Monday, August 30, 2010

A Perky Picker-Upper

I was looking for different uses for overripe bananas.  This was one:

Overripe Bananas - Natures Breast Lift
It sounds ludicrous, but it works. Take two overripe bananas and mash them slightly. Take an old bra and put it on. Place the mashed bananas inside your bra and leave it on for about 30 minutes. The effects can last up to 3 days. Because this is messy I recommend you only use before special events or at night when you're not likely to have company. Good luck. Take care of yourselves and those you love. And may your breasts be as perky as they were in high school.
I want to know how many  people are going to try this one.

Week 24

I have lots of tomatoes on the vine.  Spaghetti sauce and salsa are in my future, I can tell.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Okay, I decided to try the homemade bread thing again.  After much contemplation and work I will be building a small house for a rat out of the latest loaf.  This damn bread is the bane of my existence.  How difficult can it be to make a consistent, edible loaf of bread?

What to do with peels from canning your fruit.

I was in one of the canning groups and someone mentioned they had canned 40 lbs. of pears and recovered  31 cups of juice from the peels.  They asked for a pear jelly recipe and this was one of the responses.
So if your canning your own apples or pears about now, take all the peels and steam juice them to recover the juice.  This is an economical way to gets lots of use from your peeled fruits.

Choose Your Own Juice Jelly

5 cups bottled 100% Fruit Juice of your choice (No Sugar)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 vanilla beans
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries**
5 cups granulated sugar
1 package powdered pectin

Put apple juice, whole allspice and two split and scraped vanilla beans into stockpot. Heat just until boils. Remove from heat. Allow to sit for one hour. Strain to remove the vanilla beans and allspice berries. Return
juice to pan and add lemon juice. Add pectin. Stir and bring to a boil. Add sugar all at once. Stir and return to a full rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims. Cap and seal. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Yield: 6 half pints.

** This is where you may experiment. You could use allspice berries, pieces of ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, or fennel seeds or any combination there of.

Bottled fruit juice must be 100% juice variety. Suggest apple, cranberry, cran-apple, berry, grape (white or purple), pineapple, etc. You may find unusual 100% fruit juices at an ethnic grocery store.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BackAlley Tours in San Diego

Back Alley Tours is terrific. We paid $20 for a 90-minute tour of the 'Stingeree' district in downtown San Diego.  Stingeree is what the Red Light District used to be called.  Melanie was a wealth of history covering the area, buildings and people that shaped San Diego at the turn of the century.  If your looking for an off the beaten path tour, this is it. Our 90-minutes ended up being 3 hours of history, information and just plain fun!

Handmade Gelatos

I had the dark chocolate and it was sooo delicious, rich and smooth.  One of the best I've ever had.

Chocolat Cremerie

Chocolat Cremerie in San Diego
In a word, YUMMY.  If your in downtown San Diego, this place is worth the effort.  A family-owned operation with fabulous desserts and not a bad regular menu.  Since chocolate forms the base of my food pyramid, I know good chocolate.

More Gelatos

Hennessey's for breakfast. French Toast & Bangers in the morning.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Restaurant where we ate dinner.

I had fungi with pasta and a cannoli for desssert. I Love a great cannoli and this one was crisp, with a creamy center that was not too sweet.

lunch at Hodad's

We are eating in Little Italy.

Our hotel in San Diego used to be a bank.

Third Stop @ the Mormon Battalion Site in San Diego

More Sea Lions

California Sea Lions

Lunch Spot

Here we are on the Seal Tour

The Seal water &land tour around SanDiego Bay.

Mini Bacon Cheeseburger with fries @ Hodads

View from the bridge

The Double D's on the Suspension Bridge

First Stop the book store, 2nd Stop the suspension bridge

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Girl's Overnight Out

My friends, the Double D's and I are going to San Diego for an overnighter.  D1 secured the reservation for the hotel, D2 is in charge of the food, and I get the entertainment.  I'm thinking a Segway tour, visit to the new Mormon Battalion Visitor's Center, a walk across a suspension bridge and an evening Ghost Tour.  I'm an excellent tour planner if I do say so myself. I planned a weekend in San Francisco for us (and we let our DH's come along) It was lots of fun and we were going, going, going.  San Francisco is my favorite American city.  Paris would have to be my fave international location.  I'll be driving so it will be easier to control the time schedule.

Another great trip I planned was to South Dakota with my sis and sis-in-law.  It was a four day fun fest hitting such locations as Mount Rushmore, of course, and all the other National Parks in the state.  We visited 2 caves and my s-i-l actually went in and enjoyed the tour.  We stopped in Wall to see the world's largest drugstore, the nuclear missile site, Deadwood, the center of the continental U.S. and even Devil's Tower in Wyoming.  I did all the planning and driving and everybody had a fantastic time.

The National Parks System has 391 units.  One of my goals is to visit each one and get a passport stamp.National Parks Passport Program

Unfortunately, I have visited many of the parks previously and did not know about the passport program at that time.  It just means I get to return and get the stamps while enjoying another visit. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 23

I canned some pears today that probably shouldn't have been canned.  Why you ask. Because they now look like mashed potatoes in a jar.  I canned them in a medium syrup and I'm sure my DH will love them over cottage cheese.

I also thought I'd give the bread baking one more try.  I ground 2 cups of white wheat and added the rest white flour, just to see if the darn loaf would rise.  It did.  But that might have been because of the 3 Tbl. of yeast I added.  We'll see if DH eats it or not.

Preparing Beans

Have you wondered what to do with the beans you've got in storage? Check out this video from Everday Food Storage .

Crystal also gives us this information from her website:

Don’t have a pressure cooker and still want to cook beans?
Cooking your DRY Beans: Dry beans need to be soaked before they can be cooked.
Quick Soaking – For each pound of beans, add 10 cups hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.
Overnight Soak – For each pound (2 cups) dry-packaged beans, add 10 cups cold water, then let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
Cooking Beans
Once your beans have soaked and tripled in size, it’s time to cook them. The most important step in this process is to drain off the soaking water and rinse the beans before cooking to help decrease the gas side effect. Depending on the bean variety, it will take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook. Make sure and check the package for more specific directions. You’ll know the beans are done when they are tender, but not overcooked. If your beans have been sitting in your food storage for a long time you will need to cook them for a longer period of time. Cool the beans in their cooking liquid if you are not adding them to another liquid, like a soup, when they are done cooking.
Storing Freshly Cooked Beans
Because cooking beans can be a process, you may want to cook more than you need and store them for next time to save you time (and you’re only making one mess!). Store cooked beans tightly covered in the fridge up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Winding Down...

The summer is winding down along with the garden.  I plan on doing some tomatoes this week.  I was thinking tomato sauce, salsa, chopped tomatoes maybe even something with green tomatoes.  Anybody have any recipes they love?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another Week Done,,,

Just back from helping at another funeral luncheon.  Some of the family are of our faith, though not active members.  Their 20-year-old son passed away after a long bout with leukemia.  We brought in meals for 3 days, provided a church building for the service and viewing, a minister for the ceremony, a pianist and then provided a luncheon complete with serving help, tables and chairs after the service.  No one thanked any of us.  I thought that was rather strange, since most people come to thank us for providing service.  I mentioned it to another woman who was helping with the luncheon and she commented that they probably thought we were getting paid.  No folks, no one gets paid in our church.  Not the minister, teachers or even the kitchen help.  We call and people respond with whatever they can do.  We had families who donated salads and desserts and we provided sandwiches.  We had people who gave up their Saturday to help with the funeral even though none of us knew the son or even the parents.  I'm just venting.  It's been one of those weeks.

Real corn syrup.

Friday, August 20, 2010

this is the corn syrup mixture cooking down

Guess what I'm doing with the corn cobs?

Corn off the Cob

I get home and get thrown into all kinds of things I need to take care of.  I did however take some time yesterday afternoon to prepare some corn off the cob. Sweet Corn was 5 ears for a $1, which is about as cheap as it gets in SoCal.  Here's the prep work that I did.

I stripped the corn and got off all the little hairs (I hate when those get stuck in your teeth).  Then using a very sharp knife, I cut the kernals from the cob.  I went back over the cob and cut any remaining parts that were edible.  I did two cobs at a tiime, since it just me and DH at home. I tossed the kernals in boiling water and cooked for 2 minutes to blanche them.  I used two saucepans and drained the hot water into the other saucepan, to cook the next batch. After blanching, I strained the kernals and ran cold water over the corn to stop the cooking.  I vacuum sealed the kernals and put them in the freezer.  By doing it in this manner I knew I was getting exactly 2 cobs of corn.  I supposed I could have done it all at once, but this way, I didn't overcook the corn and sealed it immediately after the cold rinse.  Did any of that make sense?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Don't worry about wasting the cucumber innards.  We have a worm composting bin.  A worm farm if you will.  We add scraps of food, minus meat and dairy to the bin.  We also shred our junk mail and paperwork that may have sensitive information on it.  The shredded paper make a great bed for the worms.  Just keep adding and the worms produce castings (worm poop) that are great for enriching the soil and helping to curb some insect infestations. There is also a spigot on the bottom to drain the worm 'tea'.  It makes a fantastic liquid fertilizer for the garden or house plants.  If you keep the balance right, our worm buddies will eat us out of scraps and junk mail. 

If that wasn't green enough for you, we also use compost bins, solar water heating, solar electric for most of our electricity and have a Prius. We also recycle cans, bottles and most recyclable items. And we did it all before it became fashionable.   Not bad for Orange County Republicans, huh?
Preparing the mock spiced apple rings.

Week 22

Oh, I get it. You thought I was exaggerating about the 10 lb. cucumber...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Clicking My Heels and Saying...

There's no place like home.  There's no place like home.  If that isn't sooo true.  It felt nice to sleep in my usual bed with my usual pillow.  So much stuff to unpack.  I thought we were getting rid of things, now we had a truck loaded with things to bring back with us.  Does it ever end?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mine Facts

Kennecott Copper Mine Factoids

This is the actual mine. I believe it is the biggest open pit mine in the world.
This is up the mountain from the Kennecott copper mine.

Cookie Salad Recipe

This is my kind of salad! At the recent family reunion, we had to bring aside dish along. This is one everyone raved about and wanted the recipe for it. I didn't make it, but am passing along the recipe.

Cookie Salad
2 small Pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 Cups buttermilk
16 oz. Cool Whip
1 large can mandarin oranges
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 pkg. fudge striped cookies

Whisk pudding and buttermilk together. Add cool whip, and then fold in the fruit. Break up the cookies and mix in.
This is not at all good for you, but it is yummy-oh what about using oreos...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tooting My Own Horn

I found out that my entry at the County Fair won 1st place.  Too bad I won't be able to see it.  We don't get back until after the fair closes.  Anyone going to the fair, can you snap a photo for me?  I entered Court's wedding photo book. 

Mock Spiced Apple Rings

I am soon to return home and find large cucumbers that no one has picked.  They usually are hiding, have turned yellow and weigh about 10 lbs. each.  I usually don't do anything with those.  That was until I found this recipe on the preserving food group.  Who would have thunk it?  Basically candied cucumbers.  I'm game.

Mock Spiced Apple Rings
Peel the cukes. Slice in coins about 1/4" thick. Remove the seed and the gel around the seed. Place the rings into a pan and add about half a cup of salt and cover with ice. Store in the fridge for a few hours. Put together your favorite sweet pickle brine then add a couple bags of cinnamon red hots candy (sometimes called cinnamon imperials). Heat the brine to a boil, add the drained and rinsed rings. Return to a boil. Pack into jars (I use pints), fill with the brine and BWB for 15 minutes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

If the Homemade Corn Syrup Wasn't Enough...

Try this recipe:

12 dried red corncobs*
3 pt. water (6 cups)
1 pkg. powdered pectin
3 C. granulated sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Rinse cobs well. Break in half. Boil gently 30minutes and strain the juice through a wet cloth. Measure to get 3 cups. If necessary, add water. Add the pectin and bring to a full rolling boil. Add sugar and heat to dissolve. Bring to a boil again, boil for at least a full minute or until it starts to jell - another minute or so. Skim; pour into sterile glass jars leaving 1/4" head space and seal. Process for 10 minutes in BWB.

* Red corncobs come from what is termed "field corn" that is raised to feed animals. However, you can use
corncobs from the sweet corn you have just had for dinner!

I got this recipe from the Canning2 group on yahoo groups and here are the notes from it's author.
I finally did the corn cob jelly today..even though it is still a bit humid. I made the recipe below and added 2 Tablespoons diced candied ginger and used pomona pectin and regular sweet corn cobs. It made exactly 5 half fact I had to scrape the pan the get the last pint filled. I didnt get any extra to taste so I licked the pan...well, not literally... ok sorta :)so I only got a small taste and it was good. The jars all sealed and the ginger is distributed through out the jelly and looks really cool. I think next time I would add orange or lime zest also. I will never throw out a corn cob again...

Is this going too far or is it just me that thinks this recipe sounds a bit bizarre?  If been in Utah too long.  I am blogging about corn cobs. A friend called yesterday and asked if she could help with the ransom because I'm being held here against my will.  I will once again be back on Cali soil on Monday. BTW, if you want to help with the ransom, I'll send you my paypal info.   ;)

I just found out that corn jelly is something they eat in the Orient.  Yikes.

Here is something you can use with the real corn syrup recipe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week 21

How often do you use corn syrup.  Around my house not very often.  I ran across this recipe for making your own.  It has the advantage of being freshly made and doesn't contain the high fructose levels of most corn syrups.  So after you're done eating that summer corn on the cob, save the cobs and try  your hand at this recipe.

Corn Syrup

Yield: 2 Cups

Source: FoodPreservationDry. comingCanningAndMore@yahoogroups

6 Corn Cobs From Fresh Corn - Water to Cover
1/8 Tsp Powdered Alum (optional)
1/8 Tsp Vanilla
2 C Sugar
1/2 Cup Corncob Juice

1. Cut off the grains from six ears of fresh corn. Break the cobs into pieces and put them in a kettle with water to cover. Boil for 45 minutes.

2. Remove the cobs; save and measure the water.

3. Use 1/2 cup of this corncob juice for each 2 cups of sugar.

4. Place in a smaller saucepan and boil down until it reaches the thickness of corn syrup. It will thicken some as it cools so be careful and don't overcook it. Stir only to dissolve sugar at start.

5. Add vanilla (and powdered alum, if desired, to keep it from forming crystals). Stir to mix; strain through a thin soft cloth while it is hot.

6. Note: This syrup has a smooth, delicate corn syrup flavor and should not crystallize. If you should cook it too much, thin with a little boiling water. In canning this you leave a 1/4” headspace.

7. (Can be processed in water bath for 10 minutes at 0 - 1000 ft, 15 minutes at 1001 - 6000 ft., and 20 minutes above 6000 ft.)

I don't know that I will ever use this recipe, but it's there if I need it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Too Many Tomatoes???

This is the time of year when tomatoes seem to runneth over.  Try this recipe for fresh or canned salsa, to put them to good use.

Wonderful Salsa

8 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced – may use three 28/29 oz. cans tomatoes, well drained, (diced if whole)
2 ½ cups diced onion
1 ½ cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced hot peppers (I used all banana peppers)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. canning salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
29 oz. can of tomato puree
1 ½ cups tomato sauce

Mix everything together in large saucepan. Bring slowly to boil; boil gently for ten minutes (or less – be sure onions & peppers remain somewhat crisp).

NOTE: At this point you could cool, refrigerate & use without canning if desired.

Pour into hot jars, cap with hot rings & lids. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Yield: 7 to 8 pints.

The three brothers at another family homestead.

One of my b-i-l's at an old family homestead.

We're in Manti, UT for a family reunion.

I must be a glutton for punishment! I couldn't waste the apricots that were left so I made apricot paste.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ball Elite Jars

I bought four packages of these new shaped Ball jars.  They were under $4 at Wally World.  I love the styling on this jars.  They are swat and low profile with wide mouth lids.  They will make great Christmas gifts.  I have also seen a 1 pint jar in the same shape only taller.  The 1/2 pint is definitely cuter.

Apricot-Pineapple Jam Recipe

Apricot-Pineapple Jam
3 cups apricots, pitted and chopped
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 box of pectin
8 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter

In a large pan, mix apricots, pineapple and lemon juice.  Add the box of pectin and stir.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.  Add the sugar and the butter, bring back to a boil and cook for 4 minutes stirring constantly.  Pack and process for 5 minutes at sea level.

Cook's Notes: I added about 5 cups of apricots instead of 3.  I also used the no sugar needed boxed pectin, since I couldn't find Pomona Pectin  I used about 3 cups of sugar instead of 8, which to me seems crazy. I found that that was even too sweet to my taste and in the next batches only used about 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  I also let it cook longer than four minutes.  I like a thick jam and can't always count of packaged pectin.  I probably let it cook for about 15-20 minutes a batch.  I also doubled the recipe and had no program when I let it cook longer. It is a tasty jam!

The products of my labors.

Yesterday's Pic

That is my DH, who truly is a dear hubby!  Tuesday afternoon I was checking the free section in the KSL classified and saw people who were offering the apricots on their trees, free for the picking.  I said
I would like can some apricots.  DH said okay, so yesterday we got so many apricots, it was ridiculous. We must have had 35 + pounds of apricots.  So after canning for two days, I don't care if I ever see another apricot in the flesh again! That is of course after canning 46 1/2 pints of apricot pineapple jam and 6 pints of plain apricots packed in pineapple juice.  I have to hand it to you high altitude canners.  I have it soooo much easier at sea level.  I had to add 10 minutes on to every batch I made.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Hate to Say it, but...

I really didn't like the taste of the tomato marmalade.  Maybe on toast or crackers it might be better, but I just sampled off the spoon.

tomato marmalade

On Today's Agenda...

Tomato Marmalade

A sweet-tart orangey-red marmalade when made with pink grapefruit.

2 medium grapefruit
6 cups chopped and peeled tomatoes
3 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (can be eliminated safely but really brings out the tomato flavor)
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves

Use a brush to scrub grapefruit under running water. Use a vegetable
peeler to cut off only colored part of peel. Do not include any white
pith. Cut peel into thin strips.

In a small saucepan, cover strips of peel with water. Bring to a boil
over medium heat; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 5 minutes. Drain;
set blanched peel aside. Cut outside white pith from grapefruit,
cutting slightly into fruit to remove membrane. Working over a large
bowl, section grapefruit by cutting on either side of membrane, as
needed, to make wedges.

In a 4-qt pot, combine blanched peel, grapefruit wedges and remaining
ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar
dissolves. Use a spoon to skim off any foam. Stirring occasionally,
continue to boil gently until marmalade reaches 218ºF. or is done
according to plate test. Ladle hot marmalade into jars, leaving 1/4"
headspace. Release trapped air. Wipe rim of jar. Attach lid. Place
in BWB canner. Process in a boiling-water bath: 1/2-pints or pints for
10 minutes. Adjust time for altitude. Makes 4 1/2-pints.

3 Citrus Marmalade

1 medium pink grapefruit
1 medium orange
1 whole lime
3 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups sugar
1 box Fruit Pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine

Remove and discard colored and white parts of peel from grapefruit.
Finely chop the fruit, reserving any juice; set aside.

Remove colored part of peel from 1/2 orange using a vegetable peeler.
Cut into thin strips; place in 4-quart saucepan. Remove and discard
remaining colored and white parts of peel from orange. Finely chop the
fruit, reserving any juice; set aside. Remove colored part of peel from
1/2 lime. Cut into thin slivers; add to saucepan. Remove and discard
remaining colored and white parts of peel from lime. Finely chop the
fruit, reserving any juice; set aside.

Add 3 1/2 cups water and baking soda to saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add prepared fruit; cover and
simmer 10 minutes.

Measure 4 cups into 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Measure sugar into separate
bowl. Stir pectin into fruit in saucepan. Add butter or margarine. Place
over high heat; bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Immediately stir in all sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil 1
minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; skim off foam with metal spoon. Ladle quickly into hot
sterilized jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and
threads. Cover with lids. Process 10 minutes for half-pints in BWB.
Makes about 7 (1 cup) jars.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Using Up What I Got...

I'm leaving again tomorrow, so I don't really buy any food before I leave.  I opened some vegetable chicken stock that I had canned and added noodles to it.  I let the noodles cook in the soup, added a pinch of salt and it was great.  I also polished off the last of a 1/2 pint of kiwi strawberry jam.  I toasted some Orowheat Sandwich Thins and they were great.  I really like the Thins because it is not too much bread in a sandwich or for a burger.  I will also toast one up and make a PB&J out of it.  They have about 100 calories and are tasty.

Anyway, I threw the bananas in the freezer.  Made some apple sauce and canned it tonight. Tomorrow I need to make something with grapefruit, oranges and limes, before I leave.  Maybe some marmalade.  I hate to waste what I have, especially since I am canning just about everything in sight.  I have a list of things to take care of tomorrow before my flight.

Sunday Musings, Again

I gave my lesson today in church.  I based it on a 2009 talk by Richard G. Scott. The link is below. - Ensign Article - To Acquire Spiritual Guidance - Ensign Article - To Acquire Spiritual Guidance