Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Chance!

Heyaheather. You won the giveaway, but I have no way to contact you! I know I said 48 hours, but I've given you a little while longer. Please email me at angelajiniel at gmail dot com with your contact info so I can have them send you your prize. Thanks.

I really, really will pick another winner after Noon (EST) Friday.

Stay tuned, readers, for the best icecream recipe I've ever eaten in my entire life!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Have A Winner!

As I guessed, I was gone all day yesterday and didn't get a chance to post the winner. But, I scored a lot of great whole food ingredients for very little and had a great time with friends. I love visiting the Amish stores in Ohio!

Anyway, on to the real reason you all are here, the giveaway winner.

And according to random.org, the winner is comment #22, heyaheather.

Congratulations! Please contact me within 48 hours with your shipping address so we can get the lids to you in time to use them this season! If I don't hear from our winner by Wednesday, I'll pick a new winner. I don't want to let these babies go to waste this season!

In other news, I canned three more jars of sauce which I made in the crockpot while we were away yesterday. Two of the three sealed...I've still got work to do to make them function properly. I think the problem this time was the ring I used. Looking at it, I don't think it sealed it down properly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Day to Enter: Tattler Giveaway

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the Tattler Reusable Canning Lid giveaway.

From their site:
TATTLER Canning Lid's proven success, as a reusable product, has earned them the distinction of widespread customer satisfaction and acceptance since their origination in 1976.  The years of development of this product have brought to the home canner a jar lid that is truly reusable.  In fact, the longevity of TATTLER Canning Lids presents the likelihood they will be handed down to the next generation of food preservation enthusiasts!

Properly used, with any standard Mason jar and metal screw band, these reusable lids will last a lifetime. If you ever wear this lid out, we will replace it free! Follow standard directions and procedures, for two piece canning jar lids, with any normal home canning process, and obtain excellent results.
Tattler lids from their site.
Their lids are:
  • Infinitely reusable (thought the rubber rings may need to be replaced after a while)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA free
  • Made of FDA approved materials 
  • And can be used with Pressure canner or water bath (boiling water) methods.
After I get some more canning done with them, I will post more about them and exactly how to use them, so you DON'T do what I did and lose half a quart of applesauce to the canning water!

Good Luck everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tattler Reusable Lid Update

After cooling, three of the four jars sealed without a problem. The fourth jar is the one who's lid popped off during the canning process and 1/2 the applesauce left the jar. I didn't that that one would work!

I also know what I did wrong. Even after reading other reviews and seeing them make this same mistake, I've made it. Before canning, you need to loosen the ring a 1/4 INCH, not a 1/4 TURN. INCH!! I even reread the box to make sure I was doing it right and I did it the wrong way. Ugh. Lesson learned.

The best part? I don't have to throw a lid away and waste it because it didn't seal, just use it again!

Remember, the giveaway for your own Tattler Lids is open through Midnight on Friday. So if you haven't entered yet, do so soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Indian Summer

This weekend I picked all of the green tomatoes from the volunteer plant that came up by the compost. Since there was no support out there for then, they were all laying on the ground. And, consequently, every one that ripened was eaten by all of the lovely bugs that live back there. So they are now slowly ripening in my laundry room. It's been fairly cool for the last couple of weeks, hovering in the 70's and occasionally breaking the 80 mark. So they were ripening very slowly back there under all of the greenery anyway.

Today's high is supposed to be 88. Almost 90! And the rest of the week is hopping from 80 to almost 90. Isn't today the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of fall?

So the large box of tomatoes I have will most likely ripen quickly this week. And that's not to mention all of the tomatoes that are still out there on the vine ready to be picked. I've got some work to do! I'm thinking a few more batches of salsa made during the week and some sauce over the weekend. I hope I have time. We are going to Amish Country with friends on Saturday and celebrating a family birthday on Sunday. I need to make sure I come home and get things done on Sunday! Or maybe I'll dehydrate some while we're gone on Saturday and put the rest in the crockpot...hmm...

Either way, I'm still planning on canning more sauce this weekend. Hopefully I'll get the chance to perfect my use of the Tattler Reusable Lids. (If you didn't know, I'm giving away a box of each size! Tell your friends and family, share! Drawing will be held Saturday!)

I'm also hoping to take advantage of the warm and get some fall/winter seeds to germinate this week, if only I can get them planted tonight! And, I need to get the potatoes harvested. This warm, dry weather would be great to get them cured for storage.

What are you doing in your gardens this fall?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids (& a Giveaway!)

I recently decided to try some Tattler Reusable Canning Lids rather than continue to spend money on disposable metal lids the have (though very small levels) BPA on them. Every time I went to buy new lids, I just couldn't let myself spend the money, even when I had a coupon!

So I set out to search for a solution. And thanks to the power of google, I found these. I also found quite a few other bloggers who have talked about them recently and a while ago. They've apparently been around since the 70's (they're older than I am!), but I haven't heard about them until now.

I order three sets of each size and they arrived yesterday.

Lids in their shipping box. I've already pulled out one set of regular sized lids.
After my 5k this morning (my first! 36 minutes and I didn't die, woohoo!), I went and picked about a 1/2 bushel of apples from my mom and dad's house and came home and made applesauce. It was my first opportunity to test out the new lids.

Four jars of applesauce. The not-quite-so-full jar is one that didn't go so perfectly...
They're a little different than regular metal lids, as they come in two pieces. The rubber rings can be reused, but do need to eventually be replaced. The white lid part can be reused indefinitely unless it becomes damaged. Also, you have to tighten them and then turn back a 1/4" during processing. Then, once you take them out of the water, tighten them down while they cool. That part's a little tricky and my first run wasn't exactly, um, perfect. We'll see once they cool how it went!

And the good news is that Tattler has allowed me to give one of you a set! One winner will receive a box of a dozen of each size, rings and lids. I'm so excited for my first giveaway! (And, to clarify, I bought my lids so any review I do is just for information, I've not been compensated.)

How do you enter? Just comment here and tell me what kind of food preservation you've been working on lately. And, for an extra entries, share about this giveaway on your own blog or on facebook or twitter. Please put a separate comment for each entry (max. 4 per person). The contest will be open all this week, closing at 12pm EST on Friday night. I will announce the winner on Saturday (or maybe Sunday if I'm in Amish country all day Saturday :) Good Luck everyone!

For those of you interested in my applesauce recipe, it's painfully simple:
Apples, a bunch. I think I had about 1/2 a bushel.
1 cup (or so) of your favorite sweetener. I used rapadura


Wash and cut up apples in pieces and cut out bad spots. (Since I was using my mom's apples that have quite a few spots and bugs, I just cored them all, but you don't have to if you have a food mill.) Put a large pot on the stove on medium heat and cut your apples into the pot, peels on. Add a little water to get started. Every so often, put in a little sugar. Stir occasionally.


Once all the apples are cut, let it cook with a lid on for about 20 minutes until cooked down and softened, stirring occasionally. Then run through a food mill. I use a Foley food mill that I got at garage sale (or my mom got for me at a garage sale :)


I also put a few cloves in while it's cooking. Most people would put some cinnamon in, but my husband believes that cinnamon is the devil, so we don't put it in at this stage. I put on when I eat it :)
For more information, or if you don't have a mill, visit PickYourOwn.org for more info.

Reusable bags and dehydrator, I'm a winner!

My new dehydrator in it's home in the laundry room!

Recently I won a giveaway from the Green Bag Lady. A $60 giftcard to the CSN stores, with which I bought a dehydrator. I was so excited! I've already dehydrated a bunch of onions and made onion powder, dehydrated my first batch of home grown tomatoes, made jerky, dried a bunch of herbs and made chili pepper flakes. I love it!

Finished jerky. It was really good!!

They also sent me an awesome reusable bag, because it's what she does. Thanks so much!

My Green Bag Lady bag!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I've been up to...

As I type this, I am taking a short break from making and canning a bunch of tomato sauce. I got a bushel from the farm stand (didn't pick myself this year since it's raining today) and then a few more quarts of my own when I got home. I know you're not supposed to mess with wet plants...but I couldn't let all of the beautiful red tomatoes go knowing I was making sauce!

My sauce recipe is really simple. I usually just clean and quarter the tomatoes (or maybe more pieces, if the tomatoes are huge like some of these) and then heat them for a bout 20 minutes. Then I process them through the foley food mill and simmer them for a while to thicken the sauce. I usually add a little salt then process in my water bath canner, according to the ball blue book. This way I can turn the sauce into whatever I need it to be when I need it.

Tomatoes from my garden! Finally, I am growing beautiful red tomatoes.
The pepper on top is one of my Sweet Chocolates.
I also got a dehydrator. I'm so excited.
It has helped so much with processing the harvest this year.

I've already made two batches of lacto-fermented salsa from Nourishing Traditions. I haven't had whey, so I doubled the salt. Makes the salsa a little salty for my taste, but Hubby loves it. And so does my boss. She bought a quart from me and added black beans and corn and said it was really good.

Swiss Chard all dried out for winter soups. I'm still a little scared to eat it fresh...
Zucchini shredded for some yummy bread. (Recipe coming soon!)
This entire food processor cup is filled, probably way too much, with zucchini
from one fruit. I got it from someone at work. Literally the size of a t-ball bat!
Meat marinating for jerky. I bought a large roast from the local butcher and sliced it up.
The rest of the roast was ground up and browned. This will be chili on Monday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

My High School

My high school was destroyed by an EF4 tornado on June 5 this year. Completely. Destroyed. I spent all 13 years of my school years on this campus.

The high school I went to.
I am asking you today to log in to facebook and vote at the Kohls Cares page to help my alma mater win $500,000 to help them rebuild. The district spent the summer fixing the elementary and middle school (yes, we're that small that they're all in the same place) in time for school to start, and they're just starting to rebuild the high school. 6 people were killed in the tornado and many, many homes destroyed. The all happened the night before graduation. The graduation ceremony was delayed a week and occurred right before the funerals of those that died. The class valedictorian lost his father.

Or township building and police station were also destroyed.
I'm not asking to spend money, I'm not asking you to even be my friend on facebook if you don't want to. I'm just asking you to go here and vote. You can vote 20 times, giving as many as 5 votes to any one school. The top 20 win money. Lake is currently hovering right around 20. We are one of the only public schools on the list. We aren't offering any prizes for voting. Just your thanks.

You can see the middle school in this one. The roof had to be replaced.
My youngest sister is a sophomore there this year. They started classes this fall in a borrowed building. No lockers. Very little room. Food is bussed in from other schools. Other districts have donated busses and computer equipment and books and everything. Very little was salvageable, everything was lost. They're calling the borrowed building "Fake Lake", at least there's some humor about it! The football field, which is just out of shot in the pictures above, had to have the top foot of dirt scraped off because it was full of glass and debris. Their first home game of the season is tonight.

My parents live less than a mile from the school. You can see the destruction from their back porch. I thank God every day that it didn't take a small turn to the South and hit my family, or to the North and hit a small town full of my friends. One of my other sisters drove past the school 3 minutes before it was hit, on the road you can see in the top of the last picture above.

Please everyone, vote, and share this with your network of online friends. Voting ends tonight at 12pm Central Time. We're desperate. Thanks again!