Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Dixie!

      I finished my canning session number two, last week! I made twenty pints of chili beans! They turned out good, but some of the liquid cooked out of the jars in the bottom of the canner. I don't know why that happens. We've already used a jar in a recipe and they tasted very good. I won't have to can chili beans until 2015, probably. My next session will be pintos or red kidney beans, but that won't occur until February or March, as I still have some left.

      The time has really gotten away from me lately! I can't believe it's Christmas Eve! I actually wrote this post the day before, but since I left my camera at Randy's shop, I had to wait until today. You know I can't have a post with not pictures! Update: He went by the shop and got my camera on the way home the night before Christmas Eve, so I posted it then!

      Along with canning, I had the girls a couple of days last week. We had a family Christmas party on Saturday, so I've been doing a lot of cooking, as well. We will have lots of food going on Christmas day! Plus, we had the office party today, thus the reason my camera wasn't here. Imagine that! I forgot it! I made a delicious devil's food cake with whipped cream frosting and took it to the party. It was so good! I hope to have some left over for Christmas day, but we'll see. I really haven't done much cooking for Christmas, in the way of cookies and snacks. We have plenty to eat without it! I guess it would be nice if I had made the neighbors something, but I just haven't found the time!

      Thanks for reading the blog and commenting this year! The comments really make my day! It's so nice of you to take time out of your busy lives to speak to me! I pray that ya'll will have a safe and happy holiday season! Blessings from Bama!

Kassie, from the party today! She loved her horse and rider!

Allie, loved her ranch set-up! Hi Riley, in the background.

Baby sister, Riley!

Great-niece and great-nephews Randy's side.

The girls being pulled around by Randy's feet! Lulu, where's your shirt?

Mayonaise or mustard? Mayo!

I finished the last three beds, but there's still a LOT of weeding to be done around them!

Making of the mayonaise. It tasted way too sour for me! Guess I'll just have to stick with store-bought.

Canning of the chili beans.

Twenty pints!


Friday, December 13, 2013

A German Chocolate Cake, Just for Me!

      It's time for a German Chocolate Cake! I haven't made one in several years, so I got the ingredients together, (thanks Mom!) and whipped one up. It is delicious! But just don't look at it! I sprayed the pans, instead of using grease and flour. Big mistake! I will not trust that again! The cake stuck so bad, it just crumbled! Glad I wasn't making it for someone else! Randy said it was the best tasting one I ever made!
At least it tastes good! My birthday is tomorrow so that's the reason for the cake. We've bought them from bakeries, but they just don't taste the same as homemade. I think it's the cooked icing. It's like a custard! I could eat it alone!

      I have been searching online for organic dried beans. I found a source, but they were expensive. We went to Publix, a grocery chain in the South. They carry lots of organic food and low and behold, they sell bulk organic food! Like beans, nuts, granola, etc., things I thought I could only find at Whole Foods! Publix is about thirty miles from here, but that's closer than Whole Foods! We are supposed to get a Publix in this area next year. I can hardly wait! I don't buy all organic food, but I am buying more than I did. I like to use organic beans to can. I put up twenty jars of organic black beans this week! We love a jar of black beans! We use them in soup, refried in burritoes, taco meat, etc. My next session will either be red beans or navy beans. Hopefully next week. I go by the directions on Canning beans is one of the easiest things to do if you prepare ahead of time! I enjoy the whole process!

       Winterlynn and Riley are here today and are being good! Riley is walking all over the place! I won't get to see Yasmine and Lulu until the twentieth. I miss them when they aren't here! They are getting excited about Christmas, telling me what they want. The innocence of children is so precious!

       I received the Baker's Seed catalog this week and I'm so excited! I can hardly wait to sow seeds and watch them germinate! I have so many seeds that I don't know if I'll order anything, but just looking at the pictures inspire me! Are you getting exited about gardening?

      The weather here has been a bit colder this week with highs in the fifties and lows in the twenties. I can still walk outside in the fifties, but below that, if the wind is blowing, forget it! I don't like walking on the treadmill, but I have to some times. Better than nothing! Christmas is almost upon us. Are you ready? I almost am! Enjoy the season and stay warm! Blessings from Bama!

I've got pancake mix going to the left for the next morning's breakfast, spaghetti and home ground pork for Italian sausage, on the right.

Yummy Italian sausage spaghetti sauce!

Dough made without the bread machine. I did use the Kitchen Aid though. The bread tasted rather blah. I like the bread machine recipe better!

Black beans soaking overnight for the next days canning session.

Canning session in progress.

Filling jars.

I needed an extra eye to boil water, so I got out the Max Burton. It worked, just took forever to come to a boil! I finally put a lid on it to speed things up. The Max Burton is better for smaller pots. I only use it when I have to.

A lot of time is spent waiting on the gauge to reach 10 lbs. of pressure.

I cook chicken on the grill every week for Skylar's lunch. He takes a grilled chicken salad with homemade Parmesan peppercorn dressing, a homemade cookie or brownie, and Kool-Aid! Is he spoiled or what?

Some of the homemade choc. chip cookies.

Don't forget to add vinegar to the canner when adding the water. It will prevent this white film.

The closest we've come to snow in a couple of years! Just a light frost!

Riley running around with big sister's cup!

Big sister is getting so 'grownie' looking!

It may look ridiculous, but it sure tastes good!

Helping Aunt 'FeFe' in the kitchen!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time to Trim the Tree!

      If your into that sort of thing! Each year that passes, I seem to lose interest in decorating for Christmas. Glad the girls are getting older so they can 'help'! Randy got the tree together the day after Thanksgiving and the weather was much cooler then. 'Seemed' more like Christmas. Now, the weather is warm and humid, with overcast skies. Temps in the lower 70's. Doesn't 'seem' like Christmas! Or wait, this is the South; our Christmas season is always like this! Very rarely do we have cold weather at Christmas, much less snow. So how do I know what it 'seems' like at Christmas? I read lots of blogs! Does it 'seem' like Christmas where you live? It's coming on mighty fast! I'm ready! Cause after that, I'm sowing seeds! I can hardly wait!

      We've been kind of 'under the weather' this week, stomach bug. Yuck! So I've read lots of posts on Facebook. I entered a lot of giveaways, and following them on Facebook is part of the entry. Therefore, I have lots to read now. I never really kept up with Facebook until now, and I'm glad I am. I would miss a lot of giveaways and interesting information. Some I take with a 'grain of salt'. It's just so hard for me to believe that bread, namely gluten, can cause so many diseases! I think there's more to it than that! A lot of it is spiritual! A topic most are not informed about, especially if they don't read God's Word. Wouldn't it be nice if most of the people you know would spend a little time in His Word? I believe many lives, and bodies would be changed and healed! I rarely miss time in His Word, but when I do, I feel like crap! Thus the reason for so many sicknesses! Take some time today to read, study, and meditate on God's Word and see if you feel better! Also, don't forget to laugh! Laughter does the body good, like a medicine! (That's in the Word). I believe that 'bug' would have lasted even longer and made us feel even more sick, if we hadn't stayed in the Word!

      Hope ya'll are healthy and well! Enjoy the season with you family and loved ones! Do something special for a needy family if you can! I hope to be able to! Thanks for reading! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

The three stooges! Er, I mean great-nieces!

And Riley too!

The BEST SOUP I EVER MADE! Made with leftover turkey carcass. Skylar even liked it! He doesn't like soups!

Nice day for a ride. Layla is scared to ride it.

They were so 'in' to decorating the tree! I don't know what Layla is going to do with the toy spatula! She calls the place where Santa comes down, a fire hut! Lol!

My little angel!

Most of the ornaments are touching the floor!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Are you Ready for the Big Day?

      Saturday marks the annual event of the two biggest rivals in the nation: The Alabama and Auburn football game! ROLL RIDE!!! Oh, did you think I was talking about Thanksgiving? Yea, that too! I'm ready for some football! Do ya'll watch this game? I'm sure you've heard of these two rivals! Sure hope the Tide rolls over the Tigers!

      But seriously, yes, I'm ready for Thanksgiving, are you? I've been getting the house cleaned and things taken upstairs and out of sight, so at least the downstairs looks presentable. I'm thawing a ham, and will be cooking my cornbread and chicken tomorrow. These will be made into chicken and dressing; the best you ever tasted! I am also making mashed potatoes and a special punch the girls usually like at Christmas. It tastes like the punch served at bridal or baby showers. My Mom is cooking the big turkey in the Nesco at her house. She is also making a pecan pie, cranberry salad, and deviled eggs. She like to make these things. Just give me some dressing and cranberry salad and I'll be happy! Do ya'll enjoy dressing or stuffing? I would probably like stuffing if I ever tasted it.

      In the post before this one, I shared a photo of one of the raised beds. It had green in it. Something was actually growing in that mess! It's garlic! I was so excited to separate enough garlic to plant around the perimeter of three raised beds! I hope it produces and makes nice big bulbs! I think I may dehydrate it when it's time to harvest. Or find a recipe to can minced garlic. Do you have a recipe for that? I still have lots of leaves to rake, and I got all but three beds cleaned out! Yay! I would probably have those done but it's been raining, a lot, these past couple of days. Plus, with it being Thanksgiving, I just had too much else to do! I'm even having to walk on the treadmill instead of outside because of the rain or cold. We've been experiencing unusually cold temps for this time of year! They have even predicted light snow for tonight! We may wake up to a light dusting of snow, the day before Thanksgiving! That would be so cool! Except Skylar has an appointment with an oral surgeon to see about getting his wisdom teeth extracted. If we get snow, everything closes around here! That's O.K., we'll just re-schedule!

      I hope ya'll are staying nice and warm and that you'll have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings from Bama!

The making of yogurt. So glad I did this cause I used some in the bread below. It's a little runny but edible.

The best cornbread I ever made! It will be delicious in the chicken and dressing!

Hi Winterlynn! The sun was really streaming in this day! Funny how they'll choose a box over toys any day!

Hi Riley! She's getting an early start in the kitchen!

Sorry about the flash, but I love those smiles!

Reason for the smiles!

The making of baked potato soup!

My bread machine, quick sour dough bread! So delicious!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm Climbing Back onto the Homestead Wagon!

      Since facing the discouraging summer of gardening, I felt like I had totally 'fallen off the homesteading wagon'! Well, I'm pleased to announce that I'm climbing back on again! I've been cleaning out the vegetable beds, now that the bugs and chiggers have gone. I am so glad to finally be able to access them! I had to hack my way through the weeds to get to them and I'm still hacking, but at least I'm making progress! It's a good feeling! I am so thankful to be able to do this! If I was working a job outside the home, I probably wouldn't have time to do all these things! Have you ever fallen off the homestead wagon? I'd rather be on that bumpy-riding wagon heading for the wild blue yonder, than sitting by the road, watching everybody else do what I love to do! Is it too early to start seeds indoors? Lol!

      I've been thinking about and praying for the people in the mid-west who were ravaged by devastating tornadoes! Who would have thought tornadoes would go through Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, all the way to New York! We were expecting strong storms here, not there! We didn't get them. They stayed up North. So sorry for those people! I hope none of you were touched by those awful storms!

      The weather has been so nice here today! Sunny, breezy and right below 70. It was somewhat rainy over the weekend and very humid! I guess living in the South, we'll always have humid weather all season long! That's O.K., I guess I'm used to it! 

      I raked leaves to go in the raised beds and got enough to go in the raspberry bed. It could probably use another bag, but my shoulder can only hold up to so much raking! I've used leaves that I raked and bagged last year to fill the beds, so far. I've got about three bags left, so I will have to rake more. With this mild weather, I don't mind. Would you like to come and help me rake leaves?

      We are having Thanksgiving here. I need to get the house cleaned and prepared. But I'd rather be outside! If all goes well, I should be able to do both. At least I can get the dining room table cleaned. It has canning jars that I'm wrapping with newspapers and putting upstairs until summer. And the kitchen island cleared of all the glitter and craft scraps. If I can get that done, then I've accomplished something! Someone want to volunteer to help?

      Ya'll know I'm just kidding, but sometimes a little help wouldn't hurt. Maybe my nieces can help this week. Have a great week! Until next time, Blessings from Bama!

Ground Boston butt I ground to make two different recipes. The one on the left is taco flavored, whereas the one on the right is Italian sausage.

I made a chili pie with the taco flavored one and as you can see, spaghetti sauce with the Italian sausage.

Three raised beds that have been cleaned out and mulched leaves put in.

These are what the beds look like before. These are two beds that I still have yet to clean. You can barely see that they are beds!

Two more beds that need cleaning. See the garlic? I hope it winters well.

This awful mess isn't a bed; just an area in the garden that needs cleaning!

You don't know how good it makes me feel to see these beds cleaned out! I finished the one on the back left today! It was a job!

The one on the left is done, the one on the right is the strawberry bed. Should I move them when I clean them out, or just leave them here? They've been here a couple of years.

I get so dirty doing this, but I love it!

Roasted butternut squash and acorn squash. The acorn squash has cinnamon sugar, and tasted pretty good. I probably won't make it again. The butternut squash is going in a soup.

The making of Kind bars. Randy calibrated my oven and they were overcooked. He needs to fix it back.

Jim Lahey's whole wheat bread. I wanted to try the whole wheat, but I'm just not a fan of whole wheat. I like the unbleached, unbrommated flour best.