Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Jar Standing

Dead center on the second shelf from the bottom in the far right hand corner of my cellar in what use to be the cistern, is the last jar standing of stewed tomatoes. A staple of my home canned inventory I also ways try to put up @ least two years worth. Stewed tomatoes are very versatile I use them as a base for both soup, stews, rice, & of course chili.
The last few years haven't been kind to my garden or our bottom line.
Two years ago I had tomato blight. Last year I was busy with a good friend & neighbor who passed away this Winter. This year even though I feel that my soil is on the upswing (bio char rabbit manure) I couldn't over come the lack of sunshine that my urban garden is cursed with.
Excuses don't fill the pantry shelves. I'm not holding out much hope for this years garden.
I've gotta come up with a new plan.

Jars with the blue or red caps are filled with brown rice with an O2 absorber then vacuum sealed.

To the right is quarts of Cherry Pie Filling & our own cider that we pressed a few years ago.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Update Amazon Bulk Oatmeal


Gotta love Amazon's free shipping a perk of ordering subscribe & save option . 

To this day every time I make oatmeal I think of Goldielocks and those bears.

Oat groats on the front burner & coffee on the second both acquired for free which of course makes it all the more tasty.
Note to self - cooking oatmeal groats takes much longer than quick cooking oats.
When we have the wood stove lit I'll start the groats before I go to bed simmering in a pot placed on a high trivet. Until then on the advice of my soap maker I'll cook them over night in an electric crock pot set on warm.
I used powdered nonfat dry milk, filtered water, and a bit of honey. Other than an increased cooking time making steel cut oatmeal is as straight forward as quick cook oatmeal. The taste however is wonderfully hearty slightly nutty flavor.
1/2 cup of groats made more than enough for breakfast on Thursday & Saturday.
The 6 containers will be more than enough for the coming year.

Seasoned with cinnamon and accompanied by home canned applesauce, Honey Crispen Apples my favorite. Apples were bought @ an apple farm in LeRoy, New York home of Jello. I remember the day because we stopped off @ a stove store and bought the Jotul wood stove.

That's the unique aspect of home canning. Opening a jar and not only getting wonderful home made food but often a flood of wonderful memories. Sights & sounds of a crisp Autumn day. Smell of the cold storage barn were we picked through a huge crate full of apples. Snacking on cinnamon donuts bought on the apple farm.
Wouldn't you agree my husband.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Giveaway Ball Pectin Coupons

Found these in the bottom of my clutch paper clipped together.
I have more than enough pectin so the first person to both comment & send me an email with a snail mail address with receive 7 $1 off coupons on Ball Real Fruit Pectin Flex Batch.  

Coupons will go out in Monday's mail.

Perhaps you can find a clearance rack before they expire on the 31st of August.
I saw a posting on HT that K-mart was having a sale on canning supplies. If your a member of swagbucks there is also a $5 off of $50 coupon. There is also suppose to be one on Kmart's facebook page.
I know as the Summer wanes allot of stores will be having sales on canning supplies.

What can I say I can't stand to see good coupons go to waste.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Solo Gardening Update

Remember my brilliant idea solo gardening ?  Having just one very well established plant of each vegetable that I could grow into a mega plant. Concentrate my efforts & resources on just one well established plant. Above is a pic of the two plants that over Wintered @ my Mom's apartment an Eggplant on the left & a Green Bell Pepper plant on the right. Only the Pepper plant survived, Seymour. A bit unique looking but @ least it made it.

Not only did it survive but it's producing !  

All together there are over 7 peppers in various stages of growing along with numerous blossoms. Not exactly the biggest Bell Peppers I have ever seen but I'll work on that for next year.
I'll re-pot in a larger container & place this plant next to the wood stove for the Winter. Maybe I'll even have fresh peppers in February.

I took this pick when the plant was in the back yard. Currently with the late Summer sun pattern Seymour the pepper plant is now living in the front yard and occasionally makes it's way out to the neighbor's front yard where the Sun is the strongest.  Unlike the tomatoes that are thriving in the garden cart and now need two people to push them into direct sunlight Seymour is easily toted around.

I can see me needing a movers dolly to garden in the coming years !

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Amazon Bulk Oatmeal

Unable to buy the 50 pounds of Organic Red Winter Wheat Berries that I posted about a few days ago because it's no longer in stock. Next best price is 25 pound bag or 92¢ per pound an increase of almost 20¢ from the deal I posted about.
That's what happens to procrastinators, they loose out.

Clicked on the icon for Amazon to notify me when the 50 pound bag of Great River is in stock.
We have enough wheat berries (non-organic) in the short term pantry to hold us over for the year. And another two years worth in the long term preps.

In the meantime I ordered

Subscribe & Save - $21.16 for 11 & 1/4 pounds (12¢ per once) of organic steel cut oats a.k.a. Irish or Scottish depending on who's doing the cooking. Woodsrunner is of Scottish decent & I'm half Irish. Normally the Puerto Rican in me cooks Farina for breakfast. With Winter around the corner I think having a bowl of hearty oatmeal topped with my home canned applesauce then sprinkled with nutmeg would set us straight. 

Yes, I fully realize that I can't get any more boring than ordering oatmeal with my free money. What can I say knowing I have a stocked pantry makes me happy. 
Knowing that I'm prepping for free makes me extremely happy. 

~~ pelenaka ~~ 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Amazon Organic Bulk Buy

I have just under $42 in my Amazon account than you very much to Swagbucks. And it's burning a hole in my virtual pocket so to speak. It's the hunt or shopping on Amazon for the best bargains, the most bang for my buck from the perspective of a fugal homesteader. Liken it to hanging out all morning @ your favorite thrift store on half off day.  You never know what deals await with the click of a mouse.

For the last few weeks I have been doing Amazon searches coffee, whole bean to be exact because it stores better than ground (once the bean is crushed there's a finite shelf life). Today was suppose to be the day that I do an order of my favorite beverage. It's kinda like wine shopping for me. The research is almost as much as the drinking.

Then I got to thinking ... yeah I know but this is one is a reality.
I can barter for for coffee.
I can't always barter for pantry staples like wheat. While I have just about enough wheat to last us for the coming year  the general rule if prepping is to have @ least 3 years worth of supplies. Be it batteries or bread or the means to make bread which for us is wheat berries.
So this is what I have come up with -

I can't touch this price locally thru my usual sources (restaurant supply store) and since I all I have in my pocket to spend are my Amazon gift cards I think that this is a pretty good deal.
I'm open to suggestions people.
I haven't clicked on the subscribe & save button yet.
It's 50 lbs. for $38.30 or 77¢ per pound. No shipping & handling fee.

For those of you who can't or don't grind your grain here is an equally good deal $24.45 or 8¢ per once organic bread flour whole wheat - four 5 lbs. bags = 20 lbs. (subscribe & save) -

ETA: my barter buddy source for locally grown wheat dried up.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mock Sausage

With the recent economic climate being what it as well as our own down turn in I've step up to the plate by putting into practice some of the $ saving ideas I keep book marking on my lap top.
For lunch today I am making the Mock Sausage recipe from the book, Everyday Foods in War Time by Mary Swartz Rose that I downloaded to my Kindle for free. 

Changed the recipe by adding minced garlic, finely diced onion, sage, & whole fennel seeds. The garlic & sage I added to both the cooking water for the beans and in the final dish. Also instead of using lima beans I substituted lentils because I had prepped them in abundance a few years ago before I realized that we don't particularly care for lentils. I also added the whole beaten egg to the lentils directly rather than using the egg for dipping. I should have mashed the beans up more thoroughly next time I'll run them threw the electric mixer or a sieve as the directions told me to. Using a table fork wasn't the way to go.

I think that frying the Mock Sausage in lard helped with the illusion of this being a breakfast sausage. All total I only used a tablespoon of lard ( my free lard ).
It certainly resembles sausage and according to my teenage daughter it smelled like it. Next time I will go a bit heavier with the herbs & seasonings and use the given amount of salt that was called for in the recipe.
Also I will try making this with powdered eggs.

Not bad all in all especially since we haven't been able to afford breakfast sausage in a month of Sundays.

Now of course I'm wondering if I can make an Italian Mock Sausage for pasta night.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cart Garden Update

Second week of July 2011

Cart is still in the front yard takes two people to move it around now very heavy. We move it back & forth from the front walk to the grass. As you can see some of the tomatoes are starting to ripen. 

My first ever Burpee Long Keepers. Can't wait to taste them. 

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, August 8, 2011

50¢ Kindle Cover

 Few months ago Hubby & my oldest daughter pitched in together to get me a kindle. Apprently I had mentioned a few times how a friend had one. Hadn't really realized that I had but Woodsrunner is really good @ picking out a gift for people because he listens & observes. Yeah I know unique & a bit scary.

He was right of course because I love my Kindle.
I can sit in my kitchen or on my couch, or out on the patio and wander through the biggest book store in the world. Granted not every title is in Kindle format but enough to keep me busy. I can use the extremely helpful sample feature to actually read sample portion of the book.

Another great thing about Kindle is Amazon's free Kindle section on their website. I had to look around but one of the free books I found pretty appropriate in our current economic times.  Ever feel like your doing battle when it comes to cooking on a budget ?

Here's my no sew, re-purposed, stylish suede combination Kindle/notepad/pen holder bought @ a tag sale for 50¢ but I used my soda can $ which make it's free.
Don't under estimate the power of empty soda cans & bottles paired up with second hand sales. 

The leather shoe lace & beige beads I had scavenged off of other items found in my sewing stash. I think that both came from my son's day as a Boy Scout. I was hoping to find a closure from an old purse but no luck for now this works.

Hard to see but since I wasn't in a sewing mood I just attached the leather lace with a tiny gold toned safety pin, scavenged off of who knows what and tossed into my sewing box.

Self adhesive hook & loop squares came in to the home in a box of stuffs passed on by an acquaintance.
The note pad came from my insurance agent who was moving her office from one downtown building to another and had a box of office supplies she wanted gone.
Pen is a gift from our gun smith.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nice Rack

I was gonna work up a few pics of DIY canning racks but I came accross these two blogs with similar posts. Both are excellent so here's the links

Canning rack made from canning jar rings - project small 

Alternative method canning rack along with jar tongs and funnel - thekitchn 

No need expensive equipment to put food up ...

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swagbucks - Free Coffee Creamer

The coffee creamer I ordered off of Amazon came this morning none too soon as I was starting what would be my second day without coffee. No creamer no coffee for this Senora. I had such a big smile on my face the UPS guy told me it must not be work related when he handed me my delivery.
What's not to love I told him you bring me free groceries!

Expiration date on the Coffee Mate Creamers is April 2013 so I'm not really gonna bother with marking on each one the extended expiration date (4/2015) from the website  because I use it so quickly.
Now of course I wish I had ordered another 12 containers the Amazon deal worked out to $1.07 each with a subscribe & save (free shipping) and a promo code that has since expired.
I have a while before I've scheduled my next delivery in February to search for another promotional code (think coupon).
Gotta say that I'm loving Amazon shopping. No paper coupons to clip, no biking to the store, no reworking my schedule to have the car for the day just to go grocery shopping. No hanging out @ the service desk to get a rain check because the shelf was empty because EVERYONE got that great deal on creamer or peanut butter.

First cup of the day, my morning coffee with my free creamer & Stevia that I grew myself.
And yes my cup is one of those big coffee house mugs which in reality holds a bit over two fill cups.
And yes, after this cup I have one more = almost 5 cups for me.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pot to Can in

The following blog post is 5th in a series of fugal home food preservation for the novice.

So you went got a bushel or two of something that needs to be put up like yesterday which you have been doing but it's going slow. Real slow because the pot you found or borrowed only holds 6 or 8 quart canning jars. Meanwhile the produce you bought is starting to show it's age and your tired of tripping over the ice chest that holds those damn xxx, is leaking all over the kitchen floor.

Here's one solution that I've personally tried  with good results and a few minor adjustments.
A galvanized laundry tub 11.5 gallon capacity. 
Holds 15 quart jars & 1 pint.
You'll have to build a rack for the jars to sit on while you water bath can. Easy real easy let me build one snap a pic & I'll post it. 
A lid which can be anything from a piece of sheet metal with a drawer handle bolted on, or a sturdy thick piece of cardboard covered with aluminium foil. 

The times that I have canned using my wash tub I've built a simple fire pit with cinder block & used an oven rack for the grate to hold the tub above the fire.
When the ice chest is empty wipe down the lid and use as a table top to pay out the hot dogs & smores that you can cook on the fire after your done canning. 

Years ago when my three children were young they would come out with an old plastic kiddie pool and place it near the fire, filling it with a few blankets & pillows. Then they would try to rig up an umbrella to make a tent while they waited for the canning to be done.  Excited to be camping out in the back yard with a campfire. Over the din of the water rolling to a boil I could hear them talking to each other about making their tent or sleeping in the garden. 

"Now Mom, now"?
"No soon, put down the hot dog stick before someone eye ends rolling into a canning jar".
Deep belly laughs followed by a chorus of eyeball eyeball eyeball ...
"Can I have a graham cracker Mom"?
"No there won't be enough for dessert ... put down the stick and the hot dog".
"Now Mom"?
"No soon, go find the mustard and bring out a pillow for me please. I want to go camping".

~~ pelenaka ~~
who never would have thought that she would one day miss those days of canning & kids in August in the our city backyard 

Canning Party

Jarden Home Brands & Canning Across America are hosting a National Can-It-Forward Day on August 13.
A canning party for who ever you want to invite. 

Click on the links, sign up and get some pretty nice free goodies including a printable intro to canning download, recipes, templates for canning labels, and coupons (delivered to your email).

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stevia in my Coffee

K, you can accuse me of heaping tablespoons of powdered chemicals in my coffee with the addition of non-dairy creamer but you can't claim that I don't try and go with alternative sweetening methods by growing & using Stevia.
This plant is actually a child of the original which I bought over 7 years ago @ a big box home improvement store for around $5. Since then I've divided & repotted  each either for gift giving or even as a barter opp.

Here is the most current generation thriving in a container on the patio. I'll bump it up to a larger pot before Autumn and let it grow as a house plant over the Winter.
I want to make an effort to grow larger quantities of Stevia leaves to dry & grind into a powder for cooking & baking. Probably won't be able to grow enough Stevia to cover all of my needs but I do hope to be able to replace a fair portion of the Splenda that we now use do to our diabetes.
Icing on the cake is of course that I can grow Stevia virtually for free.
Splenda not @ all.

Besides floating Stevia leaves in my morning coffee I also use it in my Green Ice Tea along with a sprig of mint from a large patch the grows under the clothes in the garden.
Gently bruise the leaves thoroughly before adding to drinks.
Give the leaves a moment to seep before drinking.
Removal depends on how adept you are at not swallowing leaves.
With or without the help of caffeine

~~ pelenaka ~~