Breakfast In A Bag

If you want to be a better homesteader, it starts with better breakfast. I don’t know if that’s true, actually, but it couldn’t hurt.

I’ve heard for years how much work it is to homestead, and I’ve countered that by saying it’s as much work as you want it to be. If you want to be a homestead gardener, you can have a huge garden or a small, but productive one. You can have all the animals, or just a few. Whatever you want out of your homestead is what you’ll put into it.

But lately, I would have to tell you – my goodness, homesteading is a lot of work.

Tending to 64 reckless birds, figuring out the lay of our land, fighting the rabbits for my wild roses, trying to get a garden to successfully grow in raised beds we’re still building… The list goes on.

Hubs has been on carpenter duty for so long now with the raised beds, the chicken tractors, little projects here and there. Every time I think I can make something easier on him, it seems like we end up with another project instead.

Recently, I’ve been doing whatever I can to preserve food ahead of August, because August is usually prime harvest/canning/crazy season. I’m also trying to utilize whatever I can from my freezer, to make room for the meat birds we’ll be processing in eight weeks time. Whatever work I can do now, to free up time and space later, I’ve been trying to just get it done.

Not to mention, everything we preserve now makes for easy peasy winter meal making. The less energy I have to rustle up in the cold weather, the better.

Where’s the Beef?

I took several packages of beef soup bones out of our freezer, and knew they had to get put to use soon. They’re from last summer’s beef order, and I still have soup bones from this past fall, and this recent spring.

I decided to let them simmer overnight in water, making their own broth. Then, I pulled the meat out (which had already fallen off the bones), separated it from as much of the fat as possible, and canned it up.

This meat can be used for soups, stews, pastas, stir-fry, rice dishes – the list goes on. One of the things I can use it for, is pairing it with my beef/lentil/pasta soup mix I prepared from my Meals In A Jar book. Most importantly, it now takes up zero space in my freezer, and will stay fresher, longer, as a result of being canned.

I got nine pints of meat from those soup bones, and I’m really quite pleased with that! There is a lot of meat on soup bones, so if you buy your meat from a butcher (like I recommend you do, and soon) don’t ever pass up on the soup bones.

Meat Canning Disclaimer:

I should add a little “by the way” remark here. I’m not a big fan of canned meat. I never have been. However, I’ve learned (from testing and trying) that home canned meat tastes better and holds a better texture when it’s canned in broth, rather than canning in plain water. If you’re not a fan of canned meat, I’d recommend trying canning with broth instead of water and see if it makes a positive difference for you.

A Tasty Failure

Along with canning up the soup bone meat, I canned several half-pints of chokecherry jelly from the chokecherries we picked. My first batch didn’t set, so I had chokecherry syrup instead. Again. This is not the first time my jelly canning has resulted in syrup. The good news is, the syrup is really delicious and a fun breakfast addition.

It gave me an idea, though, to make a gift for our neighbors.

Ever since our neighbor passed away, I’ve been trying to think of ways to be more intentional in building a friendly relationship with our nearby neighbors. We don’t have next-door neighbors in the sense of someone being directly next to or nearby us. It takes more than just a simple stroll to get to another front door.

But they’re near enough where you can hear a voice carried by the wind, or I can hear their rooster crowing, or their car moving along their driveway.

We’ve yet to meet our nearest nearby neighbors. I think they moved in sometime in April or early May.

Then there are neighbors down the road who I’ve spoken with before, but only briefly, and want to get a chance to visit more with them.

The chokecherry syrup got me thinking of a gift I’ll be dropping by their houses soon in hopes of formally introducing ourselves and getting to know our nearby neighbors.

Breakfast in a Bag

I threw together the dry ingredients for our favorite buckwheat pancakes and put them in a jar, screwing some scrap fabric over the lid. Then, I wrote the recipe for the pancakes on a recipe card, and stuck that in the bag as well. Of course I paired the pancake mix with a little jar of chokecherry syrup. And, for our neighbors who don’t have chickens, I put half a dozen eggs in the bottom of the bag as well.

Thus was born: breakfast in a bag!

It turns out my mess-up of making syrup instead of jelly will be the very thing that gets me out and about, learning more of who our neighbors are and building a relationship with our local folks.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Farmer John recently, and all he taught us on being neighborly. We still have his metal chair and it currently sits out on our walkway, where I can go watch the scenery from the comfort of the shade. I miss that man so much, and wish he was around to pop in on us now and then. I know he’d love getting breakfast in a bag.

While I know no neighbor can ever replace Farmer John, I hope to have as endearing a relationship with these nearby neighbors as we did with him.

And I hope breakfast in a bag is the first excuse of many to drop in our nearby neighbors.

One Reply to “Breakfast In A Bag”

  1. So much love for this post. I’m a muffin giver. Probably because I don’t have chickens yet for the sharing of the eggs….or because I really love a warm muffin with butter and my husband won’t eat any so I have to get them out of the house. Anywhoooo, your heart to share and your desire to know your neighbors makes me happy. Just thought you might want to know that.

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