Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Weekend Kitchen at Homemaking Dreams

Here's what's going on in the kitchen at our house this weekend:

One thing I want to do this summer is to place cut flowers in the house. The Zinnias are a wonderful flower for cutting and they are almost ready. This bouquet is made up of yellow and orange Lantana and Day Lillies. The Day Lillies are not a good choice for cutting because they close at night and their life is over! But, the Lantana is great. It makes a great filler for the vase and they last a long time. The only problem for mine is that they are orange and so they won't go too well with the many pink and red flowers in the yard. Hopefully, some of the Zinnias will be orange, so that I can make a more peaceful arrangement of flowers.



I decided to go ahead and purchase a water bath canner. I figured for less than $20.00, it would be a great tool for homemaking. Our cucumbers are just beginning to bear and we don't have a huge cucumber patch, so I may be making small batches of pickles all summer. I estimate that 24 quarts would be plenty of pickles to last us a year. It would also be nice to have some extras to give to friends, neighbors and relatives. So my goal is about 30 quarts of pickles.




I also bought a jar lifter which is a necessity when canning. It worked well and made the job much easier.



My second batch of pickles was made in the new canner and consisted of 2 quarts. They turned out beautifully.



I am researching some more recipes that I can make in the new canner. Water bath canning is limited to pickle type recipes, jelly type recipes and tomatoes. Some possible choices are pickled squash, pickled okra, watermelon rind pickles and green tomato pickles.

We also found a used good quality, small chest freezer for sale and jumped on it. The freezer is fairly new, so it will be more energy efficient than an old freezer would be.



Right now it only contains some grocery store convenience foods, but as the summer goes on we will add frozen vegetables and meat bought on sale.



Here are some menu ideas I plan to implement this week:

Turkey polska Kielbasa cooked with onions and peppers served over rice

Hotdogs with the works, slaw

Meatloaf

Lasagna

Chicken Pot Pie

Jello with fruit

On any given day the side dishes will be based on what is coming out of the kitchen garden. Right now there are squash and cucumbers, so we might have fried squash, squash casserole or squash fritters. You just never know what form the squash will take around here!

This morning I am going to the grocery store and will spend some time planning and preparing for the upcoming work week.

11 comments:

Mrs. E said...

Hi Debbie,
Sounds like a very busy kitchen. I love Zinnas. Mine are starting to bloom too. Have a wonderful week end.
Hugs,
Elizabteh

Impera_Magna said...

Your pickles look delicious and a jar lifter is worth its weight in gold!

Pen Pen said...

Sounds like you are staying busy in your kitchen. I will be happy to pick something from my garden... soon there will be squash. I stopped in Apex and bought some squash and cukes yesterday, and plan to have them today with pork chops before I go to work. YUM!

Susannah said...

Dabbie....I really love your blog! You write about all of the things I am interested in. The new freezer will pay for itself(sp?) over and over. Can't wait to see what you can next.

Susannah

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Wow, you are so energetic. I love the pickles and so nice to be able to eat from your garden. Your menu sounds wonderful. The freezer will be put to good use. Great find. Hugs, Marty

thea said...

I love your planning ahead. the canning pot and the freezer. terrific.

ancient one said...

I use a pressure canner when I can food. It is so much faster. I have yet to see a store bought can of tomatoes that can even come close to home canned tomatoes. We cut back on all the garden for just the two of us, but did manage to can a few tomatoes last summer. We used them in soup.

Before they told us it was unsafe, I canned greenbeans in a water bath canner like yours and beets also. The food was good, but a friend convinced me to get the pressure canner and I've never looked back.. ha ha

Auntie M said...

Great blog, Debbie! Have you considered putting the pickles in pints? I do them in both sizes.

Glad you got the water bath canner.
And, you are correct on the items
to use it for. We especially like tomato juice and a few jars of canned peach halves. We love our frozen peaches, but there is nothing like a home canned peach half. Guess it takes me back to Mama's house.

I only use my pressure canner for green beans. I have used it for
peaches and for tomatoes and juice, but we prefer them done in
the boiling water bath.

Great that you found a freezer on
sale. What would I do without mine?

Denise said...

Nice flower arrangement.....I need to put another bunch of lilacs in my vase.

Here in Maine our canner is also used to boil our delicious lobster!

I have a great recipe for zucchini (sp?) relish if you are interested.

Deanna said...

Pickled green beans are a favorite around here (except for Husband).
You will LOVE your canner, particularly in February, when things are bleak and you have jars of summer in the pantry.

Rhonda said...

Enjoyed your post - have fun with the canning! Looks like you got a great deal on the freezer.

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