Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lemon Balm Cough Drops

That's right! I actually did it! Found a good use for lemon balm. One that I will want to make again!

I have allergies here, I don't know to what (my doctor is just not real good) so I cough a lot. I play violin and it vibrates my throat and causes more coughing. Once I start coughing there is nothing to do but just let it happen. My throat stays clogged. Cough drops help. I like the lemon and honey ones. So I had been looking at recipes for making cough drops at home and came up with the idea to use the lemon balm.

Lemon balm is in the mint family. It is considered a calming herb as some studies have shown that it reduces stress in people who took it and another herb valerian. Oil from the leaves contain terpenes which play at least some role in the herb's relaxing and antiviral properties. It also contains tannins, which may be responsible for lemon balms antiviral effects. Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which can calm muscle spasms, numb tissues and kills bacteria.

I went out and collected a large handful of lemon balm from the wild jungle of them that grow at the end of our house and I rinsed them off.

I boiled them for 5-10 minutes and then drained off the water. You need enough water after you drain it for 2 1/2 cups. 

Put the 2 1/2 cups back in the pan and add 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Bring to a boil. Turn the fire down to medium and let it keep boiling. (I have seen recipes that just use honey but I just thought that would be too strong a honey taste). 

You have to boil this to the hard ball stage on your candy thermometer. Then shut it off and give it a minute to cool before you start dripping it from a spoon onto a lightly greased sheet pan. Just so you know, this was the second batch I made. The first one I used waxed paper and they are still stuck on that waxed paper in my trash can so I strongly suggest you just lightly grease the pan.

It didn't look like much but I needed two pans.

Let it cool and then take the tip of a sharp knife and gently pop them off the pan.

They do stay slightly sticky so you have to dust them with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to each other. I then just wrapped them in the  paper towel and put them in a paper bag which I hope will keep moisture away as we are so humid here all the time. 

These did taste really good and I hope will be useful with my cough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

8 Jars of Organic Carrots

As some of you who are friends we me on facebook know, we finally bought a new, larger air conditioner that actually keeps the house nice and cool so now I am able to do more things canning...that I have been wanting to do but it was too hot to do before. Anyway, today was a canning day. I had gotten these bags of organic carrots this week marked down to $ .99 each plus I had gotten two vegetable "party" trays that also had two sections each of carrots in them (for $2.50 each. They also had a section of celery, broccoli and podded peas that I will use for other things). I took them all out of the bags and sliced them up mainly because Phil likes them this way.

That pan wasn't quite large enough and I had to switch to a bigger one. 

I brought them to a boil and boiled them a few minutes. Meanwhile the jars were put in the canner and were sterilizing.

Then I packed the carrots into the jars, ran a knife around the edges to remove air bubbles, added about a 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar and then into the pressure canner for 25 minutes.

After all eight jars were filled there was some left...

..I put it in a freezer bag. Just the right amount for a meal.

And here are all the jars. The tops have all popped down and they are ready to be dated and labeled and put on the shelf.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Carpet Cleaning Solution

I should be butchering chickens this week...but I'm not. It always seems like a good idea until you actually have to butcher them...
Anyway, I did get the carpet cleaned. I have had several Bissell carpet cleaners ever since we have had dogs and cats in the house because while I keep the dogs on flea prevention, the fleas still get in the house and all the spray in the world will not get rid of fleas like a carpet cleaner can, PLUS..unfortunately we have not had much luck training Suzie and the livingroom has to be cleaned on a regular basis.
This is the current model of carpet cleaner I have
and it has always worked pretty good, however, the cleaning solution is fairly expensive. We started making our own solution a few years ago and never bought any again. It is so simple.

To a gallon jug add :

1/4 cup laundry soap (liquid works best and the better laundry soap, the better it works)
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. baking soda

Fill the rest of the jug with water and shake it up. Fill your cleaning solution container completely with this solution instead of just filling it to the mark with solution like you usually would. Works great.