Cold Weather Canning


This is 2 gallons of tomato sauce, it is for the ketchup recipe I make.  The sauce is frozen in the summer and I thaw it out later when I have time to make it.  Which is of course way later, in winter, after I’ve had several months of digging around the massive frozen block of red ice in the freezer when some other frozen food was needed out of  it.


These are the other ingredients that goes into the ketchup.  Vinegar, sugar, onions, salt, and spices.


There are some odd spices in this old recipe.  Ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper make up the magic combo.  Sounds more like a pumpkin pie or something.


The onions are blended up with some of the vinegar until it is pretty fine.  This is the way my mother-in-law does it, the recipe instructs you to put the onions in a bag to pull out when done.


Here is the onion/vinegar mixture being poured in.


Next goes in the rest of the vinegar.


I put the salt and the spices in with the sugar and poured that in as well.  Now is the hard part, no just kidding, you just stir together and wait.  And wait.  And stir some more.  And wait.  And stir. Alllllllll day long.  Hours and hours and hours.  Stirring and waiting until that moment when you can say, “I think it is thick enough!”  And then you pour your now dark, thicker, fragrant goodness into waiting clean jars, and seal.


It is helpful to use a funnel to guide the sticky stuff into the jars.


Here is what I ended up with.  I keep any jar that has a sealable lid.  I reuse them  four or five times.  We are warned not to do  this because we could get sick.  But we have never, not once, notta, nill, gotten ill from anything canned in a used jar.  If it smells bad, explodes, or the seal is broken, guess what, we don’t eat it!!  Our brains (and noses) are capable of detecting bad food.

I use this ketchup for meatloaf, meatballs, pork  chops, chili, soups, or for dipping.  This is not the smooth ketchup we use on hotdogs, it has a texture from the onions and it has a dark red color.  This is a favorite recipe handed down from my husband’s grandma to my mother-in-law to me.  And I will pass it down to my daughter and daughter-in-laws.  Love  it!!!

Love life and breathe deep,



Cookout In The Timber

(This is an earlier post, just movin’ stuff around, cuz I can:) )

We have lots of wiener roasts this time of year.  We don’t have puny little fires, we build big ones that last all day, night, and part of the next day.  Here is a technique my father-in-law uses to really get the fire going.  First he gets some feed sacks (sacks that had grain in them he feeds to his cattle) and uses them to kindle a fire under the pile.  And to really get it to take off the air blower is employed!

This is my husband, Wendell, sawing some logs that will go on the burning kindling.
















Now it is really going!!
















In just a few minutes there is enough hot coals to cook with, so I don’t waste time prepping for my succotash.  Here I am chopping up russet potatoes and sweet potatoes.  In bags, cut up and ready, are the onions, broccoli, green peppers, and beef smoked sausage, along with a bag of baby carrots.















I bring a good selection of my best kitchen tools with me when I cook outside, one of the most essential is a good work surface provided by my cutting board.  In the background you can see  my large 18 inch Lodge skillet heating up.















Starting off I heat the oil, and when it gives off wisps of smoke, I add the russet potatoes.















After 5 minutes, I add the carrots.















I give these veges some time to soften about 7-8 minutes before I add the sweet taters and onions.  When these veges caramelize, yum yum.  You can see the potatoes are just starting to turn brown and the carrots are also getting nice color and flavor as well.















When the onions and sweet taters are well on their way to good color, I add the rest of the ingredients: broccoli, sausage, and green pepper. I also add seasonings: salt, pepper, and Lowery’s.  It is so pretty!















Now I let the heat do its job, I just make sure not much burning is going on, so I stir it often.


Here it is all finished and ready to chow down on.
















Here is Rachael and Kyley, my nieces, and Mary, my mother-in-law, enjoying all the great food.  My sis also made the delicious baked beans over hot coals in her #12 Lodge Dutch Oven.















This is Kyley dipping some chicken pot pie my daughter-in-law Shifra made.















This is pasta salad my sis, Jennifer made and a bean salsa Mary made, both are amazing!!
















Here is the big spread.  We use construction walk planks to serve as a buffet table, and what a buffet it is!!

















Fellowship and food go hand in hand. This is so much fun, especially when it’s out in nature.

















This another view of everyone.
















This is what is happening.  Hope all is well with you.  We will be having another cookout this Sunday, Oct. the 7th for Grandchildren’s Day.  I will be making a peach cobbler!  I’ll post the pics next week.

Love life and breathe deep,


Weekend Worth Wentioning, Ah, Mentioning

This weekend was pretty good eatin’ iffin’ I do say so.

My niece made these homemade chocolate cupcakes with peppermint whipped cream topping and sprinkles of peppermint candy.

Turning  colder makes me crave this simple but delicious meal, bean & ham soup with cornbread.  Wendell likes jalapeno in his cornbread.

Not healthy, but once in a while, well, I get in the moooood, for baking bread, which I love, and cinnamon rolls are perfect for a weekend of lounging.  These are just finishing their last rising.

Using some of the same sweet roll dough I made this spiced apple ring.

Have to drizzle yummy, sweet icing on top!!!

Come to mama,  Oh these were sooo good.

Just to make ya drool on your computer I’ll show ya a cross-section of the apple ring with the spiced apples rolled up inside.

I also made roast beef stew and chocolate chip cookies, all gone.  The kids all came over:).

Games, family, good food, ahh great weekend!!  Hope yours was equally stupendous.

Love life & breathe deep,



As I said I love cooking with cast iron.  Did you know you can grill with it too? I used my Lodge Grill Grate to grill thinly sliced veges.  This Grill Grate is perfect for all those small cut veges or burgers on a grill or just over a hot bed of coals.

Nathan took this picture of me putting all the marinated goodness on the grill.  I have chicken strips, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, green peppers, and carrots.

Cooking nicely, continuing to add more veges.  I use lump charcoal, this is real wood that has been charred.  I don’t like to use briquettes because it has petroleum and who knows what else.  And did you know there is a warning on the bag stating that burning them produces chemicals known to cause cancer?? Really, I’m sure I don’t want that residue on my food. (Part of the Natural Health spill :))

This looks so good, and you can see the seasoning too!!

A smackeral too hot for the chicken, but it is not too bad.  The veges look perfect though, yeah for me!

Here is all the grilled goodness, ready to go in and make grilled vege and chicken sandwiches.  It smelled divine, super, heavenly, wonderful, and I am hungry now.

I made my sandwich with wheat bread.  I ate a piece of chicken on the side, everyone else put it on their sandwich.

I made a roasted beet salad with romane lettuce, apple, toasted sliced almonds, and a  vinegrette to go on top. Of course roasted beets too!!

This is my smallest cast iron skillet.  It is sooo cute.  I got it at an auction in a big box of stuff, and I did not know it was in there until I got home and unpacked it!! I was soooo happy. I use it alot.

Hope you have a super day and make some good food with your family, set down and visit for an hour about your day’s happenings.

Love life & breathe deep,


Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

As I promised, I did make a peach cobbler at our cookout yesterday (Grandchildren’s Day, Oct. 7th) using the Lodge #14 Dutch Oven.

I partially thawed 9 cups of peach slices I had in the freezer from the orchard this summer.  Placed them in a bowl and added the goodies: sugar, flour, and  cinnamon.

Mixing carefully so as not to smush the peaches into a paste, peach paste is definitely not on the menu.

Into the bottom crust lined pan –

Next goes the top crust.  This is just a basic pie dough that I have been using for years.  I’ll get a recipe page started one of these days!

I folded the crust over gently and sealed the edges.

Into the preheated Dutch Oven with hot coals underneath and on top.  This baked for about 45 minutes.  I added new coals about half way through the cooking time.

And this is what we got to enjoy – a beautifully cooked peach cobbler.  Actually by true definition this is just a big peach pie, cobblers have a biscuit-type topping.

It tasted as good as it looked.  Adapting your favorite recipe for a dutch oven is pretty simple.  Learning to regulate the temperature is the tedious part.

Here are some other photos of our Grandchildren’s Day Cookout.

I love the way the smoke looks through the morning sunlight.

Here is another view of the smoky sunlight.

This is an acorn cap with dew inside that my niece Rachael found.  I tried to get it in the sunlight because it looked like diamonds, it was soooo pretty.

Rachael is standing close to the fire, the temperature was about 45 degrees so the fire felt pretty good.

This is the view looking straight upwards toward the sky.  I think we need to  look up sometimes and take in the splender of nature.

Here is another angle.

This is Great Great Grandpa talking with his Great Great Grandson.

A good photo of my niece Sydney braiding Miranda’s hair.

Samuel on the swing being pushed by his Auntie M.

Here is Grandpa  Stever pushing Alva on the swing, so cute.

And here is the last photo of the day, the fire in the dusk. This is the most peaceful time of any day.  There is something about a fire that mesmerizes you.  It was hard to leave for home.

Family is important and I am blessed because I am part of  a large loving one.  Tell someone today that you love them.

Love life & breath deep,


Mini Apple Pie

Sometimes a picture is all you need.  This may be one of those times.

I used some of my canned pie filling to make these little individual serving size pies.

I made some pie dough and rolled out small rounds, then spooned some filling in the center of each one. I finished the filling by adding a pat of butter, a tsp. of brown sugar, and a dash more of cinnamon.

I wrapped up the edges rustic style, and brushed an egg wash over the crust, and sprinkled with sugar.

In the oven to bake @ 400 for 30 minutes. And what was the result??

This was the result, loveliness, golden beautifulness, gorgeousness, well, you can see I suppose:

I am sooo sorry you can only look, and not taste or smell this marvelousness of apple pie right out of the oven!!

I hope I have inspired mothers, grandmothers, or fathers and grandfathers to get together with your children and grandchildren and make something.

Love life and breathe deep,


Apple Season!

I am fortunate to live near fruit orchards.  They are located along the Missouri River in Northern Lafayette County, Mo.  We make several trips there each year to purchase peaches, apples, and honey.  Here is what I did with some of our apples.

Guess what this is going to be? First step is to soften the apples by quartering them, and placing them in a very large stock pot with a small amount of water.  Heat over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching until softened.

Then carefully ladle the hot, mushy apples into a food mill.

My food mill separates the seeds and skins from the pulp which is forced through tiny holes to produce apple sauce. 

 This is perfect apple sauce!! See the pretty pink tinge from the apple skins?  You could can this stuff right now, but I have something else in mind.

 I place all that gorgeous sauce in a roasting  oven and I stir in honey, sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.  Ooh this smells amazing.

And I stir, stir, stir until it is all mixed in.

Here is the amber color it turns when all the spices are stirred in. 

Now all I have to do is low heat this all day, and all night, stirring quite often to get that smooth texture we love about Apple Butter!!

And enjoy your effort in the morning with homemade whole wheat biscuits and scrambled eggs.  I used my Lodge round griddle to bake my biscuits.

Next is something near to the heart of every American,  Apple Pie Filling!

Here a little more prep work is involved. (More like alot!)  Peel, quarter, and slice the apples until you have 6 quarts.  Blanch them, and mix them with the goopy sauce.  Have you ever seen a more lovely sight?

 Jar this golden goop up, I usually get about 7 quarts of filling per batch.

This takes a bit if time to complete….

Here are the finished products ready to go in the storage cellar.  It will be sooo nice to open these jars of homemade goodness this winter.

I love preserving food.  I feel connected with my great grandmothers when I can food.  You get up close and personal with the food when you do this. I love the feeling I get form hard work done for the good of my family.  I consider myself the “Keeper of my Home”, and I take this role very seriously. My aim is to inspire you to try something new or share with the rest of us what you love.

Love life and breathe deep,