September 07, 2014

Bacon Tips

Bacon is a common food item in our household, so I buy it regularly.  Bacon can be pricey - depending on the brand, thickness, store, etc.  I believe in buying bacon that has more meat than fat on it, and when I do find that package of "meaty" bacon, I feel like I hit the jackpot!  (Just a note - one can carefully inspect the bacon without mindfully ripping the packaging and at the same time show courtesy to others who are shopping in the same department.  Glad I got that out there.)
Bacon coated with flour.

I have a couple of tips to make bacon "stretch" just a little bit more.  Very simple.  The first thing that I do is grab a big knife and cut the whole package of bacon in  half.  I then wrap both package halves in plastic wrap until ready to use.  This serves two purposes - the bacon strips fit better in the skillet - and putting four pieces (2 strips cut into half) on a plate makes it look like more bacon.

The other tip I use is to coat each piece of bacon in flour before frying.  This prevents the bacon from shrinking as much AND it adds a nice crusty, yummy coating on the bacon.  I fry my bacon on "low", turning it when it gets a light golden color.  My husband loves it.

I encourage you to try one or both tips the next time you buy or fry bacon.  Are there other tricks you use when frying or buying bacon?

August 27, 2014

Bears Love Peaches

Today I woke up with one thing planned today....to "work up" the wagon load of peaches that have been set to the side to become fully ripe.  Jam, jelly, pie filling. I was ready.

I had already canned some peach jam from some of our trees, and our neighbor generously asked if we wanted the peaches from a tree they had that was fully loaded and as I discovered - with branches breaking under the weight.  I went ahead and picked most of them, loading up a small utility cart/wagon we had. Alot of the peaches were not quite fully ripe yet - but no problem, a couple of days and they would be ready.  That day arrived.

Except a bear beat me to them.  Apparently during the night, a bear visited the wagon of peaches (parked a few feet from our porch).  Smart bear, not wanting to bother with picking his own, when someone else went to all that trouble already and put them in one big bowl for him.  (I am calling it a him for now). Our dogs had alerted on something during the night - in the forest.  And earlier today, our alpha male dog was barking ferociously at something in the forest (a few feet from our back door).  As hubby and I stepped out to investigate we heard something heavy crashing through the trees - so we knew it wasn't deer.  And then I saw it. The tipped over wagon.  ... ... ... Bear.

This wagon was heaping with peaches
before the bear got to it.
Obviously the bear gorged on peaches in the wagon during the night and came back to finish what he started.  Eating the peaches and leaving the pits and other presents... Bear scat right next to the wagon.
Who takes picture of bear scat!
Well, I do, I guess.
And more bear scat five feet away from the tipped over wagon.
A whole lot of peaches will do that to ya.

Bother.  There goes my plans of canning more peaches.  At least I had enough left to make some peach ice cream.  I will now be more hyper-alert when I leave the house to do some work outside.  This bear (judging from the size of the scat) isn't a small bear - probably twice or more the size of our largest German Shepherd who is at one hundred fifteen pounds.  He didn't touch my garden produce or bother the chickens. I am thankful for that.

Well, pickling cucumbers are ready.  And I need more dill relish.  And the dill is ready to pick.  So canning goes on tomorrow.  Just not with peaches.

UPDATE
As soon as I posted this, our dogs started barking again and there was a large black bear at our front porch.  I tried to video it, but it is not good enough to share.  I guess he wanted to come back and say thanks for the peaches.

August 23, 2014

Crescent Roll with Blackberry Pie Filling

Crescent Roll w/Homemade Blackberry Pie Filling
Songhurst Farm
Yesterday, I posted about making blackberry pie filling.  It smelled so good, that I just had to try it.  One thing I like about this filling, is that it is so versatile.  It can be used in a variety of baked goods from extravagant to easy.  I opted for very easy to try it out. 

I so happened to have a can of crescent rolls in a can.  After popping it open and unrolling the rolls, I placed them on a lightly oiled (I used Pam in a can) foil-lined cookie sheet.  

I put a dollop of homemade canned blackberry pie filling toward the wider end of each crescent roll.  Then I carefully rolled each one up making sure the point was on top as I laid it carefully in the pan.  I was nervous that the filling - which I could see on around the edges of the roll - would be one big mess as it baked.  I was relieved to find after baking at 375 degrees until golden, that it didn't make a mess.  The pie filling (made with Clear Jel) didn't run as much as it would have with other thickeners.

Waiting until they cooled, I drizzled the rolls with an almond flavored glaze (powdered sugar, milk, almond flavoring) - okay, I couldn't wait...I drizzled the glaze on before the rolls cooled and enjoyed the warm taste of roll and filling and glaze.  Sigh!  It was soooo good.  Got to say.  I did have the presence of mind to snap one picture of it.  Easy, delicious, and oh, so mouth-watering delicious.  Another one sounds so good right now.  Hmmmm....got to go....

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