Food Preservation Goals August 22, 2017

When I first drafted my 2017 Food Preservation Goals I wanted to try some new things. Now that I am in the middle of canning season…well let’s just say I have modified my goals a bit.

In italic print is what I have accomplished so far.

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Grape Jelly
  • Peach Jam
  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Dandelion Jelly
  • Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  • Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  • Apple Sauce
  • Grape Juice
  • Pickled Beets
  • Canned Beets
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
  • Blackberry, Peach,  Cordials
  • Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
  • Bread and Butter Pickles
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peppers
  • Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  • Red Root Relish
  •  Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  • Chili
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers
  • Frozen summer/zucchini squash
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Blackberry Syrup
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Pickle Relish


If you are wondering about recipes for any of these canning projects please click on Canning and Preserving.

Do you have food preservation goals? If so, what have you accomplished so far?

I would love to hear from you! Send me your canning stories and I will do a special fun post on people’s great successes or epic failures.

See you next update! -MM

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SAL Project Peacock Done!

Woohoo!  I can do the happy dance because Mr. Salvador the peacock is complete. The only thing I would like to add to him is possibly some tiny beading to give him a little sparkle before I frame him.

I am still looking for the right frame for this project so I will post again when it is complete and I can give it to the intended recipient :).

Other than that, I consider this beautiful cross-stitch project done and I can’t wait to give it away!

Now I have to figure out what my next project will be. A gigantic new project or my own design project.

The above is a chart I had made of a photograph I took of my back shelf after I harvested these gourds and onions. I had the photo converted into a cross-stitch chart by an online company. It’s 10 pages long!  I think you all may get sick of looking at this if I choose it for the SAL though lol!

This other project is my own design. It looks simple right now but there is a lot I will be adding to it which will be fun to see.

What do you think?  Which project should I choose for the SAL?

If you are wondering what this SAL group thing is all about we are a group of stitchers that update each other every 3 weeks with an individual project we all pick for ourselves. I could not have finished Mr. Peacock as fast as I did without having that gentle push and reminder every three weeks from Avis and the rest of these lovely like minded stitchers.

This update we’ve added two new members too. Welcome Connie and Heidi!!

If you are a stitcher and would like to join the group please contact Avis via email which you will find when you click on her link below.  In fact I would encourage you to check out all of the wonderful stitchers in this group. Their blog links are highlighted with each of their names.

See you in three weeks! -MM

Avis,ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKate,JessSueConstanzeDebbierose,ChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelen,StephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,TimothyHeidiConnie

Gardening and Preserving Goals July 25th Update

This summer is the complete opposite of last summer.  Last summer, barely any rain fell, this summer it hasn’t stopped raining for more than two days at a time.

We have lost some things like the cherries, however, most of my plantings have thrived in the rainy hot weather. 

The bold items in the lists below are what I have accomplished so far for my 2017 goals.

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

The lemon balm finally sprouted from the seed that I planted back in May. The lemon balm plants I purchased from a nursery however died within a week of planting them. Hey, at least I got something out of all of that, right?

    CROPS

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

      PRESERVING

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers
      41. Frozen summer/zucchini squash
      42. Shredded zucchini 
      43. Strawberry Syrup

      I have tons to go in the preserving category but it is very early in the canning season. Typically, September and October are the busiest months for canning. 

      I added number 41 and 42 because I have been going nuts with so many squash. I put up 8 lbs of shredded zucchini and 9 quart bags of squash slices that can be used for anything from stir fries to ratatouille to soups in the winter. Yum!

      Number 43 I added because I got 16 quarts of strawberries to do something with and this syrup is wonderful on pancakes so I made a double batch!

      That’s it for now!

      What have you been up to in the planting and preserving dept? – MM

      SAL Project Peacock and New Project Update

      The last 3 weeks have gone by so fast and we have been so busy I only have worked on Salvador for a couple of hours. Sad I know but it is summer here in the US and busy is the name of the game for about another 2 months.  

      I am slow finishing this project because all of the fun colors are done and I am left with the super light browns and creams and whites which are very unexciting.

      I don’t know if you can see much of a difference but I did finish 3 more colors completely.  There is back stitching to do too.

      Here is where I stopped 3 weeks ago:

      And here is where I am today:

      I have to admit I did start a new project and that took some of my SAL time.

      I am learning to design my own cross-stitch designs and charts. For those of you that design your own I admire you greatly. It’s hard work and I have already modified and ripped a bunch of stitches out and restitched. It takes patience but I am loving it so far!

      Here is a glimpse of what I have started to design:

      It’s going to be an autumn tree with some sort of saying whether a Biblical quote or something else. Lots of red and orange and yellow leaves. I have already modified and ripped out the trunk once.

      I have got to get a better chart drawn. When I asked the woman at Joanne Fabrics if they had any graph paper she had no clue what I was talking about. Sigh…

      I can’t wait to keep going with both projects! Until next time… -MM

      The members of the wonderful SAL group I am part of are doing some pretty spectacular projects. Click on the links of names below to visit their blogs and see what they are working on! 

      AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine, Timothy

      Gardening and Preserving Goals Update July 12, 2017

      I can’t believe what a difference a few short weeks has made in the garden. Tons of rain and finally some heat have made my garden GROW. I can’t keep up with all the summer squash!

      Check out all the greeny goodness in the pics below.

      The potatoes are loving their new converted fireplace planting bed

      The blackberries are abundant this year. I have never seen them so loaded with beautiful berries.

      I only have 6 basil plants but it’s almost too much! (not that I am complaining)


      Not only have we had spectacular wins in the garden but we have also had spectacular fails as well. I planted lemon balm and celery and I don’t know if they just didn’t like the soil or maybe each other but they both withered up and died within days of planting them. That was a real bummer I tell ya!

      My garlic, my beloved and most anticipated garlic, is failing. I have never grown garlic before so any advice would be welcome but it did not make scapes this year and it’s leaves are already turning brown.

      Also we lost all of our sweet cherries to the cold rainy Spring. That’s 3 years in a row we have not had a harvest from these 2 trees. Some re-evaluating will be going on after this season on what to do about it.

      And finally our Bosc pear and our apple trees are in trouble due to fire blight which I will catch you up on in another post. Sigh…

      On the bright side I have gotten some things preserved and stored in the pantry and freezer for the winter.

      7 pints of strawberry syrup, 5- 12 oz. containers of strawberry freezer jam, 5 quarts of sour cherries (which we had abundant crops of despite the sweet cherry fail) and tons of shredded zucchini for cakes and bread all got done last week.

      I will give you a more detailed update next time but until then happy gardening! -MM

       

       

       

      SAL Update Project Peacock June25

      I am so close to being done, but unfortunately I just couldn’t finish Mr. Salvador in the last 3 weeks. I ran out of the light brown and didn’t get to the craft store until a few days ago because I was so busy with work and home responsibilities. 

      So, here is where I was last time.

      And here I am now.

      Sorry for the bad photo. The rest of the piece is very light in color and a bit boring so I have struggled to make any more progress. Hopefully you can see where I have been working on the flowers and branches.

      One thing I did get accomplished this week was framing my poppy project. The frame, mat, and glass were only $2.50 at the thrift store. It’s just sitting in the frame but at least it’s protected right?

      Please check out the other members of the group by clicking on the names below. You won’t be disappointed!


      Avis
      ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineWendy, Timothy

      Thrifting- From Fans to Frames

      So far this month we have struck gold at the local flea markets and thrift stores. As a family we head out with a list of things we are looking for.

      A few months ago our ceiling fan in the kitchen started to smoke. Luckily we were home and caught it before it started a fire but regardless it was pretty scary. Ever since then we have had a hole in our ceiling waiting for a new fan but I didn’t want to pay a ton for a brand new one. As Doug and I were shopping at our local Goodwill thrift store I found a brand spanking new, in-the-box ceiling fan for $7. Incredible right?! Within a few days Scott had the fan installed and it works perfectly.

      I also found a frame for my poppy cross-stitch project that has been sitting in a drawer ready to be framed since I finished it in January. Again I didn’t want to spend over a $100 for custom framing so I have been patiently looking for one in our shopping travels. I found one last week again at the Goodwill for 1/2 off. It only cost me $2.50! Get out! I think it looks beautiful.

      This past Sunday on Father’s Day we stopped at the flea market on our way through and although Scott and I didn’t see much, Doug rummaged through a couple of vendor’s booths and found a box loaded with computer parts for just $20. Three sticks of RAM, two monitors, 2 graphics cards and a mess of cords and wires only he knows what to do with. He left with a big smile on his face I tell ya!

      We buy a lot of our clothes at thrift stores. I mostly go for the stores in college towns because I can find makers like Banana Republic and LOFT at a 1/10 of the original prices sometimes. One example for Doug was a Kobe Bryant T-shirt that originally cost $80 brand new. He found it for only $5 slightly used at the thrift store. The Banana Republic shorts I found for $5 were originally $45 in the stores.

      Now the sneakers we have found at the thrift stores have saved us a ton of money over the years. Just recently Doug again found originally priced $150 LeBron James sneakers for only $8. He was ecstatic!

      I get that not everyone is comfortable buying clothes and shoes at Thrift Stores. I wasn’t at first either. We fully launder and disinfect the clothes and sneakers before we wear them which everyone should do when purchasing used clothes and footwear.

      I have been reading a conversation on another blog by Mavis Butterfield who has written about her frustration with the rising prices at thrift stores. I do agree that on some items like fine china and glassware they have gotten wise that these items are worth a lot more than a $1 and have been uping their prices. However, in my general area it is still pretty easy to find great deals which we are thankful for.

      Patience is the number one strategy when thrifting. It has taken me over a year to find exactly what I want sometimes, but if you don’t mind the wait, your patience can really pay off and the journey is exciting!

      Do you like a bargain? What do you think about the rising prices at thrift stores? -MM