Thursday, June 28, 2012


I thought it was time to have a fun giveaway.  Since I have gotten so much enjoyment from all the canning and preserving I've been doing, I wanted you to have some fun too.

So, I'm giving away this wonderful book full of 400 wonderful recipes to make everything from jams, pickles, salsa, sauces and much much more.

If you have never canned or preserved anything, this is the book for you as it will take you step by step. 

If you have been canning and preserving for years, this is still  book you will love as it will give you so many great ideas on how to step up the flavors way beyond the normal simple canning/preserving recipes.

There are no hoops you need to jump through.  No long stories to tell or anything to like.  Just leave your name and a way for me to reach you.  I'll pick a winner by random drawing next Friday. 

I would love to hear your favorite recipe you love to can or preserve and would be thrilled if you shared.  But, if you don't want to take the time to leave it, that is fine, you can still win :)

Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I had taken some of my girls from my girl scout troop up to San Francisco for a few days.  We had a lot of fun.

One of the first places we stopped at was MUIR WOODS.  It's a beautiful place to spend hours at just taking in all of Mother Natures beautiful gifts to us.

It's located about 11 miles North of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Muir Woods is the home to the tallest Redwood Trees in the world.  They are so tall that it's often hard to see the tops of the trees. 

The smell is so wonderful!  It just smells so fresh there! 

They have different trails you can walk.  You can do a nice easy 1/2 mile walk if you like or you could go for one of the harder trails that take around 3 hours to complete.  Or you could go on one of the other ones that fall somewhere in between. 

No matter which one you take, you are garenteed to love it and see some of the most lovelyest sights you have ever seen.

I loved how many of the trees had a bright green moss on growing on them.  It looked almost like velvet.

Some of the tree trunks make fun photo locations.

We all loved every minute we spent there and wished we could have spent even more time but of course we had so much to see and do that we could only stay a few hours there.

We learned a lot there too.  Things like how forest fires are actually good for the trees because they burn all the dead stuff off the bottom of the forest and allows seeds to reach the soil to grow even more trees.

In this photo, the tree in the middle got burned.  All around it are trees that popped up from the seeds from the burning tree. 

This is also the location where the famous photographer, Ansel Adams, went to take his black and white photographs that now sell for thousands.

Muir Woods was also in several movies.  The Return of the Jedi, Rise of Plant of the Apes, The Lost World, Jurassic Park and Outbreak are some of the places you may have seen this beautiful forest.

If you ever get a chance to visit here, please do.  It's a great place that is often over looked but I promise you, if you take the time to go here, you will not be sorry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I am really loving canning all sorts of good food.  It's so nice to know that I have meals ready when I'm in a hurry or don't feel like cooking.  Have yummy jam that tastes like real fruit for my morning toast, cake fillings, or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Wonderful fresh salsa to enjoy as a snack or on my mexican meals. 

I found a recipe for White Chili that was made with chicken.  Since I don't eat meat, I made a few changes to the recipe and came up with my own White Bean Chili. 

After this heated up, stir in some sour cream and add some fresh grated cheese.  It will make this dish from wow to POW!

White Bean Chili

1 lb of white beans soaked but not cooked (I soaked for 6 hours)
6 cups chicken broth
1 med. onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic
7 oz canned green chili
1 lb bag frozen white corn
4 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp ground cayenne5 cups cut up chicken (I did not put this in mine since I don't eat meat)

Preparation: Jars, Lids, and Canner! Chop the onion, garlic, green chilis and set aside.

Put the beans in a big pot and cover with water. Add all the ingredients to a stainless steel or enameled cast iron pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Filling the jars: On a dishtowel place your hot jars in a semi circle leaving room for your pot that has your recipe. Add the mixture ¾ up from the bottom of each jar using your slotted spoon and the jar funnel. Try to add equal to each jar. Next add the broth liquid into the jars leaving 1” headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace if necessary. Taking a clean papertowel and wipe the rims of the jars with white vinegar removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".
Processing: Make sure your canning water has come to a simmer and place the jars in the pressure canner. Lock the lid and turn up the heat bring the canner to a boil. Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close the vent by adding the weighted gauge or pressure regulator (for dial gauge canner). Process pints for 75 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure (11 lbs for dial gauge canner) and quarts at 90 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and let pressure return to zero naturally. Wait two minutes longer and open vent. Remove canner lid. Wait 10 minutes then remove jars and place on dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.
Sealing: Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal. Remove rings for storage.

Makes 7 pints  ~ I used the new 1 1/2 pint jars and it made 5 jars.  However, I did not put the chicken in mine.

I hope you will try this and let me know what you think.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I love fresh peaches!  I also love peach pie!  Both fresh peach pie and cooked peach pie. 

So, since it is now summertime and fresh peaches are available I thought I would can some peach pie filling. 

It's so good to have these on hand.  You can quickly make a homemade pie by just dumping one of these jars into a pie crust.  Bake it and you have a wonderful pie.

I am not going to lie, it does take a little while to make these because you have to peel all the peaches and cut them up.  But, the good news is, you can make one jar at a time if you like.  Or you can make up to 7 batches at time.  Heck, you could even make more at a time if you have a big enough pot.

Here is the recipe if you would like to can some for yourself.

                                                    PEACH PIE FILLING

                                                1 Quart                       7 Quarts

Sliced fresh peaches         3-1/2 cups                       6 quarts

Granulated sugar             1 cup                                 7 cups

Clear Jel®                          1/4 cup + 1 tbsp              2 cups + 3 tbsp

Cold water                         3/4 cup                              5-1/4 cups

Cinnamon (optional)       1/8 tsp                               1 tsp

Almond extract (optional)   1/8 tsp                            1 tsp

Bottled lemon juice             1/4 cup                            1-3/4 cups

Start off by getting all your jars ready.  Clean, sterilized and kept hot.  Don't forget to have your seals warmed up by putting them in hot water.  Not boiling water, just simmering.

Peel your peaches.  You can do this by putting the peaches in boiling water for about a minute and then putting them right into cold ice water.  The skins will then come off very easy.

I just peeled mine by hand with a peeler.  Be careful and don't yourself like I did.

Then cut up the peaches to size you want.  I cut mine up into about 1/2 inch slices.

Put the peaches in lemon water so they don't turn brown.

In a pot bring water, sugar, Sure Jel and if desired cinnamon and almond extract.  Stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken up and boils.  Stir in lemon juice and boil for 1 minute more.  Be sure to continue to stir the whole time.

Stir in drained peaches and cook for 3 more minutes. 

Fill your hot quart size jars, leaving 1 inch head space.  Wipe the rim, add your lids and rims. 

Place in a water bath canner and process for 20 minutes.

When you take them out of the water bath they may still be bubbling.  That is normal. 

Also, the clear jel may not be clear when you first cook it but it will be clear when it comes out of the water bath.

Let cool over night.  Make sure the lids are sealed.

The recipe above shows the amounts for 1 quart or 7 quarts.  You can make any amounts in between by multiplying the amounts for 1 quart by how ever many quarts you are going to make.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


My sister bought me a dehydrator for my birthday and I finally got to put it to use. 

I dried cherries, grapes (made the best homemade raisins), peaches and tomatoes.  They were are wonderful.

I had been canning a lot of stuff and just used the left overs.  I don't want any more wasted fruits or veggies!  From now on, when they start to go bad or I have some left over that I know I won't use, they will be getting dried so I can use them later.

I had several jalapeno peppers and a few Serrano peppers that I dried out.

They dry pretty fast.  It was about 4 hours at 135 degrees to dry them. 

I love how they looked when they were dry.  Yes, I kept the seeds and membranes on.  I wanted them to have the extra heat.

I wasn't really sure what I was going to make with them but figured I would toss some in soups or stews.

Then I decided I would grind them up to make some powder.  I purchased a small coffee grinder that was also good for spices.  It worked perfectly.

I now have some wonderful pepper powder that I can add to any recipe.  I was also told it's great to sprinkle on popcorn to add a little kick to it. 

I know I'll use it mostly for when I make jams.  I did make some blackberry/jalapeno jam already and I had to cut up the fresh jalapenos for that.  This will be much nicer.

How about you?  Do you dehydrate food?  It's great to do if you are trying to stock pile food for an emergency or if you want to take it backpacking/camping.  You just add hot water to bring the food back to life.  Or you can toss the dried veggies into soup and it will plump back up while it cooks.

It's another new and fun hobby I have to add to my canning, bread making (oh adding a bit of this pepper powder to bread dough would be great) and prepping.