Gardening, the great adventure A gardener needs a lot of faith…and imagination to get the job done … Read More
For most parents, summer break has begun in all is fantastic fun and chaos. We often have a love-hate relationship with summer break. We love the freedom and opportunities but hate the lack of schedule and how our kids respond to it.
Which is why this topic is incredibly pertinent for all of us right now. Think of an impending disaster situation like a forced summer break when you least expected it. Lucky you!
Your kids will most likely respond the same way they are now; lack of sleep, clinginess, bickering, and boredom. Your everyday life and how you function, entertain, and cope with stress will impact both your summer vacation and how you thrive in a disaster.
Your current lifestyle can hinder or improve your survival and recovery in a disaster. Just as summer break drastically changes your home, a disaster will create massive changes as well. [Read more…]
75 Slow-cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle
Years ago when my family lived outside of Seattle we belonged to a make ahead meal group. We would plan our menu and the organizers would purchase the ingredients for 2 weeks of meals. We would go to their kitchen and bag it all up in meal portions, which would then go into the freezer at home.
I loved having these already made meals handy for stressful days. All I had to do was pop one in the oven and within an hour, we had a home cooked dinner.
We moved away and I’m sorry to say that I did not continue with the practice of preparing simple meals for the freezer.
It’s a shame really. because this craziness happens to all of us. Life get’s in the way of healthy eating and even the most organized cook has days when things do not come together as planned.
We need less stress and more easy cooking ideas. This is why The Make Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas works so well.
This year I have a bumper crop of sweet peppers. So far I’ve harvested 45 fruits from the garden.
What do you do with 40+ sweet peppers?
For the remaining 30 peppers, I’m going to dehydrate them of course. The whole reason for growing them this year was to be able to put some up for after the season.
These sweet, juicy fruits will be a welcome addition to my pantry this winter!
Prepare the sweet peppers for dehydrating
Bell peppers are one of the easiest fruits to preserve by dehydrating. There is no need to blanch them beforehand.
- Thoroughly wash and de-seed each pepper.
- Cut the peppers in half and then into strips.
- Cut the strips into 1/2 inch pieces or larger.
- Lay the pieces in a single layer on dehydrator sheets, it’s okay if they touch.
- Process them at 125-135° until crisp. This will take 12-24 hours, depending on the humidity in your kitchen.
It is surprising how much the pieces shrink during the dehydrating process. Anything smaller than half an inch may fall through the dehydrator trays once they are dry.
Related: Dehydrating Asparagus
Here are the dehydrated sweet peppers ready for storage. 30 fresh peppers became almost 3 cups of dried peppers for my pantry shelf.
They should be stored in a container with a tightfitting lid or sealed in a FoodSaver bag with the air removed.
Dehydrated sweet peppers will last for one year in the pantry.
They can be rehydrated by dropping them directly into whatever you are cooking. You may need to add a bit more water to the process.
I like to add mine to our morning scrambled eggs by placing them into a skillet with enough water to dampen them. Turn the heat on high and cook until the water evaporates. Add your eggs and cook as usual. Homegrown bell peppers are a welcome addition to our food storage.
The best part of all- my plants are growing strong and there will be another crop in just a month or so. Do you dehydrate sweet peppers? Suggest another preservation method for my next batch in the comment section below.
Related: Garden Success & Failure
With store bought soap and dried herbs
It is not necessary to know how to make your own soap while creating this acne fighting bar. Just purchase your favorite brand of plain soap and you are ready to turn them into something special.
I’ve given you recommendations in the supply section below for the 3 soaps that I have given me the best success.
The addition of herbs to this mix really does make all the difference. So, while you could rebatch the soap with plain witch hazel, the addition of Plantain and calendula make it super healthy for you. All three are famous for soothing and repairing skin.
Take a photo tour of my June garden
Welcome to the garden tour, we’re glad you’re here! Most of you may be finishing up your planting and are looking forward to the summer harvest. Here in Central Texas, the garden has been cranked up for a few months and the harvest will come to an end within a month.
That’s Central Texas Zone 8b!
You should know that my garden is a mess!. I’m not going to give you a panoramic view, it’s just too much for one person to do right now. I have all kinds of excuses.
- It has been so wet that I have not been able to keep up on the necessary weeding.
- I work.
- It’s too hot in the evenings.
Ultimately, I’m doing what I can and that’s okay with me. I few weeds don’t bother me and we are still having a terrific harvest. [Read more…]
Candied ginger is one of my favorite treats. It’s sweet and spicy, and a just little piece satisfies my usual afternoon sugar craving. Ginger is very good for you, packing a punch of anti-inflammatory benefits and is known to alleviate indigestion, general nausea, upset tummy, morning sickness, motion sickness, and stomach flu.
I ran out of candied ginger this week and I’m trying my hand at making my own. This post is not about how to candy ginger (I will share that in another post) but what to do with the ginger syrup that is a by-product of making candied ginger.
It is super tasty and too good not to use. I’m looking for ways to use ginger syrup in my future cooking endeavors.
I went to two of my favorite preservation books; Drink the Harvest and Food Swap for syrup making inspiration. (read my reviews in these links) They both have terrific recipes for taking herbs and fruits and turning them into simple syrups that will suit any aspiring cook. [Read more…]
Specialty Recipes for Bartering, Sharing & Giving
What if you could get together with a group of like-minded people, once a month, and share your passion for homemade food. Would you do it? These people love the same things you do: growing, raising, and making food that most people buy. It’s a creative way to share your extra jars of jam, pickles, condiments, eggs, or any other things you can think to create from scratch. It’s a local food swap.
Do you ever get the feeling that great things are happening all around you and you are completely unaware? That’s me and food swaps. I had no idea that they have been happening in almost every major city (and some small towns) since 2010! The mother of food swaps is BK Swappers in Brooklyn NY. Founded by Kate Payne and Megan Paska it is now run by Kane Lerner and Margaret Spring. They put on four events a year and have 35-40 attendees at each event. There is a long waiting list.
After reading about the Philly Food Swappers, author Emily Paster learned there wasn’t a swap near her. Undaunted, she created the Chicago Food Swap in late 2011, as a way to share her obsession with canning, and to share her beautiful homemade creations with people who were equally obsessed. Now she’s sharing what she learned with us. [Read more…]
The foundation for prepared children
As parents, we strive hard to teach good habits to our children, but sometimes we forget to explain the importance and worth of obedience chores and cleanliness to our children. When we help them understand why these habits are important we help them become internalized. So, if you’re not enforcing values with zeal now is the time to start.
Good habits are really just building reflexes to guide your daily living. Just as when the doctor tests our reflexes, and our knee jerks involuntarily; good habits are the knee jerks that enable us to deal with the ups and downs of life without expending extra energy. In a disaster, they can be what save your life or that of your kids.
In a disaster, they can be what save your life or that of your kids. [Read more…]
Moringa was a new addition to my garden last year and I’m continually impressed with its health benefits. I received a root cutting from Blue Yonder Urban Farm at the end of March last year and it has come back as a healthy plant this year. I’m excited to begin using Moringa in my herb garden. Here’s what I found about the benefits of Moringa Oleifera:
- Moringa seeds are high in Oleic acid, the same fatty acid that Olives are known to be high in.
- Other nutrients found in Moringa are; Vitamin C, A, E, B-Complex; Folates, Pyridoxine B-6, Thiamin B-1, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin. Calcium, Selenium, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, and Magnesium.
- Many countries use the seeds, bark, sap, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and flowers in making traditional medicine.
- The leaves are the most widely used parts of this plant. They are edible and contain three times more iron than spinach.
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