Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Secret Homemade Something

Here's how it works:
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make! But I'll try really hard.
2- It'll be done this year.
3- You have no clue what it's going to be, and neither do I, but I'm sure it'll be great :o)

The catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win an awesome homemade gift by me!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't eat the yellow snowman!

A few weeks ago, after the big snow that we had here, we took Jack to the softball field near our house so he could run around and play in the snow. He had a great time! I had all but forgotten about the pictures until today when I was looking through the folders on my computer, and I found this priceless gem! Just remember: Don't eat the yellow snowman! =)

YW Daily Challenge Reminder Card

I saw something similar to this online on an LDS idea website, and decided to design my own so that I could give them out to my Young Women at our New Beginnings. I think it is so cute, and thought I would share it with all of you! I actually have about 20 different styles, using different background paper.

Family Pictures Scrapbook Page

Monday, February 23, 2009

New (to us) frisbee golf course in Kingman

Last week, while riding the bus as part of my job, I noticed some frisbee golf baskets in a field near Mohave Community College. Now, when I say field, I really mean undeveloped land filled with Joshua trees and cholla cactus. It is called Cactus Flats after all. But, there was indeed a complete 18-hole disc golf course. I looked online on Saturday to find out more about it, and found directions to where the course is, including the location of the first tee. So, we decided to try it out! We brought Jack along, which ended up being not such a good idea as he ended up getting tons of goat heads and cholla needles stuck in his paws. We were constantly having to pull them out since he hasn't really figured out how to do that on his own. It is a fairly easy course, as far as minimal obstructions, and fairly level ground. We only did nine holes, but will probably try it out again and do the whole thing sometime soon. Yea, for disc golf!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Canning Chicken

My mom and I were able to purchase boneless skinless chicken breasts in bulk for a really good deal, so we decided to can most of it. It is so amazing how simple it is to can meat, so I will explain it really quickly here. We used pint jars.
If they will fit you can put an entire breast into the jar whole, or you can cut it up into chunks (it doesn't really matter because it will just fall apart after it's cooked).
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint. Some people add water to their chicken, but I've found that it tends to produce it's own juice & is plenty full, so I never add water. Leave about 1/2 inch of headspace.
Wipe the rim of each jar clean with a damp cloth. Put on the lids & rings and place in your pressure canner. We were able to double stack ours, putting a trivet in between the two levels.
Pressure can for 75 minutes (90 minutes for quarts) at 15 pounds of pressure.
After the 75 minutes are up, turn off the stove and move the pot off the burner to cool. Do not release all the steam, just let it cool down naturally. My favorite pressure canner (pictured below) is the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker Just click on the link to check it out on Amazon where it's a best seller!

Once the pressure is completely gone, open it up and you have cooked, canned chicken, ready for casseroles, tacos, quesadillas, soup and whatever else you want! It is so tasty, I could eat it straight out of the jar!
After(Yeah, it looks a little gross, but it tastes wonderful!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day really isn't a huge deal to me. I'm not really sure why, since I do have a honey to love! Maybe it's because he is kind of hard to shop for and I never know what to get him. I love to make handmade, personalized gifts for people, but when it comes to Ammon I just draw a huge blank. So, when he asked me what I wanted for V-day, I really didn't have any ideas for him. What I really wanted was to just go to the temple for an endowment session. What a wonderful idea! What better place to celebrate the day of love than the place that makes it possible for us to make covenants that enable us to be together forever. It was a packed session (obviously I wasn't the only one with that idea), but it was so wonderful! There were a couple of engaged couples going through for their own, and also a soon-to-be missionary, so there was a bit of a celebratory feeling in the room. It was nice to sit, holding hands in such a beautiful place with the one person I love most! I think we may make this a tradition for each Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Green Grocery Bags

I found a really neat pattern to make your own, cloth grocery bags. They even fold up into a pocket that you sew onto the outside. I have made two so far, one for me and the other for my secret pal at work. Check it out here. It doesn't take a huge amount of fabric, and they are actually made using a plastic grocery bag for a pattern, so they are the perfect size!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Berry Jam

I made a batch of blueberry jam last night, and it is so wonderful! It's also very easy! I did a third of the recipe and it made just over 1 1/2 pints.

(Blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, dewberry, gooseberry, loganberry, raspberry, youngberry)

Yield: about 3 pints

9 cups crushed berries
6 cups sugar

Combine berries & sugar in saucepot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to gelling point. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in boiling-water canner.
(I usually don't do a water bath for jams. I just heat the lids and rings in simmering water, then pour the hot jam into jars and put on the lids and rings.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

3rd Thanksgiving 2008 page

The Pathfinder

On Tuesday, when I went out to my car with Jack the dog to go home for lunch, I turned the key and nothing happened, unless of course you count a loud click. My car wouldn't start, and it didn't even try! It was so weird because it was working fine only a few hours later. It just so happened that the guy parked directly in front of me was also about to leave for lunch, so I asked if he wouldn't mind trying to jump it for me. Nothing.
I called Ammon and left a message explaining the situation, then walked to Circle K to get a crappy lunch of a way too dry chicken sandwich and a bag of crunchy cheetos!
After work, Ammon drove over to check things out and see if he could do a quick fix, or to tow it home if he couldn't do anything. We left it there for the time being because there were a lot of cars and people around for a basketball game, and it would have been a real bummer if we'd hit something while trying to push my car around.
We came back about an hour later, and I had the wonderful opportunity of driving my truck while we towed it about 3 feet behind Ammon's little truck. I never knew how insanely hard it is to turn the wheel and push down the brake when you don't have the car turned on, and the luxury of power steering. Man! We did get it home without incident, which was a great blessing!
Ammon thought it might be the starter, so he set to work trying to remove it from the car. This definitely proved to be more difficult than any of the internet self-help sites show (just reach in, unscrew a few bolts and pull it out). No, ours was wedged in between the engine and the axle, and couldn't be twisted around at all. He ended up having to remove the exhaust manifold and the oil filter in order to get to the starter, and it was still a pretty difficult job. He finally got it out and we took it to Auto Zone to test it and get a replacement.
Long story short, it wasn't the starter.
So, we pushed it over to the autoshop, with the wonderful help of a passing stranger and had them check it out.
It was the battery cable. I guess it had corroded inside the wires, causing the battery not to give power to the car.
So, now my car is all better, for which I am so grateful, plus we have an unnecessary new starter that comes with a life-time warranty!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanksgiving 2008 (the first two pages)

Canning Beans

I recently decided to try my hand at another item in my pressure canner! I had heard that canning pinto beans is super easy, and I would love to have a good supply of them in my slowly growing supply of food storage (too bad you can't just live on jam and applesauce!). See, in an emergency I really wouldn't want to waste the fuel and time that it takes to make a pot of beans, but they would be a really good source of protein and great energy, so why not can them!
What I did was, using quart mason jars, put in 1 1/4 cups clean, dry pinto beans. Add 1 teaspoon salt, then fill with water, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Put them in the pressure canner, and can at 15 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. When the beans come out...
They look like this (picture below)! The beans soak up the water and swell up almost to the top of the jar. I have already opened a jar to make refried beans. All I did was dump them in my mixer, add a little salsa and cheese, mix them up and microwave until it melts the cheese. They are so tasty and so easy! Try it!

Edit on March 17, 2012
Here are the instructions for canning pint jars of beans. By the way, this will work with pretty much any kind of beans, not just pinto beans. I've personally tried black beans, kidney beans, and white beans. Black beans are my current favorite!

Put 2/3 cup of dry beans into a pint jar, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, fill jar with water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place lids & rings, then process in a pressure canner for 75 minutes. Let pressure decrease naturally, then remove jars from canner & let cool.

Edit on November 2, 2013
To answer some questions: I have canned other beans using this same recipe. The beans I've done are black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans & white beans. My favorite are black beans & we eat them all the time.
Also, I do not soak my beans before putting them in the jar. I rinse them a little bit (usually) just to get any dirt off, but they go into the jars without soaking. I just use the same measurements noted in the recipe, and have never had any problems with beans soaking too much water or coming out of the jar. They just soak up all the water in the jar & are perfectly cooked every time. I love adding the black beans to tortilla soup!

Here's an Amazon link to my favorite canner. It's a great deal & easy to learn how to use.