Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Typically Tubby - They Did It to Me Again...

Not again...
Not another new animal.
I really did enjoy being the only animal on the ranchlet.
First the cow... now this.

Just make her go away.... please.

She is kind of cute.  I am a lovable fellow.  Maybe she will fall for all my charm.

Hello, I am Tubby.  Nice to meet you.  Welcome to Saltbush Flats.

Well, that didn't work.  My, she sure can hiss.

Monday, September 23, 2013


We love salsa.
I knew I would have to make a lot.  Six measly pints would never do.

Following the Zesty Salsa Recipe in the Ball Blue Book, I carefully weighed each of the ingredients.

Enough fresh vegetables for one batch.

Then measured out everything again to double the recipe.

Next, prepared the tomatoes by boiling them for 30 seconds to loosen their skins.  Then easily slipped off the skins and seeded each.

Our preference is a finely chopped salsa, not chunky.  The quickest and easiest way to achieve this is with a food processor.  Each vegetable was chopped individually in the food processor and then stirred together in this big tub.

I love this tub!!  It is my favorite container for stirring big batches!

To my surprise this doubled recipe made nine very tasty quarts of Zesty Salsa.

As usual, a jar was delivered to Colt in the City with much appreciation.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Welcome Gata!

Sometimes an unexpected little one finds its way to the ranch.  

We were at a church function last night.  A stray cat had adopted the missionaries serving at our branch.  They really did need to find it a home.  Ole softy Rancher Roy took to this little sweetie right away.  So today after church we told the Elders we would adopt this cat.  It was hiding pretty good after church so we came home without her.  A few hours later in pulled the Elders with this cute thing all bundled in a coat.  It was terrified and had its claws out and cried the entire drive here.  Poor little thing was so frightened.  

We asked its name.  The said they called it "Gato," Spanish for cat, specifically male cat.  So naturally I asked if it was male.  Of course their reply was, "we have no idea."

It did not take long for him to warm up to us and that is when we noticed that he was not Gato but most definitely Gata.

We now have our sweet little Gata.  She is no longer scared.  Within an hour she was rubbing up against our legs and following us around, just being all adorable.

Little Gata walking by large Mia footprints in the mud.

We think Gata was dumped by the side of the road and adopted these missionaries to take care of her.  It is obvious she was raised inside a house and she is very comfortable around people.

We estimate Gata to be almost one year old.  She will be a fine addition here on the ranch.

Welcome Mia!!

Welcome Mia!!
Mia arrived at Saltbush Flats September 3.  Yes, I am a little late in posting this welcome simply because Mia keeps us busy, but it is a wonderful kind of busy.  smiles.

Mia is a seven year old retired registered show Jersey.  She is so sweet and lovable.  She loves to be petted and will even give hugs in return.

Mia loves to eat.  I have no idea what her favorite food is but she sure munches the sunflowers!!!

Saltbush Flats will be blessed with Mia's little calf the first week of November.  This is going to be some calf.  Mia is bred to a registered Jersey show bull.

Mia fits right in here at Saltbush Flats.  She is comfortable and happy... and very much spoiled.

We are anxious for her little calf.  We are hoping for a beauty of a little girl.  We are also looking forward to her fresh milk.   cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream... yum

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Typically Tubby - Life Is Good!

Life is good...

I get to relax and enjoy my day in my most favorite place.... atop the piano.   ahhh.... sweet life.

Ah, rats!  Something awoke me from my slumber.  

I heard her, and then I SAW her.   Right out my window!!!

Why she must think she lives here.

There she is again out another window.  How can a fellow rest with her always hanging around?  She is everywhere I turn.

Someone has got to set her straight on just who is in charge here.  As head of ranchlet security I am just the one for the job.   No ordinary cat will do.

How did she get inside of the wall?

She needs to learn her place.  It is not inside the wall, but way, way, way out in the pasture far away from MY favorite places.

Wow, I am exhausted.  Taking care of cow sure is hard work.    


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tomato Powder

Roasted Tomato Powder
I am way too frugal to throw away anything that could be useful, like skins of fruits and vegetables.  While peeling all those tomatoes, I saved the skins and the seedy pulp.  
Save your skins as you peel the tomatoes
Dehydrating tomato skins and pulp is so easy.

Simply spread out the skin and pulp pieces on a dehydrator tray. 
Roasted Tomato Skins
Dehydrated Tomato

Dry at 125 degrees overnight.  When dry the skins and pulp should be very crisp and brittle.  

Very Large Jars of Dehydrated Tomato Skin and Pulp
Simply whirl the dried tomatoes in a spice or coffee grinder to make the powder.

I choose to store my dehydrated tomato in large pieces, powdering only enough at one time for what is needed in a recipe.  

Yummy Roasted Tomato Powder
When making Roasted Marinara with Zucchini, I drizzled the tomatoes with olive oil before roasting.  I dried these skins on a separate tray from the other tomato skins.  These skins dried crisp and crackly like the plain skins, but they had an oily film on them. Because of the addition of olive oil, this powder is not shelf stable and must be stored in the freezer.

All powder made from tomatoes that were boiled in water to remove skins or broiled without olive oil may safely be stored on the shelf in a vacuum sealed jar.

Tomato powder has many uses.  It can be used to thicken sauces, add flavor to soups or rice dishes, or mixed with other powdered vegetables to make a vegetable seasoning.  I am sure you can think of even more uses for this yummy powder.

See this Tomato Powder post and others like it at:
From the Farm Blog Hop  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Typically Tubby

Now if that Cow would just stop scaring me, maybe I could go back outside again....

But in the meantime, a good nap is in order.

Go here to read Tubby's thoughts of Mia the cow.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bread and Butter Jardiniere

Lots of Zucchini!  Lots of Yellow Squash!  Lots of Cucumbers!

How about a little Jardiniere, Bread and Butter style?

Jardiniere - 
1.  an ornamental stand for plants or flowers; a large ceramic flowerpot holder
2.  cooked vegetables cut into pieces
3.  lady gardener

I think these lovely canning jars are the perfect pots to hold sliced squash, cucumbers, onions, and carrots.  And since I am a lady master gardener, Jardiniere it is.

Slice about 6 quarts of assorted vegetables.  I cleaned out my refrigerator and made a double batch using zucchini, pattypan squash, yellow squash, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, carrots, and onions.  

I am quite fond of my mandolin.  It quickly makes perfect 1/4" slices.

Carrots can be a bit too crunchy if pickled raw.  I prefer to boil them about 5 minutes to soften them slightly.  

Sprinkle canning salt over sliced vegetables.  Let stand 1 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse.

Mix pickling liquid.  Bring liquid to boil.  Add  1/2 vegetables.  Bring to boil.  Turn down heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Pack hot vegetables into hot jars.  Repeat with remaining vegetables.
Add Pickle Crisp to each jar.  Ladle hot liquid into jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Process 15 minutes in boiling water canner, adjusting for altitude.

Bread and Butter Jardiniere
Makes about 9 pints

about 6 quarts sliced assorted vegetables
2/3 cup canning salt

5 cups sugar
6 cups vinegar
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon tumeric
Pickle Crisp

Combine vegetables in large bowl.  Sprinkle salt over vegetables.  Stir to coat each slice.  Cover, let stand 1 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse.

Prepare water bath canner.  Heat jars in canner.  Pour boiling water over lids.  Keep warm until ready to fill.

In large pot combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric.  Bring to boil.  

Add half sliced vegetables.  Bring back to boil.  Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. 
Pack hot vegetables into hot jars leaving 1/2" headspace.  Repeat with remaining vegetables.

Add Pickle Crisp to each jar according to package directions.
Ladle hot liquid into each jar leaving 1/2" headspace.

Wipe rims and apply lids.
Process in boiling water canner 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
Do not remove jars from boiling water immediately.  Remove canner lid and turn off heat.  Allow jars to cool naturally in water for about 5 minutes or so.  Quick changes in temperature can cause liquid to sputter out from under lid, compromising the seal.

Allow jars to stand in storage about a month so flavors can blend and pickling can occur.  After a month, beware, these pickles become fair game.  Gobble them down as fast as you can.

See this Bread and Butter Jardiniere Pickle post and others like it at:
Tuesday with a Twist   From the Farm Blog Hop    The Homemaking Party     The Creative Home and Garden Hop     Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop      The Homesteaders Blog     

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Canned Tomatoes Packed in Own Juice

Tomatoes are such a versatile vegetable.  This is my favorite way to put up tomatoes.  I can almost taste all the yummy dishes made with these.  My favorite is probably chili.

I have about 75 pounds of Roma tomatoes to make into all kinds of yummy things.  Over the next few days I will be making lots of salsa and roasted tomato sauce.  Look for those posts within the next week or so.

Canning tomatoes in their own juice is quite easy, but very time consuming.

Start with beautiful ripe tomatoes.
Sink Full of 20 Pounds of Roma Tomatoes

To peel tomatoes easily, submerge in boiling water about 1 minute.  

Remove from water and allow to cool a few minutes before peeling.

Once all the tomatoes have been been boiled for one minute, core and peel the tomatoes.

Discard the cores but save the peels.
Peels make yummy tomato powder.  Post coming soon.

Cut tomato in half and place in clean, sterilized jar.  Pressing gently on the tomato halves will release enough juice so no other liquid will be necessary.  Just keep adding tomatoes and keep pressing gently until each jar is full to 1/2" from rim.

Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid and 1 teaspoon salt to each jar.
Citric acid is necessary to ensure there is enough acid for water bath canning.

Pour boiling water over new lids.  Wipe rims with clean damp paper towel.  Apply hot lid and clean ring to each jar.  Process in boiling water bath for 1 hour 25 minutes, adjusting time for altitude.  Yes you read that correctly, 1 hour 25 minutes for pints or quarts.

Watch water level carefully.  I had to add boiling water twice to keep the water level covering the jars.  Only add boiling water to canner.  If cold water is added, the water will stop boiling and the processing time will have to be started again at zero after the water returns to a boil.  If water level drops below the top of jars, add water and start processing time at zero after water returns to a boil.  It has to be 1 hour 25 minutes of continuous boiling to process these tomatoes correctly and safely.

When processing time is complete, allow jars to cool in canner for about one hour before removing.  These jars are hot all the way through and will stay that way for quite a while.  The sudden temperature change caused by immediate removal from the boiling water can cause the contents to sputter out under the lids, compromising the seals.  A lot of time and effort has gone into these tomatoes, what is one more hour?  Be patient and let them cool in the water.

Simply Beautiful
These tomatoes are amazing.  There is no way 7 quarts will be enough.

This Tomato post is shared at:
From the Farm Blog Hop    The HomeAcre Hop     Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways     The Homemaking Party   The Creative Home and Garden Hop     Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop     The Homesteaders Blog Hop     Homestead Barn Hop     Tuesday Garden Party

Grandma's Pineapple Banana Bread

Pineapple Banana Muffins with Coconut and Walnuts

When there are lots of really ripe bananas that need to be used, what do you make?

Here at Saltbush Flats we make Grandma's Pineapple Banana Bread. YUM!

Grandma makes this most amazing bread every Christmas and shares it with others along with her homemade cookies and fudge.  

Grandmas Pineapple Banana Bread

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups oil
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (half 20 ounce can)
2 cups mashed banana, 4-5 bananas

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a very large bowl.
In another large bowl mix eggs, oil, and vanilla very well.  Add pineapple and banana.  Blend.
Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and mix until just blended.
Grease 13"x9" baking pan.  Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees about 60 minutes.
Cool completely.
Slice into 5 "loaves" 2 1/2" x 9".  Wrap loaves very well with plastic wrap and freeze any loaves not planning to eat right away.
This bread freezes beautifully.  

This recipe also make 2 5"x9" loaves or 36 muffins.

Rancher Roy and Colt in the City love coconut.  Anytime I can add coconut to a recipe they are happy.  

Coconut Nut Variation

Add 2/3 cup coconut and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the wet ingredients before mixing into the dry ingredients.

This recipe makes a lot, much more than Rancher Roy and I can eat.  The solution?  Freeze the batter in muffin cups.  Now when Rancher Roy and I want Grandma's Pineapple Banana Muffins, all we have to do is take a few out of the freezer and bake them up warm and fresh.  

Flash Freeze batter in Lined Muffin Tins

Once Frozen, Place in Freezer Bags.

Bake frozen muffins about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Enjoy fresh baked muffins anytime.  

Grandma is actually my own mama.  But since Colt in the City was born, she has been called Grandma.  How many of you refer to your mother as "Grandma" after your children are born?