Monday, July 29, 2013

Canning: Banana pickles

Banana Pickles
Banana Pickles & 7day sweet pickles are the only pickles that my family will eat(and I always get my Mom to make the 7day sweet for me cause they never turn out quite as good if I do them) :)

Peel & slice in quarters, length-wise.
Pack tightly into quart or pint jars.
In a large saucepan, combine:
6cup organic cane sugar
2cup water
2cup vinegar
2tsp. turmeric
2tsp. salt
2tsp. mustard seed...
...Bring to a boil then time it for 1minute.
Pour over the pickles in the jars, up to the neck of the jar.
Clean the rim of the jars thoroughly, then top with the lids & close tightly with the rings.
Place them in the canner, & fill the canner with water & 1/2c. vinegar. bring to a boil then time it for 10minutes.
 Remove from the canner & let the jars set for 24hrs to seal & cool completely on a tea towel.
Remove rings & clean jars with lukewarm soapy water before storing them.

*I often double or triple the sauce recipe for the pickles, depending how many pickles I have to do. It saves me some time. If there is leftover, I just store it in the fridge & warm it up when making the next batch.
*Instead of keeping the pickles in slices, I dice them in large chunks, it's easier for the children to eat them that way.
*When filling your canner with water, always make that the water temperature is as close to the liquid temperature in your jars as possible to prevent your jars from cracking & breaking.

I never use these in a recipe...
The children tend to eat them like candy if I open a jar to eat with a meal:)
Husband loves to pile them onto burgers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Canning: Green beans

This is the beginning of a Blog series that I'll be doing through out the remainder of the Summer & Fall. I've had so many inquiries of how & what I freeze, can & preserve That I thought I'd document it all here & It will be easier to find it & refer to it as someone has a question.
I'll also try to include a quick, easy recipe using the ingredient that I'm preserving.
There is something about canning & preserving fruits & veggies that I've grown myself, to feed my family. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I'm feeding my family food that doesn't have loads of preservatives & ingredients that you can't hardly pronounce.
The 1st veggie harvested from our garden that needed preserving was green beans...
After I harvest & clean the green beans I pack them tightly into wide-mouth quart jars.
 1TBS. real lemon juice
1Tsp. salt
Then fill with water, up to the neck of the jar.
Wipe clean the rim of the jar then place your lids onto the jars & screw the rings on tightly.
I use a hot water bath to do all my canning.
Place the jars into the canner & fill it with water, almost up to the neck of the jars. I also add a little vinegar to the water. It helps your jars to come out shiny & clear vs. chalky & dry(depending on your water).
Put the lid on the canner.
Turn your burners on high, when the water comes to a rolling boil, time it for 1hr. then turn off your stove top.
Lift the jars out carefully with canning tongs & place on a tea towel.
I leave mine set for 24hrs. before moving them to ensure they are all properly sealed & cooled.
Remove the rings & wash your jars with lukewarm soapy water, then they are ready to store!
Our favorite way of preparing the green beans...
Drain all the water from the jar.
In a medium saucepan brown 3TBS. butter.
Immediately add the green beans to the pan.
Then season with Greek seasoning.
Toss beans in the saucepan till hot, then serve.
Our children wouldn't touch green beans with a 10ft pole till I prepared them with Greek seasoning. Now I can't hardly make enough.
PS...I used to cold pack my gr. beans for 3hrs! (to ensure proper sealing of the lids) till I discovered the acidity in the real lemon juice only requires you to cold pack them for 1hr...HUGE difference! I'll never go back!
Happy canning ya'll!

Monday, July 22, 2013

CAMPING.The good. The bad. The ugly.

The Good...
I have wonderful memories, going camping with my family, as a little girl. We went every summer. I want to make that my own children get to have memories of camping in the summer-time also!
Asher finally sprouted his very 1st tooth over the weekend!!
Little man loves Oreo cookies! :)
And the after pic...
Bath time for the babies was so much easier in a big plastic storage box than it would have been to take them to the shower houses :)
Tail-gate party with daddy...
We had the playground right beside our sites, the lake right in front of us & the pool right behind us. The perfect spot to keep track of all the kiddos!
GOTCHA! This one was on the move all weekend & I rarely had a chance to snap a photo of him. :)
"chopping wood" for the campfire.
This one was held WAY too much over the weekend!
The Bad...
There wasn't near enough pool time. There was a lot of rain on Friday evening & most of the day Saturday but we did still get a chance to get in in-between rain showers.
Then there was...The Ugly.
There were so many mosquitos & deer flies it was ridiculous!!!
The children have huge welts where they were bit up & it didn't matter how often you sprayed your skin with OFF spray, they were NOT deterred! All of us were plastered with bites except for the babies, was so thankful they weren't bothered by them. It made sitting around the campfire a much less pleasant experience :(
There was also our sleeping arrangements...
1st of all, we were using a tent that slept 6 & we managed to get 7 people in there with about 3sq. ft. of walking space. Imagine an air mattress, a pack n play, & 4 sleeping bags, all in a row. Inside a tent, that was sitting on a slope(the only shady spot). Everyone fell asleep ok, but keeping them that way turned out to be a MAJOR challenge! River, who was sleeping next to Asher's pack n play, kept sliding under it. The older 3 children kept rolling down onto a heap at the back of the tent as they would shift & move in their sleep. Which would then turn into them waking in a jumbled heap & literally having all-out war over where they all belonged & who's sleeping bag was who's.
At one point they had River dragged halfway across the tent thinking He had their sleeping bag!
all I could see at one point was silhouettes of sleeping bags flying in the moonlight & children whispering loudly that they didn't have the right sleeping bags-it wasn't pretty! That is when I say through clenched teeth, in a loud whisper,THAT IS ENOUGH! or we are piling into the van & headed home! It only took a few moments for them to be ok with the sleeping bags that were closest & fall back asleep.
Don't let the innocent faces fool you...
Hey there! Good morning baby love!
...And when morning came, I had a nice heart to heart with Husband, letting him know, tent camping is no longer an option. If we don't have a camper to rent or have a camper of our own by the time we go camping again, then mamma is taking the babies home to sleep every night & papa can deal with the sleeping bag ninjas!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

6...on the 7th

I'm a day late posting for the birthday boy. Better late than never, I guess...
One of the children's favorite places to go to play is Christmas Run Park. There is a creek that runs through the lower part of the park that they love to catch minnows, salamanders, & crayfish.
There is also a huge play area where a child could stay busy for many hours. A great place to take the kiddos.
When I asked Weston where he'd like to have his party, Christmas Run Park was at the top of the list.
Now, The boy's Mother is no expert cake decorator, but the order was put in specifically for a Dinosaur cake, so a dinosaur cake he will get!
Turned out I had one pleased little guy!
Make a wish!
Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles & cousins were there to help celebrate the special day.
Weston took one look at the shape of the gifts & exclaimed, "there is no bow & arrows in my gift pile!" turns out Grandma got him a Nerf bow & arrow :)
He was one pleased little guy...
...Then it was time to get wet & catch some critters.
At the end of the day there were some VERY tired but mostly happy children.
You would think though, being a mom of 5, I would know better than to schedule a birthday party right over nap time!
Happy-Rainy Tuesday Y'all