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Monday, December 29, 2014

Canning Sweet Potatoes

My friend from Slogan Adventures stopped by the house the other day to show me some Norwex products, which I love, and to learn to can some sweet potatoes.  We did a little gossiping, she introduced me to kombucha, showed me how to clean my house with no chemicals, and I showed her how to can sweet potatoes.  What a sweet trade off!  

With the holidays coming up, what better food to can than sweet potatoes?  I mean, you could can pumpkin but yuck...sweet potato is way better. ;)  I do love everything pumpkin except pumpkin....weird huh?  Growing up in the south, the sweet potato is more common for fall baking so that it what I've stuck with.

When canning sweet potatoes you could go about it 2 different ways.  You can either boil them for about 5 or 6 minutes until their skins come off and then cut them into 1 inch cubes OR you can peel them and cut them into 1 inch cubes without boiling them.  Once you've got your taters cut up, raw pack them into jars.  Now, once again you can either cover them with salt and boiling water or you can cover them with a syrup.  I use an extra light syrup on mine which you can find in the Ball Blue Book of Canning.  I believe I used 1/4 cup of sugar to 5 cups of water.  Pour this over the potatoes to 1 inch headspace and pressure can quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 1 hour and 25 minutes or pints for 1 hour.
Let rest on the counter for 18 to 24 hours.  

Don't let those peels go to the trash.  Make sure you compost or find some starving (ha) chickens to give them to!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Canning Turkey Broth

The evening after Thanksgiving dinner consumed, the boys were watching football on the tube & I went into my happy place to put dinner away and start on turkey stock.  Being in the kitchen, preferrably alone, is my happy place at its finest.  

I've been on this kick where I'm trying to eliminate trash as much as possible, so making stock with a Thanksgiving turkey is an easy way to do that.  I took my two crockpots and divided the turkey carcass into them.  I took the onion, garlic, and rosemary that cooked inside the turkey and added into the crockpot along with a couple of bay leaves and a palmful of peppercorns.  I filled them water and set on low.  I ended up cooking it for almost 24 hours then I turned them off to cool.I strained the stock and put them aside to cool so I could skim the fat off the top.  

Once the fat is skimmed, I brought the stock to a boil and got my pressure canner ready.  Stock or broth is canned at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints.  I ended up with 5 quarts of gorgeous amber colored stock.  I tossed the cooked veggies to the chickens and the carcass was tossed in the trash.  Two uses out of one turkey is pretty good.

Do you have any tips on what else to do with a turkey carcass?   

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Home, A New Start

A week after returning from our honeymoon in Lake Tahoe, we closed on our house.  September & October have been very busy months but they are ones that have been full of so much excitement.  This was a big decision to make for us because we travel every couple of years with Joe's company.  It saddens me to think that in 5 months we may have to travel to another part of the country and leave our "A Whole Acre" behind, but I know we will always return.  

We are so in love with the home we chose and I love the feeling that my -future- children will grow up on this lovely property to make countless memories.

What have you accomplished this year?  Any big changes you've made in your lives?  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Building Post-Compost Tumbler

Thanksgiving was spent with my dad, stepmom, & Joe.  We had a wonderful time but Joe & I were antsy to start on a couple of outdoor projects since we had 65 degree weather for 2 days.  You can't ask for better temperatures in November.

Joe wanted (I needed him to do this pronto because I can't take chickens in my house anymore) to start on the chicken coop and I wanted to make my compost tumbler.  If you would like directions on this, please go to  and she can show you what to do.  I followed her directions to a "T" and it came out like a dream.

I plan on composting everything from scraps that the chickens won't eat, wood chips, mulched leaves, coffee grinds and filters, egg shells, and tea bags, just to name a few.  When composting, you shouldn't use dairy or meat or anything else that will spoil or mold.

Do you have plans to build a compost pile or tumbler?  What are your fail or success stories?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The 5 New Ladies

Finally not out-numbered by men, our household has gained 5 new ladies.  3 Red Sex Links & 2 Buff Orphingtons.  They spend their days chirping, pillaging through their wood chips looking for new treasures, and making big messes for me to clean up on a daily basis.

They are indoor chickens as of now and living a life of luxury.  I'm not sure what made me think that getting chicken at the end of October would be a good idea...but I did...and I'm glad I did.  They are a joy to have in the house and the 2 dogs love them.

We got them on October 31st when they were 2 weeks old, just 4 days after officially moving into our home.  They spent all of  a week and a half in their beginner stock tank where they learned to jump out onto the floor on day 3 of having them.  Joe built them a 4' by 4' pin until we could get their coop built and so they could no longer jump out onto the floor.  They are loving their new space.

They have started receiving scraps, and have had their wings clipped.  (Post on that coming soon.)  Our dogs enjoy gazing at them through the fencing, somewhat irritated that they aren't able to herd them.  It will be entertaining to see them out and about when they are able to graze outside.  

Do you have chickens?  Have you ever had indoor chickens awaiting their turn to go outdoors?