Roast Beef and Barley Build the Best Cold Weather Soup

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2015. Since most of us have been experiencing bitter cold temperatures lately, we thought a good, hot soup is just what we need. Enjoy!

After a frantic few weeks of holiday cooking, you’re probably ready to put together some meals that are nearly heat and eat. Beef Barley Soup can do that for you, putting roast beef leftovers to good use, and adding barley for more protein and staying power. We usually plan for a chuck or arm roast that will allow us to have a pound or so of meat left, and we usually freeze a fourth to a half batch of the beef and barley soup made from the leftover beef. Continue reading

6 Things You’ll Only Find Here

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Here at Lehman’s, we’ve always had a serious penchant for the unique. The hard-to-find. The off-the-beaten-path. The antique-ish. Continue reading

Real Food, Real Life: City Girl Churns Butter

Alison and her husband Jacob.

Alison and her husband Jacob.

This might be the coolest blog post I’ve written in a long time, if not ever. It’s all about the magical, real essence of butter. Continue reading

Real Mince Pies Recipe, Straight from Olde England

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My younger sister spent a year of her college career as an exchange student to Leeds, England. There she learned many life lessons, including how to drink lots of tea, how to drive on the left side of the road, and how to make these rich mini pies, which are now a Christmas tradition in her household (and which I am lucky enough to devour when we visit her). Continue reading

Local Brothers Bake Up One of Our Best Holiday Goodies

Richard and pose in front of their giant gas baking oven, which is nearly 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Richard, left, and Steve pose in front of their giant gas baking oven, which is just under 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It can bake 50 loaves of stollen at once. The brothers moved the vintage oven from a school that closed to the bakery.

Everyone knows that Ohio’s Amish country bakeries are the best anywhere. Now we can share a traditional holiday treat with you: stollen bread. Continue reading

Homemade Maraschino Cherries: Easy, Delicious, Fun!

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I decided to try out a recipe for homemade Maraschino cherries for my summer beverage and dessert enjoyment. Who knew it was so easy – and soooo delicious? Continue reading

Coming Clean about Toockies®

Handmade, ultra-soft washcloths help Indian women support their families. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Handmade, ultra-soft washcloths help Indian women support their families. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

 

Here at Lehman’s, we’re all about values. The good buy sort of values, bedrock family values, and the value of helping improve a community. 

Amazingly enough, our Toockies Organic Cotton products cover all three. The woman-owned company manufactures a variety of organic cotton cloths and woven jute products for use in the kitchen, bath and living room.

Toockies founder Anna Marie Strauss started small in the early 2000s, working with co-founder Jaya Basu to teach women in Nababpur, India how to knit cotton washcloths, circulation gloves, cleaning cloths, scrub cloths and coasters. At the time, in this tiny village, employment, especially for women, was just about non-existent.  Continue reading

The Amish Way

The old barn before rebuilding.

An old Amish barn before rebuilding.

A lot of folks idolize the Amish, and envy their way of life — even wishing there was some way they could live like that. It is a good life, but one that requires long hours of hard work, with many less conveniences than the rest of us enjoy. It is possible for any of us to live very simply, but the Amish lifestyle is so intertwined with faith and community, that to truly live like them would almost require joining them or a similar group. The Amish are devoted to a lifetime of living by the Bible and the obeying the rules of the church. Living in community and helping each other is one of the prime factors of their culture — both a blessing and a deep commitment to the group. Continue reading

What’s in Your Every Day Carry?

Every Day Carry, or EDC. It’s a thing. Who knew? I sure didn’t, until I stumbled across a video featuring Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame.

“Every Day Carry” is an inventory of the things you take with you on a daily basis. Think about what you have in your pocket or purse (or laptop bag!) and how you use it on a daily basis. How useful is everything in a pinch? What do you have handy that has you prepared to handle the ups and downs of the day?

pocketknife, penknife, Grandpa's knife, pocket knife

Grandpa’s Sunday Afternoon Pocketknife, at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

For me, EDC includes an EpiPen, a pocketknife, eyeglass cleaners and my keys. (My pocketknife is a lot like this one! It was my grandpa’s originally, and then my grandma gave it to me.) The eyeglass cleaning wipes come in handy: they clean my glasses, my cell phone screen, my car’s GPS/control panel screen, and I use them to wipe the inside of my windshield in a pinch. Another piece of hardware I’m seriously thinking about adding to my purse is a 3-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver. It’ll clip to an interior pocket, and it’s lightweight. I can use it to keep my glasses snug, pop open electronics and soda cans, and open letters.

Clip it on your pocket, and take three handy screwdrivers wherever you go. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Clip it on your pocket, and take three handy screwdrivers wherever you go. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

In Your Bag

salve, balm, lotion

Rosebud Salve: use for lips, hands, even small skin irritations. It’s a great multi-tasking every day carry item. At Lehman’s in Kidron, or Lehmans.com.

Small means mighty. The Pocket Screwdriver and Pocket Dentist, for instance. Keep your kit as streamlined as possible (especially if you’re active), so it doesn’t weigh you down. Just a pen or two, only the cash you’ll need for the day, just one credit card in case of emergencies. Wallets are the worst collectors of daily bulk. If you’re driving carpool, keep the children’s necessities in the car if at all possible. Can you get by with just a pack of tissues, and a portable pack of wipes in your bag? A flat tin for balm is reusable as a pill box when the balm is used up. I keep my keys and pocketknife on a carabiner, but if you want something less bulky, consider one of these saddle pins. It’s easy to remove keys or individual items.

Look at everything you carry with a view to multi-purposing if possible.

In Your Vehicle
Sure, the standard stuff: antifreeze, oil, windshield washer fluid. But think about what’s compact and may help you in pinch: a foldable shovel, a blanket, an extra phone charger, spare hat, gloves and a scarf; water, snacks…the list could go on. You want to be able to put everything in a container, and keep it nice and tidy, and obviously, you don’t want it to take up tons of room in the car. And contrary to popular opinion, snow isn’t the only weather danger in the latter half of the year. Driving rainstorms that can lead to flash flooding can be equally dangerous. If you’re stranded on high ground, make sure your kit has items that will keep you a little more comfortable.

Emergency survival kit

Emergency survival kit, at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

In Your Home
Do you have enough water and food to last you at least 72 hours, should the need arise? Check out some of the blogs right here for ways to get a small stash together should you need to: just type “preparedness” into the search box, and a list will pop right up. 

Kits are available too, and Lehman’s has a nice one packed into a practical, straight-sided square bucket that won’t take up tons of storage room.

At the very least, make sure you have a few gallons of water per person and food that you can eat without heating up–or food you can heat over a fire or on a cookstove. Have a day or two worth of wood for that fire or cookstove inside the house or garage too. Store it someplace where it’s handy, and will stay dry. If the weather is too bad to go outside, it’s going to make a wet mess of your firewood too. You won’t want to wait for it to dry out so you can dry out and stay warm.

Simple Tricks to Keep Apples and Pears Fresh In Freezer!

 

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Canning apples is wonderful, but sometimes you just have too many apples to get processed before they start to go bad. That’s when the freezer comes in awfully handy!

Step by Step Guide on How to Freeze Apples

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water
  2. Sprinkle enough table salt in the water to cover the bottom of the bowl (this is done to keep the apples from turning brown while you are cutting the remainder of the apple)
  3. As you cut the apples or pears, drop them into the bowl of salt water
  4. Once bowl is full, strain fruit and drain water out of bowl. 
  5. Place fruit into Ziploc bags or freezer safe containers
  6. Place fruit into freezer

How I learned how to Freeze Apples

One of the great things about freezing apples is that you can thaw them for a pie, toss them with sugar and cinnamon for baked apples, or even save them to can when it’s more convenient.

There’s a trick to freezing apples, though. Do it wrong, and they’ll turn a completely unappetizing shade of brown.

In the past, I’ve tried following the recommendation of soaking apples in a bowl with lemon juice added to prevent the slices from turning brown as I processed them. But that never did really work well for me. They always seemed to turn brown no matter what I did.

Adding citric acid, or Fruit Fresh, can also prevent your chopped fruit from turning.

Ball Fruit Fresh

Fruit Fresh is another thing you can use to keep preserved fruit looking good. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

But I just hate to have to stop and run out to get just one thing.

I’d finally given up on trying to freeze fresh apples and pears, until one day when I happened to meet a woman who taught me her secret. My family had taken a day trip to the mountains, and we stopped at a quaint little Mom & Pop Diner for lunch. As I got my four children seated in the little booth, I smiled at the sweet elderly couple who sat at the table adjacent from us.

My husband was up at the front placing our order when the nice lady leaned over and said, “What beautiful children you have!” I thanked her, of course, and the ice was broken for a conversation to ensue.

I told her we were looking at some property for sale in the area, and she began telling me all about how much she loved the area and about her own home there. She shared that she had fruit trees…My ears perked up when she mentioned her trees, and I asked her if she canned her apples and pears.

She shook her head. “Oh no, I don’t do much canning anymore. I just freeze my fruit now. It’s much easier.” Curious, I asked how she managed to keep her fruit looking nice in the freezer. And to my delight, she shared the trick she’d learned from her mother growing up.

Ball Preserving and Pickling Salt

You can use Ball’s Preserving or Pickling Salt too! Rinse well. At Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Before she starts cutting up her fruit, she gets a large bowl and fills it with ice cold water. Then, she sprinkles enough table salt in the bowl to cover the bottom (she doesn’t ever use any measurements).

As she cuts her apples or pears, she drops the slices into the bowl of salt water to keep them fresh as they wait for the rest of the batch to join them.

When the bowl is full, she strains off the fruit, rinses and drains it well, then packs it into Ziploc bags or freezer-safe containers to be stored in the freezer. I asked her if the fruit ever tastes salty, and she said it never did, you just have to rinse it well.

As I eagerly listened to her explaining her method, I could hardly wait to give it a try myself. Before we headed back home, I found some locally grown apples and pears, and determined to freeze them using her instructions.

And guess what? It worked beautifully!!

Freezer bag of frozen apples

My apples, frozen and gorgeous! It just takes table salt and a good rinse.

I couldn’t have been more excited. My fruit looked just as white and crisp as it did the moment I cut it. And it stayed that way for months, until I was ready to whip up my favorite fruit crisps.

If you’ve ever wondered how to freeze apples and pears… now you know! Like I said, canning fruit is a lovely thing to be able to do, and I highly recommend that everyone learn how.  But when you need a little change of pace, freezing is the way to go!

Editor’s Note: This post was first published in November 2013.