Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Q & A: How Do You Can Potatoes?



Homegrown potatoes are so good canned up and I've recently had several to ask how I do it.

So, here you go ....

Wash and scrub potatoes

Peel potatoes

Cube potatoes (our personal preference is abut half inch in size) and place them in water in a large pot.  Make sure the potatoes stay completely under water while you're cubing them to keep them from browning.  I do not add anything to the water to prevent browning.

Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain.

While you're working with the potatoes and they are boiling, sterilize jars and get lids and rings ready.

Fill jars with potatoes, adding 1 teaspoon salt to each quart or 1/2 teaspoon to each pint, and cover with hot water (not the water you boiled them in).

Remove air bubbles.

Clean rim of jar, put lid on and screw on ring.

Process quarts 40 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure in a pressure canner.  Process pints 35 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner.

We enjoy these fried, in soups and stews and in casseroles.

 patsi
A Working Pantry

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This post linked to: HomeAcre Hop #109


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This is Why! part 7











Previous entries can be found HERE.

Thus far we’ve talked about how I use leftovers to help stock my pantry, how I shop to fill my pantry, how I use the great outdoors to help keep my pantry filled and how I fill my pantry through food preservation.  In this issue we’re going to talk about using our calendars to help us stock our pantries.

Calendars????

Yes ma’am, read on …

In addition to bargain shopping on an ongoing basis for everything we put in our pantry I also shop with a focus using a yearly stock up schedule.  I try to purchase items when they are typically at their lowest prices and for the area I live in it looks like the following …

(I buy as much as I can and preserve it!)

67.   In January I focus on hog jowl and collards

68.  In February I focus on candy.  You can find a fact sheet I did on Preserving Candy HERE.

69.  In March I focus on meats of all kinds

70.  In April I focus on ham

71.  In May I focus on beef, chicken and strawberries

72.  In June I focus on blueberries and strawberries

73.  In July I focus on beef, chicken and peaches

74.  In August I focus on fruits and vegetables

75.  In September I focus on beef and chicken

76.  In October I focus on candy

77.  In November I focus on celery, canned soups, spices, baking supplies, butter, ham, turkey, cranberries

78. In December I focus on baking supplies, ham, celery, canned soups, spices, butter, candy

79.  In addition to a monthly focus, I throw in a challenge or two throughout the year like   ‘this month I want to add 100 items to my pantry’ or a similar challenge.
 
In case you haven't noticed, I am very serious about keeping a well-stocked pantry!

Okay, I’ve shared with you how I use the calendar to help me fill my pantry, how about you?  Are there certain times of the year when you can get better deals on items you stock in your pantry?

Your comments are what will make this series more helpful so please share your wisdom.

To see how I incorporate all these ways in my daily life, join me at A Working Pantry.

patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Q & A: How Do You Can Mushrooms?



This is a question I received from more than one person last week, here's the tutorial I promised ...

The recipe can be found in Growing and Canning Your Own Food by Jackie Clay and in the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.


I purchased these mushrooms for $.79/box at Aldi's last week.


I placed pint jars in the oven to sterilize while I prepared the mushrooms. 



The mushrooms are in the sink ready for washing.  I washed them one by one to make sure that I got all the dirt off of them.

Put them in a big pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes.


Drain and pack in pints or half-pint jars only. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint or 1/4 teaspoon salt to half-pints.  Fill each jar with hot water. Remove air bubbles.  Clean rim of tops of jars, add lid and ring.


Process half pints and pints for 45 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
  
 patsi
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This post linked to: HomeAcre Hop #109


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pantry Challenge #8 ... 2015



If you missed the A Working Pantry Facebook kick-off festivities on Monday, you really missed something special.  We played a point game that had 12 clues which were given one at a time throughout the day.  Each clue had participants doing different tasks.  By the 12th clue, we had visited, chatted (I laughed so much my husband asked me twice what was so funny), did math, counted multiple items online and in our homes, discovered that empty jars can be a downfall, learned new things and bonded into a community.  If you participated or cheered others on, I want to say thank-you from the bottom of my heart for making the event everything I hoped it would be.  

The weather has been so unusually cold for our area this week that much of our efforts have centered around just staying warm and taking care of the animals … and trying to keep my asthma under control (these frigid temperatures are not an asthmatic’s friend) 

So let’s see what I got done … 
 

My to-do list from last time:   

Can collards … Didn’t get done! I’m not sure these survived our unusually frigid temperatures this week.  I need to venture out to the garden and check on them. 
Make turmeric capsules … Didn’t get done!

In addition:

I earned enough Swagbucks for 2 more $5 Amazon gift cards.  I’m holding on to the points until next month when I’ll be eligible for the 450 Swagbucks for $5 again (instead of the 500 for $5 deal after you reach a certain limit).


I used the last of my green tea bags so I went to the part of my pantry where I keep tea bags vacuumed sealed in jars and replaced the empty jar with a full one.  My husband drinks black tea and his tea bag jar was empty as well, so I just reached into my pantry and pulled out another jar of black tea bags that had also been vacuum sealed.

I used some toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer lint that I had made earlier to help start a fire in our wood stove this week.  Like a lot of others, our area has been experiencing some unseasonable cold, cold temperatures and we have been utilizing our wood stove daily.

I opened up some home-canned chicken to use in the casserole I told you about in this post.  The recipe didn’t call for using the broth so I pulled out a freezer container, poured the broth in it and froze it.  I also froze the leftover chicken that I didn’t use in the recipe.

I added more egg shells to my growing supply that I’m saving in the greenhouse.  I should have plenty when it comes time to plant tomatoes.

We stopped in at Sam’s Club while out running errands one day but didn’t find any bargains, however we did walk out with 2 more of those huge 'free' muffins that we got the last time we went.

I found mushrooms on sale at Aldi’s for $.79/package.  This is a really good price so we purchased 12 packages. We brought them home and I canned them.  I added 7 pints to my pantry.  If I get any more money before the sale goes off I’m going to buy more and can them as well.

While at Aldi’s we found 15 oz cans of organic tomato sauce on clearance for $.59/can. We bought 10 cans and added them to our pantry.  Here again if I get more money, I’m going back and get more to add to my pantry.

One of the members of our A Working Pantry Facebook group mentioned a method taught by Wendy Dewitt about knowing what you should have in your pantry.   I thought it was a really good way of making sure you kept in your pantry what you would use instead of taking up precious space with things that got left on the shelf past the expiration date!  So, I started a list this week of everything we ate and every ingredient we used to prepare for it.  I’ll do this for a week, make a master list and then do it for another week.  I hope to do this for a month and by then I should have not only a really good idea of what should go in my pantry, but I’ll also have a list of a month’s worth of meals to do my menu planning from.

God has been at it again!   Praise for my Heavenly Father has been flowing from my heart all week!  I told you in this post that we had been able to reduce our financial deficit from $863 per month to $501 per month.  This week we are jumping up and down with joy as we tell you that that deficit has now been reduced to $101 per month.  The source of income that we lost has been temporarily replaced from another source through the end of this year. This gives us more time to work on a permanent solution to our loss of income/increase in outgoing expenses.  God is so good!  You can bet that we’re going to be very diligent to build our pantry up even more than it was before our sudden income reduction and to work harder to pay off as much of our debt as possible for the rest of this year.  Can I just say it again … God is so good!  Thank you for laboring with us in prayer.

New on A Working Pantry Blog this week:  I added a new item to the Free Bible Studies and Devotionals for Women Page … Mary Rose and Me!

I also added two new ‘free’ downloads on the download page, Freezing Bulk Bacon and Preserving Candy, HERE!

We’re starting a new series on A Working Pantry Facebook group tomorrow (Monday) titled ‘Where Do I Put It?’  It will be about finding a place in our homes to put our pantry items.  You’re invited to come join us HERE.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Make turmeric capsules
Check on the status of the collards and hopefully can them!

Here’s to a week of ‘NOT’ frigid temperatures ... we hope!!!!!!!

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

 patsi
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This is Why! part 6


 

 




Previous entries can be found HERE.

Thus far we’ve talked about how I use leftovers to help stock my pantry, how I shop to fill my pantry and how I use the great outdoors to help keep my pantry filled.  In this issue we’re heading into the kitchen and talk about how I fill my pantry through food preservation.

51.  I re-can store bought #10 cans of food.  I’ve re-canned tomato sauce, bbq sauce, hominy, and black olives, etc with great success.  I’ve found that prices are much cheaper when buying in #10 cans as opposed to smaller containers.

52.  I use a dehydrator and dry fruits, vegetables and herbs.

53.  I use a food chopper to grind dehydrated vegetables into vegetable powders.

54.  I use a food chopper to grind dehydrated fruits into fruit powders.

55.  I vacuum seal and fill my freezer with things such as fruits, vegetables, and meats to name a few.

56.  I pressure can meats, vegetables and nuts.

57.  I use the water bath method for fruits.

58.  I use a vacuum sealing machine to vacuum seal things for the freezer as well as some items that are shelf stable.

59.  I use a vacuum sealing machine along with jar attachments to preserve things such as tea bags, candy, some cereals, etc.

60.  I oven can lots of different things.  Here’s a free e-book that I wrote on oven-canning.

61.  I dry can (pressure can) nutmeats.

61. I make sour kraut by using the method of fermenting.

62.  I make jams and jellies.

63. I make my own beef broth and pressure can it.

64.  I also make my own chicken broth and pressure can it.

65. I render lard using my crockpot.


66. I use a roaster to cook down sauces before canning.


Okay, I’ve shared with you how I use the different methods of food preservation to help fill my pantry, how about you?  What food preservation methods/tools do you use to preserve your food?

Your comments are what will make this series more helpful so please share your wisdom.

To see how I incorporate all these ways in my daily life, join me at A Working Pantry.

patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook.

This post contains affiliate links.

Q & A: How Do You Earn Swagbucks?



 I’ve been asked by several people lately, who know that I earn Swagbucks to help buy groceries, how I do it.  So I thought I would pull together some tips and things that I do that help me meet my Swagbucks goal every day.  Yes, I have a Swagbucks goal and it is determined by what I want to earn each month.  I am by no means an expert so if you know of something not listed below please share.

I have SBTV Mobile on my phone … you can earn up to 36 points daily.  Make sure you’re phone is using wi-fi though.

Daily Poll … you can earn one point daily plus I take advantage of offers that pop up after answering the poll question. 

NOSO … you can earn 2 points daily on this.

Under the ‘Play’ tab I play a game called Swag Jump. It is very simple and doesn’t take a lot of time.  You can earn 2 points for every two times you play.  You can earn up to 10 points daily.

Under the ‘Watch’ tab you’ll find Swagbucks TV and for every 10 videos you watch you earn 3 Swagbucks.

I earn Swagbucks by referrals.  Every time someone joins Swagbucks through my link and earns their own Swagbucks, I earn a small percentage.  (A great big thank you to all who have done this!)

I print off coupons through Swagbucks and earn points when I use them.

I take survey’s.

I signed up for the Swagbucks mobile phone alert so I could get bonus swag codes.  They are time sensitive.

These are the things that I’m currently doing.  I’ve never used their ‘shop and earn’ feature and would be interested in hearing from anyone who has and what their experience has been. 

Anyone who can add anything to this list, please do so in the comments below!

Thanks!
Patsi
A Working Pantry

3/16/15 Update: 

Here are a five quick tips that have helped me with swagbucks:
(1) I set a purpose/goal for every dollar I earn in both swagbucks.  I literally go to Amazon and pick out an item I am working toward being able to buy and put it in my cart. Knowing what I'm working towards helps keep me motivated to keep on keeping on. My last swagbucks paid for purchase was a $30 jar of whey protein. My next swagbucks purchase I'm working toward is essential oils.
(2) Routine is crucial for me. I try to do the bulk of my swagbucks in the mornings before my day gets to hopping.
(3) If I'm having trouble meeting my goal I call in reinforcements ... my husband.
(4) Swagbucks sets a goal for me but I also have a goal I set for myself that depends on how fast I want to earn the points needed for the gift cards I'm wanting and ...
(5) I have to have the right mindset and realize that it’s work!


If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you! 

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Oldie but Goodie: Zucchini Flour



Zucchini is prolific in our garden and I’ve been on the search for ways to use it.  Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Zucchini Bread 

Zucchini Pineapple

Zucchini Flour

Yes, you read that correctly …  zucchini flour.  Here’s how to make it:

Wash and peel the zucchini

Using a carrot peeler, ‘peel’ the zucchini until it is all in small strips.  I used the zucchini that had gotten BIG.   I also sometimes peel the zucchini and slice it into 1/8 inch slices.  In fact, having tried both ways I think I prefer the later, but that's just my personal preference.  Both ways work fine.

Place in dehydrator and dry.

When drying is complete, put the dried zucchini strips in a blender, food processor or chopper and grind it into flour.

Okay, so now we have zucchini flour, what do we do with it?   Here are some ideas:

Substitute 1 cup for flour in bread recipes ...

As a filler in meatloaf, burgers, etc ...

or in squash/zucchini patties.

What are some things you do with zucchini?
 
patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

 You can also follow me on Pinterest and on Facebook

 This post contains affiliate links.

Update 2/17/2015 ... I've been asked what kind of dehydrator I use, the links above don't seem to be working so I'm trying it this way.  This is the dehydrator that I have and use along with the food chopper and carrot peeler mentioned above.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pantry Challenge #7 ... 2015



I’m sending this out a day early due to the prep work I’ll be doing tomorrow night for our Working Pantry Facebook kick-off on Monday.

I know this is totally silly and at any other time in our lives, this would not be as an enjoyable task, but given our current financial situation, this was just plain fun … we got to go grocery shopping this week!!!!!  We had just a bit over $100 that we could spend and we bargain shopped and stretched that $100+ to the max.  Read on to see what we added to our pantry! 

My to-do list from last time:   

Can collards … Nope, didn’t get done!
Make turmeric capsules … this either!

In addition:
My husband brought in a bouquet of daffodils he cut from our yard this week. He does this for me every year … he knows I love daffodils I love that man!  When he brings in the daffodils we know spring is not far away.

Daffodils are not the only signs of spring at our house, my lemon balm, nettles, plantain and elderberry bushes are leafing out and coming up.

We used the last of a package of dental floss and instead of buying a new one I replaced it with one from my pantry.


 
I packaged up valentine treats for my grandchildren and put them in the mail this week.  I used part of our grocery money to mail the packages.  It’s important to us, even though we are far away from all our grandchildren, that we are an active influence in their lives.  Right now they are all under the age of 2 … such fun ages.  They don’t know us real well yet, in fact one of them we haven’t even met … yet, but we intend to be the best long distance grandmommie and granddaddy possible.  Have I mentioned that we love being grandparents!  We feel like the small amount of grocery money we spent on postage to mail these valentine treats to our grandchildren is well worth any sacrifice we might have to make … after all, we’re building relationships with our grandchildren … groceries can be replaced … good relationships with our grandchildren can’t!  The silly little things that we do for them now will hopefully help in building strong relationships with them as they grow up.  You will notice that none of these things cost very much money, we’re not trying to buy relationships with our grandchildren, we’re just trying to build them! 

We price matched a head of cabbage at Walmart.  Walmart’s price was $.58/lb while another local grocery store had it on sale for $.39/lb.



We found these M & M's on sale for $.25 each.  We purchased enough to use in the valentine treats we sent our grandchildren and in treats I gave to the children in the Sunday school class I teach each week.
 
 
I completed this little apron for the 3 year old twin girl that asked me to make one for her in this post.  I still have to make one for her twin brother … she specifically asked for an apron for her and her brother.   (I used materials I had on hand.)

I pulled a meatloaf that I had previously put together and frozen, out of the freezer to have for a meal one day.   It was a particularly busy day and being able to pull a freezer meal out of the freezer, thaw it, cook it and have it for dinner was so nice.

I earned enough Swagbucks for another $5 Amazon gift card this week.  This makes $25 in Amazon gift cards I’ve earned. 

We got up early one morning to go to Sam’s Club and upon entering the door we were offered muffins, coffee or fruit.  We each took a muffin (they were individually wrapped) and the greeter said I could have a banana too.  When we got home I put the muffins in a freezer bag and froze them (these kind of muffins are definitely not low-carb).  We’ll bring them out for a snack the next time the twins come for a visit.  What did I do with the banana … I brought it home too and cut it up into chunks.  I filled two snack baggies with enough banana chunks/slices to make a smoothie each and added them to a quart freezer bag.  Snacks and smoothie ingredients and we hadn’t even started ‘bargain’ shopping yet.

Here are the bargains we found at Sam’s Club that day ….
 


Chicken of the Sea Premium Shrimp Tempura from the refrigerator section.  Regular price ... between $8 - $10/box ... clearance price $.51/box.  The expiration date on each box was May, 2016.  We purchased 24 boxes.  These shrimp are breaded and since we’re eating low-carb after we cooked the shrimp we pulled the breading off.  It came off really easy and the shrimp stayed intact.



Jamba Organic Smoothies, Organic Strawberries Wild. Regular price, between $5 - $8 each …. clearance price $.51 per bag.  We purchased 12 bags.  This will make a lot of smoothies!

We also purchased bacon, sausage, milk, lemons, limes, hot dogs, hot dog chili, mushroom soup, cauliflower, peanut butter, pepperoni, frozen vegetables and onions.  We should be all set to go another month without buying any more groceries.

I found a spool of ribbon on clearance for $.10.  I also found two other spools for $.50 each. I purchased them, brought them home and added them to the gift wrapping part of my pantry.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Since I didn’t get anything on my to-list done last week, I’ll just move them to this week …

Can collards
Make turmeric capsules

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

  patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

 You can also follow me on Pinterest

This post contains affiliate links.
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