Sunday, July 6, 2014

Where did June go...

Where did June go...?

I took the month of June off from work.   I work at a school so most of the school is closed for the entire summer but some of us need to work through the summer too.  :-)  So it is back to work tomorrow for me.

But I had a great time just being at home through June.  I did some cleaning I never seem to have time for through the school year (and yes there is still more I wish I would have gotten done.)  I helped in the garden and the yard,  I even got a camping trip in with the granddaughters.  I think that was the highlight of my time off; six days in the mountains with four little ones is time well spent!

I thought since I have been pretty much absent from blogging I would just share some pictures of June for me.

A day at the fabric store.


Relish - using Tattler Lids


Birthday party
Can you see the teapot in the middle?



Cilantro - Coriander 


Basil


Dill


Honey Crisp Apple


Leaf Lettuce


Second birthday party


Fresh honey straight from the hive that morning



Hiking with my four favorite little girls! 




This was my June in a nut shell.  What a great way to spend the month.
a little bird

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flag Day 237

Happy Flag Day!
Since I was a young girl today has been a special day.  A day to look back over our history and think about this wonderful country.

And now the day is even more special - four years ago today - our sweet granddaughter #3 was born.
Happy Birthday dear Gem.


In the United StatesFlag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.  The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.


For a printable of the above click HERE


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tattler Lid Review

 




Today I finally used some of the Tattler lids I purchased.  They are reusable rubbers and lids.  A bit like stepping back in time.  I thought they were very easy to use.  They have one step that is different from normal lids being that as soon as you pull them from the canner you tighten the lid.
The towel does get wet therefore hot so change the spot you're using on the towel so you don't get burned.  I think I could have used nice rubber gloves too but I didn't have a pair handy...

These lids have been around since the 1979.  They are made in the USA and BPA free.
All of my lids sealed so I'm very pleased with them!!
They do cost more!  A dozen  Tattler lids costs about $10.00 compared to normal canning lids that are about $2.50 a dozen.  But since you use them again and again I think they are worth it.  If you use them four times you have paid the same as normal throw-away lids.  So every use after that is free.



all of the lids are down and sealed
I am really pleased and would recommend them.  I will purchase some more. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

commercials




My #2 son and wife were having a conversation.  And mentioned a commercial.  "What are commercials?This is a question my granddaughters asked my #2 son and wife.  They just looked at each other and laughed.  You see they don't watch TV.  They do have Netflix's so they have access to children's programs or movies.  But they have never watched regular TV.  They had no idea what a commercial was...  I remember when my boys were young and they found out when we were children TV was black and white, there was no such thing as a micro wave, VCR, home computer, cell phone, and the list goes on and on.  They looked at us like we were relics.  :-)    It seems they too have joined the 'relic' group.  Welcome, kids it's not a bad group to join at all.  Love Mom
a little bird

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tea Party


Do you love a tea party?  I sure do!

I have experienced High Tea twice.  Once at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. and once at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, CA.  Both were wonderful!  They were special events, memory makers.

Well that started a love of tea parties.  I love High Tea - Low Tea or just plain tea and biscuits.

We have fun tea parties at home too.  We dress in our finery, pull out the collection of fine bone china tea cups, no they don't match, they are an eclectic mix that I love.
We set the table with all the fun stuff.
The first course is fruit, the second little sandwiches 
(cucumber, egg salad, peanut butter and jelly for the little girls since that is their favorite, etc)
the third course is an array of wonderful confections.
You can certainly have more courses - you can easily add in a cheese course.
And throughout you offer wonderful tea.
I do cheat a bit and also make a pot of hot chocolate in case the girls would prefer that. 
Its really all about the fun.  Getting together, making memories, and having a special table set just for them.

Below are some additional pictures of fun tea parties.
Summer is a great time to have a tea party outside - a garden party...








Have a great spring day - hope you have a lovely cup of tea too.
a little bird







Monday, May 26, 2014

Chamomile


Starting to harvest our chamomile.
This is a great to dry for tea.  It actually has anti-inflammatory properties.  So if your achy or wanting to calm down in the evening this is a great tea.  

It's also good if you are fighting a cold.
We like to grow and dry it.  I have purchased chamomile tea at the store and was very disappointed...  There just wasn't much flavor at all.  Home grown is full of flavor and a lovely yellow color.

Image courtesy: Thinkstock/ Gettyimages
To harvest pick the flower heads off.  That's all.  The plant will re-flower and continue to pick off the flower heads throughout the summer.  When it gets close to fall let the flowers go and they will reseed the plant for next year.  I lay the flower heads on a paper towel on the kitchen counter out of direct sunlight. They dry very nicely.  Then I like to vacuum seal them in small jars for storage.  It keeps the tea wonderful and fresh.  Do make sure the flowers are completely dry or they could mold in your jars.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A bit more putting by and some Rhubarb Shrub

More spring onions, chives, cilantro and rhubarb went into the freezer.  The rhubarb is beautiful!



eight quarts for the freezer


Rhubarb Shrub 
Isn't this just a beautiful color.  Appealing to the eye and the taste buds.

1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup apple cider vinegar (make sure it's the real stuff not just flavored)
2/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar.
Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 days.
Place in fridge and allow to age for  7-14 days until the shrub achieves the taste you want.  
Strain out the fruit.  Keep the shrub in the fridge to mix with sparkling water, ice water, or straight up over ice.  I tasted ours today (day two) and it is wonderful!!!  

Shrubs, also called drinking vinegar's, are restorative drinks from the Colonial days predating soda pops and sports drinks. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days. A proper shrub has a flavor that's both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Home Canner



Mrs. Hansen, a farmer's wife in Utah, is seen with her store of home-grown, home-preserved fruits and vegetables. This photo was taken in 1940 - an era in which housewives would can 500 quarts a year to feed their families during the winter.





1930's - 1940's women put-by in large amounts for their families. 

I really enjoy vintage canning books and photos.
Just thought I would share a few with you in case you too enjoy them.
a little bird



Sunday, April 27, 2014

And so begins the 2014 harvest

Here it is April and it is time to start harvesting produce.  What a wonderful blessing!!

The chives are coming up full force as well as the spring onions (ours are known as Egyptian Walking Onions).

The rhubarb is up as well.  I harvested some of that last weekend for a strawberry rhubarb crisp. I will continue to harvest that every two weeks or so through the spring.

As well as the chives and onions.



Chives washed and chopped.  They freeze wonderfully or can be dried as well.
This first bit is going into the freezer.  They are wonderful tossed in with scrambled eggs or a quiche,  great for topping a pizza, or in a salad, etc.




These are some of the onions.  I always leave some as they grow bulbs on the top and then the bulb grows heavy and falls to the ground reseeding itself. 
They are great tossed in soup or any where you would use onions.  These too are going to be frozen.



I use the entire onion.

DH has  much of the garden planted.  At least the cold  hardy items. Kale, beets, cabbage, garlic, lettuce... I know there's more but he's the planter I the preserver.
Makes for a good team.

Here are some pictures of the walking onions.  You can see how they get heavy fall over and reseed.  I also break the bulbs off and plant them where I want them to stay.




Happy Harvest!
a little bird




Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cook and Bake Day

A day of cook and bake today.  It seems lately that we have been on the run.  Nothing that I can pin down and say we did this or that, just running...  Well today is a day at home.  YEAH!!

So I whipped through the house with a dust cloth and vacuum - after cleaning like crazy last weekend for Easter I think that'll do.

So time to play in the kitchen.  Turkey soup from frozen leftovers from Easter.  DH asked for homemade noodles in the soup.

Homemade Noodles
mix:
1.5 cups flour
1.5 teaspoon salt
Make well and add
2 eggs, slightly beaten
a glug of milk (I don't measure)
mix together and let it set for five minutes or so.

Roll out on a floured surface - roll thin
let set for 20 minutes

roll up loosely and cut in 1/2 inch slices


roll out and let dry for two hours.  I turn them at an hour.


Break into 4 to 6 inch lengths and cook in your soup for 10 minutes.

My Grandmother used a bit of water not milk.  Either works great.

While those were drying I thought I better stir up some more granola.  There are tons of great recipes mine is just a variation of Alton Brown's.  I like to add more nuts and dried fruit and of course I use honey instead of maple syrup.  Just our preference.  And I triple the recipe, if I'm getting all the stuff out I want to make enough to last a couple weeks.



While that was baking I thought I'd bake a pie.  I told DH I need to make a pie just to make sure I still know how.  He is careful about what he eats, tries to stay away from sweets.  But he gave me the thumbs up on the pie.  So a plum apricot pie was rolled out and popped in the oven.


Plum and apricot go well together.  I have mixed them for a crisp as well as pie.  The fruit is some that we put-by in the freezer last year.  With the fruit I mixed a bit of sugar, about 1/2 cup, about 1/3 cup flour, and some cinnamon.  Put this in to my pie shell and baked at 400 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.  Till golden brown and bubbly.

So that has been my cook and bake day.  Now it's time to drop those dried noodles into that turkey soup.
Happy cook and bake to your house as well.
a little bird





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