Freezing Fire Roasted Chili Peppers

My Anaheim Chili Pepper plants are producing an overabundance of really nice sized peppers!  Since I don’t want to waste any of this bounty, I decided to freeze them.  Whole Anaheim Chile Peppers

The first task was to prepare them for the grill.  I washed them, cut them in half and then seeded them.  You may prefer to grill them whole and then seed them later, but I find cutting and seeding them first is easier.  If you do cut them first, make sure you slice the curled ones in half so that you see a “C”, so they will lay flatter on the grill.

chili peppers - 2

Place the peppers on the grill, skin side down.  What you want to get is a generalized brown, blistered skin.  In fact, you may think you have burned the chile pepper, but remember that the skin is to be peeled off.  In fact, the more the pepper is browned, the more flavor goes into the flesh of the chile, and they are easier to peel.

chili peppers - 3

 

As you pull each chile off the grill, place it immediately in some kind of container that will keep the peppers hot and the steam in.  This helps to make the peppers easier to peel.

chili peppers - 4

Peel the skin off each pepper.  You don’t have to be perfect and if some skin doesn’t want to come off, you can scrape it off with a knife, or just forget about it!

chili peppers - 5

One trick I found that makes peeling the peppers easier is to keep a bowl of water nearby because the peels tend to want to stick to your fingers.  Just dip your fingers in the water when the peel sticks and the peel just slips off into the water!

chili peppers - 6

Now, to freeze the peppers, place them in a single layer on parchment paper you have placed over a cookie sheet.  They freeze very quickly – in about an hour – so I don’t bother covering them with plastic wrap or anything.  I prepare freezing bags with my sucky machine (aka Food Saver) while the peppers are freezing.  Then I make dinner!  What else, but Chile Relleno Casserole!   Recipe is below.

chili peppers 11

Once the Fire Roasted Chile Peppers are frozen, I stack enough of them to make one recipe of the Chile Relleno Casserole, and then freeze them in the vacuum seal bags.  They will last for more than a year like this in the freezer!

chili peppers - 12  And now for the recipe: Recipe for Chile Rellenos CasseroleLayer the chiles and the monterrey jack cheese. No need to thaw chiles if they are frozen.

Chile relleno casserole

Pour on the egg mixture, then add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.Chile Relleno Casserole

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour, until the cheese is golden brown and there is some bubbling action going on toward the middle of the casserole.

Chile Relleno Casserole

Enjoy!  This is a great meatless meal.  I like to add a fruit or green salad on the side and it is sooooo good!  For another recipe using whole fresh Anaheim Chiles,  click HERE

 

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Outhouse Update!

We have a floor!

😀

Hubby and I worked on the outhouse again this weekend.  If you haven’t seen the previous posts, you can see them here – We’re Building An Outhouse,  The Outhouse – Part 2,  and Fixtures for the Outhouse.

When we arrived at the future homestead on Friday evening, we settled in for the night as the sun was already starting to set, and we knew we were going to need a lot of energy for our tasks the next morning.  Early Saturday morning we uncovered the hole we had dug and were happy to discover that no critters had fallen to their demise at the bottom of the pit.  Whew!

The first thing we needed to do was get the footing poured and the first course of concrete block set.  This didn’t take to long as we did it the lazy man’s way – dig a trench, pour in dry concrete, set blocks on top, pour in water and let it sit for a minute – then make sure the first course of block is reasonably level.  Foundation footing for outhouse and first coarse of concrete blocks

* Please note:  Neither hubby nor myself are professional bricklayers, nor are we professional builders.  If you see a wall that looks a little kaddywampus, a concrete block that isn’t quite level, or something that seems awry – it probably is.  If it is functional and looks decent, we go with it.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.  It’s an outhouse, for heaven’s sake!

The next thing we did was to pound three foot rebar into some of the holes in the concrete block, drive them down through the footing and into the earth, but leaving about 7 inches above the concrete block to tie into the next course.  Then the rebar was cemented in.  rebar in blocks and filling in blocks with concreteSo far everything was going well.  The walls were reasonably straight and the cement blocks were fairly level.  At this point we put mortar between each block, then began setting the second course of block.  This second course will be above ground and you can see the opening where the door will eventually be.  In each corner and in the middle of the long walls hubby Ray placed a J-Bolt, which will tie the sill plate (2 x 6 laid flat) to the cement block structure.  This is pretty much the same way we built our tool shed.

 

Also, since the second course of cement block was narrower than the bottom foundation block, we married the two with a bed of sloping mortar, which you can see along the back side and half way to the front on each side wall.

Second course of cement block with J-Bolts

At this point, with the footing and foundation block pretty solid, hubby Ray got back into the hole and dug it out a little closer to the edge of the footing.  And that was the end of Saturday.

Sunday morning woke us up a bit sore and creaky, but we wanted to get the floor of the outhouse poured before we had to go back home for the week.  So we had breakfast, two Advil, and a strong cup of coffee to prepare for more work.

The first thing we had to do was to place some supporting rebar across the opening of the hole, along with some 2 x 4’s to support the weight of the concrete floor that we were going to pour.  Ray cut cement board to fit around the supporting foundation block (that block in the middle of the floor area that looks out of place) which goes over the rebar and 2 x 4’s.  Then he cut a piece of scrap lumber for the back edge of the floor and wedged it into place, and a scrap 2 x 4 was secured with stakes at the door to the level we wanted the concrete to come to, with a slight slope down toward the door.  Once the foundation for the floor was all secure, we threw in all the rocks that had been excavated from digging the pit. Preparing outhouse floor to pour concrete

Next came washed river rock pebbles, to fill in voids between the rock.  We wanted the actual concrete to be about 3-4 inches thick and we had seven 80 pound bags of concrete mix, so we added only enough pebbles needed to make up the difference.  Then we added more rebar that would be imbedded within the concrete, to give it a more rigid structure.  It was important that this floor be structurally sound because it overhangs half of the pit! The floor all ready to pour concrete!

We were finally ready to pour the concrete floor!  How exciting!  With hubby Ray mixing the concrete in the wheelbarrow, then dumping it onto the floor, my task was to spread it out as evenly as possible.  Not a difficult job, just backbreaking!  It didn’t take us too long to get all the concrete poured in, and once Ray was finished mixing all the concrete he began  cleaning up the wheelbarrow and tools while I leveled and smoothed the concrete. outhouse cement block foundation with concrete floorI tried my best to get the concrete highest in the back, sloping toward the door, so that when I want to spray off the floor with the hose it will drain out easier.  We will see how well I did when we go back up to the future homestead to start framing up the structure. Of course, we covered the pit again before we left to protect the neighborhood animals from falling in!

 

So, what do you think?  Are we doing all right so far?       😉

 

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Black Turtle Beans

For my practice garden I wanted to try growing things I have never grown before, and one crop I wanted to try was beans – the kind you use dried.  Years ago I grew green beans in our backyard – the common pole bean – which just about everyone tries at one time or another.  But I had never grown beans that would be used dried.

So, this past winter when I ordered our Worm Farm from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, I was offered 5 free seed packets because my order was over $100.  One of the seed packets I purchased was the Black Turtle bean.  I think I ordered this variety partly because I liked the name.  🙂Black Turtle Beans

It was a bit difficult getting them to germinate.  I guess the soil wasn’t warm enough when I first planted them and some that did germinate got uprooted by our neighborhood cats.  Eventually I had a total of 7 plants;  four on one hill and three on the other.  Their blooms are a purple-pink color, absolutely beautiful!  When the bumble bees started visiting the blossoms I knew we would have a good crop.

The package said that the plants would get 18-24 inches tall and they were a bush type.  Well, ours got a bit taller.  We decided to give them a trellis to climb on, which turned out to be a good thing because it was then easier to see the bean pods and kept them off the ground.  The package also said that since they were a bush type, that all the beans would produce their fruit over a few weeks’ time and to leave the pods on the plant until they had completely dried.  Well, I have been harvesting dried pods for a couple of weeks now and the plants are still flowering!  It looks like they are behaving more like the tried and true string bean type plants in that the more of them I harvest, the more blossoms the plant puts on! Flowering Black Turtle Beans

I have harvested a handful of dried pods every few days for the past two weeks and so far, from the 7 plants, I have 7-1/2 ounces of the shelled black beans, or almost exactly 1 cup. A quick assessment of the plants and developing pods reveals that I will harvest at least twice as much, if not more, than I already have. Not bad for just 7 plants!   7-1/2 ounces of black turtle beans

I know, I know.  Many of you will say that I could go down to the local grocery store and buy a pound of black beans for a dollar, and that’s true.  But at least I know where my beans came from.  They are heirloom and non-GMO.  And mine were grown completely without pesticides or harsh chemical fertilizers!  Can you say that for the store bought variety?  Besides, separating the beans from the pods is a very cathartic activity.  Separating the black turtle beans from their pods

So, will I grow these Black Turtle beans again?  You bet I will!  Only next time I will grow a lot more, planting them in succession as the seed packet suggests.

 

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The Grandma Thing

I got the opportunity to do the grandma thing this week and I have been having a blast! Wendy, my daughter-in-law and Mia, my granddaughter are up at Girl Scout Camp, so I got to stay in their home and play with my grandson, Silas, all week. Wendy had everything planned out for me, including all the meals, time schedules and free time activities we could do this week, which sure made things easy! Thank you, Wendy!  The added bonus was being able to visit with my son every evening when he got home from work.

Silas and I went to swimming lessons:

He was pretty good at learning how to float!  At the end of the lesson he was able to jump off the diving board!

He was pretty good at learning how to float! At the end of the lesson he was able to jump off the diving board!

We went to gymnastics class:

Learning how to be a monkey at gymnastics class - it comes natural for Silas!

Learning how to be a monkey at gymnastics class – it comes naturally for Silas!

We went Miniature Golfing:

This was the absolute cutest 18 hole miniature golf I have ever had the pleasure to see!  Silas beat grandma - but we didn't bother with the score card.  :)

This was the absolute cutest 18 hole miniature golf I have ever had the pleasure to see! Silas beat grandma – but we didn’t bother with a score card    🙂

We had a picnic at the park:

We had a picnic at the park and Silas found a new friend who is also starting kindergarten next month!

We had a picnic at the park and Silas found a new friend who is also starting kindergarten next month!

We also saw the movie “Turbo”;

Turbo was a very cute movie and Silas thoroughly enjoyed it.  We ate a lot of popcorn.....mmmmm.... so good.

Turbo was a very cute movie and Silas thoroughly enjoyed it. We ate a lot of popcorn…..mmmmm…. so good.

I had a wonderful week bonding with Silas and I hope he did too! He is a very polite and well behaved boy and I am proud to be his grandma!  We had popcorn for lunch one day and an ice cream cone for lunch a day later (sorry Wendy) and he got to bed late almost every single night!  Perhaps I should feel guilty that I didn’t follow all the rules, but I don’t because I know these are the times he will remember and I want him to remember me fondly.

Now I have to go home and rest – I’m exhausted!  No wonder you have kids when you are young!   🙂

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