Spirited Vanilla Pears

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Spirited Vanilla Pears

Canned Pears

Supplies:

Pint size canning jars

Rings and lids

Slotted spoon

Canning tongs (to handle hot jars)

Water bath canner

 

Directions:

Sterilize pint jars and rings and lids.  Keep warm.

After you peel and cut the pears lengthwise, treat them against browning with a solution of citric acid and cold water.  My favorite pear is either a Kieffer or a Bartlett.

Make a batch of light syrup.  Use 5 ½ cups water and 2 cups sugar.

Heat the pears through in the syrup, about 15 minutes.  To each jar, add ½ Tbsp. (tablespoon) Kahlua (my preference) or brandy and about a ½-inch piece vanilla bean.

Using a slotted spoon, add pears to sterilized jars.  Depending on the size of the pears, and how you cut them, you may get four or five pears in a pint jar. Fill the jars with syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe the rims and seal the jars.

Boil (water bath canning) for 20 minutes.  After 24 hours, check seal by pressing the middle of the canning lid…if the center moves up and down, the seal is bad.  Put that jar in the refrigerator and enjoy.  They are delicious!

pear

Simple Seasoned Burger and Potato Foil Dinner

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Simple Seasoned Burger and Potato Foil Dinner

Flavors blend beautifully while these foil packets grill, and your entire dinner is ready in one package, and is delicious.  No fuss; no mess.  Credit:  Pillsbury Recipes

Hamburger Potato Foil Dinner 3

 

Ingredients

             small new potatoes, unpeeled, quartered

       1     teaspoon seasoned salt

       1      teaspoon Italian seasoning

       1      tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

       1      pound   frozen lean ground beef patties (about 1/4 lb each)

       1      cup frozen cut green beans

 

Steps

  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut four 18×12-inch sheets of Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil; spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. In medium microwavable bowl, toss potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and the oil to coat. Microwave on High 4 minutes or just until potatoes are fork-tender.
  3. Place 1 beef patty and 1/4 cup of the green beans on each sheet of foil; sprinkle patties with remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Top each evenly with potatoes. Wrap each packet securely using double-fold seals, allowing room for heat expansion.

Hamburger Potato Foil Dinner 1

  1. When grill is heated, place packets on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill over medium coals; cover grill. Cook 30 to 40 minutes, turning packets over once halfway through cooking, until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160ºF and potatoes are tender. Carefully open packets to allow steam to escape.

Hamburger Potato Foil Dinner 2

Simply Grateful

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One way to simplify our lives is to simplify our attitudes.  When we look into our hearts and begin each day being grateful for what we have that’s good and positive, we rid our lives of the stress that negativity creates.  Below is a partial list of things that I am grateful for (I continually add new things as they come to mind.).

  1.     First and foremost, my salvation.
  2.      My intimate, personal relationship with Jesus.  Without Him, I would have no hope.
  3.      God’s Word (Bible)…my instruction manual; my words of wisdom and comfort.
  4.      God’s mercy.
  5.      My birth family, because without them I would have no life.
  6.      My adoptive family, because they are the ones who raised me.
  7.      My amazingly wonderful husband, who is my best friend and partner in  this journey.
  8.      My five amazing children, ranging from 46 to 13.  They have been my source of pride, joy, laughter, and some tears.
  9.      My  numerous foster children, who taught me to love someone through the midst of their pain, and then to let them go.
  10.      My grandchildren…8 living and 3 who are in a heavenly nursery.  They are the legacy that we leave behind to validate our lives.
  11.      My siblings:  3 living; 3 not.
  12.      My source of enjoyment; my five senses:  sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.
  13.      My best girl friend Prisca.  I love her laughter, her wisdom, her common sense,  her honesty, her friendship, and her cooking.
  14.      President Donald J. Trump!  I know there are a lot of liberals who don’t agree with him…even some who hate him…but, I think he is a true Christian man who is good for America.  I believe he is God’s answer to long-time prayer for a better America.  I believe he wants to rebuild its wealth through debt reduction and by bringing jobs back home, to rebuild our military strength and to give our military and veterans respect through giving them the benefits  they deserve and need. I believe he loves America and truly cares about its future.   (Please don’t comment in hate.  You are entitled to your feelings, as am I.)
  15.      The ability and freedom to homeschool my children.
  16.      White, fluffy clouds.
  17.      Gentle rains.
  18.      Quiet moments.
  19.      Fresh water.
  20.      Christian movies.
  21.      Good police officers.
  22.      Homeopathic treatments.
  23.      Money in the bank.
  24.      Baby giggles.
  25.      A baby’s hands.
  26.      Laughter.
  27.      The four seasons.
  28.      Hot showers.
  29.      Sweatpants.
  30.      Daytime dreams.
  31.      Nighttime dreams.
  32.      Prayer partners.
  33.      Sweater weather.
  34.      Good books.
  35.      Blanket forts.
  36.      Puppy kisses.
  37.      Family traditions.
  38.      Creativity.
  39.      Farmers’ markets.
  40.      Coffee.
  41.      Family vacations.
  42.      Freedom.
  43.      Rainbows.
  44.      Light jazz.
  45.      Forgiveness.
  46.      Sleep.
  47.      Homesteading.
  48.      Second chances.
  49.      Holidays.
  50.      Entrepreneurial opportunities……..

Meeting Spencer

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Emma meeting Spencer 9 Jun 17  Sweet face  Close up of Spencer

Yesterday morning, we picked up Spencer.  She is a 7-week-old Vizsla puppy who will begin training right away.  Our goal is that she becomes a Support Dog for me.  We will immediately begin socializing her around people and other animals.

She begins her Puppy Training Class the second week in July, when she will be ten weeks old, and have most of her puppy shots.  That will include very basics of knowing her name, sit, coming when called, watch me (or focus), walking on a loose leash, basic manners and problem prevention, leave it, take it, drop it, and avoiding distractions.  Of course these commands will not be perfected in the puppy class, just introduced and practiced.

Then she will take an intermediate class where those commands will be perfected, adding more distractions, duration, and distance.  We will add more commands such as heel, stand, stay, waiting at doors, prolonged sits and downs, take it, and release.  We will also begin adding commands that will help her to be of service for me.

Her third set of classes will be the Advanced Class.  We will continue to strengthen and perfect all previous commands.  We will work on manners and behavior while out and about, sitting politely for petting, advanced heeling with distractions, and transition away from training aids and treats.  We will work on anything needed to prepare her to earn the American Kennel Club 10-step test toward a Canine Good Citizen certification.

Because of my health issues, and my being confined to an electric chair,  my teenage daughter Abigail will be helping me, and doing the majority of the physical training with Spencer.  We are super excited to begin this journey and will keep you updated through both of our blogs:  https://simpleabundancehomestead.wordpress.com and https://agooddogisahappydog.wordpress.com .

 

Simply Salsa Chicken Foil Dinner

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Simply Salsa Chicken Foil Dinner

Make this fun, all-in-one chicken dinner in the oven or on the grill for a quick, flavorful meal.  We used to call them Hobo Dinners.  Credit:  Pillsbury Recipes.

Ingredients

2      cups Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)

2      cups uncooked Minute™ instant white rice

1      cup frozen whole kernel sweet corn, thawed

1      medium red bell pepper, chopped

2      tablespoons butter, melted

1      teaspoon dried oregano leaves

4      boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 oz each)

1/2   teaspoon salt

1/4   teaspoon pepper

1      cup Old El Paso™ Thick ‘n Chunky hot salsa

1      cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend (4 oz)

 

Steps

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 (18×12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Spray with cooking spray.  If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, use 2 pieces of regular foil.

In medium bowl, mix chicken broth and instant rice; stir and let stand about 20 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in corn, bell pepper, melted butter and oregano.

Simply Salsa Chicken 1

Divide rice mixture evenly among foil pieces (about 1 1/4 cups on each piece). Place chicken breast on rice. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over chicken. Top each chicken breast with 1/4 cup salsa.

Simply Salsa Chicken 2

Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place packs on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 minutes. Rotate packs 1/2 turn; cook 9 to 11 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F). Remove packs from grill. Carefully fold back foil. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cheese; let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Simply Salsa Chicken 3

To make in oven: Place packs on cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F 35 to 40 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F).

 

Chigger Relief

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The one thing I hate about this time of year is chiggers!  Pesky little critters that leave red, itchy, bites that allow for no relief.  But, in all of my research, I have found a new form of relief for the torment.

Disclosure:   The following is not under any circumstances intended as medical advice, or intended to be used in place of a physician .

Recipe:   Pine Sap Drawing Salve

Gather as much pliable pine sap as you can.  Put it in a clean container that can be thrown away when you are finished.  Place the container in a pan of water and heat on the stove until the sap is melted enough to stir.  Use something disposable for stirring.

Add an equal amount of tallow, using just enough that it is not  real sticky.  Continue heating until the mixture is melted and well mixed.  Cool.

Pour into disposable plastic containers that have lids.  I like to use empty prescription bottles.  Label.

Put a dab on the chigger site and cover with a band-aid, or bandage, as needed.  Repeat for a couple of days and they will be gone!  RELIEF!!!

*  Note:  It is a great drawing salve for splinters that refuse to come out.

Homesteading

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I love the simplicity of a homesteading life.  Simplicity doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard work; it is.  Simplicity is a frame of mind…that sense of peace, joy, and happiness that comes from doing what you love; what you are called to do.  And I am called to teach my children to love the Lord and to live a life that is centered on Him, rather than the world.

Homesteading includes not only making a self sufficient living off the land through growing your own food and raising animals, but it includes teaching those skills to our children (homeschooling), and our children’s children, so they can continue living that life.

There are many ways to monetize a homestead.  One of our favorites is to raise chickens.  Farm fresh eggs are a really big, growing market.  The eggs can be sold from home or at a farmers market.  We can sell chicks to other farmers and homesteaders.  We also use the chickens for meat.  (You can do the same thing with ducks.)

Chickens

We have raised  rabbits.  They can be sold as pets, or for 4H projects.  They can be processed, or sold, for the meat.  The pelts are sought after for coats, accessories, or even for crafts.  Angora rabbit fur can be plucked and spun into very valuable yarn.

IMG_0434

One of our favorite animals to raise is goats.  We have raised Nigerian Dwarfs, Nubians, and Boers.  The Nigerians are a small dairy goat, that gets about knee-high at their shoulders.  They give about a quart to a half gallon of sweet milk a day.  The Nubian is a larger animal, and gives a gallon, or more, milk a day.  The Boer is a meat goat, rather than dairy.  All three breeds can be butchered for the meat though.  They can be sold for the meat, milk, for breeding, or as pets.  But goats are a herd animal and you need at least two, to keep them out of trouble.  Not only is the milk great for drinking, you can use it to make cheese, cheese curd, butter, yogurt, cheese cake, and soap.

Nubian goats
Nubians Enjoying the Sun

Beekeeping is another great way to make money.  You can build beehives to sell, or to rent to other homesteaders, or farmers, to help with pollination.  You can process and sell the honey.  You can make and sell beeswax candles, or just sell the beeswax.

And then there is the garden.  We have had to make a few changes in our gardening.  Rather than the regular garden in the ground, we have changed to raised-bed gardens due to the fact that I am confined to a mobile chair.  My husband built wonderful raised beds that measure 3′ x 3′, and are at just the right height for me to sit in my chair and be able to work the soil and harvest the plants.  Not only do we have a wonderful variety of food on the table, but we can sell young plants and the produce at farmers’ market.

Raised Bed Garden

In order to monetize your homestead, it is important to “Brand” yourself.  You need nice packaging and labels for your products.  Your homestead needs a name.  You need to reach out to your community so they know who you are, and the quality of your products.  Our homestead is called the Rocking Bar M Farm.  Our logo is a bar and M over a rocker…

Rocking Bar M Logo