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!

 photo sdfsdf_zpsb507e322.jpg
 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.  

 photo fghfgh_zps2d1547d8.jpg
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.
 photo IMG_9768_zpsaecd16fe.jpg
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.
 photo pears_zps8828844c.jpg 
  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) 
    photo IMG_9750_zps8003a52a.jpg
It always puts a smile on their faces!  Sometimes we mix it up and make blue or purple noodles.

 photo IMG_9764_zps588f6442.jpg
Whatever color you want your sea weed to be, I bet they eat it all!

 photo IMG_9755_zps0accd744.jpg
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!

August 17, 2013

Freezer Pickles (A New Favorite)

Not sure what to do with all those cucumbers?  This recipe is simple, quick, doesn't require boiling, bathing or processing.....
Quick and Easy Freezer Pickles
7 cups of cucumbers (sliced)
1 cup of bell peppers (sliced)
1 cup of onion (sliced)
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed 

Thinly slice your cucumbers, onions and bell peppers and mix together.
  photo IMG_9595_zps8ad36a0e.jpg
Mix vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seed and pour over sliced veggies and stir.
   photo IMG_9608_zps67e1c6ba.jpg 
 Marinate over night in the refrigerator, stirring a couple of times.
Using a slotted spoon, pack cucumbers, onions and peppers into freezer containers or zip lock freezer baggies, then add enough of the liquid from bowl to cover pickles.  
 photo IMG_9728_zpsfeaf8587.jpg 
Close tightly and place in freezer.  
(That is if you can keep from eating them all while putting them in containers!)
When you want to use them, remove them from the freezer in time for pickles to thaw.  I usually take them out the night before and put them in the refrigerator.  They'll be as crispy and sweet as they were when you first made them!

August 15, 2013

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalopenos)

Delicious, whatever you want to call them.......it'll make your taste buds sing!  
  photo h1cvusjx_zpsf1b65b3b.jpg
Cowboy Candy
3 pounds fresh, firm jalapeños
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons granulated garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wash your jalapeños
Remove the stem and slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Please wear gloves when you're doing this or you will regret it!!  The first time I chopped jalapeños when canning, my fingers burned FOREVER!  Well, not forever, but it felt like it!
Mix vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seeds, garlic and cayenne pepper together in a large pot. Bring to boiling.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the jalapeños!  Bring back to boiling.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 more minutes. 
 photo 12979_642916762399448_20009_zps85ca87e0.jpg
 Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pepper into hot, sterile half pint or pint canning jars.  Take the liquid from your pot and pour over the peppers in the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Using something (I use a wooden kabob stick), remove any air from the liquid in the jar.  I just poke around in there 3 or 4 times to make sure all the little bubbles get loose.  Add your hot lids and bands and process in a hot water bath. 
(10 minutes for half pints/15 minutes for pints)
Yield: 6 half-pint jars 
(I doubled the recipe and got 10 but I packed the peppers pretty tight before adding the liquid.)  photo ek7ntq2f_zpsff8e4371.jpg
Then the HARD part!  You need to wait 2 weeks to a month for all the tastes to mellow and turn into awesomeness!  I tried someone else's......I have 9 days to go before I can try mine!  I'm not sure I'm going to make it!
Hope you enjoy yours!!

May 27, 2013


   photo 970429_600051906685934_968518545_n_zps712979f4.jpg


  photo 484804_601937679830690_1056126193_n_zps58a21c9d.jpg
 photo 482533_601937649830693_1507425594_n_zps272dace9.jpg
There's nothing like looking into those big, soft eyes,
 photo 255443_599900076701117_277498331_n_zps0638791d.jpg  

knowing they trust you, and   

   photo 1GLAM2_zps8a4aded1.jpg

 you can trust them!

April 18, 2013


are so much fun!!!

April 3, 2013

Junior Is Growing!

He's 4 1/2 months old,
 Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos 
And growing like a weed. 
He has the cutest little squeaky bray!!

March 31, 2013

Time to Ride!

Charlie says it's about time for winter to be over!
It's that time of year again and we have reservations at Wrangler's Camp for Spring break!

The boys are so excited!

February 24, 2013

Good Night!

After a gorgeous, sunny, spring-like day, we got to enjoy this full moon over our little farm. 
I love days like today!
  photo moon1_zps94b73768.jpg 
May the Sandman fill your night with sweet dreams!

January 25, 2013

Canon and Photoshop!

Two things on my "I LOVE" list and I have them both back in my life!
I got into the habit of using my iPad and iPhone  then I pulled out the Canon and dusted it off.

 photo farmsunset2_zps09d0963f.jpg
Why did I ever put it away??

 I also got my computer back from the repairman, and I have Photoshop again!  
I would have cried happy tears, but I was in too much of a hurry to use it again!
I have missed my Photoshop so much!

And I had this beautiful sunset to play with!

January 1, 2013

A New Year

I have to apologize for the picture quality on this and my recent posts.  It's so much easier to use my iPad and iPhone, but I look back at pics in my posts from before when I was using my big, expensive, rarely-gets-taken-out-of-the-bag-now, Canon camera + Photoshop (which is installed on my broken computer) and I'm a little sad.  I make a promise to use it more often and to get my old computer fixed so I can Photoshop again! 
This past year has brought a lot of changes for us.  I am working full time and I started back to school to complete my Bachelor's degree.  It's slow, but it's happening! 


When the private school (18 students) the boys were attending closed, they went to the county public school (700+).  They have adjusted well and love having so many new friends. And they got to have Mohawks (for a little while!)


We bought our horse trailer with living quarters and started trail riding! Jake has started riding on his own so we are looking for another well-broke horse for him. 


We can't wait for warmer weather so we can spend our weekends at Wrangler's Camp and several other riding camps in our area. 


We have our new baby!  Dimple and Sarah's little man FINALLY made his appearance and is growing like a weed!

 I had a garden this year but in the midst of work, school, ball games, AND DROUGHT, I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.  I did can some tomatoes, froze some corn, canned some jelly and enjoyed what it did produce.  I am already planning ahead for this year.  I need to restock my shelves!

So many changes and most of them for the better!  (Although I'm not too sure about this one....)


 I do miss working from home and having my free time to make soap and craft and manage my little hobby farm but being able to afford to do the things we love when we do have time off makes it worth it!  One of my New Year's resolutions is to spend more time doing the stuff I call fun (like crafting, cooking, soap-making  blogging!) this year,  I plan to have a bigger number beside that 2013 than the 2012 on the side of my blog!  I am thankful for all faithful followers and wish each of you a happy and blessed 2013!  It's been awhile since I've had a give away. Hmmmmm....................


Charlie agrees!!


For those of you who are new followers/readers, don't forget to check out the forum and join in on our discussions there.

My Country Blog of This and That Forum

I love each and every comment my blogging friends leave for me!

All images and graphics on this page were made by me with the exception of that little rooster! He came from Beth Logan's Checkered Chickens at pccrafter.com. Photos were taken by me and graphics were created using Photoshop CS2.
If you see something you like please ask for permission before using it!
Thank you!