Why Every Cook Should Have Their Nails Painted

I haven’t had my finger nails painted in, like, 8 years or so.  At least.

But that all changed last week.

(Unless you count the time I painted a few nails, then promptly removed it because I didn’t like it.)

Last week I attempted to paint my finger nails red.  And I painted all the layers too soon after each other, and my polish got nicked and rippled.  Also, I had painted all over my fingers, not just on the nails, since I have painted my nails in so long.  So I took it off.

But the next day I just put on a clear coat, thinking that would at least be some nail polish, and I could start getting used to the feeling of having my nails painted.

Then today I painted them purple.  And they turned out pretty well.  My right hand is a little nicked, because I didn’t wait long enough between applying layers, and when I was finished, I went outside and picked up acorns instead of letting my nails dry as long as I should.  I mean, think about it:  pick up acorns with 7-year-old sister for the pig, or sit there and do nothing while your nails dry?  Clear choice.

One of the reasons that I haven’t painted my nails is that I cook a lot, and the thought of my hands in the food with nail polish on the nails just grossed me out a little.

But today, in between layers, it hit me.

EVERY cook should have their nails painted.

Because it happens to the best of us and the worst of us, no matter how good your knife skills are.  You’re chopping something in the kitchen, and either someone bumps you, your little sibling thinks it would be funny to scare you right now (NOT), the mail man rings the doorbell, or the FBI shows up (just kidding about that last part).

And you slip and cut yourself.

And besides the minor details of stopping the blood flow, getting through the freak-out session over the fact that you just cut yourself (the thought of the knife slicing your skin – YUCK!), wade through the apologies (or lack thereof) of the bumper or scarer, find somebody to keep you from hyperventilating, and determine whether or not you need stitches, there is always the important part of making sure that there are no nails left in whatever you were preparing.  Particularly if the cut wasn’t of your skin, because your nails were long, and that’s what the knife got to first.

Just think: if your nails were neon green, wouldn’t they be much easier to find in the food you were chopping?

Now the only think you run into here is that if your nails are red, for example, they wouldn’t show up so well in tomatoes, for example.  And dark green wouldn’t be great in romaine lettuce.

So this is what we need to do:

For those of us who paint our nails every day, you should coordinate your nail color with dinner.  So, for example, if you are going to make spaghetti, you should paint your nails green, blue, or yellow, but should avoid most reds and browns, although certain shades of pink and orange would be O.K. (if they were bright enough).  And if you were going to make a big salad, you should avoid greens and dark blues, and go for bright blue, turquoise, and any of the warm colors (red, orange, pink, yellow).  You get the idea.

And for those of you that don’t paint your nails daily, you should try to pick a color that wouldn’t match your foods.  Bright turquoise.  Bright yellow.  Any neon color would fit the bill.  Just any color that was bright enough to be seen easily, and that doesn’t match any common foods.

So don’t you agree – All cooks should pain their nails?

 

 

NOTE:  This was meant to be funny, not an actual representation of anything I do, or intend to do, or anything that I would like you to do.  By all means, when you cut yourself, forget about your nail color or even where the nail went, and attend to your finger.  And hygiene comes first.  If it’s gross, throw it away.  Over and out.

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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

Today’s Projects and a Caterpillar

I had quite a bit of kitchen time today.  And you know what that means:

BIG MESS!

Not exactly what I was talking about.  But, yes, that happens, too.

I made quite a few things.

First, I made enough lip balm to last me awhile.  I had no more in the fridge, so I had to make several more.  I think I made around a dozen.

I tried a total of three recipes, because I have new oils now.  I picked one recipe out, only to realize while I was making it that it was basically the same as the one I usually make.  So I tried out another one with shea butter, but it only made two, maybe three tubes.  So I tried this third recipe with cocoa butter.  And once I had gotten it in the tube, I was afraid that it wouldn’t harden the way I wanted it to.  So I stuck one tube in the fridge and waited.  When I checked it, it wasn’t as hard as I would like it.  So I decided to empty all eight or so of the tubes, remelt it, and add more beeswax.  I had also forgotten the essential oils, so I opened them and set them right next to the pot so I could add them.

After I added the melted lip balm back to the containers, I realized that I had never added the essential oils.

Back into the pot!

So all that rigmarole took much longer than I would have liked, so I didn’t get started on my next project as soon as I would like.

Next thing on my list was to make gluten-free coconut-milk-based cookie dough ice cream, which I did using my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe (which has AWESOME tasting dough), and chopping up the chips extra small.  Meiling helped me form it into little piles and flash-freeze it to add to the ice cream.  For the ice cream, I just combined coconut milk, vanilla, and honey until it tasted good, then threw it into the ice cream maker.

It turned out pretty well.  The ice cream isn’t as sweet as the cookie dough, which makes it taste a little bland.  But I think that all the vanilla that I poured into it is keeping the ice cream softer (because of the alcohol), which is great, since coconut milk ice cream is usually rock hard.

And then I tried a recipe for powder foundation which contained arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in one recipe, and that plus nutmeg, bentonite clay and ginger, oh, and lavender EO in another.

They did not work for me.

I see other people saying it worked for them, but it just made me look dirty.

 

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The ingredients for the first recipe

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Me, wearing the foundation, as well as the foundation mixed with a bit of lotion (which only made me look dirtier) (look around my chin).  I am also in need of a few other things, but overlook my bad hair.  Please.

I took these pictures of a caterpillar the other day, and am just posting them now.  Enjoy!

 

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I love the rain drops caught between his fat rolls

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I think fat rolls on caterpillars are funny

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And I like using the term fat rolls when relating to caterpillars

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Cause it’s fun when talking about caterpillars

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Spring Flowers

Spring is coming – actually, it’s starting to feel like it’s here.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and trees are leafing.

(Is that how you would say it?  Trees are leafing out?  I don’t know.  But, whatever. :))

Anyways, here are some flower photos that I have taken recently.

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Frost. Ice. Books.

The theme for yesterday’s 6 Lenses photo was favorite book.  So I took a large stack of books and all the necessary extras out to the-trees-in-the-pasture-across-the-road to take a picture.

Now the distance from the gate to the trees seems quite long when you are hauling a wagon containing 2 bags stuffed with books, a thermos of tea (for the pictures, not to drink), a camera bag, a quilt, and a teacup, with the other hand holding the camera.  Also, the tall grass covered with ice didn’t aid my journey.

Basically, after hauling out there and back, I was tired.  And cold.

So when I was done, I went inside and started a pot of coffee.

Then I went back outside with just my camera and macro lens to take a few pictures before I went in to have my mocha.

 

These past few days have been normal, or as close to normal as my life ever comes.  Just the norms.  School.  Chores.  Dinners.  Nothing all that exciting.

Something a bit more exciting is that the first part of my midwifery correspondence course came last week in the mail.  Mom and I ordered the first group of books that I need for it on Saturday, and I started it today.  I can’t wait for my books to arrive (the earliest I can expect them is the 18th).  Oh, I am SO looking forward to reading and learning!

I am not currently planning any desserts this week – but I am hoping that we will be able to pick up another of my favorite chocolate bars (Lindt 90%).  I finished the one I had today.  It was really good.  And now I want more.

I am planning a few new dinners for later this week, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  We’ll see if they make it on here.  I haven’t been posting that many savory things lately – mostly just the sweets.  🙂

Oh.  I just remembered.  I will be making Mom some coffee chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream this week, and I will hopefully make Dad some chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I also owe my brother Noah a chocolate cake.  (For Christmas, I let both of my brothers choose any recipe they wanted, and I would make it for them.  Noah requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Drake wanted Brazilian Black Beans.  I think I am going to make Drake’s when I come off this diet, so I can eat it.  I really like Brazilian Black Beans.)  But I probably won’t make his chocolate cake until next week.  (I need to add all three of these things to my schedule.)

Well, that’s all for now, folks!

And now, a few pictures.  (You can never tell beforehand how long this section is going to be.)

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The frozen grass I was trying to plow through

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Frost

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I should have tried to get this shot horizontally, but I guess I forgot.  Plus, this blade of grass was very close to the ground.  And normally I am not very close to the ground.  This made photographing it rather difficult.

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Thistle

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Hate these things.  Vehemently.  I was VERY careful to walk AROUND them.

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This is the photo I posted on 6 Lenses yesterday.  Couldn’t decide if I liked the vertical one…

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…or the horizontal one better.  What do you think?

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(Said with an accent) A spot of tea!

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Throwing out the tea

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Ice is SO FUN to photograph.  It has all the benefits of photographing water, except it stays much more still.  The only downside is that it is cold out.  Freezing cold.

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There is a slight focusing difference between these two photos.  Which one do you like better: 1…

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…or 2?

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SPARKLES!

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