Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dehydrating and canning

We finally got our water bath canner and kit from amazon a week or so ago. I have not yet been able to play with it, Since my oldest daughter is loving canning!!! She has canned spaghetti sauce, applesauce, peaches and nectarines. We are loving these so much we are now saving up our swagbucks for the pressure canner. The water bath canner is really simple, Not much to it and what you get is awesome. For a great site to learn canning and with great picture tutorials go to and go to the canning section. It has the greatest detail and information I could find. We are hitting the farmers market on Saturday morning to find more canning items. We are hooked. The great thing about having the canner and the dehydrator is nothing gets wasted and you control the ingredients. For the applesauce we used our blender and used everything except the core for the applesauce...even the skins. The cores we coated with lemon juice and saturated in cinnamon and are dehydrating for potpourri!!!! We also added the peach and nectarine pits to dehydrate for the potpourri. Our little minds are zooming with ideas and possibilites for Christmas and possibly making some extra money. Everyone starts somewhere right???
Getting into canning or dehydrating can seem expensive, There are alot of gadgets out there. You could invest a small fortune. But there are lots of things you can use from your own kitchen that can cut costs. Our goal for right now is just to get the pressure canner and the vacuum seal system. And of course the jars. Although I have a large stockpile of jars that I used the coupons from the last year in the newspapers, I can still use more I can see. I would love to can enough to get through the entire fall, winter and spring of the coming year. That would drastically reduce the grocery budget.
We recieved our vacuum sealer today in the mail from We had some fun today vacuum sealing our dehydrated squash and some rice. I see that this is going to be really useful for not wasting things making freezer meals and our dehydrated foods. We also found out that you can chip bags. I am having issues with my camera right now but hope to post pics soon.
I wanted to mention a site before I forget that I found a few days ago called It has some great info for those trying to get away from bad foods. You would be looking for the posts called Dumbing down society parts 1,2,3. It is very informative and a bit scary. We have been diligent in trying to rid our house and diets of Bad dyes, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, msg and many other bad additives that contribute to my twins ADHD. I have noticed a huge difference in their behavior in just one month. We are hoping to make the drive to Tulsa Oklahoma (70 miles) at the end of this month to visit Whole Foods. Although I have not been doing too bad around our little town. Making our own foods with locally grown non gmo foods has been great, That will end soon with fall fast approaching and I would like to build my stockpile for the winter with good natural organic items.
Have a great week all and happy healthy eating, Michelle

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer of learning!!!

Hellooo everyone!!!! I am still here. I wanted to give a quick update on the pregnancy although this has been the toughest of all my pregnancies, I am 28 weeks and all is going well. Well if you don't count the extreme tiredness and the nausea , to which I think I am getting a bit used to. I had some good news at the last Dr. visit, I gained 8 lbs in 2 months. This is unusual for me since my last 2 pregnancies I never gained any weight but lost. I am hoping to get the baby into that 6 lb area at least this time!!! And even more so I am hoping to get into that 38-40 week range.
Now on to my summer of learning. I have been on a learning kick this summer. I love learning but this summer I just want to know it all!!! I have been reading like mad, Internet and library books. I have been perfecting my gardening and keeping a garden journal. Although I have done much better this year with garden I am still having trouble with some things. I did get many tomatoes this year with my 1 tomato plant. Since figuring out how to keep the squirrels away I see now I can plant more of these next year. Once again my beans and peas did not do well. I think I have finally figured out how to grow them next year with some easy plans I found online for building a simple string setup for them to keep off the ground. I also finally got cucumbers to grow. I lost 4 of my 8 plants early on to rotting on the ground. I had an old crib that I could not bear to throw out and broke it down and used the slats, 3 slats to a plant to build a teepee type system and trained the remaing plants up the slats and then zip tied them to the top and now in just a few weeks I have about 10 cukes growing huge. I now know how to do this next year and plan on planting many more. I also got my sunflowers to grow this year and my bell peppers. I posted early summer about getting my dehydrator and have been going like mad with that this summer and experimenting with different dehydrating techniques. I have quite a stockpile of fresh herbs and done a few jars of sun dried tomatoes, among other things. I have a vacuum bag system on my Christmas wish list this year!!!
Last week I cashed in $25 of my swag bucks and purchased from a water canner. I am going to do my first canning this week, I have 20 lbs of peaches to can and tomatoes for sauces. I have been having the kids searching like crazy to earn more swag bucks so I can get the steam canner. I would love to have a nice pantry of canned foods for the winter. I will blog more about this as I learn and post pictures soon.
Hope all is going well for you all this summer!!! Michelle

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Farmers market and my two week shopping trip

I went to our Saturday Farmers market yesterday morning. There were a ton of vendors there for our little town. It was great to have so much to choose from. I was a bit disappointed at the amount of farmers that did not know wether their produce was GMO free (Genetically modified organisms) but I bought from the ones who did know right away was I was talking about. I purchased enough tomatoes and peppers to make 2 gallons of salsa yesterday. ( My tomato plant died, sigh) I also found a woman who had wild blackberries and I bought enough to make several jars of blackberry jam. ( I am hoping to get that done today) I also bought two huge zucchini's to make some brownies or cake. And of course 2 dozen corn on the cob non gmo!!!
My shopping trip this time was a little more intense. I had a little less to work with then usual and only bought natural or organic food. I have halved everything that I usually cook ( which is usually enough for an army) and have made salad with every meal to really fill them up. I spent a hefty amount of my budget at the health food store. I am starting to see huge improvements in my boys this week. Startling results from cutting out sugar, ( I went with stevia and agave instead). Their behavior is so much different I am amazed and so are others. I am positive in another month we won't even recognize them!!! They have less fits, are alot calmer and don't freak out like they were. I notice that they concentrate better and can focus much better. I have high hopes for this diet getting them off thier horrible medication within 6 months. That is the goal. I have not had one problem introducing new food to them or taking sugary drinks or unhealthy things away from them. They are open to everything. My older kids not so much but they have no choice lol. The younger ones are starting to notice at the grocery store, No we can't buy that anymore it is not good for us they say. WOOOHOOOO. I am definetly feeling better also. I notice I have a bit more energy, not so tired and I feel less hyper and stressed out. This is great!!!! Wish I had done this many years ago, But everyone has to start somewhere. Good luck starting your healthier eating!!! Michelle