Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Immune Boosting Tonic

This recipe was given to us by a friend a few months ago and this is the first time we have made it. He says it has worked really well for his family.....hardly ever a cold or flu in the house!

Immune Boosting Tonic

1 T finely chopped garlic
3 T finely chopped onion
3 T finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 T prepared horseradish (or finely chopped fresh)
1 t dried cayenne powder
apple cider vinegar

Sterilize a one pint jar.

Put all of the above ingredients into the jar, then cover with the apple cider vinegar, filling the jar to the brim.

Let sit 2 to 4 weeks. Shake every day. The longer it sits, the stronger it becomes.

Strain into a clean jar.

We take a small amount of this every day, diluted in some water. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Using Our Solar Sun Oven

I can't stress enough how much we love our   Sun Oven . I use it almost every sunny day and have cooked everything from soups, breads, muffins and apple sauce to pasta dishes.

It's such a different experience cooking in a solar oven than in a regular oven. Some times the food cooks faster, sometimes slower depending upon the amount of clouds that pass by.

For us, the easiest things to cook are those that don't need careful watching; put all the ingredients in a kettle, place in the oven and point it towards the sun. Through out the day I simply reposition the oven towards the sun.

Today we have a pasta dish cooking. I put raw hamburg, raw pasta, seasonings, tomato sauce and a little water in the kettle and it's been cooking for the past few hours. I didn't measure anything, just threw it all together. Yesterday we made apple sauce- 3 batches.

Pasta In The Sun Oven
 The great thing about a solar oven is anyone with access to south facing sun and an outdoor area can use one, city or country, doesn't matter. It's one more way to become a little more self-sufficient. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Apple Recipe: Apple Chutney

We like this recipe because it allows us to make just one pint at a time. The recipe is easily doubled.

The chutney has a somewhat strong vinegar taste and is delicious with beef. The recipe is adapted from Home Made in the Kitchen: Traditional Recipes and Household Projects...

Apple Chutney

3 ½ c chopped apple (okay to leave the skins on if they are organic)
¾ c white vinegar
½ c honey
½ t turmeric
½ t ginger
pinch of cayenne
1/8 t crushed red pepper
½ t salt
1 T frozen orange juice concentrate

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.

Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer about 20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick.

While the mixture is cooking, sterilize either 1 pint jar or 2 half pint jars.

Once chutney is thick ladle into sterilized jars. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, or store in refrigerator.

Yield: 1 pint, or 2 half pints.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Latest Swarm of Honey Bees

We seem to get quite a few honey bee swarms around here, which is really bizarre because we have a hard time keeping our bees through the winter. This has lead us to believe that the bees prefer finding their own habitat; at least that's how we justify it.

These are photos of a swarm that was here last week.

We used to get empty hives to capture the bees into, but now we just let them do their own thing. Not great for honey production, but we are just looking to get enough for ourselves, which has been working out just fine. (Read here how we got our honey this Spring)

We set up empty hives and each year bees seem to move in on their own, with no help from us; sometimes they stay, sometimes not. There are always plenty flying around our apple blossoms and gardens.

We get great enjoyment out of watching the swarms; and we enjoy the bees doing their thing.

As my husband likes to say “Mother Nature has been doing a great job for all these years, why should we interfere”.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recipe For Easy Rhubarb Jam Using Honey Instead of Sugar

 This is a very easy jam recipe, and quite delicious!

Rhubarb Jam

3 quarts of rhubarb, cut into apx 1/2” pieces
3 cups honey (or more to taste)
3 T orange peel

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and let sit at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Transfer into a large kettle and bring to a medium boil, reduce heat to a slow boil and cook until thick, stirring often. Mixture will thicken in about 2 hours.

To can, ladle hot jam into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Store any extra jam in the refrigerator.

Makes about 5 pints.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Starting Rosemary Plants

I read an article a few years ago about taking cuttings from a rosemary plant to start new plants. It's one of those things that has been on my "to do" list, which is crazy because it is so simple I should have done it the moment I read the article.

All you have to do, according to the article, is fill a pot with good soil, snip a cutting from your rosemary plant and stick it in the soil. Water well and often.

I did these three cuttings about a month ago. The first few days I left the plants in the shade so that the soil wouldn't dry out too much between waterings. Then I set them in partial sun, where they have been ever since. 

The article said that after a month or so give the cutting a little tug to see if it is taking root. All three of these are. I water them almost every day since the pots are so small and they do dry out quickly.

Rosemary is one of those plants that I have a hard time keeping alive during the winter, so that will be the real test for these plants.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Making Mint Sun Tea

There are some really great ways to conserve energy/power. One of our favorite is to make sun tea, since so many people have  access to the outdoors (and sun) and can make it.

Sun tea can be made with different herbs, regular tea bags and even with spices added for variety; imagination is a great thing when it comes to making sun tea.

For a simple mint sun tea we simply:

Pack a jar full of mint leaves (stems included). The size of the jar depends upon how much sun tea you would like to have.

Fill the jar with water, being sure all the leaves/stems are covered.

Set jar in the sun. The more sun, the stronger the tea is.

We usually let ours sit out all day and bring it indoors in the evening.

We then strain the water from the leaves.

To sweeten, we heat some honey and water together and add it to the tea. We have also added honey to the tea while it is in the sun and let it all steep together.

A friend of ours adds fresh stevia leaves to her tea as a sweetener and has had great luck.

Since sweetness is a matter of preference, it is good to experiment to see what you like.

Store the strained tea in the refrigerator and enjoy on a hot summer day!