Sunday, August 31, 2014

Win a Kellogg Prize Pack (Open to Canada)

WIN a Kellogg Canada breakfast and snack prize pack from the blog! Prize pack may or may not be the same as the one pictured above (1 Pringles adult-sized t-shirt, 1 Kellogg's Krave cereal, 1 Kellogg's Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes cereal, 1 Special K Original cereal, 1 Special K Low Fat Granola cereal, 1 Pringles Tortillas Nacho Cheese, 1 Pringles Tortillas Original, and 1 Pringles Tortillas Zesty Ranch snacks.)  Contest open to Canada, and ends on Thursday September 18th, 2014.
Enter to win

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tomorrow's goals

Tomorrow will be a busy day here.. the kids go back to school on Tuesday and there is a lot to get ready to make it go smoothly. I haven't got all the school supplies yet .. bad me. Usually I am far more prepared than that.

Anyway, I am only going to make a small goal for tomorrow so it is attainable.

I am going to attack the junk drawer... I almost think that should be in capital letters! I haven't touched that drawer for sometime.. it is much easier to ignore it. Push everything down and close it quickly.  But with our place being small, every cupboard, drawer, nook and cranny needs too be utilized to the best of it's ability. So tomorrow will be purge and clean the drawer.

Wonder if we should make bets on how quickly something will be needed after I throw it out.
Do you think setting a daily goal for yourself helps you be more motivated?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saucy Spaghetti

Today was a bit crazy... did a lot of running around. The oldest daughter has gone camping with friends. Lucky duck.. we have had a fire ban here for sometime, but it was lifted just recently. So they will be roasting marshmallows galore.

I tackled the mountain of tomatoes... well not really a mountain, only 25 pounds worth. But I am telling you, by the time I was half way through it felt like a mountain. I had a system going.. prick the skin of the tomatoes.. 10 at a time.. pop into boiling water... watch for the skin to crack, then scoop out and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Then quickly put 10 more in the boiling water.. peeling the first 10 while waiting on those ones. Squeeze the juice out and repeat.. many more times!

The reason was for all this was for spaghetti sauce. We eat a fair bit of pasta here.. I love it, the kids love it.. hubby tolerates it.

I had to cook the sauce in two batches, as I didn't have a pot big enough for it all. While the first one was simmering, I ask hubby to cut up some hot pepper to go in.. I said, three peppers.. 1 1/2 for each batch. These peppers were smoking hot.. when I made salsa the other day I had a burning thumb from doing a single swipe to get the seeds out of  ONE. No was was I touching them again. Hubby has calloused hands from his work.. so it doesn't bother him. Well... he heard me wrong... he put all three into one batch. AND mixed it up. *sigh* it is very spicy!

Oh well.. I will most likely use it in some lasagna at some time.

The second batch was much better...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gorgeous Amazonite

When I got these gorgeous Amazonite beads, I knew it would be lovely in a bracelet. Worn on the wrist you can hold it up and gaze at these deep rich stones. Made with solid copper clasp, this statement piece would look lovely dressed up, or casual. Will certainly catch eyes!
I will hate to part with it.. but it was made to be sold.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Todays abundance

Today's abundance was pears!! Yummy, sweet, juicy, delicious, pears. I answered an ad on a local online selling site. This person had unsprayed pears ready and we could come pick them for $5 a bag.

I took one of my twins... I like when I am able to split the kids up and taking one of them with me. Even when we are doing mundane things like shopping and errands.. I feel like I am able to connect with them and we enjoy lots of laughs doing almost anything. A lot of great talks happen in those times. Plus lets face it.. the extra help is always nice!

I am not sure who ( yes, sadly it was me ) decided picking them at noon on a hot day was a good idea! Phew were so red faced and thirsty by the time we were done. The lady ended up only charging us $10 for three bags. What a great deal!  I am going to give them a couple days to ripen a bit more before canning them.
We will be enjoying this bounty through the winter!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Zesty Blueberries???

Blueberries.. yum. Who can resist plump ripe blueberries? Of course their season goes all too fast and unless you preserve them in someway you are waiting a long time to enjoy them again. This year I decided to make some blueberry jam... I did not think this would be a hit with my kids.. they tend to be a bit picky and have their favourites that they rigidly stick by. I remind them often, when trying to get them to try something new, that it might be their new favourite thing..

Anyway, the appeal of this recipe was that it also had lime in it. I like zing.. sweet is ok, but with an added zing, it seems to have the right amount of kick. Having seen some rave reviews for it, I jumped in and tried it myself.  I was so happy I did. Not only is this jam low in sugar, it is also pectin free. I love recipes that don't call for a lot of ingredients!

The lime enhances the flavour so much. Everyone in the house had a spoonful to lick... even hubby. It received a resounding thumbs up from them all. This recipe is a keeper.

Here is the ingredients:
4 cups blueberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
zest of two limes
1/4 lime juice (this should be store bought to make sure it has the right acidity)

Combine in a pot all the ingredients.. Stirring often and making sure the berries are mashing to your liking ... simmer for about 20 minutes or till it sets.
Water bath for 10 min.

It made 2 and a half pints for me.. and we happily ate the half pint over the next few days.  I will definitely double or triple this recipe next year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Jarring Experience!

I love canning jars... I admit it.. I am sure from my last couple posts about canning it may not be that big of a surprise. There are so many interesting ones out there.. the old ones are my favourite. I tend to like old things.. they have history behind them. You wonder about the family they belonged too. Who worked hard filling them. The comfort and celebrations that the food in them were part of. I can picture people from days gone by spending hot summer afternoons harvesting and preserving their families bounty for the coming winter. Something quite comforting about that.
When I was in Arizona, I found the coloured Ball brand canning jars. I was determined to bring some home. Here the only stores I could find them in were craft stores, and they wanted WAY too much for them. So I found the cases of the pint size jars.. now the decision.. blue or green??? Initially I decided on the blue... but before I went home I went back and got a case of the green as well.

I packed them in my carry on and carried them through two airports.. more than one border patrol inspector looked twice when it went through the x-ray machine. I also had to unpack my bag at both airports to show them that they were empty *sigh* .. by the time I got home, my arms were tired from carrying the bag, but I was glad I had bought them.
I also bought the top accessory to turn them into a drinking cup. I thought they were kind of fun.
The blue and green coloured jars were brought out on Ball's anniversary. Many people love the old vintage blue Ball jars. The original blue was caused from a mineral in the sand that the Ball company used to make them. It was very unique to the area it came from and I think it is safe to say was a trade mark.
I was shopping at a local second hand store and found some wonderful glass top canning jars.. these have the vintage zinc rings. While I wont use these for actually canning, I will use them to store things in.
I only paid .50 a piece for them. Somehow the jars we have now, pale in comparison to these lovely old jars. But they still look pretty good when they are filled and stacked up on a shelf.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A fishy tale

Today the kids and I went to the pet store.. that is sort of like going to the zoo for my kids lol. They have a lot of different creatures there .. cats for adoption, snakes, spiders, birds, lizards, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice.. and a huge display of fish.

We went for something specific today. We have a large 100 gallon tank and recently we have had an explosion of snails. I was given some live plants and the eggs must have been on them. The tank, almost over night is just full. We tried containing the problem by picking the ones we could see, but soon realized that was like plugging a hole in a damn with our finger! Futile!

I did a lot of research and looked at what our options were. One option was to treat the tank with some stuff that would kill them.. but we also have ghost shrimp, and it would of killed them. The other option was to get some Loaches.. they love snails. Seemed like the right thing to do to me!

So we got two

But do you think we could get out of there with only them!?! No way.. We also came home with two more mollies (we already have a healthy amount of them) AND... duh duh duuuuh... a Peacock Eel
I had a couple of them long long ago and loved them. They were friendly, I was able to hand feed them and they also loved swimming inbetween my fingers if I put my hand in the tank. This guy was bought for my oldest daughter. He is buried in the substrate right now, so we will have to see how friendly he turns out to be.
***Pictures from pet store website, not my own***

Friday, August 1, 2014

More Canning!

My family loves pickles. Really loves pickles. I used to be able to buy these amazing and huge dill pickles at a grocery store, bulk. They were so big you could fit maybe 3 in a container. They always sold out quickly, and unfortunately now they don't carry them. When I would bring them home, the kids would dive into it.
I decided to make some yummy extra extra garlicky dill pickles. I went shopping at the local farms and got the dill and pickling cukes.. I had no idea how much the recipe would make.. frankly I put as many as I could possibly fit into the jars. I put the cukes in a bowl and sprinkled sea salt on them.. then added water until it was just covering them. I placed a dinner plate over top to keep them under the water and let them soak for more than 12 hours.. I didn't time it, but you can soak them from 12-24 hours.
At the same times as I got this part going, I did a sea salt bath for my dill. Hanging them upside down in a salt water mixture will ensure you don't have any added surprises in your jar.. and yes there were a few in my water afterwards.
I got my pickling mix ready.. and boy does it make the house smell of pickling! Heated my jars.. and got my canner boiling. Peeled my garlic and cut it into quarters and then once the jars were sterilized and hot I packed them with the garlic, dill and cucumbers. Then poured the pickling mix into the jars and wipe.. lids and rings.. and into the canner they go.

This was the first time I ever had a jar break on me when canning. I was given the jars and there may have been a small crack that I didn't notice. I was sad, because I didn't want to waste any of the pickles. I didn't notice that it was cracked until the water bath was done, and some of the liquid was gone. I took that jar and emptied the contents into another jar.. thankfully I had enough of the pickling liquid to cover it and I put that jar to ripen in the fridge. Water bathing it again to seal it would of meant some very mushy pickles .. so we will see how it turns out.

Next year I plan on growing my own pickling cukes.. The cheapest I could find was $1 lb and that adds up quickly. Those little cukes are heavy.
On with the domestic fun!! Wonder what will be next...???? stay tuned :)