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every single day you make a choice

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More Pineapple-y Goodness

When I was processing peaches a few weeks ago, I mentioned discovering that you can use the peach peels and pits to make Peach Peel Jelly — *After* I dutifully took them to the compost pile. This time, I wanted to know, before proceeding with cutting up the pineapple on Saturday, if there was something to do with the “trash” left over.

Sure enough!  Check out these ideas, many of which I got from an article by Rosetta Slone HERE:

Pineapple water – see the results of my experiment below.

Pineapple sun “tea”  —  Combine the pineapple skin, core and other scraps  in a container that has a lid. Cover the pineapple scraps with water, and leave out in the sun for several hours until the water turns yellow. Strain, chill, and drink.  You can add sugar to sweeten it if you wish.

Pineapple pot pourri  —  Cut the pineapple skins into small pieces and dry in the oven or dehydrator.  Add spices.

Pineapple vinegar  —  read about one person’s experience with this recipe here)

Pineapple peel body scrub

Pineapple car freshener

Pineapple juice

Here’s what I tried:

PINEAPPLE WATER.

As you are cutting up a fresh pineapple put the skin, core and other scraps in a container that has a lid.  Cover with water.  Put on the lid.  Refrigerate for several hours.  Strain. Enjoy!

Making Pineapple Water

Making Pineapple Water

Result:  The next morning it was easy to pour the water through a strainer, into a different container.  This was very tasty!  The water had just a hint of pineapple flavor and even some extra nutrients.  It made a nice change from plain water.

PINEAPPLE PEEL FACIAL.

As I was trimming the pineapple, I noticed that my hands became very soft and smooth. So, I decided to try it on my face.  My well water makes my skin really rough and dull. Figuring I didn’t have much to lose, I just rubbed the pineapple side of one of the peels on my face and let it set for five minutes before washing it off.  My face did immediately feel smoother!

It was kind of thrilling to extend the uses of the pineapple in these ways – almost like a “trash to treasure” experience.  I’m already starting to look up things to do with my apple peels and cores when I move on to that project.

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Intimidated by a Pineapple

If you remember from last weekend’s post, I bought three pineapples to dehydrate.

I set them on my counter and there they stayed.

And stayed.

And stayed.

Why?  Because I’ve never cut up a fresh pineapple and I let that lack of knowledge intimidate me.  Silly I know.  Nevertheless, they stayed on the counter until today when I realized if I didn’t get over my idiocy, I would waste those pineapples.  THAT was not acceptable!

My Scary Pineapple

My Scary Pineapples

I had it in my head, from seeing it done by other people, that removing the tops, and skins, and cores of a fresh pineapple was a big bother.  On the other hand, it seemed like a waste of money to have to buy a “special tool.”

Ta Da!  YouTube to the rescue!  After reviewing a few methods, I decided one made the most sense.  This video made cutting up a fresh pineapple a quick and easy process:

Newly empowered with useful information, I set off on this week’s adventure.

First, I washed the pineapple.

Scrub-a-dub

Scrub-a-dub

As demonstrated in the video, I cut off the top and bottom.  Then I set the pineapple back upright to slice it into half and then into quarters.

Removing the core by making a V-cut into each of the quarters made that process easy, easy, easy.

Coring the pineapple was no big deal

Coring the pineapple was no big deal

On a side note: yes, my usual helpers were present, as always:

Molly:  Ever Hopeful

Molly: Ever Hopeful

Next, I cut each piece in half again so that there were eight pieces.

Eighths

Eighths

Each section was cut cross-wise.

Slice each piece cross-wise

Slice each piece cross-wise

I did figure out something useful about this step.  Usually, there is no need for uniform chunks of pineapple when it’s being eaten straight or put into a recipe.  Since I am using these pineapple pieces for dehydrating, slicing them a bit thinner saves some time and effort later in the process.  Generally, thinner, somewhat consistently-sized pieces work best for even drying.

Finally, I sliced along the skin.  It’s not necessary to get extremely close to the skin.

Slice the chunks off the peel

Slice the chunks off the peel

This is what you have left when you cut up a pineapple this way.  Save those peels and cores:  I’ll tell you ways to get the most out of your pineapple in my next post!

Save the peel for further adventures!

Save the peel for further adventures!

It only took about half an hour to prepare all three pineapples!

I did a little trimming to remove some bruising that was on one of the pineapples or to trim where a bit of “eye” was left in the fruit.  Then, onto the trays and the dehydrator was started!

All done and ready to dehydrate!

All done and ready to dehydrate!

The directions for my dehydrator indicate the pineapple will take 6 – 12 hours to dry.  My three pineapples filled five trays.  I also made a few packages of fresh pineapple chunks to put into lunch boxes next week.

Oh my, it smells good in my house tonight!

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“I really hope you find some lovely in this day. It is there. Sometimes just a little. Sometimes a lot. That is about all I know about life for sure. There is always some Lovely.”  —  Cecilia (Miss C.), thekitchensgarden.com

 

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It’s That Time of Year Again

Today, my oldest grandsons and I went:

APPLE PICKING!

Today's helpers

Today’s helpers

The nine year old, aka "motormouth"

The nine year old grandson, aka “motormouth”

20140906_111118

The thirteen year old, “not too cool to help grandma,” grandson

We went, as every year, to Millstone Creek Orchards and brought home a bushel and a half of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples.  It was hot outside but I must be acclimating to the South better as I didn’t melt before we were done.

THE NEXT WEEKS’ PROJECT:

Destined to become applesauce!

Destined to become applesauce!

I wonder how much applesauce 66ish pounds of apples will make?  Wait; I have this handy chart:

1 pound equals:

  • 3 medium apples
  • 2 cups sliced

3 pounds equals:

  • 8-9 medium apples
  • one 9 inch pie

1 peck equals:

  • 10-12 pounds
  • 32 medium apples
  • 3-4~ 9 inch pies
  • 7-9 quarts frozen
  • 4 quarts canned

1 bushel equals:

  • 42-48 pounds
  • 126 medium apples
  • 15~ 9 inch pies
  • 30-36 pints frozen
  • 16-20 quarts canned

Oh boy, this is going to take awhile!

In other news,  I bought 3 pineapples at $1.89 each (the best price I found in our area) to put in the dehydrator after the current (and final) batch of watermelon is done.  I also have the ingredients to make a batch of  Watermelon Fire & Ice Salsa.  Don’t be afraid, try it!  This stuff is very yummy!

First, though, I’m taking a nap.

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The Price of Prepping

When reading some prepping websites, the amount of Stuff they think you Must have and the urgency to have all your preparations in place Now, becomes very overwhelming. Sometimes a little fear-mongering is thrown in, too.  In truth, often your life situation does not allow you to do and/or buy everything you Need, let alone Want.  This, however, is not an excuse to do nothing to ensure that your family will be able to withstand the emergencies we all experience in life.

I liked an article from preppingtosurvive.com that addresses low-cost things to do to improve your level of preparedness.  I like that it focuses on what you Can do, regardless of your financial circumstances.  The items on this list also provide an excellent starting point for someone new to Preparedness / Self-Reliance.  Check it out!

18 Low-Cost Ways to Start Prepping

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“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”  —  Emmet Fox

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September is National Preparedness Month

After Katrina, the US government got on board with the preparedness “movement.” I put that in quotes because it’s not really a Movement. There have always been people who strive for self-reliance, which is really what “being prepared” means – having the skills and supplies to take care of yourself and your family.  It’s just that the some bureaucrat finally realized the government couldn’t do it all during a major disaster and that perhaps having people be able to take care of themselves, at least for awhile, wasn’t such a bad idea.  Duh.

National Preparedness Month is an effort to educate and get more people involved with the idea of ensuring their families can make it through an emergency.  There are all sorts of disasters and emergencies – Mother Nature emergencies (weather, earthquakes, volcanoes), personal emergencies (health, fire, economic), and man-made emergencies (insert a potentially unbounded list of cruelty and depravity here).

Being Prepared should not be equated with being paranoid.  You don’t think up all the bad things that can happen in life and then proceed to safeguard yourself and your family against every one of those events.  You just quietly make sure that if the electricity goes out, you can provide light and food; if you lose your job, you are out of debt and have financial reserves to ensure you can stay in your home and feed your family; or that your vehicle is kept in good condition, to limit the number of times you have to walk home. Actually, I find that being prepared brings peace, not fear.

As you get interested in becoming better prepared, you will discover an overwhelming amount of stuff, information, and opinion out on the internet.  Don’t let this crush you, or cause fear.  Find *your* focus and proceed along at your own pace.  Start by addressing the basics of shelter, water, food, fuel, communications.

“September is National Preparedness Month” doesn’t mean that you have to do it all in one month, nor that September is the only month to pay attention to this topic.  Preparedness – aka self-reliance – is not a Once is Done event.  It is a continuous effort.  September is just a good month to re-focus, re-direct, and re-assess your preparedness efforts.  Or, if you are new to the concept:  to get started!

Every year, I like to see what others are doing for National Preparedness Month.  This year, let me direct your attention to preparednessmama.com.  This site has a daily article throughout the month from other blogs and websites covering different aspects of the vast world of “preparedness.”  Check it out.  Follow through with some or all of the suggestions and get yourself a little more ready for what life can throw at you.

30-days-prep

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Girls’ Night Out (and Preparedness Journal Update)

Tonight J & I had a girls’ night out and I was introduced to the world of Tractor Pulling.

I had a good time because, well, I have always been oddly attracted to tractors.  I must admit, however, that I was at a bit of a loss at this event, because I kept seeing the same tractors pulling in different “classes” and didn’t understand the classes.  I could hardly wait to get home to look up the rules.  There’s 52 pages of them:  TMI (too much information)! After further internet searching I managed to come up with this bit of a blurb for others who may also be uninitiated into the Tractor Pulling experience:

Tractor pulling is a competitive motor sport in which farm tractors (some stock, some modified, some souped up, some antique) drag a metal sled along a dirt track. The sled is two or three times longer than the tractors and contains a heavy load of metal plates that are hydraulically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course. The tractors, pulling an ever-increasing load, eventually lose forward momentum.  At that point, the distance the sled is moved is measured and the tractor that pulls the sled the farthest is declared the winner.

I’d never heard of tractor pulling before moving to North Carolina (it appears to be an “east of the Mississippi” thing) but I love how people make fun with what is available in their area … activities like snowshoe softball in Alaska and mutton busting in Wyoming come to mind.

Here’s a picture of a Farmall tractor pulling the sled:

Silk Hope Tractor Pull 2014

Silk Hope Tractor Pull 2014

Farmalls just might be my favorite tractor.

Once a tractor starts popping wheelies, you know their run is about over:

A wheelie signals the end of the pull is near!

A wheelie signals the end of the pull is near!

That’s an Allis-Chalmers tractor.  They’re okay, too.

Preparedness Journal – August Update

I got more peaches.

I got 36 pounds of the Contender variety from Millstone Creek Orchards, which is not terribly far from here.  I canned 12 pints (#51).  I actually processed 15 pints but the seals failed on three jars so they ended up in the freezer.  I also dehydrated two batches.  The Contender is much smaller and softer than the Winblos.  The first batch for the dehydrator, I cut the peaches in eighths, like I usually do, but that was too small once dehydrated.  The second batch, I just cut the peaches in fourths.  Fourths are more awkward to peel than eighths but, when dehydrated, the size and texture was just right. That’s something I need to remember for future reference.

I also dehydrated two loads of basil and other herbs.  I had a lot to dry and thought it would be nice to compare drying basil in the dehydrator with my experience last month of drying basil in the microwave.  I do like the microwave drying better, but only for small batches.

More watermelon is in the dehydrator at this time.  The first batch was shared with so many people that we ran out!  There are lots of new converts to the dehydrated-watermelon-lovers camp.

I continue to build my Scratch Cooking skills (#24).  My most noteworthy effort  was the Chocolate Sorbet.  Heaven on a spoon.

I find it interesting that, as I have continued to eat more homemade meals, the convenience foods and fast foods that used to be my mainstay do not taste good.  In fact, “yucky” is the more accurate term.  (I had the the opportunity to test that concept a couple of times this month.)

I actually did #33 of my 101 Provident Things in 1001 Days list:  I painted the ceiling of the front bedroom!   If you’ve never used Kilz, here’s a tip:  it’s paint with glue (I don’t know that for a fact but it sure acts like it).  Because of that, it doesn’t wash off.  Of anything.  I was smart enough to put a cover on my hair this time, so that wasn’t a problem.  However, it took nearly three weeks to get the spatters off my arms (but only one week to wear off my face!).  I am not a tidy ceiling painter.  Also, when I did the other ceilings in this house, the dogs weren’t here.  So, while *I* avoided Kilz in the hair, they –  ever underfoot – did not.

 

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“Alas, our technology has marched ahead of our spiritual and social evolution, making us, frankly, a dangerous people.”   —  Steven M. Greer

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