Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Household Techniques

A friend and I were talking the other day about ways we simplify at home and the various techniques we use.  I decided I would share a few; some you may already use, some you might decide to try.

1.  Saving the turkey carcass from holiday dinners to make into soup or stock.  We have been doing this since we were first married over 13 years ago.  My grandparents' church had their Turkey Dinner and then used the carcasses for their Turkey Stoup.  Yes, I spelled it correctly, it's a combination of stew and soup, hence "stoup."
Item Thumbnail
turkey chili with our canned goodies
To make turkey stock or soup, place carcass into a large pot and fill with water until carcass is covered.  Cook on medium until the meat has fallen off the carcass and the broth is flavorful.  Strain the bones and then either portion out into containers (when cool) for another day OR start adding chopped onions, diced tomatoes, chopped carrots, celery, and spices until you have a yummy soup.

2. Make your own yogurt.  It is very easy to do.  The Jan./Feb. 2011 issue of Hobby Farm Home magazine had a wonderful step by step article on how to make it from scratch.  When my husband and I were married we received a yogurt maker as a wedding gift.  We have never bought yogurt from the store, instead we have had rich, wonderful yogurt without all of the "extra" additives.

3. Using white vinegar and baking soda in place of harsh cleansers.  Because we have well and septic here on the farm I am careful about putting harmful chemicals that will mess with the balance of my septic system.  Vinegar is a natural brightener and it also kills germs just as well as bleach.  I use it to clean the porcelain sinks and often use it in the kitchen sink to get rid of berry stains.  In a pinch I have also used lemon juice, it works well and leaves a great citrus scent.

Item Thumbnail
sourdough bread
4. Saving the heels of a loaf of bread for bread crumbs.  My children do not usually eat the heels, let's face it, I don't either.  So when we start or finish a loaf of bread I put the heel into a container on the counter so it can dry out.  My husband will take the pieces and put them into the food processor and make them into bread crumbs to add to a meal later.  For the holidays he will make an entire loaf of savory bread and then cut it into chunks to make his own stuffing croutons.

Item Thumbnail5. Pre-soaked beans.  How many times have you wanted to make something but the beans are still dry?  We take various kinds of beans and mix them into a large pot and then cooked them.  Once cooled, we portion them into sandwich bags, usually 2 cups per bag, and freeze them until we need them in a recipe.

6.  Canning.  We moved here too late in the growing season to plant anything of our own. As I said in a previous post, we purchased fruits and vegetables from the grocery store and used them for canning.  It has been so fun to go into our pantry and pull out a jar of something we made from fresh ingredients.

Item Thumbnail
my great-gram's braided bread
7. Homemade bread.  Obviously I love to make bread.  This past weekend my cousins were in town and I made sourdough and Swedish rye breads for sandwich makings.  My dear cousin who has The Fox Fix blog and makes bread for a living, gave a thumbs up on the rye.  You don't have to make bread like your great-grandmother did. If you have a bread maker then you can make homemade bread.  My 60+ year old uncle uses his and has great success.  Homemade bread and turkey stoup are the best for rainy afternoons on the weekend.  See what you can do.

I hope these ideas have given you some ideas of your own.  Simplicity is something that is attainable, no matter where you live.  Let me know what you decide to make.  Until then.
Sending love from the farm,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dear Daughter. Love to see your blog. We sure had a great time with all the cousins, and yes- your rye bread was wonderful. Love you