Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Its okay to throw out apple peels

Every year when I put up apples I try to find something to do with the peels besides compost or at least before composting them.  Last year I made several gallons of apple cider vinegar.  This year I decided to make apple scrap jelly, which is super good by the way.  I'll give the recipe later.

Anyway, I have been making jelly using all the scraps and am getting tired of making jelly but I don't need any more vinegar either.  Suddenly the thought came to me.  ITS OKAY TO THROW SOME OUT.  Wait, what?  Huh.  So I decided to count to see just how many jars of apple jelly I have made in the last two weeks and oh my.  I've made 65 jars and have enough juice in the fridge for 3 or 4 more batches.  I will be giving jelly to everyone, my friends, my family. my hairdresser, lol.

I made the realization that I can just bury the apple peels and cores in the garden without making something out of them first, I really can.  I think.  I'm going to try to do that anyway.  It goes against my frugal nature. But I'm going to try.

Here is how I make my spiced apple jelly.
As I use my apple peeler, corer, slicer I toss the peels and cores into my crockpot that I already have put a dozen or so whole cloves and a quart or so of water.  When the crockpot is full I arrange my apple slices on my dehydrator trays and hold the tray over the crockpot as I sprinkle cinnamon on.  I move the tray around as I sprinkle each part of it to try to get as much of the extra cinnamon as possible into the crockpot.  Then I add more water until its almost full, turn it on high put the lid on and let it cook for several hours.  When the cores are soft I drain the resulting juice into a large pitcher.  This juice is what I use to make my jelly.  I don't add any spices because it cooked with clove and cinnamon.

Jelly recipe
5 cups juice
1 to 1-1/2 packages of pectin ( I buy in bulk and use 1/2 c.)
7 cups sugar

Pour the juice into a large pan and set the stove to high.  Then take a large bowl and measure the sugar into it and add the pectin to the sugar.  I take a spoon and mix the pectin into the sugar.

Make sure you have your water bath canner or steam canner ready to go as well as clean jars and lids.  I put the lids (flats) into a little bit of water and warm them on the stove.

Once the juice starts to boil, stir in the sugar/pectin mixture and continue to stir.  Add a pat of butter at this time to help reduce the foam that builds up naturally.  It wont eliminate it but it sure cuts down on it.

Continue to stir occasionally and heat on high until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. This mean that when you stir it continues to boil really hard.  I stir and wait a little bit to make sure it really is boiling good.

Then I set my timer for 2 minutes.  I continue to cook and stir until the two minutes are up.  Then I turn off the stove and skim off the foam.  Its important to do this step because it helps your jelly look nice.  I save the foam in a bowl and eat it.  Its a sort of quality control, it also lets me know that this batch is going to set up good.

Next I take my canning funnel and fill the jars, one at a time.  I wipe the rims with a paper towel, put a flat and screw band on and place in my canner.  I use a steam canner.  I continue until all of the juice/jelly is in jars.  I leave about 1/4 inch head space.  Once your canner is boiling or in my case the steam is coming out at least 8 inches I begin to time.  The recipe says to process 10 minutes but I always process for 12 minutes for good measure.  When the time is up carefully remove the jars and place on a folded towel.  Do not touch or move them for 24 hours.  After 24 hours take the rings or screw bands off and wash in soapy water.  If the jar didn't seal place it in the fridge and eat soon.  Of the 65 jars I have made so far every one has sealed.  I had dabs left over on a few batches which I poured into jars and put into the fridge so they wouldn't go to waste.  I would just take the jar out of the fridge and add to it at the end of each batch.  Usually there would be a couple of tablespoons of jelly left in the pot.  These added up to 3 pints.  Waste not want not.

Once your jars are clean label them and put them in the pantry or give them to friends.

When I was canning peaches I made peach peel and pit jelly and it was very good too.  Next time I can pineapple I will make pineapple scrap jelly.  There is no sense in buying a new jug of juice and making jelly when you can make jelly with scraps.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Neat clippers
Calming Clipper Haircutting Kit for Sensory Sensitivity, 10 Piece

I first saw clippers like this advertised for dogs who don't like the sound of clippers.  I thought that these should work for people too.  They would be great for little kids who get jumpy at the sound of clippers and also there is no electricity required.  I think they would be an excellent addition to any household that has boys or men.

Todays perserving

Today was busy in the apple preserving department.  I put up two gallon jars of dried cinnamon apple slices and refilled the dehydrators.  Then I put the peels and cores on to cook in the crock pots.  Today I also made 4 batches of spiced apple scrap jelly.  I will have enough juice to make several more batches of jelly before this is all said and done.  I'm almost ready to start my third and last box of apples.

This year I am only making dried cinnamon apples and jelly because I still have plenty of applesauce and apple pie filling in the pantry.  Next year I will see how those are still holding out and adjust my apple buying then.

Jeff asked me to buy another big Excalibur dehydrator and I happily complied.  I currently have a 4 tray and a 9 tray.  When I get the new 9 tray it will certainly speed up my apple drying adventures. 

I am storing the apples in gallon jars and using my pump n seal to seal the air out of them.  I am hoping they store well that way.  The last ones will probably go into gallon zip lock bags because I am getting close to the end of my gallon jars.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Its apple time again.

This is the third year I have bought apples by the box to put up.  I have plenty of apple sauce left and pie filling. Last year we ran out of dried cinnamon slices right away so I am doing a lot of those this year.  Now that I have two dehydrators I can do about three times as many at a time since my new dehydrator is so much larger.

I use my apple peeler, corer, slicer on the apples, then I drop them into a dish pan that has water and lemon juice in it.  I put the peels and cores right into my crock pot with a few whole cloves. When the dish pan is full, I take a few apples at a time out and place them on a tray.  I slice once down through the slices to separate the rings and place them on the drying trays.  I hold the tray over the crockpot and sprinkle cinnamon over them, moving the tray so that the extra cinnamon drops into the crockpot.  Once the dehydrators are full I set them to the correct temperature and add clean water to the peels and turn the crockpot to high. 

Its pretty humid where I live so it takes about 48 hours to dry the slices to my liking.  With the peels and cores in the crockpot set on high it only takes about 6-8 hours for them to become soft.  I turn my crockpot off and let it cool for a while.  Then I put a big strainer or colander over a large bowl and pour or ladle the apple scraps into it.  This sits for thirty minutes or so to drain.  I carefully discard the now used up peels by putting them into a container and placing them into the trash.  I may bury the rest in my garden in unused areas.

Then I use the resulting spiced apple juice to make spices apple jelly.

Last year I made several gallons of apple cider vinegar so I don't need any more right now.

I think I may also make some cinnamon spiced apple rings and can them.  I have been easing up on the quantities of my canning since there are fewer of us at home and I don't like to throw out old and spoiled food.

I hope you are having a productive fall.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stuff I dont understand

  • I don't understand why when someone asks you to do them a favor and you gladly do it for them at your own expense and then they don't even let you know that they received the items they asked for let alone a thank you.
  • I don't understand why when you help someone out financially they don't let you know they have received the money, let alone a thank you.
  • I don't understand why people say they will stop by your house later today, and then they don't show up, call or anything?  Is that not common courtesy?
  • I don't understand a whole lot of things and the older I get the less I understand.  I thought as a person got older that they would understand things better, I understand less and less.
  • These are just things that have happened within the last two weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New porch

I have wanted a screened in porch for a long time.  When I was a little girl we lived in a house with a small screened in front porch.  I remember sleeping out there.  I loved it.

This week I got my screened in porch.  Its huge.  20X20  My Amish friends built it for me.  They built it in two days.  The first day 10 men came and they barely got out of the vehicles before they had my old porch torn off, the carport moved and the new one started.  The first picture is the progress on the porch.  I took the picture while they were eating lunch.
The next picture is what it looked like after I took them all home at 5:00 pm the first day.
The second day only 5 men came and they finished the rest of it up by about 4:00pm.

We set the area up under the front carport for them to eat their lunches.  I am so thankful that Joy, Mollie and Hannah helped so much.  The second day they all did the entire meal for the men.  The guys said they would bring their own lunches but I wanted to feed them.  I know I could not of done it without the help of my girls.  Thank you girls.  You are a blessing.
Speaking of blessings.  The first day the ten men just picked up and scooted my huge carport over to the other side of the house.  When one of them was putting the stakes into the ground to keep it from moving he hit a water line.  Next thing we know there is water all over.  They dug out the place once I figured out how to turn the water off.  The water line was in a very strange spot right in the middle of the yard.  It looked like maybe someone had planned on putting a spigot in another part of the yard and just never got around to it.  Well the Amish guys said I could either cap it, repair it or put a spigot there.  I decided to put a  spigot there.  So I went to the lumber yard and bought the necessary supplies and next thing I know I have a new spigot in the yard.  It was in the perfect place too.  Right by the leg of the carport.  Isn't that a neat blessing?
I am pleased as punch with their work.  They did everything just as I asked them to.  We had planned on putting lattice around the bottom of the porch to hide the underside but the screen is almost invisible so we are going to go up two feet to the first rail.  The dogs already have tried to jump through it a few times.  So until I can get the lattice bought and installed we will have to keep the dogs in a different part of the yard.

Last night the girls and I went out there to sit and it is so very nice.  Its still too hot to really enjoy it much but I know that it will be something we use for years to come.

I am so happy with my Amish friends work.  The more time I spend with these people the more I like them. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy is the mother whose children come visit

I am enjoying this week with three of my five daughters.  It makes me happy when I have at least some of them here at the same time.  I don't know if I will ever have all five at once but I am happy with what I can get.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Worlds best pencil

Hannah and I were shopping for some school supplies.  She needed a few things for college and I buy those types of supplies this time of year because of the sales. 
I had heard about these pencils but had never tried them.  While we were shopping Hannah pointed them out to me because pencils were already on my list.  So I bought a package.  I got 30 pencils for $4.99.  Its pricey but if they really are the best pencils it will be worth it in the long run.
Ive already tried these pencils and I have to say I am impressed.  They seem to hold the point and they write quite nicely.  Have you ever used these pencils?  What is your feeling about them?

Monday, July 25, 2016

First Mema camp for Elijah

Yesterday we brought our grandson Elijah home with us for his first Mema camp by himself.  He has come to stay before with one of his siblings but we decided he was old enough at 5 to come by himself.  He had been wanting to.  We had hesitated only because his folks live 4 hours away and if he was unhappy here it would be a chore to take him home.

He was a good boy on the trip home sleeping most of the way, and chattering the rest of the way.

Last night he soaked up the attention.  I think he really enjoyed having Mema, Papa and Hannah plus the two dogs all to himself.  I know it gave us a chance to enjoy him more.

He only gets to stay two nights this time but I am sure we will be doing this again.

I gave him a hair cut before his bath last night.  He looks so cute.

Today we will be playing games and working in his workbook.  I made a few learning activities for him to do.  As a reward, Hannah downloaded a few learning games for him on my tablet.  At home he plays a lot of Mario Brothers but we don't have that here thankfully.  We seldom even turn on the TV.

I will post more pictures to this post later as we do things together.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dinner Tonight

Last evening, Hannah, Kaitlyn and I went to a cooking show called Dinner tonight.

 They featured a local chef from a fish restaurant and a food blogger.

 The chef, Jeremy Lee from Redfish Willie's Waterfront Grill made fish tacos, a sour cream avocado sauce, a mango salsa, rice and a watermelon pizza.  He was not very entertaining because he had made everything but the fish up ahead of time.  We thought he would demonstrate how each dish was made.  That's what they do at most cooking shows.  They chose from the audience 4 people to be taste testers.  We thought oh well until they brought out samples.  Our first sample dish was a fish taco with the mango salsa and sour cream avocado sauce on it and some rice.  It was a good size sample.

Next up was a local food blogger who did an excellent job showing how to make Cilantro-lime grilled shrimp, and Mexican street corn salad.  Her name is Vianney Rodriguez and her blog is

Our second sample plate was the watermelon pizza and the street corn salad.  Everything was so very good.  I had never had a fish taco but I sure will eat them now. 

Between demonstrations they had drawing for  items the venders had donated and I won a book by Vianney and a jar of Picklesmith watermelon-jalapeno jelly.  That's what we are making today.  It was so much fun.
The room was decorated very nice with cloth table cloths and beautiful table decorations.

We were also given a tote bag with recipes, a cutting board, measuring spoon, another tote bag, a silicone oven mitt among other things.
There were several venders there.  We had a great time and they said this was the first annual Dinner tonight event so we are hoping that they continue this.  It was great.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weavers rapid warp loom

I have been saving my money for quite a while so that I could purchase the Weavers rapid warp loom.  June and July they have a sale going where shipping is free.  I finally had enough money saved and took the plunge.  My loom is being handmade right now.  I am very excited to begin my weaving journey.  I plan to take pictures and make videos once I get my loom and begin to learn to use it.  I want to make rugs for sure and who knows what else I will learn to make.

If you want to see the loom I am referring to here is a link.
Watch the video and see how easy it is to warp the loom.  That is the reason I bought this particular loom.  I knew I would not have the patience to warp a loom the regular way.

I will keep you all updated on my weaving progress.

Source for Amish supper plates

A commenter asked if I had found a source for the Amish plates and YES I sure have.

I was able to get a dozen more Amish supper plates from my Amish friend Simon.  He has a botanical company.  I know he ordered a few dozen more than the ones I bought.  You can write to him and ask him about the supper plates and or ask for his bulk herb and spices catalog here:

South Texas Botanicals
4156 Gaitan Lane
Beeville, Texas  78102

Being Amish he does not have internet or a phone.  I buy my bulk herbs from him because his prices beat anywhere else that I can buy certified organic that I have found.  Plus he is local to me and I can pick up my order.

Making Jelly

Today my granddaughter Kaitlyn and I will be making jelly.  I hope to make two kinds of jelly, peach pit and watermelon.  Jeff bought two huge watermelons and then left to work out west.  There is no way we can eat that much watermelon so I will make jelly.  He loves his jelly so he will love this.  This is the recipe I will be using.

A couple of weeks ago I bought two cases of peaches from bountiful baskets.  The peaches looked great but about a third of them were bad.  I canned up as much as I could and saved the peels and pits from them to make jelly.  I saved two gallon zip lock bags of peels and pits.  I did not save anything from the peaches that were bad.  I just threw them away.
This is the recipe I will be using for the peach pit jelly.
I will try to remember to post pictures once we get the jelly made.  I wanted to save these recipes so I can easily find them after bit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

RFID blocking wallet

I used this tutorial to make an RFID blocking wallet for my credit cards today.  Instead of using heavy duty aluminum foil I used Mylar.  I didn't have any pretty duct tape so my wallet is zebra striped.
As soon as I find some pretty duct tape I can make another one now that I know how to do it.  I used to carry my credit cards in an ugly mylar pouch in my billfold so this at least is an improvement.

Only God can judge me

It seems that everyone thinks that if they throw out the words don't judge me or only God can judge me that they can continue in what ever behavior they think they are being judged for.  I saw this on Facebook today and thought it was fitting.