Monday, September 10, 2012

winter stuff

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to tackle my "winter prep".  It really isn't much, but it sure is time consuming!!

You see, winters in this part of Texas are very unpredictable.  I have seen winters where it was unbearable cold, but we never had any snow.  I've seen winters that where it snowed so much, we couldn't leave the house.  Either way, our winters are usually come with wretched north winds.  I'm not talking 5-10 mile per hour winds either.  Nope...we get 30+ mile an hour winds, straight out of the north.

Regardless of conditions, I hate getting out in the cold. Once it gets below 65 or 70 degrees, I keep my butt inside, with 3 sweaters on, covered up by an afghan.  No joke.  I hate being cold.  And it always seems that I run out of every day foods when the weather is the worst.  And because it always happens right before or during a storm, the grocery stores are running low on the items I usually need.

I'm trying to avoid this situation this year.
I started by making 28 jars of grape jelly.  Yes, twenty-eight jars.  Barb Wire Man eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day for lunch...poor man.  Hopefully, 28 jars will be enough to last us through the winter.

Next, I canned some pinto beans.  When we have beans and rice for supper, I start with plain dry beans and cook them in the crockpot.  But, I also like to add cooked pintos to my hamburger meat.  Sometimes, I will mash them up and add them to casseroles and other things.  Sometimes I add the whole beans to things like taco meat.  It helps stretch the meat a little further, and adds extra protein.  Dry beans are so cheap, so this helps stretch our grocery budget a lot!

I once canned beans.  I cooked them up, then canned them.  The beans were super mushy, and it just didn't work very well.  They weren't bad, but they weren't very good, either.  Then my dear friend introduced  me to the most awesome blog:  The way she cans beans is unbelievably easy.

Not counting washing and sterilizing the jars and the actual pressure canning part, it took me a whole 15 minutes.  I want to hug this woman around the neck and tell her thank you for writing that post.  If she reads this:  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Next, I will be making the bread.  I have been holding off on this part, just because using the oven that much heats the house up so.  I'm waiting for a nice cool day, so we don't all get heat stroke while I cook!  My goal is to make 15-20 loaves of bread, then I will freeze them.

Can you think of other things that are great to make ahead and either freeze or can?  I would love any ideas you might have!

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