Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.

It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

Stupidity reined!

For the past month I’d desperately needed to clean out the pantry and kept putting it off.  It got really messy with summer and canning then I bought a bunch of items in bulk…..It was a messy job I just kept putting off.  The night before Thanksgiving I couldn’t find anything in there…so I had enough, got real stupid and started emptying shelves……deep shelves.

Mr.Fix-It thought I’d lost my mind and bravely stayed to help & watch the comedy show.


My entire kitchen quickly became trashed. 


Hour and a half later, it was all cleaned up with neat, reorganized and clean shelves. 

Was I ever surprised and upset with myself over some of my finds of expired food.  I thought I had a decent rotation system in place but evidence of full trash bags proved me very wrong.   Such a waste & I and now have a better rotation system in place.


Just in case you ever run into a syrup bottle stuck to a shelf & hot water won’t loosen it (Not that it has ever happened to me *Snort*) ..a blow dryer on high will loosen that sucker right up.   


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Cranberry Debate

Is a biggie in our house.

Growing up, Mom cooked the most wonderful cranberry sauce. Real cranberry sauce…boiled till the berries popped, sugar added and cooled in the fridge.   Thanksgiving and Christmas would not be the same with out it. For me it was a memory scent of Christmas. We gobbled it up with our meal and later slathered on leftover turkey sandwiches.  A turkey sandwich just is not the same without cranberry sauce.   Then there was the year cranberry jelly appeared on the table..along with cranberry sauce.  Not just cranberry jelly, but cranberry jelly from a can.( <---insert ominous voice)  My Dad loved it…& had to pretend he didn’t.  I don’t think I’d ever seen my Momma so insulted……

The first Thanksgiving after Mr. Fix-It & I were married, I made cranberry sauce.  And he asked what is that…where was the cranberry jelly and……the…cranberry relish he grew up eating!  What?!?!?!


What the heck is cranberry relish?????

Well……(insert a *fluffy huff*)

It’s on the cranberry package ……and oh so good! 

Sweet and sour at the same time….similar to the candy sweet tarts. As the years went by cranberry jelly and cranberry relish were what has graced our table. 

Today for the first time in YEARS I made cranberry sauce. Because, I miss my Mama & I wanted her cranberry sauce.

Actually, I ended up making a double batch and canned it all.  .


It’s excellent with pork chops. Preserved, I now have small jars to use year round

So this year we will have cranberry sauce, cranberry jelly and cranberry relish. 

Yes, we will have very clean kidneys by weeks end.

Cranberry sauce

It’s super simple to make…

1 bag of cranberries rinsed (I like half the bag chopped so I put some in the blender)

place berries in a pan with 1-1.5 cup water (just enough to see a few floating about)

Bring to a boil and listen for the cranberries to pop (yes really they pop) and soften.


(Keep stirring so they don’t scorch)

Once they are soft add 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar (hey, Its Thanksgiving!)

Bring to a full boil for 1-2 minutes and turn it off. 

Chill in a pretty bowl for the table… and slather on your turkey slices!


It’s pan lickin good!

What’s on your table?

Jelly From Juice

Life has been getting in the way of blogging lately.  It happens to all of us but I seem to be less organized than most. 

MIA but not Slackin off! HONEST! 

Since this summers fruit harvest was pretty small I’d purchased some 100% pure juice to try alternative jelly making.  It sat in the back of my pantry for a few months waiting for the heavy canning to be done.  A few weeks ago I saw the post from MM @ Self Sustained LIving  and it reminded me to pull my juice out.

Jelly & Locks 001

The first batch was grape, the second a mixed berry.

The berry set up nice, the grape I had to reprocess and add more pectin for some reason.  I did add sugar as both juices were pretty tart.

I ended up with 6 pints of each that will be nice with toast in the morning & the necessary PBJ’s

. IMG_1346

I  had to set them in the window sill for a bit to see the beautiful jewel colors for a few minutes.  I would love to have a shelf in the middle of the kitchen window to place 1 jar from each item canned.  It would not be safe I know but, I think it would look like a sustainable stained glass window.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Knitters Give Away!!

One of my favorite knitting blogs is having a give away.  If you’re a knitter be sure and pop into Two Sides of the Same Stitch and enter.  It ends today so you’d better hurry.

I love this blog for all the knitting tips you can learn & they are fun ladies to follow


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Decanted Shortening

Well it worked!  Debbie sent me a U-tube link (I always forget about U-tube) and I decanted the shortening to jars. Why did I do this???  I don’t use a lot of shortening as a general rule and it sits in the pantry forever. The last can I had turned a brownish yellow if that gives you an idea how old it was & the expiration date was 2009.  I wanted to preserve it in smaller usable sizes.  Yes, I could have purchased a smaller can but, for less than a dollar more I got 3 times that amount.

I wanted to make some biscuits a while back and bought can…for what ever reason the biscuits didn’t get made.  Last week, I bought more shortening obviously forgetting I’d already purchased a can.  GAH!!  So now I have 6 lbs. of shortening …But that’s ok, I’m sure I’ll find more uses with winter baking.

Back to the video…the only issue I see is it looks like she has the can directly on the burner  Epic accident waiting to happen!

I put my can in a large pot of hot water (2-3inches) and slowly let it melt that way on the lowest flame setting.

If you do this, be sure and stir and loosen the bottom to let it “vent” constantly.  I was 2 ft. away washing jars and it vented on its own….as in a spout of melted shortening shooting up on my stove and cabinets.   That happened less than 2 minutes after the last stir.


I did not hot water bath these.  I will however store them in the fridge till I have the tube for my jar sealer. How long will they last?  NOOOOO Idea.  There was no expiration date on either of my new cans. I checked the paper wrap, the inside foil seal, the lid and bottom.  NADA!  Kinda scary huh?  So, I have 7 full pints and a partial ready to use.

And Drum roll please…………


I finally made perfect bread!!!!!

Thank you (Insert curtsey here) you’re to kind


No mush or dough when slicing & it’s weight does not resemble a doorstop!


Feelin pretty sassy and proud of myself after that one! 

I decided on some comfort food that night and we were having sausage gravy and biscuits for supper..because you know I have 6 lbs. of shortening I need to start using.

Now, I’ve made drop biscuits before….many many times and they turn out pretty darn good. Usually I toss the batch in the pan & you’ll have light and fluffy pan biscuits ready for butter and honey…..

Well, I waited for them to rise, and waited, and waitedIMG_1205

Well, did you know baking powder has an expiration date? 

I didn’t. 

Checking the can it expired in 2004. 

Time for a spice cabinet purge!

Mr. Fix-It (bless his heart) ate them anyway.

Think I owe that man a pie.

Have a great weekend


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Friday, November 9, 2012

Plans Change

We decided to hold off moving forward with anymore of the remodel here for a while. 

We are looking in to purchasing the property next to us to move family closer.

We’ve spoken to the property owner (the lady with the bushes which I offered to trim)  and she is more than willing to sell. She actually was the one who brought it up this summer…now its up to the financial end & what the property will appraise out to.  Maybe more than we are willing to go but, she jumped at the idea so I feel pretty confident we can work some arrangement out. The house is just a 2 bedroom but sits on a full unfinished basement the length of the house.  With both properties it would give us just about 5 acres & combined as it was originally.  Since we are now unfortunately in the city limits we couldn’t have anything more than chickens but, we could have one heck of a garden and orchard.

The plans and plotting is rolling full force but, I don’t want to get my hopes up to much (yeah right) till it’s a done deal.  I just know we will feel a lot better having them closer.

Hunting season is on!  He’s been twice now without any luck.  Both times they saw huge deer coming out of the woods at dusk.  It was as if they were saying naner naner naner!  Just as well, the weather had warmed up & we would’ve need to pay for processing rather than do it here.

And, look what I found local!  I read about these from ……Sue? Sandy? Debbie?(I’ll credit who when I remember) These jar sealers will be wonderful to use with the items I’ve dehydrated.


I have the adapter hose on order….I thought it odd they sold the sealer and not the hose too but I’m part way there! 

So, with plans changing that means my learning curve had been altered dramatically.Our “steps” to sustainability have become leaps & I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to have all kinds of questions & some may seem silly like…

Shortening…it always seems to sour before I use a whole lb.…and its only $1.00 more for the full lb. apposed the the 8 oz. size.  Is it possible to melt it into wide mouth canning jars and water bath seal it in usable/manageable sizes? I don’t want the big honkin can in my fridge.

I bet you just knew that was the first question I’d throw out there right?

Have a great weekend



Thursday, November 8, 2012

It’s Been A Long Week

We’ve had a lot on our plate and I’m just now taking a breather or a sob…

I feel like we’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. 

I’ve really tried not to get political here but I’m just sick.

This election is over and so is our status as a nation..the land of the free and home of the brave where our Constitution has become simply a piece of historical paper in a pretty frame.

A friend of mine put to words perfectly how I feel.

**“ I actually felt as if I was grieving! Like someone had died’. **

I feel like every thing we’ve worked for as a nation & and worked to build as a family has been for nothing.

I felt as if the 19 members of our family…. from our sons generation to our parents including my husband and myself who served Active Duty and swore to “ support and defend the Constitution of the United States “ was for naught.

I know it’s not true because we have to continue to live our lives as an example for the next generation. 

Teach them right from wrong. 

To work for what you want, strive to be a better person, learn all you can and apply that knowledge to the betterment of yourself and others….to be responsible for your words and actions, to be a responsible, productive & contributing member of society

But, it’s hard to do when the destruction of all we as a country stand for comes from inside the gate.

Tomorrow will be a better day

Thanks for letting me vent