10 Things Running Through my Head Right Now

1.  I’m not really hungry, but I want something to eat.

2.  I want to sleep.

3.  I want a gluten free cracker.  RIGHT NOW.

4.  Did someone sneak in my bedroom and beat me over the head with a baseball bat last night?  Cause it kind of feels like that happened (either that or my head’s congested – and NOT with good ideas).

5.  Is this magnesium body butter ever going to soak in, or is my arm just going to feel sticky/oily all day?

6.  My bedroom PROOVES spontaneous generation.  You should SEE all the junk stuff in there!

7.  I think a cheese stick sounds good right now.

8.  I’m crazy.

9.  Is it wrong to want to eat your homemade beauty care products?

10.  I’ve got a huge mess to clean up.

Movin’ on…

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)

My Reading Nook and an Amazing “New Food”

I discovered an amazing “new food.”

It’s not totally new, since I am familiar with all the ingredients.  But the combination is new.

Are you ready?  Two words:

Stuffed Onions.

That says it all.

They are one of the most amazing things. Ever.  So simple and delicious.

I hadn’t really thought of onions as a side dish on their own until recently, when Mom was chatting with someone at the grocery store who would just serve sautéed onions with dinner, as a side.  I wanted to try that sometime – a big pile of onions.  Mmmm…

Then the other night I had some time, and I remembered the stuffed onion recipe that I had seen several years ago (I know, I know) in a cookbook I own, and I had to try it.

I altered the recipe a bit, since it originally called for bread, and I didn’t want to add any.  Well, really since I wanted to eat an onion.

They are SO TASTY.  The outside is a baked onion – cooked plain, not to talk it down – and the filling.  Oh the filling.  It is a combination of the centers of the onion that have been scraped out of the onions that have been sautéed, along with some bacon and cheese.  Delicious.

Stuffed Onions
Adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast (an AWESOME cookbook)

3 large onions (mine were very big), peeled
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2-3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack, which was very, very good)
1/2 c. chicken broth.

Preheat the oven to 400*F. (See note)

Using a melon baller,  hollow out the centers of the onions, until the sides are about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (I just hollowed mine until the cave in the middle looked sizeable).  Place the onions in a pan (I had to split mine into two pans – an 8×8-inch pan would work, as well as a 9×13-inch pan.  Whatever your onions fit comfortably in).  Pour the chicken broth in the pan (not inside the onions), and cover the pans with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the onions are soft when pierced with a paring knife.

Meanwhile, chop up the onion middles that have been scooped out.  Fry the bacon over medium heat until started to get crispy.  Add the onion, and sauté until soft, 10-15 minutes.  Drain off the fat.  Right before you stuff the onions, mix the cheese into the filling, reserving some to top the onions.

Pour the chicken broth out of the onion pans (reserve this, especially if it is bone broth!  It is now onion flavored).  Fill the onions with the filling, and top with cheese.  Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.

Notes:  The original recipe had you bake the onions (before they are filled) at 450*F.  I baked two of my onions at 450*F, while I baked the other one at 400*F.  The one that I baked at 400*F had a much better color, and I liked how it came out more than the other two.  Either temp should work.

Next time I think I will stir some parsley flakes into the filling.  I was going to this time, but forgot. 🙂

 

On Thursday I cleaned up my room.  This wasn’t just a straighten-up-the-stuff clean up, but a real cleaning.  Going through drawers, and relocating accumulated junk stuff that has just been sitting around for WAY to long, and just needed to be put away.

(Really, there is a point to this.  Just bear with me.)

I cleaned out my vanity and moved it downstairs.  In the corner where it used to be I put a chair and a small table.  It is my new little reading nook! A comfortable spot to do my schoolwork.  Drake and I are sharing the chair, so I get it part of the week, and he gets it the rest of the time. I am really enjoying it!

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My cozy reading nook

 

Have a lovely Lord’s Day!

~Allison

Meal Planning

Today I did our meal plan for the month of November. 

(I know you are think “Aren’t you a little late?  It’s the eighth.”  I would have to say yes.  But, hey, better late than never.)

I love having a meal plan.  It takes the hard work out of making dinner.  When Mom asks me what we should make for dinner, I don’t have to come up with something.  I can just say, “I have to go look on the fridge.”

It makes it so much easier.  Less of the thought process involved.

I am also especially excited because all the recipes for this month, except for four, are new.

We have a need to keep our dinners simpler, and I have been somewhat failing in that regard.

I made some slow cooker chili this past month, and LOVED how easy it was.

So I wanted to make some more slow cooker meals.

But this can be a little difficult, since so many recipes call for unhealthy ingredients.

I decided to search for Paleo crock pot recipes.  And that turned up so many results.  I can’t wait to try them.

Not all of them are fancy.  Some are rather “ho-hum.”  But that’s O.K.

Some look AMAZING.  I am particularly excited about those.  😛

I am going to be using our crock pot often this month.  And I am looking forward to it.

🙂

Until the next post,

Allison

P.S.  I am looking forward to making some chocolate truffles tomorrow.  Not that a container full of the Twix bars aren’t enough.  That recipe, though, left half a can of coconut milk in the fridge, and I need to use it.

P.P.S.  I am really enjoying the Twix bars.  Just in case you were wondering.  Not like there was any doubt. 🙂

Reformation Day Faire 2012

Last weekend was the Reformation Day Faire in Peoria, IL.  This was our second year, and it was very nice.  I especially enjoyed the dance that was on Saturday evening.

This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that.  It was quite interesting.  Definitely very squishy.  It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say.  We also brought Lucy with.  Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held.  Mom had to chase her around and catch her.  I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught.  Lucy really liked the motor home.  She was looking for it after we got home.

To give a brief synopsis:

Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).

Friday we drove up to the Faire.  On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.”  I was so excited I started screaming.  😀  We watched that on the way up.  We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker.  The concert by the Wintons was that evening.

Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square.  The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30.  The dance was started at 7:30.

We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.

And that’s that.

Here are some of the photos I took.  I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home.  Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is.  🙂

Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again!  I have the photos to prove it.  😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday.  I think we can definitely be called groupies.  🙂

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Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny

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Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!

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My silly brother.  Just got to love him.

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Content passengers

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Relaxin’, and my view, in a way

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I worked on this post on the way up

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Lovely view

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[Does this need a caption?]

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Meiling playing and looking out the window

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*Smile*

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Hey, look!  It’s the Wintons!

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Meiling enjoying the concert

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Saturday – walking to the park

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An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).

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My friend Bethany  😀

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Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures.  🙂

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Lu, sitting on my lap

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Self-portrait – these were so fun!

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Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?

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“So away we go, down that forever road.”

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The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad

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“Life is a highway…

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…I want to drive it all night long.”

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Bridges

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Crossing the river

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“…makes me want to take a back road.”

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Hi again!

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Lucy’s here!

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I love roads.  Oh, you could tell?  I wonder how you figured that out!

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I love the greens in this one

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This little blue car was so cute!

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I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!!  I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations.  I am so glad I finally found one.  😛

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Meiling using her drink for a microphone

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Bein’ silly

What Our Chaos Looks Like (In Case You Were Wondering)

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The upstairs is quite empty – all the carpet is gone. (Do you see the drawings on the floor? My little siblings and some friends did that. Quite fun)

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My room with some of the hardwood stacked in it

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We repainted my old room for my brothers.  When you walk in it is blue…

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…but when you turn around it is orange.

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The blue and orange together

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Now the scary room (you knew this was coming, right?).  All that stuff had to go somewhere.  Meiling and I are sleeping down here, and Mom and Dad will have to sleep down here tonight, too.  It will be interesting,  and fun.  It’s a little tight, but rather cozy.  So there you have it.  This is our current chaos.