Freezable mashed potato recipe

Since we recently had the privilege of preparing 200 pounds of whipped potatoes for a friend’s wedding – actually two friends, since we know and love both the bride and the groom – I have been asked quite a few times for the recipe.

This isn’t our recipe.  In fact, I have never frozen mashed potatoes before this month.  We were just following the bride’s instructions, but the potatoes were undeniably delicious.  These would be perfect to make ahead for a holiday dinner.  They reheated perfectly and garnered many compliments, so here is the recipe.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

makes 1 gallon 

  • 5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform chunks
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 sticks butter (3/4 lb), softened
  • 1 tsp salt (or seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 cup half & half

Boil potatoes until very soft, 15-20 minutes.  Drain and mash or whip until light and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.  For easier mixing, heat cream cheese and butter together before adding to potatoes.

Serve immediately or freeze.

frozen: Thaw, then bring to room temperature.  Put in a baking dish, top with a few pats of butter, and heat 20-30 minutes at 350.

Friday Freebie on Amazon: The Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook

My friend Carrie who blogs at Natural Moms Talk Radio has a new ebook that will be free on Amazon for just one day:

Carrie is a mom of 7, so she understands the need for fast, easy, nutritious breakfast.  That’s why she’s sharing over 70 recipes in her ebook.  And that’s why you need it!

On Friday, September 27, The Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook will be FREE on Amazon!  Even if you miss the opportunity to get it free, it’s still a great deal at $2.99.  That’s less than the cost of a box of cereal.

And if you’re into feeding your family a nutritious diet without breaking your budget, you might be interested in another of Carrie’s ebooks:

This one isn’t free right now, but if it doesn’t help you save at least the $2.99 purchase price, you might be reading it wrong.   You can definitely Slash Your Grocery Budget & Eat a Whole Foods Diet With Aldi.  I remember Aldi’s from my 11 years in Ohio, and I can’t wait to get one here in San Antonio.  I had a serious case of sticker shock when I moved here and had to shop at regular grocery stores.  I think our food expenses must have risen by 30-40%.

Have you read either book?  I bet Carrie would love it if you published your review on Amazon, and I would love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Ezekiel Bread: is it as healthy as you think?

I’ve heard a lot about Ezekiel bread over the years.  It sounds healthy and delicious, right?  It’s made according to the recipe God gave His prophet in Ezekiel 4:9, commanding him to eat it every day for over a year, so it must be good for you.  Ezekiel bread is crafted from six different whole grains & legumes, often sprouted and dried before grinding.

 “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it.  ~Ezekiel 4:9

But have you ever read the entire recipe from the Bible?  I read the book of Ezekiel recently, and I don’t think people are cooking their Ezekiel bread right. I wonder what that does to the nutritional value?   I hope they aren’t cooking it the way God initially told Ezekiel to cook it.

And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.  ~Ezekiel 4:12

Well.  Who’s ready for some Ezekiel bread?

In all fairness, it’s worth noting that Ezekiel didn’t end up eating bread cooked over people poo:

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I have never defiled myself. From my youth up till now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has tainted meat come into my mouth.”  Then he said to me, “See, I assign to you cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.”  ~Ezekiel 4:14-15

But still, doesn’t it make you think twice about following health fads?  Who knows how they’re cooking this stuff.  ;)

4 Moms share vegetarian recipes {linky}

4moms35kids
Vegetarian?!  First, let me clarify a few things.

We think bacon is proof that God loves us.  I have made and enjoyed chocolate covered bacon, and I would totally try bacon ice cream.

We think that PETA should stand for People Eating Tasty Animals.

I think this is funny:

bacon seed

And this is hilarious:periodic table of meat

 

I make bacon roses for my husband, and we both think this site is awesome.

bacon roses

We like meat.

But we don’t always eat meat.  That is largely because it tends to be expensive, especially when you are feeding a lot of hearty eaters.  We have found that there are many healthy, hearty meals that don’t break the bank and don’t require meat.  Sometimes you can just skip the meat in a regular recipe if there are enough other ingredients to distract from its absence.  We are not vegetarians, but some of our meals are.

Before we start, let me issue a warning: don’t try to force a meat-loving husband to eat meatless meals.  He must be on board, or you are doomed to failure.  If your husband wants you to cut the food bill, this is a good way to do it.  If he looks at your like you’re crazy when you suggest eating some meatless meals, don’t even try it.  If you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here is a sampling of our favorites:

Bean & cheese burritos – Add-ons like tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, etc. really make the meal.  To add texture and appeal, make your beans from scratch instead of using refried beans from a can, leaving some whole beans when you season & smush them.  Or add lentils cooked with Homemade Taco Seasoning as a sort of meat substitute.  It’s not meat and probably won’t fool anyone, but it’s another way to add more texture and appeal.

Lasagna and spaghetti are very good without meat.  Just don’t skimp on the sauce and seasonings, and use plenty of cheese in your lasagna.

Taco salad is another meal that works well without meat: just use ranch beans or season your own pinto/black beans with Homemade Taco Seasoning.  Top with Homemade Catalina salad dressing.

homemade-enchilada-sauceBean & cheese enchiladas or “wet burritos” are another cheap meatless meal that everyone loves.  I use lots of my Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce under, over and inside each enchilada to make them moist and flavorful.  If you use flour tortillas, there’s no need to soften in oil or sauce.  Just put a few tablespoons of seasoned beans, cheese and sauce in the middle, and roll up.  Crowd in a single layer on a pan lined with sauce (use a pan with sides at least 1″ high).  Top with more sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.  Bake about 25-30 minutes at 350, until heated through and lightly browned on top.

We also love quiche, and the egg/cheese combination is a less expensive source of protein than most meats.  Bacon, ham or sausage is nice but not necessary.  Garlic, carmelized onions and other veggies add lots of flavor, and this dinner goes well with a green salad. Just mix up 6 eggs, 2 cups of milk, 2 cups grated cheese (any kind you have on hand), and as many add-ins as you want.  Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake until the center is set.  Of course we double or triple this.  :)

Moving away from meat is a fun excuse to experiment with new recipes.  We recently discovered and enjoyed Greek Fakes soup, and my husband wants me to make Indian Dahl lentils again.  We tried Black Bean Burgers and decided that the recipe was promising but needed a lot of tweaking.

What meatless recipes have you tried and enjoyed?

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4 Moms: Valentine’s Day recipes and a story {linky}

4moms35kids 4 Moms: the daily schedule

When I mentioned that today’s topic was recipes for Valentine’s Day, my kids were not impressed.  I think in our house we generally agree that Valentine’s Day is for lovers (i.e. married people), and thus the day holds very little interest for children in our family.

“Who chooses these topics?  Didn’t you tell the other moms we don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day?”

“Valentine’s Day?  Who cooks for Valentine’s Day?  You and Dad usually go out and we eat macaroni and cheese.”

“I’ll give you a Valentine’s Day recipe:

  1. Take chocolate.
  2. Put in mouth.”

I’m still not sure whether I should feel guilty because I don’t do any special cooking, or relieved because my kids don’t expect any.  They like macaroni and cheese.  I’ll let you know when I decide – or maybe I’ll let you decide.  What do you think?  On second thought, I only want to hear what you think if you’re on my side.

That’s not to say that I don’t get special treatment on Valentine’s Day, and any other excuse-of-a-holiday for romance.  Last year my husband hit one out of the park.  No, you can’t have him.

Being a good dad, Perry often brings home a  box of candy hearts or a small box of chocolates for each of the girls, too.  He knows the way to a woman’s heart, and any young man who wants to marry one of our girls had better learn a few tricks from her dad first.  He’ll have a tough act to follow.

So I get special treatment on Valentine’s Day.  If you’re wondering why I don’t do special cooking for Perry on Valentine’s Day, I just might be still punishing him for Valentine’s Day, 1998.   I hesitated to tell this story, but when I mentioned my hesitation to Perry he laughed and dared me.  He dared me, I tell you.  What else could I do?

Valentine’s Day ’98

or, Why I Don’t Cook a Romantic Dinner for Two on Valentine’s Day

It had been a long and difficult winter.  Perry was gone a lot, working full time while he tried to get his own business off the ground.  I had 3 kids 4yo and under, and was 6 months pregnant with our 4th.  My morning sickness had been worse than ever this time and I was down by 12 lbs, but I was finally feeling better.

As Valentine’s Day drew near, I decided to do something special.  Until now, Valentine’s Day had been pretty low key, but I wanted to make it special this year. Money was tight and babysitters were expensive, so we usually stayed in for our dates, but that wasn’t a problem.  I planned a menu of boneless turkey breast with all the traditional trimmings, and a nice bottle of wine on the side.  I made a special dessert.

Perry had the day off his regular job but was training a friend to clean carpets, his side business.  They planned to spend the day going over the maintenance of the machines and cleaning his friend’s carpets.  I didn’t know what time he would be home, but I wanted to be ready.  As evening fell, I fed the kids a cheap fun dinner and put them to bed early.   They were all too young to object, so all was well.

I dressed for dinner and set the table with candles and our prettiest dishes, keeping dinner warm while I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

When Perry finally arrived home very late that night, the turkey was about as hard and dry as my own attitude.  He made a valiant attempt to act hungry and chew the turkey jerky, but it just wasn’t working for either of us.  My attitude only got worse when I heard his side of the story:

After working all afternoon, he and his friend realized it was dinner time and they still had a few hours to go.  They were both hungry so they drove around the corner from Dave’s house to a local diner for a bite to eat.  The special was a 2-for-1 steak dinner – perfect!  Although both were married men, neither had a clue what day it was or why the quiet little diner was completely packed with starry-eyed lovebirds – and why the waitresses were giggling at the two of them.

My husband missed my special Valentine’s dinner because he went out for a romantic couple’s dinner with his buddy.

Of course it was partly my fault for not tipping him off ahead of time, but it’s more fun to blame him.  I’m not bitter, but I still tease him about his hot date with Dave.  I’m pretty sure the waitresses teased Dave about it for years afterward, too.

Because the title of this post promises recipes, I’ll share two.  I actually have made the Red Velvet Cake for Valentine’s Day because it is Perry’s favorite cake.  I made the Bacon Roses for Father’s Day, but they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day as well.

Red Velvet Cake

From the cookbook published by the church where Perry and I met as children.  How romantic is that?  Skip the red food coloring if you must, but don’t change the icing!

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 3 Tbs. cocoa
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 Tbs vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  1. Cream shortening, sugar and eggs.
  2. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture.
  3. Add buttermilk alternately with flour and salt.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Add soda to vinegar, then mix thoroughly into batter.
  6. Pour into 2 8″ pans, greased and floured.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350.
  7. Cool and split to make 4 layers.

Butter Cream Icing for Red Velvet Cake

Rich, buttery and not too sweet.  The easiest and most delicious cooked icing you will ever taste!
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Cook milk, flour and salt until thick, stirring constantly.
  2. Let cool thoroughly.  Learn from my mistakes: don’t rush it.  
  3. Cream butter and sugar well.  Add vanilla.
  4. Combine with milk mixture and beat until it looks like whipped cream.
  5. Spread between layers, top and sides of cake.  Learn more from my mistakes: Resist the urge to lick the bowl before you’re done or you won’t have enough for all 4 layers.

Bacon Roses

  • 1 lb. bacon, any type
  • muffin pan (12 cups)
  • 2 bunches of cheap plastic roses (12 total)

The original instructions said to drill a hole in the bottom of each cup in a muffin pan so that the grease could drain.  I bought 2 cheap muffin pans from The Dollar Tree so I could destroy them without guilt, then I decided not to drill the holes anyway.  They worked perfectly because bacon cooks very nicely in its own drippings, so 2 years later I still have the pans.  :)

Roll each slice of bacon into a curl and set into a muffin cup, edges on top and bottom so you see a spiral when you look at it.  Bake about 20-30 minutes at 400, until crisp.  Drain thoroughly.

To prepare rose stems, pull the flower off each one and push the green base down so that at least 1″ of the stem protrudes above.  Slide bacon buds onto protruding stems, place in a vase, and give to the love of your life.  If he insists on sharing, you’ve got a keeper.

I can’t find the photo, but our first try turned out just as pretty as the photos in the tutorial linked above, and so will yours.

What do you do for Valentine’s Day?

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Snapshot: fun with Mod Podge

edited to add recipes below

image

To streamline cooking, we’re putting our frequently used recipes to the inside of the cabinet doors near the range. No more searching!

As requested, here are closeups so you can see the recipes we included so far.  We’ll probably add more over time, but these are the ones we use the most.

Desserts:

image

Grandma’s Wacky Cake (also called Crazy Cake)

A rich, delicious Depression era recipe that contains no eggs, milk or butter.  I think everyone’s grandma had a recipe like this.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 Tbs. cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbs. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

In an ungreased 9×13 pan, combine dry ingredients.  Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.  Be sure to get the corners!

Add water, vinegar and vanilla all at once.  Mix thoroughly again.

Bake 35 minutes at 350 or just until cake tests done.  Don’t ice it, because the soft moist top is the best part! To make it special, dust with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups oats

In a 4 quart pot, stir together sugar and cocoa. Add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil 2 minutes.
Working quickly, remove from heat and stir in butter, peanut butter and vanilla. Confession: I never measure peanut butter. 1-2 big glops from a spoon will do nicely. Stir in the oats and drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Remember, work quickly. If you are too slow your cookies will cool and set in the pan and you’ll be forced to eat the rest straight from the pan with a spoon. Not good for the hips.
Let cool thoroughly and enjoy.

 

Moist Fudgy Brownies from scratch

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, opt.

Combine eggs, butter, cocoa, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until combined.  Add flour, salt and walnuts and stir again.

Bake in a buttered 9×13 for 25-30 minutes at 350, just until done in the center.  Serve warm.

 

Breads:

image

Breakfasts:

image

Cooking: Leftover Oatmeal Muffins

I’m turning this morning’s delicious leftover apple oatmeal into improvised muffins for today’s afternoon snack:

image

Pardon the brevity, but I’m posting from my phone. Want more posts like this? Let me know and I’ll try. :)

Update: The muffins turned out nicely, so here’s how I made them. I just browsed a cookbook for a muffin recipe that called for oats and altered it slightly to allow for the liquid already cooked into the oatmeal.  I even mixed it up right in the pot where we had cooked the oatmeal.

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins

  • 2 cups cooked oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (omit if the oatmeal is sweetened)
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt (reduce or omit if you salted the water for your oats)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil or melted butter

Combine all ingredients and stir just until combined.  Batter will be thick.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes at 375.  Let cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan.

 

 

4 Moms share Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes {linky}

Merry Christmas from the 4 Moms!  This week we’re sharing some of our favorite holiday recipes.  With a lot of little ones underfoot, my favorites are quick and easy.  They also happen to taste pretty good.  :)

If you’re a longtime reader, these recipes may look familiar to you.  Just smile and nod and pretend I’m not telling the same stories over and over again.

I plan to make my very-favorite Poor Man’s Toffee for this weekend’s annual tamale party with the extended family.  I’m glad some of my own household will be out of town, because then I won’t have to feel guilty if only half of the pan makes it to the party.

Poor Man’s Toffee

makes 50 pieces – great for gifts

  • 1 1/4 cups butter, divided
  • 35-40 saltine-style crackers
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts

Pay attention.  This happens quickly:

  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter; pour into foil-lined jelly roll pan.
  2. Arrange crackers over butter, evenly spaced.
  3. Melt remaining butter; add sugar and boil 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and add condensed milk. Spread over crackers.
  5. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until bubbly and slightly darkened.
  6. Remove from oven, cool 1 minute, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes (until chocolate is soft and melty) and spread.
  7. Sprinkle with nuts; press lightly into chocolate.
  8. Cool; refrigerate until chocolate is set.
  9. Remove foil and cut candy.

Yum! Rich, delicious and very impressive, and much faster and easier than it sounds. No one can ever guess the saltine cracker base – it tastes a lot like Almond Roca.

*******************************************************

Another very easy recipe that we make for holiday dinners is cranberry sauce.  After making our own the first time several years ago, we all decided we would never go back to the canned goop.  It’s quick and easy, just like the title of this post promises, and delicious!  The young ones in our family love that they can easily cook something this pretty for a formal meal.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 oz bag of cranberries
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine and simmer in microwave (covered) or on stovetop til berries burst, about 10 minutes.  Stir and mash a bit as they cook.

Chill thoroughly and serve in a pretty dish.

Really, that’s it.  You thought it would be harder, didn’t you?

cranberry 300x199 Cranberry sauce

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Cheater’s Fudge

So easy you’ll never go back.

  • 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • optional additions: walnuts, marshmallows, etc.

Just combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until melted and combined.  Pour into buttered or wax-paper lined 8×8 pan, chill, and cut into small squares.

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Effortless Eggnog

I love eggnog and have no qualms about the raw eggs in traditional recipes, especially since most of our eggs come from our own hens.  However, this recipe is super easy, delicious, and satisfies those who are concerned about raw eggs.

  • 1/2 gallon milk, divided
  • 1 package instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup milk and pudding mix until smooth. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in remaining milk. Refrigerate until serving.

************************************************

What are some of your favorite quick & easy holiday recipes?  Link up here and your link will show on all of the 4 Moms blogs!

Please remember the linky rules:

  1. Your post must be family friendly.
  2. Link to a specific relevant post, not to the homepage of your blog.  
  3. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms.  
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4 Moms give food as gifts {linky}

4moms35kids Q&A with the 4 Moms: competitiveness, pregnancy and newborns, Bible for little ones

I’m excited about this topic.  It’s not so much because I have great ideas to share with you, as because I’m excited about food.  Nursing a newborn will do that to you.  :)

In an astounding coincidence, most of the foods on my list below also happen to be our own favorite winter treats.  I’ll tell you about a few food gifts we have done in the past, then I want to sit back and read your great ideas!

Candy: here are two of our favorites, both very fast and easy and entirely too delicious.  Don’t give these to dieters.  That’s just unkind.

Poor Man’s Toffee – Addictive and impressive.  Break or cut into pieces and arrange on a plate or platter.  Add some fudge for variety.

Cheater’s Fudge – My favorite recipe is very easy, but there are endless variations to dress it up.  You have to be a sick person to dislike fudge.

Drinks: put these in pretty jars with pretty lids.  If you’re feeling generous, give a set of all 3 in a pretty basket with some mugs.

Russian Tea mix - I’m not a tea drinker, but this is really delicious on a cold morning.

Chai Tea mix - Even better than the Russian tea.  Be sure to use real cardamom if you can find it.  I get mine in bulk from the local health food store.

Homemade Cocoa mix - Rich, creamy, and not as sweet as the storebought mixes.

IMG 3499 300x200 Challah Bread recipeBaked goods: this list should definitely include your favorite cinnamon roll recipe.  Here are two other favorites.

Braided Challah Bread - We make this for Communion every week, but it’s so delicious that we still never take it for granted and neither will your loved ones.  It’s easy and beautiful, and makes a lovely gift.  Wrap it in clear or tinted plastic wrap so they can see how pretty it is.

roll 150x150 Pumpkin rollsCream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Roll – A lot of work, but not so bad if you do a dozen at a time and just mess up the kitchen once.  Wrap in white freezer paper and tie the ends with red ribbon.  Cut in half before wrapping for single people and couples.  A bigger family deserves the whole roll!  Store in the freezer.  These also sell nicely, if you’re up for the job.

Your turn.  What is your favorite food gift?  Even if you haven’t actually given it yet, what recipe do you think would make a fabulous gift?  What have you found lately on Pinterest or elsewhere on the internet that you intend to try soon?

Please remember the linky rules:

  1. Your post must be family friendly.
  2. Link to a specific relevant post, not to the homepage of your blog.  
  3. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms.  
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  • November 22 - Handling disrespectful attitudes
  • November 29 - Q&A
  • December 6 - Quick and Easy Holiday Crafts
  • December 13 - Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes

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4 Moms on Food Preservation


I’m running ever so late today, and I’m not even going to apologize.  Last night we moved into our new house!  The move was what some might consider a disaster, or would have been if not for our friends who worked tirelessly and never said a word about how woefully unprepared we were.  I knew we were rushing it a bit, but I thought I was in labor, and I thought we were 90% packed and could throw the rest of our belongings in boxes as we went.  As it turned out…well, maybe I’ll just make it part 6 in my househunting series.  That’s not what you came to read this morning anyway, is it?

You came to learn about how we big-family moms preserve food.  By that, we don’t mean distracting the kids with promises of great fun as soon as mealtime is over, just so they’ll hurry up and eat less – although I have noticed that it would work, if we wanted it to.  The downside to that plan is they’re all begging to eat again in 30 minutes.  You saved nothing on your food bill and lost some sanity in the process.

Food preservation is, of course, about saving food for later so we can take advantage of great deals and larger quantities than we would normally use at once.  There are many other reasons, but that is what motivates me.

I have to confess, I haven’t done a whole lot of gardening and canning, though I have dabbled a bit over the years.  On the whole, I have found that it’s not necessarily a big money saver to buy and preserve fresh produce, though you often have a much better product in the end.  It’s also not often a good return on your time, unless you are doing it for fun and quality rather than a dollars/hour return on your time.  Much like knitting and sewing, you can often buy a finished product more cheaply than you can make it – but doing it yourself carries other benefits.

We did, however, buy a pressure canner not too long ago, and used it to can our own beans, meat bought on sale, apple pie filling, pizza sauce, and a few other items bought or prepared in large quantities at deeply discounted prices.  There was a bit of a learning curve and I started out almost afraid of my pressure canner (who hasn’t heard horror stories of explosions in the kitchen?) but it turned out to be very simple – easier than water bath canning, I think.  If you’ve ever done water-bath canning or even thought about it, I highly recommend a pressure canner!

What methods of food preservation have you used in the past?  What have you thought about trying in the future?

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