How To Freeze Apricots

ApricotsI love apricot and right now you can find them in produce sections of grocery stores, fruit stands and even farmers markets across the country.

Unfortunately these delicious little fruits don’t last very long on the counter. If you end up with more than you can consume in just a few days, I suggest you freezer your apricots and use them throughout the rest of the year. Here’s how to freeze them.

Start by cleaning them thoroughly. Set aside any apricots that are damaged, overripe or have bruises. Be sure to eat those right away or turn them into apricot preserves. Pat the apricots completely dry. Cut them in half, remove the pit and then slice them like you would peaches.

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Dip the peach slices in the boiling water for about 30 second. This will keep the skins from getting too tough during the freezing and thawing process. Put the apricot slices in a strainer and run cold water on them to keep them from cooking any further.

There are several different ways to freeze them. I’ll list each method below. The most important part is to be sure to include ascorbic acid to keep the apricots from turning brown.

Apricots Frozen in Syrup

Start by making a simple syrup. Add one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a sturdy pot. Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool completely.You can easily multiply this recipe as needed. You will need about 1/2 cup of syrup for each pint container you are planning on filling with frozen apricots. Add 1/8 tsp ascorbic acid per cup of syrup.

Pour 1/2 cup of the cooled syrup in a pint sized freezable container. Layer in the apricot slices being sure to leave half an inch of space at the top since the liquid will expand during the freezing process. Close the lid on the container, label it and freeze.

Sugared Frozen Apricots

In a large bowl combine 1 quart of apricot slices with 2/3 cups of sugar and mix until combined. Next, dissolve 1/4 tsp of ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup of cool water and pour it over your fruit and sugar mixture. Stir to combine well, then pour the fruit mix into freezer bags being sure to leave some space to allow for expansion. Label and freeze.

Apricots Frozen in Water

Start by combining 1 quart of cold water with 1 tsp of ascorbic acid. Pour your sliced apricots into freezer bags or containers, then pour enough of the water mixture in to cover the fruit. Be sure to leave some air space for expansion. Close your container, label and freeze.

Frozen Apricots will keep for 18 months in the freezer.

By the way … if you would like to learn more about freezer cooking, I invite you to order my Freezer Cooking Made Simple ebook.

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

How To Freeze Blueberries

Blueberries One of the members of the Hillbilly Housewife Club mentioned on the forum in the club that she was given a huge box of blueberries…much more than she and her family would be able to eat at one time. She was asking about how to freeze those blueberries.

Since my in-laws have several huge blueberry bushes in their yard, we’ve had the same problem almost every year. And it is a good problem to have. The easiest way to preserve all those juicy berries is indeed to freeze them and it is very simple.

Start by sorting your blueberries. Discard any berries that have gone bad and put any overripe ones in a separate bowl to be eaten right away. Wash the remaining blueberries and then gently pat them dry. I use paper towels for this since the juice from the berries will stain any cloth permanently.

Pour the berries on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer. After about an hour or so, they should be pretty frozen and you can pour them into a freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag with the name of the fruit and a date so you know how old your berries are down the road.

Patting the berries dry and freezing them on a cookie sheet first keeps them from clumping and freezing together. This will make using them throughout the year much easier.

By the way … if you would like to learn more about freezer cooking, I invite you to order my Freezer Cooking Made Simple ebook.

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

Now that you have a few bags of yummy frozen blueberries, what do you do with them? You can thaw them in the fridge overnight and use in any of your favorite blueberry recipes. You can also add the frozen blueberries to your favorite muffin, pancake and waffle recipe. By the time they are done baking, the blueberries will be completely thawed.

My personal favorite is to use them in yogurt smoothies. Just add a handful of the frozen berries to your blender along with some yogurt and a splash of milk. You can also add some other fruit along with the blueberries. Try half a banana in there, some other berries or even some frozen sliced peaches or frozen mango…yum!

What’s your favorite blueberry recipe? Share your favorites as a comment below.

Present Moment Happiness, Be Proactive, Baked Onions – HBHW Newsletter

May 26th, 2010

Editorial

It seems like last week just went zipping by!  I was happily busy with new projects as well as enjoying my family.   I’m taking my own advice and trying to enjoy each and every moment we spend together.  Time is fleeting,  as we all know.

The rhubarb has gone to seed, which is fine.  We’ve certainly had our fill.  When we get hungry for rhubarb pie again, I’ll just reach in the freezer.  It’s like anything we eat – when we have a bumper crop, we enjoy it for a while, then we have to freeze it and walk away.  But, we’ll be happy to get a taste of rhubarb once again, a few months down the road.  We’re on to blueberries now!

Our inspirational quote and story are about appreciation for the present.  Each moment we live should be our happiest moment.  Please take a moment to read and reflect on both the quote and the story and see if you can gain perspective about the most important times in your life.

The featured article this week is somewhat on the same topic as our inspirational quote and story.  It’s hard to live each moment happily enjoying our family and friends when we keep having to bob-and-weave while life throws us punches.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to “react” to every stress thrown our way?  What if we were in charge of our situation because we were “proactive” instead?  Please take a few minutes to read the article and see if this makes sense in your life.

Those are my thoughts this week. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Feel free to email me at susanne@hillbillyhousewife.com

Warm Regards,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Inspirational Quote

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
~Buddha~

Sponsor

First Virtual Parenting Retreat

Yesterday I had a chance to talk at Ellen Braun’s First Virtual Parenting Retreat. I talked for about an hour about time savers in the kitchen. It was a fun and exciting call with lots of great questions and feedback.

You can still register to listen in to some of the other presenters today and tomorrow free of charge. If you would like access to all recordings and bonuses you can do so as well… if you decide to upgrade your free membership to a VIP one that gives you recordings etc, use coupon code savetendollars to save $10.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/parenting-retreat

Just by registering for the free account, you also get the chance to win some fun door prizes.

To learn more about the Parenting Retreat and to find out how you can listen to the remaining sessions and get access to all recordings and bonuses, please visit:
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/parenting-retreat

News From The HBHW Club

What? You haven’t heard about the Hillbilly Housewife Club? It’s a members only forum packed full of great information, resources, and friendly chit chat about the things we are all interested in – fun, frugal living. Come Join Us And See What All The Chatter Is About!

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FREE RESOURCE  – STARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

As I mentioned last week, one of our Club members has successfully started her own crafting blog.  In less than one week’s time, she created a beautiful little blog and has already been seeing results!

Victoria has been crafting adorable soft-sculpted baby dolls for many years and selling her creations on Etsy.  Now, with the input from many of our friends at the Club, Victoria has been encouraged to create a whole line of clothes to go with her dolls (think Barbie), as well as quilts and doll furniture (courtesy of her handy husband).

If you want to take a look at Victoria’s new blog and check out her adorable baby dolls, click on the link to her site here:  OoooohBabyDolls

Can you picture yourself working from home, making money doing something you like to do – like crafting?

If so, you’ll want to join us at the HBHW Club and check out this valuable resource,  STARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

Written by successful stay-at-home entrepreneur and author, Nicole Dean, this informative resource sells as an ebook for around $15, but as a Club member, you get it FREE with your membership. That’s right! Your membership in the Club has already paid for itself when you open this FREE resource and put it to work for you! Talk about a return-on-investment!

Even if you don’t know the first thing about a blog, this resource will give you the information and tools you need to get your Crafting Blog up and running – and making money!

At the Club, you’ll not only get this FREE resource valued at around $15, you’ll also have a sounding board to help you brainstorm ideas about your new Crafting Blog.

Along with this valuable resource, STARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT, Club members also receive two audios plus a bonus resource from Nicole about time management, which will be very valuable when you start your Craft Blog!

This resource is available to all my readers as an ebook by clicking on the link here. For around $15 you can get the information and tools you need to start your own Craft Blog For Fun And Profit.

Or… Join the HBHW Club now and the resource is FREE with your membership! This valuable resource will be yours, PLUS the benefits of having a forum for sharing ideas about everything from making money at home to getting out of debt to frugal tips, and much, much more.

This is a tremendous opportunity to finally start making money at home doing something you like… crafting and talking about crafting! Join the Club, get the resource for FREE, and start making money at home.

Not sure about joining the Club right now? You can still take advantage of Nicole Dean’s expertise in the field of money making at home. If you have a love for crafting, and talking about crafting, you’ll want to explore creating your own Craft Blog For Fun And Profit .

You don’t want to miss this or any of our informative and valuable resources. Join the HBHW Club and grab your FREE resource today!

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As a special to you, the HBHW newsletter subscriber, you can join for only $10 per month. Click on this link for all the details: http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

Still not sure about joining the HBHW Club? How about if I make it real easy. I’ll let you try it out for just a dollar for the first 7 days.

How will you benefit from joining the HBHW Club with this offer? As an example, for just that one dollar you’ll have 7 days of access to over 400 great frugal recipes that are tried and true, with a new recipe every day. You’ll also have 7 days to ask your most puzzling frugal homemaking questions – and even get answers!

Join us now and enjoy 7 days of frugal fun. Click on the link here and come aboard! http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

Now, let’s just take a peek at what’s been going on at the HBHW Club Forum.

A Bumper Crop Of Blueberries And Apricots had one of our friends at the Club jumping for joy, but scrambling for ideas!  We chimed in with methods for freezing the fruit as well as some ideas for tasty treats.  When you’ve got around 50 pounds of fruit to deal with, it’s nice to have a few suggestions of how to use it all up.  There’s nothing worse than wasting such a bounty!

Medicinal Uses For Herbs came up in our discussion about planting an herb garden.  One of our friends at the Club listed 15 herbs and their uses in healing what ails us.  Did you know that you can brew tea using catnip?  Yes, catnip is not just for those silly kitty toys!  Make a tea using catnip to relieve colds or fevers, and to help relieve headaches and upset stomachs.  It also has a mild sedative effect which can be used to soothe stress before bedtime.  Who knew?  Grow a little pot of catnip and see if your kitty will be willing to share it with you.

My Walking Challenge has gotten more challenging.  We’ve been sick in our house and it seems many of our friends at the Club have had their share of reasons (excuses?) to not go out on their walk.  Well, hot weather and rain really are reasons not to walk.  But, we all know we have to get back in the habit of walking every day, right?  Although, we are doing other things for exercise when we can’t walk – like floor exercises – so we’re not totally ignoring our challenge.  With the gentle nudge of our friends, we get back on track, eventually!

Healthy Diets Often Involve Adding Foods as well as eliminating food.  Many of our friends at the Club have found that adding certain foods, like oatmeal and nuts, can actually help you lose weight.  Good nutrition isn’t all about cutting out the bad food, it’s about a well balanced diet.  We can eliminate the cookies, cake, chips and soft drinks, but until we add the healthy foods into our diet, we aren’t really eating a healthy diet.

Along with healthy and well fed families, we are discussing topics that include frugal tips for cleaning and cooking.  Homesteading and gardening are popular topics, as well.  If something has to do with keeping our homes and families happy, we’ll discuss it!

How would you like to join the conversation? As a Club member, you’ll be able to share your opinions, frugal tips, and ideas on topics most important to your life.

Why don’t you join us so you can get in on the conversation. I look forward to chatting with you in the member area.

Click the following link and try The HBHW Club for only $1. We’d love to have you come join us! http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

When you join us at the HBHW Club, you’ll want to be sure to take a stroll through the resources available free to Club members only. Popular resources include:

  • Frugal Gardening
  • Simple Summer Cooking
  • Frugal Family Summer Fun
  • Pantry Cooking
  • Freezer/Pantry Challenge & Meal Planning
  • Cleaning With Vinegar And Baking Soda
  • Setting Up A Family Budget
  • Getting Out Of Debt For Good
  • Utility Bill Savings
  • Meal Planning Guide – Simple Step-by-Step Method

Let me know what you think of the resources and if there are any topics we should explore further. As a Club member, your opinion is highly valued because it’s YOUR Club!

Join The Hillbilly Housewife Club for Just a Dollar

I’d like to share one of the recipes that was posted on the HBHW Club this past week.

Stuffed Baked Onions

  • 4 large Vidalia onions (or other sweet variety)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1  1/2 cup stuffing style bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.

Take skins off onions and place in large pot.  Cover onions with water and add 1 teaspoon salt to water.  Put pot over medium high heat until water just reaches boiling, then turn down and simmer slowly for 20 minutes.

Remove onions to cutting board and carefully scoop out the middle of the onion, (retaining onion you remove), being sure you leave a good solid outer layer.  The onion should stand on its own and be solid, like a bowl.  Set these onion “bowls” into a shallow baking dish.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the cut out portions of the onion, chopping into small pieces.  Saute until onion is tender.  Add the bread crumbs, Worcestershire, and Parmesan, cooking over low heat until bread crumbs are moistened and Parmesan cheese melts.

Spoon this mixture into onion “bowls” and top evenly with the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and put in preheated 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until filling starts to brown.

Listed here is a sampling of recent recipes added, making a total of more than 400 recipes currently available to our Club members.

  • Busy Day Rice Onion Bake
  • Tallerini
  • Deluxe Broccoli Onion Bake
  • Curried Rice Onion Skillet

We welcome recipe submissions from our friends at the Club and are always happy to see what’s cooking in your kitchen.  Our aim is to have six recipes posted each week.  That’s a lot of recipes!

Featured Articles

We all have days, weeks, even months where we just keep spinning our wheels trying to catch up with all the things that are thrown at us during each busy day.  We feel as if we just keep reacting by ducking and dodging out of the way.

What would happen if we quit “reacting” and started being “proactive” instead?

Click the link below to see if you can change how you deal with all the stresses of everyday life:

Live A Proactive Life

Healthy Hillbilly Housewife

Here’s what’s new on the healthy hillbilly housewife section. You can also go straight to http://www.healthy.hillbillyhousewife.com

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Frugal Tips

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Do you have a tip to share? Fill out the submit a frugal tip form and I’ll be glad to add it to the site and share your tip in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.

Recipes

Here are some of the most recent recipes that have been added to the HBHW site. Enjoy!

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Do you have a recipe you would like to share? Click here to send it to me and I’ll be happy to add it to the website.

I’m Looking For:

This section is all about you. If you are looking for a particular recipe or a tip on how to do something, submit it here and I will post it in an upcoming newsletter. I’ll give you my input and other readers of the newsletter will have the opportunity to share their recipes and tips as well. So take a moment to post your questions and of course if you have a tip or idea for any question posted in this section feel free to leave a comment under the appropriate post.

I’m Looking For Requests
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I’m Looking For Responses
Below you will find some of the recent responses to the “I’m Looking For” Requests. You may also want to go directly to this section and browse through all the recent submissions and replies. To do so, click on “I’m Looking for” here, and start looking through them.
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Inspirational Story

The Best Time Of My Life
~Author Unknown~

It was June 15, and in two days I would be turning thirty. I was insecure about entering a new decade of my life and feared that my best years were now behind me.

My daily routine included going to the gym for a workout before going to work. Every morning I would see my friend Nicholas at the gym. He was seventy-nine years old and in terrific shape. As I greeted Nicholas on this particular day, he noticed I wasn’t full of my usual vitality and asked if there was anything wrong. I told him I was feeling anxious about turning thirty. I wondered how I would look back on my life once I reached Nicholas’s age, so I asked him, “What was the best time of your life?”

Without hesitation, Nicholas replied, “Well, Joe, this is my philosophical answer to your philosophical question:

“When I was a child in Austria and everything was taken care of for me and I was nurtured by my parents, that was the best time of my life.

“When I was going to school and learning the things I know today, that was the best time of my life.

“When I got my first job and had responsibilities and got paid for my efforts, that was the best time of my life.

“When I met my wife and fell in love, that was the best time of my life.

“The Second World War came, and my wife and I had to flee Austria to save our lives. When we were together and safe on a ship bound for North America, that was the best time of my life.

“When we came to Canada and started a family, that was the best time of my life.

“When I was a young father, watching my children grow up, that was the best time of my life.

“And now, Joe, I am seventy-nine years old. I have my health, I feel good and I am in love with my wife just as I was when we first met. This is the best time of my life.”

Final Thought

That’s it for this edition of the Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I had creating it for you. I also hope that you have found the information helpful and useful. And by all means feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends or even better, encourage them to subscribe to it.

Do you have a question, a tip, a recipe or a story you’d like to share with us? Email it to me and I’ll include it in a future issue. Can’t wait to see what you have to say.

Warm Wishes,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Simple BBQ Beef Brisket

Ingredients:

1 trimmed beef brisket (about 5 pounds)
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cups picante sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Worcester sauce
10 white sandwich buns

Directions:

Season the beef with the black pepper and garlic powder and place into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Stir the picante sauce, brown sugar and Worcester in a small bowl. Spread the picante sauce mixture over the beef. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

Bake, covered, at 300°F. for 4 1/2 hours or until the beef is fork-tender. Slice or shred the beef. Divide the beef and sauce among the rolls.

Make The Most Of Each Day – Learn To Live A Proactive Life

I love it when I find smart people talking about the lessons they keep learning.  Even the most “together” people have bad days.  It’s what we learn from those days that is important.

We’re all trying to live a good, wholesome lifestyle;  one that’s full of fun and time for our family and friends.  When we get off track, have a bad day, we lose the time we spent spinning our wheels being angry, frustrated, late, or whatever happens to us during those bad times.

Learning how to be “proactive” rather than “reactive” during life’s stressful moments can make all the difference in the world to you, your family, your whole life.

Please take a moment to read this article written by Joy Chudacoff and learn how you can stop “reacting” to daily stresses and become “proactive” instead.

Smart Women Live A Proactive Life
Written by Joy Chudacoff

Yesterday, as I was on my way to pick up my kids from school, it occurred to me that I was feeling exhausted—I mean really tired. As I made a mental scan of my day, I realized that I had been in a “reactive” mode most of the day rather than a “proactive” mode. We do need to react to situations that occur in our lives as best we can at that moment, however, Smart Women know that living a “proactive” life where you plan, prepare, and practice conscious living is clearly more rewarding.

Living a “reactive” life can be exhausting and frustrating. There are a lot of quick stops and fast starts–most of them unplanned. The best way for me to describe my day was it felt like I was in a ship without a rudder. No direction, just floating out in a big sea of confusion. No real direction, just reacting to each wave. There was no planned course or clear navigation. I was just trying to keep this rudderless boat afloat and get back to shore.

In contrast, when you are living a “proactive” life, your days are on course with clear navigation, doing things that will lead you to your Big Ideas, Dreams, and Goals. Being “proactive” about your life is being conscious and thoughtful about how you spend your days. You are queen of your ship, with a well thought out map on where you’re going, what you’re going to do, and with whom you will do it.

As I reflected on yesterday, I felt a calling to share it with you. Many women are living a “reactive” life day after day, without a clear plan of action to take them where they want to go. Most of my days are quite “proactive”, with a plan in place to keep moving me toward my goals. As I reflect on my day yesterday, if I was living in this “reactive” mode most of the time, I would be a very unhappy, restless, tired and exhausted woman! How can you get more “proactive” and get out of “reactive” mode?

Here are a few tips and solutions:

1. Change “Yes” to “No” – Women are nurturers by nature. We like to be helpful and supportive. It’s a challenge for us to say “No.” The next time someone asks you to do something, I invite you to pause for a moment and ask yourself if this request is one that calls you to action. If someone’s in a real bind, that’s one thing. But if it’s to take on a role that really doesn’t serve you or there may be someone else better suited for the role, maybe you should consider a “No” response. In my Women’s Success Circles, I share with women that there are actually four answers to a Yes or No question!

2. Plan for Downtime – When you see that you have a busy day, plan for some breaks in-between meetings or events. Even 10 minutes can recharge your battery before moving on to the next big task. Make sure you take time to eat lunch in the middle of the day, take a few moments to breathe, get re-focused, and refreshed for the afternoon.

3. Get some support – Find ways to automate, delegate, or delete more of the “to do” items on your list. This is essential for women who are committed to living a life that is passionate and on-purpose with meaning. You can do it all, but you can’t do it all by yourself. It was a tough lesson for me to learn but one that I clearly embrace in my life today. I just brought another person onto my team, as there is no way that I could achieve my “Proactive” life without more help from others.

What I just shared with you is what I left out of my life yesterday. Making too many commitments to others, not giving myself enough downtime in between appointments, and not taking full advantage of the support I have in my life. The above solutions are simple to put into place and they will help you to navigate a clear, well thought out plan for your day and your life. Will there be unavoidable storms on the horizon? You bet. But as I share with the women in my Success Circles; if you can navigate a “proactive” life 85% of the time, you will be sailing into the high seas with plenty of blue sky filled with energy, passion, purpose, and meaning.

“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.”
~Annie Dillard~

Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.

Joy Chudacoff, ICF, PCC, is the founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions(tm), a Professional Certified Coach to 1000’s of women, Motivational Speaker, and Entrepreneur. She publishes a weekly buzz generating ezine, Reflections On Life and Business for Women Entrepreneurs. If you’re ready take your life and your business to the next level, get your FREE Tips, 2 FREE Reports and FREE MP3 now at CreatingTheSpark.com .

Crock Pot Turkey

I have several turkeys in the freezer that I bought on sale at Thanksgiving. Does anyone have a recipe for cooking one in a crock pot? I don’t want to leave it in the oven while I am at work.

My Thick, Old Fabric softener

I have a VERY large, VERY old jug of fabric softener. It is so old and thick, It’s not easy to get it out of the jug. It is the type of jug that you set on it’s side and press the dispenser button/knob down.(and the jug is almost full)

Q: Is the softener revive-able? I would hate myself if I thought there is no life left in it and had to just throw it away. The jug is just SOOO full! I am afraid to mix water into it. I don’t know if the water will even mix with this thick pastey stuff. Please, someone tell me they know what to do.

Need Help With Ants

Just recently, our house has been invaded by ants. Not the big “I’m here to eat your house down” type but the small, itsy bitsy ones my Mom called sugar ants. The cats just stare at them; they must know that the little squiggly things are horrible to taste. Does anyone know of a non-poisonous solution that I can use to rid our house of these unwanted visitors? Something that is safe for small animals?

One Little Step Can Make A Big Difference, Crafting Blog For Fun & Profit, Use Up Your Rhubarb – HBHW Newsletter

May 19th, 2010

Editorial

Another week has come and gone and there has been a lot going on in my busy family, and I’m sure in yours.

I’ve been talking to quite a few gardeners who are desperately trying to use up all their rhubarb before it goes to seed.  If you find yourself in the same situation, please be sure to check out our feature article.  You’ll also want to take a look at the recipe we’re sharing this week from the HBHW Club.

Our inspirational quote and story follow a similar theme about small steps.  You can look at this in several ways.  Perhaps you’re thinking about a long journey beginning with a single step if you are in the midst of trying to tackle a large project.

Or, maybe you’ve been contemplating volunteering for a good cause but feel your contributions won’t account for much because the problem is so big.  Give the quote and story a bit of thought and see if either one, or both, relate to your life.

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been invited to speak at an online parenting retreat later this month. I finally have all the details and the best part – you can listen free (or get all the recordings, bonuses etc. if you buy a VIP pass). To get all the details, see what I’m speaking about and what this unique online parenting retreat is all about go to:
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/parenting-retreat

Those are my thoughts this week. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Feel free to email me at susanne@hillbillyhousewife.com

Warm Regards,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Inspirational Quote

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.~

Sponsor

Creating Hours – Time Management For Busy Parents

Today I thought I’d share a wonderful time management resource with you that my friend Ellen C. Brown has put together.

Could you use an extra hour a day? How about more than one?

Ellen has written an excellent 75 page ebook on helping you become more efficient and effective. Just imagine what you could do with an extra hour a day!

I can highly recommend this guide for any busy parent. You can order it right here for $19.95

To learn more about the Creating Hours ebook and to find out how to order, please visit:
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/creatinghours

News From The HBHW Club

What? You haven’t heard about the Hillbilly Housewife Club? It’s a members only forum packed full of great information, resources, and friendly chit chat about the things we are all interested in – fun, frugal living. Come Join Us And See What All The Chatter Is About!

hbhwc_234x60

NEW RESOURCESTARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

Well, it happened.  One of our Club members has successfully started her own crafting blog!  In less than one week’s time, she has a beautiful little blog set up and has been writing feverishly every since.  She’ll say it’s only a start – but what a start!

Our friend Victoria has been crafting adorable soft-sculpted baby dolls for many years.  She has been selling her dolls on Etsy, but wanted to take her crafting to a new level – making real money.  With the help of our new resource, Victoria is well on the way creating a new and expanded market for herself which will translate into more money.  Congratulations, Victoria!

If you want to take a look at Victoria’s new blog, click on the link to her site here:  OoooohBabyDolls

Victoria’s got a good start creating a very real income at home.  How about you?  Can you see yourself working from home, blogging about something you like to do – like crafting?

If so, you’ll want to join us at the HBHW Club and check out this valuable resource,  STARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

Written by successful stay-at-home entrepreneur and author, Nicole Dean, this informative resource sells as an ebook for around $15, but as a Club member, you get it FREE with your membership. That’s right! Your membership in the Club has already paid for itself when you open this FREE resource and put it to work for you! Talk about a return-on-investment!

Even if you don’t know the first thing about a blog, this resource will give you the information and tools you need to get your Crafting Blog up and running – and making money!

At the Club, you’ll not only get this FREE resource valued at $15, you’ll also have a sounding board to help you brainstorm ideas about your new Crafting Blog.

Along with this valuable resource, STARTING A CRAFT BLOG FOR FUN AND PROFIT, Club members also receive two audios plus a bonus resource from Nicole about time management, which will be very valuable when you start your Craft Blog!

This resource is available to all my readers as an ebook by clicking on the link here. For around $15 you can get the information and tools you need to start your own Craft Blog For Fun And Profit.

Or… Join the HBHW Club now and the resource is FREE with your membership! This valuable resource will be yours, PLUS the benefits of having a forum for sharing ideas about everything from making money at home to getting out of debt to frugal tips, and much, much more.

This is a tremendous opportunity to finally start making money at home doing something you like… crafting, and talking about crafting! Join the Club, get the resource for FREE, and start making money at home. Sound good? It is good!

Not sure about joining the Club right now? I hope you’ll still take advantage of Nicole’s expertise in the field of money making at home. If you have a love for crafting, and talking about crafting, you’ll want to explore the real possibilities of creating your own Craft Blog For Fun And Profit .

You don’t want to miss this or any of our informative and valuable resources. Join the HBHW Club and grab your FREE resource today!

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As a special to you, the HBHW newsletter subscriber, you can join for only $10 per month. Click on this link for all the details: http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

Still not sure about joining the HBHW Club? How about if I make it real easy. I’ll let you try it out for just a dollar for the first 7 days.

How will you benefit from joining the HBHW Club with this offer? As an example, for just that one dollar you’ll have 7 days of access to over 390 great frugal recipes that are tried and true, with a new recipe every day. You’ll also have 7 days to ask your most puzzling frugal homemaking questions – and even get answers!

Join us now and enjoy 7 days of frugal fun. Click on the link here and come aboard! http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

Now, let’s just take a peek at what’s been going on at the HBHW Club Forum.

New Uses For Old Things is always an interesting topic.  Before you toss that thing in the garbage or recycling, how many ideas can you come up with for other ways to use it?  One of our Club members brought back a previous topic for discussion which was nice because I’d forgotten about this neat frugal kitchen gadget made out of an object about ready for the recycling bin.  One warning – remember to label your reinvented gadgets with their new contents!

My Walking Challenge has been successful in many ways.  It’s gotten many of us to think seriously about our daily exercise.  This I attribute to accountability.  When you take a minute to log in and talk about your goals and what you’ve done to achieve them, it’s a powerful motivator.  Even if we have a few bad days due to weather or illness, we get back on track with the gentle nudge of our friends.

Frugal Car Washing Solutions have also been discussed.  There are those of us who wash our vehicles routinely when the weather warms up.  Purchasing expensive car washing mixtures is hard to justify when the family budget is squeezed tight.  Finding good homemade solutions that work well on a vehicle is another topic we’ve been discussing.

Our Club members have come up with more ideas for using vinegar; one for our cat lovers.  It seems if there’s a topic about homemaking, living a more frugal life, living a happier life, or even pet care, we’ll be discussing it.

How would you like to join the conversation? As a Club member, you’ll be able to share your opinions, frugal tips, and ideas on topics most important to your life.

Why don’t you join us so you can get in on the conversation. I look forward to chatting with you in the member area.

Click the following link and try The HBHW Club for only $1. We’d love to have you come join us! http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

When you join us at the HBHW Club, you’ll want to be sure to take a stroll through the resources available free to Club members only. Popular resources include:

  • Frugal Gardening
  • Simple Summer Cooking
  • Frugal Family Summer Fun
  • Pantry Cooking
  • Freezer/Pantry Challenge & Meal Planning
  • Cleaning With Vinegar And Baking Soda
  • Setting Up A Family Budget
  • Getting Out Of Debt For Good
  • Utility Bill Savings
  • Meal Planning Guide – Simple Step-by-Step Method

Let me know what you think of the resources and if there are any topics we should explore further. As a Club member, your opinion is highly valued because it’s YOUR Club!

Join The Hillbilly Housewife Club for Just a Dollar

I’d like to share one of the recipes that was submitted to the HBHW Club this past week.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

  • 2 eggs
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tblsps flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tblsp melted butter
  • 2 pie crusts, unbaked – one in 9 inch pie pan, and one cut into strips for lattice top

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Beat the eggs.  In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and beat with mixer until this is nice and smooth and frothy.  Mix the butter into the rhubarb, then add rhubarb to mixture and stir.

Spoon the mixture into the unbaked pie crust in pie pan.  Lace the strips of pie crust to form a lattice top, pinching around the edges to secure.

Put in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rhubarb mixture gets thick and bubbles up through the lattice.

If the edges of the crust start to get too brown, take strips of tin foil and loosely lay on top all around the edges.

Listed here is a sampling of recent recipes added, making a total of more than 400 recipes currently available to our Club members.

  • Rhubarb Betty Bake
  • Easy Rhubarb Pudding
  • Fancy Rhubarb Pineapple Cake
  • Rhubarb Shortcake Squares

We welcome recipe submissions from our friends at the Club and are always happy to see what’s cooking in your kitchen.  Our aim is to have six recipes posted each week.  That’s a lot of recipes!

Featured Articles

If rhubarb is plentiful in your garden, you may want to take a look at this week’s featured article.  You’ll find complete instructions for canning a delicious strawberry-rhubarb jam plus a link to a very informative website filled with canning tips and techniques you’ll be able to use all season long.

Click the link below to get this recipe and all sorts of other information to put your home canner to good use:

Rhubarb Harvest – Wonderful Homemade Jam

Healthy Hillbilly Housewife

Here’s what’s new on the healthy hillbilly housewife section. You can also go straight to http://www.healthy.hillbillyhousewife.com

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Frugal Tips

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Do you have a tip to share? Fill out the submit a frugal tip form and I’ll be glad to add it to the site and share your tip in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.

Recipes

Here are some of the most recent recipes that have been added to the HBHW site. Enjoy!

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Do you have a recipe you would like to share? Click here to send it to me and I’ll be happy to add it to the website.

I’m Looking For:

This section is all about you. If you are looking for a particular recipe or a tip on how to do something, submit it here and I will post it in an upcoming newsletter. I’ll give you my input and other readers of the newsletter will have the opportunity to share their recipes and tips as well. So take a moment to post your questions and of course if you have a tip or idea for any question posted in this section feel free to leave a comment under the appropriate post.

I’m Looking For Requests
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I’m Looking For Responses
Below you will find some of the recent responses to the “I’m Looking For” Requests. You may also want to go directly to this section and browse through all the recent submissions and replies. To do so, click on “I’m Looking for” here, and start looking through them.
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Inspirational Story

Starfish
A small boy was walking along a beach at low tide, where countless starfish, having been washed up on the beach, were stranded and doomed to perish. A man watched as the boy picked up individual starfish and took them back into the water.

“I can see you’re being very kind,” said the watching man, “But there must be thousands of them; it can’t possibly make any difference.”

Returning from the water’s edge, the boy said, “It will for that one.”

~author unknown~

Final Thought

That’s it for this edition of the Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I had creating it for you. I also hope that you have found the information helpful and useful. And by all means feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends or even better, encourage them to subscribe to it.

Do you have a question, a tip, a recipe or a story you’d like to share with us? Email it to me and I’ll include it in a future issue. Can’t wait to see what you have to say.

Warm Wishes,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Grilling-Gluten Free

As I sit here writing this, it is hard to believe that here in the United States, it is only two short weeks until Memorial Day.

It seems that for those of us in the U.S., Memorial Day is the official start to summer.

Summer has always been my favorite season.  I love the warm weather, the sunny days, the swimming, playing and cooking outside.  Unless it’s raining, you’ll find me outside, (and sometimes even if it’s raining.  I have a black lab pup that doesn’t care about the rain).

Now if you’re talking about cooking outside, 9 times out of 10, you’re talking about grilling.  I love to grill and in fact at my house I’m the grill master. 😉

Now being a celiac, there are a few things I need to watch out for when I’m grilling or going over to a barbecue at a friend’s house.

One thing to watch out for is cross contamination.  Cross contamination can occur when glutenous foods are cooked on the grill and then gluten free food is cooked without the grill being cleaned inbetween.

It can also happen when drippings from a marinade containing gluten, drips on your gluten free food, or on the grill before you place your food on the grill.  At my house, I just don’t use marinades with gluten in them.  There are just so many marinades out there that are gluten free that taste spectacular, that I don’t see the reason for risking it.

However, it’s very easy to avoid cross contamination while grilling by taking  just a few precautions:

Clean a section of the grill where only gluten free food will be cooked.  To clean the grill, it’s just a matter of using a stiff wire brush to scrape the surface of the grill while the grill is hot, to remove any residual glutenous food particles.

If  you are a guest at a barbecue and are concerned about cross contamination, ask your host if you can have your food cooked first, have a small section of the grill kept just for your gluten free food, or if you just don’t feel comfortable with those options, wrap your food in foil before you place it on the grill.

Happy Grilling.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Egg Recipes Needed

I am about to be overrun with even more than the 4 dozen eggs a week I get now – I need new ways to use them up! Everyone around here has gotten backyard hens, in order to beat this economy, so there’s no one left to sell them to.
By August, I’ll have another dozen hens laying, and I don’t want these eggs to go to waste!
Any new recipes to use them up would be appreciated.
(The brownie recipe I got off this site is an all-time favorite – it uses 4 eggs!)

Early Garden Harvest Project – Canning Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Many conversations among gardeners this time of year start with the phrase “What am I going to do with all this rhubarb?!”

It seems this prolific vegetable (which answers the other question “Is rhubarb a vegetable or a fruit?”) takes over many spring gardens even before the real earnest planting begins.

My friend Tracy Falbe of Canning Local gave me a delicious solution to the “problem” of having rhubarb taking over the garden.  I thought I’d share her recipe right here for you to use when your rhubarb starts piling up.  Enjoy!

In spring when gardens are still only promising seedlings and fruits trees are just setting their fruit, strawberries and rhubarb are ready to harvest. The flavor combination of strawberries and rhubarb has been appreciated for a long time, and with home canning you can capture that first crop of spring and enjoy it for a whole year…or until you eat it all.

Learning how to can jams and jellies is an ideal way to develop home canning skills. Only a big kettle for creating a boiling water bath is needed along with a few canning jars. The jam is simple to cook and only uses a few ingredients, so actually making the jam will not distract you from focusing on the canning process. Jams are also very safe projects for beginners.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Canning Recipe

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup lemon juice
5-1/2 cups sugar
1 package fruit pectin (approximately 2 ounces)

You will need 6 to 8 half pint canning jars for this recipe. You can use old jars as long as they are free of chips and cracks, but always use new lids so you get a proper seal. The screw-on bands do not need to be new. They are just to hold the lids in place during processing. Sterilize your jars and lids by submerging them completely in water that is a minimum of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, but less than boiling (212 degrees). Some directions say to boil the jars and lids, which is probably fine, but the jars I buy say on the package to make sure the lids do not actually boil, so always consult your manufacturer’s directions for sterilization.

I sterilize the jars in the boiling water bath kettle. After letting them simmer a few minutes, I shut off the heat and leave the jars and lids in the kettle while I cook the jam. You can take them out and fill the jars with hot water if you prefer. The point is to keep them hot and clean while you are preparing the food.

Wash and hull the strawberries and crush them. A potato masher works well to smash up the berries. Then wash and chop the rhubarb. Put the fruit in a large stock pot and add the lemon juice. Slowly stir in the fruit pectin and bring the jam to a hard rolling boil that still bubbles when you stir. Foaming will occur and this can be alleviated by adding a teaspoonful of butter. Once the jam is boiling hard, keep stirring and add all the sugar. The sugar will gradually dissolve. While stirring constantly bring the jam back up to a hard boil for 1 minute. When the cooking is done, turn off the heat. You can skim off the frothy foam from the top.

Pour the hot jam into your sterilized jars. A ladle works nicely and if you have a canning jar funnel it will make the job a little neater. Do not fill the jars all the way to the rim. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Wipe the mouths of the jars very clean and place the lids on the jars. Secure the lids with the bands. You only need to screw them on hand tight. If you have some jam leftover that will not fill up a jar, just put it in the refrigerator and eat it up within the next few days (or minutes).

With your boiling water bath at a boil, lower the jars into the water with a jar lifter. Make sure a rack is in the bottom of the kettle so that the jars do not rest directly on the bottom. Also do not let the jars touch each other. Boil the jars for 10 minutes and then immediately remove the jars. Set them on a towel in a draft-free location and do not disturb them for at least 12 hours. Touching them while they are cooling could disrupt sealing. You will likely hear the jars pop within a few minutes of removing from the boiling water but resist the temptation to touch.

The next day, you can test the seals of the lids by pushing on their tops. There should be no movement or buckling of the lid. It should be rigid and firmly attached to the jar. Then remove the bands, wipe the jars clean, put on clean bands, label with the date, and store in a cool dark place for up to one year. You will love your homemade jam and it makes a nice gift as well.

I recommend picking up a reference book about home canning to have in your kitchen as well as a visit to my website Canning Local – Putting Your Produce Into Production where you can read about all the basics for using a boiling water bath and pressure canner.