Canning with the Mennonites

 What do you learn when you can with old world Mennonites? First you have to have the courage to ask them to teach you, that’s hard enough. Walking into the local Mennonite owned farmers market to ask if someone can teach you to can you have to wonder what they are thinking of you. Silly English woman doesn’t know the basic stuff about a kitchen, her mother must not have taught her anything. Well at least that’s what I figured was going through the young women’s head as I stood there.  Just two weeks earlier I had walked into a Mennonite owned bakery not far from my home to ask if anyone could hem a dress for me, which turned out nice too. So I was hoping that I would have a similar experience.  The young lady took my name and number and said she would ask around and get back to me. About a week later I got a call from a wonderful older woman who was willing to teach me.  We started with salsa, she grew the tomatoes herself and we used Mrs. Wages salsa mix for the rest because she said when she makes it from scratch it doesn’t taste as good.  She showed me how to blanch and peel tomatoes and that plumb tomatoes are the best for canning.  She showed me how to scald the jars and set up your water bath canner which she just uses a pressure canner without the seal. As we worked we talked about gardening, children, family size and what all I wanted to learn about. She had nine children only one of whom still lives at home. This turned out to be the nice young lady from the farmers market I spoke to a week earlier. She used to can a lot more when all the kids were still at home now she only does a few things.  We talked about gardens, I went on about mine explaining that this was my first year and it wasn’t nearly big enough, she talked about hers which was huge but provides for her family and some of her children’s families that share the same property. She mainly tended the flower gardens now and left the food growing, up to the younger people. We found we have more in common than we thought; we have the same views about TV, and cooking from scratch and living a more simple life when you value the land.


Posted in Garden, Lifestyle Tagged with: ,

Orange Dijon Pork       

1 ½ lb. Pork chops (boneless loin)

Salt to taste

Black pepper (ground) to taste

½ tsp dried Thyme, crushed

¼ cup Grey Poupon (dijon mustard, any works)

1 cup Orange juice

1 cup Brown Sugar (packed)

1 orange (peeled and torn into chunks)

Cut pork into ½ to ¾ inch cubes into cooker pot

Add salt, pepper, thyme and toss to coat in bottom of pot

In small bowl, combine mustard, O.J. & sugar – pour over pork

Add orange

Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-3 ½ hours

Stir occasionally to break up clumps of meat cubes

Discard liquid and serve

Posted in General Updates

Pecan crusted chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut in ½ width wise

½ cup maple syrup (Or Honey)

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup chopped pecans

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil to cook in

2 tbs real butter

Mix bread crumbs with pecans, salt and pepper, cover chicken breast with syrup press into pecan mixture turn over and repeat. Fry until golden brown in the olive oil and butter, turning once (be sure chicken is cooked all the way through). (I cut each piece in half at the thickest point and make sure it is all the way done) that’s it!  Great with baked sweet potatoes and a veggie. This is an impressive meal to serve guest and easy too.

Posted in Recipes Tagged with: , ,

Cranberry-Apple Pie   

Add a tart punch to your traditional apple pie by adding cranberries.

1 9” Size of pie plate

2 prepared pie crusts

2 ½  cups Apples – peeled and sliced

2 ½  cups Cranberries

5/8 cups Brown sugar packed

1/3 cup Flour

½  tsp ground Ginger

½  tsp Nutmeg

<¼  tsp Mace

Combine above. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Add cover crust and slit. Place on cookie sheet (to catch any drippings). Bake at 400 for 15 min. Bake at 350 for another 45 min.

Posted in Grandpa's Old Family Recipes, Recipes Tagged with: , , ,

A mini lesson in patience

 As wonderfully delicious as your morning hot beverage smells you can’t drink it before it cools or you get burned. This applies to our lives in many ways, you don’t always get physically burned but there are always consequences for impatience. For example if you lose your patience with you child you will have the consequence of a grumpy baby.  Have you ever tried to rush through baking? You end up with an underdone mess. The main issue here is to be patience and wait stop trying to rush though life and enjoy what each day brings like the cup of coffee in the morning it’s worth it.

Posted in Lifestyle