Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fast food, Country Style

Well, I am still in the canning "weeds" as it were, and am canning almost every single day, if not doing the prep and soaking portions of the canning process.  Besides sixty pounds of tomatoes, today I have a canner load (eight quarts) of chicken stock that I need to do something with.  I can't decide if I want to make: chicken soup or just can the broth.  I am leaning towards the soup, even though it requires more effort and processing time.
A quart of chicken soup is a platform for so much yumminess you can't even imagine!  My husband likes me to add chopped cabbage and ramen noodles (the real noodles, not the soup mix) to it.  The day care babies like it that way too.  I can put dried mushrooms and rice, or frozen tortellini and spinach, or add a C of buttermilk mixed with a couple of T of cornstarch to thicken it, and finish with a C of cream for cream of chicken soup.  I can add tomato paste, roasted green chiles, some roasted garlic and thicken it with masa for a terrific chicken enchilada soup.  It is our fast food of choice, so I guess I'll make more while I can.
That is the wonderful thing about home canning.  I have a whole shelf to choose from full of fast food.  I can pour out a jar of Chicken Cacciatore, and boil some noodles, and have supper in less than twenty minutes.  I can start a gravy in the pan, with butter and flour cooking together, add the liquid from the canned pork loin chops, and some buttermilk to make a killer pork gravy, to which I'll add the pork loin chops in to warm.  Less than fifteen minutes, and I have hot pork sandwiches on the table. In the time it takes to boil the egg noodles, my hamburger stroganoff gets heated and sour cream added for another fast food meal.  There are the ultra fast pea and ham and bean soups, the chicken enchilada soup, the tomato bisque soup, all right there, homemade and seasoned to please our own pallets and accommodate my dietary restrictions.
We bought a new car this last month.  My old Sable was pretty sad.  The paint job that they put on vehicles in the nineties didn't last, and the windshield was going to cost more than the car was worth.  We got a beautiful used Lincoln Town Car, with all the bells and whistles.  We learned a long time ago, that it's better to buy the best used car you can find than to buy new.  I could never have afforded this car new, but it is like new still.  It even smells like a new car inside.  That beautiful smell of new plastic and leather.  I bet no one has worn their poopy chore boots in it ever.  Not that they will get the chance to now either, it is kind of MY car, and hopefully, I'll not be warming any newborn lambs, or hauling feed in it like my last car.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
There is great joy in driving a big Lincoln.  It is like riding a marshmallow down the road.  It has dual controls for the air conditioning, which should improve my marriage.  The only thing we really ever fight over is the temperature.  I'm a hot momma, and Don is always cold.  He actually wears a t shirt under his shirt 365 days a year!  He says it causes evaporative cooling in the summer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No Salt No Sugar Bread and Butter Pickles

I do a lot of home canning, but this is a project everyone can try.  It is a project for the fridge, so there is no canning involved.  It does help, however, if you have a canning jar to pack them into, but it is certainly ok to use another similar sized vessel.
I just harvested the first of the cucumbers from my garden, and this is how I used them.  We have had to do several things to prevent the deer from eating our plants and fruit.  The last of which was an electric fence around the top of the fence.  It seems to be working so far, so maybe I'll actually get a harvest out of all my labors!

You will note, the jar is not totally full of pickles.  We had some quality control checks before I took the picture.

No Salt No Sugar Bread and Butter Pickles
for the fridge

5-6 pickling cucumbers, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
2 C white vinegar
11/2 C stevia in the raw
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes, or a squirt or two of tabasco
1/4 tsp pickle crisp

Slice cucumbers and pack into a quart jar. Add pickle crisp to the jar. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, stevia, turmeric, celery, mustard, and red pepper flakes until boiling. Pour over pickles. Remove bubbles by running a chopstick down into the jar to release them. Let cool. Refrigerate for 48 hours, or until colored all the way through.
These pickles have 2 calories per serving, for six or seven pickles, and one g carb, no fat and no protien.