Goodbye Ice

Tomorrow it will get above freezing and the ice should all melt and be gone til next year. It melts a bit and then we get more freezing rain. Last night was the first night that the roads were pretty much impossible and it was so quiet. We were out with the dogs and Vince said “I’ve never heard it so quiet!” We can hear a bit of road noise when we’re outside but last night there was not a sound. No one was venturing out on the roads.

I’m hoping that the coating of ice has saved our peaches.

Peach

Peach Buds

The rosemary will be fine. I do believe rosemary is one of the hardiest of all the plants I’ve grown. I managed to kill our mint but the rosemary is thriving.

Rosemary

Rosemary

The cold doesn’t seem to bother the chickens at all. The wet bothers me though. They have muddy little chicken feet and they get the eggs so dirty.

Cold Chicken

Cold Chicken

They tell me that winter is over when the mesquite buds out. 

Mesquite

Mesquite

I see ice and I see mistletoe but I don’t see any buds!  :(

Healthy Dinner

My plate looks like a good healthy dinner, right?

Dinner

Dinner

It was so healthy that I think I’ll do something to negate all that healthiness.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Another new Blue Bell flavor and even though, for the most part, I don’t like chocolate, I LOVE brownies.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

All the Blue Bell flavors available in Texas (except Mardi Gras King Cake) makes even the spiders, scorpions and snakes seem worth it!  :)

Canning Beans & Cabbage Rolls

When I posted on Facebook about canning the Ranch Style Beans and Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, someone commented “How do you do all this?” The main reason is because I love it! I love the process of canning . . cooking/processing/storing food. I love that it keeps for years without refrigeration. I love that I can bring jars to MO without thinking about whether the food is going to defrost and have to be used right away. I love knowing there’s healthy, home cooked meals just waiting on the shelves – ready to heat and eat.

Some folks think I can all this food and leave it sitting on the shelves for the Zombie Apocalypse. I do not. We use it. I can more and we use that. There’s never a time that every jar is filled or the shelves are completely full. 

During the summer, when the garden is producing, I do a lot of canning. I also do a lot of canning this time of year because I want to get as much food made and put away in jars as I can while it’s not too hot in the house. When I’m working in the garden, I usually go out about daylight and work til it gets too hot, then come in, shower, rest and get dinner done or at least partially done, so that we can eat as soon as Vince gets home from work and then when it cools down a bit, we go back outside and work more. It’s so much easier to have jars of food that I can open, heat and eat and be done.

Since I got back from MO, almost every meal we’ve had has been from a jar.  The empty jars were stacking up so I spend Monday canning.

Canning

Canning

Though I do most of my canning outside these days, I brought it inside because it was about 24 degrees and windy outside and I didn’t want to deal with that. The canning kept the house warm and I wasn’t having to go outside to take the jars out and then bring them in.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls and Ranch Style Beans

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls and Ranch Style Beans

I made 9 quarts of Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls and 13 pints of Ranch Style Beans. I don’t deviate much from the cabbage recipe but I made enough changes to the beans that I will share my recipe later today. I love Ranch Style Beans but in my opinion, the homemade ones are so much better than the storebought ones . . but that’s kinda how I feel about everything homemade.

Ranch Style Beans

Ranch Style Beans

From 2 pounds of beans, I got 13 pints. You can probably figure out that it’s WAY less expensive to make them and can them at home . . once you already have the canners and jars. I’m going to do 3 more pounds of these and that should give us a total of about 30 pints of Ranch Style Beans. In my head, I think of it like this . . 1 jar per week and 30 jars will last us 30 weeks. That will get us through about September and by then, I’ll be done with canning most of the veggies from the garden.

In the past few days, we’ve had the following meals from jars:

  • Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls (cooked rice added to jar contents and heated)
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup (cooked rice added)
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Beef Tips
  • Gumbo
  • Spaghetti Sauce with Meat

I love having food in jars!