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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Freezer Afternoon

Whew, the kids and I spent most of the afternoon defrosting the old freezer. We had everything out and I took a pic, but the camera is still in the basement. I put everything back in neatly and there is a ton of extra space in there now! I could probably fit half a cow in there (if only they were free, lol!). So now I can open the freezer, grab what I want and be on my way. I also tossed some stuff. You know it has to be bad if I toss it.

I can't decide if we're having ham or turkey for Thanksgiving (we have two turkeys in the freezer). If we get our smoked ham in time, maybe that :). I have to find out what MIL is making and plan accordingly. I also found a nice beef roast that needs to be used up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Big Post Today!

Well, it has been a busy week here. We made candy apples the other day. I'm soon going to make caramel apples if the family doesn't eat all the caramels first. Here's Ethan enjoying a big ol' candy apple:



This is a bag of bananas that I got for free. Yeah, free! There were about 40 big bananas and most of them weren't even that smooshy. I bagged them up to put in the freezer for banana bread and smoothies:



I've been busy with our new breadmaker. I made a deicious brown bread today. Here is the recipe:

New Brunswick style brown bread
(make a 2lb loaf in your bread maker)

* 1 1/4 cup warm water
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 3 1/4 cups flour
* 1/3 cup rolled oats
* 2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I also made pizza dough in it that was very yummy but I don't feel like getting the recipe right now :)

Now, here is what I have been putting off posting, a nearly full view of our food storage. I did not include the freezers and there are some things which aren't put away, but it represents a good chunk of what we have. I didn't include another pic of our TP ;).

I call this our "snack trolly", although I am trying to move away from our unhealthy snacks. It was a Bits n' Bites display and it is good for things which are not stacked:



Here is our cereal rack. It has most of our dry cereal on it and our 55lbs bag of baking soda on a plank underneath:



Here is my "canning cupboard". It has most of what I have canned this year, although most of it is in boxes. I have not put my chow chow on it yet, which I made today. I also have some mixes and dry goods in jars here. I have an 11.6L bucket of brown sugar, a container of wheat berries, more cereal, 4L jug of ACV and some other things on top:



This is a wide view of a couple of shelves. One has most of our condiments on it. We also have corn meal, barley, cocoa and oats on top. Under we have a layer of squash and pumpkins, a shelf with a box of apples and a case of sugar and a cabbage and a case of sugar on the bottom. We then have cleaning and household supplies on the next shelf over:



This is our canned goods coke rack. We have lots of canned milks, veggies, fruits, soups, pasta, beans and more. I haven't been buying much in the way of canned goods lately:



Our little stash of individual bottled water and molasses. We keep bigger jugs of water elsewhere and try to limit the small bottles but like to have them on hand for traveling:



Cases of pureed food (sounds better than baby food, lol!), which I use in baking and may use in smoothies. Lots of boxes of beans. Each one has from 20 to 50lbs of beans in them. I have lots of navy beans, lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, barley, soup mix and more. I have more in the kitchen which I have close at hand for sprouting. I also have about 100 cans of tuna, chicken, ham, turkey, clams and salmon. I also keep a few rice mixes for quick meals as well as a few things of pickles, mixes, sauces and some shortening in the back. Oh and that bag hanging in the front is full of pretzels:



Here I have a shelf of various grains, flours, rice, some canned goods and kraft dinner in the back:



The upper corner with a huge container of pizza sauce, a box of juice packs (for emergency kits) and some cans of soup mix in the back. There are 4 or 5 big bags of powdered skim milk, a couple jugs of oil and two big cans of ham on the middle shelf. I also keep some sugar back there as it used to be my storage spot for it:



The ceiling is further away than it looks in this pic. It kind of looks like the fiberglass is right by the food, but it isn't. I keep some rice cakes on the top as well as a few jars of apple sauce and lots more oats. Then a full shelf of tomatoes, more tomatoes, lots of Oriental veggies, cans of pasta sauce, more tomatoes and lots of canned beans. The chick peas are very versatile. I have a cake and a cookie recipe which calls for them I need to try some time :) :



Ooops, tomatoes and beans again ;). A 20kg bag of flour and various juices. We used to keep the beans here but there just got to be too many so boxes were better:



Here's our stash of popcorn, a favorite snack as of late. I also have more corn meal here, about 10 jars of peanut butter, some pasta sauce, jarred tomatoes, then our goodly hoard of pasta, lol! The kids will only eat spaghetti lately, although we occasionally have Mr. Noodle. More juice on the bottom:



Ethan's favorite, Hamburger Helper. I also have a bunch of taco shells, lemon juice, various Kraft Dinners, some mixes, corn starch, and salt on the top. Then we have some soup mixes, baking soda, stevia and powdered egg. And of course, tons of pasta sauce to go with all our pasta:



Here we have a box of freezies (good for sick kids ;) ), some pectin, cuppa soup, stuffing mix, syrup, more pasta sauce, juice mix, and various sauces, oils and dressings:



And here we have our cracker shelf. I have more in the car to put away. Then we have jellos, puddings and other dessert mixes followed by herbal teas and hot chocolate. Odds and ends fill the rest of the shelf:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Busy Friday

First off, I tried our new bread maker and it works great! I made a couple of mistakes but the bread still turned out so great I could of ate it all. Best of all, it looked like bread, rounded top instead of in a tube, one of the things I didn't like about bread maker bread (we used to have one, but the heating coil eventually died). It also has 10 settings so you can make about anything in it.

I also canned pears. What a lot of work for few pears. Most of them were too rotten to do anything with. I may see if Wallace Brothers still have pears as I'd like to can more.

Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen. I canned grapes! I did 4 quarts and 7 half pints. I had to scrounge for jars. I was keeping grains and spices in them, but I transferred them to other containers. Then I found a couple cases I forgot about, which I don't mind. Our water bath canner is kind of small for quarts, I was only able to do 4 at a time and by the end, I realized that the tops weren't covered when the water boiled off, but I got good seals.

I also made green tomato mincemeat. Mmmmmm!! It is so good! I didn't put the suet in or use any fat/oil to substitute and I didn't use as much sugar as it called for (called for 6 cups and I used 4). I did put more raisins and fruit peel in as they make it super yummy. It was all I could do not to crack a jar open to have some last night, but I know it will improve with age. I may make more since I have a ton of green tomatoes, plus I'd like to give a jar to my IL's since they gave me the tomatoes :)





We got our side of pork yesterday, yay! So, what does a side of pork look like (minus the hams and bacon which were sent away for smoking):



It took quite a while to get it all ready for the freezer. There was a lot of meat! I couldn't believe all the back fat! Mark will be in his glory, lol! He likes to fry it up for snacks. I've been trying to find out how to properly salt it with no luck, so I froze all but 3 slabs, which I put in a brine in the fridge for the time being. I'd like to do it a la Little House by layering it in a barrel with salt, but I fear poisoning my family, lol! Everything I read has a warning to keep in fridge no more than two weeks. Well how did the Pioneers ever survive since salt pork was a staple and they didn't have fridges in those days (other than the fortunate ones who had ice houses).

I bought the kids a pack of popcorn chicken last night and in my getting the pork ready for the freezer, I forgot to stick it in the freezer. I didn't remember until this morning and it was too late. I hate it when I do that. $3.50 down the drain :(

When I finish get my food storage in order (well, everything put away at least), I'm going to have an other updated post with pictures. It has grown a lot since the last time I wrote about it. Shoppers has an excellent sale today so I'll be stocking up even more. Real butter for only $1.99! Mark and I will each try to go a couple times each to load up since there is a limit of only 2 per customer. They have other great things on sale too.

If you're interested in Food Storage, here is a series of great food storage videos on YouTube. They also have a website called Simply Living Smart. I think the guy is a food storage specialist for my church, so a lot of the information I am already aware of. There are 7 key categories of food plus water, which is something you cannot exist without (1 gallon of water per day, per person for two weeks is basic, plus purification for water beyond the two weeks). The categories are: Wheat & grains, Sprouts, Legumes, Oils, Salt & Seasonings, Honey & Sweeteners and Powdered Dairy. I have all those categories well covered! Well, more whole wheat would be great, but I will be putting an order in soon. I hate to keep oil on hand as it usually goes rancid before we use it (not as much of a problem since we got our deep fryer though), but I keep lots of peanut butter and frozen butter on hand since I feel the oil category should really be "fats and oils". I also keep nuts in the freezer to grind for nut butters as the freezer keeps them fresh.

I love food storage. I would love to be a food storage specialist. It's such an interesting topic for me.

I should have a meal this weekend in honor of Little House; baked beans, cornbread and fried up salt pork. Ahhh to live in a simpler time when you didn't care if every meal was the same, you were just grateful to have something to eat!!