Saturday, August 16, 2014

Raspberry Zinger GGMS

Isn't it such a pretty color!?
Oh, my friends! I was so ready to sit and settle down for the evening, but I wanted something to drink, so I decided to make the Trim Healthy Mama Good Girl Moonshine. Well, the thing is, I don't like it with just plain water, so I always start with an herbal tea base. Tonight, I pulled out the Raspberry Zinger tea I bought the other day. The results nearly have me doing cartwheels, so I came straight to my computer instead of the sofa to share with you in case some of you may be following the diet as well. The original recipe from The Trim Healthy Mama authors, Serene and Pearl, is in the link above. :)

First, I brewed two cups of the tea using one of the tea bags.

In addition to the other ingredients that make the GGMS, I added one teaspoon of orange extract and one teaspoon of cherry extract. Oh my, oh my, oh. my. STARS!! :) It is soooo good! It tastes just like fruit punch!!! Wow! I didn't see that one coming! HAPPY DANCE! I don't like sparkling water, but can you imagine how pretty it would be with that mixed in?! I have used other tea bases, but this one knocks it out of the park! Seriously! Try it, and see what you think.

Just as another tip: don't use dry, ground ginger. It absolutely will not be the same. I cannot drink it that way. I have to use fresh. I buy a large chunk, peel it, chop it into small pieces, and freeze it until I need a piece for my GGMS. Lastly, for my THM drinks, I mostly use a liquid stevia, and that is usually Skinny Girl Stevia. For my GGMS, I use two squeezes. :)

For more information about the eating plan, visit the Trim Healthy Mama website or the Trim Healthy Mama Fan Page on Facebook! (Non-affliliate link. :) )

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bubblegum Betty: A Book Review

Last fall I was so blessed to be able to spend a week with my friend, Jane, the author of this sweet book. During that trip I also was able to meet her father and mother, Bubblegum Betty. I was immediately drawn to her charm and personality and tried to adopt her as my second mother! During that trip, Jane shared one or two stories of her mother that she said she was going to put in a book she wanted to write for her mother. Jane made sure I had plenty of laughs that week. Betty and her husband even sent treats for me to carry home from that trip! I have been saving my cherry pears for just the right opportunity!

Recently, I was very honored and surprised when Jane asked if I would read and write a review of her book, Bubblegum Betty. How exciting it was for me, even if it did make me nervous! I knew Jane had been saying she was going to write a book about her mother, but I didn't know she had actually done it until the books were about to come off the press!

What a sweet, fun book this is! Right from the introduction that read like the beginning of one of my favorite novels, I was drawn into Betty's life. Stepping back in time to see glimpses from the life of a free-spirited Mennonite girl growing up in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression was quite the reading adventure. One of my favorite stories was of how Betty determined she needed to marry a preacher's son. Betty did date a preacher's son, but I won't spoil the ending for those who haven't read the book yet.

I invite you to read this very sweet, fun book and learn from Betty what it means to be 'normal' and to love family. Life may not always be what others consider normal, but that doesn't mean one is not normal or worthy of love. I also invite you to try one of the yummy recipes in the back! My followers know if there is a recipe around, I am sure to find it!

Make sure you don't miss one single fun adventure from Betty's life that is captured in this book- or any of the great advice or recipes from Betty in the back! If you would like to the order the book, it can be purchased here in Jane's Etsy store.

I think today I shall eat pears!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Canning Green Beans

Last week, we had a big green bean day. Several of us ladies got together at a friend's house to prepare six boxes of green beans for canning. Three boxes belonged to me and three belonged to another friend.

Here, some of the children are swimming in an old water
The children had a grand time playing and making big messes in the house as we ladies cut and snapped and cackled all day long.

Imagine my friend's surprise as she turned back her sheets and found green beans and chips in her bed that night! Bless her for letting us in her home!! :)

In the middle of us working our way through the mounds of bean, our blue berries arrived unexpectedly early! I have never been a big blueberry fan, but this blueberries are sooo good!

Despite having arrived at 9:30 that morning, I left after 7:00 with a ton of beans still left to be cut. My hand was killing me when I finally went to bed late that night. I had gotten so frustrated with the never-ending beans, I just stuffed everything into the refrigerator until the next day! Oh, goodness! Talk about being overwhelmed! I didn't know which way to turn!

I finally decided the next morning to start canning some beans while I finished cutting the rest. I am still finding green beans popping up in the most unexpected of places! After two full, long days of canning, I had a total of 68 quarts of green beans! Despite being exhausted that first day, what an absolute blessing!!!  Thankfully, my friend Mari had kept a few of my beans at her house to finish cutting. Imagine my surprise when I learned she had not only cut, but had canned them! She had another 16 quarts of my beans waiting on me at her house! What a double blessing!!! We won't mention how her prankster husband nearly gave me a heart attack when I went to pick them up!

If you have never canned green beans, they are very easy.

Pack your jars to one inch headspace with the beans.

Add 1 teaspoon of kosher or canning salt to one quart jar or 1/2 teaspoon to a pint jar of beans, if desired.

Fill the jars with boiling water or broth to one inch headspace.

Using a flat, non-metal utensil, remove the air bubbles. I just use the magnetic lid grabber.

Wipe the rim of the jar clean, and seal the jar with a two piece lid and ring.

Place the jar in the pressure canner with simmering water and repeat the process until the canner is full.

Process quarts for 25 minutes or pints for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Make sure to adjust the pressure for your altitude if needed.

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

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Canned Beef Stew

We are gearing up to head back to Texas, where my husband works, in the next couple of days. My husband has requested that I bring some of the items I have canned or frozen this past year. I also wanted to take along some meals that were already done so that he could just heat and eat when the children and I return home, leaving him without a cook! :) This is one I know he will enjoy! This is an easy recipe to throw together and can to have quick meals at your disposal! It was the first time I had made this recipe. Next time, I would like to double it.

4 lbs. beef roast of your choice, cubed (I used chuck roast.)
3 c onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 c carrots, sliced
3 c celery, chopped
12 c potatoes, peeled and chunked
12 c beef broth
1 t Kitchen Bouquet, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Makes about 8 quarts
Brown meat in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are soft. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Ladle stew vegetables into jar leaving a one inch head space. Using the cooking broth, ladle the broth over the vegetables, leaving a one inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims clean, and close using two piece lids. Process quarts for 90 minutes and pints for 75 minutes at 10 psi. Make sure to adjust psi for your altitude.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chili Seasoning

Today, I made a pot of chili and some Gluten-free Southwestern Style Cornbread. To make the chili, I had to first make a batch of chili seasoning.  I hardly ever use seasoning packets.  Who really knows what is in those things? Yuck!  Anyway, as the different seasonings went into my jar, I thought it was so pretty, and I wanted to share it with you!  :)

Yep!  I got a little messy!  :)
Chili Seasoning
1/4 c all purpose flour (I didn't add this since I have started to cut gluten out of our diets for a while.)
3 T chili powder
1 t crushed red pepper
1 T dried, minced onion
1 T dried, minced garlic
2 T white sugar
2 T ground cumin
2 t dried parsley
4 t salt
1 t dried basil
1/4 t ground black pepper

Grind ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  I used my small Ninja chopper to combine my ingredients together.  See the picture below.  To use, add 3 T to equal one packet of chili seasoning mix.

I always make a double batch of chili.  

To make it, I brown 2lbs ground chuck.  Sometimes I chop a small onion and cook it with the meat.  Then I drain the grease.  To that, I add 2 cans of kidney beans.  Do not drain.  For this batch I used one can of white kidney beans just for the fun of it.  :)  Also add 1 24oz can of crushed or petite diced tomatoes.  Add 6 tablespoons of seasoning mix, and mix well.  Simmer at least until beans and tomatoes are heated through. I let mine simmer for about an hour.

Ooops!  I forgot to take a picture before I started eating
when the bowl still looked decent!
This recipe is best eaten with a friend you haven't seen in a very long time who dislikes doing dishes as much as you!  ;)

This is one amazing friend who is going through so much
right now.  Hope she doesn't mind her photo on the blog!
She's been on here before!
Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Craft in the Kitchen

Recently, there was a wedding.  I had an idea of what I wanted to give the couple, but then they ended up having a food shower.  We were asked to bring a meal or ingredients to make a meal that could be given to the couple.  I wanted to put the casserole I made into a nice dish that could be kept and reused, but I was a little short on money to buy something really fancy, so I did the best I could.

I love my glass bakeware, so I decided that was what would use.  (Not mine, but new, of course! heehee!) I had a sudden brainstorm in the middle of the night at how neat it would be if I could put their monogram on it
somehow.  Vinyl!  The only problem was that I had no way to cut my own, and time was too short to have someone to do it for me.  Luckily, I thought of the vinyl numbers and letters that are made for car windows! They are sold in my local supercenter in the automotive department.  It worked like a charm!  I was so excited! Now I want new dishes with lids so I can monogram my own!

This is the result!

I had to look up the proper way to add the husband and wife's initials, lol!  I hope this helps someone else!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Georgia Jambalaya

In my last post I shared my journey to this recipe.  The only trouble with getting to the recipe was that I couldn't figure out a name for it so that I could share it.  Georgia Jambalaya was the best thing I could come up with.  Now, please understand, I have never had jambalaya.  I don't have a clue what is in it or how it is cooked.  I even have to type the word into the Google search bar just to figure out how to spell it!  I just know it is a popular dish in Louisiana, and I have seen pictures of it.  That's it.  Please don't judge this dish by your Grandma's famous jambalaya.  You have been warned.  :D  You hereby know this dish gathered its name simply from desperation and the fact that I know jambalaya can have chicken and sausage and rice in it, and it resembles what I made in appearance.  heehee!

To make this recipe, you will need one pack of bratwurst, about two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I trim excess fat.), 1-2 tsp olive oil to coat bottom of the pan, one small onion chopped, three large cloves of garlic minced, 32 ounces of chicken broth, 2 tsp browning and seasoning sauce, 1 T dehydrated bell pepper (can use 1/4 - 1/2 cup of fresh), 1/2 tsp Rotisserie Chicken spice, 1 tsp salt, enough Louisiana spice to coat chicken well, and 2 large bags of instant rice.

First, cut chicken in to one inch cubes, place in the insert of your electric pressure cooker (If you don't have an electric pressure cooker, see the instructions at the end.), and coat with the Louisiana seasoning.  I put a little olive oil in the bottom first to keep chicken from sticking.  This is mostly important if you want to brown your sausage first.  I didn't, but I added it anyway.  :)

Next, cut the sausage into one inch slices, chop the onion, and mince the garlic.  Add them to the pot. Note: sausage can be browned before to add color, but it is not necessary.

Add the remaining ingredients.  Close the lid, select the high setting, and set the timer to 5 minutes.  Make sure the valve is set to closed.  On mine, it is the circle with the dot being lined up with the raised line.

Goodness! I didn't realize how dirty it was! It is just dried
water from quickly releasing the pressure, but still.  :)
Use this time to clean up the minimal mess, or eat chocolate.  :)

When the time is up, use the quick release valve to release the pressure.  Hot steam will release quickly causing some water to sputter.  This is not the contents of the pot, but be careful!  It is hot.

Open the pot, and this is the beauty that awaits!

Open the two bags of rice, pour them in, and stir.  Close the pot and valve again.  Select the low setting, and set the timer for four minutes.  I release the pressure and let mine sit for a few minutes after the timer goes off to thicken a bit more.  My cooker automatically goes to the keep warm setting when the timer goes off. Please check your cooker's instructions before leaving it.

This is the pot of delicious treasure inside!  Don't tell anyone, but I ate it for breakfast this morning too!  It really is that good!

If you don't have a pressure cooker, don't fret!  This recipe can easily be modified for a slow cooker.  Add all the ingredients except the rice to the slow cooker, and cook on high until done.  Again, you can brown the sausage first.  Add rice and cook until the rice is done.  I am guessing it would take no more than 3 or four hours depending on how fast your cooker cooks.  Mine seems to cook really fast.

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

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!