Growing spinach indoors for the winter
You can grow your own fresh spinach indoors even in the winter.
Something to plant it in (I used a left over seed flat from the spring plantings)
I started the seeds by soaking them in water over night then transferred them to a wet paper towel sealed inside a baggie until they sprouted.
Then I prepared my seed flat by adding the soil, getting it good and wet and adding my sprouted seeds.
Spinach likes cool weather so I leave the seed flat outside unless it is going to frost in which case I bring it in and put it near a window.
Come winter when it is below freezing just place in a sunny spot in your house and it will take off.
As you harvest plant more sprouted seeds so that you will have yummy spinach all winter long.
Growing your own is cheaper and these days safer than buying it from the store.
Good luck and happy harvesting!
One Chicken Three Meals
Start with one whole chicken approx. 5 pounds remove and discard skin or cook it up and serve it to your pets. Rinse the chicken well with warm water and place in roasting pan. Cut up carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and whatever other veggies you family likes. Stuff some inside chicken and place the rest around the bird in the roasting pan Season; I like Knorr Garlic Parmesan & Italian Herb roasters (they come with a bag to cook the chicken in but I throw it away). Use whatever seasoning you have on hand. Cover the roasting pan with foil and bake for 2 hour in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then carefully pour off liquid and reserve. Melt 2 tablespoons of real butter in a sauce pan add 2 tablespoons flour then stir in the liquid that you reserved from the roasting pan. I found using a whisk works best mix until gravy forms. Serve chicken breast with the veggies and gravy. This is meal #1. Next remove all meat from the chicken bones (don’t throw the bones away though) cut up into bite size chunks and use in chicken alfredo, cheddar broccoli rice with chicken, chicken tacos, etc. This is meal #2. For the third and final meal take whatever chicken you have left and the bones and put into a large sauce pot add water to cover and boil until reduced by half. Add any leftover veggies from the first meal and some fresh to fill out the soup cook until veggies are soft add cooked rice or cooked noodles and you have chicken soup for meal #3. So 1 chicken = 3 meals and money saved. I usually have enough to send some of the first meal with my husband to work for his lunch and can still make the other 2 meals.
Canning with the Mennonites
What do you learn when you can with old world Mennonites? First you have to have the courage to ask them to teach you, that’s hard enough. Walking into the local Mennonite owned farmers market to ask if someone can teach you to can you have to wonder what they are thinking of you. Silly English woman doesn’t know the basic stuff about a kitchen, her mother must not have taught her anything. Well at least that’s what I figured was going through the young women’s head as I stood there. Just two weeks earlier I had walked into a Mennonite owned bakery not far from my home to ask if anyone could hem a dress for me, which turned out nice too. So I was hoping that I would have a similar experience. The young lady took my name and number and said she would ask around and get back to me. About a week later I got a call from a wonderful older woman who was willing to teach me. We started with salsa, she grew the tomatoes herself and we used Mrs. Wages salsa mix for the rest because she said when she makes it from scratch it doesn’t taste as good. She showed me how to blanch and peel tomatoes and that plumb tomatoes are the best for canning. She showed me how to scald the jars and set up your water bath canner which she just uses a pressure canner without the seal. As we worked we talked about gardening, children, family size and what all I wanted to learn about. She had nine children only one of whom still lives at home. This turned out to be the nice young lady from the farmers market I spoke to a week earlier. She used to can a lot more when all the kids were still at home now she only does a few things. We talked about gardens, I went on about mine explaining that this was my first year and it wasn’t nearly big enough, she talked about hers which was huge but provides for her family and some of her children’s families that share the same property. She mainly tended the flower gardens now and left the food growing, up to the younger people. We found we have more in common than we thought; we have the same views about TV, and cooking from scratch and living a more simple life when you value the land.
Today I picked some herbs from the garden to dry the winter. I cleaned them up and picked out any blemishes, I tied them into small bunches and strung ribbon through them and then I hung them upside down to dry.
Basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano hang from my light fixture in my kitchen to dry for use though out the winter.
This is thyme hanging from a hook in my kitchen window to dry.
After a few weeks I took them down and crumbled them in to baby food jars.
Homemade Dishwasher Soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Super-Washing Soda
½ cup Citric Acid
½ cup Kosher Salt
Just mix and use 1 tablespoon per load
You can get the Citric acid at Wal-Mart in their canning isle, it’s a small bottle but it is only 2.95 and it is enough for 2 batches that way if you like it you can go online and order it in larger quantities.
White vinegar works great in place of rinse aid, just fill like you would with jet dry. Really works well and is so much cheaper.
2 tablespoons peroxide
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 table spoons Dish soap.
Combine and let set covered overnight, makes a gel then apply to stain with a tooth brush and wash like normal. This stain remover won’t fade colors and works really well. I make this in an old baby food jar and find that it is the perfect size.
Homemade laundry soap
First, let me tell you it is just as effective and better for your skin because it does not have any dyes or perfumes.
Clean 5 gallon bucket with lid
Small sauce pan
4 cups hot tap water
1 bar Ivory soap 5.5oz
1 cup Super-washing soda
½ cup Borax
Directions: Grate soap, the finer the better add to water stir continually over medium heat until melted. Fill the 5 gallon bucket ½ full with hot tap water and soap, washing soda and borax. Stir well until all the powered is dissolved. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot tap water. Cover and let sit overnight. The next day it will gel together. Fill a 1 gallon container (I just saved the last jug I bought and used it) ½ full with soap and fill the rest with hot tap water. Shake well before each use. Feel good about saving money and giving your family healthier laundry.
All of the ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart and you can buy a clean 5 gallon bucket with lid at Lowes (approx. $6). The washing soda and borax will last you along time they were 3-4 dollars apiece and the ivory soap is usually 3 for $1. I have been using this laundry soap exclusively for more than a year and I am still using the first boxes of washing soda and borax that I bought. So for approx. 15 dollars I have had laundry soap for more than a year. And I don’t have to buy the bucket again so it will be even cheaper next time I have to buy the ingredients.