Monday, July 22, 2013

So Many Pickles!!

Wow so our garden has taken off!  We have had so many squash, zucchini and cucumbers!   I have given some away I have frozen and processed some and I still have some!  I am pretty sure we are going to be feeding squash to our animals to get rid of in the winter!  We have had fresh squash or zucchini for dinner like almost every night!  I am thankful so what we have and that I have had an abundance of veggies!

Just last week alone I shredded and frozen 24 cups of zucchini, chopped and blanched 60 cups of zucchini and made squash "chips" that i froze of about 30 more cups....  all together 114 cups of frozen squash....  I will be giving some away so everyone come visit!   I still have about 10 yellow squash to cut up and freeze and I have stuffed 12 and frozen them for dinners..... it feels awesome!   So cutting and blanching and freezing pretty simple you can do it with most vegetables but what in the world do you do with the ones you can't!  My problem a ton of cucumbers I can't give away fast enough!  So I decided to make pickles!  I love pickles, Josh will not eat them he doesn't like vinegar so everyone plan to get pickles for Christmas this year as well!!!  So far I only have actually canned 12 pints of pickles, the problem is yesterday I picked 12 more cucumbers and I still have some sliced to can...................  need lots of jars!!!!!!!!!!  Did I mention my tomatoes haven't started yet...........  my life will soon be consumed!

So canning is a very very new thing to me I have never done it alone before in my life and have always heard horror stories, I am sure we all have...  I did a lot of research and of our course had to buy the materials to get started.  The overall process was actually pretty simple you just follow the recipe you want to use!  I have made two different kinds of pickles Sweet and Garlic Dill Pickles!  Both smelled yummy!  I have to wait a week before I try them but I am sure they will be good!!

Here is the link to the Garlic Dill Pickles: Blue Ribbon Pickles

Here is the link to the Sweet Pickles: Sweet Pickles

I made the first batch of Garlic Dill Pickles and I followed the recipe every step.   The reason I choose this recipe is because is gives you step by step details and I also loved that it told me everything to get ready before I started slicing and dicing pickles and making the brine!  The whole process took just a couple of hours so don't think they can be done very quickly!  Here is the final Dill Pickles!

Overall I think my first pickling experience was a success!  Nothing was broken and all 33 of my jars sealed the way they were supposed to!  My next big adventure pickling the beets out of the garden!!!

Thank for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mini Vacation!

Wow! What a crazy week it has been! Josh worked in Atlanta all of last week but instead of a project I got to go with him From Wednesday to Sunday!! Happy mini vacation to me!  We had a blast when he wasn't working!   The weather was terrible but that didn't stop us from having a great much needed small getaway!

Reagan (Josh's boss wife) and I drove down Wednesday and stayed until mid-morning on Sunday!!!  We had so much fun!  Wednesday we just went out to dinner hung out because we were all tired.  Thursday we spend most of the day at the Georgia Aquarium! It was magical, I got to see thousands of fish and we got to see giant stingrays and 4 enormous whale sharks!  We also got to see them feed the whale sharks!  So here are a couple pictures and you can view the rest from the Aquarium here: Georgia Aquarium!

So Friday the guys worked and Reagan and I spend the morning being girls! We shopped got coffee and got Pedicures! Then we met the boys for lunch!  We ended up ordering in for dinner because the weather was really bad so when we were out we bought a board game, Sour Apples to Apples, it was a blast you should try it!!!

Saturday was such a great day!  We got up early and we to the Atlanta Zoo!!  We wanted to beat the crowd and the rain and we were very successful!   I took about a million pictures of everything and at least 3 of each animal! Below are a few but vie them all here: Atlanta Zoo!

After the zoo we went back to the hotel and ate leftovers from the weekend and took long naps! We were so tired them we all gathered for dinner at the Medievel Times Dinner Tournament! This was an awesome experience!  Our knight won the competition and he was half of my favorite color which made it wonderful!  Below is a picture of him and you can view the rest here: Medievel Times!  The food was awesome, you eat everything with your hands!  I was so stuffed by the end you could have rolled me out of there!!!

Overall, even with the weather our "vacation" was awesome!!  Even though Josh did have to work a little we still found time to do all the things that we wanted!  Thanks for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homemade Healthy!!

Happy Independence Day everyone!!!  This week I made a sweet treat to celebrate the holiday with that most people love but don't realize how bad they are for you!!!   This world it full of fruit flavored things, so I ask why not make them out of the actual fruit instead of flavoring that has been processed and died and stuffed with sugar....  well we all know the answer that is why so many of us are making these items our self!!

If you know Josh at all, you know he loves anything fruit related and I mean anything!  His newest love is the Watermelon Cook-Out milkshake...  I find it horrific he thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread...  to each their own I guess!!!!

On his trips to Atlanta for work he always stops and gets snacks like the fruit gummies that are filed with sugar so I decided for this trip I was going to make him a special treat to take with him.  Homemade Strawberry fruit roll-ups! They were actually very simple to make and only had three ingredients.  I found the recipe on Pinterest from a random search, here is the original link Homemade Roll-Ups!  She has an awesome video that walks you through each stage it was really helpful!

So the reciepe,

8oz Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Sugar

Frozen Strawberries need to be thawed completely you don't want to much juice.  Puree the strawberries using you preferred method, blender, food processor, I used the stick blender I have!  Put the berries in a sauce pan and add the sugar and lemon juice and cook on Med-High for about 15 minutes...  this time will vary depending on how much juice you have from the strawberries.  The goal is to cook most of the liquid out until the mixture gets the consistency of jam! Then you just spread the mixture to about 1/8 inch think of silicon baking mat, wax paper, or parchment paper ( I used this).  Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for 3-4 hours.  If you oven doesn't go down that low 200 will work it just takes less time.  I checked mine every 30 minutes for texture... it will take at least 2.5 hours for sure!

The hardest part about this is getting the right texture.  I did mine right at 3 hours and 20 minutes, you want it to be tacky but not sticky and to much time will turn it into hard candy which wouldn't be terrible!  This is what mine looked like when I pulled them out of the oven.

If you use a silicon baking mat to make the roll-ups you will need to transfer it ti wax or parchment paper to roll up.  Just use a pizza cutter to cut into strips and roll up!  It is really that easy!  Here is my finished product.  It doesn't yield much but you can double and triple easy! I got 4 two inch roll-ups about 12 inches long.  Enough for Josh!  I tasted a tiny piece and they are actually really good, taste like a strawberry!

I will be making these again in bigger batches and I can't wait to try different types of fruit!  I would love to hear everyone suggestions!  Thanks for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!