Friday, September 30, 2011

Jars, Jars and more Jars!

I have gotten a little carried away with collecting mason jars. It doesn't help that my friends offered me 2 big boxes of pint mason jars from their wedding. The very same day I got a huge score at goodwill with 35 quart mason jars at .20 each, I couldn't resist! When I got home I pulled out the jars I already had, and lined them all up up on the dinning room table. I had too many for the dinning room table. Yikes I have a problem! Now that is some serious canning. I thought of all the things that I can, and I have triple the jars! I know what some of you are thinking- send them your way right? Hell no! I am determined to use up the jars if it takes me years! I have been racking my brain for good ideas. I have a few useful ways to use them up. So if you like the rustic look of mason jars, or have a few floating around, here are some fun ways to utilize them besides canning. 

 With all my collecting I have come across many different shapes and type of mason jars.  The old ones are not recommended to can with anymore but simply for dried goods and storage. 

It has become very popular to have mason jars as glasses in weddings and bars. That is how I was blessed with so many from our friends. 
Yesterday at work my co-worker brought leftover mashed potatoes from home in a mason jar. Leftovers are great to stuff into mason jars. I like to keep sauces in them too. For liquids I like to use the white storage lids ball makes. It keeps everything air tight and I don't waste the sealing lids.
Peach Gin, Peach Vodka, Tomato Sauce, Boysenberry Jam, Blackberry Vodka
Flowers! Enough said! tie a ribbon around them and you are good to go!

Roses in Vintage Ball Blue Perfect Mason
 Keeping things organized in the bathroom are essential. Toothpaste and toothbrush, Q-tips, band-aids. 

Toothpaste in vintage Kerr Jar, Q-tips & Band-aids in jelly jars

 For my bedside table I keep my extra tip money and change. I just got these great headbands but I don't want to smash them so I tossed them in a Jar along with some hair ties and necklaces. Spare Matchboxes always get lost, throw them in a jar!
Accessories in Quart jar, Money in vintage Kerr, Matches in 18oz Ball

The smaller 1/2 pint are great for candles, and thanks to the last picture you know I have matches! I clip coupons like crazy, keeping them in a jar is handy. 

Coupons in Quart jar, candles in jelly jars
Buying dry goods in bulk is cheaper and less wasteful, mason jars are the perfect way to store grains, pasta, sugar, flour, tea (loose or bagged), beans. The possibilities are endless.

Cornmeal in 1/2 pint, loose tea vintage Kerr, bagged tea vintage ball blue, white beans in vintage Quick seal, pasta in  vintage Drey, couscous in vintage Ball.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Toddler gibber jabber

My Little Lukas is getting bigger and bigger each day.Now he is 15 months old. He is beginning to talk and sound out words. He says some basic words like momma, dadda, ball,  hi, oh yea, whats that? and a few others.He will imitate me when I make animal sounds. Tonight I had a conversation with him, he was all gibber jabber. I couldn't understand him but he fully understood me.I told him to close the door and he did. I know the real words are coming it's so exciting! Once he starts talking he will be a non stop chatterbox, like Ryan and Myself.  
We're also entering a phase as the Dr. says Mr. No. I have yet to experience this but I am not excited.  Right now Lukas knows right from wrong. But he gets that mischievous smile on his face when he knows it's wrong, looks at me, waiting for me to stop him. We praise him when he is good, and scold him when he is bad. But soon he will say no to everything. I guess I will cherish these times when he just speaks his own language. 

Chicken Can Can Soup

This is the chicken soup that I decided to can. When canning soup you don't add noodles because they will just turn to mush. My plan is to cook noodles when I open up the jar.  To make this you will need a pressure canner, and 7 mason jars quart size.  Ryan says "why do you call it canning? if you put it in jars." That is a interesting question, I have no clue, it is just the way.
adapted from: Ball Canning recipes
Chicken Soup
16 cups chicken stock*
4 cups diced chicken 
1-1/2 cups diced celery 
1-1/2 cups sliced carrots 
1 cup diced onion
 2 TBS Fresh Garlic- minced or pressed
1 TBS Salt
2 tsp Pepper
1 TBS Dill Weed
 Prepare the pressure canner- according to canner directions. 
Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Have the bands ready. 
Start boiling the chicken stock, if you are using it fresh it shouldn't take long. Add the celery, onion, carrots, chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, and dill weed. Boil for about 20 min. Now you are ready to fill your jars. Ladle the  hot soup into hot jars leaving 1 inch of room at the top. Wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is tight.Now process the  filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 1 hour and 30 minutes for quarts, since I am at sea level you might need to adjust the processing time. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lids shouldn't flex or make a pop sound. 

*To make Chicken Stock: 
I gather up odds and ends of my veggies, and leave the scraps in my freezer until I am ready to make stock. This way I am not buying veggies just to cut up and boil. For onions I use the skins and bottoms, carrots I use the peels and tops, Celery the leaves, and inner parts that are not as green. Make sure they are all clean before freezing them. Just throw in a zip lock, once it is full make stock! But in case you want to make it with leftover veggies, herbs from your fridge that is great too.  Here is a basic recipe for stock.  I have thrown in basil,cilantro, parsley, rosemary, kale. Stay away from the more strong flavors-  broccoli, ginger, red pepper, cauliflower, zucchini, lavender, spinach,  Also if you desire vegetable stock over chicken just don't add the chicken bones.
Bones of 1 Chicken
4 carrots
10 celery stalks
2  yellow or white onions 
2 cloves garlic
1 10quart or bigger stock pot
Put all the veggies and bones in the stock pot (ha see it was named this for a reason!). Fill the pot of water so all the veggies and chicken are submerged plus some. This will cook for 2 hours on med-low setting on the stove top. After about 1 hour check the amount of liquid, if it is getting low just add more water. Then cook for another 1 hour. By this time your kitchen will be smelling delicious. Let the stock cool for a bit and begin straining out the cooked veggies and bones. Save the broth and toss the veggies and bones. The broth is ready to use. If not using right away, chill and before using skim away the solidified fat on top. It can be frozen for later use. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stay Tuned!

 Fall is here- Yesterday really felt like fall, it was blustery and windy. I was driving on the freeway and I noticed my car had some resistance, but it was only the wind. I came home to find that my power was out along with most of the neighbors. This got me thinking I can't rely on most of my food being frozen, if we have a major power outage we would loose all of our food. I have dabbled in canning before but just the small stuff  pickles, jam, peppers, relish. But nothing really that is much use. I have been wanting to try pressure canning. When you pressure can, anything is possible. So I have jumped in both feet first and I am making chicken soup with homemade chicken stock, and tomato sauce. Those of you who know me well, know that I HATE tomatoes-  and yes I still do but I can stand tomato sauce if it is spicy enough and not chunky. So if I am so picky I better just make it myself right? right! So stay tuned to some fun pressure canning posts!

 On a unrelated note:
Photo By KOMO-TV
This morning I woke up to a sudden shock, it felt like a giant was shaking my house. I checked and saw that the power was still on, and Ryan went and checked on Lukas. He was fine and still asleep. Everything in the house seemed to be fine. I had to get up for work anyway, so I decided to take a shower.  After my shower we turned on the news, breaking news- there was a giant explosion/fire in a house about 40 blocks away. I was watching it on T.V. just mezmorized by the sight, so many flames and police. I hadn't realized the time and I had to fly out the door. As I walked outside I could smell the burning.  Here is the link to the news story if you want more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cheesy Potatoes

I made cheesy potatoes a few nights ago to accompany some hamburgers. I must say they were better then the burgers, hence the post about them and not the burgers. They are not low-fat or low calorie, so please make sparingly and enjoy as a treat.
 I used Yukon gold potatoes, but any variety will do. I was in a hurry so I sliced them pretty thin. They can be done in wedges as well, it just takes longer to bake. Once the smell comes from the oven you won't want to wait. Romano cheese is what makes them special, I have used Parmesan cheese before, really any hard Italian cheese will be delicious.

4 Servings

 4 Yukon Gold Potatoes- washed
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Romano Cheese - finely grated
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Pepper
1-2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375

 Line a baking sheet with parchment. If you don't have parchment you can use foil sprayed with non-stick coating (this just makes clean up easier). If the above are not an option, just oil the baking sheet. Slice Potatoes in thin wedges (so you can eat them earlier). Place them in a mixing bowl, add everything else.  If you want to make them spicy you can add the red pepper flakes. Make sure all the potatoes are coated in the cheese and spices.Then pour out on the baking sheet and spread into a even single layer, don't clump them up in the middle it won't bake right. Toss in the oven.
Bake them for about 15 min, and check on them,(give the sheet a turn if your oven bakes uneven). Give them about 10-15 min more to bake. The baking time depends solely on how thick you sliced the potatoes. The cheese will be bubbling and getting brown. A good way to test find the thickest slice and insert a fork. If the fork goes in easy then you are ready to enjoy, If not give it a little longer to get nice and tender 

A little about me!

 I decided in my spare time I would write a blog consisting of motherhood, cooking, and roller derby.  So stay tuned for some fabulous things to come, and yes please comment. Here is a little about me.
60th Street Desserts
Early morning I work at a bakery in Seattle making everything imaginable. We do sweet and savory and anything that looks fun. My job keeps me sane  and my creativity alive. I have been apart of this great company for 4 years. I started part-time and developed into a full time. They stuck with me when I was pregnant and gave me time off to bond with my new child. Check out the website
Lukas on the Ferry

By mid day I am mother to sweet Lukas who is now 15 months old. He is a handful but I wouldn't have it any other way. We play hard and do a lot of reading. I will have many funny stories about him. Lukas spends a lot of time with me in the kitchen while I try and create a delicious dinner for the family. When Ryan comes home we like to chill and watch some t.v.. Right now it's football season so i get to see a lot of sports center! We try and head to the zoo when it's nice. When living in Seattle you really have to take advantage of the nice days so you don't go crazy during the winter. I personally moved here liking the rain, and I still do!

Taco Kickers 2011
  If you didn't think I could cram anymore stuff in, on the weekends I play Roller Derby. The Taco Kickers have been apart of my life for 2 years and for 3 years before that I was with The Jet City Rollergirls. Roller Derby was a huge part of my life before I had Lukas, and still is. It's just more part time then before. I have met some of my best friends through derby, I have also met some enemies. You win some and lose some. The derby community is so great and across the world!