Monday, September 22, 2014

Emerald's Emma

Awesome News... that's kinda late

It's been a month - or so - since the big event happened.

I'm getting a sister!!!

Yeah - me - the girl with 2 brothers and another waiting in heaven - is gonna have E. M. for a sister.
I like her. She is so good for my baby brother, J.K.G.

K is a good man who follows the Lord. He works hard, is a very talented musician, knows how to fix things when they break and he loves his fiance.

E. loves animals, is studying vet medicine, is a natural artist and thoroughly enjoys coffee. She also works at a vet office.

They are planning an early January wedding. I am so excited.

Many things are going to change, and it's going to be the start of a new time in all our lives.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tomatoes - Part Deux

Yeah - about that little numero dos in the title. The first round of tomatoes was completed with absolutely NO fanfare whatsoever. Saturday (9-13) marked batch 2's debut. (lol)

I actually was able to have my Nana help me with making applesauce on 8-30-14, then on 9-6-14 she was able to lend her wealth of canning experience to me and my mom for making a type of tomato juice cocktail which my dad highly enjoys. (He likens the juice to V8, but with less salt.)

 And yes - the recipe again comes from this gem of a book.
Early bird to the market catches the canning tomatoes. But going home was an adventure! My car's muffler decided to finish breaking and drag when I got onto the road back to the house. I am so thankful for AAA - they saved my bacon once again! Originally, they told me it would be an hour, but within 5 minutes called back to say it would be just over 30 minutes for the tow truck to arrive. He showed up before then!
Once home and with 45 lbs tomatoes. (20 for juicing, the rest for puree that will make Tomato batch #3) I quartered 8 onions and cut (about) 5 stalks celery. Mom seeded and cut 2 bell peppers, and just to add a dash of difference - 3/4 of a jalapeno. We plopped 'em in the pot. Then per Nana's directions from the last time, added water; and got them cooking.

(Why? Well, those 3 veggies take longer to cook than tomatoes.)

Midway thru cooking
One mistake I made this time was not stirring it enough. Dad and I had an awful time fishing burned stuff out of the cooked, un-pureed vegetables when we started putting it through the Victorio. Our kettle, despite a decent bottom, is just really prone to sticking in the middle of the bottom of the pot.  :(

Set up on the stove.
 While Dad was checking out 3 jobs during the morning, I cooked it, then because I didn't know how to put Dad's old Victorio strainer together, I let everything wait till he got back.
The Victorio goes to work once again!
Mom and I actually had to move a table that's been in the living room for several years into the kitchen so we could use the strainer. The tables in the kitchen were either curve edged or too thin.

Dad and I proceeded to make a glorious mess on the table. In the back is the kettle full of cooked tomatoes. In front and to  the right is the Victorio clamped to the table with a wide, shallow bowl under the spout to catch the good stuff. There's another smaller bowl to be "back up" to the big one. The white pail on the left is almost full of tomato-y goodness and down in the left hand corner of the picture is another stainless steel container for the juice that's still in the pot.




The above was the set up for putting the hot juice into jars for canning. Mom and I moved the table so we stood in front of the longer side. On the right of the picture is the kettle of juice, then a small plate with a Pyrex measure cup on it. To the left of that is a doubled small towel with the jar, the lifter; then on the butcher block on the far left of the picture is a small pot of hot water with the flat lids for canning. Behind the jar of tomato juice is the kettle of water for heating the jars before I fill them.

Final heating of finished product
All told (with the time of my adventure with my car) 8:30 a.m to about 5 p.m. was my work time. (Including the hour or so of wait time for Dad to get home in the afternoon)


12 quarts of goodness!
There was a 13th can that ended up in the fridge because it was only 3/4ths full.

1/2" x 1 & 3/4" address labels are my new jar labeling system

hehe
Yeah - so happy about my new labeling "system". Cheap? Yep - 800 labels for $4.99. Effective - you betcha!



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