More Organizational Tips: More on P.M.S, Root Cellars, Freezers and Canning Room, Yummy Bar-B-Que Brush On Butters and Canning Recipes!

“Disorganization….. is merely the sign of a very healthy individual trying to do more in a shorter period of time than those lazy obsessively tidy types who can think of nothing better to do than  straighten objects in drawers and stuff like that which only feeds their own egos and makes them think that they are better than those of us who are truly gifted.”  Author Unknown… although it could be Neil!

Obviously this above mentioned quote is a joke… just in case you were wondering!  As many of you know from reading my blogs, I love canning! When I decided to write my cookbook, “Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats”, my main objective was not only to have all my favorite recipes in one book, but also to have a large canning section that wasn’t filled will all pickle recipes.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pickles, even though I don’t much care for them… I just wanted interesting canning recipes… like Chocolate Syrup, Pesto, Marinara Sauce and stuff like that! I have a lovely canning room and Neil made us a root cellar in our basement that I am thrilled to have… and equally thrilled to fill every year!

P.M.S. is looked at in such a negative light… which I fully understand~ been there, done that kind of thing! Anyway several years back, even before I discovered Sink Reflections, my best friend and I were always looking for ways to organize and structure our homes and lives.  One day on the phone we came up with the P.M.S. Plan!  Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify our lives.  Now, my friend loves to make lists as much as I do… she is now a mother of six with bundle number seven on the way, Lord willing!  At the time of our P.M.S. she only had one child and I had three… life was a bit simplier in those days… but she is one of those ladies that likes to make really long lists and is filled with an exuberant amount of energy… she even chases ground hogs with brooms… at least back then she did.  As I am ten years older than her, her lists at times seemed unreasonable… she put too much work on her back… so was birthed our P.M.S. plan.  The motive was to help both of us look at what we wanted to accomplish in a day or week and then prioritize that list in level of importance; then look at the list and minimize it down to the most important and then simplify it down to what was really practical for our days.  After the list was P.M.S.’ed anything extra that was accomplished was just a bonus.  I have used the P.M.S. way for many things, especially when creating my routine’s.  

       


*Each spring we do an inventory of canned goods on the shelves as well as in the root cellar and freezer.  This way I know what we need to preserve that season and what I have plenty of.  I write this list in my Canning Journal… it is actually the first page to start each new season.
*After my inventory is complete I make a list of what items I need to can/freeze and the quantity I want to do. This is the second page in my journal for the current canning season. As each things get put on the can shelves, root cellar and freezer I have the sheer joy of crossing that item off my list!  A job well done!
*As mentioned above I keep a Canning Journal… of course! Every year I date the top of the first page with the year. I include the date of item canned, what was canned, the quantity and the size of the jars used.  If I purchased the ingredient, for ie. Blueberries for blueberry pie filling~ I will write down where I got the blueberries, if I picked or not, how much I paid per pound, how many pounds.  I also make notes of which children or friends helped.  I love making memories in my journals! 
*During the canning season, we often have to move jars and reorganize if there is not enough room left for a particular item.  I always keep similar items together. This makes it much easier for the children when I ask them to go and fetch me something.  For example, I keep all my tomato based products together; Spaghetti and Marinara sauces, Bar-B-Que sauces, ketchup, salsa, pizza sauce and V-8 Juice. The only exception to the rule here is Tomato soup~ that goes with the soups I can. I can apple, peach, blueberry and cherry pie fillings… these all stay together; Fruits, juices, jams and condiments are beside each other; potatoes, carrots, beans, beets are together as veggies; meats are right beside the veggies, then broth and soups, and so on.
*I follow the same rule for the root cellar and freezers.  I have several freezers: two hold frozen veggies and fruit, any freezer jams, and two hold meat items.  I try to keep all beef, pork, venison and chicken together… again this makes it easier for the children.
*Each spring the freezers need to be cleaned out and purged.  It never fails that things always seem to fall to the bottom and then the question, “where did that come from?” is asked.  Be sure to always date and itemize all items put into the freezer~ this way there is no question as to what & when! 
*The root cellar needs to be kept clean and organized through the winter.  Unlike the jars and freezers, the items in the root cellar will spoil much more quickly. Certain items should not be strored togethe such as apples and onions or potatoes.  My main goal is to always use the items that are ripening or not holding so well first and to be sure to purge and spoiled items. The old saying of one rotten apple will spoil the whole basket is true! 
  A great resource for root cellars is “Root Cellaring” by, Mike and Nancy Bubel, published by Storey Publishing,
www.storey.com  I will be going into a lot more on root cellaring this fall when the crops come in, so stay tuned!

         

‘Tis Grilling Season… here are some BBQ Brush On Butter Recipes along with a few more canning ones from my cookbook! Enjoy friends!

To 1 stick of salted softened butter add one of the following and mix thouroughly.  Let set in fridge for at least 3 hours so flavors blend through! NOTE: The herbs are all dried. 

Cajun Style Poultry Brush On!
1/2 tsp. oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp. thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. cumin, ground
dash of red pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Lemon Basil Fish or Veggie Brush On!

1/2 tsp. lemon peel, finely shredded
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. basil, crushed
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Parmesan Butter Brush On!~ great to brush on veggies or even use in pasta or spread onto bread to make garlic toast!
1 Tbsp. fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. parsley, crushed
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Garlic Butter Brush On~ great to brush on veggies or to make garlic toast
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Chive~Tarragon Brush On~
great on red meat and veggies!
2 Tbsp. chives, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon, crushed
2 Tbsp. parsley, snipped

Canning Recipes taken from, “Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats”. We all love condiments but don’t know how to make them!  Here are two great condiments that most people enjoy!

            Chocolate Syrup, by Jean Smith

1 cup Dutch cocoa powder
3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. vanilla

SPECIAL NOTE: These measurements are to make 1 quart.  Adjust measurements for how many pints or quarts you want to make.
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl; pour 1 cup hot water into pot and add dry ingredients until thouroughly mixed; add remaining water; mix thouroughly until smooth.
2. Bring mixture to a boil; boil for 2 to 4 minutes, until sugar is dissovved, stirring constantly.
3. Revove from heat; add vanilla.
4. Fill pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
5. How water bath for 15 minutes.
NOTE: This foams up a lot while boiling. Stirring is crucial. You can take the pot off heat to let it go down a bit, always stirring, if it seems like it is going to overflow.

Ketchup
2 galons tomato juice
7 Tbsp. salt
2 small onions
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves, ground
3 cups white vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup Permaflo (thickener)

1. Put 1 1/2 cups tomato juice and  peeled and quartered onions in blender; run blender until onions are well blended; pour into learge kettle with remaining juice; cook until juice boils down 1/3.
2. Add vinegar and boil again; bring to a gentle, rolling boil.
3. In a bowl combine remaining ingredients and blend thouroughly; very slowly stir the spice mixture into boiling liquid- if you dump it in, it will clump!
4. Boil for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally so it does not stick.
5. Put boiling mixture into jars, placing lid and ring on each jar as you fill it.
6. Water bath for 15 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts.

Happy Day,
Jean
www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com
www.wreninthewillow.blogspot.com
www.farmgirlwisdom.blogspot.com

         

A Companionate Herbal for the Organic Garden, Herbal Therapeutic Concoctions & Yummy Herb Butters Recipe’s!

Summer is here and we are in full swing! I am finding it harder and harder to get to this blog with all the responsibilities I have around on the farm.  I am constantly thinking of things to write about and share, but finding the ‘thyme’, or should I say making the ‘thyme’ is just taking more effort than I would actually like.  But here I am and of course I love being here.  Lets talk more on herbs shall we? I just can’t seem to get enough of herbs, they are so versatile and useful in so many areas in life… the kitchen, bouquet and right into the personal care line! I love to go out to the gardens and pick them… as I brush against their leaves they just welcome me there with their lovely aroma’s telling me to pick & enjoy!  I have often touched on companion planting and I recently came across a great list that I thought I would like to share with all of you. Today I am going to focus a bit on the personal care end with of course a few yummy recipes for Herb Butters! Thanks for coming… see you again soon!

A Companionate Herbal for the Organic Garden~  This list was adapted from The Rodale Herb Book; How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants; published by Rodale Press, Inc. 1974, pg.s 268-269.

HERB:                          COMPANIONS AND EFFECTS:
Basil                             *Companion to tomatoes; Improves growth and flavor; repels flies and mosquitoes.
Bee Balm                       *Companion to tomatoes; improves growth and flavor
Borage                           *Companion to tomatoes, squash and strawberries; deters tomato worm; improves flavor &
                                      growth.
Caraway                         *Plant here and there; loosens soil.
Camomile                       *Companion to radishes; improves growth & flavor.
Chervil                           *Companion to cabbages & onions; improves growth & flavor.
Chives                            *Companion to carrots; improves growth & flavor.
Dill                                *Companion to cabbage, improves growth & flavor; dislikes carrots  
Fennel                            *Plant away from gardens.  Most plants dislike it.
Garlic                             *Plant near roses and raspberries, improves growth & health; deters Japanese beetle
Horseradish                     *Plant at corners of potato patch to deter potato bug.
Hyssop                            *Deters cabbage moth; companion to cabbage & grapes; Keep away from radishes.
Lovage                            *Improves flavor and health of plants if planted here and there.
Marigold                         *The workhorse of the pest deterrents.  Plant throughout the garden: discourages                                             Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, and other insects.      
Mint                               *companion to cabbage & tomatoes; improves health & flavor; deters white cabbage moth.
Marjoram                        *Here and there in gard3en; improves flavors.
Nasturtium                     *Companion to radishes, cabbage & curcurbits; plant under fruit trees.  Deters aphids,
                                       squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles.  Improves growth and flavor.    
Pot Marigold                   *companion to tomatoes, but plant elsewhere in garden too.  Deters asparagus beetle,
                                        tomato worm and general garden pests.       
Peppermint                      *Planted among cabbages, it repels the white cabbage butterfly.
Rosemary                       *Companion to cabbage, bean, carrots & sage; deters cabbage moth, bean beetles & carrot fly
Rue                                *Keep it far away from sweet basil; plant near roses and raspberries; deters Japanese beetle.
Sage                              *Plant with rosemary, cabbage & carrots; keep away from cucumbers; deters cabbage moth
                                       & carrot fly.
Summer Savory              *Plant with beans and onions; improves growth and flavor; deters bean beetles.
Tansy                             *Plant under fruit trees; companion to roses & raspberries; deters flying insects,
                                        Japanese beetle, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs and ants.       
Tarragon                         *Good throughout the garden.
Thyme                            *Here and there in garden. It deters cabbage worm.

Of course as usual this is only a small amount of information in a world of endless info!  These are the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen, but doesn’t even touch on medicinal ones.                 

 Aromatic herbal baths are one of the most pleasurable ways to cleanse your skin and revitalize your whole body after a hard day at work.  You can add particular herbs to promote relaxation or stimulation.  Therapeutic preparations can be made at home from essential oils and herbal infusions quite easily.  In an earlier blog I gave you the how-to’s on Oils and Vinegars for cooking, here are some personal care recipes!  Enjoy!

Antiseptic Wash~ Among oils with antiseptic action are thyme, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus.  Add 8 drips of one of these to a small bowl of water and apply to minor wounds.

Foot Bath~ You will need: Fresh leaves of bay, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, thyme, marjoram, spearmint.
*Sprinkle 1-2 handfuls of herbs into a large bowl.
*Add 2 tsp. of salt and enough hot water to cover the feet and ankles.
*Soak feet for at least 10- 12 minutes while breathing in the delicious aroma’s!

Hand Cream~ You will need: 1 cup rose water, 1/4 cup glycerin, 1/4 cup cornstarch and 3 drops chamomile oil.
*Blend rosewater, cornstarch and glycerin.
*Heat gently in a double boiler to thicken, then cool for about 15- 20 minutes.
*Stir in oil.
*Store in screw top jar for up to 3 months.  

Lavender Spritz~ For a classic skin freshener, fill an spritzer bottle with distilled water and add a couple drops of lavender essential oil.  Shake to blend and before each use.

Lip Balm~ You will need: Oil of eucalyptus, lemon, thyme, jasmine, lavender, geranium, juniper, OR  peppermint.
*Add 2 drops of one of the oil’s listed above to 1 tbsp. of warmed cocoa butter.  Put in a small jar and let it cool. 

Stretch Marks Massage Oil~ You will need:  5 drops of EACH~ lavender oil and neroli oil, 6 drops frankincense and 1/4 cup almond oil.
*Add oils to a small stoppered jar and shake to blend.  Massage gently into the skin to firm it up and to combat stretch marks.

Rosewater Toner~ You will need: 2/3 cup rosewater, 2/3 cup witch hazel and 6 drop glycerin.
*Pour all the ingredients into a bottle and shake will before each use.

                         

Herb butters add a lovely finishing touch to cooked veggies, fist or chicken and are so easy to make!  All you need to do is beat your favorite fresh or dried herb9s0 into some softened butter, cover with some plastic wrap and chill until you’re ready to serve it up!
Here are some yummy Herb Butter Recipes to try this year!

Lemon & Fennel Butter ~ the flavor of fennel goes very well with fish or grilled corn on the cob!
1 Stick salted butter, softened
2 tbsp. chopped fennel fronds
zest of half lemon, grated
1/8 tsp. pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly blended; pat into a roll about the size of a tangerine, cover with plastic wrap and chill.  When ready to serve, cut into chunks~ very cute!

Cilantro & Scallion Butter
~ Use this on some new potatoes and enjoy the sweet savor of scallions blended with the pungency of cilantro!
1 Stick salted butter, softened
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
1 scallion (green onion) finely chopped.
Follow prep method above.

Chive Pepper Butter ~ So yummy on grilled chicken or roasted cod fillets!
1 stick salted butter, softened
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
1 tbsp. mixed peppercorns, lighted crushed
Follow prep method above.

Happy Day,
Jean