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.

 

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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

 

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2. Add about 1 cup 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 lot 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 though 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

Food Philosophy

I figured I’d share a little bit about my food philosophy. Never thought I’d have one much less be compelled to share it. Food is a gift and its a necessity. Everyone has to eat to live. But I see a lot of folks who, in this country, are flippant about food and take it for granted.

Sometimes when I read a luscious, over-the-top recipe, or when I read how people can’t get their children to eat some foods or how they simply refuse to force their children to eat anything the child doesn’t want I think …… now those are definitely First World Problems.

I have a hard time finding it funny or cute when people allow their children to play with food. I heard a story once about a man who took a box of oranges to a a very poor family. He went back the next day to take some more food and found the family’s 6 children playing baseball with the oranges. That would bother me.  I even have a hard time letting children play with food in VBS, though I’ve never spoken up about it.

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Sometimes, first world problems are inevitable, they are unavoidable because of where we live and the culture we live in. Sometimes we create those problems for ourselves. When you’ve seen a truly hungry child dig through the trash to find something to eat or pick up your discarded paper plate and lick it, then you do know that the things I described above are first world problems.

{I’ve edited this post to add this because I think its important to the discussion:  I have taught my children not to be wasteful and that goes against the grain sometimes because of the wasteful culture we live in. Its hard standing up for something like this, kind of like home educating, but I believe its important and worth taking a stand}

I’ve seen starving children and adults. And it has changed me and the way I think about food and recipes. Only in a culture that is as bloated with food as ours is food, “fun”.

I’m seriously not knocking making cute snacks and stuff for your kids. My Mother made those ‘Dirt and Worms’ pudding desserts for my children and I thought they were cute as could be. And I didn’t have a problem with it because they actually ATE the pudding. But you know, there is fun and there is fun-where-you-waste-food.

We’re blessed with plenty of food and with opportunities for acquiring food. Most of us are blessed with bountiful food and can be creative and have fun with preparing it.   But for me; just talking me here, I can’t play with my food very easily if I suspect it is going to be wasted. I have a hard time promoting recipes that are filled with junk and a bazillion ingredients that are unhealthy and I have a hard time making something that I know people aren’t really going to eat and be nourished with.

My Mother grew up in this country but grew up very poor. She shared with me when I was younger that she often did not have adequate nutrition. Certainly many of the early photos of her showed an extremely thin but smiling child and young adult. Because she grew up with frugal, hard-working parents (who were also very thin) she learned how to make the most of whatever food she had on hand. She taught those things to me. 

Most of you reading here  have never had to chew the ends of a cooked chicken bone to get all the nutrition possible out of it. You don’t do that because you get plenty of protein and you were perhaps not taught to be that frugal.  My Mother used to do that and I picked it up from her. I never thought about it until a friend from Cameroon and I were eating chicken wings together and as I was chewing the ends of the bones I looked up and she was chewing the ends of the chicken bones and we both found it rather funny.  The event must have made quite an impression on me because it got me to thinking about how very wasteful and ungrateful our culture is altogether about food. It got me to thinking that even though I chewed the ends off chicken bones, I have done my share of wasting food and being stupid with food.
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Now I know some of you were raised like me and some of you trained yourself to be frugal about food and other areas of life. So I’m not fussing at you. I’m just thinking out loud.

The waste in restaurants, the waste in our own kitchens, the waste at schools and other institutions is enormous. I was taught that if I waste food, I will eventually be in want of food.  In our culture that doesn’t seem to be the case, we just keep on wasting food and the food keeps on reappearing. What we don’t understand is that we are wanting on a nutritional level because we eat so much fake food and junk.  We are wanting on a spiritual level because we are so dang spoiled.

I mean, look at all the Food Blogs. Look at all the time, money and effort we spend on trying new dishes and making something good that appeals to us or is healthy for us. Food is a huge thing, beyond the need for it to survive.

So what exactly is my Food Philosophy?  Here are a few phrases that sum it up.

  • Eat simply. Eat real. Don’t waste your time, money or health on fake food. Simplify how you prepare food as much as possible. The fewer ingredients in a dish, the better.
  • Take all you want but eat all you take.
  •  Don’t waste food or take for granted that it will always be there. Food is a gift, in some places a rare one.
  •  Be thankful for whatever food you have and eat the healthiest foods you can afford. Show your thankfulness by sharing your food, preserving it when you can and by eating it with a thankful heart.
  • Don’t allow food to overtake you and become an idol. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.
  • Find the balance where you can enjoy the bounty of our country without being wasteful and ungrateful.

These statements make up my philosophy of food.  I’m not saying that these statements will solve the world’s problems with food but if you will think about them a little, they will go a long way toward changing how you look at the blessing of food. 

I know, I know you don’t waste food. I know. But I do see it all around me. I just wanted to set down how I think about this right now.

 

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…….  

Help With Time Management

One of the things I remember from grade school way back in the day was my report card which said, “Uses Time Wisely”.

I always got a NO.

Once I became a college student I learned pretty doggone quickly how to use my time wisely, because after all, I was paying for that time now. I took what I learned over into my home when I married and had children. It was hard. It was a whole new world of learning how to organize and use my time wisely when I wasn’t supervised all day and when I had children.

As moms and wives we really do have to learn to use our time wisely, otherwise we’re going to be feeling like we’re drowning in obligations, chores, work and even fun times.

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The best way to make sure you do that is to keep a Planner. I simply buy one that has lots of writing space and a big monthly calendar. I used to use a spiral notebook, it works great. Just as long as you have something to write down what you need to accomplish and maybe some notes to spur your memory about what should be done and when, you’re good to go. You can put together a great Planner and its FREE, over at Donnayoung.org.  She has all kinds of forms, calendars and more that you can print out and use as your planner.

 

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The Essentials Of Time Management

Add these things to your planner to help you use your time more wisely………..

Prayer and Bible Reading – How many times have we all agreed that we need to be reading our Bibles, we need to be praying, we need to be involved in some kind of study or devotional but…. we just don’t do it. Schedule your time with God first thing every morning. Before you get out of bed is good! Even after you get up, let it be one of the first things you do. Schedule it so that you will see it on your list of things to do every morning. Do I really need to tell you how much better your day will be if you do?

Menu Planning – When you plan your weekly menus, you save money, time and effort. Go ahead and plan every Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meal then shop to that menu. You can write down all your menu plans and have them right there at your fingertips when its time to cook. That link I gave will help you learn how to plan weekly menus.

Cleaning – This blog is devoted to helping women get a handle on their homekeeping so there are all kinds of posts about how to clean each room in your house, how to make index card systems to help you keep your home clean and more. Then there is a good post about keeping the house clean once you get it in order and one about getting control of the laundry.

The Ins and Outs of An Ordinary Day – You can plan a Basic Household Schedule and it will help you get things done that often slip your mind or that you find difficult to work into the day. You don’t live or die by the Schedule, you make it work for you. If you can’t get something done, that’s OK, but you get to choose what gets done and what doesn’t.  Its your schedule.

School and Homeschool Activities – These kinds of activities can run away from you if you don’t keep an eye on them. Schedule library trips, field trips, tests and what you must cover in your curriculum weekly.

Intimacy With Your Spouse – Obviously you don’t want to plan all the spontaneity out of life and its not the kind of thing you would want to write in your planner, but take it from someone who has been married for 33 years, sometimes if you don’t plan it, it don’t happen. ‘Nuf said.

Personal Grooming and Fitness – Whatever you need to do to feel healthy, you should do. Like walking or running or exercising. And I know its hard, especially for mommies of little ones, to schedule a shower, but you can plan for one each day even if its not at the same time each day. I used to get my shower and wash my hair first thing in the morning when my children were all home and in home-school. Then I changed that to having a shower in the evening. What ever works!

I know its hard to clean a house, clean yourself, make food, run errands and do what needs to be done when you have a little one or two or more. I’ve been there and done it.  What I am saying is that you don’t have to languish in mess and disorder; you really can pull it together if you work at it.

 

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Do One Thing At A Time And Be Fully Present In That Thing.

This flies all over the current Multi-Tasking Mania that most women live in. I can multi-task as well as the next gal but I have learned that if I want to do my best I have to focus on what I am doing.

So now how do I manage to do my best and NOT multi-task if I have eleven billion things to do before dinner time?

The thing is, if you really do have that many things to do before dinner, you may need to simplify and get rid of some things from your load.  Maybe you should reassess what you’re doing. Stop and take stock of what you’re doing because mommy, you’re probably doing too much. And chances are, you’re not doing your best at any of it. Even good things can become bad things if you’re doing them for the wrong reason or out of season.

Why do something simply because you can? Why do anything and not do your best? I’m not talking perfectionism here, I’m talking Colossians 3:23 here:  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 

Its pretty clear that if I am doing a work for God I should be doing my best. And if I am to do everything as unto the Lord, then I should be using my time wisely, focusing on my task, doing my best.

You can’t do everything but the things you do can be done well.

So yes, I am suggesting that you let some things go.

And do your best at everything you do, not ‘be’ the best, just do your best.

And be completely present in each moment.

And use a Planner to help you get all your wonderful, messy, happy, tough work done each day. You can do it!

Attitude Of Gratitude ~ December 10

attitude-of-gratitude 2013

I’m cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude. Come join me!

Today I’m thinking about all I have to do. I haven’t done the first thing toward Christmas, mainly because I have a project to finish up for my husband. Its pretty tense, I am concerned that I might not get it finished up before he has to have it.

But I am taking a break to write this down: I am grateful for Things To Do.

I’ve always had more than enough to do. With 5 children, its never been dull. But now that the children are mostly grown I realize that my friends who are older and have empty nests are right, sometimes there just isn’t anything to do. When you’re used to doing for so many people, it sure can seem that way.

Even if I didn’t have people to serve, I think I’d go find someone to serve. There is always someone who needs help. You have to look around in our culture sometimes to find that someone. And so I am thankful grateful for something to do for others today.

What are you grateful for today?