Preserving and Canning Equipment List

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Canning supplies How Do I get Started Canning

Do you can?  I love the idea of putting my own food away.  I can totally control the ingredients, and a lot of the time, I grew the ingredients in the first place.  There’s something awesome about feeling self-reliant.  Plus, once you invest in your canning supplies, the savings really start to add up.

If you plan to start canning this year, here’s a guide of canning essentials to get you started.  {I totally recommend starting now, so that you can spread the purchases out throughout the summer, making it a little easier on your budget.}

ball quart canning jars

First, canning jars.  Kerr or Ball are the most common.  I don’t have a preference, in fact, I think they are basically the same, so I tend to lean toward whichever are cheapest.  I do like the wide-mouth variety waaaay better, though, just because it is so much easier to get the food out.  They are a little more expensive, but remember, you’ll use them year after year, so the cost will be negligible in the long run.    I have a friend who tried to use recycled mayo jars, etc. once, but said that they didn’t seal very consistently, so I would avoid them personally.

canning rings

You’ll need lids and rings to go on your jars.  If you are new to canning, you cannot reuse the lids from year to year, but you can reuse the rings.  {The lids seal properly one time, so for food safety, you have to get new each time you can.  There are some reusable lids, which you definitely pay for, but I have never used them, so I really don’t know if they work well.  If any of you have used them, though, let me know what you thought in the comments.}

basic canning set

Next, you’re going to need a canner {which is basically a big black pot, specially designed to fit your canning jars}.  Try to find one that comes with a rack to place the jars into the pot.  It’s just easier and more cost effective than buying them separate.  This is what you will use to process most of your canned foods.  Again, if you have never canned before, this process is called a water bath {letting jars sit in a rolling boil}.  Usually, your recipe will tell you how long to process your food in a water bath.

home canning kit

I consider the next bit optional, but seriously recommended.  Usually you can buy them all in a home canning kit for pretty cheap.  Make sure the kit has at least these:  a magnet, a jar-sized funnel, a bubble remover and jar lifting tongs.   They will make your life sooooo much easier.  The magnet is so you can easily grab and place your lids on the jars.  The funnel makes putting the food into the jars a lot cleaner {plus, I use mine for other things throughout the year}.  The bubble remover, well, removes bubbles from your liquid before you seal the jar.  And, the jar lifting tongs allow you to lift jars individually out of your water bath–because remember, they are hot, and sometimes a little heavy, so being able to lift them singly helps.

all-american-pressure-canner-gauge (1)

If you plan on canning meats or beans, you’ll need a pressure canner.  It basically helps to get low-acid foods to a safe temperature {240 degrees} for preservation.

ball canning book

Finally, consider buying a canning cookbook.  My favorite is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Not only does it have all of the basics plus a lot more, pretty much everyone I know who cans, owns it.

Do you can?  Can you think of any other basic essentials?

~Mavis

canning-recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Square Foot Gardening – All the Grids Have Been Planted

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square foot gardening organic mavis

The last few days here in Western Washington have been muggy and wet. And let me tell you Bob, the plants are loving it! The cool weather crops like kale, broccoli and Swiss chard seem like they have doubled in the past few days, which of course, is awesome.

rosemary plant organic gardening

Remember the rosemary seeds I started from see back in January? Well take a look at them now. Even though I am already growing most of my herbs in contianers I went ahead and planted a few tiny rosemary starts in the square foot garden.

Once the plant gets established and grows larger, I’ll probably move it to a container. We’ll see. But for right now I’m just excited they turned out okay as I had heard rosemary was a little difficult to get started.

organic gardening cucumber seedlings

We also planted out 3 trays of cucumber plants, MarketmoreLemon, and Burpless. I forgot to label the containers when I planted them so I have no idea which is which. Oh well, I suppose I’ll be able to tell soon enough.

square foot gardening organic mavis garden blog

This is how I gardened yesterday. Slippers and my husbands socks. What is it about men’s socks that are so stinkin’ cozy on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Please tell me you steal your husbands socks too.

organic square foot gardening

Cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli and kale.

square foot gardening images

And finally. Here is what my square foot garden looks like all planted and ready to grow.

Peas, carrots, radishes, strawberries, celery, onions, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, kale, bok choy, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cucumbers, Swiss chard, beets, and lettuce. I think that’s everything.

Pretty cool if you ask me. Now all I have to do is keep this baby watered {and keep Lucy out!} and in a few more weeks we should be ready to start harvesting some fresh vegetables.

And for all of you who asked, YES, I will be keeping track of how many pounds of vegetables we can harvest out of this one 4×8 foot bed. I think it will be fun to see how much food you really can get from a square foot garden.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, I’m off to go play in the dirt.

~ Mavis

Are you thinking about putting together a Square foot garden? See the how I built a square foot garden grid HERE.

All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author, Mel Bartholomew is basically the king of square foot gardening.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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oroweat bakery outlet tacoma

Oroweat Bakery Outlet – $8

With 5 weeks of school left I’m hoping this will be enough bread and bagels to get us through to the end of the school year. If you have never shopped at a bakery outlet before, check around in your area, it’s a great way to save. Anytime I can get good bread and bagels for $1 a bag I like to stock up. Find out how I keep our bread fresh.

Target market Pantry Milk Gallon

 Target – $5.28

I’m not sure what else we purchased at Target last week but while we were there we grabbed 2 gallons of milk.

amazon grocery deals

Amazon – FREE

My hottie of a UPS man delivered some peanut butter crackers for Monkey Boy and a jar of Nutella for The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird after I cashed in some of my Swagbucks for a free Amazon.com gift card.

broccoli fiji apples cucumber

Local Produce Stand – $6.22

Our local produce stand had broccoli on sale last week for $.99 a pound, Fuji apples for $0.69 a pound and cucumbers for $0.50 each. Each week they have 2 or 3 really good deals so I always try and stop in and pick them up when I’m nearby. organic vegetbales

We also harvested salad greens, basil, spinach, radishes, and sprouts this week.

How did YOU do with your grocery budget over the past 7 days?

Do you have a garden? Are you looking forward to “grocery shopping” from your garden pretty soon? I know I am.

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $19.50

Total Spent This Year $945.90

Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $862.57 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mornings with Mavis – $5 Kindle Credit, Vegetable Steamer, Teva Flip Flops, Maidenform Sale Event, Prom Dresses, Coupons

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mornings with mavis

The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird had  a pasta feed at our house the other night and one of the kids showed up with a slackline.  I’m not sure when the last time I showed up to someone’s house with a rope was {okay, never} but the kids had a great time and hey, whatever keeps them amused, right?

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you have a great day.

 ~Mavis

what are amazon coins

If you own a Kindle Fire, you’ll find a little unexpected something in your account right now — 500 Amazon Coins, worth $5. You can use the coins to buy apps and games, as well as items inside apps and games. And if you want to purchase additional coins for yourself or your family, you get to do so at a discount.


 Looking for a vegetable steamer? Amazon currently has the Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer on sale for $29.88 shipped and it has great reviews.

teva sandals

The REI Outlet Deal of the Day is Teva Flip Flops for only $12.93.

Perky Pet Hummingbird Pinch Waist Glass Bird Feeder

 

I love looking out my window and seeing hummingbirds! Amazon has the Perky Pet Hummingbird Pinch Waist Glass Bird Feeder on sale for $10.28. Be sure and check out my recipe for Homemade Hummingbird nectar.

maidenform-logo

Maidenform is having a Special Buy More & Save Event {be sure and check out their $15 bras}! Spend $50 – Save $10, Spend $75 – Save $20, or Spend $100 – Save $40 through 5/14/13.

cheap prom dresses

Check out these cute dresses! These would be perfect for a prom dress and they are only $36.99 shipped! The reviews on these dresses are great too!

ShopPerk makes smart shopping easy. Compare stores in your area to find the best selection and the biggest savings. Find recipes and ideas that leave you more time, more money and more energy to spend on what you truly love.

Koss KTXPRO1 Titanium Portable Headphones with Volume Control

Gold Box Deal of the Day: Save 50% on Select Koss Headphones – Now only $9.99!

entenmann's free doughnuts for a year sweepstakes

“Like” Entenmann’s Doughnuts on Facebook and enter to win free doughnuts for a year with the National Doughnut Day Sweepstakes. My son would totally LOVE to win this!

croc shoe coupons

6pm has Crocs on sale for up to 50% off today. These are great for the beach!

Cardstore.com is having a site wide 20% off sale. Use Code: CWG3511, at check out to score the discount. This deal is valid through 5/15/13 11:59pm PST.
$0.55 off Joy Ice Cream Cones $1.00 off (1) small DIGIORNO Pizza Dipping Strips $2.00 off (1) Excedrin 100 ct. product or larger $1.00 off ONE Excedrin 24 ct. product or larger $1.00 off any ONE (1) Mott's For Tots JuiceFind More Printable Coupons

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Andi From Mt. Vernon, Washington Shares Her Garden Photos

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greenhouse garden photos

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

Check out these greenhouse photos Andi from Mt. Vernon, Washington sent in. The photo above is what her greenhouse looks like right now. This year she planted 21 tomatoes, 4 tomatillos, mature lettuces and greens, and a silly number of starts of everything from squash to quinoa, marigolds to hibiscus.

Greenhouse garden pictures tomatoes{Photo of Andi’s greenhouse last summer}

Here is what Andi had to say:

We built the greenhouse last summer from windows and doors from remodeling the house. It is 14’ long and 3 ½’ wide. I grow everything from seed, starting them indoors for the earliest possible bloom and crop. I started the tomatoes on Feb. 8, I just couldn’t wait.

wildflower cottage garden

We are on a large city lot and have no lawn; everything is garden. We have a huge willow, thirteen fruit trees, lots of berry and currant bushes, several lilacs, wisteria, and bunches of other trees, bushes, and plants. The greenhouse is in the front yard, but we’re building a second in the back. {No way all 21 tomatoes are going to fit in the first one!}

dogs in the garden

We have two dogs, the other one Max, is all black and didn’t want to be in the pic. This one is Wellie.

I am also a full time fiber artist {www.andishannon.com} and when I need a break from the sewing machine, I go out and work in the yard. A good balance as each fuels the other for inspiration.

Wow Andi! I couldn’t agree more! Your garden is beautiful!

~Mavis

fiber art black bag with red roses

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts – Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 20 of 52

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organic gardening raised garden bed pictures

Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 20 of 52

growing peas along a fence

Yee-Haw! Now we’re farming!

See that bare patch of peas along the fence? Yep, Lucy the garden dog decided to have herself a little snack. Silly dog. If she would have only waited another month she could have had a much bigger snack.

Also, check out the wisteria growing on the arbor. The delicate purple flowers are just beginning to bloom. I’ll have to try and get a close up shot of them soon.

DIY Wood Pallet Garden

The wood pallet garden is looking great.

raised vegetable garden beds

All 16 of the raised garden boxes have now been planted. Now we wait. For tomatoes {it’s the reason we all garden, right?}.

bean teepees

The pea teepees and potatoes are rockin’.

greenhouse gardening magnum 10 x 14

Yesterday I started clearing out the greenhouse. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, I’ll only be growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries in there. I’ll share some pictures of my set up when I’m finished.

Last year I had way to many plants growing in the greenhouse and it was really overcrowded, so this year I am going to scale back a week bit.

diy wood pallet compost pin potato towers

The potatoes are starting to poke through the potato towers. Yay!  Note to self: Must.Weed.Garden.

wooded backyard garden

View from the back deck.

omlet cube chicken coop plastic orange

Chicken coop, Swiss chard, fava beans and kale.

raspberry patch

Raspberry jungle.

cascadia raspberries

Here is the view of our raspberry patch from the kitchen window. No matter how hard I try to get the canes to behave, they never do and we end up with a raspberry forest.

container herb garden

And last but not least, the container herb garden. The sage looks like it might be ready to harvest this week. Weeeeee!

Well, that’s what’s growing in my backyard, what’s new in your garden?

Please tell me you’ve finally been able to plant something {I know a lot of you still had snow a few weeks ago}.

~Mavis

botanical interests coupon

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company.  You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2013 Garden Seed Catalog HERE, or visit my boyfriend Ryan’s blog HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Help! My Potatoes Plants Are Falling Over

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floppy potato plants

Zac from Berkeley, California was worried about his potato plants flopping over so I asked him to send in a picture. I thought maybe YOU and I could help him.

Here is what Zac had to say:

I have six 30 gallon plastic grow bags full of potato foliage and now flowers on some. After hilling them in as much as possible, I’m now staking the stakes to keep them upright.

This is the photo I took this morning.  Not all of them have been staked (yet).  But I’m on the alert if I have to do so. I’m figuring that they’ve reached their height potential now as flowering buds are starting to form on most.

I did some searching on the Internet and got mixed opinions about what’s going on with them. Some folks said not to worry about it since its the roots we care to eat. Others thought it would be best to prop them up to allow them to grow more!  I just began staking them after a few of the larger stems snapped off!

Cheers!

Zac

(Berkeley, CA)

Well Zac, I think your potato plants look great. But, I am worried your grow bags are not deep enough. If there was a way to set your grow bags in deeper ones, remove the old bags and add some more soil,  you might get a larger crop of spuds.  But otherwise I think you are right, your potatoes are nearing the end of their cycle.

Stay Green,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Easy Spinach Frittata Recipe

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Easy Spinach Frittata

Have you ever made a frittata before? Last week I made one for the first time and it was super easy. Tastier than scrambled eggs and easier to whip up than a quiche. I’ll totally be making this again!

Ingredients
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 oz feta cheese {or whatever cheese you like}
1 teaspoon chives, chopped {for garnish}
salt and pepper to taste

grow spinach in gutters greenhouse

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and Parmesan cheese and set aside.Over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil in an oven-proof, stick-free skillet until tender, {about 4-5 minutes}. Add garlic and cook another 30 second. Add spinach and cook until fully wilted but still green in color. Spread spinach mixture evenly on the bottom of the skillet.

Pour egg mixture evenly over spinach, onions and peppers. Sprinkle feta over the top of the egg frittata and place the whole pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the frittata is nice and golden.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven with oven mitts and let the frittata cool for several minutes. Using a spatula lift edges and slide frittata onto a plate. Sprinkle with fresh chives if you have them and serve.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mornings with Mavis – Free Kindle Books, Duvet Sets, Make-Up Brushes, Free Credit Score + More

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mother and baby chicken hen

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! I hope you get to sleep in this morning and someone brings you breakfast in bed. Oh, and try not to think about the mess in the kitchen you’ll have to clean up after you get up. Ha! Have a great day.

~Mavis

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

Clever Gardening Tricks FREE
Weight Watchers New Points Plus FREE
Pickled! The Ultimate Recipe Guide FREE
Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes $3.79

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

amazonlocal deals

Amazon Local is offering a Free Voucher to Purchase Select Kindle Series Books for $1 Each

Be sure and Sign up HERE so you’ll know what the daily deal is each day.

Divatex Home Fashions

Amazon currently has some cute 4- Piece Duvet sets on sale. Queen sets are $19.99 and King sets are just $22.99. Go HERE to see this deal.

If you missed out on this deal last time, Amazon currently has the Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator back in stock and on sale for $34.99 shipped! I bought a Nesco food dehydrator a few years ago and it’s still going stong! I plan on using it to dehydrate buckets and buckets full of tomatoes this summer.

proflowers coupon

Looking for a deal on some last minute flowers? Living Social has a $30 ProFlowers voucher for only $15!

SHANY Professional 13-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set with Pouch $11.04 shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

mother's day sale

6pm is having a Mother’s Day Sale with hundred of items under $40. Plus you receive FREE SHIPPING too!

Would you like to know your credit score?

Credit Sesame is a free online personal finance tool that gives consumers an easy way to monitor and manage their credit and loans all in one place and save money on debt. It provides consumers with free access to their credit score every month, analysis, advice and tools to take control of their finances, unlock their credit potential and borrow smarter. The greatest perk of Credit Sesame, it’s 100% Free! They don’t require a credit card, and there are no trial periods.

Credit Sesame has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on The Today Show and CNNMoney.com.

Go HERE to find out your Credit Score for FREE!

Mother's Day Magazine Sale

Discount Mags is having a Mother’s Day sale! Grab 1 year subscriptions oodles of popular magazines for as low as $3.50 a year. No coupon code needed. Here are a few of my favorites: 

Architectural Digest – $6.99
House Beautiful – $4.99
Bon Appetit – $4.99

This deal will expire tonight at midnight 5/12/13 EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

$25.00 off a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System $3.00 off a FoodSaver Heat-Seal Bag or Roll$1.00 off any Welch's Juice Cocktail $1.50 off any Starbucks VIA Refreshers™ beverage$0.50 off any ONE (1) Newman's Own Salad Dressing

Find More Printable Coupons

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Cumin {Start to Finish}

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cumin flowerPhoto Credit

This will be my first year growing cumin and I’m pretty excited. I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE cooking with cumin. Yum Yum!

Brief description:  Cumin is an herb grown for the seeds.  It adds a unique flavor to Indian and Mexican dishes.

Where to Plant Cumin:  Plant in full sun in containers, garden beds or raised beds.

how to grow cumin seeds

Planting Seeds:  Plant 1/4″ deep.  When seedlings are 1″ tall, thin to 1 plant every 4″-6″.

Growing Tips:   Cumin requires a pretty long growing season, so if you live in an area with a short growing season, you will want to start them indoors.  Transplant outdoors when temperature LOWS reach 60 degrees.

How to Harvest:  Let seed pods ripen and turn brown. Remove the pods and let them dry.  Then, rub pods to remove the seeds. You can also cut entire stems and place them upside down in a bag to collect the seeds.

regional-planting-guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here is my Favorite Cumin recipe:

Chickpea Salad with Cumin and LimeChickpea Salad with Cumin and Lime

Fact:  Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world, next to black pepper.  It is essential to curries, and dates back as far as 4000 years.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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