Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 29, 2018

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It was all about food preservation this week!  As you can see, it’s starting to crawl toward the edge of the counter–but I’ll let you know I took care of it before it fell off!

I did several more batches of zucchini dill chips.  I did 2 jars of cucumber dill chips, using the same recipe,  and 1 pint of dill pickles.  I finished and canned the sweet pickles.  It’s a 4-day process, with something to do both morning and evening for the 4 days.  Rob and I canned 7 quarts and about 22 pints of green and yellow beans.  I froze peaches and made peach jam.

I picked tomatoes, dill, basil, cilantro, potatoes, cucumbers, a lemon cucumber, numerous zucchini, snow peas, green and yellow beans, lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and a few carrots from the garden.  I picked peaches at my sister’s house, along with some wild blackberries.  She also gave me a small cabbage and some jalapeños.

I got bulk dill seeds for a much lower price than the little jars cost.  It did take 3 different stores, but I finally found some at Natural Grocers, of all places.  It was 3-4x the amount of dill seeds in the bulk package for less than 1/2 the price of the jar I passed up at the other stores.  I refilled my mustard seed from a large bulk package I’ve had for some time.

I got the KIND bar at Fred Meyers as my Friday Freebie.  At Safeway, I got a Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice packet for free.

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Safeway had bone-in chicken breast for 79c/lb.  Ever since Jeannie, at GetMeToTheCountry blog told about canning chicken, I’ve been dying to try it.  I seized my opportunity and bought the 4 allowed packages.  As she did, I cut the chicken off the bone for Rob to load into jars, and boiled the bones with water to make broth.  Then, he watched the canner for the 75 minutes that were required, and we had 18 little jars of canned chicken.  We also canned 7 quarts and 6 pints broth. Broth is done in 25 minutes, but he still sat there and watched every minute.  That’s what we do when we are using the pressure cooker.  I was very low on broth, and was delighted to get that.  This was our first time canning chicken, but I’ve done broth numerous times, and I love having the convenience of canned broth on the shelf.  I don’t love paying the price for what is basically water and salt boiled with bones–it’s much more economical to make my own.

I used all the little jars Rob got for free last week at a garage sale.  There were way more than the 20 I estimated–probably closer to 35 or 40.  In the same box, I had not noticed the 3 boxes of small-mouthed jar lids.  I happily used them as well.  There were lots of rings, too, and many of them are nicer than the ones I had.

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We watched Jake 3 days, and Michaela 2 days.  Among other activities,  I helped him make cupcakes and cake from a mix and some sprinkles that had been around for quite some time.  He had fun, and I was glad to send most of it home with him. Rob took Michaela to her volunteering activity and some other errands, and we took them to the YMCA to swim.  I let Jake play in the sprinklers with Patsy, and you would have thought I had taken him to the zoo or something, he had so much fun.

Watching the kids meant that we did the picking, most of the processing and especially the canning with the pressure cooker when they were not here.  So, I put in several early mornings and late nights.  I paced myself and did part of a job one day (like snap beans) and the rest the next (like the actual canning).  I have a couple of days to re-coup as their older sister, Caitlyn, wants to spend a couple of days with them while their parents are out of town.  She has the time, and misses them.  They were all here for lunch today, and we mapped out the week.  Once she goes back to work on Wednesday evening, Rob and I will take over, and it will be busy, busy, busy for the rest of the week.

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We had stir-fry at least 5 times, with various veggies at times, but it always included zucchini.  We had chicken several times.  When I was in a big hurry, I just chopped off some of that not-yet-canned chicken breast and stir-fried it with zucchini and onion.  I used the last of my store potatoes to make mashed potatoes today because Alissa requested them.  I will use garden ones next. Lovana made zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate zucchini cookies.  I made a crock pot of Marinara sauce, using frozen peppers from previous years and canned tomatoes.  I used it 2 times with frozen chicken meatballs the needed using up.  I still have a bunch left to serve or freeze in the next couple of days.

I mended a swimsuit for my sister.  I have some more sewing I’d like to start, now that my machine is out:). I also have extra cleaning I’d like to get done.  There may be a little more preserving to do, although Rob has been gently asking me how many zucchini dill chips I think we need..even when some will be gifts:).   It’s still blistering hot, for a couple more days, so I’ll be glad to stay inside tomorrow.

Do you have any preserving or other money-saving projects you hope to do this week?

 

20 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 29, 2018”

  1. I love the photo of Jake hard at work. The cupcakes/cake look great. I’m so happy that your garden is doing so well and you have been able to can and freeze so much. I have never had canned chicken. Glad you were able to make it. I too do not like the store stock. I make a lot of my own and freeze it. It never is enough though. So I do sometimes buy it. Homemade is so much better. I am always amazed when we eat at friends houses and they throw away the carcass. I guess that don’t know how good it is. Have a wonderful week.

    My list for the week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-frugal-list-week-of-july-23-2018.html?showComment=1532953462697#c5065045879623218257

    1. My freezers (yes 3 of them) are way too full, so I like to can the broth when I get the opportunity. I was running so low on my canned broth that I did have to buy some a while back, and still have some on the shelf from the store, now. Now, I’m very happy to have a few more jars done of the home-made kind, as I, also, like it better.

  2. You make me wish I was braver with canning. I keep saying I’m going to get a pressure canner, but then I chicken out! Maybe I need prayer for my pressure canner phobia!

    1. I think my mother went through all the angst of the pressure cooker, even having one explode one time! By the time I was learning, she had it all figured out, and was a great teacher. I was very young when I got married, and thought that’s just what you did, so I’ve been using the pressure canner for all these years without any trouble. I love having the green beans done in there, and of course any meat and meat products like broth.

  3. Canned chicken broth is like money in the bank we always say. I watch the pressure canner, too. I usually settle in the kitchen with my Kindle and let it do it’s thing. My favorite meat to can is pork. I buy a boneless pork loin when they get really cheap as in !.29 a pound. I trim the fat and cut it in cubes. Just fill the jars and put the lids on and into the canner they go. I don’t add anything at all. Pints for 75 minutes and qt for 90 minutes. I am all out and need to get busy and get some meat in jars soon. And I have not canned any peaches and time is a wasting. The peaches we have gotten I have not thought were worth the effort so far this year. They have not had much flavor.

    1. I know I’m a picky peach canner as well, because I’ve always been able to be one since I grew up on a peach farm, so I won’t can any peach that I don’t really want to eat. I have certain kinds for jam/freezing and certain kinds I like to can. I found out long ago that what you put into the jar is what you are going to need to eat later, and it’s not going to improve in the jar. So, you have it right–don’t can it if doesn’t taste good when it’s right off the tree:)

  4. You have had a very busy week! Your garden is doing so well and I am so impressed with all the canning you are doing. I don’t can as much (don’t have a pressure cooker). But, I do make jams and chutneys. However, I haven’t made any in the past 3 years! I do have some lemons and strawberries I’ve prepared and frozen – maybe I’ll be able to make some jam and marmalade, this year. But I am waiting until it gets a bit cooler – way too hot to be stirring jam!

    1. It’s been pretty hot here, too. But, we have air conditioning which helps. We do a lot in the very early morning, or evening, or just tough it out on the outside porch and hope for a breeze:)

      I’m glad you get to make jam. I love homemade jam:)

  5. I too have yet to pressure can anything.I love seeing your photos and reading your posts about it. Perhaps when/if a good sale comes along I’ll jump in.
    For now I’m content with my refrigerator ‘chips’ and freezing things. I’m hoping my tomatoes will ripen — it’s hot this week but cooler temps and rain are in the forecast, if that holds.
    Cheers,

    1. We are going to cool down a bit, as well, at the end of the week. Thank goodness. I think some of the garden plants are getting a little crispy, even with lots of watering! Even I feel crispy when it nears 100 degrees:).

      My watermelon is not setting fruit at all. The package said it does better with a pollinator, but the pollinator plant died, so I think the other one is not going to set. Still, I haven’t pulled it up because the hope of the tiny, little green balls behind the blooms maybe, just maybe making a watermelon keeps it alive. Maybe one will set after all:) :). I can always hope!

  6. WOW! I was surprised when I just clicked on your post to find out someone really took my advice! I feel so important…ok, I will pretend to be humble. You will love having cheap cooked chicken ready and waiting in the cupboard to throw in dishes. I never seem to have enough.

    My good news is that I was able to get the White China Pearl PEACHES!!! They don’t taste like a peach because the flavor is very mild and sweet. I love them! Who said nagging never pays off. I called the lady at the orchard constantly to see if they had any (she learned to recognize my voice before I said my name). It was worth it. I picked them up today and have been eating them for every meal. They are not quite ready to freeze or can yet. I will start working on them tomorrow.

    My bad news is that we have a raccoon who has moved into our backyard. First, he learned to tip the hummingbird feeder and guzzle the syrup, then he pulled the bread out of the birdfeeder, this weekend he discovered the yummy leaves on the sweet potato vines. Last night, he ate or smashed TEN RIPE TOMAOTES!!!!! That was it. His days are numbered. The humane trap is set with a few anchovies. Bon appetite thieving pest.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. I would get that raccoon, too! Especially after the tomatoes. It’s too early in the season to share those!!!

      I’m looking forward to having the chicken. We already ate the one jar that did not seal, and liked it!

  7. The food looks fabulous! I want to eat one of Jake’s cupcakes….lol…. I so love desserts,….and it shows.

    1. I know! I struggle with eating too much dessert when it’s around, as well. That’s why I sent most of the cupcakes home with Jake….There was just too much dessert around here with those plus the zucchini cupcakes and zucchini cookies my daughter made. Like a dessert feast! I froze some of those:)

  8. I am overloaded with zucchini. I did make some relish with it and have cooked and baked many more. After sharing with multiple families I am now ready to start hauling it to the mission. They are happy to take any food for their homeless shelter and food basket programs. One way to use a lot of it is to make faux applesauce. Chop up peeled and seeded big zucchini. Add a little lemon juice and a bit of sugar. You can cook it in Crock-Pot for about 4 or 5 hours. If you forget it and it cooks all night it will be apple butter. Add cinnamon and additional sugar to taste. It’s great to bake with. I also make faux Dutch apple pie out of large ones.

    1. It’s a great idea to donate the extras. I wonder if there is anywhere around here that needs any. You have a lot of great ideas, that’s for sure!

      Yesterday, I shredded up what looks like more than a year’s supply:). So, I’m done with that. My aunt took a few, and so did Rob’s mom. So, I’m good for a few more days. Then…..those are good ideas that you did….I’ll see how it goes since we have both my niece and nephew 24/7 until Sunday.

    1. Thank you. I was pretty tired last night, but a little more perky today. The promised cool-down has arrived and I sure have more energy when it’s not so hot. Today, I’m making peach jam. I’m loving the fact that I am reaching the amount that I want to can of several items, so they are about done. Tomatoes….Yesterday was just a small start of what I could use this year. But, they are just starting to ripen in enough quantity to process. There will be many more to come.

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