Homemade Mustard

I am on a ‘homemake as much stuff as I can’ kick.  I ran out of Dijon mustard and decided to make more instead of buying a bottle.

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup yellow dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar – Next time I am going to try white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • Honey to taste

Add all to a sauce pan and simmer until thick.  (it took me about 25 minutes)

Dry ingredients:

the happy crazy house homemade mustard

Wet ingredients:

the happy crazy house homemade mustard

Simmer (and I did a quick taste test and added more honey):

the happy crazy house homemade mustrad

Cool and put in a container for your fridge:

homemade mustard

I am quite picky when it comes to mustard.  I do not enjoy regular yellow mustard, so this take on Dijon is just the thing for me.

Yummy

Check out more at this Party:

To Grandmas House We Go!

 

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Strawberry Freezer Jam

During our busy weekend at the first of the month, we made some freezer jam. Through Bountiful Baskets, I ended up with 8 pounds of strawberries.  YUM

My 8 lbs of strawberries ended up being roughly 16 cups of chopped strawberries:

  • Let boil for 15 minutes.
  • Then use a potato masher or an immersion blender to break up the chunks.
  • Add sugar to taste.  My family does not like traditional sweet jam/jelly, so I sweeten conservatively….maybe 1 1/2 cups went in.
  • Regular fruit pectin.  I followed the directions based on the amount of strawberries and used 7/8 cup~ Along with about 2 cups water.  Boil for a minute and then add to the strawberries.

  • Stir, stir, stir.
  • Ladle into your freezer safe containers.

Then you are done.  Enjoy!  So yummy.  This is my second go around with this recipe and the whole family loves it.

Busy Week

This past week was pretty busy, but very rewarding.

Top of the list:

I got to have my friends 1 1/2 year old little girl, Charlotte, stay with me….cause my friends were at the hospital having twins!  Mama, Daddy and twins are doing well.  I loved having little Charlotte stay with me…Jules and Jane doted, fought and loved on Charlotte.  So cute.

Here she is in all her little cuteness.

Charlotte did so well in a new place, away from her Mama and Daddy.  Miss her little face already.

While Charlotte was with us, I took on a couple of canning projects.

Recipes to come – but we did dilly beans, strawberry jam and crushed tomatoes.

And then this happened…..

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We introduced a new kitty into our family.   Our last kitty, Lillian, died about a year ago and the girls have been pretty persistent in their requests.  We picked this kitty up from the Yellowstone Animal Shelter, where she was being held as a stray.  I do not know much about her history, only that she is 3 and was living under a front deck for about a month before Animal Control was called to pick her up.

We named her Harriet the Cat, or HarryCat.  She has come when called a few times….but it seems to be more of a coincidence.  We are working on it.  HarryCat is so docile and sweet.  She has been very accepting of the kids and dogs.

Crap!  I almost forgot.  Dave and I had our Birthdays as well.  Obviously, there was not a lot of time for birthday exploits….but we will celebrate at a later date.   😉

 

Homemade Fruit Leather

Last week, I found myself with 60 apples.  I was pretty positive that we couldn’t eat them all before they went bad, so I decided to make some apple fruit leather.

I started by prepping the apples – washing, peeling, coring and slicing.

I did about 30 of the apples to start with.  The sliced apples were put in the largest pot I own and I added just a bit of water to assist with the cooking process.  I brought the water and apples to a boil and then let it cook for about 15 minutes.  This made mashing up the apples easier.

I then put the cooked apple mash into my blender in batches to get a good puree.  I then put the heat on the pot again and started taste testing.  I did not want to add much sugar so I ended up with less than 1/3 cup.  I would add a bit in, stir and taste test until I was happy.

I lined my lipped pans with microwave safe plastic wrap and then put the apple puree filled pans into the oven at 170 F overnight (12 hours).  You know its done when it is not sticky anymore but is not crunchy.

I let the leather cool in the pans and then pulled them.  To store I rolled them up and put them in the fridge.  With the 30 apples I ended up with 4 9×13 pans and 2 9×6 pans.

Yummy!!

Green Tomato Salsa – Canning

Our area had an early frost – and no amount of covering was saving my tomato plants …sad face…..  In an attempt to save my tomato crop – I pulled all of them and made green tomato salsa.  I had ALOT of tomatoes so this canning recipe is for a large batch.

  • 42 cups of chopped or pureed green tomatoes (I used our food processor as I like a less chunky kind of salsa)
  • 5 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 6 chopped onions
  • 6 chopped jalapenos – adjust this based on your heat tolerance
  • 2 1/2 cups lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro (this is a very polarizing ingredient – do not feel like you need to put it in)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 19 quart jars

Here I am getting started on my food processor (I did add in some tomatoes that were slightly ripe)

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To give you some perspective on how much this is.

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and pull it back……

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Prep your water bath, jars and lids.  Simmer and don’t boil.

Combine and boil the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic….once the mixture is boiling add in the lemon/lime juice and spices.

Reduce heat and simmer from 5 to 20 minutes.

Carefully ladle the salsa into the hot, prepped jars – add the lid and the screw on lid/band….don’t over tighten.

Place filled jars in the water bath and let boil for 20 minutes – depending on location.

Remove and allow to cool.  Check the lids before labeling and storing.  All lids should be down.

salsa

Yum!

 

Garden Tomato puree base for future meals

My garden is exploding in tomatoes…which I love…..I am just adjusting my plans with the tomatoes that are ripening as I go.  I have only had a handful ripe at one time, so I have been able to easily make meals and/or snacks with them.  This past week, I have had too many to work into our meals and not enough friends who like tomatoes (hello!).  Hopefully, towards the end of summer – my mom and I will be canning together….but now I am making a frozen tomato puree to use in future meals.

Like my hard water??

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  • 20 roma tomatoes
  • 6 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon basil, oregano, thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 chopped extra large onion or 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • salt/pepper

I used my blender to puree all the tomatoes with a cup of water and added that to a large pot…..um..that pic doesn’t have all of them.

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At this time, I started sauteing the onion with a dash of salt and pepper.  Just towards the end, I added in the garlic….being careful not to burn it.

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Then it all goes into the pot with the tomatoes.  Then add the rest of the spices and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

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I taste tested mine as I went to ensure that it was not overpowering on the spices and still maintained a strong tomato taste.  I want to use this as a base in future meals and since I have different options as to what those meals will be….I want to keep it loose.

After the mixture cooled, I poured it into some freezer bags and placed them in the freezer.

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All in all – I am happy with the result and will let you know what meals I end up using this for.

Right off the bat, I am thinking – spaghetti, barley soup, chili and chicken makhani.

Freezer Meals – Crock Pot style

My schedule is changing next week and in preparation I decided to try a series of freezer meals.

I devoted the evening before to finding recipes that my family and I would be interested in eating over the next few weeks and then compiled my shopping list.  I spent 30 (!!!!!) minutes in Costco getting the items that I needed -spending less than $200.  I only walked away with a few things in my cart that weren’t on the original list.  My recipes came from two different locations – http://www.5dollardinners.com/ and The New Creative Crock Pot Cookbook by Robin Taylor Swatt.  As I was choosing recipes – I picked those based on what I could alter to use similar ingredients and also to adjust based on my families taste.

This is as close a list as I can get – I made 2 each of the recipes.  So my list below is set up to support making 2 freezers bags of each recipe.

  • 25 to 30 chicken breast
  • 10 –  15 oz cans of diced tomatoes or 5 of the 28 oz cans and split each one in 2
  • 6 cans – 15 oz can of corn
  • roughly 20 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 bag onions
  • 12 red, yellow or orange peppers
  • 12 apples
  • sausage – I purchased a chicken apple sausage, based on recipe on http://www.5dollardinners.com/
  • 1 large bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 8 pork chops
  • 1 package stew meat
  • 2 boxes chicken broth
  • 4 cans of beans – your choice.  I used black beans
  • 2 cans coconut milk

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From the Crock Pot Cookbook

Chicken Provencal – adjusted for us……..Add into a Freezer bag

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 pepper – diced
  • 1 onion – sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • salt pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning = 1 tsp each

Curried Apple Chickens – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 3 apples – peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • curry, salt, pepper = 1 tsp each
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Sunday Dinner Roast Beef – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 1lb of the stew meat
  • 3 potatoes – chopped or sliced
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt, pepper = 1 tsp each

Italian Stew/Roast – adjusted for us…….Add into a freezer bags

  • 1lb of the stew meat
  • 3 potatoes – chopped or sliced
  • 1 pepper – diced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes or half the large can
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt, pepper = 1 tsp each

From www.5dollardinners.com\   (you should check this site out – if you haven’t already – when I was searching for freezer meals, this was the first one that kept popping up)

Freezer meals

To make each one – dump in your crock pot and cook as listed below:

  • Thawed:  low for 6/8 hours
  • Frozen – kinda thawed:  low for 8 to 10 hours

I am excited to try the new ones and see how the 2 hours in the kitchen and the 1/2 hour of shopping pays off in the long run.  Do any of you guys do freezer meals?  This is new to me, so I want to know how it goes over the course of time.