Monday, November 13, 2017

The First Thanksgiving - Gratitude!!!

I thought this was a great reminder.  Sometimes the real history is forgotten or misconstrued.  Thanksgiving is a great time to look back and remember our ancestors and the many gifts we have been blessed with in this wonderful country.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I love bread and butter pickles.  We have some lovely cucumbers coming on so as they do I am putting the extras up as pickles.  Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe  If you too like B&B pickles this is a really good recipe. 
salted and iced - this pulls some of the moisture out

wonderful spices and vinegar

bring it to a boil

they didn't fit in the jars - yum

just out of the canner and resting for 24 hours then they will be washed, labeled and put away.
DH is a dill pickle person.(I like them too but my favorite is B&B).  I have been putting a few of those up as well. 
Happy canning!
a little bird


I am sharing this with frustration.  My mom got scammed.!!!!  Her computer gave her a very genuine looking alert with a number she needed to call.  It looked on the level but it was not...

The phone scammers: "Yes, they were the company she needed.  Yes, they could fix her computer."  They needed access to her computer, credit card number, name and address........ 

Thankfully when she got off the phone she had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing and canceled her credit card. Then she called me.  We did a little research and found some steps to take. 
1. Cancel your credit card and have a new number issued.
2. Talk to the bank and have them put an alert on your account or change your account number.
3. Make a police report.

Mom has taken all the steps she - we know to take.  Hopefully this is now an non-event. 
a little bird

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bananas and Strawberries

Dried bananas - YUM!!!

DH called me today from the store.  He wanted boiled dinner tonight - that is one of his signature dishes - I love it when he cooks!!  Anyway DH called from the store to say bananas were on sale today and tomorrow.  Did I want some?  Sure, so he picked some up to dehydrate.  They were the perfect ripeness, not green - not brown.

I like to dip mine to prevent darkening.  A honey dip is very good so is lemon or lime juice so why not mix it up... I did one part honey to one part lime juice - oh my goodness this is yummy!!!

Bananas are so easy!!! slice, dip, and  in the dehydrator.

Our grands love dried fruit and fruit leather so when fruit is in season or on sale we like to buy and put it up.  The bananas went really fast last year it was a true favorite of the kids (I wonder why it's sweet like candy).   The next on the favorite list was the fruit leather.

This year I did some little strawberry 'kisses',  Which are individual fruit leathers. These were so easy!!!  Wash and hull the berries, whirl in the blender and then pour out on parchment paper and into the dehydrator.  Nothing else is needed.  Just straight strawberries, can't get healthier than that. You can do a large round or the kisses are about 3 inches in diameter making just the perfect size for a snack.

Happy dehydrating and putting by.  It's the time of year to take advantage of the produce in season.
a little bird

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We've got Power!!

We had a Micro-Burst come through our area.  (A microburst is a downdraft that moves opposite of a tornado.)  Power poles were snapped off, trees were uprooted, branches came down on lines, etcetera. 

Out came the kerosene lamps, candles, cooking was done on the gas stovetop or grill. 

What was helpful:
Kerosene lamps and candles
A way to cook - either a grill, camp stove, or a gas stove top
Flashlights - sometimes you just need more light than a candle offers
Hand coffee grinder - or ground coffee
Coffee pot - we have a stainless steel percolator that we use camping (Sure tastes good - power or no power I want my cup of joe.)
Radio - battery operated - it was just nice to stay up with the rest of the world
Portable power pack for recharging the phone or kindle

Thankfully we never lost water pressure.  That would have been the PITS!!!  We have a gas water heater and we had hot water too.  That was delightful - I didn't think it would work without electricity but it did!  (color me happy)

We have a generator and we did fire it up a couple times so we could plug the refrigerator in - threw the cord over the fence so the neighbor could plug his in too  - then #1 son came to get it for their house and neighbors.  Just plugging in for 30 minutes twice a day seemed to keep everything cold.  We still had ice in the icemaker. 

Although we never lost water pressure in the beginning I wasn't sure so I got our two-gallon water dispenser out (you know the kind for parties), I filled it to the brim so we would have drinking water.  We have bottled water too but this was just additional 'just in case' water.   We live in the high mountain desert - trust me water is IMPORTANT!!!  for both us and our pets.

All in all it went without a hitch - It always reminds me how thankful I am for the convenience of power at the flick of a switch.
a little bird

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Crock-Pot Test

Sharing some information I thought was very helpful.

I bought a second hand Crock-Pot at a yard sale.  It was in beautiful shape but it's always nice to know that it is functioning correctly.

I contacted Crock Pot online and they have a live chat.  This was our conversation:

Janet: Hi, my name is Janet. I will be happy to help you today.
Me: Hello, I purchased a lovely crock-pot second hand.  Model 50301. How can I test that it is heating to correct temperatures?
Janet: The slow cooker and both low and high will reach a temperature between 210 to 218 degrees. You can test the temperature by filling the stoneware half full with water and turning it on for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, take a candy or meat thermometer to test the temperature of the water.
Me: Thank you!

Now that's handy to know.  I have the crock-pot heating and we'll see...

I am a Crock-Pot user.  They are wonderful to fill before work and then when I get home dinner is done and the house smells great.  They are also wonderful for pot luck dinners at church or school.  I have two large, two mediums (if this new one tests out), one small, and a mini.  I don't really use the mini but they say it works for sauces.  

A church pot luck favorite is mac and cheese.  I use my biggest and fill it with mac and cheese and let it cook.  The pot is always empty when it's time to head home.  I was thinking of kids when I made this but the adults like it too.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
4 cups uncooked macaroni
6 to 8 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cans evaporated milk
3 cups milk 
4 eggs
salt and pepper
If I have it on hand I will add a can of Cheddar Cheese Soup.
Mix all together, reserving 3 cups of cheese for the top.

Spray or grease the inside of your crock-pot.  Dump mixture into your crock pot, top with remaining cheese.
Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Do not stir while cooking.  I double this for church pot luck dinners. 

Shhhhhh - Hold Your Tongue

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28 NLT

Have you ever said something and then wished you could retract the statement??  I know I have.  Even if the statement wasn't wrong or ugly.  It may have not been pertinent to the topic of discussion.  It sounded good in my head but then...

The Proverbs are a good book to read often.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Instant Pot

A dear friend and I went to a Master Food Safety Adviser meeting today (Master Food Preserver).  The demo was of the Instant Pot.

We had three pots going, one was Brown Rice, one Lemon Chicken and the last a Cheese Cake!!!  Yes you heard me right a Cheese Cake*.

An Instant Pot is an Electric Pressure Cooker (not canner).  The chicken took about 20 minutes start to finish, Literally we pulled the raw chicken breasts out of the package, seasoned it, browned it in the Instant Pot on saute, added our remaining ingredients: chicken broth, garlic, cream, lemon juice.  Put the lid on set it for 8 minutes of cook time and that was it.  After the eight minutes it turned it self to low we waited five minutes and then vented any remaining steam and voila.  The chicken was done.

Our chicken took the longest of the three the rice and cheese cake were completed a few minutes before we were.

It really was amazing.

I have two regular pressure cookers so I don't know that I personally will purchase an Instant Pot (or a brand like it) but I have to admit it was fun to try.

*The presenter had made a cheesecake the day before so we could have a chilled cake not one warm right out of the cooker.  It was really good and if your oven was on the fritz this is a real handy tool to have.

Click HERE for a free Instant Pot recipe book.
Or HERE for many additional recipes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

January, February,and March

Can you believe it's spring and almost April!!

Here are some of the activities of January, February and March.

My mom sent me ties so that I could make bags out of them for the girls in our family.

I made nine all together.  They were fun to make.  The hardest part was sorting it out without a pattern.   

Fermented oranges.  These are wonderful.  I have used them chopped in salad, dressings, and marinades.  I'm sure they would be very good in a pasta salad as well.

I quartered my oranges or the big ones I cut into eights and then salted them.  This is a fermenting process like sauerkraut.  These are very salty so they need to be rinsed before chopping to add them to a dish.

My other sewing project was a repair job.

#2 son's dog got a hold of his winter hat and chewed the rabbit fur to bits on the bill.  Did you know you can order a rabbit pelt from Amazon... well you can and I did.  I tried to find one that matched as much as possible.  You can see it's not a perfect match but it is close enough that it doesn't stand out too much.  I traced around the bill adding a bit for seam allowance.  There is the wool layer a lining layer and then the fur.  I was able to do a fair amount on the machine but the last bit required hand stitching my machine just couldn't handle all of the layers.

They had mountains of snow where they live - 6 feet on the level - yes, 6 feet.  Bless them they spent most of the winter digging out.  One week they were snowed in.  School was closed and they were in.  #2 son had to wear snowshoes just to take the trash out.  And extra panels had to be added to the fence because the cows could just walk right over the fence...  

This picture shows the lodge.  Those doors are 6'6" tall.  So you can see the amount of snow they had to deal with.  (the hat was a need.)

We had lots of snow here too.  Nothing like the mountains, we live in the high mountain desert. We had about 3 feet.  For us that's good snow.  Our snow has all melted away. DH has cleaned the yard and cleaned the garden area.  Too wet to till yet but we are moving in the right direction. 

Happy spring to you,
a little bird

Friday, January 6, 2017

A bit of winter

We are having a bit of winter at our house.  I took this yesterday morning after our snow and blow.  
This morning it's -11.
I'm grateful for the wood stove.  Our power went out for awhile last night.  It wasn't out for a long time but at -11 it doesn't take long for houses to cool down.  We were warm as toast but I was concerned for our neighbors without heat. 
Our high for the day should be around 0.  I will again be grateful for the wood stove. ;0)
I think some soup, sewing and staying warm are what's on my agenda today.

Happy New Year!
a little bird


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