Posts Tagged ‘goods’

simple salsa recipe

while the carolinas were getting blasted by hurricane Irene – and the Jersey shore was anxiously awaiting her arrival – i thought there was no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than being in one of my favorite places, the kitchen, for a couple of hours with one of my favorite people, (my Grams – one of our hurricane house guests) making some salsa and canning it up for future consumption and gifts for family and friends

i found THIS recipe through Simply Recipes and pretty much followed it to a T. it worked perfectly and the end result was so incredibly scrumptious! just the right amount of spice and the fresh ingredients from the garden tantalized the tastebuds in my mouth like no other

we now have 12 jars of this goodness… yuuuuup – they ALL ‘dinked‘!!!  i think i’m really getting the hang of this whole canning thing now – and my new kit worked awesomely, i love it and highly recommend it to anyone, plus you can’t beat the price – $30!

the bestest part = there was a bowl’s worth of salsa leftover that didn’t make it to the jars and we got to enjoy it ‘fresssssh off the presses’ while we had our eyes glued to the weather channel and listened to the wind and rain beginning to roar by


last friday when i mentioned how i’d be experimenting in sauce and salsa jarring this past weekend… wowz, can i look back now and admit how naive i was or what!!

the bona fide researcher in me thought it could be as simple as following the directions on the back of the Ball mason jar box – HEH! who was i kidding?!

one thorough hands on lesson by Farmer T later and i think i can now say i feel a lot better about the whole process, and even more sure that i’m not creating a recipe for disaster months down the road when i decide to eat from these jars

i stuck to just making and jarring tomato sauce, instead of the sauce and two versions of salsa that i had planned on… there are more tomatoes a’growin away in the garden as we speak and always another weekend to get my creations just right.

so… how’d we do it?!

well, i highly suggest picking yourself up one of these kits if you are even thinking about canning/jarring
its got all of the picker-uppers, funnels, magnet thingies and whatnot that you need to keep your process sanitary and complete

thankfully T had a set on hand to bring over… what was i thinking when i thought i could use my kitchen tongs to pull scalding hot jars out of the pots?! yeah… i dont know either :0)

anyways… so the next step was to sanitize the jars and the lids/bands that would be used

then you carefully use the jar tongs to place them on a cookie sheet with the rack in it – this helps from getting your counter-top a sloshy mess and – again – everything sanitary

use the handy dandy funnel to carefully fill ’em up

wipe the rims off so the seal can be created correctly

use the even cooler magnet stick to pick up the lids and bands from the vat of hot water to – againverrry carefully place on the tops, btw having a partner to do this totally helps!

screw on the bands – just finger tight – you can’t fully tighten them until 12 hours after they’ve been processed

use the jar tongs to place them back into the water bath… and yes, you can see, i had to improvise to create a make-shift grate for the bottom, who knew you can’t place glass right on the bottom of the pan?! ya learn something new every day! so one power drill, a broken drill bit and a scrapped cake pan later – viola:

i checked a couple of sauce recipes online to figure out these needed to be boiling for 35 minutes in order to be fully processed… so we watched the boiling pot and waited for these to complete

and when they say a watched pot never boils, they ARE NOT kidding! it felt like it took for-ev-errrrr!

T left after the jars went into the water bath for the processing and told me to ‘wait until they dink and you’ll know they’re good to go’ – 6 out of the 8 ‘dinked’ and i stuck the other two in the freezer knowing i’d be putting them to good use soon enough in a recipe.

i think all in all my first canning/jarring experience was a wonderful afternoon of learning and the next day i ordered myself one of these
to use on my salsa experiment – hopefully next weekend!

pure water bottle

speaking of fresh water … Core77 is highlighting award winning projects and ideas for this year’s Design Awards and the other day spotlighted this dude – Timothy Whitehead

he designed the Pure Water Bottle which filters and sterilizes water from almost any source within two minutes – using no power at all, just a wind up mechanism

he’s currently working on making his idea a reality and has been trying to get funding and exposure… pretty sick idea huh?! i know i’d buy me and my loved ones some of these to get his funds rolling, especially to use when we’re out hiking and camping!

big kid bikes

after completing my first tri last september on BIG RED

yes, i name my means of transportation, dont you?! she def goes by Big Red most of the time, except when im hauling @$$ up a hill i do have a tendency to call her Besse… c’monnnn besse!!

anyways, after seeing all of the sleek and light bikes lined up in the transition area, and maybe the 68 year old woman who went whizzing past me like it was nothing had a large part to do with it, i decided i needed to start saving up  to purchase a big kid bike

all i wanted for christmas and my birthday was money towards Mel’s SUPAFAST bike fund… and that i got! although it took me until june to finally purchase my speed demon

meet AXEL:

aint he a beaut?! it’s a Trek Lexa – and coincidentally AXEL just happens to be Lexa backwards :0) no really, i thought a manly, speedy name was just so fitting for him

i rode for a couple of weeks with the stock cage pedals, not really minding it too much, but the peanut gallery kept telling me i needed to get the ‘clipless’ pedals – which, btw, whoever named them clipless is on crack, you clearly clip you feet into them!! soooo, back to the bike shop i went to get these babies put on:

they’re by Shimano – who the bike gurus told me was the way to go.

I’ll be 110% honest, i was scared to DEATH to try these. me… the person who has a hard enough time just walking was going to now be clipped to her bike?! my brother was right, i needed a football helmet and full body armor to go out with them! but… surprisingly, i took to them in seconds and – i know this sounds soooooo cliché – i really like how i almost feel like i am one with my bike instead of just riding IT. weird concept, and the whole pushing the pedal at the same time you’re pulling up with the other foot, man are there some butt muscles that have never seen the light of day until now!

complementing the pedals are, of course, the biking shoes to go along with it:

which, if it weren’t for the fact that the soles are rock solid, id be sporting them around town on a regular basis – NOT! haha :0)

soooo – i think i’m geared up to the nines for my bike portion of the race on sunday… fingers crossed mother nature holds out on the rain that is forecasted for the morning. speaking of which, any seasoned bikers out there have any tips for racing in the rain?!

catch ya after the weekend with some results – have a good one!


TJs goodness

i used to make a trip a couple of times a year, about 40 minutes on a good day, to stock up on some of my favorite goods at our closest Trader Joe’s store

i had worked a catering gig one weekend in that town years ago, stopped in to kill some time before my shift started just to see what all of the hoopla was about, and needless to say, fell headover heels in L-O-V-E with the awesomeness they had to offer… three shopping bags later :0)

so – in march, when a TJs store opened up just 6 miles away from us (i still cant contain my giddiness – having one so close to us now!!), you could understand my NEEEED to want to go there as soon as humanly possible!

into the car the hubster and i went… of course, after i conned him into it:

JC: why are you so excited to go to this foodstore?! how is it any different than the one down the street?
M: {trying really hard to stay calm} it is NOT just a F-O-O-D-S-T-O-R-E!
JC: enlighten me
M: they have their own brands of things, made without preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, no GMO ingredients, no trans fat and no MSG… errrr, what more do you need in life? oh wait, AND inexpensive prices!
JC: ok, i guess i’ll push the cart for you while you run through the store like a kid being in Disney World for the first time

we got to the parking lot and drove around for quite a while looking for a spot … this should have been my tell-tale as to what was to come once we got inside, but my excitement fogged out anything else that could sanely register in my brain at the time

the place was ab-so-lute-ly mobbed! and this was weeks after the grand opening – jeeeeez, i wonder what that day was like?! i quickly left the hubby to man the cart, the poor guy wandering aimlessly around the store, dodging people like he was dodging bullets in the hood… meanwhile i used my ninja skillz to bob and weave through the crowd for my FAVORITE items

ive heard this from many people – ‘i dont get it, whats so great about that place?!’ – i’ll fill you in on why i like to go there and what brings me back once my container is empty. everyone’s got their faves and they’re always putting new items on their shelves, so i’m sure this list will be changing, but to get you started, you could try out the –>

i have been back to our new store a couple of times since the initial rush, and its definately died down quite a bit, but the weekends are still pretty crazy in there. wednesday nights seem to be the quietest… at least at ours. happy TJ shopping! if you have any ‘regulars’ you pick up while you’re there, share the love, maybe we’re missing out on some other goodness to experience!

>summertime salad


i cant tell if its due to the new-found acceptability or if humans really are becoming more and more allergic to things every day, but i have definitely noticed there seems to be a growing number of our population who fall into the ‘food allergy’ category… making it equally as hard for the ‘non-allergens’ of the world to understand what these people deal with on a daily basis…
‘if I had a dollar’ for every time someone i come across, who hears about my food allergies, says to me ‘so what DO you eat then?!?!’ a question i can hear before they even open their mouth… like overnight i fell out of being able to shop at regular stores and can only eat space food or something… i take a deep breath, smile :0), and respond with ‘well, it can be really easy if you just think outside of the box’… literally!
there’s a substitute for pretty much everything out there… you learn to love the subs (well, because ya kinda have to) and sometimes can even end up liking them even more than the ‘originals’
oh yeah – and if you’re ever looking for a recipe to take along to an event where you’re not sure who is allergic to what, I’ve been working on a recipe page for just those needs…   
to kick off a summer full of BBQs and questionable dishes brought by others, i made this dee-licious pasta salad that is safe for all and super easy for you to make and bring to your next fiesta… it’s derived from the recipe on the side of this dressing bottle, but i ‘thought outside of the box’ to make it safe for everyone
Summertime Pasta Salad
one package of rice pasta
2/3 c. Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (I found a double pack at our Costco)
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. red grapes
1 small can sliced olives (juices drained)
1 c. Boar’s Head pepperoni slices cut into quarters
1 c. shredded chicken
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 c. baby spinach
1) cook pasta according to directions on box/bag
2) when pasta is cool, toss in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients

>oatz in a jar


last night while giving me a hand watering the plants in the yard i get a ‘oh, btw, i DID NOT like your post today’ from the hubster, with a big ‘ol smile on his face :0) i guess he’s not feeling my ‘save the dandelions’ movement?! then he adds ‘if only i could have written back something for everyone to see’ … ‘uhhhhh, hun? you see that “post a comment” section at the bottom of every post?’ … ‘yeah’ … ‘its where you post a comment for everyone to see’ – somewhere in outerspace a lightbulb turned on and a monkey saw the light
i digress… so anyways, there was a slight eeek squealed in our kitchen last night – of enjoyment of course – when i saw that my jar of sunflower seed butter was almost gone … do you know what that means?!
dun dun dunnnnnnnn – OVERNIGHT OATS IN A JAR!!
i’ll admit, i was feeling KERF inspired when i saw this nearly empty jar sitting nicely on my fridge door. i put the usual fixin’s in and wait patiently for morning to come… that’s when the party in your mouth really gets started
and the best part – no containers to take home and clean – SCORE!
ps, this sunflower seed butter does not compare at all to the greatness inside of Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter… it has more of a peanuty taste, which i find i miss the taste of quite often, but TJ managed to fill that void quite nicely :0) – GO TJ’s!