Sunday, September 27, 2009

and Salsa-ing

Looky who thinks she is Ms. Canner now? I canned 5 pints of salsa today - mostly because Hubby was feeling sad that I hadn't made anything he was interested in, plus we had a bunch of garden tomatoes to use up so, salsa it was.
He deemed it delicious and even though I had to supplement our fresh tomatoes with canned I did use the no-salt added variety so this salsa is just about sodium free and a perfect snack for him with his new low-sodium eating plan. My only disappointment was it seems a bit too liquidy but that's easy enough to resolve by just draining it a bit.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cannin' and Jammin'

I can now check off another item from my list of "Things to do Before I Die" because today I canned.

I have been wanting to try to can for years. Thanks to my friends in the Motherhood Later group on Ravelry I have finally done it. We set a date and a total of four of us were in our respective kitchens today all doing the same thing; one in NY, one in Canada, one in KY and me in IL. Cool, huh?

I decided on Watermelon Rind Pickles - never heard of them? Well, the recipe was in my copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving so it must be a legit recipe. My Grandma also used to make them so I thought it would be neat for this recipe to be the one I use for my first try at canning. OK - I'll confess, it was also because if I messed up the entire job I wouldn't have to think about throwing away a bunch of expensive produce - we'd have just tossed the rinds in the composter anyways.

First, my girl and I got the watermelon ready. It was an average sized seedless watermelon. We were looking for 16 cups of rinds and I assumed one watermelon would do it.

She washed and dried it and I cut into it.

NOTE: There should be a picture here but *%5E@%5E$* Blogger is making me insane so you'll have to use you imagination. Sorry.

It looked great - perfectly ripe and delicious inside. But man, it had skimpy rinds - I couldn't believe how thin they were. How was I supposed to get 16 cups of rinds from this melon? I remember as a kid having big chunky rinds after eating watermelon. I think those were the old-fashioned seeded watermelons. Those big, oblong-shaped suckers.

So my girl scooped out the melon and I peeled the rinds, cut them up and put them in salted water for their overnight soak.

This morning we rinsed 'em, drained 'em and boiled them in a syrup of vinegar, sugar and cinnamon sticks.

Since I only had 8 cups of rinds I made a half recipe - three pint jars.

NOTE: Imagine picture here - again thanks to the idiocy that is Blogger

The jars looked so small and lonely in my new, giant 21-quart canner. But it worked, the lids seemed to have sealed properly and maybe I'll open one up for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not So Smart Spending

After reading this article about posh dorms in the Chicago Tribune today I felt disturbed for a variety of reasons; however, the most annoying was this quote:

"You are going to be in debt anyways, might as well enjoy," said sophomore Ashley Hendzell of Tinley Park.

What?? Has she not noticed the financial crisis that so many people are currently facing? If she could talk to 10 of those families do you think they'd say "sure, go ahead! You'll be in debt after college anyways so why not throw a couple $5,000, $10,000 or more on those loans!" I'm sure more than one of them would grimly look at her and say "yeah, that's what I thought and look where I am now". I guess the mention of her 30 pairs of shoes kind of indicates she isn't the most fiscally minded student anyways.

I had a friend that went to a private school for both undergrad and graduate school. During those years she justified taking a nice vacation (Aruba and Hawaii are two that come to mind) by saying she "deserved" them; she was under a lot of stress, you know. And the money was, somehow, readily available via her student loans. Post graduation, after she married and tried to get a mortage her $120K in student loan debt made her enough of a liability that they left her off the mortgage altogether.

If you can pay for these posh dorms outright, than more power to you. If you need to roll the extra cost into your student loans then just say "NO". Isn't living in a cramped dorm room using milk crates as end tables kind of a college right of passage anyways?

Yes Man, Yes Ma'am!

I took a sick day today - I'm tired, achy and feeling blah. After sleeping in I hauled myself into the shower and then out to get an iced coffee. I also decided to swing by the library and see what DVDs they had available.

"Yes Man" with Jim Carey was on their "new release" shelf so I grabbed it. Jim Carey movies are almost always entertaining if only in a silly, frothy kind of way and that's what I needed - some silly humor to distract me and maybe, if I was lucky, make me laugh.

It worked! This is a cute movie and if you really think about it, it's a good message too. If it made me laugh out loud (more than once), than that's saying something. Give it a try.