Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Did you know you can make your own baking powder?

So how did I find this out you ask?  I was home alone with the girls this evening and wanted to make some "clean eating pumpkin bread" for a coffee date I am having tomorrow, but remembered I was out of baking powder...

So I thought to myself,  Dale can stop at the 24 hour Sobeys on the way home and grab some. I will get everything ready and bake the bread in the morning.  As I was messaging Dale and sending him a link of the aluminum free brand I use, I found this:


So, I made some.  And my bread rose better than the last time I made it!  It was only baking soda and cream of tartar.  Both of which many people have on hand.  So next time you are in a pinch or want to reduce your exposure to aluminum make your own.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brockelbank Sisters Imitation Harvey's Dill Pickles Recipe

Two years ago Crystal and I embarked on a journey to can everything we could, to reduce our exposure to BPA and Pesticide residues.  There was something exciting about canning produce and knowing exactly what is in the jar.  No unpronounceable additives. Also, picking the freshest produce creates a wonderful flavour you cannot get with store bought jars.

This turned into a lot of work! Especially since we canned, JalapeƱos, Peach Salsa, Tomato Salsa, Pickled Green Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Dill Pickles and Pumpkin.  Canning our own food quite frankly became an addiction.  It is a good thing that Crystal kept talking me into going to the marked and just doing one more half bushel of pickles.  Because the following year there was a newborn in the house and no canning got done.

We must have lucked out because our dill pickles were a huge hit!  We believed that they rivaled Harvey's Hamburger pickles, which are famous in our family.  We had never done pickles before but looked up a bunch of recipes online and came up with this:

What you Need:

1/2     Bushel Pickling Cucumbers
3.5     Red Peppers (chopped finely)
3        Bunches Dill Weed
2 lg    Heads Garlic
1.5     Bags Chilli Pepper Flakes
5 3/4  Cups White Vinegar
1 1/2  Cups Pickling Salt
22      Cups Water

20      Quart Jars (Widemouth are the easiest to stuff)

Now What???

1. Sterilize all your jars in the dishwasher or boil for 10 minutes.  Dishwasher is way easier and can be done while you sleep the night before pickling.

2. Decide how you would like your pickles cut or if at all.  Do the cutting.  Using a mandolin can make for quick, even slicing especially with larger pickles.  Hint: Larger Cucumbers require some slicing but are usually cheaper.

3.  Line up the Jars and add to each Jar:

2 tsp Chili Flakes
2/3 of an extra large garlic clove or 1 average size cut in half
2 tbsp Chopped Red Pepper
2 Heads of Dill Weed along with some stalk

4.  Stuff cucumbers in Jars so that they are packed tightly.  Do not allow pickles to rise above neck of jar as this would impede the canning process.

5. Add vinegar, salt and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.  

6.  Add Snap Lids to a pot of water and boil for 5 minutes.

7. Pour the hot brine over jars of pickles leaving a 1/2" head space.

8.  Remove a lid carefully and place on top of jar without contaminating the inside.  Screw ring on firmly but not too tightly.  As it will allow air to escape during processing.  But you want the ring tight enough that the lid is held firmly in place.

9.  Add jars to canner and fill water until it reaches the bottom of the jar necks.  

10.  Bring water almost to a boil and remove jars.
11.  You must empty the canner and add cool water before processing your next batch of pickles.  This will prevent breakage of jars as well as keep your pickles crisp.

12.  Adding brine just before processing will also help keep pickles crisp.  As they will not have to be heated twice: once by the brine and second time by processing.

Let your pickles sit for 8 weeks and Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Waxed Paint Cedar Chest

This is my $30 Cedar Chest I found on kijiji.  It is a little dated with the hardware and 70's legs.  When I went to look at this piece I had no idea where it was going to go.  But I felt as though I could not give up a $30 Cedar Chest.  As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to put it at the foot of my bed. 

I am looking forward to finally decorating my bedroom.  We have been in this house for 5 years.  Two children later, and still the bedroom has nothing on the wall (except a tv).  I will be painting my bedroom set which is an old set of my parents from when they got married.  This cedar chest will be perfect for the end of the bed.

I love the two sets of drawers down either side.  It will be perfect for storage of small games.  This will free up some room in the top of our closet.

The top of the chest also locks.  It used a key at one time.  but now turns by hand.  

 I replaced the hideous legs that came with it, with fineals from a fencepost.  They cost me $3 per leg instead of a whopping $17 per leg at the hardware store.  I found them at the liquidation store.  And of coures trusty old Poppy installed them for me.

I then got him to stain them.  Then when I distress them dark wood will show through instead of raw wood.

He also touched up the edges where some wear and tear were showing through.

Here it is doors removed and ready to paint!

I decided to try a waxed paint technique as taught by Annie Sloan.  I got the inspiration from this post:

I did not take pictures of the steps following.  I am sorry!!! I am still getting used to documenting for the blog.  But I painted the entire chest with two coats of my homemade chalk paint in brushwood by Glidden.  I then waxed the piece small bits at a time to prevent the wax from drying before white washing.  I was not real scientific with my wash.  But I used about 2/3 cup of paint and 1 tablespoon of water.  The paint in the wash was homemade chalk paint in Beautitone Goat Cheese.  You want your wash to be thin. 

I decided to start at the top of my piece and then move downward with the wash being carful not to slop on areas I was not working with.  I used a cloth to apply the wax then brushed on the wash.  The wash beaded against the wax.  I rubbed it off with an old cotton t-shirt.  I made sure to do it in long even strokes starting at one end and rubbing right off the other side to prevent uneven lines.  Once the white wash was dry I sealed it with an all over coat of Miss Mustard Seed Dark Wax.

I love the way it looks!  It reminds me of old barn boards.  This is a picture before I added the last coat of dark wax.

Here is the completed project: