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Sharing a tip about bush beans I learned long ago

posted by: momamamo on 07.01.2008 at 11:58 am in Beans, Peas & Other Legumes Forum

This tip may be well known, but I want to share it at this time of year because now's the time folks are wondering about new plantings, succession plantings, etc.

I read this in some book - can't remember which one, though - so I can't give the originator credit. I can at least say that I've used this technique and was quite pleased with the results.

Once you harvest bush beans, cut the plants back so that there are just a few inches of growth and a few growth nodes. Then fertilize them and watch them grow! In the year that I did this, I thought it would be a fun experiment and didn't know what to expect. I ended up with very good yields and had enough time to cut the plants back once more. So I got 3 periods of growth and a lot of green beans! I was shocked at the end of the season to see how thick the stems had become.

There's probably plenty of time for some of you to start new seeds, but for others this may be worth a try. Happy gardening! Maureen


clipped on: 09.10.2014 at 07:10 pm    last updated on: 09.10.2014 at 07:11 pm

Easy to sew valance directions

posted by: my3dogs on 07.17.2008 at 08:01 pm in Home Decorating & Design Forum

Hi everyone!

Here are the directions for the valances that you saw in the post linked below. They ARE EASY - but the directions are long, because I am trying to give you enough detail, even if you are a beginner. Read them all the way through so you understand them, and ask any questions you may have. If you are a real novice, you may want to make a sample using just muslin, or other inexpensive fabric, til you get the hang of it.

This is a no-pattern valance that I started making last summer. It requires just straight stitching. My windows are generally about 50" (more or less)in height. If your windows are very short or very tall, you may want to vary the length of the fabric you use. I would say to err on the 'buy more' side though, so they don't look skimpy. The fullness adds richness.

I generally use 1 1/4 yards of 54" wide home dec fabric to make the valance. You will need an equal amount of lining fabric. If you choose to put trim on the bottom (it adds a lot to the treatment, IMO) buy 1 1/2 yards of trim to make sure you have enough to go across the length of your 54" wide fabric. If your fabric is wider than 54", buy enough trim to cover its width.

Cut your valance fabric and lining to equal lengths. I always measure the side edges of my fabric and mark the length before cutting. It may have not been cut straight at the store, and you want to be sure that your left side is the same length as your right side.

Pin the two rectangles of fabric together on all sides, with the RIGHT (front) sides of the fabrics inside, facing each other. Before putting the fabrics together, I mark lightly on the back which is the TOP of the print (if using a print) and which is the bottom, so your print will end up right side up!

Depending on the type of rod you plan to use for the valance, you need to leave openings on each side that will become your rod pocket. Continental rods (the flat wide plain ones) need a 4" rod pocket. If you use a decorative rod, with finals on the end that screw off, I would recommend making your rod pocket 2" wide. For a small tension rod, I'd make the rod pocket 1.5" wide. You don't want to force your fabric onto the rod - allow room to make it easy for you.

Measure down from the TOP of your pinned together fabric, and make a light mark with pencil on each side, the size of your chosen rod pocket, plus 1/2". That 1/2" is going to be the width of your top seam. You'll be making a mark on the left and right sides 4 1/2" down from the top if you use a Continental rod, for example. Stitch from these marks down each side to the bottom, using a 1/2" seam.

You'll need to leave an opening in the top or bottom to turn your valance inside out when you're done stitching.

I'd suggest a 4" - 6" opening for turning. If your rod pocket openings are 4", you don't need to leave another opening, you can use them to turn it inside out.

Mark the opening you need to leave, then stitch across the top and bottom edges, using a 1/2" seam, leaving your opening...well...OPEN!

Clip your fabric corners off OUTSIDE of your stitching. This is just a small triangle of fabric from each corner. This will allow you to get nice sharp edges on your corners when your turn the valance right side out, as it reduces the bulk of fabric there.

Turn your valance right side out, pulling it through the opening you left. I use a wooden chop stick to push the fabric gently at the corners to make them nice and square, once I have turned mine right side out. Don't push too hard, or you may poke a hole through your valance! At this point, you should have a lined rectangle of fabric, with rod pocket openings near the top of each side.

Close the opening you left for turning, either by folding and pressing the edges in and hand stitching it closed, or use 'stitch witchery' type of fusing tape to do it. You can also sew it closed with your sewing machine, but you want to do it right at the edge. You want to make this closure as 'invisible' as possible, so I always use fusible tape.

Carefully iron your valance. Use your fingers to work the edges, so that you have your seam right in the middle of each edge, so you don't see the front fabric on the backside, and you don't see the lining from the front.

Now, to stitch the rod pocket. You will be making one row of stitching across the front of your fabric from side to side.
Measure down from the top edge, so you have the same length opening on each side. The size of the opening you left on each side was determined above by the type of rod you're using.

You can lightly pencil on the line that you need to stitch across, or do what I do - Place the fabric on the sewing machine, and put the needle down on the place where you'll start stitching. Take a 4" (approx) length of masking tape, and lay it against the upper edge of the fabric, to the right of the needle, and stick it to the sewing machine base. You can use this tape edge as a guide to hold the top edge of your fabric against as you stitch across. It helps you make a straight, even rod pocket. My sewing machine has tape on it for all different widths of rod pockets!

If you chose to put trim on the bottom of your valance, do it now. I use 'Aleen's OK To Wash-It' fabric glue that you can get at WalMart or a fabric store. If you use glue, just follow the directions on the bottle to glue your trim evenly to the front bottom of your valance. I lay my valance on my kitchen island, and let it set overnight, while the glue dries. You can also stitch your trim on, either by hand or by machine. I prefer the glue, because you see no stitching on the back side. (I'm anal.)

Now to make the ties. You can simply buy ribbon (such as grosgrain) or use purchased cord (see my dining room silk ones in the link) or make them out of fabric. Use either the same fabric or a coordinating one.

Here, you first need to decide if you are going to tie your valance up with bows, or do knots. Bows take longer ties.

Allow yourself a MINIMUM of 36" long ties. You can always cut them shorter if necessary, but you can't make them longer. I suggest hanging your valance up and using string to tie them up temporarily to see how long you need to make your ties. (It's longer than you think!)

Cut your strips of fabric approx 4" wide and the length you have decided on above for your ties. Fold and pin the strips in half the the short way, so you have a long strip of fabric that is 2" wide. Make sure the right sides are together, (inside) because you are going to turn them inside out after stitching.

Stitch along the pinned edge of each strip, about 1/4" from the edge. Now the fun part - turn those narrow strips inside out. My chop stick comes in handy for this, but use whatever method you choose to accomplish this.

Press the ties just as you did the valance rectangle, making sure your seam is even on the edge. I fold in the raw ends and use my fusible tape to close them, but you can machine stitch them closed or do it by hand - Your choice. Your valance is done!

Put it on your rod, using the rod pocket. Hang it in your window. Now, take the ties, and simply drape them over the rod on each side, having half of the tie fabric strip hanging in front, and the other half of the tie hanging behind the valance.

Now, gather up one side of the valance in your hands, and reach behind it it grab the dangling tie in back. Tie up the valance, by tying the front and back pieces of the tie together, either in a knot or a bow. Do the same with the other side, making sure your ties on each side are tied up at the same length.

Now stand back and make sure your valance looks even at the bottom on each side. Use your hand to 'finger fold' and drape your fabric until the look is what you want.

You'll be surprised at what a difference it can make in the look by spacing your ties closer together, or moving them further apart on the rod. Also by tying the ties higher or lower...

This is where you need to play around until you get the look you want. On the HGTV message board, a woman made these and kept posting pics asking for advice - Higher? Lower? Move the ties apart or closer...It's really all up to you. Hers looked GREAT when she was done, and she was so pleased to have made her own custom valance. I hope you all feel the same way, if you try them!

Here is a link that might be useful: several shown here - all the same instructions


clipped on: 01.13.2014 at 10:06 am    last updated on: 01.13.2014 at 10:06 am

Sun Dried Tomatoes

posted by: brokenbar on 08.20.2008 at 09:54 pm in Harvest Forum

I raise tomatoes for sun drying. I do about 1000 to 2000 lbs a year which I sell to the upscale restaurants in Cody Wyoming & Billings Montana. I wanted to pass on my favorites for you considering doing some drying. Any tomato can be used for drying but some varieties are better than others.

I grow 15 mainstay varieties that I have kept as I culled others that did not meet my criteria.
I also try at least 5 new varieties of paste types each year and am lucky if one makes it into my herd. I am looking for specific things:

� Meaty with a low moisture content
� Few seeds
� A rich and tangy flavor
� Size-Small tomatoes are just more work for me.
� Not fussy-Take heat and cold and wind. No primadonnas!
� Bloom well and set lots and lots of fruit
� Indeterminate
� Dry to a nice pliable consistency

These are my Top Five
Chinese Giant
Carol Chyko
Cuoro D Toro
San Marzano Redorta

I wanted to add that were I to be stranded on a desert Island with only one tomato it would be Russo Sicilian Togeta. This is my �gallstar�h that sets fruit first, ripens the earliest, bears heavy crops in any weather and is producing right up until hard frost. It is not a true paste but rather a stuffing tomato. None-the-less, the flavor of these dried is as good as it gets. It is also wonderful for just eating or slicing and the fruit is extra large.

For those wanting to know my Secret Recipe for drying, here you go:

Wash, stem and slice each tomato into 1/4" thick slices. Place in a very large bowl or clean bucket and cover with cheap red wine. I use Merlot but if you prefer something else, knock yourself out. I have a friend that swears by cheap Chianti! Soak tomato slices 24 hours in the wine. Drain well. Lay tomatoes just touching on dehydrator shelves or on screen in your sun-drying apparatus. Sprinkle each slice with a mixture containing equal parts of dried basil-oregano-parsley and then sprinkle each slice with Kosher Salt. You may choose to forego the salt if you wish but tomatoes will take longer to dry. Dry tomatoes until they are firm and leatherlike with no moisture pockets, but NOT brittle. (If you get them too dry, soak them in lemon juice for a few minutes.) To store, place in vacuum bags or ziplock bags and freeze.

IMPORTANT!!! If you will be storing sun-dried tomatoes in Olive oil you !!!MUST!!! dip each slice in vinegar before adding to oil.

To pack in oil:
Dip each tomato into a small dish of white wine vinegar. Shake off theexcess vinegar and pack them in olive oil adding 1/4 cup red wine. For tomatoes in oil I am selling, I put the tomatoes into the oil two weeks ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Make sure they are completely immersed in the oil. When the jar is full, cap it tightly. I use my vacuum sealer to seal the canning lids on. Store at *cool* room temperature for at least a month before using. They may be stored in the refrigerator, but the oil will solidify at
refrigerator temperatures (it quickly reliquifies at room temperature however). As tomatoes are removed from the jar, add more olive oil as necessary to keep the remaining tomatoes covered. I have stored oil-packed tomatoes in m root cellar for over a year. . I have tried a number of methods to pack the tomatoes in oil, but the vinegar treatment is the difference between a good dried tomato and a great one. It is also important from a food safety standpoint, as it acidifies the oil and discourages growth of bacteria and mold. Soaking in the wine also acidifies them.

****** WARNING ********

Do *NOT* add fresh garlic cloves or fresh herbs of any kind to oil-packed dried tomatoes, UNLESS you store them in the refrigerator and plan on using them within 7 days. Garlic is a low-acid food which, when placed in oil, creates a low-acid anaerobic environment just
perfect growth medium for botulinum bacteria if the mixture is not refrigerated. Be safe and add your garlic to the dried tomatoes as part of the recipe for them *after* they come out of the oil.


clipped on: 01.13.2014 at 10:05 am    last updated on: 01.13.2014 at 10:05 am

RE: If you could start fresh what would you put ina childs garden (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: annie_zone4 on 03.05.2003 at 04:26 pm in Gardening with Kids Forum

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to say that when I was a kid, we had forsythia bushes grouped together by the garage. My mother tried to kill them every spring but she had a green thumb.
We (all six of us) gradually made tunnels throughout them
and it was a great place to hide, be alone, listen to birds, get in trouble. We're all still here.
I know forsythia probably doesn't do well in zone 9 but
there might be other bushes that would take the abuse.
Also I would plant anything that attracts hummingbirds, bird, animals in general.
It's a place I've remembered for a long time.


clipped on: 04.29.2013 at 12:58 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2013 at 12:58 pm

RE: oooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aren't I lucky!!!!! (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: annie1992 on 08.03.2010 at 11:16 am in Harvest Forum

I'd make Readinglady's pear preserves, I just love the things, and probably some pear mincemeat, then I'd make "pink pears", which my girls love. That's just pears canned in a light syrup with the addition of a bag of those little cinnamon red hots melted into the syrup and a couple of sticks of cinnamon simmered in.

Here is the mincemeat, I use it as filling for thumbprint cookies and in tart shells, it's yummy.

Old-time Pear Mincemeat
(Farm Journal's Freezing & Canning Cookbook 1973)
Makes 9 pints

7 lbs ripe Bartlett pears
1 lemon
2 lbs seedless raisins
6 3/4 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 Tblsp ground cloves
1 Tblsp ground cinnamon
1 Tblsp ground nutmeg
1 Tblsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground ginger

Core and quarter pears. Quarter lemon, removing seeds.
Put pears, lemons and raisins through chopper.
Combine remaing ingredients in a large kettle.
Add chopped fruit mixture.
Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer 40 minutes.
Pack at once in hot pint jars, leaving 1/2" head space. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath 25 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing types.

I have the pear preserves recipe at home, I'll try to remember to post that tonight, and not a canning recipe, my my all time favorite dessert is this Maple and Pear Cobbler, although Iusually make it in one big pan instead of little individual ones:

Maple and Pear Cobbler
3 pounds ripe Barlett pears, peeled, quartered, cored
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (generous) ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
9 tablespoons half and half
9 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melted butter
Ground nutmeg

1 cup chilled whipping cream
Additional pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 425F. Cut pears crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Combine in large bowl with maple syrup, flour, vanilla extract and ground nutmeg. Divide among six 2/3-cup custard cups of souffl dishes. Dot tops with butter. Bake filling until hot and bubbling, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, Prepare Topping. Mix first 3 ingredients in processor. Add 6 tablespoons chilled butter and cut in until mixture resembles fine meal. Transfer to large bowl. Mix half and half, 6 tablespoons syrup and vanilla in another bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Working quickly, drop batter in three mounds, 1 heaping tablespoon per mound, atop hot filling in each cup. Brush topping with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Immediately return cups to oven and bake 8 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375F. and bake until toppings are golden and just firm to touch, about 14 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat 1 cup chilled cream with 3 tablespoons maple syrup to soft peaks. Serve cobblers warm with whipped cream. Drizzle additional maple syrup over.



clipped on: 09.14.2012 at 06:35 pm    last updated on: 09.14.2012 at 06:35 pm

anything interesting to do with pears?

posted by: mwoolfenden on 01.19.2011 at 06:44 pm in Harvest Forum

i got given a couple pounds of pears and would like to do something yummy with them, any ideas? what have yall made with pears before?


clipped on: 09.14.2012 at 06:19 pm    last updated on: 09.14.2012 at 06:19 pm

Your Greatest Hit Recipes for Leesa

posted by: zabby17 on 07.27.2005 at 06:27 pm in Harvest Forum

OK, Leesa is new here and she is sad that she'd missed out on so many great-sounding recipes because the search engine on GW is not exactly up to par. So I thought I'd share my best ones (there are only a few, I haven't been at this long) that people have often asked for, in a new thread for her, and maybe anyone else, if you have a minute, you could post one or two, even if you already posted it this season, for Leesa and anyone else new?

Here is one for summer fruit jam (peach, apricot, yellow plum --- we're just coming up to these being ripe around here!), and one for a cranberry-apple relish I like for the holidays.



Summer Fruit Jam
[from Foodland Ontario]

Yield: 8 cups

3 c Peaches, peeled & chopped
3 c Apricots, chopped
2 c yellow plums, sliced
2 Tb lemon juice
6 c Sugar

In a Dutch oven, combine 2 c each of the peaches & apricots with the
remaining ingredients excepting the margarine. Mash enough to break
the fruit. Stir in the remaining peaches & apricots.

Bring to a slow boil, stirring. Boil, continuing to stir frequently,
for 20 minutes or until setting point is reached.

Ladle into sterile 250mL (half-pint) canning jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe
rim & seal. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove,
cool, label & store.

Cranapple Relish
(from _Canadian Living_ magazine)

For each pint of relish:

2 apples
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup golden raisins
4 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
dash hot pepper sauce

Peel, core, and chop apples. Chop cranberries coarsely. In heavy saucepan,
stir together apples, cranberries, 3/4 cup water, sugar, onion, raisins, vinegar, cinnamon,
salt, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer,
stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until thickened and no liquid remains. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal. (Or simply refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

* I never bother to chop the cranberries.
* I assumed processing was 20 minutes, like for applesauce.


lots of good recipes here.
clipped on: 09.06.2012 at 12:09 pm    last updated on: 09.06.2012 at 12:10 pm

Hand pollination of Squash

posted by: macmex on 06.02.2008 at 11:54 am in Pumpkins Squash & Gourds Forum

I thought Id take time to do a pictorial guide on hand pollination of squash. When I first wanted to hand pollinate, back in 1984, I remember frantically trying to get information and not knowing exactly where to turn. I had just joined the Seed Savers Exchange and heard about hand pollination but didnt know how to do it. I remember calling a couple of SSE members. Everyone was very helpful. But I had a difficult time picturing what I was told. Imagine how pleased I was when I received an SSE publication with full illustration of hand pollination!

That first year I didnt manage a successful hand pollination. But once I saw this technique illustrated I never had a problem. Heres some help for anyone else who might be wondering how to do it.


I always go out the afternoon beforehand and tape shut the flowers due to open the following morning. The main challenge with this is to recognize those flowers, as a prematurely taped flower will simply abort. The general rule I follow is that I can tape flowers after 2:30 PM up until dark.
Most varieties "yellow up" the day before. A few varieties hardly "yellow up" until the night before. But once I get to know a variety it isn't difficult to recognize the ones I need to tape shut. Notice in the above picture that there are both mature male and a female blossoms as well as some immature blossoms of both sexes. If you accidentally tape a flower not ready to open, just remove the tape in the morning. It will probably be okay.


clipped on: 06.08.2012 at 02:02 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2012 at 02:02 pm

Designing a Home Canning Kitchen

posted by: lamb_abbey_orchards on 01.03.2010 at 01:00 pm in Harvest Forum

I need some advice.

I'm going to be building a new home next year, which will be a relatively small cottage in the country (1,396 sq ft) built on the edge of an heirloom fruit orchard and large organic garden. The cottage is currently still in the design phase, but nearly complete.

I'm going to be doing a lot of canning and preserving, but know of the headaches and inconveniences of doing a lot of canning in your own kitchen during the hottest months of the year. I want to avoid these inconveniences by adding a small separate "summer canning kitchen" that is close to the main kitchen, but still completely separate from it, allowing me to keep the associated steam and heat and chaos confined to its own space.

I've got a couple of challenges, the primary one being available space. I'm intentionally building a small house because I've spent enough years in a home heating and cleaning a lot of house that just wasn't being used. So I hired an architect who has done a great job keeping holding the reigns and making sure I'm only building as much house as I truly need. The result of this is that I've got a room measuring only 7' x 8' in which to create this seasonal canning kitchen. Fortunately, it's only 5 feet and two doors away from the main kitchen in the house.

I'd really value some input from the canning experts out there in taking this 7' x 8' room and maximizing the capabilities of this new space. I'm new to larger-scale canning and therefore don't know how best to design this space and what exactly I'm going to need.

Foremost, I will be making sure that this space is as well-ventilated as possible, both with a ventilation fan as well as a 12" x 72" dormer window above the workspace that can be opened as needed.

The basic components I believe I'm going to need for this canning kitchen are:

1) A couple of high-output burners that can be used indoors.

2) A utility sink.

3) A prep area (with butcher block)

4) A full counter work space for canning and the subsequent cooling, labeling and packing of what I've canned.

5) As much storage as I can allocate for canning supplies, both in the way of counter space and cupboard space.

6) Waste containers for hauling off organic material to the compost area.

Beyond these, I'm at a loss.

I'd really appreciate some expert advice in how to design and equip this space. One advantage that I've got is that a full kitchen will indeed just be 5 feet away, so I'll be able to use that space as well for things that aren't going to fill the house with heat and steam (dishwasher, refrigerator, extra sink and counter top space, etc.)

I'm envisioning two 8' long counters (24" deep) with a 36" wide aisle between them. A utility sink will be part of one counter, or possible at the opposite end of the room between the counters. I'll also have two high-output burners ( this model specifically ) for accommodating both a 40 quart stock pot and a 40 quart pressure cooker/canner.

Here's where I hit the wall though and need your advice.

Would any of you experts be kind enough to offer me some advice as to how YOU would set up a seasonal canning kitchen given the space constraints I've got to work with?

By the way, here's a part of the floorplan that will give you an overview of the main kitchen and where it will sit relative to the canning kitchen:

Thanks in advance for your input!



clipped on: 01.31.2012 at 08:32 am    last updated on: 01.31.2012 at 08:32 am

RE: Foodsaver 101 - help me please (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: grainlady on 10.21.2010 at 08:49 am in Cooking Forum

These are tips I like to pass along after over 20-years (and 3 FoodSavers) under my belt...

1. I only use FoodSaver bags for foods that will be placed in the freezer for more than a month or two, or what I call long-term storage. A plastic storage container or well-wrapped foods will work fine for short-term storage. I also vacuum-seal cheese purchased in bulk amounts, in the refrigerator.

2. I never vacuum-seal wet food, only frozen or partially-frozen. I quick-freeze (freeze just long enough to be nearly solid) all fresh-cuts of meat on a cookie sheet before bagging for freezer storage. It helps if you dry the excess moisture off meat before you quick-freeze it.

-Some wet food items I'll place directly in the FoodSaver bag/s, placed flat on a cookie sheet with the opening to the side, and quick-freeze it in the bag. Then vacuum-seal the bag when the contents are solid. I make sure I place a wad of plastic wrap over any portion that might poke a hole in the vacuum-sealed bag (such as a sharp bone), before sealing the bag.

-I quick-freeze fruit/vegetables/cooked beans/rice, etc. in a single layer, either on a cookie sheet, or in the open FoodSaver bag (with the bag opening to one side, not on the top). When completely solid I'll vacuum seal them shut maintaining that single layer.

-Single layers work very well because you can tap the bag to loosen the contents after you open it, and remove a portion of the food, and then flatten it again and re-seal. I can also "file" these bags in plastic baskets in the freezer. I write what's in the bags on the end of the package and it's easy to flip through the "file" of food to see what I have/need.

-I'll separate items that are packaged into one bag (quick-frozen chicken parts, chops or small steaks, etc.) with parchment paper so I can remove the amount I need and re-seal the bag without having ALL the meat being fused into one lump - which happens when you freeze wet meat.

-Small portions of cooked ground, shredded, or sliced meat I use in wraps and sandwiches I place in fold-top sandwich bags, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and quick-freeze those before stacking them into a FoodSaver bag, plastic bag and all.

-I portion mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop and quick-freeze them on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat (foods easily come off the silicon mat). Then I place them in a FoodSaver bag, in a single layer, and vacuum seal it shut. I only need to make mashed potatoes a few times a year using this method because I make them in large amounts.

-As others have mentioned, quick-freeze food in plastic containers in user-friendly portions, remove it from the containers when solid enough to do so, and vacuum seal the frozen "blocks" in bags. Now I can take out one block of chili for one serving for lunch, or it's enough to top 2 baked potatoes, or top two taco salads. You free up your plastic containers to use again, and you have like-kinds of things together in user-friendly amounts in one bag. I use this method with spaghetti sauce, sloppy Joe mixture, fresh and pre-cooked ground beef purchased in bulk amounts, soup/stew/broth, ground beef stroganoff (meat mixture only - I cook the noodles or rice as needed). Most of these things I place in amounts for one or two servings, or amounts I use in recipes.

-When I make a casserole that freeze well, I'll either divide it into small casserole dishes (meal-for-two), or multiply the recipe to make more than one. Line the dishes with RELEASE aluminum foil and quick-freeze the casserole in the dish. Once frozen, remove from the dish and store in a FoodSaver bag, foil and all. When I want to make the dish I pop the whole thing back into the same dish it came out of. You can also quick-freeze casseroles in foil bakeware, then vacuum-seal in a FoodSaver bag. Freeze and bake in the same foil pan.

3. For dry food storage I use canning jars and vacuum-seal canning lids on the jars using the FoodSaver jar sealer. These are also what I place in long-term storage (longer than a month or two).

-If you want to vacuum-seal flour for storage, you should place it in a jar where it will remain free-flowing, rather than a FoodSaver bag. There is enough moisture in flour that it can smell moldy if you compact it in a FoodSaver bag. This was recommended in the user's manual from my first FoodSaver. Other foods that store best in a jar where they remain free-flowing are: marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, anything crispy (including home-dehydrated food) and dried foods that remain sticky (raisins, prunes, apricots...). After I open cans of freeze-dried foods I place them in jars and vacuum-seal them shut.

4. When I move food from my long-term storage area to the pantry I'll replace the vacuum-sealed canning lid with a FoodSaver Universal Lid. I use the Universal Lid on dry foods I keep in my pantry and use frequently. The Universal Lid turns almost any rigid container that has a smooth opening into a canister and is easy to open and reseal. I've had too many FoodSaver canisters crack over the years to justify their price, but I've had great success using the Universal Lids.



clipped on: 01.10.2012 at 02:19 pm    last updated on: 01.10.2012 at 02:19 pm

I use homemade soap but would like rec for other powdered det.

posted by: sullivansmom on 07.15.2009 at 02:43 pm in Laundry Room Forum

I am using up my liquid detergent that I have been using on an off and want a back up of powdered detergent because I don't really enjoy making the soap ;) What is the best powdered soap that I can purchase in Whitespot Idaho? :)


clipped on: 10.05.2011 at 01:42 pm    last updated on: 10.05.2011 at 01:42 pm

Ingenious lid storage idea

posted by: melaska on 09.11.2011 at 07:47 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi everyone...saw this on Houzz from member hennef7 & wanted to share. You could probably use this idea inside a cabinet, too.

Lid storage by hennef7 on Houzz

I'll link the thread below...this picture was added as a comment on the thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Customizable dish storage thread on Houzz


clipped on: 09.11.2011 at 11:26 am    last updated on: 09.11.2011 at 11:26 am

RE: Cutting board questions... (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: trailrunner on 03.15.2011 at 10:04 pm in Smaller Homes Forum

You should get a restaurant grade white cutting board. They are the only kind other than wood that won't ruin your knives. All others do dull them. To sterilize after use just squirt some Arm and Hammer bleach cleaner on it and let it set a minute and rinse. It will be perfect. Here is a link to the kind of cutting board...c

Here is a link that might be useful: sanalite cutting boards


clipped on: 06.21.2011 at 03:16 pm    last updated on: 06.21.2011 at 03:17 pm

Want to frame your TV?

posted by: moccasinlanding on 04.01.2011 at 05:04 pm in Smaller Homes Forum

I just found this place online which offers the frames for TVs, plus they have a way to hide the tv behind a mirror, which disappears once the TV is turned on, and also they have the option of some fine art to cover your blank TV. I think you can also use your own artwork as well.

Not cheap, but who says you cannot make one for yourself?

Anyway, I put the link below, you can design your own frame if you know the model nummber of your tv.

Somebody mentioned this a while back, thought I'd put it in the hopper for folks to explore the options.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frame My TV


clipped on: 06.21.2011 at 02:14 pm    last updated on: 06.21.2011 at 02:14 pm

RE: My cabinets were delivered today but.... (Follow-Up #40)

posted by: beekeeperswife on 02.01.2011 at 03:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

One thing I learned a long time ago, and I use it when I really want something. State what you want, and then be silent. Don't say anything else. The silence that comes after your statement to the KD/GC is very strong. The first one to speak will lose.

So, just keep it simple, "We would like the cabinets that are installed to be the cabinets we ordered originally". Then nothing. They might come back with "well the factory says it will take 6 weeks". Then just repeat your original statement. They are counting on you to be the weakest link and cave in.

You need to be the "Strong Silent Type"

Good luck.


clipped on: 05.22.2011 at 10:13 am    last updated on: 05.22.2011 at 10:13 am

RE: Built-in platform bed ? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: MongoCT on 12.05.2005 at 09:48 pm in Woodworking Forum

I built one for my daughter. I realize your dimensions are not the same as mine, but the pics may help you visualize the process. Her bed is a full-size mattress.

Captions are under each picture.

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This shows the framing. Birch plywood. One large box underneath...six drawers in the center (3 over 3) and a cabinet on each end. Bookshelves at the head and foot of the bed.

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The front of the bed. She calls it the "Mousehole Bed". The lighter rectangle in the middle of the front that contains the opening is removable.

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Painted up with the kids inside.

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Raised panels on the back wall, along with two wall sconces.

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Bookshelves at the foot of the bed.

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A reading niche with bookshelves on each side at the head of the bed. The exposed wire on the right side of the niche has since been run behind the woodwork, it's a low voltage wire to dim the reading lights above.

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The ceiling inside the bed is a beadboard-type that I made from scraps. The shelf and the shelf support above the opening are the waste cutoffs from when I cut the arched ribs to back the arched beadboard ceiling.


clipped on: 05.04.2011 at 07:23 pm    last updated on: 05.04.2011 at 07:24 pm

also (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: macv on 03.26.2010 at 09:25 am in Building a Home Forum

Here's one of my shamelessly illegal ladders. What could the building inspector have been thinking to approve it?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


clipped on: 05.04.2011 at 01:49 pm    last updated on: 05.04.2011 at 01:50 pm