shop for sale....
There are more photos..these are from the 60s, I believe. My shop is Inspiration Memories
 I never could figure out why some of the cutters were shaped like spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs, Mom told me it was because card parties were very popular back in the day. My grandmother played bridge and hosted games, serving dainty frosted sugar cookies.