Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School for my BIG KIDS!

It's that time of year again.

Ellie has been at this for awhile now. You can take a little trip down back-to-school memory lane by clicking here (she was soooo small when I sent her off to preschool!).

Of course, Brendan has already been to school before as well.

But this is the first time that they are heading off to school together. And it is pretty cool.

As for Colin, he insisted on bringing his little backpack along as well. However, he was fine to say goodbye to the big kids and head to Target with me to pick up a new baseball bat.

Next year, little man.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spicy Little Things

I've had a bumper pepper crop this year. I am picking poblanos, serranos and jalapenos daily.

We eat our fair share of peppers, but we can't keep up (and I can't bear to let all these lovely peppers that I've been cultivating go to waste).

In an effort to preserve some of these tasty little guys, I came across a really simple recipe for brining peppers and decided to give it a try.

They are in the fridge right now -- getting all sweet and salty (and of course, hot).

I have lots of plans for these preserved peppers (only a small portion of them will come to fruition I am sure).

I'll report back in a week or so with the tasty (or not-so-tasty results). And let me know if you like peppers -- I've got plenty to share!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keep on Canning (plus a giveaway)!

A few summers ago, I got it in my head that I should start making jam. So I did. I bought a flat of raspberries from Seedling at the Green City Market, a few boxes of pectin, some jars and then I made some raspberry jam.

This jam was so tasty that I decided to give away all of the jars that I had made and then make some more.

This raspberry jam ritual has become a fun part of summer for our family. I make jam. I give my jam away to people who seem interested. They eat up all of of their jam and return the empty jars to me (I assume in the hopes that I will fill them up with jam again).

In case I haven't made it clear yet, I really, really like to make raspberry jam. But that is the extent of my canning experience. I am stuck on raspberry jam.

This summer, I plan to expand my horizons. When I learned that August 13 is National Can-It-Forward Day, I felt inspired to take my canning to the next level -- tomatoes! I am going to can salsa, sauce and just plain old tomatoes.

Jarden Home Brands, makers of the classic Ball and Mason jars, has teamed up with Canning Across America to sponsor Can-It-Forward Day (this day-long celebration will feature home canning parties, local events and online instructional canning videos and cooking demos).

If all of this talk about canning (and yummy, yummy jam) has you thinking about giving canning a try, I have a fabulous opportunity to share with you. The truth is that canning requires just a few simple tools (but you do need to carefully follow the instructions in order to ensure that your food is properly preserved). The maker of Ball jars makes a Canning Discovery Kit that gives first-timers easy-to-follow recipes and the basic tools to get started. Ball sent me one of these kits to try and I've really enjoyed the contents (again, see photo of raspberry jam above).

Ball has generously offered me one Canning Discovery Kit to give away to one of you. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (be sure to leave your name and contact info so I can find you if you win!). You get another entry if you share this post via Twitter or Facebook (just leave a comment letting me know that you did that too). All comments must be received by Wednesday, August 17 at midnight. I will select a winner using and contact that lucky individual next week.