October 11, 2013

Kitchen Tip #1 (Brown Sugar)

There are probably a lot of kitchen tips scattered here and there throughout my blog but I've never thought to number them!  So here goes....I'm calling this #1........Put a piece of bread in with your brown sugar.  If you know why....stop reading now and go do something FUN!!  If not, read on!

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 I've used this for quite some time and it always amazes me how the brown sugar pulls the moisture from the bread causing it to stay..........

 photo tyjtyjtj_zpsb713db6d.jpg   Soft and Crumbly!

The bread doesn't fair so well.  It'll be as hard as a rock later but that's ok!  This lasts a long time.  I only change mine out if the sugar starts to harden again, or if I happen to be making a sweet potato with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  

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Yum!  I think that sugar deserves a new piece of bread!

August 31, 2013

August 29, 2013

Peach Jam

The recipe for peach jam is here from 2012.
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I just wanted to share the photo from this year because it looks so beautiful!!

August 28, 2013

How To Can Pears

It's that time of year!  I canned 7 quarts of pears last night.  The tree is still loaded with pears and I have another tree that will ripen in a couple of weeks.  Pears, unlike peaches or apples, can be picked early and they will continue to ripen.  I pick them early, wrap them in newspaper and let them set in my dark pantry for a few days.  This lets them get to that perfect ripeness.
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  How To Can Pears
Lids and Rings

Wash and peel your pears.  I slice mine into about 1/4-inch slices, discard the hard middle containing the seeds.  I use a lot of my canned pears to make Pear Custard Bars.  When I get tired of slicing all those pears, I start canning them as halves!  Makes the job go much faster and these are great for the boys when they want a snack.  
I slice the pears into a large bowl of water with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice added to keep them from turning dark while I'm getting them ready to put into jars.
 While I'm doing this, I'm running my jars through the hot cycle on the dishwasher, you can put them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to sanitize them as well.  I also have my large canner on the stove with water heating for the hot water bath part of canning and I put my lids and rings in a small sauce pan over low heat in very hot (not boiling) water. 
About 15 minutes before I finish the peeling and slicing, using a large pot, I put 6 cups of water and slowly add 2 cups of sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.  Bring this to a gentle boil.  This makes a light syrup and will fill approximately 7 quarts of pears.  See the chart below for medium and heavy syrup recipes.
When the pears are all sliced, using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water/lemon juice and pack them into your hot jars.  Make sure the pears are as flat as possible or you'll have a very large gap at the bottom of your jar when your finished.
When your jars are packed with pears, pour the boiling sugar water over the pears leaving 1/4-inch head space.  Using a butter knife or a wooden skewer, run it around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles.  Wipe the rim of your jar with a damp cloth then adjust hot lids and bands to finger-tight.
Put jars in the hot water bath.  Water should be about 1 inch above jar lids.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil.  Start timing your water bath when it begins to boil.  
For quarts, 25 minutes.  For pints, 20 minutes.
Remove from hot water bath and let sit until cooled.  Lids should be sealed when cooled!  That's it, go can some pears!
Syrup (sugar to water ratios)
Heavy syrup:  4 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water
Medium syrup: 3 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water
Light Syrup: 2 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water

August 18, 2013

Octodogs and Sea Weed - For Lunch!

Give it a chance....it sounds awful....BUT......your kids will love it!  I used to fix this a lot for my boys, then they got older and they never ask for it anymore so I thought I'd surprise them with an after church lunch from the past!   Octo-dogs (hot dogs) and sea weed (Ramen noodles with a few drops of green food coloring) 
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It always puts a smile on their faces!  Sometimes we mix it up and make blue or purple noodles.

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Whatever color you want your sea weed to be, I bet they eat it all!

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Just split the hotdog up the middle (like an X almost to the end and leave the octopus' head intact.  I even poke the knife in to make little eyes and a smiley face :).  
Boil the hotdogs in a separate pan while making the noodles and their little legs will curl up just like an octopus.  Technically, mine are QUAD dogs but the legs get a little thin and tend to break off if you try for 8!  Hey if you can have green eggs and ham.......just saying! Have fun!  You may even want to eat some yourself!


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