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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dehydrating Zucchini

   We have been harvesting HUGE zucchini from our garden this year.  It is the end of August and my hubby is still bringing in a few of them a day.  There is only so much you can eat before it seems to be coming out of your ears.  What to do with it all you may ask?  You can make Parmesan Zucchini; Zucchini bread; Zucchini sticks or you can dehydrate it and make Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips, Salt & Pepper Zucchini Chips, Italian Zucchini Chips, or dehydrate it for future use in cubes or by shredding it.  Today, I'm going to show you how to dehydrate the cubed zucchini.

     First, wash your zucchini and cut off the ends.

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Slice the ends off the zucchi.


  Now, cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds and stuff.    We feed this too our chickens. 
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A bowl full of zucchini "pulp" and seeds for our chickens.


Now, start cutting the zucchini into cubes.

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Cubing the zucchini.

 Once it is all cut up, place in your dehydrator for about 12 hours.  I just start mine before I go to bed and after my morning coffee, they are done. 

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The dehydrated zucchini cubes.
   Use the dehydrated zucchini in soups, stews, or casseroles.  You can rehydrate them first (15 minute soak in hot water) or just throw them in dry into the soup or whatever and they cook up just fine.


 If you are looking to buy a dehydrator, here is thelink to the exact kind that I use.  I have had mine for 3 years and use it often and LOVE it and best yet, they are less than $40!  Oster dehydrator

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September's Meal Plan for the Month

   I have worked out a meal schedule for the month of September.  I have created my grocery list and to feed our family, the cost of the groceries will be right at $300.  People have asked for my list so I am sharing it with you.
      If a breakfast is not listed for a particular day than that days breakfast will consist of eggs (we have our own chickens), instant oatmeal or cereal.  For lunches, we serve left overs or sandwiches.  We drink milk, tea, coffee or water with our meals.  I spend $300 a month on groceries to feed our family.  Yes, we repeat a lot of meals but we like them and we do not mind. 

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September 1st:  Doing a breakfast for supper meal and having Biscuits and Gravy and sausage patties.
September 2nd:  Pancakes for breakfast; Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.
September 3rd:  Garlic & Soy Chicken quarters and veggies for supper.  Chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies as a snack.
September 4th:  Pancakes for breakfast; Beans & cornbread for supper.
September 5th:  Homemade pizzas for supper.  Homemade Reeses for a snack.
September 6th:  Biscuits and chocolate gravy for breakfast.  Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.
September 7th:   Chicken pot pie for supper.  Pound cake for dessert.
September 8th:  Pancakes for breakfast.  Doing a breakfast for supper meal and having Biscuits and Gravy and sausage patties.
September 9th:    Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.  Chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies as a snack.
September 10th:  Garlic & Soy Chicken quarters and veggies for supper.
September 11th:  French Toast Casserole for breakfast.  Beans & cornbread for supper.
September 12th.   Homemade pizzas for supper.  Homemade Reeses for a snack.
September 13th:   Biscuits and chocolate gravy for breakfast. Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.
September 14th:  Sausage & Radiatore soup with homemade bread for supper.
September 15th:  Beans & cornbread for supper.
September 16th:  Doing a breakfast for supper meal and having Biscuits and Gravy and sausage patties. Chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies as a snack.
September 17th:  Pancakes for breakfast.  Hamburger slop for supper (hamburger, tomatoes, beans and rice combined).
September 18th:  Biscuits and chocolate gravy for breakfast. Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.
September 19th:  Chicken and dumplings for supper.  Homemade Reeses for a snack.
September 20th:  Tuna noodle casserole for supper.  Pound cake for dessert.
September 21st:  Mini Frittatas for breakfast.  Roast, potatoes and carrots for supper.
September 22nd:  Chicken and Dumplings for supper.
September 23rd:  Pancakes for breakfast.  Refried bean & Rice Burritos with beans and rice on the side for supper.
September 24th:  Barbecue chicken quarters and veggies for supper.  Chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies for a snack.
September 25th:  Beans & cornbread for supper.
September 26th:  Biscuits and chocolate gravy for breakfastHomemade pizzas for supper.
September 27th:  Doing a breakfast for supper meal and having Biscuits and Gravy and sausage patties. Homemade Reeses as a snack.
September 28th:  Pancakes for breakfast.  Jambalaya for supper.
September 29th:  Hamburger slop for supper. 
September 30th:  Tuna Noodle Casserole for supper.


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Refried Bean & Rice Burritos

   As I stated in yesterday's post, I cook a lot of beans and rice.  One way we utilize them is by making homemade burritos.  These taste sooo good and are easy to make.

Homemade Bean & Rice Burritos

Refried beans (Click on the name to find the recipe)
1 c. uncooked rice
1 envelope taco seasoning
cheese
10 tortillas

     You can either buy some refried beans or use my recipe.  If you use the recipe I have, there will be enough refried beans to make 10 decent sized burritos and enough left over for 3 servings of refried beans to eat as a side dish.

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       Get a small pot and add 2 cups of water and add the uncooked rice to the water.  Bring it to a boil and then stir in the taco seasoning.  Turn the heat low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Once the rice is done, you are ready to put together your burritos.  
     For each burrito, spoon two spoonfuls of refried beans into the center of the tortilla, then the same amount of rice on top and then sprinkle it with cheese. 

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 Roll up and either heat and eat or wrap and foil and freeze.  We ate 5 of them and froze 5 of them.  
      To cook them, place them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. 

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    To freeze the burritos, just wrap each burrito in foil and then place in a freezer bag.  

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To cook from a frozen state, cook in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes or microwave each one for 3 minutes. 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Making Refried Beans in the Crock Pot

   One way to save money is to eat a lot of beans and rice.  They are a great source of protein, cost very little, are very filling and their are numbers of ways to prepare them.  They just make sense!
    One way we eat beans is to make a bunch of "refried" beans in our crock pot.  They are easy to make, taste delicious and freeze well.  We eat them as a side dish, put them in a burrito, or make a dip out of them.

Refried Beans

                          2 cups of uncooked pinto beans                                5 c. water
                          5 T. chopped onion                                                   3 tsp. garlic powder
                          2 tsp. cumin                                                              2 T. salt
                          1/2 tsp. pepper

   Rinse your beans and put them in a pot of water and let them soak overnight.  The next day, rinse the beans and place them in your crock pot.  Add in the water and all other ingredients.  Turn the crock pot onto high and let them cook for 2 hours.  Stir them and cook another 2 hours.  Stir and then turn the crock pot onto low and cook 1 1/2 hours.  Now take a potato masher and mash the bean mixture up well and enjoy.  
     

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Predicting the Weather with a Persimmon Seed

     Today we went and gathered some persimmons off of our many persimmon trees on the property.

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    As you may or may not have heard, you can "predict" the upcoming weather by looking at the center of a persimmon kernel.  That is what we did today.  You just remove the kernel from the center of the persimmon and slice it lengthwise and look at the white part inside. It will look like either a knife, a spoon, or a fork.


  • Knife: If the shape inside the kernel is a knife, it is believed to mean the winter will be cutting cold. So cold the wind feels like its cutting right through you like a knife.
  • Spoon: When the shape inside the kernel looks like a spoon it is said to mean it will be a heavy winter. The spoon represents lots of shoveling.
  • Fork: The appearance of a fork shape within the kernel is believed to mean that winter will be easy with only a light dusty of snow.
  •  
   As you can see, we cut three different persimmons and they all had a "spoon" inside.
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   Our winters are generally very mild here and we rarely get snow so I'm excited about this "prediction".  I'll let you know if it rings true or not.  UPDATE:  Winter of 2013-2014 was dead on!
    Have you ever done this?  If so, was it right or wrong?
  Hankering for some dried persimmons, you can get some here.

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Family Home and Life

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Smoke Sausage & Radiatore Soup

   We have an abundance of smoke sausage.  Walmart carries a brand of smoke sausage for 99 cents.  Compared to others ($3.00 or more a package) we stock up on it once a month.  Right now, we have 30 packages in our deep freeze.  One way we use it in a meal is making a tomato based soup.

Smoke Sausage & Radiatore Soup

                              2 pkgs. smoke sausage                              2 T. dehydrated onion
                              2 tsp. garlic powder                                   1 tsp. Italian seasoning
                              1/2 tsp. basil                                              1 tsp. pepper
                              14 oz. diced tomatoes                                28 oz. tomato sauce
                              32 oz. beef broth                                        1 c. carrots
                              16 oz. box radiatore
                              
     Following the pasta directions, prepare the radiatore.  As it cooks,  cut up the smoke sausage into slices.  In a large soup pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, turn it to simmer and stir in the prepared pasta.  Let it simmer for 15 minutes. 

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 Put into bowls and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy with a loaf of fresh made bread.


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips

   We always harvest a lot of zucchini from our garden.  One of the ways we preserve the harvest is by making zucchini chips.  Today we made "Salt & Vinegar flavored Zucchini Chips".  If you like the Salt & Vinegar potato chips, then you will like these too.

Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips

1 large zucchini
apple cider vinegar
sea salt

       I used one large zucchini from the garden.  I washed the zucchini thoroughly and then cut off the ends.  


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The zucchini with the ends cut off.


Using my mandolin, I cut the zucchini chips using the medium slice sized wedge (about 1/8" thick). 

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Zucchini sliced by my mandolin.

 Next, I poured some apple cider vinegar into a container and dipped each zucchini slice into the vinegar and then placed it onto a tray in my dehydrator.  Once a tray is full, just sprinkle each slice with sea salt.  One zucchini from my garden filled 8 trays up.  Turn on the dehydrator and let it dehydrate about 12 hours.  I put mine on overnight.  The next day you have crisp and delicious chips.  

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The chips, all bagged up and ready to eat!


If you are looking to buy a dehydrator, here is the link to the exact kind that I use.  I have had mine for 3 years and use it often and LOVE it and best yet, they are less than $40!  Oster dehydrator



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