Monday, August 26, 2013


The Greatest Preparation
By Jeff Rowland
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3
This text has been used and can be quoted by nearly every believer and we find great comfort in it but I sometimes wonder if we have relegated this text to a text that only belongs to our future instead of appropriating its meaning into our present.
This text is all about preparation. First, the cure of a troubled heart is found in faith in God. Many in this day battle a troubled heart. In these unstable times it’s easy to give way to a troubled heart. We see the problems with the governments of the world crumbling, our financial systems in more trouble than we can pay our way out of, our educational systems no longer holding to the values of competitive lead, and many of the signs of the last days being unfolded before our eyes each night on national news. Fear can most assuredly take hold of our heart and lead us into a radical mindset of our own strength to make our way clear and straight. This text teaches us that the first step in our preparation is to believe in God. Believe in His strength, power, authority, and deliverance for our own life. If we trust the power of God and realize His power the fears and worries we most often face will be gone, understanding that God is in control and will take care of us according to His great will for us.
Second, our future is in the hand and care of our Lord. He said, in my Father’s house are many mansions. There is a place prepared for us after this life is over that the Father has in store for us. I’ve preached for years that the way you deal with your past is to appropriate your future into your present and that will
destroy your past. For the Child of God this is our hope and our rejoicing. To the one who is outside of faith in Christ they cannot and do not have the hope of a glorious future, but to walk into faith in Christ gives us the hope of the future that the Father has prepared for us. He also said, “if I go, I will come again.” This is a glorious promise for those who have trusted Him. He is coming again to take us to where He is. There is nothing that can hinder your joy if this truth is established in your heart.
Third, our present has been prepared by the Lord as much as our future has. Often we miss this truth that is in the text. Remember, He said in my Father’s house are many mansions. He isn’t preparing a home in heaven. Our home in heaven was already there when He spoke this to the disciples. So then what is he preparing? He went to the Fathers right hand to make intercession for us. His first order of business after He presented His blood as the sacrifice for sin was to pray to the Father for the giving of the Holy Spirit. The rest of this chapter teaches us that the preparation of the Lord for us is in the person of the Holy Spirit. The greatest preparation known to the world was the preparation of the Lord Jesus for and to us. Everything that God has ever done or will do has been a move of preparation. Therefore, we can conclude that God prepares for a prepared people. God prepares to make us a prepared people. God and God alone can make the preparation needed for you to be victorious in these last days. 

Reverend Jeff Rowland is an Evangelist, Preacher, Author and Accomplished Songwriter. Jeff travels extensively across the United States preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jeff is from Chillhowie, Virginia, and comes from a preaching and singing family. He sang with his family until joining th eUS Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne. While in the military, Jeff surrendered into the ministry and was ordained in 1985.

 I would like to thank Rev. Rowland for his comments and hope you will enjoy reading them also and take the time to visit his web site.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Dealing with excess garden produce

So many people have excess summer squash and are giving it away.  If you like fried squash you can do some up and freeze it.  You have to blanch it first.  Blanching is dipping it into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then pulling it out.  I slice mine first then blanch it and then put it into a flour, salt and pepper mix and then into a thin batter I make out of milk, egg, flour, salt and oil.  and then I add some type of a breading to cover the liquid batter as it will be frozen at this point.  Bread crumbs work well but what ever kind of breading you want will work.  I then lay it out on baking sheets lined with wax paper.  After they are all done I put them into the freezer overnight.  In the morning I will then bag them into small freezer bags and label and leave in the freezer for use this winter.  I also finely grate summer squash and blanch and then freeze to use in casseroles and baked goods or to stretch ground meats.  An ice cream scoop works well to make mounds to freeze.

If you love fried green tomatoes like my family does you can slice those and blanch them and then dip into the flour salt and pepper mix and lay those out on baking sheets and freeze them overnight and then bag up the next day.  No matter how many of these I do, I always run out by February!  They are a real treat in the winter and taste just like summer time ones do!

So now that everyone is getting tired of their summer bounty and wanting to get rid of their stuff go snarf it up and have those yummy treat on hand this winter!   This is also awesome for those of us with food allergies so you can do them up to fit your families diet.  So go have some fun and surprise your family this winter with treats they might be dreaming of!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Canning is so much fun when you have lots of help!

Last year and this year I've gotten pretty use to dealing with the garden alone and picking and canning alone.  This weekend I had help picking beans and then help from others snapping them and getting them ready to can and cook.  Doing this with others makes it go so much faster and it's so much fun to have others to chat with as you work.

Families can be so wonderful if they work together and enjoy life together.  I am grateful for  my family and how we are able to get together and enjoy our time together.

I hope you are able to enjoy time with your family too!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Having baked goods canned and ready to go

This last week I had a few people ask me online if I had recipes to can up bread and cakes for food storage.  My Mother in Law used to keep some breads and cakes on hand but she has sadly left us.  I had several recipes and have never really canned anything up until this week.  Being gluten free now has caused a change of heart.  In a crisis situation having baked goods can be important and now that we are doing things gluten free makes it very worthwhile to go ahead and do them up and have them shelf ready.  Now these things should be used within a year so don't get carried away.  I made up the Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe I had and got 6 pints done up.  A few days later I got pondering if it was really worth our while.  So I opened a jar and us girls each had a slice.  I had cream so made up some fresh whip cream to put on it and it was wonderful.  I opened another jar for dinner so my husband got to try it also.  2 pints used up very quickly and now we know it's worthwhile to have on hand.  You really have to use the straight sided wide mouthed jars to the 10 oz straight sided jelly jars that use regular lids.  My cakes were moist and light and dumped right out of the jar.

I know Mom canned up her whole wheat bread so go ahead and try your favorite recipe.  Make sure yeasted bread raises before baking  and make sure you don't over fill the containers!  If anything bakes over the top you will need to cut off the excess and clean the rim good before sealing the jar.  I will paste my e-mail with recipes here so you can try them out also and then maybe try your own recipes!

These all call for regular or cake flour so if you need to make them gluten free make sure you substitute the gluten free flour plus the added xantham or guar gum to help it bind and it worked very well for me.  No one in my family knew it was gluten free.  I can't wait to get more straight sided canning jars so I can make up more of these recipes!

The 1st item is about canning up your own recipes.  I know my mother in law used her own recipes and used eggs and never had a problem.  Her's were all eaten within a years time.  She used them as a treat on days she was to tired to make much and also continued and did them in pint jars so her husband had sweets when she developed diabetes. But now Mom & Dad are both gone so can't ask her how she did it.  Living among the Amish has made me much more open to trying things on my own like my own home made soups with dairy in them.  I've been canning them for 5 years now and no one has gotten sick and my family all agree that my canned soups are much better than anything they can buy at the store.  
From Wendy Dewitt (Everything Under the Sun Blog)
Jar cakes and breads are for emergency use only...NOT for long term storage. If you are in food storage mode or in a “worst case scenario” and don’t have electricity, you can bake up some cakes and breads in jars to keep on your shelves for a few weeks or even a few months. This method of baking has been done for years, but there has been some discussion as to its safety. Because the eggs were exchanged with unflavored gelatin in all of these recipes, it is unlikely that the ingredients used could support bacteria if prepared and cooked properly. If you feel at all uncomfortable with this method, don’t use it.
Jar cakes are great in an emergency, but you must be sure to sanitize all your jars and lids to be sure they are free from bacteria. Foods such as breads, cakes, muffins, cornbread, brownies, cookies and cinnamon rolls are cooked and sealed in mason jars and can be kept on the shelf. Using a pastry brush, grease the inside of your jar with shortening (no Pam or Baker’s Secret) and fill it 1⁄2 to 2/3 full with batter or dough and bake. No lid is used at this time. Let your breads rise in the jars and then bake them. If it bakes too high, cut the top of your bread or cake off before sealing the jar. Just be sure your jar edge is clean and your lids are hot. Immediately after the food is cooked, place a heated lid on the hot jar and tighten with the ring (Use hot pads). Within a few minutes, the lid will “plink” and the food will be sealed. The food will slip out of the jars easily if you use the straight sided “jelly jars” but any kind of mason jar will work. With this method, you can do your baking on your bright sunny days and have fully cooked baked goods waiting on your shelves for that rainy day.

My MIL used wide mouth straight sided jars for this so they slid right out so she cut cut it in slices to serve.  She also canned up her whole wheat bread recipe.  She said she filled it a little less than half way and let it raise before baking.  I would think you could do any bread recipe with a little trail and error sessions.  Anyway here are the recipes I found quickly yesterday  and I had to hand enter them onto my computer as I only had a hard copy left.  Had lots of duplicate recipes but there is a good mix here for you to try.
Apple Cake
1 large can(24Oz.) apple sauce or 3 cups peeled, chopped apples
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 ½ chopped nuts of your choice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup raisins, currants, chopped dates or any dried fruits desired

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour 6 to 8 wide mouth PINT jars.  Fill the jars about half full with the cake batter.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out dry.  Remove the jars from the oven ONE at a time, wipe the rim, then cap with simmered canning lid and secure the ring.  Cool the jars on a towel until they ping and seal.  Store on a dark cool shelf.
Apple Cake in a jar
cup shortening 
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 cups flour
cup water
3 cups apples, grated
cup raisins
cup chopped nuts
Mix the ingredients in the order given.  Sterilize 7 to 9 wide mouth Pint jars and lids.  Grease them with shortening.  Fill the jars half full and bake on the middle wire rack in the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.  As soon as the cake is done, remove the bottles from the oven one at a time.  Wipe the rim of each jar clean wit a cloth and put on the hot sterilized canning lid.  Screw down the bands and let cool.  IMPORTANT-- do not use small mouth jars.  Do not add any other ingredients.  As the cake cools in the sealed jars, it will pull away from the sides of the jar and come out easily when ready to serve.

Lemon Sauce for Apple Cake in a jar
2 TBS corn starch
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tblsp. butter
4 ½ tsp. finely grated lemon rind
2 Tblsp. lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
In a pan thoroughly stir together the corn starch, sugar and salt.  Gradually stir in the boiling water, stirring constantly to keep smooth.  Continue stirring and cook over moderate heat until boiling.  Boil gently for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add butter, lemon rind and lemon juice, stir thoroughly.  Serve hot over the apple cake in a jar.  Makes 1 ¼ cups.  This sauce is thicker and more tart than the usual lemon sauce.

Applesauce Cake Baked in a Jar
2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
cup water
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp cloves
2 cups applesauce
3 cup flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
cup chopped nuts (opt)
Cream together shortening and sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the applesauce and water; set aside.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Blend the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture.  Fold in the nuts. 
Sterilize pint (wide mouth jam/jelly) jars, lids & rings.  (keep the lids & rings in the hot water until ready to use.)  Grease the insides of the jars with shortening, DO NOT USE Pam. 
Fill jars half full.  Place jars on a cookie sheet.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until pick comes out clean.  Remove jars from the oven one at a time (Use heavy duty hot pads!) Wipe rim of jar clean & put on lid & ring and screw down tightly.  Jars will seal as the cakes cool.  Decorate jar as desired.

I have two other applesauce cake recipes but they are all pretty well the same so I'm not including them.  Can't find my computer files so hand typing these in. 

Brownie Cake baked in jars
It only makes 2 jars..
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
cup butter
3 Tblsp cocoa
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon, (opt)
¼ cup water
¼ cup buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla 
Sterilize two 12 oz. jelly jars with lids and screw bands in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove the jars and let them air dry but leave the lids and screw bands in the water until your ready to use them.

Once the jars have cooled grease them with shortening- DO NOT use Pam or other cooking sprays or butter.  
In small bowl stir together flour, sugar, soda & cinnamon if desired.  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a saucepan, combine butter, water & cocoa; heat & stir until butter is melted & mixture is well blended.  Remove from heat; stir in flour mixture.  Add buttermilk, egg & vanilla; beat by hand until smooth.  Stir in nuts.
Divide mixture between the 2 canning jars.  Place jars on a cookie sheet or they'll tip over.  Bake the cakes in the center of the oven, moving them around periodically so they bake evenly.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a pick inserted deep into the center comes out clean.  Remove the cakes, one by one from the oven.  Remove the cakes one by one cleaning the rim and placing the lid and screw band and tightening them up. let cool on a towel and make sure they seal before storing in a cool dark place.

Brown cake in a jar was the same exact recipe as the brownies in a  jar above.
3 ginger bread in a jar are all the same too.
Gingerbread baked in jars
2 tsp ginger
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cloves
¾ cup hot water
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Sterilize Five 12 oz. jelly jars (they must have straight sides!) by boiling them for 10 minutes.  Leave lids in screw bands in the water but put the jar out to air dry on a towel.  After they cool grease them with shortening, using a pastry brush to get into the jars.  
In a large bowl combine the dry ingrediants.  Mix in the butter, molasses and water and combine well.  Divide equally into the 5 jars.  Place the jars on a  cookie sheet and place into  the pre-heated oven.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
Have your hot lids ready.  Take one jar out at a time using good mitts-the jars are very hot!  Put lid on and tighten the screw bands and allow to cool on your counter top.  After they cool down  and seal you can decorate them if you want too.  Remove the screw band and place a wad of cotton in the center of each lid.  Place a piece of decorative cloth (about 3 inches larger than the circumference than the jar lid, cut with pinking shears) over the cotton.  Screw the ring back on.  If you'd like to decorate further you can use your hot glue gun and add dried flowers little bows, use your imagination!  If you like spicy and moist gingerbread, you'll love this one.

Pumpkin Spice Cake in Jars
1 cup seedless raisins
2 cups flour
¼ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 cups sugar
16 oz can pumpkin
1 cup walnuts
2 tsp soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup oil
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees .    
Sterilize your jars first then brush the insides with shortening and set aside.  Use 8- 1 pint straight sided jars or 12 oz straight sided jars.  The 1 pint jars are shorter but bigger around than the decorative 12 oz. jars so you can use either one.  Make sure you sterilize your jars and lids first before greasing them.  Keep lids in hot water until ready to use.
Coarsely chop the raisins and walnuts, set aside.  Sift together all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Add the raisins and walnuts and toss to lightly combine.  In another bowl beat the eggs until thick and yellow (about 3 minutes on high).  Beating slowly add in the oil and pumpkin, blend well.  Gradually stir into the flour mixture blending well. 
Pour into the 8 canning jars (should be slightly less than half full).  Wipe down the sides of the jar to remove any spilled batter so it doesn't burn on.  Put the jars on a cookie sheet.   Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 40 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  
When the cakes test done remove them one by one placing the lids and screw bands on and tighten immediately.  These will be very hot!  Use hot pads to handle them. Let cool on the counter top on a towel.  I love to hear the pings as they seal! 

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tblsp. oil
½ cup pumpkin
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 Tblsp Currants
In a medium bowl combine the oil, brown sugar and pumpkin until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients and mix well. 
AT THIS POINT THE DIRECTIONS START TALKING ABOUT A PIE AND MASHING THE BERRIES.  I assume it was a whole different recipe that got mixed in so I would do this the way the others got done.

Ok I have 2 others that say they get cooked in jars but then don't say how to do it so I will include them here and like the one above you will need to just follow the jar instructions included for the other cakes.

Orange Pound Cake in a Jar
I've never canned this recipe but it's one I used to use in a bunt cake pan and everyone loved it.  It was very moist and wonderful.
2 layer Orange cake mix
3 oz. Pk vanilla instant pudding mix * Do not use this if the cake mix already has pudding in it
4 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water, milk or juice
Grease and flour jars.  Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.  Pour into jars only filling half way.  
Lemon coconut: Use lemon cake mix and add in 1 cup of coconut with rest of ingredients.
Chocolate:  Use chocolate cake mix and add in cups grated nuts with rest of ingredients.
Strawberry: Use Strawberry Cake mix with pudding, use cup oil.  Thaw 10 oz frozen strawberries and blend or crush.  Add ¼ tsp red food coloring and ¼ tsp almond flavoring to the strawberries and add that into the cake mix in place of the water. 

Wedding Cake in a Jar
2 cups sifted cake flour
3 tsp  Baking Powder
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup cold water
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp salt
3 egg whites
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder 3 times and set aside.  Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Whip cream until stiff and fold into  the eggs.  Add the sugar in gradually , mixing well.  Fold with a rubber spatula.  Add dry ingredients alternately with water, mixing well.  Add extracts and blend well.  Bake in a 325 degree oven until center is set.

Hope you can have fun with this and add a new dimension to your food storage.  I think it's nice to just have on hand for a fast dessert or bread when you want it and don't have time to fix it!