Update: House-Wife's Log, star date May 8, 2012
A rainy, damp spring day has me thinking that it's time to get some soup back onto the shelves. Last week I rummaged around in the freezer and found a huge bag of meaty venison bones that I had saved from my husband's last conquest.
I made vension stock, cut up the meat and today I opened a three pound bag of frozen mixed veggies and cut up 4 pounds of potatoes. I even skipped the step of cooking the onion and celery first.
Homecanned soup is one of the MOST economical things I do for our house. Last time I priced out soup, anything even close to what I make is upwards to $3.00+ a can.
My soup, in total, cost me about $8.00 in materials for 7 jars of soup (that's four cups of soup per jar), and about an hour total of my time.
Enjoy your rainy day!
It's been too long since I've filled the pantry shelves with my husband's favorite fast food: homemade soup. When Trey and I woke up this morning, the sky was overcast and air was cool. A perfect early autumn morning.
Now that the soup is made and the canning process completed, the sun has come out.
I realize that by all rights, this recipe should be on the kitchen pages, but this is one of those crossover entries - when day-to-day IS about food.
Even if you simply make this soup for dinner, you can use this nifty Conversion Calculator to break it down into the amount you need.
This recipe originates from a cookbook that Rebekah (my Amish girlfriend) gave to me as a gift. You'll find this cookbook in most Amish kitchens in our area. 'Centre County, Amish Cooking' is its name. If you want a copy for yourself, you can contact the bookseller at:
Brookside Bookstore & Bindery, Millersburg, PA 717.692.4759
I checked on Amazon - this book is available, but at an unreasonably inflated price. It retails around here for about $11.00, so keep that in mind if you find it for $20.00 plus shipping.
The trick with using canning recipes in Amish cookbooks is that you need to read between the lines. The cooks that submit recipes make many assumptions. I learned this the hard way, by burning things and not preparing food correctly.
Today I am using the recipe for vegetable soup. The recipe indicates that it will make 80 quarts of soup. I really don't want 80 quarts. So here is my version, cut down to a more manageable 12 quarts.
(makes 12 quarts)
3 quarts water or beef broth (omit bullion)
1 quart homemade V8 juice*
1/4 cup beef broth bullion*
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Combine these ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a slow simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2 lbs ground beef (or venison), browned
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
6 cups diced, skinned, potatoes
1/2 lb beans (kidney, navy etc), soaked overnight, then boiled for 30 minutes and drained
2 lbs mixed vegetables (I used a store-bought bag of vegetables, otherwise, use what you have on hand to equal this amount.)
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes (or equal amount of skinned, seeded fresh tomatoes)
Cook the onions and celery in olive oil until just soft. Mix the meat and the onions/celery, then add the remaining ingredients. In a large pot or mixing bowl, gently blend the meat and vegetables.
You are NOT going to cook the soup before you can it. If you do, it will be overcooked and mushy.
In properly prepared (sanitized) quart jars, divide the meat/veggie mixture into each jar, about two cups per jar. If you have more left over, divide it as evenly as you can. A canning funnel will make this job fast and neat.
Pour your hot broth into each jar, to about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rim then adjust your lids and bands. Process in a pressure canner at 10lbs pressure for 90 minutes.
If you run out of broth, just make another 1/2 batch. You will want to taste the broth and make any personal adjustments to reflect your family's tastes. If Trey weren't going to be eating this, I would make it spicier, but for now, we keep it simple for his toddler palate.
*If you use straight tomato juice instead of V8 juice, taste the broth, you'll probably need more salt and spices.
*A note about beef broth. If I had nothing else to do (who snickered?), I would make my beef broth, keep it in the freezer and use it in my homemade soups. But between you and me, I just don't have the time. The other factor in my decision is that my husband prefers the taste of the soup with the bullion. And since my main goal is to get good food into him, I respect his request. Yes, it's not the most healthy option, but there are plenty of organic, low-sodium, minimal ingredient options out there. Just sayin'...
And that's what was happening this morning at our house!
Last month I received the neatest pictures on my facebook homepage. When I saw this project I knew I had to share it with you.
MaryKay Duke is a friend of a friend - a pastor's wife and mother. Her oldest child is off to university this year, and they were looking for a fun project to do together.
Our daughter Elle is getting ready to head off for her first year at George Fox University. She will be studying Elementary Education with an emphasis on Special Education. She is our first to leave the nest-- Ken and I are so very excited for her and at the same time it is so very hard to let her go.
Elle and I were searching the internet trying to find some creative ideas for dorm rooms. We read about replacing the drab dorm desk chair with a vintage chair to give the room a personal touch. Elle really liked that idea so we ventured out in to our little town of Coquille (population 4,275).
Coquille is located in Southwestern Oregon, seventeen miles from the coast. We have lived here coming up on five years. We moved from the big city to this small valley town in the middle of a forest; 75 miles from any major interstate highway and two and a half hours to a decent mall. It is the most beautiful place we have ever lived! The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts when He moved us here. But that is an entirely different story. (Rosalyn: What?! That's all we get?! I want to hear the rest of THAT story too. Sounds like a second guest-post to me... *smile*)
Our first stop was the Uptown Emporium, a quaint store full of treasures. Proprietor Marci McCune asked us if we were looking for anything in particular…We told her what we were hunting for, and she said, “Come with me!”
She took us upstairs to the mezzanine (balcony) of her store where she had rows upon rows of chairs. One darling little chair stood out, leg askew, brimming with potential. "Ten dollars," Marcie said. “Sold!" Elle and I grinned at each other.
Chair loaded, on we drove to the big city of Coos Bay (population 16,000). Wal-Mart for paint ($12), JoAnn’s for fabric ($5.99), and to Ross, where we found adorable peel & stick decals ($10.99) on their dorm room display. Elle will be using the majority of these on the walls of her dorm room.
Elated, and just a little exhausted from our day out on the town, we delivered the chair to Dad. He promptly fixed the broken leg, and our project began!
We covered the seat with the vintage looking fabric and painted the chair. Four hours later after the chair was dry, we put it all together and we were so excited with our finished project.
The best part of this project is that we did it together, had fun and made memories. Now when Elle is away at college sitting in that chair doing school work, hopefully she will feel a little piece of home with her.
Ken & MaryKay Duke pastor at the Coquille First Assembly of God Church. The Lord moved them from Dayton, Ohio to Coquille, Oregon in 2006.
~Thank you, MaryKay and Elle, for the beautiful story and for sharing your beautiful chair project! I've suggested some similar items for those of you who are interested in completing this project yourself.
If you do makeover your own chair, please send pictures to the rest of us on the facebook page: RosalynPricEnglish.com
As an aside, you might try signing up for your local FreeCycle group, and see if you can't find a chair and other materials for free.
July is in full swing, and the gardens are looking fabulous.
I'm grateful for a deep well - with the heat and no rain, we certainly would have lost our plants if I didn't water a few nights a week.
Don't these brussel sprouts look fantastic?! I can't wait to get them into the freezer and enjoy them roasted with olive oil this winter...
Lucky for me, I'm the only one that likes them.
As I talked about in the devotional this week, I'm not only enjoying the gardens this year, but I have had more success than any year past.
Yellow Crookneck Squash
Just this morning I took Trey out to the garden with me (always an experience) and picked a dozen tiny yellow squash and cucumbers to make a jar of baby dills.
I picked a dozen or so large yellow squash as well, and this weekend, when I take a group over to my favorite Amish produce stand during our Food Tour , I'll pick up some red sweet peppers to whip up a batch of summer squash relish to can.
Stay tuned for that recipe, complete with pictures. It's my mother-in-law's recipe, and Mom English has been canning for a gazillion years, so I can promise, it's a winner.
Don't Tom's cabbages look amazing? He finally told me his secret last night.
When he was ready to transplant the seedlings, he dug out the row and covered the bottom with horse manure from the field.
When the cabbage roots reached the manure, it gave them the extra oomph they needed. Plus, the manure holds moisture better than our clay soil.
Oh, and he placed a thick layer of grass mulch around them.
Storage is the name of the game. Winter squash that can be stored are one of my secrets to keeping food costs down in the winter. These acorn squash will get a bit bigger than softballs and make a tasty meal filled with sausage stuffing...
They're also tasty filled with butter, brown sugar and apple pieces...
This is me being all optimistic. I purchased some small cantaloupe seedlings a bit late and planted them in composted horse manure in their own raised bed.
It's awfully late in the season, but who knows, if I put some clear plastic over them, I may just be picking cantaloupe this September. Stay tuned...
CookBook Store, Freetown, Massachusetts
I was almost tempted to entitle this: What I did on my Summer Vacation.
Okay, seriously, I ducked into some super cool places during our vacation. First of which is by far the BEST bookstore I've ever visited. Chuck Williams of Eagle Trading Company knows his food and how to cook it. Chuck grew up in the deep South of Georgia. His childhood chicken-butchering memories run so deep he still won't eat chicken.
This is what heaven looks like. I'm sure of it.
I sat in his shop and we talked food, self-sufficiency, canning, fermenting, butchering and even a bit of faith.
I was delighted to find a 1936 Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook. My husband was delighted that I used the book to bake a Shoofly Pie (Stay tuned, I'll do it one week on the kitchen page.)
Chuck Williams, Eagle Trading Company
My mother loves to call Chuck and have him track down impossible-to-find cookbooks. I enjoyed his wealth of knowledge and gentlemanly way. If you are looking for a rare, hard-to-find, or international cookbook, Chuck is your man.
No, I can't give you a website, but trust me, you'll enjoy talking to him.
Tell him Rosalyn sent you, and that she's looking forward to his visit during butchering this fall...
Eagle Trading Company, Assonet Village, Assonet, MA
Old trucks and farm roads. Love 'em. When I was a child, my dad had a truck a lot like this one, but it was green. I loved watching the
big boys ride on the step side, hanging on, all tough and well-balanced. My dad bought a new truck before I had a chance to ride on the step. Tragedy.
When we head to the farm, there is a point where we turn off the paved roads onto a dirt and gravel farm road.
Trey loves this part of our drive. He immediately asks me, "Can I come up front?" If I hesitate, he is quick to remind me, "The policeman won't mind." When we're at the farm, we drive farm-style. Our dirt roads and around-the-field farmtracks, are every child's dream. No seat belts, no car seats.
I taught my best friend's daughter to drive on the farmtracks in our pickup truck. She did a great job. She learned to turn before she hit the steep bank of the corn field. She mastered stopping for traffic, err, cows.
She even picked up some speed going up the steep hill. Our hair was whipping around, we were going 25 miles per hour!
I love that there is space in our life to suspend the rules of the road. There's something nostalgic about it. I look back at the times in my childhood when my parents shook free of our day-to-day rules with affection and appreciation.
Hope you have a place in your life where you can let loose and ride on the step. Or unclip your seat belt. Or let your child sit in your lap.
Just look out for cows.
I'm always excited when the amish-owned produce stands open for the season. This farm, located in Loganton, Pennsylvania, is home to three families. They have a beauiful new produce stand (on the right, where the truck is parked) where they sell produce from their gardens. On this visit I bought a half bushel of shell peas.
I love peas, and two years ago I shelled a bushel. After blanching and freezing the peas, we eat them all winter. Last year I had to buy peas at a local grocery store.
Kauffmans' Produce & Farm, Loganton, PA
So I'm doing them again this year. I planted some this spring, but realized after they came up that I had planted the snow peas. So I'll try to get more in the ground for this fall.
Tonight though, I saved some peas and we're having home grown chicken with homemade cream of celery soup gravy, fresh peas, sauteed yellow squash and egg noodles.
I feel very Amish.
Tom loves tractors.
If my soul rests when I'm in the saddle, riding a good horse, or writing, Tom's soul rests when he's on a tractor.
I love that Tom is a tractor and pickup truck kinda guy. There is something so...
Okay, so I do think his tractor is sexy. There, I said it. I hope you don't think any less of me. I love the manly-ness of it all.
Yeah, I know that's corny. But speaking of corn, our fields are up about two feet now...
In honor of Father's Day last weekend, I wanted to share Tom's passion...
"I'm calling to tell you about a huge community yard sale!" My sister said excitedly. I looked down at Trey and thought, 'Uh, yeah, NOT going to happen.'
"It's so good, " she went on, "that I'll take Trey for you so you can go."
And that was how I ended up in the car with my mother in law as we filled the car with bargains.
After two hours of successful negotiations, I thought - 'Wow, I'm on to something!'
5 Tips for Successful Yard Sale Negotiation
We try to raise as much food as we can here at the homestead. In addition to the hens, the meat chickens, ducks, lambs and rabbits, we also have a number of gardens.
I plant the gardens around the house in a mixture of ornamental and edibles. When we first moved in, I bought a few truckloads of composted cow manure to fill in around the house. Our plants get huge, that's for sure... Take a look:
My kitchen garden. Two different cold frame sections - the kale and lettuce in the middle was planted back in March. It's perpetual - I cut it and it grows back.
In the foreground there are pepper plants. I put those in a bit early, but moved the salad cold frame onto them so they had a nice head start.
In the background are some sunflowers, my lavender, more sweet pepper plants and some volunteer dill...
The brassica bed. Red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and a zucchini.
These beds are mulched with a thick layer of composted horse manure/shavings. Keeps the ground wet and cool.
I did add an odd petunia for a splash of color...
Okay, before you make nasty comments about the lawn, the mower was broken and Tom fixed it. So the lawn doesn't look quite this ratty anymore. But here is an edible/decorative garden - cabbage and zucchini mixed in with day lilies and hollyhocks.
"Kathy and Denny are coming over for dinner!"
Eyebrow raised, Tom turned to look at me. "And where," he asked, "are we going to sit?"
"I have a plan!" I insisted. "I just need you to..."
And so goes most of my great ideas. I have plan, and Tom has the muscle. In this case though, I think it turned out pretty nice...
With a little more creative decorating, a sturdy straw table took shape. Our first chicken BBQ at our new little camper, eating chicken we raised here at the homestead, was a huge success.