Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Canning Cuties

Does this box look familiar?
These are mandarin oranges from my local warehouse club where we get most of our fresh produce.

The children helped to peel and get all the stringy stuff off which is important so as to not make the citrus bitter. My theme today is 'Many hands make light the task'. Everybody pitched in and helped while we watched an old b&w movie. We were done within the hour.

I have never canned citrus before so I explored the internet and found some information on how to can citrus here. There was a choice to use orange juice or a light sugar water solution. I have tried it both ways and the sugar water makes the fruit much sweeter, however, I can use the leftover orange juice to make pumpkin bread from my frozen pumpkin so there is no waste.
I cold pack canned them and then added the boiling sugar water or juice, placed the lids and rings then water bath processed for 30 minutes.
Now for the math, which, by the way, I am not very good at. These are very rough figures:)

1 - 11oz store bought can mandarin oranges - actual weight, syrup drained is 6 oz
1 pint home canned mandarin oranges - actual weight after canning, juice drained is 14 oz
The pints contained more than double the actual weight of store bought oranges and very little juice (less than 1/2 cup)
For our calculations, we will use the pints at 12 oz.
In order to buy the same amount of store bought canned oranges, we would need to buy 22 cans at .89 cents each would cost $19.58.
10# of mandarin oranges made 11 pints and cost $13.76 for the oranges. Add to that, the cost of orange juice $1.88 and lids $1.79 and we are up to $17.43 (I already had jars and rings).
There is still a cost savings but consider how mandarin oranges are commercially processed. You can read about it here. Lye is caustic! Like crossed bones kind of caustic!

I am beginning to use my home canner more as I realize the cost savings and health benefits can be significant.

Blessings to you this beautiful spring day,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mickey in the Kitchen

A good friend called me on my cell phone last week asking if I liked cast iron cooking. I really do, however, it is hard since I have a glass top stove. She asked if I ever baked with cast iron, of course. So she brought me this little gift that she found for a few dollars at the local Salvation Army store. What a find, eh!

It was brand new, still had the tag hanging on it and hadn't been seasoned yet. I spent yesturday seasoning it and cooling it. For lunch today, I made corn muffins in them. They turned out so cute. Don't you agree! Here is my CORN MUFFIN recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 can creamed corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven. Grease muffin pan. Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs, creamed corn and salt. Mix in flours, cornmeal, and baking powder. Mix. Stir in milk. Spoon into pans. Bake 20-25 minutes til lightly browned on top. This recipe makes 1 dozen muffins and made 8 Mickey Mouse Muffins. This recipe is a sweet corn muffin recipe. If you like your cornbread sweet, you will love this recipe.

Have a sweet day, Suzie

6 x 6 Meme

My friend, Elaine at Commotion from the Ocean of Life tagged me. So I went purusing my 6th folder and my 6th photo, and here it is. I must say I am somewhat embarrassed at the condition of my home, for all the world to see, however, this is how it looks most often, played in. I am blessed to have such creative children.

This is youngest son playing the piano after having made this wonderful train all over the living room floor. This room is the heart of our home. Maybe sometime in the future I can share some other rooms in our home.
Blessings for a wonderful day, Suzie

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frugal Breakfasts

One fun thing we have discovered recently in the name of frugality relates to our breakfast time. One of the simplest and most inexpensive breakfast items you can make is oatmeal. We use freshly pressed oats but old fashioned oats from the grocery store are just fine too. Boil
3 cups water and add 1 cup oats and a dash of salt. Reduce heat and cover for about 8 minutes, til all the water is absorbed. We add maple syrup and canned low sugar fruit to ours but you could add just about anything including dried fruit,
brown sugar, and even chocolate syrup, YUM!

Now, what to do with those leftovers. In the past, I would have just pitched them, yucky,
sticky, leftover oatmeal.


Here are two recipes that your family will love,
and the ingredients are probably in your pantry already.

Oatmeal Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (we use whole wheat but white is find, too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil or butter
1 egg
1/2 cup leftover oatmeal

Combine and divide n muffin pan. Bake 350 for 35-40 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Sift dry ingredients. Add softened butter, applesauce and eggs. Beat til creamy. Stir in oatmeal. Drop on baking sheet. Bake 375 for 12-15 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

Now the children are asking for oatmeal in the morning so that they can have leftovers for afternoon snack, How funny:)

Blessings for a wonderful and frugal day, Suzie

Monday, March 2, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

With the stock market crashing, unemployment at an all time high, and so many depressed about tomorrow, WHAT IS IT YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR?

I find myself often humming this little hymn Count Your Blessings. Many Sundays we sang this song in worship. It is fixed in my mind. For that I am thankful. It has helped me through many difficult times.

When upon lifes billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings name them one by one,
Count your blessings see what God has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings see what God has done.

When you look at others with their land and gold,
See that Christ has promised you His wealth untold
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly
And you will be singing as the days go by.

Count your blessings name them one by one,
Count your blessings see what God has done
Count Your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessing see what God has done.

So, what blessings has God provided in your life lately?
Have we taken the time to be thankful or are we full of worry?

I know that I am often full of worry and then that little song comes into my head!

See what a blessing it is!

Here is my blessing list, and the more I think about it, the longer it gets. I am so blessed!

I am thankful for my dh. He is the strong but silent type and supports me in every imaginable and Godly way possible.

I am thankful for my children. God has blessed me with three wonderful children. Do we have our moments and even sometimes days, YES!

I am thankful for Christ who died for my sins so that I can focus on heaven. I don't have to focus on all the things that I cannot do anything about, I can focus on him. I feel sometimes like the Thessalonians did, they wanted Jesus to return, and quickly.

I am thankful for the inquisitiveness to ask a lot of questions and think and reason through the answers. There are so many things that folks simply take for granted, that I, because I seem to question everything, have made different choices, and thus, I feel, our family is in a better place.

I am thankful for parents that raised me in a Godly home. It was not perfect, but what home is? They strove to be Godly examples and that is what is most important.

I am thankful for our church family. They are a Godly group of people committed to spreading the gospel, just as they did in the first century church.

I am thankful for a home just big enough for us. If my home was any bigger, it could become a distraction to keep clean. What we have is a perfect size for our family.

I am thankful for God's provision of food. While things have been difficult in this manner recently, none of us have gone hungry.

I am thankful that I live in America. While it is not perfect, I can still worship God, raise my family as my own, and live in peace. I cannot think of another country that I would want to be a citizen.

I am thankful for the ability to use my eyes. We attended a Blindness Seminar the other day and were amazed at this lady who could do everything a seeing person did, just in another way. I am truly thankful for my eyesight.

I am thankful for the ability to use my hands. My grandmother has hands that are crippled with arthritis and she can no longer use them to do the things she loves to do. I can love my children, garden, quilt, sew, cook, clean, and so many other things that I don't often think of.

As a faithful child of God, I do not need to focus on the here and now, because I know there is a place prepared for me in heaven. Jesus emphasized that over and over in His parables.

If you are not a child of God, I would encourage you to read the Safety Chain part I and part II. Part one will show you from God's Word, how to become a child of His, and part two will show you from God's Word what His Church looks like.

During difficult times, these words of Jesus have brought me so much comfort.

"Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"

Matthew 6:25-26 (NKJV)

May the blessing of thankfulness fill your day, Suzie