Friday, February 24, 2012

Canned Bacon

Canned Bacon.  Yum!
My food storage plan involves having bacon for breakfast.  What's in your food storage?

Step by step, here is how it is done.

You need approx. 1 pound of bacon per quart size, wide mouth jar.

I started by weighing the bacon, then after I got a feel for how much was a pound, I just kept it in the slice range so I could move faster.  For the thick slice bacon I was using, a pound was 10-11 slices.

Lay the bacon nicely across one edge of the parchment paper.  (Do not use wax.  You don't want the wax being melted into your bacon!)

Fold the parchment paper, and use an extra piece if necessary so that the bottom half of the bacon is covered.

This was one of the first ones I did.  I found that I only needed about a fourth of a piece to make up the difference.  The first ones I used a full half sheet and then a third. 

Fold the top half of the bacon over so that it lays on top of the parchment covered bottom half.  Then roll the whole thing as tightly as you can.  It needs to be skinny enough to slide into the jar.

Slide the whole thing into the jar.  I find the folded side down goes in easier than the other way.

Clean the rim, add a boiled lid and ring.  Process at 10 pounds for 90 minutes.

The one in front is cooler than the ones behind.  You can see the bacon broth on the bottom and the fats on top.  Once they cool, they turn a white color but before that it looks like water on top. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Cookies

I love whole wheat and I love cookies.  I was having a hard time loving whole wheat cookies though, until this recipe.  If this is what every 'gateway recipe' tasted like, there would be no excuse to not change your lifestyle to something healthier and use your food storage at the same time!

1/2 c. Butter Powder
1/2 c. White Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Egg Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Powder
1 1/2 c. WHOLE WHEAT Flour
1/4 c. Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 c. Water
1/2 c. Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Mix all the dry together.  Add the water and stir until well moistened.  Stir in chocolate chips and scoop onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350ยบ for 10-12 minutes.

This would make a lovely 'jar gift' or treat in a bag to give at christmas time.  Just play with the layers a little and see what looks pretty.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Planting Schedule

Hopefully by now you know what you are growing this year and which items you will start from seed yourself.

If you want somebody else to do the scheduling for you, visit the sproutrobot.

If you want to create it yourself, here are step by step instructions.

First you need a calendar and to know what your frost free date is.

You can either use a wall calendar, create your own from an email program or word or excel, or get one off the internet.  I would recommend either the one or two month per 8.5x11 page.  Print all the months from Jan till June.

Mark on your calendar any significant events that you need to plan your planting around, times you will be traveling or so busy you are not taking the 30 minutes to throw some seeds in little cups.  Maybe the week of your child's High School graduation would not be a good time to plant those last starts or to bring in a load of mulch.  Next mark your frost free date.  You can find it here.

Next you need to determine how many weeks BEFORE the frost free date to put the seeds in the planters so that they reach the appropriate size about the same time the outdoors reaches the appropriate temperature.  You can read the back of the seed envelope, which is the best option because sometimes it will give information specific to that variety, like 'sow shallow' and it will tell the days to germination which helps you know when to re-plant any that didn't grow.  If there is no or only limited info on the back of the seed packet, search it on the internet or check out this document.  It has some great information and page 4 has a graph which tells how many weeks to transplant which is typically the same as how many weeks before the frost free date to plant your seeds.  You can also get similar information off the Almanac page.

For Example, if:

My Frost Free Date is May 22nd. 

Broccoli is transplanted at 5-7 weeks from the soil being worked.  The soil can be worked usually a few weeks before the frost free date.  I count back 8 weeks (middle of 5-7 + 2) and pick a day I am available.  I will start my seeds on March 27th.

Tomatoes need to be transplanted 5-7 weeks from the frost free date.  This will not be adjusted for 'workable soil' since tomatoes need warmth and will still likely get the walls of water or something similar.  These seeds will be started on April 9th, six weeks (mid point of 5-7) from my frost free date.

Once you get these figured out, keep all your papers and notes.  This will help you to make adjustments for when to start your seedling and an easier crop rotation the next year.

One of my calendar months looks like this:

Another thing you need to consider is if you grow with grow lamps/lights, your plants will likely get bigger faster and if you grow with natural light in a window, they will take longer.  Plan for the type of situation you have.  Nobody can tell you exactly for fail proof and sure what will work perfectly for you.  You need to just jump in and try something.

I cannot say it enough:
When starting seeds, takes lots of notes.  This way you can make appropriate adjustments the next year.
If your plants reach transplant size 2 months early....start later.
If your plants do not reach transplant size....start earlier.
If your plants reach transplant size, but you want them bigger....start earlier.
There are a lot of "if" and a lot of adjustments you can make to correct them, but you have to remember what was what in order to do that and next year is a long time away.

Good luck and happy planting!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chili Chicken Hobo Stew

This soup is a concoction from Don.  Don is a fantastic cook with lots of crazy old time ways of putting things together.  In his soup, he used some diced jalapeno's in the saute stage, but was way too hot for my weak tastebuds.  So I left those out, and it's still delicious!


3 c. Bell Pepper, chopped
1 c. Onion, chopped
4 cans Diced Green Chili's (4 oz ea.)
1 pint Chicken Chunks (1 lb) with broth, shredded
4 c. Cooked Pinto Beans
1/4 c. Brown Rice, uncooked
6-8 c. Chicken Broth
2 tsp Chicken Bouillon
2 Tbs Garlic

Saute the Bell Pepper, Onion, and if desired some jalapenos in a large pot (6 qt).  Add all the rest of the ingredients and simmer until rice is done and the stew is warmed through. 

This is a great stew to keep warm on the stove for those hectic evenings when the whole family is not around at the same time, just add more water as needed.  Leftovers are as delicious as the original meal and the flavor is hearty and comforting.  This is a definite repeat for our family.

I am sure you can use a slow cooker and dry beans, just add more water to compensate. 
I will be re-making this meal with dry ingredients in the future and will post the amounts.