Preserve the Bounty Giveaway!!

Want to win this giveaway??

Many of us in the homestead,natural life style and prepper blogging communities are well versed in the methods used to preserve fresh food. In fact we are so passionate about eating fresh food all year long that we want to help others learn to preserve food too. A group of us got together to bring you a mega prize package of food preservation essentials. And to make the prize even sweeter many of the bloggers also included an extra prize! The first part of the prize is the new Stainless Steel Ball Hot Water Canner. You can use this canner for any of your acidic fruits and vegetable canning needs and it is specially made for glass top stoves too. Of course, you can use it on any other type of range also. For those foods that cannot be hot water bath canned, you can use the second prize. The Food Saver Vacuum Sealer System, will protect your foods while they are in the freezer. If you need help with the skills there is an abundance of knowledge on all of the blogger’s websites and there are some award winning books on canning included in the prize package. To make the package complete, we added the canning tool kit.

The total value of all the prizes is over $250! So join

in while we help you learn to Preserve the Bounty!

Here are the blogs participating and the extra prizes they are donating in this giveaway. Please try to take a moment to visit each one and maybe leave a comment.

Simply Living SimplyTattler Reusable Canning Lids
Timber Creek FarmBall Complete Book of Home Preserving
Survival at Home
Lil’ Suburban HomesteadBall Collapsible Funnel
Spring Mountain Living
Common Sense Homesteading-  Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin (book)
Peaceful Acres Farm
Pasture Deficit Disorder
Homestead Chronicles
Homespun Seasonal Livingone box of Pomona’s Pectin
Trayer WildernessHand forged Lantern Hook
Melissa K.NorrisPioneering Today by Melissa K. Norris
Whole New Mom Soap Nuts, wash bag and clip set
Game and Garden
Amazing Graze FarmBall Blue Book of Canning
Frontier Blessings

This contest is open from August 18 at 12:01 am eastern time and closes on August 24 at midnight. Anyone over the age of 18 and a legal resident of the continental 48 United States and the District of Columbia, may enter. Winner will be notified by email (so use an email that you check!) and the winner will have 24 hours to respond and claim the prizes. If we do not hear from the winner within 24 hours we will choose another winner with the same terms applying.

Please continue on to the rafflecopter widget below and get your entries in! We hope to get to know each and everyone of you as you visit our blogs and facebook pages. Thank you and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Better Than BLACK FRIDAY Summer Sale!!!

Big Sale at Bulk Herb Store

Now is the time to stock up on your herbs.  Get all the herbs you need to make those healthy remedies that get you and your family through the winter.  Stock up on those products you use on a regular basis.

The Bulk Herb Store is having a Better Than BLACK FRIDAY Summer Sale!!! The Better Than BLACK FRIDAY Summer Sale is the biggest sale in Bulk Herb Store History! Now’s your chance to stock up on everything! Save 20% on you entire order and up to 50% off all your Bulk Herb Store favorites, while supplies last. At checkout use coupon code: SUMMER14. Hurry! Spread the word, tell your friends and start SAVING!

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I am headed over to get my order in now before it is too late!!

Tin Soldiers

Are you a tin soldier?

He is still. Even stiff, in his smart red and white painted uniform. Chest puffed out, arms held perfectly at his sides in rapt attention, he stands. There are many, just like him. Rank after rank, they line the shelves. If they could move, they would march to the beat of a silent drum…many legs and arms moving in unison. But they cannot. They are tin soldiers. They are not made to move.

How many times have you heard the analogy of a Christian being ‘a light of the world’ or ‘a city on a hill’ ? It comes from Scripture, right?

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid…let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14&16

We grow up singing songs like “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. . .” And we do. We shine. . .happy little polished tin Christians with happy little smiles on our painted faces, and happy little Bible verses on our t-shirts, and happy little songs on our radios. We pat ourselves on the back at how bright we think we’re shining, in a world that is so dark – but we never move.

[ “We’ve become tin soldiers.” ]

Honestly. How many times have you excused yourself from sharing the gospel? How many times have you checked ‘witnessing’ off your mental checklist because you smiled at somebody? Smiled? Come on. What kind of apathetic two-bit Christianity is that?

Since when does being a ‘city on a hill’ give us the excuse to be a tin soldier, standing in our lines of fellow Christians – not doing anything? Since when does ‘shining our light’ mean that we cease to share that light?

We’re not supposed to be something that induces people to look at us with the ‘oooh, shiny’ reaction. We’re supposed to be real soldiers – fighting tooth and nail in the midst of a real battle going on all around us for the souls of real people.

[ “How many times have you checked ‘witnessing’ off your mental checklist because you smiled at somebody?” ]

I think somewhere along the line, we misinterpreted something. We’ve taken attributes of Christianity – like kindness and joy – and used those as our alternative to actual witnessing; somehow rationalizing that being nice is the new ‘Jesus died for you.’ And we’re twisting Scripture to fit. Now, instead of telling people about Jesus and being happy at the same time, we’ve settled for just being happy. . .and we hope that they’ll ask why. Well, to put it bluntly, smiling at people isn’t getting them to heaven.

We’ve become tin soldiers. And to what end? Are we seeing results? Real results? Maybe you’ve had a few people ask about your good attitude – great. I’m proud of you. But I’d be even prouder if you actually shared the gospel with them.

I hope you all know that I wrote this for myself. Every thing I just wrote about, I’ve done. Excuses? I don’t have one any more. And neither do you.

I don’t want to be a tin soldier.
{Psalm 40:10}

RachaelBannerA
 

Wherever The River Runs

You need to read this book.

You cannot read this book and stay the same.  Kelly Minter is an acclaimed author, musician, Bible study creator and teacher.  She was snug in her life serving the Lord and then the door opened for her to go to the Amazon.  Sleeping in a hammock on a boat, eating foods that she thought she would never eat, and finding great beauty and joy in the people.  She said the first year she went, she saw the beauty of the land.  The second year she saw the people and the third year she saw God.  

Hear the stories of these jungle pastors and the miracles that come about because of their prayers.  She shares their stories in little vignettes that will forever change how you look at what you live and what you do.  

Her life was knit together with the others involved in the ministry, but also with the people of the Amazon, who lived in total poverty.  She went to minister to them, but it changed her.   

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This is a beautiful story of what God can do with your life if you are open to allowing Him to change you.  Here is a trailer about her journey. 


One of you will get a chance to win a copy of this book.  I strongly encourage each of you to get a copy and read it.  To enter, leave a comment below and tell me what is one way that God is using you to reach out to someone around you.  

The contest will be open until midnight on the 18th of August, 2014!!

 

Wherever The River Runs by Kelly Minter

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

A Tail About Supper

What is in the soup pot?  Come find out!

If you had asked me 20 years ago if I would eat some of the things that I do now, I would have laughed in your face.  The more I learn about what is done to the food we buy, the more I have moved closer to whole real foods and also to raising as much of it as possible.  When you start reading Real Food blogs and looking at articles about ways to prepare lean grassfed beef and odd vegetables you have never heard of before, the more you start to branch out.  Things that I would have NEVER tried in the past, have been tried and for the most part loved.  I remember the first time we had goats milk and then goat meat.  Those were big stretches for us back then.  

When we take our beef steers to the local butcher he will let you have almost any part of the animal you could want.  In fact when they learn that you are one of “those people”, they will even suggest things to you, which is what happened with the last beef we took in.  He asked me if I wanted the tail.  I said yes without thinking.  :)  So, we got the tail.

We have been saving certain parts of the cow to feed to the dogs as part of their diet.  They had just finished a huge beef heart followed by the tongue, because tongue is one thing I can not bring myself to eat…. yet.  I actually thawed the tail for the dogs, but then realized how bony it was.  I was not sure the size of the bones and how soft they were, so my husband suggested we cook it for us.  My first thought was Oxtail Soup.  I had heard of it, but never had it.  I am not a “recipe” sort of person.  I just try things and they usually come out well.  So, here is what I did. 

I cut up a whole onion and put it in the bottom of my crock pot.  Then I threw a handful of my dehydrated garlic slices in there as well.  You can learn how to make dehydrated garlic slices here.  I then put the tail pieces on top of that.  I love black pepper, so I sprinkled that and some salt (this is the salt we prefer) over the meat.  I have fallen in love with the Redmond Seasoned Salt and so I sprinkled a generous amount of that on as well. 

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I actually put this in the crock pot last night and let it go on low all night and all day today.  In the early afternoon, I threw about 2/3 cup of barley in with it and stirred.  I removed as much of the bones as I could.  The bones were really weird looking and had little caps.  :)

It was full of flavor, meaty and tasted delicious.  Another first for our family and another piece of meat that would normally go to waste being used and loved. 

Have you ever had Beef Tail Soup?  If so, what did you think?  Would you be willing to try it?  Leave your answers in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you.  

Rare, White And Tastes Delicious

Have you heard of this squash?

Our garden this year was planted by a friend.  She came to visit for a short get away and she loves to garden.  She decided to bless us by putting a garden in.  She had her two trusty helpers (her older children) and they did a lot of work as well.  She likes to do unusual and rare vegetables.  She brought me some that I had never heard of and this is one of them. 

This is a Lebanase White Bush Marrow Squash.  It is in the summer squash family and should be picked when it is about 7″ long and has not gotten a hard rind yet.  We were not sure how big it was supposed to get and let it keep going.  :)  We had part of this one for our supper tonight.  It was delicious, but we did have to peel the rind off of each piece.  It was very easy to do though, so it was not a problem.  This squash has a very mild taste just like most summer squash.  It did seem to have a lot of seeds and some pulp very similar to pumpkins.  I am guessing this is because we let it get so big.  

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We did cook the other part and ate the whole thing even the pulpy stuff.  It reminded me a little bit of spaghetti squash.  I ended up stir frying it in some sesame oil with Redmond’s Seasoned Salt and lots of pepper.   

After supper, I cleaned the middle out of the piece you see above so that I can save the seeds.  This is supposed to be a fairly rare squash.  I have them drying on newspaper.  I will share them with a couple of friends.  My friend, Kathy, who died in June would have loved to grow something like this.  She liked unusual things as well. 

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Have you ever heard of this type of squash or had it before?  Please leave a comment below.  Thanks.

Making Sauerkraut

Making sauerkraut is easier than you think and it does not take that long. No store bought sauerkraut tastes near as good as homemade.  You can process it in a canner and put it on the shelf, but I do not can mine so it is a food that is alive with good enzymes.  Sauerkraut that is raw aids in digestion.  Some people have a tablespoon of sauerkraut with their lunch and supper to help their digestion.  We like to eat ours as a side dish.  You can just lightly warm it or eat it at room temperature. 

You will need a crock or glass jars.  I already had a batch going in a large crock.  I have an empty gallon size crock and decided to use that.  Cabbage is readily available in our farmer’s market and I even noticed organic cabbage in the grocery store for a great price.  I used 3 huge heads of cabbage. The 3 large head made just over 1 gallon of sauerkraut. I just put the extra in a quart canning jar.  Some people use a cabbage cutter and it makes long shreds of your cabbage. We like ours in small shreds so I use the grating plate on my food processor.

Take off all the outer leaves that are yucky and cut off pieces of the cabbage leaving only the core.  I give the outside leaves and core to my chickens so nothing goes to waste.  If I had pigs I would give it to them.  I then shred it all up and put it in a huge bowl I have.  For every 5 pounds of cabbage, you add 3 rounded tablespoons of salt.  I sprinkle the salt all around on the cabbage.  There are 2 ways you can do the next step.  I used to mix the salt in and then start packing it into my large crock pressing down over and over again to make the juices flow.  Now, I just start using both hands and squishing the cabbage in my fists over and over again until there is a good amount of juice in the bowl.  In this first picture I had already started working the cabbage with my hands.  In fact this was just the last head of cabbage because they would not all 3 fit in my bowl and still allow me to work it.   

In this picture I tilted the bowl a bit and you can see the juice on the right hand side. 

After I had enough juice I packed the cabbage and juice it into my crock.  This was just the first 2 heads of cabbage.  Then I take a tea towel (in my big crock) or a napkin in this case and lay it across the top and tuck it all in down around the sides.  This helps to keep the kraut under the brine.   

Then I place an upside down plate over that and push everything below the surface of the brine.  The brine is just the juice that came out of the cabbage because of the salt and working it. 

I then put some sort of weight on top of that to keep the plate below the surface.  I just used a jar full of water.  I also had some whey from cheese I had made.  I poured a bit of that into the crock and also into the jar of cabbage that would not fit into the crock.  You do not have to add whey, but it does help get things going. I only use it when I have some available. 

I stick this back into my pantry and check it every couple of days.  If you see a scum or even mold on top of the surface, simply skim it off.  I have had a lot of mold on mine before and the kraut is fine because it is below the surface. I let mine sit for several weeks at least before we start using it.  I then just dip some out for our meal and put everything back in place.  I did a large batch in my big crock one year.  We ate out of that crock until March of the next year when we used up the last of it. 

I am finding that doing it in the smaller crocks works best for us.  I can easily get into the crock and get out a quarts worth and store that in the fridge in a jar.  Then when we finish that jar we fill it again.  

Have you ever made sauerkraut at home or have a question about making it?  I would love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments or questions in the comments section below.