Monday, February 20, 2012

Canning Weiners.

Well I had this pack of wieners that I decided to can as well. So very easy folks:)
Chop your wieners to fit jars. I used bite size pieces. I ended up with less than one whole weiner that couldn't fit in the 4 jars.    Lucky me.:) it was my lunch.

Make sure you keep your lids in hot water till ready for use.
Fill Jar leaving a little more than 1 inch head-space.  
Wipe rims clean with a barely damp towel.  I filled 4 jars holding 4 oz. I sealed the jars and pressure  canned them on high for 60 minutes.  I canned them with my meatloaf.   They look pretty good.:)  And these 4 oz jars are perfect for a quick serve pick me up protein.  You can take it with you for lunch too.

Canning Meatloaf

I thought while I was canning chicken. I might as well can Turkey Meatloaf, since I got a really good deal on 3 packages. With the store sale, and with my double coupon, I basically got 3 packages of lean ground turkey weighing in 1 lb, 3 oz. for the price of one.  This one package rendered me...
one, 1/2 pint = 8 oz. and 8, individual servings at 4 oz. each.  So here goes.

A simple recipe...
ground meat (I used turkey today)
chopped vegetable 1/2 c. I used mixed bell peppers.
1 egg
1/3 c oatmeal, crackers, cornflakes or breadcrumbs. Pick one only or combine, but about 1/3 cup total for each pound of ground meat.  Whatever you have on hand. It's all good.
1 large squirt of catsup, or tomato sauce/paste.
Add your spices. plus salt and pepper.  I added garlic, onions, and cayenne red pepper! Oh yes!! You go ahead and use your spices.
Add all ingredients and mix well. Fill Jars (must be clean) below the rim with the ground meat.  Push the meat down leaving no air bubbles with a spoon.  put the lids on...
Make sure you have the lids simmering till you are ready to use seal the jar.

This is what it looks like cooled.  It shrank a bit making it easier  to slip out of the jar.

This is how I served it.:_

Canning Chicken

Hi folks this is so easy, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to home can chicken. It does not take a whole lot of money either.  Home canning is a great way to stock up on a great sale even if  you are single. or a large family.  Also you can get your food storage in gear by home canning.  One advantage I like is that there is no preservatives.  Yay!  Right?  Right..:)  Saturday I picked up this 3 lb bag of boneless chicken. Yes it's only 3 pounds!!  So what?  Ahem, anyway,  I planned on cooking  about just a pound so I thought i'd defrost it just enough to break off a portion, but  I got too busy.  Anyway, It completely defrosted.  I haven't cooked it and it is Monday morning so I thought i'd preserve it for another day or year.   Remember my motto...."waste not want not".

This method is called "cold pack" because it is being canned raw.  If it was cooked it would be called "hot pack".  I washed the jars and lids well, cubed the chicken and put them in the jars leaving a little more than one inch headspace.  I added 1/2 teaspoon salt like so...

Make sure you wipe the rims well with an barely damp towel.
Also, make sure you have the lids simmering before you cover.
Now the jars  are ready to put in the canner.  Add a couple squirts of vinegar in the canning water, (any kind) to prevent the jars from getting cloudy. Make sure there is at least 2 to 3 inches water in the canner. I always use 3 inches for my canning.  Today I am thinking small scale, since I don't have a large family and if I used a whole quart jar well, it might go to waste.  I am using  1/2 pint, whick is 1 cup =8 oz jars so I will put them in for about 65 minutes on high.  1 pint jars go in the canner for 75 minutes.  And the quart size jars go in for 90 minutes. You must follow your canner's instructions on how to get the right pressure.  Anyway, they should look like this before going in the canner.
Voila, I now have 8 jars of  8 oz each of cooked canned white chicken chunks ready for anything anytime:)
 Smiling yet?  I hope so.  Any Questions?  If I don't know I will find out our you can check for yourself as I did.  Thanks Bexar Pepper.:)  I'm just paying it forward.:)

Blueberry Chicken salad I made 5/29/12.  No preservatives right here!  
There are many things you can make with canned chicken.  Tacos, enchiladas, chicken salads.  Here is a quick easy green salad where I just opened the can of chicken on a bed of greens.  Added a few condiments, and some blueberry kombucha vinaigrette, and voila!  Here you have a filling salad.  Be creative, and start saving money.  Prepare for that food storage you have been thinking of.  I made this salad, because I was hungry, and had nothing prepared for I thought.:))  Now I'm ready to eat.  So till then...
Many blessings,
Mary Helen

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sprouting - Mung Beans

Mung Beans have a lot of nutrition. It has protein and calcium, and minerals like iron and potassium, and zinc, just to name a few. But once it is sprouted the whole chemistry of this little bean changes, and it become "A-LIVE" food. Our body loves live food as it is alive itself. We are constantly replacing dead cells every second. If you feed it dead food well you do feed it some nutrition, but eventually it will not be able to continue to flourish. Eventually they breaks down and can no longer perform as required. I'm not saying don't eat dead food. What I am stating is that is would be to your benefit to add more food that is alive to your diet.

This tiny little bean once sprouted also has a lot more of the "green nutrition" if left by a sunny window. similar to any leafy green edible like spinach or alfalfa. It is loaded with phyto-chemicals which are a power house of fuel for our body. Remember that one word. Phyto. Phyto means something that is Plant. And Phyto-chemicals. Easy, it = the chemicals that the plant has naturally. Phyto-nutrition = basically the same as chemicals, just easier to know nutrition then the chemical itself. Hopefully I didn't confuse you. It's all good.

I know when I eat foods high in Phyto-nutrition, I don't crave other snacks. I feel more satisfied in the long run because I feel more satiated (full) with just a cup of sprouts. Also, I have so much more energy because I fed my cells food they crave. I notice I have a feeling of wellness and find I can endure longer days. I sleep less, move more, therefore I burn more calories. Not a bad food right? Right.

Once sprouted, it becomes an instant snack food. You can put in in your salad, or you can make some soup and put it in right before you serve. Yummy. It's great in a quick stir fry. Also, I like to make sprouted fruit water with the sprouts. Did I say it's great in bread when its sprouted by the second day. So many ways to eat your sprouts. You can soak them to an almost sprouting point, season, then pop them in the oven to bake them, and eat them like nuts You can put them in beef patties or vegetarian in patties. Yes, so many ways to eat your sprouts.

So of course I am losing weight. I eat more foods, lower in calories, but higher in nutrition. You add that, plus the fact that I have more energy. Well i'm just burning those calories away. Hey, I'm not perfect so I do like my "dead food" too (sad). So for me it's all about moderation. It's progress not perfection. I have days that are really good, when i'm really good. And there are days when I eat a little too much "dead food", I feel like I just want to be a couch potato. I get to choose. I do not buy chips, sodas, cakes, candy, of any sort for almost a year now. I'm not saying I never indulge. I just don't cater to it in my home. There are other alternatives. Again I get to choose and so do you. Research it yourself. If you have any recipes or additional ideas please feel free to add to this or respond. Looking forward to a life of quality.

Note:  The above picture reflects the Mung beans soaked for one day, and has one day of sprouting.  It is edible as is, however I prefer them with a little longer tail, which will happen by day 3.

Below is a link re: Mung Beans- Sprout. Also I included some phrases you can use to search for more info.
fyi, Mung Beans
Health benefits of Mung beans
Health benefits of Phyto-chemicals
Health benefits of sprouting.
Have a beautiful day.:)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can you eat green tea?

Can you eat green tea? I just proved this, and they backed me up. I like this explanation. Because the main reason I make Green Tea Herbal Extracts is to get all the poly- phenols out that cannot be extracted by boiling water alone. So by cooking it with a bit of oil, well you really get more benefits by eating the leaves too.

Does anyone "eat" the steeped green tea leaves? - General ChowhoundingTopics - Chowhound

Does anyone "eat" the steeped green tea leaves? - General Chowhounding Topics - Chowhound

I do all the time. I call it my "instant greens". I make a casserole cooking...

  • 1 cup rice with about  4 Tbsp.  dried green tea.
  •  I add a little coconut milk in the water to equal 2 cups liquid. I then
  •  add, 5 spiced tofu  (optional, but you can add chicken or beef) .
  • Add sesame seeds (optional, but it pumps up the nutritional content) 
  • soy sauce to taste, a few dashes. 
  • one tsp sugar or sweetener, just to bring out the flavors.
  • 1 tbsp oil, I used sesame 
 I first bring the liquid to a boil, add all the ingredients and cook this in a one pot casserole for 15 minutes covered on low.  I do use Gen Mai Cha as it is my favorite for cooking this dish because of the sweet flavors the roasted rice gives. Its quick, easy, healthy, and a cheap way to get your greens. And you don't even feel like you are eating veggies. Which is great if you are not a veggie lover, or you don't have any greens on hand. One more thing. It's absolutely delicious!! Sometimes I even make patties and you can deep fry these babies too, for a variety. So yes you can eat green tea leaves. Most of my herbs I use for cooking are made from leaves. Right? right.  You can also add other veggies like peas, edename etc., chicken, whatever you want.    My herbalist told me to drink/eat lots of green tea to detox my body from all its impurities. This is just one way to eat your Greens.
I hope you have fun exploring the wonderful ways to add simple healthy ingredients to your simple recipes.  Your turn.  Have fun.

NOTE:  This not my prettiest casserole today, but it's health and tasty

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quick APPLE CIDER VINEGAR using bakers yeast

Im back!! Bwa hahahaa. Just kidding, had to add some humor to life right? And since i've been brewing, and fermenting, I felt compelled to say bwa hahahaha:) Only because I feel bewitched. Just kidding folks. Stop me now please:))

The good news is I made my first batch of RAW ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. The bad news, well there isn't any! The other good news is it didn't take months like the other recipes I researched. You know me by now, I can't stay true to a recipe without tweeking it for health right? Good. So the difference as to why mine came out wonderfully smelling, and tasting just like the way it should in less time?
I used bakers yeast and waste matter from the apples. Huh? you heard me. Save the apple part for pie or apple sauce. Actually I pureed and canned mine. Yes I did and so can you. Remember my motto, "waste not, want not":)

Using bakers yeast. that alone took off 5 weeks of wait time. I opted for bakers yeast because it is readily available to anyone at most local stores. Note: another way to speed up the process is to find someone who makes vinegar and have them give/buy a piece of their "mother" to share. I couldn't find anyone. And I have a friend who has an apple orchard in her family too. I ought to tell her about the health benefits of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

I also decided to use the apple's waste matter only. Again, using waste matter instead of the juice took off another 4 weeks. This consisted of peels, cores, stems from 4 sweet washed apples, not sour. Make sure they are sweet as they have more sugar and that is what the yeast needs to feed off of
  • I blender CHOPPED IT into small pieces and the air browned it perfectly which is what you want.
  • I put this in a squeeky clean canning jar, and added about 4 cups water. Leave plenty of airspace on top just in case of overflow.
  • cover with a clean paper towel and wrap a rubber band or string around it. This will help to eliminate any dust, or bugs.
  • I put  mine near a sunny window in a brown paper bag to ferment.  Works just fine.
  • you can stir it once daily (I jiggle mine slightly for a couple seconds)
  • When you see a white film covering over the top, stop stirring and let it ferment This is your "mother", take very good care of her and she will take care of you by producing good brew a lot quicker.
  • Keep the liquid at the same level by adding distilled or purified water when needed. Try to not disturb "mother".
  • By the 3rd week it smells like its starting to vinegar. (no more rotten apple smell)
  • Week 4, I can't take this smell. It needs to be bottled, because it has me salivating:). But by the looks of it, i'm not quite ready to give it a taste test.
  • Week 5, I't smells good, and I just took a taste (only because of the smell) and it's ready. Now look whos smiling now.:)))

Note:  I also canned the apple puree lemonade I made using the 4 small apples.  I rendered 40 oz of tangy apple puree ready to drink as is. (I will blog this next)
It's very tasty.

Use your better judgement. You ought to know what vinegar looks and smells like. If you see, green, black, or white fungus. Don't you dare try it. Throw it out. I had to throw my first batch out 10 years ago. It was green, moldy, black and fuzzy! And I kept growing it because I couldn't find any pics, so I didn't know. And I had no internet to go to like today. Thankfully, I used my better judgement and, t'was so disgusting I threw it out. Ha! and it took me this long for my second attempt. Darn! Oh, well, better late than never.

This is a probiotic product and has potassium, pectin, malic acid, calcium, ash, acetic acid. But wait thats not all. Google it, learn for yourself. Friend if you can't afford to buy it, then make take it. I cannot tell you enough all the health benefits from drinking RAW ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. They do not sell this in your local markets. Not even Trader Joe's. Sad for me because it's downstairs. I searched online for it and was going to order it and pay triple to have them ship it.  Trader Joes does sell organic apple cider vinegar but it's now raw.  Raw has all the nutrients we are looking for and that's why we do this.  If it's not raw, might as well drink white distilled vinegar for that matter.  Yucky cause it has no life once it has been heat processed.  (distilled).
Anyway, I thought to myself, if I make it, I could then share.
And that's part of what i'm about:)
Many blessings, and joy.
Mary Helen

Friday, February 3, 2012



I just realized I titled this canning black beans while in fact you can can any beans using the same method.  Silly me.  Well yesterday I put my black beans to soak for 24 hours.

 Why soak beans?
  1. It will boost the nutritional value up 20%. And that is a lot more protein, calcium and minerals by just soaking.
  2. You get rid of some of the indigestible complex sugars that cause gas.
  3. It also allows for quicker cooking. We do know that quicker cooking equals less nutritional loss right? Good.:)
Usually I soak my beans to a almost a sprouting level which takes anywhere from 24-48 hours. You do have to rinse the beans with fresh water at least 3-4 times a day.

Why can my beans? They are so cheap. Why?
  1. Cooking beans properly takes at least 24 hours, so it saves a lot of prep time.
  2. It's a lot cheaper than buying canned beans.
  3. A good source of instant protein
  4. It's energy efficient
  5. It's healthy fast food
Note:  Make sure all jars lids and rims are clean and sterile to avoid any bacterial growth.
I have my lids simmering till ready for use.

  • Filled jar 3/4 full with beans. Topped with bean broth leaving one in head-space (follow your canner's instructions)
  • Remove any air bubbles around the edges.
  • Wipe rims clean with a damp not wet towel.  (Very important)
  • Fill canner 3-4 inches water simmering, adding 1 tbsp vinegar to prevent jar from getting cloudy
  • Cover jars with hot lids, and seal tightly by hand only.
  • I used 12 ounce jars so I am pressure canning for 70 minutes on high.
  • Once the safety lock has released, remove jars with proper utensils and put on towel. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Now anytime soon if not already you should hear that all time favorite canners sound... Pop!  That's the sign of a good seal.

Note: the picture below is a sign of a properly sealed jar.  See the indentation in the middle?  Good.:)

Note:  The picture below if you look carefully the middle of the lid has a round bump.  It hasn't sealed yet.  But it will.  However if you still see that bump once it has cooled.  Something went wrong.  It is best to refrigerate the goods and use it as soon as possible
Well for 2 lbs of beans which cost me a couple of dollars I got 9, 12 ounce jars of canned black beans.  8 jars fit in the canner and I froze the other one.  You can do that with canning jars IF you leave head space.   Otherwise it would burst.  I also got  another 16 oz of cooked black beans that I didn't can and is ready to use any way I wan't.  
I'm thinking tortilla soup for one.
Folks I hope this helps any then i'm a happy camper...
Peace and happy canning.:))