The Time Laura Canned Chicken Broth in a Pressure Cooker and Didn’t Blow Up Her Kitchen

I’ve been putting this off for my entire 22 years of married life.

See, I’ve been canning acidic foods like applesauce and tomato sauce from the time my kids were little because all you have to do is run those jars through a water bath to seal them. Easy. Not scary. Anyone can do it.

applesauce_2

For such a long time, I’ve so badly wanted to branch out and can less acidic food items (like veggies and meat) that have to be processed in a pressure canner.

But alas. I was afraid of blowing myself up.

#truestory
#noshame

Not only have I aspired to learn how to pressure can, I’ve actually had my mom’s pressure canner in my basement for 12 years. Every year I would be determined to learn to use it. Every year I would chicken out. It has provided a wonderful home for several spider families down in our basement, so at least it hasn’t been entirely useless.

I’ve had an excuse (beside the extreme fear thing) for letting it sit idle. The manual that originally came with the canner was long ago misplaced. Also, my mom has been gone for quite some time so I couldn’t ask her to teach me how to use it. I think we all know that we should never use a pressure canner without first knowing how to use it safely.

#feartheexplosion
#saynotobotulism

Don’t even tell me that I could have found a manual online or perhaps could have asked one of many dozens of women or men who could have taught me how to use one. I know this. Apparently I wasn’t ready to face my fears or wash the spider webs out of my canner.

Until now.

This year, I finally washed my pressure canner (goodbye spiders) and guess what? I learned to use it! I think my mama would be proud.

canning1

Have you ever seen a 43-year old act giddy like a little girl? That was me three weeks ago when I pulled my first jar of chicken broth out of my pressure canner. I did it! I DID IT!!!! The jars sealed. The broth is beautiful. More importantly, nothing blew up.

canning2

It truly wasn’t even hard.

Not only am I thankful to have finally conquered my fear of the pressure canner, I’m so excited to now have the ability to make more healthy convenience foods to keep in my pantry! Chick broth, Chili, Veggie Soup, the list goes on and on. This is going to be so amazing! (Once I get over my “don’t open those, they are just for looks” issue. I can’t help it. It’s fun to have and stare at full jars of home-canned food in the pantry.)

How I finally learned to use my pressure canner

After being afraid to even try using my pressure canner, I found what ended up being a wonderful teacher and confidence builder for me. I took the Home Canning With Confidence Mini-eCourse (which was full of videos so I could actually see how it all worked) and now here I am, canning like it’s 1970.

The course taught me about all the parts of my canner, showed me how to put it together and use it safely, gave me some great recipes, and by the time I had watched the videos and read through the downloads, I was so inspired and eager to get started that the spiders living in my canner didn’t have a chance.

home-canning-with-confidence_2x

Then I watched all the videos and read the downloads again, just to be safe. Shoot. I knew I was ready to do it but canning with a pressure canner still seemed like such a big deal.

Finally, I went for it!! (I may have also called my friend Tana for some moral support. She’s been pressure canning for years. She affirmed all I was doing and told me I was on the right track. Yay!)

Lookie!! I canned chicken broth in a pressure canner!

canning2

Once I canned my first batch of chicken broth and had busted my way through the learning curve, the pressure canning monster in me was unleashed.

I’ve since canned 14 jars of Chili and 14 jars of Vegetable Soup!!!! (All the exclamation marks show how a 43-year old types like when she feels like a giddy little girl.)

canned-soups

This is, in some ways, even better than freezer cooking because:

  • Jars go in the pantry, saving freezer space!
  • I don’t have to thaw anything. We have ready-made soups and broth in the pantry ready to go!

Afraid of the Pressure Canner?

Don’t be. I mean, I get it. You know I get it. But all it takes is having someone to teach us how to do it and then boom! A whole new world is opened up to us in the kitchen! Pressure canning is actually not even hard. I thought it would be. But nope. It’s easy.

If you have any interest in canning at all, take this Home Canning With Confidence eCourse. Do you know how much time and money we’ll all save ourselves? It’s even worth buying a pressure canner if you don’t have one. I was ready to click the purchase button on a new one if my mom’s decided it was too old. That’s how motivating the eCourse was to me.

I’d love to hear if you are a fan of pressure canning and how you like to use it!

How to Bless a New Mom

It’s no secret that I jump at the chance to take a meal to a new mom – just so I have the delightful opportunity to snuggle a newborn. Obviously, I love that this provides a win-win since the tired mama doesn’t have to cook. But oh a newborn.

If you’re a mom, you remember. You’re so, so happy because your baby has finally arrived and you love getting to know your new little one. But you’re tired and weepy and crampy and sweaty and all kinds of hormonal. I remember all of it (x4) and I remember how every single person who did even a little thing for me during those weeks blessed me tenfold.

Meals brought to my family were a life saver. People who helped with my older kids were rock stars. I even had someone come over and take down my Christmas tree and decorations after my December baby was born. People cleaned for me, scrubbed my bathtub for me – wow. I’ve been blessed.

Hopefully you’ve been on both the receiving end and the giving end of these kind of blessings. And here’s a new one for you:

Blessing a new mama who doesn’t live close to you.

How many times has someone you love had a baby – but they don’t live close enough for you to run by and lend a hand or deliver a casserole? Not all the babies can be born in our hometowns. If only.

My dear friend Tracy created what I declare to be genius: Blue Box Gifts

Blue Box Gifts

You order the box, they fill it packed full of goodness for a new mama, and ship it off. Just think. Whether the new mama is experiencing a day in which she is feeling particularly joyful or particularly weepy (or any lovely combination of both) – she will receive her Blue Box Gift in the mail – from you. Inside she’ll find:

  • Sugar Scrubs
  • Lip Balm
  • Bath Petals
  • Bath Salts
  • Aromatherapy Rice Bag (to warm up and place on painful areas – even for breast engorgement!)
  • A Hand-Stamped Mom Necklace
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea

Doesn’t that sound like a joy to open?

Tracy sent me a box to check out, which arrived the very day I was planning to take a meal to one of my good friends who just had her third baby. Instead of unpacking the box myself, I got to enjoy watching my friend Tasha unpack it.

bluebox1

Everything inside the Blue Box is super high quality, practical, and special for a new mom. What a great way to bless someone who lives far away (or sure, closeby). :)

Blue Box Gifts is offering a 10% discount to all of us here! Use the code: heavenlyhomemaker10 at checkout to send a Blue Box Gift to bless a special new mom.

TIP: Split the cost of this gift with a group! Co-workers, friends, ladies’ groups – everyone can pitch in and for minimal cost, you’ll all send a wonderful gift!

What are some ways you’ve blessed a new mom?

Quick! Today you can get a free programmable Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker!

I’ve been saving most of the deals I share with those who have signed up for our Homemakers Savings Club, but this one is too good not to shout about to everyone possible! (If you received an email about this already, sorry to be repetitive. It’s just that THIS DEAL!!! Everyone needs to know.)

Get a free Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker!

TODAY ONLY, as long as supplies last, we can all get a completely free Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker. Even if you don’t need it for yourself, get it and save it for a Christmas or wedding gift! Because it’s free.

hamilton beach slow cooker

 

How to Get Your Free Slow Cooker

1. Click through this link and sign up for an account with TopCashBack. (This offer is only available for brand new TopCashBack members, but if you already have an account, you can sign up with a different email address because they allow more than one account per household.)
2. Look for an email from TopCashBack and CONFIRM YOUR ACCOUNT. This is important so that you will get your money back in full!
3. Once your account is confirmed, go to this TopCashBack page (if it hasn’t already redirected you) where you’ll see the details of this offer.
4. Click through the pink “Get Cash Back” button, which will take you to the Hamilton Beach 5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker at Walmart.com, which costs $24.94.
5. Purchase that slow cooker and nothing else! (That’s important – adding other items to your cart will mean you won’t get your money back on this. Only add the specific slow cooker on the page.)
6. Check out using “site to store” or “in store pick-up” so you don’t have to pay shipping. You may need to pay a couple dollars in tax, which is minimal considering you’re getting a free slow cooker!
7. Walmart will email you when your slow cooker is available for pick-up. Go grab it and revel in the fact that you just got an amazing, free appliance or gift!
8. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will turn payable (as long as you’ve confirmed your account via the email they sent you when you signed up), reimbursing you the $24.94 you spent. You can have the money transferred to your paypal account, your bank account, or you can get it back as an Amazon card!
That’s it! A free slow cooker!
I’ve been working with TopCashBack for several years now and I always get the money back that they’ve promised. I love it when they send out freebie deals like this one!
This offer ends Thursday, September 1 at midnight, or earlier if the stores sell out. I’d do this now if I were you so you don’t miss it!!
Some of these links are my referral links.

Check Out These Infinity Jars! (And Enter To Win Some!)

I’ve just been introduced to the coolest jars and bottles. Check these out:

Infinity Jars

Why are these jars and bottles so dark? They’re made with ultra-violet glass, so when you store your light sensitive oils or homemade lotions in them, they are completely protected from sunlight!

I started using their Square Glass Bottle with Pour Spout for my Homemade Italian Dressing. I love it so much! It keeps the high quality olive oil I use in the dressing from going rancid – and the pour spout saves us from messes.

infinity jars1

I’m using a second Square Glass Bottle for maple syrup since it makes it so much easier to pour than the 1/2 gallon jug I bought.

infinity jars oil bottle with spout

The tall square jars with spouts are my favorite of all the options Infinity Jars offers, and here’s my second favorite…

It’s an amazing Glass Roller Applicator Bottle that I’m using for essential oils. I pay good money for high quality oils, so I love that the ultra-violet glass protects the oil. I’m using this particular roller bottle for our “Pan Away” type oils so we can apply it easily to sore muscles. It’s fantastic.

infinity jars roller bottle

I keep getting lost on the Infinity Jar site because they have so many different varieties I want to check out. They even have Vanilla Bottles, which you know is what I’m looking into next for my homemade vanilla!

Considering the high quality of jars and bottles they carry, I’m very impressed with their prices and the fact that they offer freebies with orders as low as $25. New customers get a 10% discount, and orders over $100 get free shipping (plus additional freebies).

As if all those offers weren’t amazing, Infinity Jars is also offering us a giveaway this week! Because these are my favorites, they’ll give one winner one of each of these:

500 ml Square Glass Bottle with Oil Spout
30 ml Glass Roller Applicator Bottle

Enter to win through the Rafflecopter, and I’ll inform the winner next Wednesday, August 24.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

Why My 11-Year Old Is Excited About History This Year

We’ve always had Legos or Magnetix or some other hands-on activity for our boys to work with while I read History to them. They listen and learn so much better this way, and I always recommend this to parents of young kids! But guess what we’re adding to this year’s History curriculum for Malachi?

These Christian History CDs.

Family Audio Adventures Set

This year Malachi gets to hang out in his Lego room (his favorite place in the world) while listening to History lessons from Heirloom Audio Productions. That’s right. School in the Lego room.

This is full on Christian History, in an amazingly fun audio format. Imagine “Adventures in Odyssey” as a history lesson that kids love. These CDs make history come alive! Kids and families can listen and learn while working in the kitchen, folding laundry, riding in the car, playing – anything!

Family Audio Adventures CDs

We haven’t officially started our school year yet, but I wanted to see how well these CDs would work for Malachi to learn while he builds his Lego city. He got the CD player set up and put in a disc. Every few minutes I’d pop in and say, “How’s the CD?” His responses?

  • “Good! These are really good!”
  • “The whole time I’m picturing everything that’s happening in my head.”
  • “Wait. I need to find out what happens…” (Silly me for interrupting at a peak point of the story!)
  • “Ooh, some of this is sad. Like what was happening to some of the people…”

And then he went on to tell me all about the story and the people, but then he stopped himself and said, “You know what? I think you should listen to these and I don’t want to give it away. You’d really like this.”

Love, love, love. This is school in its best form!

After experiencing just a few hours of Heirloom Audio Productions audio adventures, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to make these CDs a part of Malachi’s curriculum this year. I’ve always really enjoyed reading our history books to the kids through the years, and for sure I’ll still be doing that this year with Malachi. But these CDs share history in a way I never could. They make history come alive, with all the voices and sound effects.

What’s better is that Heriloom Audio Productions is offering all Heavenly Homemaker’s readers a very special deal on their great set of history CDs! Please do click over to read more about what they offer and take advantage of the special price. These discs can be listened to over and over and are a great investment for your family – for education and so much more. (Heads up – looks like the extra special low price is limited to the first few buyers!)

Special thanks to Heirloom Audio Productions for sending us these CDs and offering a great discount to all of us here!

Click here to learn more about this amazing way to learn Christian History with your family!

Drinking Snapple Straight Up Tea While Sporting a New Hairdo!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea. The opinions and texts are all mine.

It can always grow back, right? That’s what I kept telling myself when I was trying to decide if I was going to ask my hairdresser to take more than an inch off this time. Three inches, maybe? Four?

Phew, it’s a hard decision. I’ve had long hair for many years. I still want long hair. Matt likes my long hair. But I was feeling the need for something a little lighter, a little bouncier. So I went for it. (See pictures below. I’m loving it!)

Seeing as I was already in “the big city” nearby for my haircut, I took advantage of the opportunity to do some much needed grocery shopping before all my boys got home from church camp. While there, I grabbed a special treat for myself – this Snapple Straight Up Tea.

straight up

I really love a fun treat while I’m out on the town. I found Snapple Straight Up Tea at Hy-Vee for an affordable price.

How very great that the Snapple Straight Up Teas also come in so many varieties. I am particularly impressed that they have not just Sweet and Unsweetened – they have a Sorta Sweet option and a couple others too. These teas nix the high fructose corn syrup and instead use real sugar or honey. Your options are:

  1. Sweet
  2. Sorta Sweet
  3. Unsweetened
  4. Sorta Sweet Honey Green
  5. Sorta Sweet Rooibos

Snapple Straight Up Tea

I love that Snapple Straight Up Tea uses real sugar and natural ingredients. It’s great to have this as an option when I need a pick me up! I chose the unsweetened flavor. That’s always been my favorite. With my new hairdo and my fun drink, I felt all kinds of refreshed as I was stocking up on good deals and groceries.

So speaking of good deals – Hy-Vee has an entire page of digital coupons, one of which offers you Buy-One-at-Hy-Vee-Get-One-Free savings on Snapple Straight Up Tea while they last. With that, you and your sweetie can both have a treat.

Snapple selfie with photo bomber

Don’t let the photo-bomber in the back of the van distract you from what is actually me, taking a moment out of my hectic summer afternoon to enjoy refreshment from what remained in my tea bottle. I’ve found that the tea has just enough kick to help me re-focus on everything that needs to be done for the afternoon – which in this case meant some focused ministry brainstorming with Matt while we were on the road to camp to visit our older boys.

One last bit of information I need to let you know about. While you’re sipping you’re Snapple Straight Up Tea, you can tune into the Snapple Straight Up radio station on Pandora. Yes, it’s actually a thing. Type “True Tea Tunes” into the Pandora.com search bar. Your summer just got better, didn’t it?

Great for Your Kitchen and Home Remedies! Win a Stainless Steel Zester/Grater!

For some reason that we shall never understand, it took me until recently to grate the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange into recipes that called for this delicious addition.

Actually, I can attempt to offer some reasons – such as:

  • I don’t like recipes that take too many steps.
  • I only had a big stand up grater for a while, which actually did make zesting quite tedious.
  • That’s it. There are no other reasons.

Then I got a hand-held zester. Suddenly the job of rubbing a lemon rind across a grater to utilize that natural and delicious flavor was easy and quick. I think it goes without saying that my Low Sugar Cookies taste much more amazing when I take the few extra seconds to zest. Here, you need those recipes:

Low Sugar Lemon Melt-away Cookies

If you haven’t been a zester for all the reasons mentioned above, I’m happy to share that this little gadget can be a game changer in your kitchen.

zester grater

This, my friends, is a ECALOO Classic Stainless Steel Zester/Grater. I like the nice non-slip handle, but mostly I like the versatility in that you can use it to grate or zest cheese, lemon, citrus, ginger, garlic, onions, nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate and much more (even veggies). That it’s stainless steel means it’s safe for our food and easy to clean.

Today, they are giving one away to five different winners. Sign up below!

In addition, they are offering a 35% discount to everyone! Use the code H7WAL8BT to receive your discount from now to  7/30/2016.

As I’m learning more about making home remedies and trying new recipes, I’m finding that this zester/grater is fantastic for fresh ginger to use in the recipes. Ginger is a staple in home remedies, so I love that this gadget makes grating it so easy!

Here’s your chance to win one! Sign up here, then watch for an email on Wednesday, June 29 sharing the five winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big Discounts on Vanilla Beans and Coconut Oil

Typically now I only post deals like this directly to those on my Homemaker’s Savings Club list – but when the prices are this good and are being offered for two of my very favorite and most loved items – I’ve gotta share them with all of you!

First – Vanilla Beans are 20% off for three days!

This is perfect timing because June is a great month to begin making a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract. It takes 4-6 months for the extract to “brew” so if you start now, you’ll have delicious vanilla extract in time for Christmas gifts and baking!

I always buy my beans from Olive Nation because they are the best quality for the best price. Getting 20% off is huge, so take advantage. Use the code SAVE20 through June 15. As long as you don’t add anything else to your cart, you’ll also get automatic free shipping!

vanilla_beans

54-Ounces of Coconut Oil as low as $11.94!

Amazon is offering a 25% off coupon for Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Plus, you can pair it with your 15% subscribe and save discount. This takes the already low price of $19.89 all the way down to $11.94 – which is amazing! I’ve taken advantage of this deal several times because it’s too good not to. The quality of this oil is great!

spectrum coconut oil

In other fun news, I’m currently playing with two fun and refreshing summer recipes that are huge money savers and very delicious! Or at least they will be delicious with a little more tweaking. I’m still experimenting. :) One of them calls for two teaspoons of the Homemade Vanilla Extract I talked about above. That makes the recipe what it is!

Stay cool (assuming you’re experiencing the heat wave we are here in Nebraska)!

This post contains my affiliate links.

Lodge Cast Iron Griddle – Only $22.00!

Just a quick post to share that one of my favorite kitchen tools is 52% off right now!!!

Amazon has the Lodge LDP3 Reversible Double Play Grill & Griddle back on sale again for only $22.00.  I grabbed one of these a few months ago and am loving it!

lodge griddle

How to use your cast iron griddle

It’s great for pancakes, great for grilled cheese sandwiches, and great for my Cheesy Cauliflower Cakes recipe. I love that I can crank out a lot of food at one time because of this large cooking space. The griddle covers two stove-top burners. Once I get the heat regulated, this griddle works awesome!

My fav pancake recipes for your dining pleasure:

Grab your griddle before the price goes up. This price is amazing!!

This post contains affiliate links.

Get a “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” DVD FREEBIE!!!

star wars free!

Freebies like this. This is why you want to be a member of our Homemaker’s Savings Club!!

I just ordered my boys the latest Star Wars movie FOR FREE! All I have to do now is to pick it up.

Sound too good to be true? It’s true!! Every once in a while TopCashBack offers a freebie like this and it is for real. The movie is free. I ordered it online yesterday. I’m picking up our free movie when I go to Walmart for groceries today. My boys are just a little bit excited.

Sign up for our Homemaker’s Savings Club to learn how you can get Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD and Blue-ray for FREE! The deal ends April 10. Grab quickly!