About Sylvia

Sylvia is the owner of the Christian HomeKeeper Network website and ministry. She and her husband Mark live in Tennessee. They are the parents of 5 children and grandparents to two so far. They have homeschooled since 1990. Sylvia is a Christian and enjoys mentoring women, writing articles for several magazines, gardening, Bible study and creating a peaceful holy home. Follow Sylvia on Google+ or check out her 21st Century HomeKeeper podcasts on the Preparedness Radio Network.

Canned Apple Pie Filling – New Recipe

I’m bringing this post up from the past. Its a great recipe and there is a link to a somewhat different recipe.

Well its new for me anyway. Here is my other recipe which uses quick cooking tapioca as a thickener.

This one is a bit different.

Apple Pie Filling

10 pounds tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup Clearjel - Cook type, not instant. This link is an affiliate link
1 T. cinnamon
2-1/2 cups cold water
5 cups apple juice OR use water, its up to you.
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup bottled lemon juice
In this recipe you first want to boil your apple slices. This cooks the apples and keeps them from shrinking so much once they are cooked in the canner, and from making your jars look like they are missing some apples.
So bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Add about 1 quart of apple slices at a time and bring the water back to a boil. strain the apple slices out of the boiling water and add the next batch of apple slices. Keep the boiled apples covered while you are boiling the rest of them.
Once you’re done, you can empty out the water because you will need the kettle.
In your large kettle, preferably heavy-bottomed, add the sugar, Clear-Jel, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the apple juice or water and stir. Turn up the heat and cook the mixture until it is thick, bubbly and smooth. Turn off heat.
Add the apple slices and lemon juice. Stir.
Fill hot jars 3/4 full of apples and syrup. Top of each jar with syrup to within 1 inch of the rim of the jars.
Run a plastic or rubber spatula around the inside of the jars to release air bubbles.
Clean off the rims with a clean, wet cloth.
Add lids and rings.
Water bath the jars for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to sit on a dishcloth on the cabinet.Allow the jars to remain undisturbed over night.
Makes 6 or 7 quarts.

Creek Stewart on Camping In A Storm

Creek has some great information for you about what to do when a storm comes up when you’re camping.

Re-hydrating Your Dehydrated Food

While I am on break, here is an article from my friend, Vickilynn Haycraft over at Real Food Living about how to re-hydrate your homemade dehydrated foods. Great info!

From Dehydrated To Dinner

corn

A New Day

 

 

breakfast morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Day.

I love those words. I am not a morning person but I do have to get up and get moving like everyone else. When I lie down at night I feel hopeful and thankful.

And when I rise, I open my eyes with thanks and I look forward to the day. This is why:

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Homemade Hamburger Helper: Different Varieties and In Bulk

 Hamburger Helper is so stinkin’ convenient. If only it wasn’t so unhealthy. Its chock full of sugar, salt, preservatives and other junk but it sure tastes good and its filling. So I started making my own hamburger helper years ago. My children really like it.

hamburger helper 2

 

 

 

 

 

If you make Hamburger Helper you know that you use milk.  I use powdered milk because I can make up the seasoning mix and have it on hand and just have to add water.

Here are a few recipes for the Seasoning Packs you’ll need to make my homemade Hamburger Helper. Feel free to modify for your family.  The original Hamburger Helper has a lot of sugar in it. I prefer to have a more healthy dish so I have left out the sugar, you could add a bit of sugar in if your palate demands it.

Make up the Seasoning Mix and store it in a glass jar in a cool place. Be sure to label it and it wouldn’t hurt to keep the instructions for making the dish with the seasoning.

The first one is the classic Hamburger Cheesy Mac.

First make your Seasoning Mix.

This amount will make 4 different meals of Cheesy Mac.  For each recipe you’ll shake the jar well to combine and distribute the seasonings and use  one half cup of the mix for each recipe of Cheesy Mac.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp. paprika
1 – 1/2  Tablespoon  onion powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons garlic powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons  salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
 

You will need for each recipe of this dish:
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
3 1/3 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot.  Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked macaroni.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for  15-20 minutes.

Once the macaroni is tender and all the water is absorbed, add the shredded cheese, stir.

Taste for salt and pepper.

 

Next up is Beef Stroganoff.  If you can get sour cream powder, its good in this mix and you’d use 2 - 1/2 cups of it in the big batch of mix, but since most people can’t, I decided to build this recipe using fresh sour cream added at the last minute of cooking.

Seasoning Mix
Remember, this makes 4 different recipes of the Beef Stroganoff dish

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 TBS cornstarch
10 tsp. garlic powder
10 tsp. onion powder
10 tsp. parsley
10 tsp. salt
5 tsp. pepper

  You will also need:  
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups small egg noodles
1 cup sour cream

To Prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot. Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked noodles.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low for  15-20 minutes. Add hot water if needed throughout cooking.

Once the noodles are tender and all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Taste for salt and pepper.

 

The last one is for a Rice Hamburger Dish. Instead of pasta, it uses rice. I cook my rice before hand. In fact, I cook whatever rice I am going to use in my menus during the week and refrigerate it. But for this meal, you can just put the rice on to cook while you are cooking the hamburger and preparing the other ingredients.

I guess this is sort of a Jambalaya type dish. Its as spicy as you want it to be, just add more pepper or seasoning like Tony Chachere’s . This Seasoning Mix Recipe will make 4 different dishes of Rice Hamburger.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons TBS cornstarch
1\4 cup diced, dried sweet bell peppers (optional)

Spices and Herbs:
1- 1\2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
5 teaspoons onion powder
5 teaspoons garlic powder
5 teaspoons salt

OR, instead of the spices and herbs above, you can use 1\2 cup of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, or Zatarain’s

You will also need:
1 pound ground meat
3 1\2 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small can of stewed tomatoes (about 8 ounces)

Put 1 cup rice and 2 cups water on to cook. While that is simmering, brown the ground beef in a large skillet or pot. When the beef is done, drain it and place it back over the heat.

Add 1\2 cup of the seasoning mix to the beef, add the hot water and tomatoes then stir. Lower heat to a simmer.
Stir in the cooked rice. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
When heated through and thick, add the shredded cheese. Cover and let sit again another 5 minutes. Serve.

Dehydrating Corn and Green Beans

dried veg

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years I have dehydrated all kinds of food for my family.  Fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and even complete meals are on my regular dehydrating list.  Two vegetables that I have always dried without using the dehydrator though were Green Beans and Sweet Corn.

Stringing Green Beans picture found at http://samplers-and-santas.blogspot.com/

Stringing Green Beans picture found at http://samplers-and-santas.blogspot.com/

I used to take a needle and heavy string and string up green beans to dry indoors.  Green Beans dried this way are called “Leather Britches”.  This is a very old method and it works well as long as you don’t mind veggies hanging around your living room or kitchen. 

Cast iron corn dryer picture found online

Cast iron corn dryer picture found online

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Corn is another one I have always dried without a dehydrator. I just stuck the cob of corn on a cast iron dryer and let it hang around til it was dry, then I’d shell it and store it.

I tried something new for me this week though, I dried both green beans and sweet corn in the dehydrator.  It was definitely faster.

dried corn

 

 

 

 

 

 

beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried green beans can be used in soups and stews or just cooked the way you would ordinarily cook fresh green beans. The ones dried in the dehydrator are dried very dry, they are hard and crispy.  When I dry them on string they normally don’t ever get that dry, but I wanted them to be completely dry so I could store them in jars.  To dry Green Beans in the dehydrator, just rinse them off to get dirt and leaves off, break and string the beans, shell the over ripe beans, then place them in the dehydrator at 125*F. You can’t really over dry Green Beans so let the dehydrator run til they are so crisp that they break apart if you try to crush them with a hammer or heavy object.  I let these run in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.

corn

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweet corn is dry and crispy too, so when I store it in jars it won’t grow mold.  Sweet corn is naturally very moist so it can take a little longer than the beans but this batch ran 8 hours at 125*F and turned out great. To prepare sweet corn for dehydrating, shuck the corn, pull out all the silks, cut the kernels off the cob with a big, sharp knife. Lay the kernels on the dehydrating mats in a single layer. Dehydrate at 125*F til completely dry, like the green beans.

This batch of dried beans and corn will be stored in mason jars but you could also store them in vacuum bags or in the freezer.  Dehydrated foods don’t take up much room so when you use them, think about how much they will plump up after cooking. I would use about 12 cup of this dried corn in a pot of vegetable soup, for example.

    

Oregano Oil For Colds and Flu

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.  oregano in vodka

I learned from Shannon over at Nourishing Days that Oregano Oil can be used to treat colds and flu. I already use elderberry tincture for that so I did some research and decided to make Oregano Oil using the organic oregano in my garden and some cheapo vodka.

In the interest of full disclosure, that elderberry tincture? Man it burns going down.  So I put it in a cup of Earl Grey tea and its almost palatable.  Blech. But it works. 

Oregano tincture may be nearly as bad but I will make it. Since we don’t have small children here any longer, we can man up and take it.

Pack a quart jar with fresh oregano, pour some kind of spirits over it like brandy or vodka. Let it sit in the dark about 6 weeks. Strain it and store it in dark bottles or in a dark place like a frig or cellar.

The dosage varies depending on who you talk to but, like most herbal tinctures, I think 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon = 12.5 mg.) three times a day for adults would work nicely. Children’s dosage should probably be figured according to Clark’s Rule or Young’s Rule.

 

Grammies Garlic Oil

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a Dr and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.

garlic oil

 

 

 

I’ve got an ear ache today and since I was out and about I thought I’d stop and get some garlic oil capsules. Then I remembered: I have HOMEMADE Garlic Oil in the frig at home! Yay!

I made it about 2 months ago. Other than someone eating a few cloves, its still there waiting for someone to need it. I sure do today.

Here’s how I made it and how I used it.

Peel enough garlic cloves to fill a half pint glass jar. If you don’t want to peel each one individually, try this:

Real Simple – How To Peel Garlic Cloves Quickly

Your Mileage May Vary.

After you get your half pint jar filled with peeled garlic, heat some olive oil. You’ll need a little less than a cup, a half pint holds one cup and the garlic will displace some of that. Don’t heat the oil to a boil, just get it hot to touch.

Pour the hot oil over the garlic. Let the jar cool to room temperature, put a lid on it and store it in the frig. If you store it at room temperature it will grow mold and junk.

It will be ready to use almost immediately but the longer you let it sit the stronger it gets.

To use it, spoon out a small amount of the now-congealed oil.  Let it melt.  Put about 3 drops in the affected ear followed by a cotton ball.

spoon of oil

 

 

 

 

I don’t recommend using this on babies or little children unless you’re sure your child won’t be bothered by it. Garlic oil tends to be very warm in the ear. Not burning but if there is inflammation in the ear, it could burn pretty badly when you put it in.

The wonderful thing about Garlic Oil is that it will kill bacteria both in your ear and in the rest of your body. When you feel yourself coming down with something, try taking garlic oil capsules or your homemade oil, about three times a day til you feel better. Or til someone asks if you’ve been eating at an Italian restaurant.