Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reality Bites and canning kidney beans

R and I have been talking about me taking over the bills and Quicken. He just simply doesn't have the time anymore. I'm busy as well, but have far more disposable time. Yesterday we finally got around to it. Oh my, I hadn't realized that we were tight. He's been doing so well with the computers and we always seem to have cash around. Apparently he's been letting a few things build up and spending the cash. It isn't bad. I guess I shouldn't be too upset, but it is more than I thought. The good thing is that it will be easily fixed. As long as the business continues to be busy.
Overtime at the station hasn't been very plentiful, but he did get a 14 hr night last night. That will certainly help.

R has always taken care of the bills in our 12 years together. I never really liked doing it and he has always loved numbers. When we met, I had 2 uncashed paychecks in my car door. He still thinks that is funny. At the time, I just couldn't have cared less. He took care of my mess of a checking account and made sure everything was paid. Well, times have changed. I'm more interested in making sure that we are financially sound. I really want to make sure that we can track spending and pay things off as quickly as possible. There are a few things that need to be paid off and I have a plan, but also think I may need to wait a month or 2 to see where things really go. It may be a little soon for me to jump in and start sending money off when it may be needed.

Along those same lines, I decided to can up some of my dried beans. I got them for very cheap and have tons and tons in the basement. While I am certainly capable of dealing with dried beans, it is much easier to open a jar or can when I feel the urge to make something. Also, lets face it beans are cheap and good for you and if I can use them more it will help with our health and our finances.

So, onto the process. These are being canned in pints which will equal a can in the grocery store. I found a recipe online that makes it quite easy. I got 14 jars from the basement and put them through the dishwasher to clean them. When they were done I put 3/4 cup in each jar and filled with water. Then I went to bed. This morning all the jars were nicely filled with rehydrated beans. How cool! I dumped the water and refilled with boiling water. The lids and rings had been washed and heated in water. I lidded them and put them in the canner. They are just coming up to pressure now. They will be canned at 11lbs pressure for 75 minutes.

I'm really excited about this and plan to can up 7 jars each of the rest of the bean types I have in the house. I have black beans, pintos, garbanzos(chick peas) and white beans. The kidney beans get used the most, so that is why I did 14 of them. When I'm all done with my canning, I'll make some Pasta Fagioli soup for the kids. They love this soup and it ends up being very much like an Italian chili. The recipe is adapted from a few recipes and is almost identical to the soup at Olive Garden. It can then be canned up without the pasta, which isn't safe to can. When I open a jar, I heat it up and cook the noodles in a seperate pan. It's nice healthy, hearty winter fare for lunches.

I really enjoy canning up these soups and meals in a jar. In the basement there are already a bunch of goodies. There is Minestrone soup, chili and turkey soup. I'd like to try canning my meatballs, but for the time being I make them and freeze in meal sizes. All of this is in an effort to save money and prevent the desire to go out to eat. Since many of these items are made with veggies from my garden and things that many people throw away. All my chicken and turkey carcasses are made into stock. The stock is then canned for later use. Since we eat a lot of turkey(its cheap, let's face it), there is a lot of turkey stock and turkey soups down there. It makes me feel good to do all this and help my family.

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