Winter is Coming… Preparing your Pantry

The purpose of home canning and meal prepping is to prepare for times when fruits and vegetables and meats are not as abundant naturally.  When an item is in season, it is more abundant and less expensive, this is the time to prepare for winter, especially when you live in the northern and Midwest areas.  Winter can be harsh.  We believe in canning what is in season, naturally, to help with budget costs, health benefits and being more ‘God sufficient’ than man sufficient.  The other side point to preparing and budgeting your food storage is to better understand what a REAL portion of food is.  America has gotten really bad at ‘super sizing’ and over convenience everything.  We’ve gotten into the mindset of “getting our money’s worth” instead of planning and looking at what our body needs.  The sugar and preservative addictions are just as bad as the “bad addictions”.  Look at the rise of obesity, health issues, enabling etc.  If we are stressed, we head strait for the candy jar, if a child is crying we hand them a sweet treat.  I could go on and on about this subject, because I myself suffer from stress eating and weight issues.  I come from a long line of Southern Cooks.  I love my butter, gravy and I melt with Shrimp and Grits.  Which is all fine, IN MODERATION.

But, back to preparing your pantry.  Each year it is essential to take stock of what your family will need for the upcoming year until the next season arrives with more goodies.  Also knowing crop rotation years help too.  One year may be a great corn year, the next nothing.

Now the big thing I want you to really take notice of is the PORTION of each item.  If we ate this way, I’m willing to bet, the weight loss programs out there would loose a lot of money and we would have more in our savings!

The Canner’s Pantry Planner:
Food Times/Week Serving Jars/Person Jars/Family(4)
Meats, Poultry, Fish 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 36 Pints 144 Pints
Soups 2x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Jams, Jellies, Preserves 6x week, 52 weeks 2 tablespoons 40 1/2 pints 160 1/2 pints
Relishes 3x week, 52 weeks 1 tablespoon 5 pints 20 pints
Greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Pickled vegetables 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons 13 pints 52 pints
Juices and Tomatoes 7x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 63 quarts 252 quarts
All Other Fruits and Vegetables 14x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 76 quarts 304 quarts
Pickled Fruits, Pickled Eggs 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons/ 1 egg 13 quarts 52 quarts

Did you slightly freak out over the portions? Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Here is the thing I have discovered, when you utilize the mentality of using what you have on hand, you waste less, you eat less, and you have that pride of providing. It’s amazing how the world’s perspectives dissolve when you start living like this.

There are other items to consider as well, the meat covers what you should have in your freezer as well as canning, but there are dry goods to consider:  Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda/powder, yeast, dried beans, rice, powders.  Then your wet goods such as honey, syrups, molasses.  Also your perishables, eggs & milk.  There is also cellar storage to consider, potatoes, sweet potatoes, hard squash, apples.  But all in all the portions stay the same.  Now my favorite:  Cheeses.  I love real cheese, love it!  But a portion is only 2 ounces.  That’s the size of 2 dice.

I credit the knowledge of this from my Grandma Inez and my go to book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery.

So learn to enjoy and appreciate what you have and you will find that your body and your savings will thank you!

Enjoy and let me know of your thoughts.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

IMG_20170819_081831646

 

Canning Basics

With the gardens being in full swing now that we reach the beginning of August, it is a very, very busy place here in the Rice household.  Nothing and I do mean NOTHING goes to waste.  God is truly blessing us this year with a bounty of fruits, berries and vegetables!

I have been receiving a lot of questions about times and what can be water bath canned and what has to be pressure canned.  So, I decided to lay it out simply here.  My two tried and true resources are my Grandma and Mom of course and my absolutely favorite resource book.  The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.  When my husband and I first started to become close, we discovered we had the exact same book.  We truly are two peas in a pod.  But anyway, here are the outlines for Canning.

Water Bath Canning (think fruits and pickles) The times and sizes are for after reaching a full boil in your canner.

  • Apples  Pints 20 min.  Quarts 20 min.
  • Applesauce  Pints 20 min. Quarts 20 min.
  • Apricots   Pints 25 min.  Quarts 30 min.
  • Berries    Pints 15 min.    Quarts 20 min.
  • Cherries (pitted)  Pints 25 min.  Quarts 25 min.
  • Cranberries    Pints 15 min.   Quarts 15 min.
  • Currants         Pints 15 min.   Quarts 15 min.
  • Figs                  Pints 45 min.   Quarts 50 Min.
  • Fruit Juices    Pints 5 min.       Quarts 10 min.
  • Peaches          Pints 25 min.     Quarts 30 min.
  • Pears             Pints 25 min.     Quarts 30 min.
  • Plums            Pints 10 min.      Quarts 10 min.
  • Preserves      Pints 20 min.       Quarts 20 min.
  • Rhubarb        Pints  10 min.       Quarts 10 min.
  • Strawberries  Pints 15 min .       Quarts 15 min.  (Better frozen)
  • Tomatoes (yes tomatoes are a fruit) (you must add citric acid or lemon juice! To water bath tomatoes!!!!! More to come) Pints 35 min.   Quarts 45 min.
  • Tomato Juice Pints 35 min.      Quarts 40 Minutes.

These are the times for Ohio, if you live in a higher altitude location it can range from 5 – 15 minutes additional.  Check your local agriculture site.

Now comes the fun one!  PRESSURE CANNING.

Please learn how to use a Pressure Canner and maintenance and check it well before you use.  They can be dangerous.  You will be canning at 11 lbs of pressure but you want to check for the altitude adjustments for you area.The vegetables listed here are for NON PICKLED.  Canning pickles is another category for another time.

  • Meats        Pints 75 min        Quarts 90 min
  • Fish            Pints 100 min      Quarts 100 min
  • Asparagus Pints 30 min        Quarts 40 min
  • Beans (snap, wax, green, yellow, purple) Pints 20 min  Quarts 25 min
  • Beans, Lima   Pints 40 min     Quarts 50 minutes
  • Beets             Pints 30 min      Quarts 35 minutes
  • Broccoli        Pints 25 min      Quarts 40 min (better frozen)
  • Brussels Sprouts  Pints 45 min  Quarts 55 min (better frozen)
  • Cabbage         Pints 45 min    Quarts   55 min
  • Carrots        Pints 25 min         Quarts 30 min
  • Cauliflower   Pints 25 min        Quarts 40 min
  • Corn             Pints   55 min.         Quarts 85 min
  • Greens          Pints 70 min           Quarts 90 min
  • Hominy        Pints 60 min           Quarts 70 min
  • Mushrooms   Pints 45 min        QUARTS NO NO NO!
  • Okra             Pints 25 min            Quarts 40 min (Better frozen)
  • Onions         Pints 40 min              Quarts 40 min
  • Parsnips      Pints 20 min            Quarts 25 min
  • Peas              Pints 40 min            Quarts 40 min  (much better frozen)
  • Peppers, green  Pints 35 min     Quarts 35 min
  • Peppers, hot     Pints 35 min        Quarts 35 min
  • Potatoes NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
  • Pumpkin (in chunks not pureed)  Pints 55 min  Quarts 90 min.
  • Rutabagas    Pints 35 min         Quarts  35 min.
  • Squash, winter (in chunks not pureed)  Pints 55 min   Quarts 90 minutes.
  • Turnips      Pints 20 min.            Quarts 25 min.

So those are the times for the sizes of what I do most.  If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email and I will get back to you.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

 

Budgeting 101: An Honorable Responsibility

All members of a household hold a responsibility to be financially reliable.  But for a wife, it is crucial. One of my very favorite scriptures is Proverbs 31:10-31 and it lays it out very clear on what we are to do as the woman of the household.

FB_IMG_1501016619130

Proverbs 31:10-31New International Version (NIV)
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What does this have to do with budgeting?  Well, it pretty much puts it right there in black and white, we are to manage our households.  Not by wasting, being lazy, nagging, passing blame or wasting away funds on frivolous things, or adorning ourselves in the latest of fashions.

This is a pretty big responsibility over all, if you think about it.  The world tells us all these pretty little lies to get us to spend when in reality, we are to be mindful and manage wisely.  Our beauty comes from within and from honest work and care and wisdom.

Here are some things to be aware of and put into practice:

  • Think first, never impulsively.  Is the item a Want or is it a Need?
  • If it is a need, what is the priority?  Be honest, talk about it with your spouse or accountability partner.
  • Save that change.  I use an old coffee can that I throw my pennies and change in, it does add up!  (Plus I use it for weekly egg money to pick up our fresh eggs.)
  • Plan your meals!!!!  It really doesn’t take long, meal prepping will become a habit in no time.
    • Plan at least 2 weeks in advance work your way up to a month at a time.
    • Cut down on quick runs to the grocery store.
    • Meal Prep
  • Buy in bulk in season and learn to freeze, can and dry food.
  • USE COUPONS!  Now days it’s fairly easy to use apps on your phones.  My favorite is ibotta!
    • Go to https://ibotta.com/
    • Download the app for your phone.
    • Feel free to use my referral code: phjhroe
    • Earn cash that you can put in your account from coupons, and shopping you have to do.
  • Resale!  Whether buying or downsizing!  Use the MarketPlace app on Facebook or go to your local resale shop!
  • Plan a No Spend Month!  I will be writing more on this in the future.
  • Choose to fix meals at home instead of eating at restaurants or fast food.  Your body and your wallet will thank you!
  • You don’t need a gym!!! Find activities that keep you active that you enjoy! Walk, bike, fish, garden… you get the idea.
  • Buy Local and find your local farmer’s markets.  You are helping them, they are helping you.
  • Use your talents to bring in extra money.  I love etsy.com!  Do you cook? Crochet? Knit? Sew? Write? Garden?
  • Cut the cable cord!  There are many ways you can spend your time without the TV, but if you do need it, antennas and internet can fill that void.  In the meantime, enjoy a board game with your spouse and or kids.
  • Make it a goal to be “God Sufficient”.  Meaning, don’t put the priorities of the world before the priorities of the Lord.
  • Most of all, pass these down to your children and your children’s children.  Give them the wisdom of how to budget and be responsible to avoid the pitfalls of being foolish.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Meal-Prepping: Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

The month of July has been a very busy month.  Our class unfortunately was cancelled due to everyones schedules. But I wanted to make sure these very simple and yummy recipes got in your hands.

The same ingredients can be used for both the chicken or the eggplant parmesan. Substitute one for the other.

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 frozen lg boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 medium eggplant sliced thick.
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh basil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (OR 2 cups of rice krispies)
  •  1 gallon bag
  •   1 quart bags

Directions:

  1. Write the name of your recipe on the gallon bag as well as cook 8 hrs low.
  2. On the small bag write ‘Toppings’.
  3. Put your bread crumbs or crushed rice crispies in the small bag, add your Parmesan cheese and squish it through. If you want mozzarella cheese add it in this bag as well.
  4. Seal pushing out all air and set aside.
  5. Put your frozen chicken 🐔 or sliced eggplant in the big bag.
  6. I also will sprinkle fruit fresh or a little lemon juice on the eggplant to prevent Browning.
  7. Now add in your basil, garlic, pepper, olive oil and tomatoes over your chicken.
  8. Carefully add your topping bag on top.
  9. Seal pushing out the air.
  10. Put in the freezer.

Day before cooking, that in the refrigerator.

Day of cooking. 

  1. Carefully remove topping bag, set aside.
  2. Dump contents of the large bag into your Crock-Pot. I use my casserole Crock-Pot for this recipe.
  3. Evenly spread everything out.
  4. Sprinkle the contents of the topping bag over top.
  5. Cook on low for 7-8 hrs.
  6. NOTE: You can also wait to put your toppings on about an hour before serving.
  7. Serve over pasta if you like.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Meal-Prepping: Maple Glazed Chicken

Crock-Pot cooking and meal prepping doesn’t need to be tedious and boring.  The idea is to plan ahead so you can enjoy meal time.  Here is a very quick and delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of Dijon or Spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 Cup of REAL Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic thin sliced
  • 1 gallon freezer bag

Directions:

  1. Write on the bag Maple Glazed Chicken with your date. Also write 8 hours low.
  2. Put your frozen chicken 🐔in your bag.
  3. Add in all of your ingredients and squish the bag to cover the chicken.
  4. Seal bag pushing out as much air as possible.

Day before cooking that in the refrigerator.

Day of cooking put contents of the bag in your Crock-Pot.  I use my shallow casserole Crock-Pot for this recipe.  Cook for 8 hours on low.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

The Best Spicy Pickled Eggs

The Very BEST Spicy Pickled Eggs

IMG_20170709_150659163

By now you know that here at the Rice household, we love a little kick to our foods, from my husband’s homemade hot sauces, to our home made jams to our food in general.

A treat from our childhood is Pickled Eggs!  Yup, it may sound weird but I bet y’all have seen them in bars, stores, country places.  There are Beet Eggs (pink/purple), mustard eggs (yellow), Cider Vinegar eggs (kind of a cider color), but my favorite are SPICY PICKLED EGGS.  Yum!  Please note that the picture you see here, has already been opened and enjoyed… It barely made the 3 week mark.

Here is my recipe, and yes, this is a water bath canning recipe.  If y’all don’t want to mess with the water bath canning then stick them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks before digging into them.  Canning them lets you keep them in the pantry until you are ready to dig in!

Ingredients (for a one gallon batch):

  • A bunch of hard boiled (solid) eggs.  Since I like to can in gallon jars, I make about two dozen.   Make sure your hard boiled eggs are not “split” and that the yokes are solid, they can not be soft or runny.
  • Quart or Gallon canning jar
  • 1/4 cup of sriracha sauce
  • 4 whole cloves (crushed) garlic
  • Peppers.  I used 2 Roasted Mexican Hatch, 1 red habanero and 2 green habaneros oh and a red jalapeno I had on hand. Chopped but not so fine that they disappear.  I like big pieces.
  • White Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Like I stated above, make sure your hard boiled eggs are firm all the way through.  Do not use squishy or one minute eggs, this would be very, very bad.
  2. Take your sterilized jar/jars and in the bottom, put your peppers, your crushed whole garlic, and your sriracha sauce.
  3. Now put in your hard boiled eggs (yes the shells off and rinse them).
  4. Place them in the jar until it fills about 1 1/2 inches from the top but don’t squish them down, let them lay naturally on top of each other.
  5. Now fill the jar up with the vinegar until you have your eggs covered and it should be 1/2 an inch form the top.
  6. Wipe of the jar rim and place your lid and ring on TIGHT.
  7. Now if you are not wanting to can them, put them in the refrigerator and AVOID the urge to break into them before the 3 week mark.  The longer they sit, the better they are.
  8. But If you have lots of eggs (gotta love it when the hens are working overtime) you will want to water bath can.
  9. Get your canner with enough water to cover the lid by 1 inch of water.  Make sure it won’t spill out when boiling.  Because of this you may want to use quart jars.
  10. Lower your jars in the water bath canner and put the lid on.
  11. Once your canner comes to a rolling boil, start timing.
  12. Quarts need 20 minutes of a water bath, gallons need 30 minutes.
  13. When the time is up, very gently remove your jars from the canner and place somewhere where they won’t be disturbed for 24 hours.
  14. The pops mean you have a good seal.
  15. Anything that hasn’t sealed put in the refrigerator and those will be the first you eat.
  16. After 24 hours, you can move your jars to your pantry until you are ready to dig in and enjoy!
  17. Once the jar is opened, I always put them in the refrigerator, but trust me they really don’t last long because they get eaten up pretty fast.

IMG_20170709_150659163

I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know how you like it.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Rice!

 

A Little Garden

The one thing I miss more than anything is having a huge garden and living in the country.  But really, you don’t need acres of land to enjoy home grown produce.  And for newbies, its super easy!

You know those pallets that are thrown out or you may even have stacked up somewhere?  These are great for little box gardens and can be used in the smallest of places.

On the open sides, you will want to tack in some wood to keep the dirt from spilling out. But other than that no building skills are necessary.   Place the pallet where you want it to stay, preferably over other dirt, lots of sun please.  Fill it with good dirt (maybe a few earth worms to help).  Now brush of the mess off the “Top” of the pallets.  plant your seeds and add your markers.  Water and care for and yes you may even have to pull out a few weeds, but that’s about it.

 

palletgarden

Then enjoy the earth’s bounty!  This is really great for radishes, lettuce, peppers, spinach, herbs, eggplant, pretty much anything that doesn’t vine or need support.

 

 

Let me know what you think and enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Popsicle Drip Catchers

Don’t you just love summer!  And the best part is when you give the kids treats they get to take them outside to enjoy them!  However, it also means that the kidlets will come back inside covered in ice cream and Popsicle more than usually what they got inside of them.

There are many gadgets on the market, but why spend extra money when all you need is two cupcake cups.  Yup, two cupcake cups.

Simple stack them into each other, and put a tiny little slit in the middle and slip the popsicle/icecream treat stick through the cut.  Just like that you have a really cool (ha ha pun intended) mess prevention tool!

popsicle

Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Clean up time!

Have you noticed in today’s world we attempt to surround ourselves with THINGS to TRY to make us happy?  Then all of those things actually add to our frustration and stress level because we have to upkeep, replace, fix or find room to store them… which means more money because we have more things.   We need a bigger house to put more things in it, and then we need more things to put in the bigger house.  Then we become more stressed because the things we thought would make us happy are now stressing us out because we have less money to take care of everything we need to take care of.

So first, I’m going to suggest to you a wonderful program to take, its called Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.  Look it up.  It will guide you to debt recovery without loans and how to simplify your life.  What I like best about it is this:  IT’S SIMPLE COMMON SENSE!  Nothing extreme, well it may see extreme to begin with, and lessons my own grandparents handed down to me.  In short, if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it!

But what about if you are starting out?  What if you have that room, basement, closet or garage that has become a nightmare of junk storage?  Well, you actually have an opportunity to benefit from all that junk.  Take a deep breath and take a cleaning day and sort three “piles”:  Keep (this is your smallest pile); Donate and Sell.   Some of your Sell items may move into your donate pile if they don’t sell.  Donations can also be a tax write off in some instances, so keep those donation receipts.  The sell items are your golden ticket.  List these on neighborhood sights, ebay, post them on a church or recreation bulletin board, etc.  Please be careful when doing this.  You can also resort to the old fashioned garage/yard sale.  Use the Money that you gained in all of your sold items and apply it directly to your smallest debt (loan, credit card, medical bill).  Don’t even think about using it for a pizza night!!!  (We will touch on that at another time.)

The result:  Less junk = less stress = more room = less debt.

There is a huge difference between wants and needs in this world, and quite honestly we really don’t “NEED” that much to be happy.

So, here is your homework.  Find a room and get cleaning.  I’d love to hear your stories.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Kale Soup

This time of year the greens really start coming in.  After awhile one gets tired of salad so here is a comfort soup made from fresh kale.  You can also substitute or mix fresh spinach or collard greens with or instead of the kale.  Nothing warms the soul like a hot bowl of soup at the end of the day!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • a “bunch” of fresh kale (or greens) stripped from their stems and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 6 yellow or red potatoes diced
  • 4 large garlic scapes (message me to find out what this is or google it!)
  • 3 medium golden beets
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp of fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 lb of ground sausage, already browned (I use spicy sausage for an extra kick)

Directions:

  • Pour your stock and water in your large crock-pot
  • Dice and chop all your veggies and put in your crock-pot
    • On the potatoes, cut out any eyes but keep the skins on the potatoes, dice small
    • Carrots, scrap off skin and root hairs and dice large
    • Golden beets: cut off the greens and “tail” and scrape off skins, dice large.  (You can add the fresh beet greens if you like as well, strip off the stem.  Waste not want not.)
    • Dice your garlic scapes small.
  • Add in your herbs.
  • Brown your (spicy) sausage in a separate pan until cooked.
  • Add the sausage and any juice from the pan into the crock-pot.
  • Stir the contents.
  • Set on High for 2 hours then move to low to finish cooking.
  • Add salt to taste and some fresh basil just before dishing up.

IMG_20170623_105108527

Enjoy and let me know how you enjoy this recipe.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice