The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. After the Harvest by Teri.

Hi everyone! Once again I am blogging with the help of a friend today thanks to Teri.
Dad is doing pretty well and came out of intensive care so we are very happy about that!

Today we are discussing using your already preserved, canned, dried and frozen goods. Just being able to go tot he pantry and right there you can whip up all sorts of good things. I saw Rosanne had done this last week. She went to her pantry and got out apples she had canned and used the crock pot to make apple butter for over Christmas. It looks amazing. One ingredient can be used in many ways! Just having preserved it means it is there when you want it. The possibilities are endless. Over to Teri and how she uses her harvest later in the year...

I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and recipes about how I use all the
produce I’ve been canning. Actually, my “canning season” goes most of the year.
But the produce from our garden and from others who have so generously shared
with us is done for the year.
A couple weeks ago, my husband asked if I would have time to make some goodies
for him to share at work. So, I took a package of grated zucchini from the freezer
and made two big loaves of zucchini-chocolate chip bread. This is the zucchini that
my friend gave me and I will be making more bread in the coming weeks. I’m sure
everyone has lots of zucchini recipes. Bread and muffins are a favorite at our house
and adding chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans or different spices can
change up your recipe a bit. And just leaving it plain is often how I make it. This
past week, I made our Christmas fruit cakes, using my own dried fruit.

I was able to can lots of tomatoes this year. We use them many ways but often for a
side dish, I make what we call macaroni and tomatoes. After cooking 2 cups of
macaroni (a bit underdone), I add 1 quart of tomatoes. To this, I add a little sugar
and some salt and pepper to taste and let this warm on low heat. Sometimes, I add a
small can of tomato sauce (mine or store bought). That’s it. It simple and very
yummy! (Leftovers can be warmed the next day for lunch or added to a can of
condensed tomato soup and served with a grilled cheese sandwich).
I also make our spaghetti sauce from scratch using my own canned tomatoes, some
tomato sauce and dried powdered tomatoes. I often just add veggies and spices to
the sauce and no meat. (The meat is not even missed). Served with garlic toast and
pasta, it makes a yummy dinner. (Several years ago, my mom was visiting us during
the harvest season. I needed to use a big lot of tomatoes, so I made spaghetti sauce
without meat and canned it in quart jars. My mom helped and asked where the
recipe was. I just started adding a little of this and that, (don’t have a recipe) and
when she tasted it, she said it was great but couldn’t believe I didn’t measure
anything! LOL This is a very easy, convenient way to make a quick dinner)!!
Another way to make a quick meal is to thicken a jar (pint or quart) of chicken or
beef broth, add some cooked chicken/beef (this can be leftovers from the freezer), a
small bit of dried onions (or fresh), some canned mushrooms and seasonings to
taste. Serve over cooked rice, potato pearls or mashed potatoes. We serve this
about once a week. Some of my broth that I can has meat chunks in it but this is a
great way to use leftover roast chicken or beef. Or, I make chicken a la king. I
make a “white sauce” using a little butter and flour; cooking that a couple minutes,
then add chicken broth and milk and cook until thickened. To that I add some
cooked chicken, canned mushrooms and salt and pepper. We serve it over toast,
cooked rice, potato pearls or mashed potatoes. This is yum! Serve with a cooked
vegetable or fresh green salad and dinner is quick and yummy!!  (FYI- potato
pearls are dehydrated mashed potatoes that have butter and salt added. Just adding
boiling water and a good stir and they rehydrate fast).
This past week, our daughter had some dental work done. So, I made a big pot of
chicken rice soup for her family. I used carrots and onions from the garden and
some rehydrated celery (all sautéed first in a bit of olive oil), then poured in 3 quarts
of my chicken broth and a package of cooked chicken from the freezer. Let it all
simmer (add s/p, garlic powder) while I cooked the rice in a separate pan. The rice
was added to the pot of soup just before I took it to them. (I was able to do my
“shopping” in my pantry/food storage room and this saves so much time and
Today, I have some stew meat (we were blessed with 3 packages of stew meat from
our daughter) cooking in the slow cooker with some dried celery, canned
mushrooms, some fresh onion and garlic, a little salt and pepper and a splash of red
wine vinegar. When ready to serve, I will cook some spaghetti noodles and serve in
a bowl with a hard cooked egg and a sprinkle of dried green onion tops and soy
sauce. This is yum! And so easy. Again, all items from our pantry!!
We love fresh potatoes, onions and other veggies. But when we don’t have them, I
use my dried veggies. It takes a bit of planning but I don’t mind. I’ve learned how
to adjust/substitute/leave out ingredients for many years. Slow cooking in a crock
pot or simmering on the stove work the best.
Another thing I like to make is our own sun tea. I use a 2-quart jar, add water and a
couple black tea bags and set it on the window sill for a few hours. Then, I make a
two quart pitcher of kool-aid (usually a fruit punch or berry flavor) adding half the
sugar and 2 cups of my fruit juice (cranberry-apple, plum, apple or raspberry-apple),
then fill with water. (When using a quart of fruit, I will save the juice to add to our
tea mixture or make gelatin with it). I mix half kool-aid and half tea together in
another 2-quart jar and refrigerate. Serve over ice. (In summer, I add a fresh sprig
of mint). This is so much better homemade and more economical too! When I do
go shopping, I always take a cooler with me and a big jug of my tea, along with some
homemade cereal mix, dried fruit and a sandwich. 
We like having quarts of fruit juice handy, so I thought I would tell you how I make
and bottle juice. I don’t have a “juicer” so I wanted to figure out a way to make juice
without a lot of extra work or steps. When I cook my fruit (this year it was peaches,
plums, and tomatoes) to can or to make fruit butter, I use my metal colander (food
mill) to strain the fruit. This collects the juice in one pan and then I puree the fruit
in another pan. To the juice, I add a bit of sugar and bottle it. Also, I like to hot
pack my fruit before bottling it, (instead of raw pack), so when I’m done there is
always juice left over. I put this into bottles also, and water pack it along with the jars
of fruit. Many years ago, I made grape juice by putting grapes, sugar and water in
jars, then water packing it. When using, just strain and add a bit of water. With this
juice I made lots of grape jelly. (I haven’t had grapes to bottle for a long time since
we don’t grow them and they are too expensive). But, I found that the other way
works well, (we get juice and fruit/butter) and I often combine two fruits together,
which makes lovely juice. And, if I find fresh cranberries on special, I will freeze
them until needed and they add a lovely color and flavor to my juices also!! 

Using our food storage/pantry staples has saved us many trips to the store and take
away isn’t really an option for us. We use, rotate and re-stock our supplies, as
needed. I like the way Annabel has said that the different seasons each year give us a
busy time (growing/harvest/canning) and a rest time (crafting, sewing). We are all
busy year round but I am grateful that our garden has been “put to sleep” and we get
a bit of a rest, sort of!! Like I said, I put food by year round but I’m not rushing as
much and I will have time this winter to sew and craft gifts for next year!!!
I’ve learned so much from all of you!! Thank you so much! Teri 

I have to show you this....Teri saves all her pumpkin and sunflower seeds. They are healthy additions to many things!

I am happy to say I have reached the point that I could go a long time not going to the store and whip up all sorts of things from the pantry. Over time I have found things to add and fill any gaps I made have to make complete meals. This year I have got much better at this!

Next week there is a post on a challenge I am doing in the newyear and for anyone who wants to join in it could be a game changer! I am very excited about this!  I love having something different to start in the New Year and so I will introduce it so we have time to get ready and start on January 1. I am so excited about this!

I hope your week is going well. Thank you to


  1. Annabel a great post! Isn't a secure feeling that you can put meals on the table if you could not shop for some reason? That is what I love best about my pantry is the security.
    Teri thank you for sharing! I think back to when I didn't can and wonder what I was doing? LOL! I love using and eating all of the things I've canned myself. Vegetable soup canned from whatever grows in my garden, beans as a meal or a side, kraut cooking the crockpot and my husband has to have his tomato juice everyday. One of my favorite dishes is chicken with dried cabbage, dried onions and dried celery cooked in stock. Yum. I also use pumpkin seeds, but for the animals. Rose petals make a lovely syrup that gives a wonderful taste to tea. When I have an abundance of rose petals I make this. I have made poor man's honey with dandelions it is amazing what we can do with what we have! I made a big pot of dumpling soup for an adoption party and everything for it was from my pantry and the eggs for the dumplings from my chickens. It was a great feeling.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Thank you, you hit the nail on the head. SECURITY. Yes! That is it on so many levels.
      I think I will have to get you to teach this rose petal syrup. Goodness that sounds luxurious. And I have TONS of rose petals right now.
      Many thanks! With love,

    2. Hi Vicky, Just wondering if the rose petal syrup is made by simmering rose petals, water and then straining and adding some sugar? Sounds like it would add a lovely taste to tea.

      Also, I simmer rose petals with a small amount of olive oil and some water. Cook in the slow cooker for several hours, then strain. Then, I mix with some unscented lotion. My husband uses this daily and the "age spots" are disappearing on his hands and arms. :) Teri

    3. Okay, now this has my attention. Rose petal syrup and rose petal oil for age spots? Please share. Please, please, please. Mimi :)

  2. I love this Terri, and thanks Annabel for inviting Terri to share this with us. Your idea for juice really piqued my interest and the sun tea is one I've been meaning to try for ages. Really good, practical advice. Awesome. Love, Mimi xxx

  3. Annabel, this is a really good post! Teri, you've shared some great info. We too live out of our pantry year round adding to it through gardening, sales, etc. Being able to whip up different meals from what we have in our pantry is motivation to keep on keeping on building and maintaining a pantry. Annabel, I'm anxious to hear what your new year's challenge is going to be!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Thank you for thanking Teri! She is a very practical teacher. I watched from afar as she filled her pantry all summer there.
      You will love the challenge! Vicky was telling me something and I was hit over the head with this one. A WHY DIDNT I THINK OF THAT? moment. Anyway it is the perfect next step for me and maybe many of the ladies will find it helpful, I am hoping so. Helpful and motivating!
      Have a Happy Thanksgiving, I know you are all getting ready for that! With love

  4. Praise God to hear that your Dad is out of ICU. What a Divine-intervention answer to prayer! So very grateful and hoping he is back home and back to his old self soon! And, thank you, Teri, for the wonderful, invaluable ideas you shared here. God bless you both!

    1. Thank you Cheryl, thanks so much. I am so lucky that I have friends like Teri that I haven't even ever met that will help me this way! It is amazing to me! Thanks for your well wishes about Dad too. xxx

  5. wonderful news about Dad. Woohoo!!! great post Teri. fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Thanks! I hope you are having a good week. I was thinking to say get super fire ready, we have bad fires in SAtoday and it wasn't even very hot. It was windy though. This worries me about the farm! I hate fires. With lots of love,

  6. Thank you for another wonderful and insightful post Annabel and Terry.
    I am so happy to hear of your Dad's improvement Annabel, I have had him in my prayers and you in my thoughts all this past week.
    We have planted sunflowers this year and I am looking forward to them flowering and then saving the seeds. I am also going to give more thought to saving and using pumpkin seeds rather than throwing them out when I eat pumpkin.
    Very much looking forward to your new and upcoming challenge.
    God's Blessing to you and your family

    1. Dear Mel, Thank you so much! Thanks for your prayers I really appreciate them.
      Sunflowers will be lovely! I grew some a few years ago and they really like the sun, no kidding I suppose! But some grew huge! And yes the seeds are useful. Vicky grinds her pumpkin seeds for the chickens as they a re highly nutritious. Makes me think of all the things we have previously thrown away that are in fact valuable.
      Mel you will love the challenge with all the things you do this will suit you I think... keeping the mystery though lol!
      with lots of love,

  7. Teri, thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas with us! :)

    Also, looking forward to your challenge Annabel! :) Have a lovely week!

  8. Dear Teri and Annabel,

    Great post! Teri, wonderful ideas for using what is preserved. Thank you for sharing.

    I am in great anticipation for the new challenge, Annabel. Very intriguing and I am sure it will be most useful and fun. You always have wonderful ideas!

    With love and hugs,

  9. I love to preserve food as well. I often find that using up some of the more unusual items I've canned or frozen proves to be a challenge because they are out of my normal cooking patterns. Sometimes, I just get a few jars of items that I feel have been hanging around for a long time and set them out, forcing myself to come up with a way to use them. There is nothing worse than feeling like I've gone to all that work and then didn't use something in a timely fashion.

    I am thrilled when I feel stocked up and don't have to go to the store for anything! I just set the money aside for when thing do run out. There are times when I cannot believe I'm out of ____ when I have so much food on hand, but of course, with the staples, that happens more than I want to admit. A good on-going list helps with that problem.

  10. Dear Annabel, You have me very curious about the challenge! Looking forward to "seeing what's up your sleeve"!! :)

    Thank you everyone for the thoughtful comments about my post! :)

    Annabel, great news about your dad! Prayers still being offered for your whole family!! Have a good week all! Love, Teri

  11. So glad your Dad is out of ICU. Will be keeping up the prayers.

    Great post Teri, I love your idea of pantry meals. This is something I need to really work on and list some ideas. Would save a whole lot of money, just doing that.

    Lots of love,

  12. First I'm glad your dad is doing better.
    Second, I am so inspired by Teri's methods. I don't intend to do canning but I can certainly buy canned things and I can freeze things. With my husband's recent early retirement, I am determined to spend as little as I can to keep us in healthy meals and to keep our pantry stocked.
    I was talking to him about ways to lower our grocery store spending and he did ask me to continue keeping a well stocked pantry.
    Third- I am so curious about the new year challenge.

  13. Thanks to Teri for a marvelous post!
    Thankful your dad continues to heal. Continuing to pray.


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