Sunday, December 17, 2017

Archive for September, 2002

Green Tomato Pickles

Well, today, I have to get into some serious organization concerning my green tomatoes. Papa picked all the green ones because it got close to freezing. They are in sacks. Some have turned red, but most of the green ones will rot before they turn red.

So today, I am going to get out my big pan and slice up the green tomatoes really thin and pickle them. I will add onion slices and some hot peppers and green peppers. I will just get all this sliced up and in my big pan on the stove. Then I will make a pickling syrup, just a few cups of vinegar and the same of sugar. Then I will put in spices, such as mustard seed, turmeric, celery seeds … probably some garlic and, of course, black pepper and salt. I will put in some fresh herbs from my garden, too … maybe basil and marjoram. If I had cabbage or broccoli left in the garden, I would put all of this in the pan, too.

All I do is put all the vegetables in, and then pour the vinegar mixture over the top, and then bring it to a boil. Then just shut it off and let the vegetables sit a few days on the stove, with a lid on it. (I dont use my cast iron pan for this, of course, as the vinegar would eat out the pan.) Then you could just can this relish, or just put it in the refrigerator in a big jar and have it this winter.

The old time mothers used to have a relish dish that they put on the table with relish to eat with the family meals. This relish I make … well, really pickles … would be good with grilled cheese sandwiches and home made winter soups.

Also, I have to get out there and dig up my horseradish in my garden. All you do with that is dig it up and scrape the roots until they are clean. Like washing and scraping a carrot? Then I put the roots in my blender and blend them up with white vinegar and salt. Then I put the mixture in a jar for the refrigerator. One jar will be enough for a year for us, so I wont can it. A nice sandwich spread is horseradish mixed with mayonnaise on a ham sandwich. Or you can add a bit of the horseradish to potato salad or coleslaw.

This year I had a lot of the little round red peppers. They were hot but not as hot as the skinny red ones. Anyway, I made hot pepper vinegar. Just take a pretty jar and fill it up with the hot peppers, and then pour boiling white vinegar over the peppers to cover them. I make this to use the vinegar, not to eat the peppers, as they are too hot. But I like the vinegar on salads. The vinegar will be ready to use in about a month.

Any of the herb vinegars are made the same way. I collect pretty bottles at garage sales to use for making herb vinegars. Some of the herbs would be too delicate to pour boiling vinegar over the top of. So for some of the herbs, I would just pour the room temperature vinegar over and set the bottles in a sunny window. Then the sun can steep them and warm them up and bring out their flavor. But they won’t be ready to use for at least a month or two. You are supposed to strain the herbs out, too, but I never do. I mean, after they have steeped for a few months.

You can use some of these herb vinegars mixed with water for a hair rinse. Like a fourth of a cup of herb vinegar to a quart of warm water. Put it on your hair after the soap is out. It’s good for dandruff and also nice to strip your hair of all the old conditioners and shampoos that have remained in your hair.

Beef Roast

The boys will be over for dinner today, so I am browning a roast right now and getting ready to bake it. It’s a chuck roast, very cheap to buy. Sometimes it is cheaper than hamburger … it was this week at our store.

I just put the meat in my deep black iron skillet with a bit of oil, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper and a sprinkling of salt. I brown it good, and then I will bake it in the oven on low for 2 hours. Then I take it out of the pan and slice it nice and thin, after it is mostly done. Then I put it back in the oven and bake it another hour or so.

That last hour, I put a gravy mix or two over it to bake, if I have a gravy mix. If I don’t, I will make beef gravy. All ya do is take the roast out of the pan and lay it on a plate, and then add some flour to the drippings, about 3 tablespoons all purpose flour. Make a paste and then add a few cups of water. Just stir it up and stay ahead of the lumps on a medium heat. If it gets too thick, just add a bit of water. If it’s too thin … aww, it will be good anyway. Just eat it thin.

You could even add a can of soup, half diluted, that last hour, like mushroom or cream of whatever. I have used cream of chicken on my roast before. But just cook it that last hour with the gravy on it, on a real low heat, maybe 250 degrees. You kind of need it to be a thin gravy at the end because it will still be baking another hour.

Make sure you have plenty of gravy for mashed potatoes. My boys would feel really bad if I didn’t fix mashed potatoes.

Oh, and I forgot to say that when you first go to bake it, put about a cup of water in your pan with the meat, and I put in onions, too.

Also, the reason for slicing it after it bakes a few hours is so that the meat will slice nice and together. Because otherwise, it all falls apart and you can’t slice it evenly. If ya get it sliced up nice, then it’s not all torn apart and you can use it for a few meals. It’s more organized.

Now, of course, my oven is broke, so I will just say bake it on about 300 degrees or lower for the first few hours. The last hour with the gravy on it, bake it at about 250 degrees. Make sure your gravy is thin enough for that last hour. A low oven, in other words.

And be sure to watch it close … you don’t want it to dry out. Make sure it has enough water in it. Make sure you have a good lid on it, too, and turn it over a few times when you check it to make sure the meat has enough water on it so it doesn’t dry out.

I never hurry my roasts. I take all day to make it.

Danny came over yesterday. He said he was at David’s, my other son’s. There were a few girls there. Dan piped up with “My Mom had 6 children and she loved every minute of it.” One of the girls said, “Yeah, right she did.” One of the boys’ friends, Steve, said, “What? I know Dan and David’s mom and she did love every minute of it.” Steve has been a family friend for years.

When Dan came over yesterday, I had a new item on that I had gotten at a garage sale. It was OshGosh bib overalls at the top with a skirt sewn at the waist. Danny got a real kick out of it. I showed him the pockets at the top and told him I would fill them with cooking utensils. Oh, he laughed and I know he will go and tell his friends. They love it.

Home Making

Yesterday, Jim was again working on the wall papering. Then we went to some garage sales. I wanted Papa to stay home and rest, but he wouldn’t.

But, anyway, I found some really pretty linen dish towels. The one I got for a buck had an old time fall scene on it. It was probably made in the 1940’s. It was starched, of course, as all the old time homemakers ironed and starched their linens. I will use it on my table in the middle.

Often, to organize my thinking, I will clear off the table and fix it up. I do this daily. In the middle, I will put a little cloth and, on this cloth, I will put a candle, the salt and pepper shakers, napkins, the sugar bowl and creamer. I made hot pepper vinegar and I have that there, too, in a fancy bottle. The old time mothers always had vinegar on the table and oil for salads. And also, I will put a picture of Jesus there, too. Or I will have my Bible out and open to a special verse to read as I walk by the table. Like Deut 28. (Please read that today.)

I have a plastic cloth on my table, so the smaller old linens on top of that are pretty. I only pay a few bucks for my plastic table cloths, and then I change them with the seasons. See, I use my table to roll out cookies or pies, so I have to have plastic down, as my family table is wood. Of course, I use my cutting board to cut my noodles. I always keep my cutting board out, and right beside where I sit at the table. When I am not using it to cut vegetables, I put a little cloth on it and set my pans on it and serve things from the table, like a roast or whatever.

But in order for me to get organized, I have to have my table organized first. Often, after a meal, I will put my flour and sugar and baking powder on my wooden board to be ready for the next meal preparation.

Lately, I have made a lot of soups and stews and cornbread. With the cornbread that I have left over, I will cube it with a sharp knife. And then, I put cubes in my black skillet with oil and margarine in it. Then I put coarsely ground black pepper on the cubes and garlic salt. And I bake them until they are brown. They are good to eat with a salad. I just store them in a jar after they cool. You could serve them with soups, too.

I say all of this to help you to prepare for your families. Enlarge your tents, dear Mothers. Believe God for your men to come home and for your wombs to be fruitful. Be blessed in your coming in and going out. In the city and in the country. May your kneading bowls and noodle boards be blessed. May your aprons be anointed. Today, hear the voice of wisdom. Prepare your homes for miracles.

Woman’s Work

The Ball canning book is a good source of imformation. Also, for some of you that want to begin canning next year, I would go to the library and stock up on books about canning and read them this winter. Maybe make a notebook and write down notes and recipes. This would be a good winter project for many of you. Maybe you could do it with your daughters for homemaking in home school.

When I go to the library, I come home with stacks and stacks of books on homemaking. When Jim works in the afternoon, he likes to rest and eat his lunch and then watch tv for a while then go to work. He likes for me to be with him in the living room, not especially to talk to him but to just be there. So I read my books and get ideas of things I have to do after Papa leaves for work.

If you have tomatoes, but you won’t be canning this year, you can freeze them in freezer bags. Or just the ziplock bags. You just wash them and core them and cut them up into pieces, and put them in the freezer. You don’t have to cook them first. I used to do this when the children were young if the tomatoes were coming in too fast and I didn’t have time to can them. I would make up bags for the freezer with green peppers and tomatoes and onions. I would use these packages to put into boiling soups and stews and chili for the winter. You don’t even have to peel the tomatoes, as the skins float to the top of the soup, anyway. While it is cooking, just skim them off.

And many old time mothers would freeze their fruits, like grapes and berries and peaches, and make jams out of them in the fall when the other canning wasn’t taking up all of their time. This way, you can have more fun making your jams and jellies, and even make some for Christmas presents. You have more time to play and get fancy. But it’s easy to just have your fruits frozen and to just make your jam when the canning season isn’t in full swing, like it is now.

One year, I made a Christmas jam with frozen strawberries and store bought cranberries. You just cook the cranberries as it says to on the package and, at the end, put in a few cups of strawberries. Cranberries will thicken anything up, so you don’t have to use the surejell. But I usually make the rhubarb jam in the spring, before anything else is ready to can.

I am so looking forward to fall and winter. My aunt has given me so many old pieces of sewing that my grandmother made, and great grand mother made. So many doilies and embroidered dresser scarves. I want to just have time to look at them in the quietness of a winter’s evening. I want to look at every stitch and think of how much time all this sewing took. I will do some hand sewing, too.

These old time mothers were not out running to the store. They were at home, sewing and cooking and watching over their dear children. Their hands were busy and their hearts were happy.

“Happy willing hands make happy willing hearts.”

Happy Housewifery

I am so happy for the cool days and that the summer is over. I love summer when it comes, but love it more when it goes. When Jim and I go to the grocery store, I see all the fall supplies coming in. We have Aldis here. Well, they are getting their fall supplies in.

At the store, HyVee, I would always love to look at this flour that had a picture of an Indian on it. And it was expensive, too. Well, yesterday they had it on sale and I bought two sacks. Boy, am I a hot shot now! I have flour with a picture of an Indian on it. Makes me feel like I am really up to something. Too bad they don’t make it with cloth sacks like they used to. I could make a house dress out of it.

Last evening, I had a couple ladies over for ice tea. We were talking about my wringer washer. I said I love it because I could drain the wash water out in buckets … no drain in the floor of the kitchen, of course. Well, I carry it out in buckets to the garden to water. The soapy water gets rid of the bugs. Well, I only got one sentence out, that I loved to drain my wash water and carry it out in a bucket. Boy, did we laugh over that. The feminists would kill me if they heard that one. Sometimes I am just not fit for company and will say the first thing on my mind. I mean, who would LOVE to drain their wash water into a bucket?

Anyway, with the cooler weather, my spirit will relax. I enjoy preparing for the Harvest time. Closing the house down slowly but surely and getting ready for fall and winter.

I have been buying baking supplies, as they are on sale right now. I got sugar yesterday for a buck for 4 pounds. The milk at Aldies was a buck and 69 cents for whole milk. I may can some of that to cook with. It’s normally pretty high. And in the winter, it is really high. That would make 8 pints. But I have to see if I have the pint jars left after I can up the rest of my tomato sauce. I have some spaghetti sauce in the oven, waiting to be canned today.

My friend Karen had given me sacks and sacks of basil. I dried some of it, but I put a big bunch in my spaghetti sauce. And, oh, is it good! I have my basil in pots outside, but it never grows like my friend’s do. But I will have some to bring in, in pots, to use for the winter.

I plan to make up some tea blends, too. Like the raspberry leaves mixed with different mints. I will probably mix this with the regular black bulk Lipton tea. I need to get at that pretty soon. Just thinkin’ out loud.

The morning glories are taking over everything in the yard now, and I just let them. They are so pretty.

I grew hops this year. I plan to make some herb pillows with it, after it is dried. The hops look like little pine cones, but soft. You can use the little pillows to lay on your head if you have a headache. I will mix the hops in the pillow with other herbs, too. But you just cut some material and make little pillows. Fill them with the herbs and sew it up by hand. Hops are supposed to relax you. I can imagine you could use the hops to make a tea, but hops are really bitter, I think. Well, with enough honey in your tea, you could probably get away with it.

My garden is still full of tomatoes, and Papa loves to go out and pick them and bring them in. He is really proud of all the tomatoes he grew.

Well, have a happy housewifery day today.

Homemaking Spirit

You have to catch it on your own
from reading Proverbs.

You have to learn to hear her voice,
the voice of wisdom.

And the fear of God
is the beginning of wisdom.

You will catch some wisdom from me
as it comes from association
with a Titus 2 mother.
She passes it on.

But the major teaching must come
from the word of God.
You must see wisdom
in the word.

God has to speak it into you through His word.

And He will speak it
personally to you,
and you will know and understand
the wisdom of God.

And you will add what you know to it
and you will teach me many things.

God the Father
always dominates
the Holy Spirit.

He is our husband and father.

But mother is there too
and she is wisdom.

As mother has left
the home
in our society she has left
the body of believers

you must find her again
and she is wisdom.

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Happy Housewifery teaches wives and mothers how to make Godly homes and encourages them to love their husbands and children in trying and difficult circumstances.

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