Archive for August, 2011





Canning List For The Beginner

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011





A Beginner’s Guide

To Canning Utensils




I’m sorry about the tardiness of the post, but the web hosting servers in Georgia have been down and I have not been able to get onto the site. If you’ve been unable to reach the site too, that is why. Anyway, I’m going to break away from the recipes today at the request of new canner and reader, Judy, and do a quick pictorial run-through of items needed for the two canning processes. Some are required and some are suggested in this list that I am offering. But the whole idea is to give all of you new canners out there, pictures of items so that you will know what to look for in the stores or online!
I'm typing with an "owie" since I grabbed the blade to the food processor and tried to cut the tip of my finger off. The bandage is getting in the way so excuse any typos I miss!! You are supposed to feel sorry for me now. :-)


There are two kinds of canning processes: Waterbath for fruits, tomatoes, pickles, jams and cheeses, and Pressure Canning for low-acid meats, veggies and soups. You can actually buy Litumus paper at the drugstore or online to test your fruits, veggies and anything of which you are not certain. A PH measure of 4.6 (±.5) or lower is considered acidic in canning (waterbath) and anything higher is considered basic (pressure canning required). These are levels advocated by the county extension offices and are not the same as what is scientifically referred to as acidic (7 and below) and basic (above 7). Tomatoes are a little iffy these days because some of the hybrids have been bred to not be as acidic. The heritage varieties should be fine. If there is a question, add 1/2 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice to each jar of tomatoes or tomato products.


And finally, invest in a good canning book. Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware – all of these carry the Ball Canning book which will answer most of your questions. But there are other books too that can be found in book stores, on Half.ebay.com, on Ebay.com and in used book stores.


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These are the two books that I have on hand – The Ball Blue Book and The Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook that was my aunt’s.


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A waterbath canner is usually made out of enamel ware or stainless steel. It includes a rack that can be balanced on the sides of the canner. This canner is used for high acid foods. There is also a steamer canner that is used for the same purpose, but I have never used one or even know anyone who has used one so I can’t attest to the quality or the success of the steamer canners.


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There are two kinds of pressure canners. This 12 quart Mirro brand ‘weighted’ canner is very simple with just a variable weight on the pressure release to determine the amount of pressure reached inside of the canner when heated. The only maintenance required for this type of canner is to replace the rubber gasket each year and to keep the canner clean.


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The removeable weight has a hole at each of 5 lb, 10 lb and 15 lbs of pressure. The weight is placed onto the pressure release valve at the appropriate pressure poundage before the canner is heated.


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This All American brand pressure canner is a gauged canner. If you notice, there is a gauge with a needle that indicates the pressure achieved inside the canner. More maintenance on these canners is required because not only should the gasket be changed each year, but the gauge must be tested for accuracy at a local extension office each year. Either type of canner works well and it is purely personal preference when choosing a suitable one. Canners come in multiple sizes depending on how many jars they can hold. They can range from holding 4 quart jars to 19 quart jars and variations of the smaller jars.


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You will need jars, of course. There are quite a number of sizes of jars and here are just a few.

  • A. Regular quart
  • B. Wide mouth quart
  • C. Regular pint
  • D. Wide mouth pint
  • E. Half pint or jelly
  • F. Regular size lid
  • G. Regular size ring


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    You will need Lids and Rings which can be bought as a set or, if you already have rings, as just lids. There are two sizes for the two mouth sizes of the jars – wide and regular.

  • A. Wide mouth lids and rings 12 per box
  • B. Regular mouth lids and rings 12 per box
  • C. Wide mouth lids 12 per box
  • D. Regular mouth lids 12 per box


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    Important utensils to have on hand for all canning projects include:

  • A. Either a knife
  • B. Or a Canning Spatula for removing air bubbles from the jars
  • C. A magnetic canning wand for lifting the lids from hot water
  • D. Canning tongs – an absolute neccessity for lifting processed jars from the canner.


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    A candy thermometer can come in handy when making jams and fruit butters.


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    A canning funnel is also a neccessity. Funnels come in various sizes and are made of plastic, glass or metal



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    Some useful utensils to have on hand, depending on what you are canning, include:

  • A slotted spoon
  • A 1/2 cup ladle
  • A 1/4 cup ladle
  • A potato masher for fruit butters, juices, jams and jellies


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    A variety of measuring cups is essential. An 8 cup batter bowl is handy for measuring fruit pulp to figure sugar additions for jam and fruit butters.


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    A handy item for fruit butters is a collandar. This one was my mother’s but you can still buy them online.


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    Another handy item for pastes and sauces is a food mill. It separates the skin and seeds from the pulp of tomatoes beautifully.


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    You will need a warm, wet dishcloth for wiping the rims of the jars and a dish towel on which to place the jars as they are being filled. It makes clean-up much easier by absorbing drips. It also makes a good cusion for the hot jars when they are removed from the canner. A Sharpie pen is handy for labeling the lids of your canned items with the contents and the date.


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    You will also need a small pot to fill with water and warm your lids


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    One of the best investments I made way back in the ’70′s was in a set of stainless steel nesting bowls. They have been invaluable for holding large amounts of fruits and veggies for raw packing. That biggest one can hold a whale of alot of tomatoes!


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    For stews, soups, chili and for blanching fruits and veggies, you will need to have some large stew pots. For years, I used hand-me-downs or thrift store finds, but about 10 years ago, I finally decided to save my money and invest in a set of Tramontina pots. There are four of them in different sizes. The largest holds 4 gallons of liquid. I love them because they are heavy weight 18 gauge stainless steel and the bottoms are three-ply stainless so that items don’t burn very easily on the bottom.


    I’m sure that I have forgotten something and if I think of other things, I will add them to the post, Hopefully this will help you have a visual list of items that you need for a day of canning and another list of items to which you can aspire! And if you have any questions, be sure to email them at the contact page or post in the comment section below!


    Happy Canning!



    MB
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    Be Prepared

    Saturday, August 27th, 2011





    Emergency Preparedness



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    I’m going to kinda rant here. I heard something that just made me cringe. It had to do with Irene, the hurricane that has everyone plastered to their television sets, radios and Twitter accounts. I’ve seen news hounds doing really good impressions of Chicken Little with an umbrella, warning viewers that the sky is falling in torrents. I’ve heard weathermen and women trying to offer reassurance, advice and pictures of what could happen if the storm tightens like storms did in the ’50′s, even though they had different names and were on the other side of the world from New York City. And then of course, there are the crazy surfers sticking their tongues out at the New Jersey governor who is using the “H” word to order them off the beach. In short, pandemonium, chaos and a general sense of mental instability is racing up and down the eastern seaboard, while those of us in the rest of the country observe with a puzzled frown.


    But what really got me today was the preparedness plans of two New York women and a picture of the grocery stores. If you haven’t seen it on the news, the grocery stores are empty. People have swiped the shelves clean. Anyone who was late to the party is flat out of luck. No water. No food and definitely no toilet paper. And what are two women, who were interviewed today, doing to prepare for the end of the world in New York City? One is ordering seven salads from the local deli, instead of her usual one salad. The other woman is making sure that she has plenty of yogurt for her daughter. Seven salads and yogurt? Do you think that they have any clue what “no electricty” involves?


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    I have my 1963 plated, first edition Junior Scout book in which I scribbled third grade nonsense, rendering it absolutely worthless! Except that it is a hoot to read.



    As I’ve said before, I was raised in the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”. Back in the ’60′s and ’70′s that meant to learn to “Be Prepared”!! For any scenario. Of course, back then, we were dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis (remember walking home as fast as you could?), Nikita Khrushchev and the invasion of the Beatles, but we have issues equally serious today. (Justin Bieber comes to mind.) “Be Prepared” is a motto that is timeless and fits all geographies. It requires a moment of reflection on the fact that, at any moment, circumstances can change and your local convenient store may not be open or, as in the case near me, may have disappeared altogether in a flash of twirling wind and rain. It means remembering that banks can close, electricity can cease, water can be shut off and food can spoil in a powerless frig. “Be Prepared” is a call to think about what you would need in an emergency. And I don’t mean yogurt and some bowls of wilty lettuce.


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    As a Girl Scout, I trained to be a Fallout Shelter Manager at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Do kids even know what a Fallout Shelter is these days? And would they know that yellow sign if it was waved in front of them??

    I learned that “Be Prepared” involves putting one’s self on a budget (GS Law # 9: A Girl Scout is Thrifty). The best way to do that is to gather a list of all of your expenses for a month, including all the little stuff like every pack of chewing gum you buy or your daily Starbucks Macchiato Grande Mocha Vanilla Chocolate Cupcake Latte Frappuccino with whipped cream and sprinkles. Divide your expenses into categories (include a category for savings) and add up how much goes into each category for a month. Multiply each category total by 12 months and then divide by 52 weeks. That total is how much you should be spending out of a weekly paycheck into your categories in order to be able to pay the bills and miscellaneous expenses on time. Begin with one month ahead and then start adding in for the next month. That way you are always prepared a month in advance. You’ll even start saving money! It’s actually pretty simple.


    Preparing for emergencies is no different from budgeting. Keep a record of what you use for one month down to the last matchstick, toothbrush, bar of soap. little liver pills and Pepto Bismal. At the end of the month, you will have a list of what you need for a month to keep your house running. Use two bars of soap a week? You’ll need to keep 8 – 9 bars on hand for the month. Drink a pot of coffee a day? Then figure on enough coffee for 31 pots of coffee. I know a family who planned ahead for a year and when the husband lost his job, they were able to go for the many months that it took him to find a new one without spending precious money on daily living. It was like their savings account in household necessities!


    In your planning, also think ahead of items you can eat and drink that require no cooking and no refrigeration. Canning and dehydrating your own items really comes in handy for this project, however, store-bought canned and dried foods are fine too. The idea is to think ahead and consider, for example, if and how you would cook, what you would cook and if you would have enough water. If your electricity goes out or you get snowed in, etc, having that worked out ahead of time makes life so much easier. Living in Oklahoma with ice storms, tornadoes and heat waves that put a strain on the grid, we must be prepared at all times. You can look in the Index of Posts to the right to find alternative ways of cooking with a reflector oven and a solar oven.


    The key to being prepared is that you hope you will never have to use these things, while facing the reality that you very well could. The neat thing is, that when you are prepared you are able to practice Girl Scout Law #3: To Be Useful and To Help Others! In other words, you can help someone in need. Just remember, when the hurricanes hit, the tornadoes destroy, the ice storms debilitate or the snow is 8 feet deep, being prepared can make a tough situation a whole lot more fun. A few board games and a kerosene lamp don’t hurt either! Who needs ol’ wilty lettuce, anyway?


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    Happy Preparedness!



    MB
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    Cheesy Hashbrown Bake

    Friday, August 26th, 2011





    One of Those

    Comfort Foods!!




    We all know why they call it comfort food. It’s because once you’ve eaten it, you have to unbutton your pants to get comfortable!! We southerners seem to think we’ve cornered the market on that kind of vittles and southern cooking has become synonymous with comfort. Southern comfort is more than just the name on a bottle of alcoholic spirits!


    Unfortunately, as Paula Deen has documented, southern cooking can be a little heavy on the fat and sugar and gargantuan on the portions. I have learned to cook with the same flavors, just not quite so much fat, and my portions are drastically cut. “Moderation in all things!”I say. Having to unbutton those pants is not necessarily a good thing.


    One of my favorite things for breakfast or as a side, is hasbrowns. Cheesy hashbrown casserole is even better than plain ‘taters. But so many of the casseroles have as much as a stick of butter and then pure cream – you know – the works. In order to satisfy my craving for these spuds laced with cheese, I’ve developed my own way to get the flavor without all the calories. Now, I will say, there IS a difference. You can’t cut out that much butter and cream and still have the same thing. However, this recipe makes me happy and that’s all that counts. Right? It’s all about me -and you too – because you’ll like, I’m sure.


    Cheesy Hashbrown Bake


  • 2 pounds or 5-6 cups of hashbrowns either fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter (the real stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup to 2 cups (depends on how cheesy you want it) shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is ok too)
  • Pepper to taste


  • Printable Recipe



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    I use new potatoes from the garden and shred them in my food processor. Regular Idaho potatoes are fine too, or you can use frozen hash browns.


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    If you are shredding your own, put the hashbrowns in a bowl and wash them in cold water until the water runs clear. Pat them dry with a towel and either weigh or measure them.


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    In a large bowl, place potatoes, cheese and onions and toss until well mixed


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    In a separate bowl pour chicken broth…


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    add two tablespoons of the butter, melted


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    Whisk in the garlic powder


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    And the salt


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    And the milk and pepper to taste.


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    Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of potatoes, onions and cheese. Toss until all of the dry ingredients are coated.


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    In a 2 quart cast iron skillet or casserole dish, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. spread evenly over the bottom surface of the pan.


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    Pour the potato mixture into the pan…


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    and lightly pat down the surface.


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    Bake at 350º covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake 25 to 35 minutes until potatoes are tender.


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    Serve hot for breakfast or dinner!







    Happy ‘Taters!



    MB
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    Spam

    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011





    Say Spam Fast

    Three Times!



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    I realize that there are probably as many blogs on the internet as there are the people who write them – Yes. That was deep – but I also realize that there are 10 million times more automated SPAM messages than all of the blogs in the universe. For those who have not delved into the wild world of blogging yet, that may mean nothing, but let me tell you, I have been ready, with all my patient and kindly ol’ self , to hunt the people down who generate this stuff and make them wish their mothers had raised them better.


    Who thought up the name of SPAM anyway? Is it because it involves totally fake messages and comments along the same lines as that canned fake ham that leaves you wondering if your neighbor’s dog is missing? And by the way, did you know that Hormel came up with that name in 1937 for Spiced ham as well as, Shoulder of Pork and ham? But what does it stand for today? I found a list that indicates it stands for a lot of things. Here are just a few:


  • Society for the Preservation of Amplitude Modulation (gotta preserve that Amplitude Modulation for sure!!)
  • Shelter, Portable, Air Mobile (??)
  • Shelter, Protective, Aircraft Maintenance (????)
  • Some Place Around Montana / Missouri / Massachusetts / Mississippi / Maine (giggle)
  • Singing Produces Awesome Miracles (Lansing, MI school choir)

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    But in all my research I found absolutely nothing that gives any indication why spam on the internet is called SPAM. It is listed as slang for Unsolicited Commercial Email but that acronym is UCE (as in uceless). And one smart aleck created “Stupid, Pointless Annoying Message” but somehow I don’t think that is it either. So, for whatever the acronym stands, it is time-consumingly frustrating.


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    Now to get around to why I am rambling about this. If you have noticed, when reading this blog, there has been a box at the bottom of comments that says, “Si Captcha” and is a word verification tool that filters out all of the pointless comments that arrive as SPAM. A reader who wishes to leave a comment has had to verify that he or she is actually a person and not a robotic computer because people can read the crazy letters, while computers cannot.
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    However, in doing some reading last night, online, I came across a blog with a list of the 10 things the writer hates about other people’s blogs. Number two on the list was “Get rid of the word verification!!” I surfed some more and came across another site with suggestions for blogs. Number three on their list was “Get rid of the word verification!!!” Do you see a pattern here? So last night, I got rid of the word verification. According to these sites, I don’t need it anyway. There is supposed to be built-in spam filters on all of the blog hosting sites.


    This morning I got up to an exciting notification that I had 24 comments on a variety of my posts. How exciting!! Wanna hear a few of them?

    1. Time to sign up for Chillout music May need that after reading these
    2. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog. You can order a donate button from us and start getting donations immediately! They could have just gone to my contact page and sent me a check for million dollars if they cared so much! Would you donate?
    3. Неплохой материал для статьи Anybody??
    4. Pretty part of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Right!!
    5. Many fans of ski jumping resolve associate the dignitary with the Engelberg ski surge Of course they do!!
    6. I’ll just mention the one on Viagra
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    And so, as you can see, removing the word verification put me at the mercy of really, really bad people. However, the good news is that I have found a plugin that is now filtering all comments without my readers having to do a thing except type their wise words in a box and hit ‘submit’. So submit away. There is not excuse now. There is no word verification. I love to hear from you!!


    Happy Commenting!



    MB
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    Old-Fashioned Southern Chocolate Pie

    Monday, August 22nd, 2011





    So Rich, You’ll Feel

    Like A Millionaire




    Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie, “The Help”, at our incredible Warren Theater in Moore, OK. The Warren Theater is a step back into the nostalgic mid-1900′s of Art Deco, complete with plush curtains over the screens, raised at just the right moment in pleated velvet splendor, personnel dressed in brass-buttoned waistcoats, taylored pants and white gloves and even a large balcony dinner theater for dinner and a movie. One can spend a Fall afternoon in that particular entertainment venue, munching on hotdogs and chips while watching an OU football game live on the big screen.


    “The Help” is a wonderful combination of humor, drama, tears and intrigue all wrapped up in a visual treat of 1960′s decor (“Oh look!! There’s our family’s old coffee table!”), vintage cars, 5¢ bottles of coke and amazing home cooking. Without revealing too much, I’ll just say that a central theme throughout the movie kind of revolves around one character’s chocolate pies. Minny is portrayed as the best cook in town and her pies are a specialty. I left the theater wanting an ice cold coke in a bottle and a piece of old timey Southern chocolate pie. Yesterday, I could stand it no longer and so, while I didn’t get that coke, I did get that chocolate pie. Rich!! Oh honey. You can only eat a small slice. But yuuuuumy!! Mr. Fix-It is now stuffed with pie and ready to go see the movie, himself, so I get to see it again! So here you go with a recipe for after you see it.

    Oh! And you can use my first recipe for pie crust found here, or you can use your own favorite pie crust recipe or I have provided a new one below that was given to me by a friend, Kathy.


    Pie Crust


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  • Printable Recipe



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    In a bowl, place 3 cups of flour. I am using home ground whole wheat pastry flour here, but you can use all-purpose and that is great.


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    Add shortening to the flour.


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    Add salt to the flour and shortening and cut in the shortening with either a mixer and blade or with a hand pasty cutter.


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    In a separate bowl, combine egg, water and vinegar and whisk until beaten. Add to the flour mixture and stir or mix until a ball forms.


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    Divide dough into two equal balls. (I use a scale and weigh) One will be used for a large pie shell. Store the rest in the frig for another shell. Or for small pie pans, you can get three single pie shells from this recipe.


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    For a slightly sweet desert crust, sprinkle powdered sugar on the bottom of the pie plate or tin


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    Roll the dough on your Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ to just a little smaller than your pie pan. Place the crust into the pie pan and then press to mold into the pie pan and leave an edge.


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    Flute the crust using a knife and forcing the crust edge between two fingertips. Place the pie pan and crust into the frig while you prepare the pie filling.


    Old Fashioned Chocolate

    Pecan Pie


  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2/3 cup canned, evaporated milk (you can use lowfat)
  • 2 tablespoons real butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 unbaked pie shell


  • Printable Recipe



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    In a small sauce pan, place chocolate chips


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    Add canned evaporated milk


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    Add butter. Heat on medium heat and stir until all ingredients are melted and incorporated into a smooth sauce. Remove from heat and cool slightly.


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    In a separate bowl – I’m using my McCoy bowl to go right along with the movie. Look for one just like it in one of the scenes – add sugar, flour, nuts, salt and vanilla.


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    Stir ingredients until nuts are coated.


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    Slowly stir in chocolate and mix until all dry ingredients are incorpoated with the liquid ingredients.


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    Whisk in egg quickly until smooth


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    Pour batter into prepared pie shell and bake at 375º for 40 minutes or until firm.


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    Cool completely


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    Cover with either whipped cream or meringue. (I use whipped cream. Not a big meringue fan)


    Happy Baking!



    MB
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    Making Jerky

    Friday, August 19th, 2011





    Easy Beef Jerky



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    Have you ever read the novel Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo? It’s a huge work that had to have taken her years to write. I read it a very long time ago. I think it was published in 1978. I learned quite a bit about the everyday life of our early Native Americans and for some reason, one of the things that stuck out to me was the process of making pemmican. Being a jerky lover, her discription of the leather pouches of this high energy food sounded good to me. I would crave beef jerky while reading the book!


    One of the things that I really found fascinating was Waldo’s description of the ceremonial butchering of buffalo after a big hunt. According to Waldo, the hunters would go to the first downed buffalo and begin the butchering process, taking the heart and performing what seems to be similar to the ancient Jewish “wave offering”. They would raise the heart to their Great Spirit, to the four corners of the earth – To the sky (the North) and then toward the ground (to the South) and then to the right (to the East) and to the left (to the West), just like the Israelites would do. And if you think about it – in the form of a cross. Interesting, huh?


    Well, anyway, Pemmican was the Native American form of today’s energy or protein food. It consisted of thin strips of dried jerky made from whatever game was available: deer, buffalo, moose, elk, etc, and then mixed with pounded and powdered dehydrated fruits and nuts from the area -Blueberries, cranberries, Cherries, currants and chokeberries to name a few. Bone marrow fat was also added and the mixture was stored in leather pouches. Sounds like just the thing for a long hike?


    Mr. Fix-It and I have been making jerky forever. We’re that old! Our boys especially love grabbing some to take home with them when they come for a visit. I use rump roasts to make my beef jerky, but you can use flank steak and round steak as well. Venison and Elk work great too. The following is my recipe and method:


    Easy Beef Jerky


  • Approximately 3 lbs meat
  • 2/3 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


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    I am using rump roast in these pictures. Start with 3 lbs of meat and trim all fat from the rump roasts and then cut them into sections about 1″ x 2″. It is important that you identify which way the grain is running. You will be slicing across the grain. In the piece to the right, you can see the grain of the meat running lengthwise. In the piece to the left, the meat has been cut so that the ends of the grain are showing and will continue to be sliced that way.


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    I am using a sharp boning knife to thinly slice the meat. I keep a steel and sharpner close by to keep an edge on my knife.


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    You can make smaller pieces too by making cubes to slice instead of longer pieces.


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    I’ve wound up with nearly 2 1/2 lbs of meat strips


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    I cover the top of the strips with meat tenderizer, stir to incorporate it into all of the meat and then allow to sit for about 30 minutes.


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    In a separate bowl add 2/3 cup of worcestershire sauce


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    Add 1/3 cup soy sauce


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    Mix in 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar


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    And 2 teaspoons of black pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder and 1 teaspoon garlic powder and if you like your jerky a little hot, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes


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    Then 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke which can be purchased at any grocery store. Stir all ingredients until mixed well


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    Pour the marinade over the meat and stir until all pieces are coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 5 hours, stirring every so often.


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    After 5 hours, the meat will be dark with the marinade having been absorbed.


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    Place the strips of meat onto the trays of the dehydrator and cover. Dry for 12 – 15 hours.


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    Store in plastic bags or in quart jars that can be vacuum sealed for added freshness.




    Happy Drying!



    MB
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    Honey Walnut Cream Cheese

    Wednesday, August 17th, 2011





    Oops! I Forgot!!


    I have had numerous emails and comments from yesterday, regarding my cruel nature which is evidently exhibited in my posting pictures of the Cinnamon Crunch Bagels I attempted. Any emotional pain was purely unintentional on my part and if you drowned from over-salivation, I can’t take responsibility. Unfortunately, you are responsible for controlling your own saliva glands. However, as friend Kathy pointed out to me yesterday, Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, as appealing as they appear, are useless without some kind of Honey Walnut Cream Cheese with which to slather them in sweet and creamy goodness.


    Not one to be scared of a challenge, I pulled out my trusty food processor, ripped open a package of cream cheese, and determined to make my own version of this spread. The following is a step-by-step tutorial of the results and trust me, if you think you had problems with the photos of the bagels, you may not want to proceed further for fear of losing all sense of propriety. However, if it makes you feel any better, my sense went out the window a long time back and I drool on command.


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    Put an 8 oz package of cream cheese into the food processor. I used fat free to make me feel like I am being health-concious. If you will notice, I am using the blade attachment. This is so I can chop the nuts when they are added.

    Add 1/4 cup of honey and process until smooth.


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    Add 1/3 cup English Walnuts either whole or chopped


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    Process until nuts are finely chopped, not pureed. Place in a refrigerator dish and refrigerate until firm and spreadable.


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    Use as spread on the Cinnamon Crunch Bagels. To die for!


    Happy Slobbering!



    MB
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    Cinnamon Crunch Bagels

    Tuesday, August 16th, 2011





    Yummy!!!!!!!!




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    I made a discovery today and you have to try it!! I am a cinnamon nut and I especially love those bagels at Panera Bread with the cinnamon crunch topping on them. So today, in my usual activity of making bagels for the week, I decided to try an experiment.


    I took 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon and mixed those together to a fine mixture in a shallow bowl. Then I melted two tablespoons of butter in a small dish. Using my basic bagel recipe, I placed the boiled bagels on a rack to dry slightly. With a pastry brush, I gently brushed each bagel with butter, one at a time. I placed each bagel butter side down into the sugar and cinnamon mixture and placed on a greased cookie sheet. After I had gotten all of the bagels dipped, I carefully sprinkled leftover sugar mixture in a pile on each bagel. Those were baked at 425º for 20 minutes without turning them during the baking.


    Oh my gosh. They are incredible, if I do say so myself! Toast them and add butter and cream cheese and mmm yourself to death! :-)


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    Happy Experimenting!



    MB
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    National Can It Forward Day

    Sunday, August 14th, 2011





    There’s a Holiday

    For Everything!




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    Sponsored by The Ball Company and Canning Across America



    I am soooo out of the loop!! Did you know that Saturday, August 13th was National Can-It-Forward Day?? I didn’t!! NCIF Day was supposed to be honored by canning something or by teaching someone else to can something or by hosting a home canning party! How did we miss this fact? Canning Across America knew all about it, as did the Ball Company which sponsored canning parties, but heh – they invented the day!! I mean, as a canner, I think it’s kinda cool that my passion has its own day!! So, I’ll be making note for next year.


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    So, what did you do for NCIF Day? I canned of course, but not because I knew I was supposed to in honor of anything! I did it because that’s what I do all summer long to get ready for a very long and cold Oklahoma winter. So I canned 26 pints of beef vegetable soup while dehydrating 2 1/2 pounds of beef strips for jerky to vacuum seal in quart jars. And yes, there is a jerky post coming up! You bet!


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    Check back later this week for my recipe for beef jerky



    So tell us if you did anything unusual to celebrate NCIF Day – or just tell us what you canned and pretend that you really knew that you were celebrating something!!


    Happy Belated NCIF Day!



    MB
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    Never A Dull Moment

    Friday, August 12th, 2011





    I Guess You Could

    Say The Drought Is

    Over?



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    Well, most of the nation knows that Oklahoma has been in severe drought conditions. In fact our governor, along with the Texas governor, has been asking for prayers for relief. Triple digit temperatures have made life really, really difficult, but as most Okies do, we’ve all been making jokes and pushing on. And then, prayers were answered at the first of the week and we have had a couple of really nice rains.


    Then came this afternoon. Oh my. Wasn’t ready for this. With no warning at all, this storm blew up and handed us 70 mph winds with hail ranging from pea sized to over golf ball sized. I got a video and I will admit with some embarrassment that at first I was fascinated, then the big stuff started coming and I was groaning in consternation at the thought of the roof and then…well, yes…I nearly dropped the camera and started squealing as the wind began pelting me with larger than golfball sized hail under the roof of the porch!! It was like getting hit with fast balls!!! So here’s the video and yes, the roof is damaged as are the vehicles. There was no time to get the vehicles to protection. One of those big ones will kill you if it hits you in the head!!





    Here’s a couple of still pictures


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    My lantanas are shredded, as are the rest of the flowers that have survived the drought


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    They’re pretty big and I will tell you, the insurance agent is NOT going to be happy – either with the roof or the cars.


    Happy Rain Storms!



    MB
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