Green Beans Galore

Green Beans Galore

‘Tis the season for green beans to be picked and canned and picked and canned…. first canning complete with a grand total of 40 pints. Today we begin the canning of picking #2. And yes, there will be more. Thankfully I have a good teacher being only my second time doing beans.

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Washing the beans – each little greenie gets scrubbed to make sure there is no guck.

 

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Ends are snipped and the beans cut to size.

 

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Blanch the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes. the smell is amazing!!

 

Beans are hot packed into sterilized jars and into the pressure cooker they go.
Beans are hot packed into sterilized jars and into the pressure cooker they go.

 

Don't they look good! The finished product.
Don’t they look good! The finished product.

 

 

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Round 1 of green beans complete!

I’ll let you know how many pints we end up with this year!

Changes

 

Not too long ago I turned 50. It didn’t scare me or depress me. It actually energized me and got me off my butt! I work with amazing group of people. I say this not only for the unbelievable professional support but for the personal as well! One of my c0-workers is now my Health Coach. She is not pushy, something I shy away from. She leads by example and is uplifting. Makes waking up each morning exciting because I know I am making positive changes in my life. To date I have lost 12 pounds!

Last weekend I didn’t do our traditional new recipe because Perry and I were at a food prep party.

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Food Prep Sunday Complete! Ground Turkey, Chicken Breasts, Pork Loin, Wild Rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Almonds. . .And Tons Of Veggies In The Freezer – All Portioned Out.

 

This makes it so much easier to face the week ahead and not to have to worry about measuring and weighing….yesterday our little group met up at Healthy Vibe where Amy (our Health Coach) ran our numbers and helped us refine and understand out dietary needs. We also had the most DELICIOUS health shakes! I had a Carmel Mocha Latte and Perry had White Chocolate Reeses. Totally amazing!

I also love the fact that we can be transparent and accepting of not only our steps forward but also those trips along the way.

Last night I made a Quinoa Lentil Chicken dish. I was a little nervous about Perry’s reaction. He is a die hard meat and potatoes guy. Know what? He liked it! No worries! The recipe will be coming soon,

Have a healthy day everyone!

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Chicken Noodle Sunday

 

Its an amazing day…a bit on the cool side. OK, so maybe -23 degrees at 1:00pm isn’t considered balmy, but I’m in the house and it is sunny so easy enough to fool one into believing it is a near spring-like day The dogs are a little more in tune with reality.

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Today is the first race of the NASCAR season! The All American Race Daytona 500! Love watching the race! Go Junior!! Perfect time for me to sit and watch the race and work on my latest crochet project. This is my version of the Tri-Color Afghan for the upcoming Spring Into Summer for BBR fundraising event. Dog hair included.

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Joey was pretty fascinated with the race. He had never really seen one and loved spending time with Papa watching it.

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As tradition dictates it is also the day to try new recipes. Today its homemade Chicken and Noodles. I will throw out the recipe in a bit once its done. I’m inspired by a number of people when I cook: Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) is one of them. The dinner I am making today is a version of her recipe for Homemade Chicken and Noodles. You have got to browse her recipes. I love her down-home style cooking, her writing style and her Basset Hound Charlie! Anyway, the finished product was delicious!!

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Until next time – stay warm and hug your hounds!

 

Apples!

I think fall is my favorite season. I do look forward to the newly blossoming spring flowers…and the summer warmth hanging at the beach. But fall is absolutely my favorite! Maybe growing up in Anoka – the Halloween Capital of the World – has instilled this love within! 

One of the best parts of fall are the apples. In my mind there is nothing like freshly picked apples to munch on. To make apple crisp with. To make apple pie with….you get the idea.

Last week I had the chance to visit Pine Tree Apple Orchard

Loaded with Harrelson Apples. These are dwarf trees making it possible to have more trees in one area and making picking a little easier.
Newer part of the orchard where a trellis system is used
I did purchase some apples (and cider oatmeal raisin cookies and wild rice pancake mix and….) to can. I decided to do apple butter and apple sauce. I tried a new recipe this year for the apple butter using my crockpot. What an easy way to do it and boy did the house smell LOVELY! I think its intend is to let them cook overnight but I started in the morning. Here is the recipe I used:
 
Ingredients:
  • Enough apples to fill your crock pot- use a variety of apples for a blended taste
  • 1 – 2 cups sugar (to your taste preference)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Peel, core and slice the apples and fill the crockpot to the brim. They will settle during cooking. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl and pour over the apples. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for a good 10 hours. Stir now and then. If you leave the cover slightly ajar the moisture will escape thickening up the mixture. After some time use a whisk instead of a spoon to stir up. If you want to thicken up the apple butter leave the lid off for the last hour or two. 
 
Once the apple butter is at the consistency you want its time to can. Pour the apple butter into your sterilized, hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rim clean and place the lid and ring on the jar. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. You can also put in containers and keep n the fridge for 2 weeks or freeze for 2 months or so. Canning keeps it so much longer.
 

This has been a productive canning season so far! The 3 jars in the front are the apple butter. 
 
My grandkids adore apple sauce. I decided to try making and canning some of my own. I think it turned out perfectly!

I used the apple sauce recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. It is delicious! 

Homemade Applesauce

Prep Time:
 

 Cook Time: 

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 12

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Ingredients

  • 6 pounds Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices
  • 1 cup Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
  •  Juice Of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, More Or Less To Taste
  •  Optional Ingredients: Nutmeg, Maple Syrup, Allspice, Butter

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
Carefully puree in a food processor or blender (don’t fill too full; split into two portions if needed) until smooth.
Store in the fridge and serve by itself, over pork chops, over ice cream, over pancakes…or any place where applesauce is needed! If canning use the hot water bath method and process for 10 minutes.

Applesauce

Nummy! And the grandkids totally approve! 

Salsa!

I love love love salsa! But not the hot hot hot stuff. Yes, I am a wimp. I decided to try my hand at canning some salsa so I could have that fresh from the (Farmer’s Market) garden taste during the Minnesota winter.

I’m also going to warn you – I didn’t really use a recipe. I looked at a couple and had some suggestions from a canning pro (thank, Mary!) but the gist of it was just throwing things in that looked good.

When I asked what kind of tomatoes were the best I was told to use Romas. They are meatier and not as seedier. I used a variety of peppers and onions, fresh garlic and even tomatillos. Don’t forget about the fresh cilantro and limes! I LOVE the cilantro/lime taste combination. There are other things you can add as well like corn, mangos…use your imagination!

It was also recommended that I skin the tomatoes. Do you see how many I have? How the heck was I suppose to do all that in one day? Blanche the tomatoes first – OK I’ll give it a try.

Put the tomato into the boiling water for a short time. Now – I waited until I noticed the skins start to split a wee bit. If I weren’t mushing them to kingdom come anyway I wouldn’t have done it that long. But it was still only a minute or two. Immediately put the blanched tomato into the cold water. Just do a few at a time or else you will end up with tomato soup – and thank you for not asking how I know that.

Amazingly enough the skins just slid right off the tomatoes! Talk about easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

I put the tomatoes in the food processor and munched them up a bit. I did NOT do that with the rest of the ingredients. I hand chopped those so the salsa would have some substance and not be soupy. You may wonder why I have no photos between this point and the end result? It has something to do with a VERY hot pepper – my mouth – a lot of running and screaming – and a gallon on milk. ‘Nuf said.

I put the munched up tomatoes in a pot. Added the various peppers, onions, tomatillos, crushed garlic, fresh chopped cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice, salt and sugar. Mind you – I had to taste it to make sure I liked it especially with the sugar and lime juice. The degree of fire will depend on what kind of peppers you use. This topic still holds painful memories so I’m skipping specifics. I brought the final product to a boil and then simmered (stirring frequently) for about an hour to reduce it. Some folks will drain liquid from the tomatoes at the beginning.

Once done I processed by packing the salsa into heated jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. I tapped the jars gently on the counter to remove air bubbles and immediately placed the hot lids and rings on the jars. Do them one at a time in order to make sure you can get the seal right. I also put mine in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes each just to be sure they sealed. I finished off the whole process my letting them cool in a place that is draft free. I love hearing the popping of the lids as they seal. Only one didn’t seal (or maybe it did and I was a but anxious) so I fridged it and had some once it was cold. NUMMY!!!