Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cream of Asparagus Soup

This soup is your answer to your garden's asparagus. It is wonderfully creamy and easy to make. 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

3 cups asparagus, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 tablespoons milk or cream
Combine chicken broth, butter, asparagus, garlic powder and onions in a stock pot; cook over medium heat until onion is tender.
Add milk or cream. Use a submersion blender to blend the soup smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with croutons and shredded cheese if desired. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding Contentment

My husband and I were just discussing whether or not to sell our slowly dying car or "ride it out" a little longer. This discussion happened on the way to church.

During one of the lessons at church this Bible verse was read:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  - Philippians 4:12-13
As if a ton of bricks hit me, I realized once again how God truly blesses us. He provides for our needs and according to his own plan, some of the wants as well. The hardest part is trusting that he's in control.

I was ready to go out a buy a car that day but my husband was not. These words spoke to us, told us to carefully consider what God has placed us as stewards of. So at this time we are saving as much money as we can for the new-to-us car and considering our options for selling the car to get the most benefits from what we have.

"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need."
- The Rolling Stones

Monday, July 22, 2013

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Homemade mashed potatoes are easier than you think. The taste is incomparable to instant potatoes. Make this easy recipe for your next family gathering.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes:

6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 11 medium sized potatoes)
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Optional Add-Ins:
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cloves of garlic, minced and cooked
1/2 cup yellow or white onion, diced fine and cooked
4 ounces cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Optional Toppings:
shredded cheese
crispy bacon, broken into small pieces
sour cream
diced chives

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and continue to heat for 25 minutes at a rolling boil. Strain potatoes and return to pan. Mash potatoes with potato masher or fork. Add butter to potatoes, stir until melted and combined. Add any add ins at this point. Pour in milk and whip vigorously.
Add any toppings and enjoy! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

We love watching the hummingbirds. We placed our feeder right by our kitchen window so we can watch them as we eat.

Mr. Hummingbird is feeding at the back station. Hello.

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

4 cups water
1 cup sugar

  • Bring water to a boil in medium sized saucepan.
  • Add sugar to boiling water and remove from heat.
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Let cool.
  • Fill the hummingbird feeder or place in container. 

Store unused mixture in the refrigerator, but use within 1 week.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mulberry - Rhubarb Jam

God has surely blessed us. Both the rhubarb and the mulberries were growing at our property when we moved. I love this jam even more for what we were provided with. And... It is delicious too!

Mulberry - Rhubarb Jam:
Hot water canner
Large sauce pan or soup pot
Jar Lifter
Jars, lids, rims

Liquid pectin version:
5 cups mulberries
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup water
12 cups sugar (yes, you read right!)
2 pouches liquid pectin

Combine mulberries and rhubarb in large sauce pot. Smash the mulberries and rhubarb, we use a potato smasher for this.
Add water and sugar.
Bring to a full rolling boil.
Add liquid pectin and stirring constantly bring back to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and fill jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Wipe rims of jars clean with warm wash cloth. Place lids on jars and tighten with rims.

If you are new to Boiling-Water Bath Canning, I recommend reading my tutorial on this type of canning.

Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars with jar remover carefully. Place hot jars on level surface. I cover my counter top with a double layered kitchen towel and place jars on top. Using a hot pad or glove, check that the rims are tightened.

As the jars cool, you will hear a "ping" when the lid seals. Make sure all of your jars have sealed. They are sealed if the button in the middle of the lid in depressed. If you have any jars that have not sealed, you can reprocess them or store the jar in the refrigerator for use.

Makes about 12 half pints.
Please check with your local extension office for any changes due to altitude for times or temperatures. Above instructions are for elevation 1000 feet or below.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Harvesting Mulberries

Much to our surprise we found not one but two mulberry trees on our property. We have lived in our house almost three years! These trees are over 30 feet tall which can make harvesting difficult. Here are out tips to get most mulberries off the tree and into your kitchen.

Make sure the mulberries are ready. Our trees are black mulberry trees, so the fruit is dark purple when ready to be harvested.

Get a old clean sheet, tarp, or plastic drop cloth. We used an old flat sheet. We tried the tarp method but thought the sheet was a softer landing for the berries. If you use cloth make sure you don't mind it getting stained. The mulberries will leave some dark purple stains on your sheet.

Spread out the sheet under the tree or bush.

Now this is the fun part! Shake the branches directly over the sheet. All the ripe berries just fall off and onto your sheet! We also used a 6 foot ladder to reach some of the higher branches.

Gather the corners of the sheet and slide all the berries into the middle. Then gently slide the pile of berries to the edge of the sheet and pour the berries into a large bowl.

Repeat the process going around the remainder of the tree or bush.

Be sure to sort and wash your berries. You will get some small twigs and leaves with this harvesting process.