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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canning Meat

I am so spoiled.  For the past few years I've made sure that my own cans (or commercial cans) of meat are on my pantry shelves, allowing me to plop in the meat into any meal I'm preparing.

I use ground beef for tacos, taco salad, tamale pie, spaghetti, and more.  The spaghetti sauce is made up in advance, along with the ground beef, and is pressure canned as meat spaghetti sauce.  The rest of the ground beef on my shelves waits for use in soups, casseroles, tacos, that sort of thing.


I also pressure can beef chunks to use in any dish that calls for chunks of beef, such as stews.


Chicken is VERY easy to can (well, all meat is).  I use my pressure canned chicken for casserole dishes, mainly. So easy to plop in the pint of chicken and cook the meal!


I am canning ground beef today.  As you can see, my Presto pressure canner guage shows about 13 pounds.  It will slowly go down another pound but I won't take it below 12 pounds because I have an electric range.  Otherwise the pressure may drop below 11, which will ruin my canning for the day!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

NEW BLOG: www.comfortmealsinabag.blogspot.com

I've created the blog for the fourth book: COMFORT MEALS IN A BAG

see www.comfortmealsinabag.blogspot.com!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pizza Balls


Our daughter showed me how to make pizza balls while I visited her last week.  They were delicious!  When I told my hubby about it he wondered how they would taste using the Olive Bread recipe from Bread in a Bag.  So I made the Olive Bread recipe as usual, making sure that I let it rise in a warm place for two solid hours (it's hard to rise this bread because of the addition of the olives), then pulled of pieces, rolled them into balls, flattened them and place two pepperoni slices and some shredded Italian mix cheese inside, then sealed them into itself.  I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and they were sooo good!! TOO good!!!

We dipped them into a great tomato sauce that I had dried a few weeks ago.  Yum!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gardening for Spring

Gardening for Spring starts early in California.  I usually have everything planted, from lettuce to green beans, by the middle of March.  This year it was a little later, but still some things are past their prime and I removed them.  The potatoes are harvested, the two different lettuces are now pulled out and gone.  I went to Capital Nursery and bought more lettuce and spinach and they are planted.  The tomatoes are doing great, the green beans, cantelope and cucumbers are starting up nicely, and the chard still is doing very well.  The herbs are taking over the planet, but the bell peppers are their usual sluggish self.


My garden isn't helped by the fact it's been very very mild weather here up until today, when it reached 98 degrees F.

The photos show: (top) from left, an oak tree that we are keeping less than 7 feet tall, in the back, a kumquat bush, and a peach tree.In front of the box is an apricot tree, and out of vision on the right of it is a pear and apple tree.  Two lemons are in the back and a lime and orange on the unseen left.  In the box: peas, tomatoes, chard, zucchini, green beans and more tomatoes. Far back is an artichoke bush.

Bottom photograph: left box, fava beans, then just planted some lettuce, then tomato, then more spinach and lettuce and tomatoes.  Box on the right, herbs, cantelope, cabbage, chard, etc.

Gardening is more than a pass-time or hobby for me. It is a way to feed my husband and myself without having to go to the grocery store, or wonder about the pesticides and herbicides used.  I use fertilizer once or twice a year, but that's it.  In the spring and fall, and some of winter, I have fresh lettuce available any day that I choose, usually 3 times a week or so.  Potatoes are usually growing as well.  Spinach and chard are the other ones we use.  In the summer, a bevy of tomatoes, tons of zucchini, cabbage and more are offered in our garden boxes.  I don't know the actual cost savings because there is the cost of seeds, water, etc., but it doesn't matter.  To me, there is food stored (usually dried, but some canned) and then there is the need for fresh, and a home garden is the way to go.