A Good Day

The sun is shining. Its not warm yet but its getting there.  The birds are singing.  I’ve gotten three loads of laundry done, breakfast smoothies and bacon made, Nana’s needs attended to and dishes done.  Those breakfast smoothies were delicious.  I used frozen strawberries, blueberries, a lime and coconut water.  Its more sugar than my body is used to but a small glass really hit the spot this morning.

So, I’m just resting a moment til time to get back at it.  On the weekends the whole family gathers here and it leaves my house sort of upside down no matter how much they all pick up and straighten up after themselves. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  I love these days and I know that they can’t be replaced. I treasure every moment with these people because someday, one day, they will go their own ways and have things to do that don’t include me.

When that day comes, I will have these precious times in my memory, these good relationships built and strengthened by the Lord and all the times we spend together now will bless me and my children in the days to come.

tulips_2

Is It Real Or Fake?

Have you ever wondered if a ministry or just a group of Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit really is a work of the Spirit? Ever get that little niggle at the back of your mind regarding a group of people who say one thing but don’t seem to follow through? Or if someone who tells you they are led by the Spirit really is led by Him? Here is a short check list that you can use to quickly measure that group or even your own ministry.

Every one of these characteristics must be met, not just one or two or even all but one. That ministry or person must….

  1. Exalt the true Chriswolft (Jesus!)
  2. Oppose Satan’s interests
  3. Point people to the Scriptures
  4. Elevate truth
  5. Result in love for God and others

These ideas come from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards’ The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God.

Be sure that any ministry you endorse in any way fulfills all of these. Its not enough to be a good person and love people. We must teach truth. Don’t be taken in by someone who speaks pretty words or appeals to your self esteem.

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

Home Canned Boston Baked Beans

I say “Boston Baked Beans” with a bit of hesitation because they’re really not true Boston baked beans but they are in close proximity.  I know how I say, “Pshhh…” when someone says a recipe is Southern Cornbread and its not.  Ha!  finished beans

The recipe I started with was Tasha Tudor’s Boston Baked Beans. I make them pretty often and serve them with some brown bread, a salad and maybe an apple cobbler.  They contain meat so they are a complete meal with a salad and bread. They take long cooking, 8 hours, at low temperature.  I have never been quite satisfied at how they turn out in a crockpot so I thought I’d can some. I wanted to have some already cooked and on hand for this Autumn and Winter so it seemed like a good idea to try.

 

I am canning this batch in pints because there are only 4 of us here right now and sometimes only 2 of us. This recipe must be pressure canned. This is a recipe for experienced canners, not for the novice. This recipe makes about 9 pints of beans, 7 to can and two that I bake in the oven for a couple of hours and have for supper. 

 

Ingredients:

6 cups Navy Beans with water to cover
2 – 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 large onions, diced finely
6 cups water for the sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
8 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking water from the beans
About 3 ounces of a combination of bacon and smoked sausage or your preferred sausage, I think you could use Turkey sausage in this but the Turkey bacon might lose its flavor.   3 ounces is about what a person with a small hand could hold in their palm.

There are three preparatory steps to making and canning these beans.

  • 1. Soak the beans
  • 2. Cut up the meat
  • 3. Make the sauce

 

1. Soak the beans – Use Navy Beans in this recipe. You will need about 6 cups of beans. Wash the beans, pick through them for rocks and such. Put the beans in a large pot or bowl, cover them with clean water and allow them to sit on the counter top over night. Next day, drain them, put them in a big cooking pot, add 1 pinch of baking soda, bring to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once they have cooked for 10 minutes, keep them hot, don’t drain them or throw away the cooking water.

2. Cut up the meat – The sausage and bacon should be cut up into small bits, a little smaller than a bite. Once you start putting ingredients in the jars it will be easier if you have the meat already divided up into small portions, one portion of meat for each jar. You don’t need to cook the meat before putting it in the jars with the beans, the canning process will cook it.

meat

The amount of meat for each pint. Covers my palm.

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

3. Make the Sauce –  in a medium sauce pan add the  tomato paste, onions, water, brown sugar, molasses, dry mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower temperature but keep hot.

 

canning

 

 

 

 

Now you’re ready to can!

Bring the water in your pressure canner to a boil per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Heat the lids and rings. Bring some water to a boil and heat your jars.

meat in jar

 

 

 

 

1. Add a portion of the sausage and bacon to the hot jar

 

beans

 

 

 

 

2. Add about 1 and one half cups of pre-cooked beans to the jar with the meat. It should fill the jar about half way with beans and meat. This recipe makes a saucy dish, there is a good amount of liquid, if you want less sauce, add a few more beans to the jar, only 1 or 2 tablespoons of beans though. That sauce is good over mashed potatoes!

 

add sauce

 

 

 

 

3. Now add sauce up to the shoulder of the jar

 

ready for canner

 

 

 

 

4. Add cooking water to fill the jar, leaving a one inch head space, add the lid and ring, tighten hand tight, put the jar in the prepared  canner.

Once all the jars are filled and in the canner, you can put the canner lid on and begin venting the steam. I vent for 10 minutes then add the weight. You should follow your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions. Also, I add some clean white dish cloths to the canner, I weave them around and between the jars to keep the jars from banging in to one another and breaking. 

Pressure the PINTS of baked beans for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
Once they are finished, allow the canner to lose its pressure naturally. This means you will remove the canner from the heat, but leave the weight on and allow the canner to cool and release pressure over time. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour for a full canner to release all its pressure.
Take the jars out and sit them on a towel to cool. Listen for the “ping”!

 

If you were to can these beans in quarts, you would:

  • Use enough beans and meat to fill the quart jars half way
  • Use enough sauce to fill the jar to the shoulder
  • Use enough cooking water to fill the jars and leave a one inch head space.
  • Pressure can the jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes

 

You can add one inch pieces of hot dogs to the beans INSTEAD of the sausage and bacon and can it all together for homemade Beanie Weenies! 

Black Raspberry Pie

black raspberry plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the black raspberry plants that came up in our back yard a few years ago. Probably some passing bird left the seeds. They came up and we nurtured them along.

 

black raspberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked about 4 cups last week and about 6 cups this week. Black Raspberries taste like a very mild Blackberry, but with that little ‘tang’ that says, Raspberry! 

I decided to make a pie this week. I could have made a cobbler I guess but this just seemed like what to do with raspberries.

Here is the recipe:
2 pie crusts
8 cups black raspberries
1 – 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour (any kind)
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring OR 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, depends on what you like. Cinnamon is probably the preferred flavoring for Black Raspberries.
2 tablespoons butter

Make your pie crusts or use those refrigerated ones, I won’t tell.

Next, put the berries in a big bowl and add all the other ingredients except the butter.

raspberry pie 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently toss the berries and all the ingredients, then pour them into the pie crust. Dot with the butter, cover with the second crust, cut slits in the top crust. Paint the top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

raspberry pie 2

 

 

 

 

 

 
Bake at 350* F for about an hour and a half. The crust can get too brown, so cover it with foil after it gets as brown as you want it to be.

raspberry pie 3

 

 

 

 

 

 
After the pie is done, allow it it to cool to room temperature before serving. The temptation is to eat the pie while its hot and it will be good if you do but it will be thin and drippy. If you allow it to cool, it will thicken up and you can cut it like, well like pie.

End Of The Week Reset

I need a reset. Not really a re-do its been a good week but I’m tired and there is a lot more to do before I can call it done. I just need a reset of my outlook, my attitude and my strength. violets c

I need grace and a big breather. Breathe in …  Breathe out.   think about what is next, prepare and go ahead.

Every time I need grace, its there. The Lord is so faithful to offer it, extend it…. reaches out far with just the right grace for the moment.

This is Why

If you are one of my 11 readers, you know that I haven’t made many new posts for a long time. I used to have thousands of readers but I feel like I’ve lost my voice.  So naturally, I’ve lost readers. When I started this site, it wasn’t a blog, I had a lot to say, lots of things I wanted to share with women.  I don’t know… these days I feel like there are thousands of blogs out there with young women writing about all the things I’ve already said in years past and they are working hard to make money on their blogs. That is a very good thing. I am all for women doing things they love to do.  522797_4359509479392_946529996_n

But what that has meant for me is kind of bittersweet. I love the fact that young women are taking a greater interest in home and family.  However, I sort of feel like I’ve been pushed to the side in favor of newer, younger, more hip, flashier, more helpful sites. I guess that’s ok too.  So I don’t know that I have anything left to share.

I just don’t know.

My life has changed so much in the past 10 years.  This time of my life seems so foreign. I am aging and my body proves that to me daily.  But I am a writer so I feel drawn to write, I just am not sure right now what I have to say.

My radio shows were so much fun and I loved getting to talk to people about homesteading and homemaking but they eventually got to be way too time consuming. And stressful.  I may go ahead and do some more shows later on but for now I like the break.

Some things I do know:

I still want to write.

There are still interesting things I want to explore in life.

I love seeing my children get older and be on their own.

I really love getting to grow older with my husband of 34 years.

God is in control and I want to honor Him in all I do.

If you are a regular reader, I hope you’ll hang in there with me as I look for my writing voice. If you just happened to stop by, I hope you’ll not give up on me either but come back periodically and see where I am in this journey.

Meal Ideas For The Busy Parent

apsu

 

 

 

I’m going back to school this Fall. Hopefully it will be my last semester there for a while and I will graduate in December. Hopefully.

I panicked today thinking about meals and being gone from home all day three days a week. I’ve been at home all day for a long time and thinking of making meals ahead is not new to me but it kind of sneaked up on me. Or maybe it snuck up.

Anyway, I am making plans. the first plan is to purchase a ….microwave!   I haven’t had one in about 6 years. Every person in the house has groaned about it at least once, including me. Maybe we won’t get all nuclearized. I think we’ll get a very small one and take our chances. Because I am all for quick and stress-free meal prep right about now.

Next thing on my agenda is to put together make-ahead breakfasts.  I will get these recipes on the blog as soon as I have some good pics of them.  Here is what I have so far:

Cranberry-Nut bread

Boiled Eggs on English Muffins with Cheese and Herbs and Stuff.  I need a shorter name for that one.

Sausage and Potato Hand Pies. Kind of a homemade hot pocket/Cornish pasty thing.

Muesli – this is like granola but uses a binder like Kefir or yogurt

Quiche

Muffins

 

Then I will get some lunch ideas together that can be easily taken with me as I leave for the day. I like cheese, apples, boiled eggs, carrots, stuff like that so no problem there.

Dinner time though…… there’s the challenge. I am going to be relying heavily on my crockpots. For years I have put together freezer meals for the crockpot.  I started when I read the book, Once A Month Cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson. In 1986, people! That’s a long time ago but the book is still in print and they have a we site with recipes and all that.

So my choices for suppers are endless and I will try to get all my meals for the week together and in the freezer or frig on Saturday. Which brings me to the next conundrum…. how to get my weekly schedule put together in a way that works for me.

I’ll get recipes and schedule ideas up asap…….