Empty Jars

I’ve got an awful lot of empty jars in my pantry that need refilling lately.  Last year I started keeping things in mason jars to help with clutter and to keep any crumb seekers from smelling what I had stashed away.  When you live in a 100 year old house with a stone foundation there’s always something scurrying around looking for a snack.

So todays project was to start filling up some empty jars and make mayonnaise and peanut butter…two staples in our house…and both are super easy to make.  Today it probably took me 20 minutes and that included cleaning out the food processor in between and at the end and taking some pics.  yes, that’s right, I have some pictures of my process.

First off I did the mayonnaise.  I’ve done this several times with mixed success.  Olive oil is not my friend when it comes to making mayo!  It worked out once for me and I was so excited but then I ruined a lot in other batches because it just wasn’t emulsifying for me.  I tried different oil temperatures, different egg temperatures, different processor speeds, no luck.  So now I stick with a good quality vegetable oil and it’s fine and works every time so far.  The other ingredients I used are dijon mustard, egg, and lemon juice, and salt and I’ll give amounts at the end.

I have more duck eggs in the fridge than chicken eggs so that’s what I used today.  First time but I figured it would work out well since the yolks are so much thicker and it would just make the mayonnaise creamier if anything.

IMG_4362   I whizzed that up with about a tbsp of dijon mustard and a splash of lemon juice before moving on.

The oil part is where you either make mayonnaise or end up with eggy oily mess.  It needs to go in slowly and by slowly I mean just a drizzle.  I use a measuring cup with a little spout so that I can pour a steady little stream into the food processor.

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I also use the lower speed on my processor.  I read somewhere that a higher speed won’t make it any faster and can actually split the mayonnaise.  Not sure if it’s true or not but the lower speed works for me so that’s just what I use.

I used a cup of oil to start out and it just took a minute to get that incorporated.  Make sure you take the top off the processor and scrape down the sides.  It’s going to splatter a lot when you start so there will be oil all up the sides that needs to be incorporated too.

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At this point have a little taste.  I added some salt and a little bit more dijon and it wasn’t quite the consistency I wanted so I added another bit of oil.

Once you get the hang of things you can play around with flavours.  We buy different flavoured mustards so today I used a Chardonnay Dijon.  For the acidity you could use some sort of vinegar instead of lemon juice.  If you are going to be using it up fairly quickly you could even add some fresh herbs or garlic.

And that’s all there was to it.  I popped it into a mason jar and into the fridge to chill right next to a lovely ripe tomato that is probably going to turn into lunch very soon.

HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

  • 1 whole egg (at room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

Add egg, dijon, and lemon juice to food processor and blitz just to incorporate.  In a slow steady stream  with the food processor on low add 1 cup of oil until completely emulsified.  Taste and season to your liking.  Scrape down the sides of the processor and process again, adding more oil to reach desired consistency.  ***This has to be kept in the refrigerator.***

For the peanut butter I just used roasted salted peanuts.   I buy big bags because I use them in lots of recipes and it’s healthier and more economical for me to make peanut butter with them.  And since the kids love peanut butter and jam sandwiches on the weekends it only makes sense for me to make peanut butter, jam, and bread at home.

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So I started out with about 2 1/2 cups of peanuts and I just threw them into the food processor.  I didn’t do it today, but have lots of other times, make sure you put the blade in before the ingredients go in.

This is what you want to see when you turn it on.  🙂

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After a minute it will start to look like this and you’ll probably think the processor will give out before it turns into anything but don’t worry, it will come together.IMG_4368

The whole process probably took me three minutes and that included taking pictures. I started out on low speed for a minute and then turned it up on high but everyone’s food processor is different so just use your judgement on speed and time. The longer you let it process the creamier it will get.  Keep an eye on it and check it every so often to see if it’s where you want it.

Mine isn’t quite factory  smooth but it’s not crunch either.  I’ll call it gritty for lack of a better word.  Just a little bit of texture.

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All that’s left to do is put it into a jar and keep it in the fridge.  I always label the jars so I know exactly when I made it and there’s no guessing how long it’s been in the fridge.  I just use a black pernament marker and it washes right off when I’m done and want to reuse the jar for something else.

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So that’s it for now.  On with my busy day.  Quick lunch, pick kids up from school, get supper, back to school for Little Miss’ play practice, off to our Woman Walk the World event with little man, pick Little Miss up, off to WI meeting.  Yawn.

Have a great day and I hope you all get outside and enjoy yourselves today.

A

It’s a crazy week.

Today is day 2 home with a sick Little Man.  Not sure what the tummy issue is but it started on the weekend, we thought it was cleared up on Monday, and then reared its ugly head again on Tuesday night…just as I was getting ready for bed.  We are sticking with the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) and he’s doing really good today.  I just finished a second mini batch of applesauce for him (The steam was still coming off it when I took the picture) and so far everything is staying down.  ***knock on wood***  One apple seems to be the perfect serving size and it only takes 5 mins to make.  Plus the chickens love the scraps minus the seeds.

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A big thanks needs to go out to Hubby who has been picking up the slack with Little Miss the past few days doing drop offs and pick ups, taking her out to supper, and then going out at 9 pm last night to get me something to eat.

I’ve also been busy this week getting ready for a Buy Local event our WI chapter is hosting on Saturday.  It’s amazing how many small businesses are around that most of us just don’t know about.  The first Buy Local we had I’m sure I didn’t know 75% of the vendors and even people who have lived in the community all of their lives commented that they didn’t know some of these businesses existed, so I’m happy to say that we are making a difference and creating awareness.

Also, when we planned the date this time we didn’t even consider the fact that Earth Day was this week but we need to remember that part of the buy local movement is environmental.  If we don’t have to transport goods over long distances we are cutting our carbon footprint.

This year our kids school is doing a different activity each day this week to create awareness of Earth Day and the need to be environmentally aware.  Teachers are coming up with ideas for their classes to reuse materials, today is literless lunch day, and tomorrow is a clothing swap.  Each year different classes do different activities with plants and animals that help them understand the environment a little better and to study life cycles.  In kindergarden the kids get to plant beans, one of the grade 2 teachers hatch out butterflies native to the area, this year my daughters grade 3 class are participating in a “save the salmon” program.  They have a big fish tank in their classroom with hundreds of salmon eggs and they get to be a part of that life cycle until they are big enough to release into a local river.  I am hoping that one of the teachers will take on a project to hatch out some chickens or ducks in their classroom next year.

And speaking of buy local and animals, we are getting piggies very soon!!! But not just any piggies, pot belly pigs (2 male, 1 female).  Someone local is giving them away and i just happened to be online at the right time to see their ad before anyone else jumped in to claim them.  There’s enough snow gone now that we can get to work on a fence and shelter and we should be able to pick them up soon.  I’ll have a few pics to post as soon as we pick them up.    Hubby still wants to get some “regular meat pigs” so we’ll see how we get on with the pot belly pigs first and decide how many more animals we want to add.

That’s about it for today.  Hope you all have a “green” day and be sure to reduce, reuse, recycle, and don’t forget to buy local!

Spring

Ahh spring, when the robins come back, snow melts, rivers open up, and the toilet makes funny noises.

Wait, back up!  The toilet makes funny noises?  Oh yes. The toilet in our house starts making noises.

You see, we live in a house that’s over 100 years old.  Tons of character but it’s a fixer upper and everything about it is odd, including the plumbing. Now one of these days we will have everything changed out and run properly but for now we make due…and part of making due is dealing with glugging, popping, slurping, sucking noises coming from the main floor bathroom every spring.

It’s the oddest thing and the first time I thought we were in BIG trouble, physically and financially.  I mean, who wants to deal with a complete plumbing overhaul a year after buying a house? Not this girl!  We had enough other stuff that needed to be done.  Hubbs calls this our ‘forever home’ because we will be here forever.  Sometimes I think it’s just going to take forever to get all the renovations done, but I love it here all the same.

Thankfully with the plumbing the water was going down instead of coming back up so my calls, messages, and conversations with hubby weren’t quite as frantic and crazy as they could have been.  After all, I’m good with the water being sucked down the pipes.  That’s the direction it is supposed to go right.  Turns out through a bit of investigation the plumbing isn’t vented properly on one side of the house.  We’ll just add that to the list I guess.

I know some of you might be thinking “what kind of crazy person lives in a house like that” but I guess that’s just the joys of living in a very old house with quirks.  Yeah, the plumbing is noisy at times, the porch roof leaks from the ice build up and thaw, and the floors are wavy, but 90% of the time it’s perfect and somehow it goes with our crazy family.

I mustache you a question.
I mustache you a question.

Have a wonderful day and be sure to get out and splash in some puddles.

If April showers bring may flowers, what about April snow???

Its April 1 and there is still snow in our forecast for this afternoon.  I’m ok with that but I suspect most of the people I know are more like this:

summer
In Summer!

Maybe because I grew up in Labrador West where it’s winter more than it’s not. Winter came in October and stayed until early May.  Halloween meant walking through snow to go trick-or-treating with costumes over our snowsuits.  When everyone else was having “spring break” we were having winter carnival.  Most cars had block heaters that had to be plugged in all the time they weren’t running just so they would be able to start.  And we had cold days instead of storm days, but they weren’t very often.  The temp had to be -70C before school was cancelled.  Yes, people would still go out in those temperatures…and still do.  Our winter activities were snowshoeing, downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hockey, figure skating, and anything else you can do in the snow.  We just dressed way warmer than most people have to.

So I’m good with winter sticking around for a bit, but only a bit…we do have things we want to get done around the yard.  Pig fence is the #1 project for us.  If we don’t get piggies in May we will have them too far into next winter and we’d like to be done with slaughter/butcher by mid November at the latest.  I keep going back to my pork list and prioritizing so I have a clear idea of what we are going to do so there is no waste of the animal.  ***gross stuff coming for anyone who might be squeemish***  I’ve even been watching videos on how to prepare and use hog intestines as natural sausage casings.  *******k, that’s done*********

Hubby also wants to get the smoke house done before too long.  I have lots of ideas for that and I think we’ll start with some chicken and salt.  I bought a little jar of smoked salt that I found in a 1/2 price bin a while ago and what an amazing flavour it puts on food.  It didn’t last long and I wasn’t prepared to pay what they wanted full price so that’s something I’m definitely willing to try.  It’s too bad I can’t get my hands on some raw milk because I’d love to be able to make some cheese and smoke that.  (raw milk is illegal in NS) I know I can use pasteurized milk but it’s just not the same.  It’s times like this I’d love to have a dairy cow or goat, but lets leave that for another time!

Easter weekend is coming fast.  As a Catholic family, this weekend has quite a holy aspect to it for us, as well as the fun and excitement that the Easter Bunny brings.  We spent yesterday making some Easter decorations for the windows (kids had a snow day and Hubby had the morning off) and prepping some cookie dough for today.  Little Man wants to bring bunny bum cookies to school and I wanted to try out a new recipe ahead of time.  It came out pretty good…thanks Joy of Cooking…so finishing those is a project for this evening.  Little Miss picked out a cupcake set so that will be super easy and she can do most of that herself.  She’s quite the little baker.  I’ve decided that in addition to treats for the kids in their classes, I am going to bring a treat in for their teachers as well.  Baskets of our own eggs.  I won’t even have to color them since we get various shades of green, brown, and cream.  It’s too bad the ducks are on hiatus this week.  They might only get one duck egg each in the baskets.  Anyway, I’m sure they will enjoy them all the same.

So I guess while I’m waiting for spring here in the Maritimes I will continue to make plans and think about baby chickens, ducks, and pigs, growing the garden, and having lots of fun with the kiddies and Hubby.

Have a great day everyone and I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend.