Today–More Canning

I love that my last post was titled “No, I Didn’t Die.”  And then I disappear. For about three weeks.

So maybe I didn’t die.  But *apparently* I was abducted.

By whom or what I HAVE NO CLUE.

*lol*

So today I canned plum jam, made a crisp, marinated a roast for dinner, made a pumpkin spice latte knock-off, and…

And…

I don’t know. 🙂

Did you know that peeling plums will turn your fingers brown?  At least it turned my fingers brown.

And I spent something like two and a half hours peeling little plums that were being so stubborn.  They didn’t want let go of their skins.  And I blanched the things!

So, here’s where it all starts.

(Listening to a song, and it just mentioned snow.  And it made me get excited.  Can’t wait till it snows!)

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Mashed plums.  That turned brown because I was going slow.  (Welcome to my life.)

So after mashing them and measuring them, I dumped them in a pan and mixed in the calcium water, pectin, and sugar (that’s minus a few steps).

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Next I filled some jars.

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And then canned them.

Hey look!  A pile of pits!

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Then I still had about a cup and a half of plum smash goo.  So I had to do something with it.

So I turned to what is becoming my favorite way to use up miscellaneous fruit: a crisp.

And I threw together a plum apple blueberry crisp.  No one’s had any yet.  So I have no idea how good it is.  Or how good the plum jam is, because no one’s had any, because I canned all of it.  Otherwise it would have been tried.

*Sidetracked!*

Back to the crisp.

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And then I had to clean the kitchen.

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Goodness.

But actually, I started cleaning the kitchen, then started dinner, played piano (not necessarily in that order), and cleaned up more.

But I also interrupted the cleaning to make a pumpkin spice latte.

Boy was it good!

(Note:  I don’t necessarily know this website.  Not vouching for everything on it, and not even everything on this page.  Just love this recipe.)

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It was SO GOOD!

I’m so excited – I’ll hopefully be posting an exciting (for me!) post tomorrow.  So check back tomorrow to see it!  Oh, and you may find a hint in this post!  (And if you already know, don’t give it away!)

Nope, I Didn’t Die

I made it through last week, and most of this week.  Although this week’s been rough.  Hopefully that won’t last any more than a few more days.

So, basically, I got everything canned last week that I wanted to can.  With the exception of some tomatoes, which we ended up freezing, because I had been trying to do too much and had had a meltdown after several mishaps (lost 2 JARS to thermal cracking.  TWO JARS!  Man, that was tough).  So, last week I canned 4 pints and 1 half-pint of salsa verde (which Dad declared good), 4 half pint and one 4 oz. jar of raspberry jelly.  And 1 pint of pickled jalapenos (lost the half pint to thermal cracking).  Plus whatever I ended up doing on Monday (see previous post).

I am tired and slightly under the weather (a blah mood), so not a long post tonight.

Over the past two days I have begun working on my piano arrangement of Owl City’s Good Time!  It’s been pretty fun so far, but all I’m currently doing is figuring out chords and melody.  Once I finish that, the real fun begins – the actual arranging.  The chords appear to be basically the same throughout the whole song, and I have the first verse and chorus melody written out.  I might post a recording of it when it’s done, if anyone’s interested.  But that won’t be for awhile.  🙂

Well, I need to get myself off to bed (too many late nights + too many early mornings + too much sugar = one emotional and unhappy girl), so enjoy the photos.

Till next time!

~Allison

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Last Wednesday – What canning looks like when I have a bad day – all you need is a little Izze!  I LOVE that stuff.

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The salsa verde

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Saturday – the raspberry juice

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Making the jam/jelly

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Boiling

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Finished

 

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Today – arranging

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Canning

“I tried to be normal once.

Worst two minutes of my
life.”                             
-Unknown

I found this quote online the other day, and I thought it was pretty good.  Because I feel like I am pretty not normal.  🙂

I have been so busy the past few weeks, and this next week promises to be really busy, too.  The main cause of this is canning.  We’ve been canning peaches and tomatoes.  We purchased three bushels of peaches for ourselves two weeks ago (I think), and I have canned roughly 16 quarts and 2 pints over the past few weeks.  And that could increase.

Mom and I have been going to the farmer’s market and collecting tomatoes to can.  So far, we have 19 quarts and 2 pints.  And that could increase.

This morning Mom and I went up to a farm about 45 minutes north of us and purchased almost 50 lbs. of tomatoes, 7 lbs. of tomatillos, several pounds of potatoes, 9 melons (mostly yellow watermelons, but two were cantaloupes, and one was a snow leopard), and several sweet peppers.  Today we canned the vast majority of the tomatoes.  That made 12 quarts and 1 pint of the 19 quarts and 2 pints above.

I love canning.  But it is exhausting.

And so listed on my schedule this week:  wash dog, manage clothes, clean room, can chipotle peppers, can jalapenos, can tomatillos, can raspberry jam, work two afternoons, teach three piano lessons, and hopefully do some school.  Not on the schedule (but things that I’ll still have to do) practice piano and help with meals and other things at home.  It would be really nice if I could make my bed at least one day this week.  And it would be really nice if I could accomplish all this without dying.

Just kidding about the last part.

Things are a bit exciting around here.

Here are a few photos from canning peaches the other day.  Enjoy!

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Peaches being prepped for canning

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The canning/blanching set up:  the big black pot is the canner, the second pot is for blanching, the blue bowl is for iced water, the clear bowl is for the blanched and cooled peaches.

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Blanched, peeled peaches.  Aren’t they beautiful?

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Just look at those purty colors!

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Sliced and in the ascorbic acid solution

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In the jar in a light sugar solution

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I love how food looks in jars

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Practically ready to go into the canner (just have to put on one more lid)

Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

Of Thankfulness and a Few Photos

Today is a lovely day.  It is not too cold, and I have finally warmed up.  I was cold most of the morning.  I need to switch to my winter clothes, and stop attempting to wear short-sleeved shirts, even if I do put a sweater over them.  ‘Cause I get cold.  But most of my winter clothes are thick, warm sweaters.  That makes it a bit hard to make a transition. 

Anyways.

That was NOT what I was planning to post about.  And I am sure that you didn’t exactly want to know about that.  But it just came.  Hmmm.

I have started listening to Christmas music already.  Not all Christmas music.  Just a few of my favorite songs.  And they are not the traditional songs.  Some non-traditional songs.

And they make me think.  They make me think about what I have.  My family.  My home.  Our lovely property. 

Really, just my life in general. 

I am so happy with my life.  I love it.  I am so glad this is where I am, right here, right now.

I am so glad that God has given my brothers and sisters, so I can influence them, and they can influence me.  It has been so fun growing up with them.  I love the late-night talks Drake and I have, talking about anything and everything.

I love being able to see where I am now, and look back and see where I’ve been.  Of course I don’t have a lot to look back on since I am only 17, but I look forward to the compounding memories, and to being able to look back and trace God’s providence through it all.

I love my life.  I feel like I have it the best that I could.

But I don’t love it in a way that I never want it to change.  I don’t want to push pause and stay here forever.

I love where I am.  But I am looking forward to what He has in store for me. 

 

Now here are a few pictures that I  have taken over the last few days.  This one is from German night (last week’s country).  The dinner did turn out FANTASTICALLY and we will have to make that again.

 

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Making the spaetzle – I didn’t take that many pictures.  Confession:  I stressed.  So I didn’t take that many.

It turns out that spaetzle expand to about three or four times their original size when they hit the boiling water.  These in the picture, once cooked, where quite large.  We started cutting them smaller, and then Mom came to help us cut, and she cut them into the tiniest little bits.  They were the size all the spaetzle should have been.. Thanks, Mom!

I mentioned before that we made applesauce.  The first batch made 12 quarts and 3 pints.  We were able to get a second bushel of apples and that made 17 quarts and 1 pint.  I think we could use a few more quarts, but if we don’t, it’s not that big of a deal. 

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Meiling running the strainer.  You insert the apples slices (skin, core, and all) in on side, and it separates it into applesauce and skin/seeds.  We usually run the skin/seeds through again just to make sure we get all the good stuff.  I love this thing!

Lucy was waiting for Meiling (or anyone, really) to drop something.  🙂  She’s just so cute!

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Noah cutting apples

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Daddy put noise cancelling headphones on Meiling (the mixer makes a bit of noise that can get a bit monotonous).  Meiling was such a great helper and worked the machine almost the whole time for the first batch of apples!

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The canner and the pot of applesauce

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Warm applesauce – this is AMAZING with a sprinkle of cinnamon

A BLT Salad, Another Jam Picture, and Inspiration for a Future Project

The other night we had BLT’s for dinner.  Of course I couldn’t quite have the sandwich part of that, so I decided to make it a salad.  I placed some tomato pieces on a plateful of romaine lettuce, then crumbled some bacon on top.  As I was contemplating the dressing, I knew that a ranch would be perfect.  But I can’t have dairy.  Anyways, we didn’t have any ranch.  I remembered seeing a recipe for dairy-free ranch dressing made with mayonnaise.  I couldn’t find the exact recipe I had previously seen, but I found this one and tried it instead.  I added some dill to it and used regular onion instead of the green onion.  I didn’t care for it much.  The mayo that I had made was WAY to salty, and I think the regular onion wasn’t a good substitution.

It was pretty, though.

I saw this really really super amazing recipe on PW’s site the other day.  I just have to try it.  But it has to be Primal.  So I am going to have to do some really different things with it.

🙂

I am going to have to try to change that soon.  I’ll post about that soon.

On another note, the peaches finally ripened and I was able to can some more Blueberry Raspberry Peach Jam.  It was gooooood.

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