Friday, January 2, 2015

Just Like Garden Tea

I absolutely love to travel, but I cannot imagine living anywhere but where we live. I love our little community and our little church. (I have to say that loosely, because our house is actually twenty-five to thirty minutes away.) I have so many beautiful friendships there with those who encourage me and inspire me and challenge me in my faith, abilities, and gifts. They are a beautiful addition to the friendships I have had for nearly half my life.

One of my favorite things we do is get together for frolics. I was not born with the "I-love-to-clean" gene, so those frolics I really do not like, heehee, but the ones where we get together to do corngreen beans, peas, butcher chickens and pick strawberries, peaches or any other number of things just excite me!

Usually, on a big frolic day, there will be a meal. Many times at one of those meals Garden Tea will be served, and most times it is made with the herbs grown right outside the home of a wonderful woman with a talented green thumb. Sadly, I wasn't born with that gene either. :( I am desperately trying to learn to have one, though! :)

The first time I ever had this tea, I was very new to the community. I had never been to a work frolic before, nor had I ever had Garden Tea. It was a corn frolic at one of my dear friends' sister's home. I didn't know what was in my cup when I turned it up that day, but my heart simply skipped a beat at the first sip! It was so light and invigorating! It was the perfect drink for a warm day of hard work. I thought about that drink for a whole year until it was time for the corn frolic at the same home the next year! Imagine my total sadness when it was not served! Agh! What?! Sigh....Luckily, a short time later there was a green bean frolic, and my friend Mari at Patchwork Blessing had made some to serve. I had to have two cups! heehee!

Well, fast forward to just a short while ago when my friend, Catherine, introduced me to essential oils. With my first order, I received a bottle of Slim and Sassy. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of actually trying it, but alas, I did. Just by pure chance I decided to try it in my oolong tea. I had just been turned onto that tea by Mari at the green bean frolic....All these healthy habits these ladies get me into, I tell ya what!



Into my 12 oz. tea I added the four drops as the bottle directed. Imagine my utter surprise when I tasted the taste of my familiar, beloved, garden tea!! EEEK! I love the flood of memories that still come with each sip!

Just as a couple words of caution, if you are not already used to the taste of garden tea, I would start with just one or two drops and work your way up to four. Also, you will want to drink from a straw, and stir with that straw as you go.

I hope you get to try it, and let me know what you think!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sisters and Sippers

I would like for you to meet my sister, Deb. She is just one of my two awesome sisters who are doing Trim Healthy Mama with me. I wish I could say I am doing as well with it as she is! This is her helping my little girl learn to crochet. Speaking of crochet, you should the work my other sister can do. Wow! But that is another story for another day. :)


Deb came to our Christmas Eve family gathering with her GGMS in hand. I think I slipped the can of Pepsi in my hand behind my back. I told you she was good! My life got a little hectic, and I didn't take time to plan and eat or drink like I should.

She told me what was in it, and I had to have a sip! She called it Black Cherry Limeade. It was so yummy! My body honestly wanted her drink more than the Pepsi. My body gets angry with me if I go off plan and pulls off many successful revolts! I asked her today for the recipe and permission to share it. Boy was I bummed to learn I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make it myself. Still I wanted to share it with you!  :)

Black Cherry Limeade
2 green tea bags
1 tsp fresh ginger
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 packet of True Lemon Black Cherry Limeade
Sweetener to taste

Brew tea in a two quart jar. After steeping, add other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate or serve over ice.

Since I didn't have all her ingredients on hand, I went plundering through my own cabinets to see what ingredient treasure trove awaited discovery. I didn't find that the regular green tea or True Lemon Black Cherry Limeade had been buried buy a mysterious Captain Cook, but I did find enough treasures to make another version.



Black Cherry Lemonade
2 black cherry tea bags
2 oolong tea bags
2 chunks fresh ginger
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 packs True Lemon
Sweetener to taste

Brew all the teas in a two quart jar. When tea is cool, remove tea bags, squeeze in ginger, add lemon packet(s), vinegar, and sweetener to taste. Mix well. Refrigerate or serve over ice.

My version was really good, but I can promise you, Deb's is awesome! I like the slight tartness that adds a little brightness to her sipper. Have fun with these two sippers and have a Happy New Year!

Canning Black Eye Peas



Hello again, friends! I seem to be on a dried bean canning and Good Girl Moonshine making frenzy lately!

Last year I canned and blogged about canning black eye peas without soaking first. I was also canning collards. Oddly enough it was in preparation for New Year's Day! You can read about that here.

I got so excited about being able to do those peas in such a quick and easy way, I totally forgot to sort or rinse them. I haven't eaten them. What if I bite down on a rock and break a tooth?? heehee!

Anyway, fast forward to this December. I decided to try my peas again. This time making sure they were sorted and rinsed to make sure they were as clean as possible. Have you ever imagined where your dried beans have been or what they have touched? eww! Hmm! One would think this city girl on the farm would have gotten over that by now. Give me credit! I am a whole lot better than I used to be! :D



Let's begin! Of course, I started by sorting and rinsing really well three pounds of peas. I let those soak overnight (12-18 hours is recommended). When I was ready to begin, I got my canner ready, warming the water a little and getting my broth heating to boil.


Into each quart jar, I scooped two cups of peas and a small slice of cured salt pork (Ham could also be used.) For my pints, I used one cup of peas. *


I filled my jars with a boiling broth/water mixture to one inch head space. You can use plain boiling water, straight boiling broth, or any ratio of the two. I didn't have enough broth to do all my beans so I did about half and half, maybe a little more water than broth. If using plain water, you can add 1 teaspoon of salt to quarts and 1/2 teaspoon to pints if you wish.


Lastly, air bubbles were removed and the jar rim was wiped clean. I placed warm lids and rings on the jar to seal and placed the jar into the canner. I repeated the process until the canner was full. The quarts were processed for 90 minutes at 10 psi. Pints were processed for 75 minutes at 10 psi. Make sure to adjust pressure for your altitude.


Filling the jars the way I did, this was my total yield from the three pounds of beans. *I had never canned soaked peas before, and my peas had not soaked for a full twelve hours even though I soaked overnight. I didn't want to overfill the jars not knowing how they would do. I would have been fine adding a litte more beans to the jars. You can experiment with what works best for you. Make sure not to overfill, though. This site is very helpful. As you will notice, I skipped the boiling step after soaking. That was another reason for not wanting to add too many beans to my jar. For your safety, you want to make sure the contents of the jar can heat through properly.


                                      .

So, there you go, my friends! It was easy peasy! What is your favorite way to can black eye peas? If you will be trying them for the first time, let me know how it goes! Feel free to share in the comments! Happy canning!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

*Follow USDA canning guidelines to ensure safety of all home-canned foods.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seasoned Black Beans

Seasoned Black Beans
My favorite canning recipe!
Oh my goodness, y'all! You know the yellow dog on those commercials that nearly gives out the family recipe for the famous baked beans? Well, that same company makes what used to be my favorite seasoned black beans. That family shouldn't worry about the dog anymore, because I have a recipe for you that will rock your tastebuds' world! These beans taste just like those you would buy in a store! I will forever reserve this recipe (that is now my favorite canning recipe!) for my favorite blue jars! Yes! They are really that good!!


To start, I sorted, rinsed and soaked three pounds of black beans. I let them soak in cold water on the counter overnight.

Aren't they so pretty?

The next morning, I got everything ready to go. I started by putting the broth for the beans on the stove to bring it to a boil. For one batch of broth, I used two 32 oz. cartons of beef broth, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt. Depending on the amount of beans you use, this broth recipe may need to be multiplied. I can't remember how many times I multiplied my broth. It was either three or four.

Once this was heating, I got my canner and lids and rings ready. I still heat my rings since I didn't have much luck with my jars sealing when I didn't heat them.


Next, I filled my pint jars with one cup of soaked beans. For quart jars, use two cups of beans.


When the broth was at a boil, I filled the jars to one inch head space.


Air pockets were removed and the rims were wiped clean before being sealed and placed in the warming canner. Pints were processed for 75 minutes at 10 psi. Quarts would be 90 mins at 10 psi in my area. Be sure to use proper pressure for your elevation.


This is the first batch just out of the canner! I was so worried I wouldn't like them, but boy was I wrong!



We used one jar to make black bean burritos for lunch. (One jar made three small burritos.) That was my whole purpose in making the beans to begin with. I couldn't be more pleased with the results! In a small processor, dump one jar of drained beans that have been heated. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil. Process to desired consistency. Mmmm!

I hope you have a chance to try to the beans! If so, let me know what you think! Feel free to let me know your favorite way to use your black beans in the comments!

Seasoned Black Beans Broth Recipe
2- 32 oz cartons beef broth
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Place broth in a large stock pot and add seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add boiling broth to 1 cup soaked beans for pints or 2 cups of soaked beans for quarts leaving one inch head space. Process beans in a pressure canner. Pints should be processed for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes at 10 psi. Be sure to adjust for your altitude. Multiply broth as many times as needed for your amount of beans.

*To ensure safe canning, always follow safe canning guidelines issued by the USDA.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

One Gallon of THM Sipper

The other day I wrote how I made my own Trim Healthy Mama sipper with fruit tea and Oolong tea. You can read about it here. You can read about my regular Raspberry Zinger GGMS here. I wanted to take it a step further after being inspired by my sisters and mother and make a stronger concentrate than can be diluted into a two quart jar. This sipper is perfect for anyone, but it is especially good for those who do not tolerate the strong taste of vinegar in the regular Good Girl Moonshine.

Having small children always makes me look a
little scary on Christmas Day! My Mom and
sister stopped to pose for a picture with us all
holding some GGMS! :)
Please pardon the quality of these photos. It was night when I was making the concentrate and my sad kitchen light doesn't lend itself to pretty night photos. :)


To make the concentrate, I steeped two fruit tea bags and two Oolong tea bags in a quart of boiling water until the water was cool. I removed the tea bags, and to the concentrate, I added two tablespoons of the vinegar. I squeezed a cube of ginger into each jar and added sweetener. I usually have to add more sweetener when I am ready to drink it.


I then poured the concentrate from my quart jars into my two two quart jars. That is an extra step that can be eliminated by making the concentrate directly in the two quart jars. It is just easier for me to stir the one quart jars.


Fill the jars with cold water and stir. I love my sippers icy cold. Since I let my concentrate get completely cool before making the larger quantity, my drink is already cold and ready to drink at this point, but many times, I will pour it into the quart jar, and put it in the refrigerator to get really chilled! I have never really liked adding ice to any drink and watering it down.

Feel free to add more sweetener at this stage. I use a liquid steevia.
Ah! It was so pretty in the sunlight the next day, I just had to take a picture! I love this drink! It keeps me from craving sweet tea and sodas, which is HUGE for me! If I get lucky enough to get my sister, the one on the left in the picture above, to share, I will post her recipe for Cherry Limeade soon. It is SOOO good! Feel free to share your favorite sipper in the comments! I always love new ideas!

Check out the Trim Healthy Mama fan page for other drinks and recipes!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Two Jerky Recipes

Good day and blessings to you, friends! I trust you had a pleasant holiday break surrounded by the love of our LORD and the whole reason for each and every day, especially Christmas!

I had asked not to receive any gifts due to certain circumstances we have had to go through recently, but I found myself with one very unexpected gift anyway. God is so amazing!

I have secretly wanted a dehydrator for at least a year, but we have had so much going on, I never once asked for one. The day before my husband returned home from Texas for Christmas he found himself wandering through that big store that sells items for your bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. ;) (Shhhh....don't tell anyone, but he loves to go in there and look around at all the neat gadgets. heehee!) Regardless of my pleading, he didn't want to face Christmas without a gift for me. Aww... Somehow, he settled on a dehydrator! Upon bringing it home, he wrapped it and said he didn't know if I would even like it. He said we could take it back if I didn't. I literally squealed when I opened it! He didn't know how badly I wanted one. I didn't deserve one, and we certainly didn't have the money for gifts! I was amazed, happy, guilty, confused, and blessed all in the same moment. I just accepted with a grateful heart and went straight to Pinterest in my little free time and started planning all the wonderful things I wanted to try!

Jerky seemed to be at the top of the hubby's list, so that is where I started. I mulled over recipes and directions for a while before jumping in. When we needed to go to the store, I added meat for my jerky to the list. Unfortunately, in our haste and excitement, we grabbed meat that had been treated with a sodium solution which resulted in extra salty jerky. Oh well, it's all about learning, right? :) Still the taste was very yummy, so I thought I would share the recipes. I made two different flavors just for the fun of it! :)



Teriyaki Sesame Jerky
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c teriyaki sauce
1 T liquid smoke
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c molasses
1 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1 T sesame seeds
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1 - 1-1/2 pound flank steak, round steak, or brisket sliced into 1/4 inch slices

Mix all the marinade ingredient well. Add the meat. Marinate at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Remove meat to a cooling rack on a baking sheet to drain excess liquid. Transfer meat to the dehydrator and dehydrate at 160 degrees according to your dehydrator's instructions. 

I only had to dehydrate mine for six hours.



Garlic Soy Jerky

1/2 c soy sauce
1 T liquid smoke
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground ginger
1 t black pepper
1 pound flank steak, round steak, or brisket sliced into 1/4 inch slices

Mix all the marinade ingredient well. Add the meat. Marinate at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Remove meat to a cooling rack on a baking sheet to drain excess liquid. Transfer meat to the dehydrator and dehydrate at 160 degrees according to your dehydrator's instructions. 

I only had to dehydrate mine for six hours.


Little Miss approved! Her favorite was my favorite, the Teriyaki Sesame!

So, what do you think? I have had several great suggestions on Facebook. Do you have a favorite recipe or technique? Feel free to leave a comment and share!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, December 19, 2014

THM Sipper


Okay all my Trim Healthy Mama friends and any others who simply enjoy a yummy, healthy drink! I have another sipper I have been wanting to share with you for a while to help you through the remainder of the holiday. This is one you will want to drink all year long!

While your water is heating, place two Oolong tea bags and one Raspberry Zinger tea bag in a quart jar. If you use my method to buy and store ginger in bulk, take a piece out to thaw in the garlic press. When water is heated, fill the quart jar.



Let the oolong tea steep for about five minutes. I have accidentally forgotten mine for much longer, but I don't like it really strong. Leave the raspberry bag in until you are ready to drink, which could quite possibly be immediately! I usually leave mine until the water is completely cool. When ready to drink your sipper add in one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with mother (or more if you don't mind the taste), squeeze in the ginger, and add sweetener to taste. I like mine really cold, so many days, I put mine in the freezer for a while.

I almost have one of these in the making while I am sipping on one! Try it, and let me know what you think!

Until we meet again, be blessed!