Sunday, October 26, 2014

Calling All Crafters 2014: 41st Edition



Welcome to Calling All Crafters! 







A place where you can share your craftiness!

 This week I am loving...








Time for Season's
Jack-O-Ghetti

Want a button?
Mondays @ All Things Fee!


Here are the "rules":

-I want YOU to stop on by, and share what you are up to, cooking, cleaning, crafting, you name it!

-If your not a follower, please become one, this let's me easily find and visit your blog too!
Don't like to follow? Prefer Facebook?  Like Me! 
Want to see what I am pinning? Follow Me!

-Tell your friends to stop on by, pin it, link up or just visit!!

-Come back next week to see if your great idea has been featured!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canning: Pasta & Pizza Sauce

Okay, still in over your head with tomatoes?
Even after making Rotel and Salsa?

Today I am sharing what recipes I used for Pasta Sauce and Pizza Sauce!


Make sure you follow the directions to a T, for tomatoes because they are in a gray area when it comes to pH. Hence recipes needing citric acid, vinegar or lemon.

For my sauce I went with Ball's Basil Garlic Tomato Sauce

Except, instead of letting it simmer for hours on end ( I tried and couldn't get it to the thickness I like for my sauce) I went with roasting instead. I know, I am shying away from the recipe, which I clearly said is a canning no no. But hear me out! I used the recipes proportions (which is where the pH comes from) and changed the technique to get to the end result. 

To roast instead of simmer, I took all my ingredients and placed in a 9x13 rimmed pan.
Stuck it in my oven at 450' for an hour or so. Your house will smell amazing.
Then using a slotted spoon (I bet a colander would work too) I scoop all my solids into my blender. 
Because it is still hot at this point, I do not fill my blender all the way and pulse until smooth. 
Then, I go back to the Ball recipe, and finish as per their instructions.
I like to can my pasta sauce in quart jars as that is a good size for our family of five. 
To do so, I increase the citric acid (it tells you right on the acid bottle) and increase my time in the hot water bath canner.

For the Pizza Sauce, I use Preserving by the Pint's recipe, and it is to die for!
(If you go to the link, there is a picture of the book, and the recipe is readable!)
If you can't read it, definitely check out her book from the library or purchase it!
Also, there is an errata for the book, so if you have her book you may need to reference it, here!

Well, now that my mouth is watering just thinking about sauce... I
 better go figure out what we will be having for dinner... pasta? or pizza?




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Monday, October 20, 2014

Calling All Crafters 2014: 40th Edition



Welcome to Calling All Crafters! 







A place where you can share your craftiness!

 This week I am loving...








Itsy Bitsy Paper's
Soda Carrier Treat Basket 


AND 



Craft with Cartwright's
Corpse Bride Bouquet
(it's Mini! I can't believe it!)



Want a button?
Mondays @ All Things Fee!


Here are the "rules":

-I want YOU to stop on by, and share what you are up to, cooking, cleaning, crafting, you name it!

-If your not a follower, please become one, this let's me easily find and visit your blog too!
Don't like to follow? Prefer Facebook?  Like Me! 
Want to see what I am pinning? Follow Me!

-Tell your friends to stop on by, pin it, link up or just visit!!

-Come back next week to see if your great idea has been featured!

Pin It

Friday, October 17, 2014

Canning: Rotel and Salsa

If your new to canning, check out my safety post
Then, check out how to make applesauce, cider and pickles!

In over your head with tomatoes? I was! 
But now my pantry is full of Rotel, Salsa, Pizza Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce(I'll share the sauces recipes next week!)



Growing up I remember have Cheesy Rotel dip at a friends all the time, never have I bought a can of rotel, or the cheese to make it. So when I was looking for uses for my tomatoes and found a rotel recipe I knew I had to try it!

After finding a recipe I liked, I was happy to find it linked right back to the NCHFP!
NCHFP calls the recipe Chile Salsa, but it has the same ingredients as most of the Rotel recipes I found.
I canned my Rotel in 1/2 pint jars as we weren't sure if we would love the recipe. Now that we had it a couple times I know we love the recipe, it's the perfect combo of sweet and heat for us! But I think I will continue to can it in this size jar as we have finished a jar each time we have opened one. 

Now, for the salsa! I took out Marissa McClellan's books Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint out from the library, and was so happy I did! There were several recipes that I have tried from there! The Blender Salsa is the recipe I used. Unfortunately the exact recipe is not on her blog, but a different blender salsa is. If you want to make the exact one I did, check out her book Preserving by the Pint. 
The only change I had was that I like my salsa a little chunkier, so instead of blending my double batch I did one batch blended one batch hand chopped. 

Taco Tuesday hasn't been the same since I started opening up jars of homemade Rotel and Salsa. Yum!






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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Canning: Dill and Bread & Butter Pickles

I once read an article about canning which said Jellies and Pickles were the hardest to try to can first. 
And you know what, I agree. 
Jellies are hard because if you don't boil it to the perfect temperature it just won't set right. 
Pickles can turn mushy the first couple tries, but once you get a good batch you'll  never go back to store bought!


My kids LOVE pickles, so this year I was determined to grow enough cucumbers to eat, and pickle. 
I guess I was too determined. I grew 30+ lbs this year. Compared to last years 8 lbs!
Luckily I had two easy pickle recipes to use!

First, let's start with dill pickles!  If you search "Dill Pickle Recipe" on the internet you will get a million and one results, but remember you want a tried and true recipe. I personally use a recipe that was given to me from a friends grandmother, and it is a hit! But since I want to share safe, trusted recipes, I found this one from NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation) that is almost identical, except for the canning part. The recipe I was given doesn't have canning directions, so that's why I went with NCHFP's!

I find myself making Dill's more often than Bread and Butter because it takes less time. I measure out my brine ingredients and get that boiling. Then I stuff my clean quart jars full of garlic, dill, a hot pepper and cucumbers. For my dill's I cut my cucumbers into spears. Once the brine is boiling, I fill my jars. Now, here is where I've heard you can just let the hot brine seal your jars. I think that is a personal decision, since I'm not 100% sold on how safe that is.

Dill Pickle troubleshooting: If you get mushy,soggy dill pickles it could be a couple things. I've found that I leave my cucumbers on the vine until there are enough to make a batch of pickles. If they sit on the counter they get rubbery.  Also, you can use Pickle Crisp by Ball to help reduce soggy pickles.

Now, onto bread & butter pickles! I find these take a little more time as you boil the syrup, then add the cucumbers and let them cook a bit. I also can these in pint jars because you can pack a lot into a jar! I have this oxo mandoline, and it is perfect for bread & butter pickles!  

I used this recipe, but looked at NCHFP's recipe too.
If you look at NCHFP's it's just double the other one. 

Speaking of doubling, I find that small batches work best for me. 
I've canned both ways, double or tripling batches vs. single batches, and find that for me doing small batches are easier to handle. Even if I have to make the same single recipe a couple times during the summer, it still works out to be the same amount of jars on my shelf, with less frustration.
At most I can can 7 quarts at a time, and even that can be a lot to fill!


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