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Archive for the ‘Make It Yourself At Home’ Category


 

pictures_with_words copy 6Nectar of the gods. . . glorious coffee.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  No only for its amazing flavor and energy boost is offers, but as images-14one who suffers with migraines, caffeine has been prescribed to me to help control them.  For me, it works really well.  As much as I love my morning cup (or 2, or 3) of java, hot coffee is not appetizing in the middle of the day during the hottest parts of summer.  Iced coffee is always a great option which I partook in by stopping at a local espresso stand drive thru, but at nearly $6 for a large double shot, it can get really expensive.  Besides that, I’m busy in the garden most summer days.  I don’t have time to get to the coffee shops.  My solution?  Making it myself for a fraction of the cost.  If you love your iced coffee, you really need to try this simple and delicious recipe.  It just might destroy the relationship between you and your favorite barista.  Honestly, no coffee-house has anything better than this blend.  And you will save a LOT of money!

I had a pound of whole coffee beans in my freezer that I used in this demonstration.  However, a rough ground bag is just as good.  Buy the least expensive brand you can get at your local supermarket works just as well as the expensive ones.  So save yourself some money and avoid the expensive brands.

Plus, you will be getting three separate recipes in this one post.  Obviously the iced coffee.  But I will show you how to make vanilla extract that you can use to make your own creamer!  Check out the links and video.

Now, gather a few things you will need:

 

pictures_with_words copy 8 1 pound course ground coffee – I keep my coffee beans whole and grind them as I need them.  For this large batch, I use my wonderful Ninja. But you can buy whole beans at the store and grind them on the course setting next to the whole beans (if you grocer offers them).

1 gallon plus 1 quart warm water – This will yield right at a full gallon of espresso-type coffee

PrepperPenny’s Vanilla Creamer using my homemade Vanilla Extract (check out my You Tube video at the end of this page)

Large air-tight container – Tall and thin or short and round, just make sure it is airtight and will allow your coffee to stay saturated

Colander(s) – As you will see, I use several sizes to make sure my grounds are completely removed and my espresso is dark and rich but not foggy

 

Pour luke warm water over coffee grounds

Pour luke warm water over coffee grounds

Simply empty your 1 pound of coffee into your container and pour warm water over it.

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Place in airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours

In a large, airtight container, pour 1 gallon plus 1 quart of warm water.  Give a quick stir to moisten all grounds and place the lid on.  Place in your refrigerator for 24 hours.

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Straining equipment

You are almost done.  No stirring  or shaking.  After 24 hours, you have en amazingly strong cold espresso.  Now you need to strain it several times until you have removed any debris.  I start with a larger colander first, move to a finer mesh and finish with butter cloth.  You want to be sure to strain it enough to make a dark, rich coffee without any trace of the coffee grounds, otherwise your coffee will become cloudy.

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Dark enough that you can’t see through it

Your coffee will be  dark and strong you will not be able to see through it!  That’s exactly what you want.

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Now it’s time to assemble your iced coffee.   This is where you will use a combination to meet your specific taste.  I like my iced coffee creamy, so I mix coffee and creamer at a 50/50 ratio.  If you like stronger coffee, use less creamer and more coffee.  You can use your favorite plain or flavored creamer, the same kind you might buy in the grocers.  I make my own vanilla creamer which is what I use.  Click here for that simple recipe.

Add sugar or favorite sweetener, top with whipped cream and enjoy!  From experience, I can say that it will keep well in your refrigerator for at least two weeks.  Beyond that, it’s trial.  Mine has never made it past that two-week mark.

Iced Coffee

Rich iced coffee

Kick it into the stratosphere and make your own vanilla extract to use in your own creamer.  This is my video to make your own extract.  It’s great in this recipe and amazing for all recipes calling for it.

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As we all know, there are great tips and information about gardening, propagating and harvesting food from your garden.  A master gardener I am not.  I feel like I learn something new every day about growing my family’s food.  Watching the TV program, Through The Wormhole, I saw a doctor who is famous for cloning animals use honey as a growth hormone to start new plants in a demonstration for his approach to animal cloning.  I was fascinated because I know there are many uses for honey, but I did not know it was used in this way in the garden.

Lavender with cinnamon Cinnamon growth hormoneI’m sure many of you have seen this post going around Pinterest and FaceBook in using cinnamon as a growth hormone in starting new plants.  Well, I was excited and tried using it to propagate a new, beautiful lavender plant I got this year for Mother’s Day.  More than two weeks into it, I see nothing more than what I started with.  Clearly, the cinnamon will not work with lavender, at least not mine.  But this plant is so beautiful that I want to ensure to have plenty of it for years to come and having several copies of the same plant should help me meet that goal.

So, because the cinnamon is not working, I am trying honey.  Local and organic as it should offer the best local pollination in my opinion.  The uses for honey is vast.  I’ve seen many articles related to beauty, health and medicinal uses for it.  But I’ve not run across this purpose before I specifically started researching it.  From my research, I’ve decided to use the following recipe.

  • images-61 cup honey
    – Pure, or raw, honey is said to be better than regular store-bought honey (which has been processed) and yields the greatest results.
  • 3 cups boiling water
    – Mix the honey with your boiling water and allow to cool. Place this mixture in an airtight container (such as a mason jar) until ready to use, storing it somewhere away from light.

It sounds simple enough.  If you are interested in trying this method, click this link to find a well written article all about it.  I will let you know if and how this method works in comparison to the cinnamon method.

 

 

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apf_jar_doneThis is a delicious and easy recipe for always having apple pie filling on-hand and in your pantry.  This recipe is so easy and cost effective, you will never buy it in cans again.  Unlike store-bought pie fillings, you have complete control of the ingredients that go into it and can adjust the flavor to satisfy your unique taste.

This recipe does not have to be canned.  It can be frozen or can be used immediately.  But if you want to can it to build up your home store, it needs to be water bath canned for 25 minutes for quart jars.

The recipe calls for Clear Jel.  Please don’t use any other product because the results may not be favorable.  Here is a little information about this product from the Washington State University.

Clear Jel® is a corn starch derivative, and is a commercial thickening product used by bakeries and for frozen food. This product is used the same as flour or corn starch. Not only can it be used in preserved pie fillings but it can be used anywhere you would use flour or cornstarch as a thickener. It makes great clear gravy without the lumps, as well as puddings and sauces. It is used widely by bakeries and restaurants.

There are two types of Clear Jel®, “instant” and “regular”. “Instant” does not require heat to thicken. The product will thicken once the liquid is added. “Regular”, on the other hand, must be heated. When canning pie fillings, be sure to use the ‘regular’ Clear Jel® product.

For this recipe, use “regular” Clear Jel.

 

Apple Pie Filling
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: PrepperPenny via PickYourOwn.org
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 1 pie
This recipe is based on making 1 quart of pie filling. If you want more, just multiply the recipe by how much you want to make. Follow safe canning procedures by sanitizing your jar(s), lid(s) and ring(s). Process the canned pie filling in a water bath canner for 25 minutes.
Ingredients
  • 3-1/2 Cups Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar or you can replace with other sweetener
  • 5 Tbsp Clear Jel®
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Water
  • 3/4 Cup Apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh or Bottled Lemon Juice
Instructions
  1. Prepare you apples. Blanch them in 1 gallon of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and keep the hot cooked fruit in a covered bowl or pot.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and cook (stirring constantly) until the flavors marry and liquid thickens.
  3. Using your hot, sanitized jar(s), begin layering apples and liquid. The liquid will be thick so you will need to layer the apples, liquid, apples, liquid about 3-4 layers of each per quart jar until it is full.
  4. Wipe the rim of your jar(s), add the lid and ring and process in your water bath canner for 25 minutes.
  5. When making your 8″ pie, use as little of the liquid as necessary. This will make for a crispier pie crust and prevent it from being soggy. But I save it, heat it and pour it over the pie (and ice cream if serving it ala mode) as a delicious syrup.

 

Layer your ingredients

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apf_jar4 apf_jar5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo’s via PickYourOwn

 

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Cheesy-Potato-and-Bacon-Soup_1

 

 

A delicious soup from food storage by THRIVE Life.

Click here for the full recipe

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Holidays are great beyond just celebrating holy and other meaningful events in human history.  It’s a time to share meals, gather families and introduce traditions to our new generations.  Beyond that, holiday celebrations come with wonderful sales that allows families, especially those on tight budgets to fill their pantries with inexpensive but delicious food.  Easter is a perfect example of that.  Ham.  There are so many things to cook with ham and making leftovers into soups and stews provides for a variety of options that can feed a family for many months ahead.

First I will share a general recipe I follow.  I cook many things like this without actually measuring.  I did do my best to record what I did this time.  But keep in mind that this is a base recipe and you can add any other kinds of ingredients that you prefer.  You may want more carrots or you may want to add other vegetables.  Maybe you have a special spice that you want to add.  Do it!  The canning process will be the same.  Make it the way your family loves.

Canning Ham & Beans
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 90 mins
Total time: 2 hours
Serves: LOTS
Cut all ingredients into similar size pieces
Ingredients
  • 4 Pounds Dry White Beans
  • 3 Pounds of Baked Ham, cut into similarly sized pieces
  • 4 Tbsp Chicken Bouillon (Optional)
  • 5 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Medium Size Yellow Onions
  • 5 Large Carrots
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Smoked Paprika to add smokey flavor
  • Dried Parsley
  • Celery Salt
Instructions
  1. Clean and soak beans overnight
  2. Rinse Beans and return to large stockpot
  3. Add all ingredients
  4. Cover with water and cook for about an hour before proceeding to pressure canning

 

 

Canning Your Ham & Beans . . . Step-By-Step

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Let’s begin with a friendly reminder.  These scraps are perfect to save in the freezer until you have enough to make your own vegetable stock or for making meat and seafood stock.  So never throw them out.  I keep a one gallon ziplock bag in my freezer and am always dropping in all my fresh vegetable scraps.  And yes, the skins from my onions, too!  How about that for free food!


pictures_with_words copy 8After having cleaned, rinsed and soaked your beans overnight or for several hours, chop your veggies and ham and dump it all into a large stockpot.  Then cover it with water and put onto a low but sustained simmer.

2-13116 jar lifter in use LARGE

Now is the time to get your jars, rings and lids ready and gather all your canning utensils.  There are a few ways folks clean their jars.  Some run them through the dishwasher.  Personally, I wash everything in hot, soapy water then put into my oven at 200 degrees which gives me confidence that they are as clean and sanitized as possible.  It’s also a habit of mine to run my bare finger across the rim to check for any flaws or chips.  I also give a visual inspection of every jar to be sure there are no cracks or flaws in the jar.  Any jar that shows signs of flaws should be set aside and should never be used for canning.

Canning jars absolutely must be kept warm to receive the hot ingredients.  When I first began canning, I made a terrible mistake by not having them hot enough and had two jars fail (break) in the canner.  Lesson learned.  Now you want to add 2″-3″ of water and begin to heat your pressure canner.

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With all things ready, lets begin to can your soup.  Using a ladle and canning funnel, fill your hot jars with a 1″ head space.  Make sure there are no air bubbles lurking in your jar.  Using a plastic spatula, remove any bubbles.  Failing to do so could cause your jar to break in the canner.

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I can’t stress enough how important ALL sanitary measures are at every stage in canning.  But making sure you wipe the rims after filling your jars is as crucial as any.  Any trace of food or oil can prevent your jars from sealing, and can (and likely will) cause your food to spoil and go rancid.  When canning anything oily, like meat, I use white vinegar which will satisfactorily remove the oils.

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After having your lids and rings warmed in boiling water, carefully remove them and immediately place them on the jars.

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Before the wax ring on you lid can cool, place your ring on the jar and tighten it enough to hold the lid in place.  Don’t over tighten the rings.  Simply finger tighten it.  Immediately place your jar into the canner at this point.

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Once your canner is filled, place the lid on it and follow your specific canner guidelines and process your jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes in pint jars, 90 minutes in quart jars.

Allow the pressure in your canner to completely dissipate before trying to remove the pressure weight.  Once the pressure is zero, you may remove the lid.  However, everything is still very hot!  Please use proper caution and care.

pictures_with_words copy 2Using a canning jar lifter, remove your jars from your canner and gently place them onto a towel and carefully tighten the rings.  Leave your jars to cool for at least 10 hours.  When you remove your jars, you will see they are still boiling.  This is normal.  You will begin to hear that heavenly confirmation that all canners love so much.  The ping.  That is the indication that your jars are sealing properly.  Don’t be discouraged if one or more does not seal.  It sometimes happens.

test_jar_seals

Once your cans have set and cooled (usually overnight), remove the rings and test the seals.  As indicated above, you can test by sound by tapping a spoon on the lid (I have never done that), give a physical inspection looking to see if the raised nipple has con caved.  It is quite easy to see if a lid hasn’t sealed because the nipple will protrude if it didn’t seal properly.  If you are not quite sure, press on the center of the lid.  It should not give and should be hard.  I always pick up my jars by the very top rim.  If the lid isn’t sealed, it will pull off the jar.  If this happens, you can put your contents into a container and either refrigerate it and eat it within a few days, or freeze it for later use.

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Now you will want to wash each jar with hot, soapy water, add your label with the content and date you canned it.

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This batch I just canned wound up yielding 14 jars.  To help protect them, I put my jars back into the box they came out of.  Notice here, when I opened this box, I cut off the top of the plastic wrap leaving the bottom of it intact over the box.  If one of your jars happens to break or leak without you noticing it, the plastic will save you from having an even bigger mess.

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pictures_with_words copy 6I LOVE growing my own food.  I’ve been gardening and canning my produce for a few years.  As I learn and journey through self-reliance, I’m always open to and looking for ways to expand my options.  Sprouting seeds is my newest experiment and I am thrilled with the ease and outcome of it.  Now I know I will be adding more seed varieties to my long-term storage.  These are great for sustaining life in a SHTF world.  They are quick to grow and add a punch of nutrition when food might be scarce.

I will assume you are reading this article because you, like I had done, are researching to learn how to grow them yourself.  So I will address the simplest and basic’s for sprouting.  But I must lay out a couple of important points to give you some understanding.

What is a sprout?

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouted foods are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially. They are a prominent ingredient of the raw food diet and common in Eastern Asian cuisine.

Eating sprouts is said to date back over 5,000 years.  Chinese physicians prescribed them for healing many ailments and disorders.  Even in the bible, sprouts are written about in the Book of Daniel.

 

Bigl Parrots Sprout Blend Day dry0001

What seeds to use

About any dry seed will sprout.  Dry seeds are not dead, they are simply dormant.  Soaking your seed will bring it to life and offer you some very healthy and delicious food in just 3-5 days.

 

 

 

E coliCaution & Care

If not properly disinfected, all seeds have the possibility of carrying E. coli bacteria or other foodborne pathogens.  I was taught to disinfect my seeds prior to sprouting them by using a 2% bleach solution (1 tsp. bleach to 1 cup of hot tap water) for 15 minutes before allowing them to sprout.

 

 

 

 

pictures_with_words copy 14This is how I started my seeds.  Because I was doing it for the 1st time, I opted to use a seed blend that was pre-packaged.  Now I know that I can use about any kind of seed and will never spend $3.50 again.

You might have different equipment to use, but this is how I grew mine.   I used a 1 quart canning jar, ring and a nylon screen.  You can use cheese cloth or any other type of pourous top, but you will need to be able to rinse your seeds several times every day and they will need to be drained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bleach water on seeds

 

This is where I added 1 teaspoon of bleach into 1 cup of hot tap water.  I swished it around and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes.  (Note the cloudiness of the water) This protected us from growing seeds with E coli.  After 15 minutes, I ran clean water over it until the bleach was completely removed.  Then I started the sprouting process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here are the rinsed seeds, which are now covered in clean water.  The water is about 3 times the depth of the seeds and there is about 1 ½ tablespoons of Funugreek sprout seeds.  Allow the seeds to soak overnight or a minimum of 8-12 hours.  At this stage, keep the seeds away from direct sunlight.

 

 

 

 

 

RINSING

pictures_with_words copy 12After soaking your seeds, you must now begin the rinsing and draining process.  You do not want your seeds to sit in water, but they must be kept very moist.  After rinsing the seeds well several times, I carefully poured out the water and gently spread the seeds out into this layer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I then placed the jar at an angle to make sure the seeds were not sitting in water.  I’m still keeping the seeds out of direct sunlight.   From this point until harvest, you will need to rinse and drain your seeds this way four times a day.  Remember, the seeds need to be kept moist but not allowing them to soak in any pooled water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is a close up view of the seeds beginning to give up their delicious sprouts.   This is only about 15 hours after I began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Continuing rinsing and draining, you see the quick growth only 24 hours after beginning the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day two after rinsing and draining four times each day.  You can see how it grows so quickly and it is exponentially larger than in the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

pictures_with_words copy 4Closer look after I drained and laid them out on their side making sure they are not in standing water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 3 and they are perfect!  They are firm, crunchy and full of flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

pictures_with_words copy 2This basket is the full yield of the 1-½ tablespoons of seeds I began only 72 hours ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will do another good rinse that will remove the woody hulls.  I allowed them to drain completely and placed my sprouts in an airtight vegetable container.  They can be stored in the produce drawer in your refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

So you see how easy it is.  I now look forward to experimenting with many varieties of seeds and will expand it to be able to grow them from my 3 hens, too!  I hope this pictorial explains the ease of growing wonderful food on your counter right in your own kitchen.  Sprouts are great in soups, salads and sandwiches.  This variety has a strong flavor that I am going to use on my pizza this Friday!

 

Benefits of Sprouting

Sprouting Seeds for Food – Types of Seeds

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THRIVE Rice A Roni

I’ve always loved Rice-A-Roni!  I’m thrilled to have found this recipe to offer my family anytime.  And because it’s made with food storage, you can make up batches and store in jars or bags.  Great also for hiking and camping trips.  Just be sure to keep the onions, celery and spaghetti pieces in a separate bag (in the container with the other ingredients) so you can rehydrate them prior to sautéing them.   Here, you will control the ingredients.  To compare, here is the ingredients from the Rice-A-Roni box.

RICE, WHEAT FLOUR, DURUM WHEAT SEMOLINA, SALT, SUGAR, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT*, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONIONS*, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, PARSLEY*, GARLIC*, CHICKEN BROTH*, CHICKEN FAT, TURMERIC SPICE WHICH IMPARTS COLOR, HYDROLYZED CORN GLUTEN, NIACIN*, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, TURMERIC EXTRACT, FOLIC ACID, RIBOFLAVIN.

Really, if I can’t pronounce it or know exactly what it is or where it comes from, I think I don’t want to feed it to my family.  With THRIVE, you know what is in it.  No additives, preservatives or artificial flavors.  Now that’s reassuring.

THRIVE-Style Rice-A-Roni
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Roni via THRIVE Life
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 23 mins
Serves: 6
In snack-size ziplock bag, keep the onion, spaghetti pieces and celery separate so you can rehydrate them. All other ingredients can be layered or just
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1⁄3 C THRIVE Freeze-Dried Onion rehydrated
  • 1⁄2 C THRIVE Freeze-Dried Celery, rehydrated
  • 1 C Spaghetti Noodles, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 C White Rice
  • 1⁄2 tsp Sage
  • 2 1⁄2 C Water
  • 4 tsp THRIVE Chicken Bullion
Instructions
  1. Sautee onion, celery, and spaghetti pieces in butter over medium heat until spaghetti pieces are golden brown. Add rice and sage and stir until coated with butter. Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender.

 

celery_1Onionchicken-bouillon

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