Friday, March 15, 2019

Have you tried an InstaPot? Why I choose one and a delicious meal.

About a month ago I decided to add an Instapot to my kitchen arsenal.  I had been looking at alternatives to my Cuisinart electronic pressure cook and my little electric rice cooker.  The reason for the search - teflon.  Both of these appliances have teflon coated cooking pots.  It has been noted that teflon and such nonstick surfaces once they begin to break down, become a true health hazard!

"According to the Environmental Working Group, teflon and PFOA (which is the chemical used to make teflon) are some of the most persistent chemicals in the world. Their toxic legacy will outlive every one of us, and the next 25 generations of our offspring. Ironically, it may shorten each generation’s lifespan, as well. PFOA’s effects include liver damage, immune dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, and a decreased ability to fight infection"   If you would like to read the rest of this article, click here.

I haven't rushed into this, I have had both pots for 4+ years and I have been so careful not to scratch them.  But with my auto immune issues and Steve's' battle with cancer 7 years ago, I am just being as careful as I can be.  I am diligent about our nutrition,  using safe cookware is just another layer of caring for my family. 

And I won't lie, I was ready to jump on the instapot band wagon - I could have created the same great foods with Cuisinart  cooker BUT the instapot has a stainless steel  cooking bowl and there is no stainless replacement for the Cuisinart.  I even wrote to the company asking if it was in the works and why it was important to me.  No response and no replacement on the market.

I have made three meals with this so far and I am really happy with it. Last night I made fork tender ( really) pork chops with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and squash.  It was so good I felt a little sad that I filled up so quickly!

Maybe it was the walk with Steve and Max with the freezing cold winds blowing across the  fields  we were in.

 Beautiful farm land in CNY - over the creek and through the wood behind our house

He just can't get enough of it (snow and farm land) and was also very happy with a bite of pork chop!

I have been using this cook book - last nights recipie is on page 226

I made a few modifications - I used goat milk in the gravy instead of cream ( dairy allergy) Margarine instead of butter and de-glazed the pan with white wine after the saute stage. 

Sadly after Steve's lunch for tomorrow was made there were no more left overs

and next time Max says a whole chop!

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!
Ginny M

Thursday, March 14, 2019

How to Make and Pressure Can Carrot Ginger Sweet Potato Soup.

I love soups, all kinds, any weather any meal.  Some of my favorites are also what I call 'healing soups' .  These soups are not only packed full of flavor, they are packed full of nutrition.

Most of my soups start with homemade Chicken Bone broth.  Bone broth is on a continual production cycle here, I use organic chickens and pure water.  If you have auto immune issues or any chronic health problems bone broth will help nourish and heal your body ( sorry I am not vegan or vegetarian- not yet anyways). I also keep veg broth in production for soups and cooking .

Today's recipe is a wonderful antioxidant rich soup that will energize  you, and for a bonus I am going to share a favorite breakfast soup

Most of my cooking is using what I have in my pantry, what I have found on sale and what is is season - during the growing season,

The ingredients are listed but you can adapt this to your taste, this is a highly flavored soup!  Use organic if you can!

4 quarts Chicken Bone or regular broth
4 lbs  carrots
3  cans  sweet potatoes (pumpkin works too)
2 lbs onions
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3 TBS powdered ginger ( I slice, dehydrate and grind my own ginger about twice a year- It is so                      much better than store bought!)
3 TBS Turmeric
3 TBS each, Basil, Marjoram and Thyme
1 TBS Rosemary
3 TBS Cinnamon
1 TBS Nutmeg
1/2 cup dehydrated celery or 1/2 head
dollop of honey

Shred the carrots, onions and celery if you use fresh and add ginger.

In a large stock pot ad the veggies and 1/2 broth.  Simmer for about 1 hour

With a stick blender liquify the veggies - or place in a high speed blender to liquify - just be careful the mix is hot - allow the steam to vent  in a blender or you will have a nice new orange ceiling.

add remaining stock/ broth and add spices, canned veg  and dehydrated celery of you used that.  simmer for another 1/2 hour.

Blend again until creamy

at this point I turn the heat off and let it cool down a bit.  
you can freeze this soup or can it.

I canned this batch using my Carey Canner;

In clean hot  pint jars, fill leaving 3/4 inch headspace.  Clean the rims of the jars, add clean hot lids and clean rings

Place in your canner, electronic or stove top - follow the directions in your manual for SAFE canning
I processed 40 minutes ( 10# pressure)

12 Pints canned - 1 quart set aside

 Beautiful rich soup, I did not remove the fat from the broth I used for this soup - sometime I do a fat free bone broth.

Now for that bonus recipe!

Kale & Apple Breakfast soup!

Add several large handfuls of fresh kale, 1 peeled and cored apple, 1 pint soup.
Mix in your blender - I can turn my mix into soup by using the high speed for about 4 minutes.

This just tastes so good, you would never know you were eating raw kale! I find a bowl of this for breakfast keeps me  going all day with out being hungry or wanting to snack.  It is packed with vitamins and nutrients!

Hope you give this recipe a try - your cells will say thank you!
Have a great day!
Ginny M

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

WOYWW #510

Hello to my Work Desk Weds friends!  Just a peek at work desks around the world starting here at Julia's' blog .  I have been super busy the last 4-5 months doing everything but card making!  It feels good to be at my desk again.  Here it is for a card I made today for a swap. If you would like the full details of this card battle  click here.  Thanks for stopping here and join in the fun at Julia's!

Ginny M

How not to make a card, and making it work and freebie.

I have a card to share with you today, however  I'm not sure if it is a disaster!  But that is how card making goes, not every card is a masterpiece.  I am sharing  it because in  the end I feel like I won the battle.  
This card was for the one card swap group I belong to, the theme was 'living room colors'.
My living room is warm yellows some deep orange, browns, a little black and cream.
I wanted my card to be a get well card - seems I never have enough of those, so I though my swap partner might like one.

Here is the card and if you are interested , read on for the process 

As I often do, I picked out my background paper first and then dry embossed and added a little distress ink to make the design pop.

Next the stamp

I stamped the image using Gina K amalgam ink on water color paper
I noticed this on the image -I don't like it

So I grabbed the stamp and removed the offending line

Stamped again and began coloring using a cheapy brush tip marker and colored pencil

Blended with a Alcohol blender and dipping jar of 90% rubbing alcohol.

I finished the coloring and to be honest I thought the image looked pretty awful.

So I fussy cut it and added a little distress ink to tone it down. 
 I succeeded in going from bad to worse

I still liked the pot, so I cut that out and restamped the image to do the flowers over

This time, I have a giant ink splooge

And it was too white!  I went back to  using the distress in and fussy cutting.
 Now the bow looked flat and the pot was boring!
So I stamped again, and did a new bow and added clear glitter nail polish to the pot for a  bit of sparkle. 

Over all I am happy with the out come, and since it is a card and not a peace treaty I really don't have anything to worry about!

If I can leave you with a positive note on card making, always remember that the most important thing about the whole craft - the person it is going to!  It really isn't the beauty of the card, it is the love that goes with it!  Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, The Bible says:

 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
proverbs 25:11

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
proverbs 16:24

A freebie for your card making :

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
Ginny M

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Tattler Lids and Tomato Sauce, with Recipe.

After a busy morning and early afternoon yesterday I wanted to "put up" a batch of meatless spaghetti sauce.  I purchased a large quantity  of # 5 28 oz canned tomatoes recently and would like to have them turned into sauce before the warm weather gets here. These cans were 66 cents each. Normally I would be doing this at the start of the winter not the end. 
My family requires 75 quarts of sauce a year. Some have meat and some don't.  Right now I am at 45 in my pantry along with a bunch of pints.  Having a years worth on hand just works for my family and our system of cooking.

I hope to have a garden that turns out tomatoes this year and I won't be looking for sales on canned products, but if that doesn't work I will resort to the old faithful method of using canned.  Now you might think this is kinda gross using canned tomatoes and reprocessing but it is not, it is delicious and tastes very fresh!  If it is telling, I get asked for this recipe a lot and I have been making it 20+ years.

Here is my recipe, you can tweak this to your tastes - this is not a spicy sauce.  You can add meat if you like I do both and it comes out great.  Just remember the process time with meat is much longer.

Use Organic tomatoes if you can

For a single meal, yielding about 1 quart sauce"

1 small onion sliced
1 8oz ish container of sliced mushrooms
Saute Mushrooms and Onions
Then add:
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
Add To taste:
 Basil - I use a lot
Onion powder - yes even though there are freesh onions in this about -  1 tsp
Fresh ground pepper - crank it out about 10 seconds
Tyme- pinch
Rosemary- pinch
1 clove garlic crushed
1 Tbs Parmesan grated cheese ( at least)
2 tbs Olive oil or dollop of Butter/Ghee
And my secret ingredient: Orrington farms Chicken stock about 1 TBS

Bring this to a boil and then turn it down to low - it will be ready to eat in 30 minutes or you can let it cook on low for hours - just don't cook it all day! 

For a large batch, I load up my 21 quart Stock pot:

8-10 onion sliced - I use a food processor for this
8-10 8oz ish containers of sliced mushrooms
Saute Mushrooms and Onions in the large Stock pot  - add a bit of salt and 1/4 cup olive oil
Then add:
9 cans crushed tomatoes
9 cans diced tomatoes
Add To taste:
Dried Basil - I use a lot- 1/2 cup
Onion powder - yes even though there are fresh onions in this about -  1/4 cup
Fresh ground pepper - crank it out about 25 seconds
Tyme- 3 Tbs
Rosemary- 3Tbs
8-10 cloves garlic crushed
1 /2 container  Parmesan grated cheese or 8 oz fresh shredded
1/4 cup Orrington farms Chicken stock about 1 TBS

Cook till heated through and fill jars - this will make about 18-20 jars 
Process 25 minutes in pressure canner I do 10# for my elevation

An interesting thing about this batch, I am a newbie to using Tattler Lids, and yesterday I did all but 3 of my jars with the Tattlers ( I kept a few with regular lids - I make a little care packages with a jar of sauce, bag of good pasta an loaf of bread for family and friends Tattlers are a little expensive and I don't want to send them out.)   
I ran three canners one after the other to get the batches done.  The second batch, I had a jar blow, right in the center.  I took the Canner off the stove and I heard it 10 minutes into the cooling depressurizing process.  When I opened the canner, ewww what a mess, the top of the lid, ring and all just blew off along with half the jars content. I have no idea why!  
I also had 4 seal fails which is a pretty high ratio in my book.
This morning I am reprocessing the 4 fails with Tattlers - a first in my Carey Canner.  I will soon know if these sealed.  

I have been using the Orrington farms Base for a long time and I am very happy with it, I also make a rice pilaf using it - it is very versatile and a allergy safe product for me. 

I usually purchase this at walmart, about 2.50 a jar and it last a long time.
I am not big into additives but this one is pretty good and not too bad  for a processed product.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you give this recipe a try, it is very yummy!
Ginny M

And always practice safe canning - do you home work and know the science behind
 food preservation!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Word Art Wednesday

It is a cold, cold  Central New York Morning, and I woke up thinking about all the wonderful friends I have made in my Christian walk. As I began to pray for some of my friends, many I have not seen in a long time I thought how someday we will all rejoice together and what a day that will be!   I  also needed to make a birthday card.  Word Art Wednesdays' verse is just so perfect for that card!

Here is my card

 For some reason the photo makes it look warped but it isn't. 
 This is actually the first card I have made in 3 months and bout did I feel rusty!

I have gone through a lot of my stampy stuff in order to down size and keep only the things I am using and really love  and this stamp may be on the list to go, it did not stamp well

I colored with colored pencil, water based marker and an alcohol blending pen. Clear sparkly nail polish on the butterfly and microbeads on the flower centers.

It took four tries to get a decent image and I don't like the way it came out. 

I'm going to enter this in the Word Art Wednesday Challenge and continue to think about this beautiful verse while a I am working and keep praying for my friends!
I hope you have a great day too!

Ginny M

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Prv 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

  I certainly want to be a wise woman.  I have lived long enough to see this verse come to pass both in the positive and negative light.  
 The first time I read this verse I was 20 and single and a new Christian.  This verse became a one of those guiding light passages for my life.  
Since I am into "doing" I wanted and want to make sure I built good things.  I built a legacy of faith for my young kids and together with Steve we built a house of faith and stability  that all the generations of our family could find shelter. 
 We are still building, still influencing and still praying for our "house"and will continue till the day we  see Jesus face to face.

In my reading this week I have been focusing on this verse in Galatians:

I have been thinking about the  application  of this verse in my walk and in turn how this affects my world.  Do I frustrate the grace of God in my life, do I deny it's power in my circumstances?

We all have circumstances, I could give you a laundry list of things that get piled up in the  carnal corridors of my mind - the same ones I have locked the grace of God out of.

It frustrates me just thinking about how carnal I can be. 
I have to say why did I think that? Say that? Stew over that?  Why did I lock out grace to entertain hurt or frustration? After almost 40 years of reading my bible, praying in the spirit, why am I still so dumb?  Fortunately I have the answer, it is because I am still in the flesh. And that flesh is still at war with the things of the Spirit.  The good news remains the good news, greater is he that is in me than he that in the world  1Jn 4:4 and there is no limit to grace, no quota for redemption. 
We are His and He is ours.

I am going to continue to work on NOT frustrating the grace of God in my life, how about you?
I am going to put the list of my faults away and look deeply at the riches of that grace, it's mercy and it's love.

I love these sunny mornings at my kitchen table, Starting my busy day with the Word, with a Hug from Jesus, a cup of Coffee, and todays homemade apple sauce for breakfast.

Also in my picture a great Brownie Mix recipe, I was actually using it as a book mark.
To make and store when you are ready to bake - better than a box and 1/3 the cost.

Brownie Mix

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1tsp vanilla

Store dry ingredients in zip lock or mason jar, add wet ingredients when ready to bake.
Mix pour in an 8x8 or similar size greased baking dish. 350 / check at 25 minutes.

Gluten free and Egg free adaptation:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs chia seed 
6 tbs water
1/2 cup oil
1tsp vanilla

and The beautiful Word Art Wednesday verse from last week .
For your card making and blessing:

Thanks for stopping by and I pray your feel more and more grace in your life,
Ginny M

Monday, March 4, 2019

Worship, Word, Rest, Sundays: The Best Way to Start Your Week!

Yesterday was such a great day We had wonderful worship and Word at our church, followed by a sweet time at home.  We brought our friends Dolly and Paul home for dinner.  We talked about the Bible,  and some of the Christian adventures in our lives.  Before we ate, Steve gave thanks  the food and we sang Amazing Grace.  I had mentioned To Dolly they were going to have to 'Sing for thier Supper', I wanted to bring a little of that sweetness to my mom.  We sang four part harmony and it was beautiful!
We ate a yummy meal, healthy and nourishing, Talked more, sharing chapters of grace in our lives .

After Dolly and Paul left, I cleaned up the kitchen and pulled out my Carey Canner - I purchased this canner for it's ease of use.  I had 2 Quarts of Chicken Spaghetti sauce ( I served it on Zoodles) left over and wanted to can it for future meal  - The Carey is perfect for this!  Jar it up, set the buttons and go relax!  Now I could freeze it,  however, long time ago before I started canning, and I had a house full of teenagers, I would make a 22 QT batch and freeze it in a large deep freezer - easy peasy.  But I found out Steve doesn't like sauce after it is frozen. Now I have a small chest freezer  - no like and no room for freezing!

I processed my 2 quarts, and a first for me , I used Tattler Lids ( Tattler lids are reusable and supposed to have a 10 year life)

I was a little nervous about trying these, read everything I could and then chatted with a few canning friends that use them.  I am happy to say it was a success! 

And since I had the canner out, I made 8 1/2 pints of pumpkin pie with out the crust.
Because of food allergies, no crusts, no egg, no dairy.  What is left and is really tasty.  Pumpkin, spices, a little brown sugar, a little pinch of clear gel to help it set - faux pie filling.  Great for a treat or even a breakfast.  

I ran two batches with almost no effort.

My day today started with reading Proverbs 4

  I was so blessed by the 18th verse; "The Path of the just is as the shinning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  There is always more light, more love, more grace for us, each day holds the opportunity to fill our lives with that light and become a beacon to those who are around us.  I always want my home, and my life to be a beacon of light.
Thank you for stopping by,
Ginny M

Saturday, March 2, 2019

My canning Kitchen and Selecting Pressure Canners

One of my favorite things to due in a few spare minutes is take a peek at other peoples centers for creativity, and that is what today's post is.  My kitchen and pantry.  I always appreciate tips and tricks of my experienced friends in their paths of creativity! 

Yesterday I blogged about why I can, today It is about how.

One thing to remember, the old saying - Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your kitchen!

I am very blessed in this time of my life to be able to carefully purchase the tools that I need, and I haven't rushed this.  It took a few experiences to figure out what works best for my family with our resources.

An important factor in building your kitchen is what to you want to over all accomplish?  Of course eating is right up there, but what type of eating?  For us it is no processed foods - I process my own.
Economy, we don't want to go broke doing this, Organic - which goes back to not going broke.

I watch the Aldi's flyers, and local sales, farmers market and try to meal plan.  A real Biggie - I waste nothing!  Did you know if you buy organic salad greens and can't eat them fast enough, you can dehydrate them and turn them into soups and smoothies and all kinds of other things?  Yeah, Yum!

I have a shelf in my little kitchen that really helps me keep things moving right along and a work console

Here I have some of my vintage canners, they are all in the same line of Mirro's 23Qt, 16Qt, 12Qt and 8Qt.  I use them all.  Do I need them all, well probably not - but in my world , oh yes!   I use the canner that best fits my purpose.  I feel this saves energy and labor.  I could can 2 pints of chilli in the 23 Qt canner.  Now in my own defense - this is what I spend my $$ on, I don't go to the hair dresser or get my nails done. There is a whole list of things I don't spend on, but this I do - carefully.

  I keep my canning reference and cookbooks on this rack -top shelf.  Then the  pressure canners, and on the third shelf my bread maker because I also make my own Gluten Free, Dairy Free bread, a dehydrator and jelly maker.   The bread making is not an option if I want to enjoy good tasting bread - again not buying processed foods.  All of these tools were purchased second hand except the dehydrator, Steve bought that for Christmas for me in 2017.   All of the tools other than the dehydrator cost under $200.00 -  all together!

I choose these canners after buying and trying other types and then reselling them because this style works best with my glass top stove - it is completely flat bottomed, a good gauge of metal - but not to heavy for my glass top range.  I have an All American that I will be selling - a great canner but I feel to heavy when loaded for my glass top range.

And I am very happy with the weighted gauge system and how it works with these pressure canners and my stove

On the bottom shelf, 2 more 23Qt canners and a food saver vacuum machine - I do freeze some things and keep a small spare freezer. I have a newer presto 23 qt canner I use just for pressure cooking - I make a lot of bone broth and use this for 4 hours instead of other methods that take up to 48 hours to process - again I feel it is a time and energy thing mine and the electric bill! Another 23qt Mirror - doing big batches I alternate the big canners one load processing, another cooling.  A big stainless stock pot for cooking - I do not like to use aluminum for any type of cooking.  my one exception is the bone broth and that is a new canner that I hope is a safe grade of metal than the vintage models.

I also stove stop pressure cookers ( helps me with meeting my 91 year old moms food needs) and have an electric canner for tiny batches I can dinner leftovers that are 'Ginny Safe' as well as freeze extra meals for Steve's lunches .And  a new to me  Instapot! The stove top models were purchased from eBay at half the cost ( that included the shipping if you are reading this Steve!)

On my work bench console I keep my food processor - a vintage Cuisinart DC7 work horse and all the attachments- I have had that for 20+ years.  All of these tools are handy and I use all of them

It all helps us stay healthy and keep a well stocked pantry.  Of course I love doing all this, so it is a healthy hobby and something I can share with friends and my daughters!

Hope this peek at my "food system" was enjoyable and maybe helpful to you!
Thanks for stopping by,
Ginny M