"Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of it."
-Geri Weitzman

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Frugal tip of the month

Canning can get expensive especially if you are first starting out and don't have any of the tools.  So my tip of the month comes from my friend Amanda who has suggested to save the glass jars that come from your routine grocery shopping.  Jars from pickles, mayo, etc you just need to find the lids and rings to fit the size of jar.  Now that it is late in the season it may be hard to round those up so I will give a suggestion.  When you are purchasing jars find a jar size that is a typical size such as pint or quart.  You can always double your recipe if need be.  Thanks Amanda.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In the Kitchen: Canning Peppers

   With 30 jalapenos and about 20 banana peppers sitting in my fridge I needed some way to use them and not let them go to waste.  I used two pickling recipes that were simple and easy to follow.
For the banana peppers I used a recipe I found at www.food.com.  The other was my own little recipe.

To get started you will need 12 half pint jars (the lids and rings usually come in the box with the jars).  To sterilize the jars place them in the dishwasher and let them run thru a cycle.  See my photo below.

1/2 pint jars already to go!

The next thing you will need is a canning
kit.  I bought this kit for $7 and it has
a jar funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter
and a bubble remover/headspace tool.
I used all these tools and it made the entire
process extremely smooth.

Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers recipe

1 lb. banana peppers sliced into rings
4 cups white vinegar
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed

1. Sterilize 5 1/2 pint jars.
2. Place 5 lids and 5 rings in a small sauce pan turn on medium heat lower if needed.
3. Place the peppers into the jars leaving a 1/2 inch space from the top of the jar.  This is where you can use your headspace tool.
4. Combine all the other ingredients in a pot, bring to a rolling boil.
5. Pour or ladle the pickling juice into jars over peppers leaving the same 1/2 inch headspace.
6. Wipe the rim of each jar to ensure no liquid is remaining to prevent sealing.  Then, using your magnetic lid lifter place lids onto jars and screw on rings hand tight.
7.  Place jars on a cooling rack or towel and sit for seal process.
 You can water bath the jars if you would like.  This process may give you a more piece of mind but the recipe does not require this step.
 8. Let sealed jars sit for two weeks.  Then enjoy.
My ingredients

To water bathe jars just fill a stock pot with water enough to cover the jars and then about an inch higher.
Let them bathe for 15 minutes or whatever the recipe calls for if you are following another one.  Use your jar lifter to place and remove the jars from the water.  You will hear the lids "pop" when they are sealed.  Don't worry if this process takes awhile.  If they still "click" they are not sealed.  You may place the unsealed jars in the fridge and use within a couple of months.

My jars in their water bath.

Hot Pickled Sweet Peppers

4 Green bell peppers-seeded and cut into quarters
3/4 lb of jalapenos-cut into rings
3 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pickling salt
2 cloves garlic-peeled
1 paper bag

1. Heat over to 450 degrees.  Place green bell peppers cut side down onto a cookie sheet covered with tinfoil.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place into paper bag.  Seal paper bag and let stand for 10 mins.  Then peel skin and chop.
2. Bring a stock pot of water to a boil for a water bath.  Place lids and rings in small sauce pan in boiling water.
3. Fill 7 sterilized jars with peppers leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
4. Boil vinegar, water, sugar, salt and garlic in large sauce pan.  Then pour or ladle over peppers leaving a half inch headspace.
5. Place lids on jars and screw down with rings finger-tip tight.
6. Place jars in water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove and let them sit on rack or towel to seal.  Remember listen for that "pop".
Sliced jalapenos and whole garlic cloves.

 If you don't hear the pop you can always check the tops of the jars.  If the top "clicks" when you press down on the center it is not sealed.
Remember to always write the date on the top of the lid after the jar seals.  I would keep these for about a year both recipes.
Ladling the pickling juice into jars.

      The end result is really amazing and I had so much fun.  Brent was my wonderful assistant, which I do suggest anyone to have two people while canning for the first time.  I would be more than happy to be someones assistant so if you guys want to try this let me know and I will help you.
How exciting!
    I hope you guys enjoyed my first Creative Challenge blog.

Introducing my 6 categories of creative challenge

   Every month I will have a list called My Six Creative Challenges.  It will cover a wide variety of categories .  I may add categories as I blog more and I would love your feed back, questions, suggestions and ideas.  I will post each category with pictures and give tips, tricks and things I have learned by doing.  Remember when you do post a comment, suggestion etc. to be kind and remember that everyone is unique and has different ways of showing their creativity.  I will give credit to all my friends and sources for those ideas and suggestions that (with permission) I may use in my blog.

My Six Creative Challenges for August
In the Kitchen:  Pickling and canning peppers
Paper & Glue:  Letterbox log book
Metal, Wood and or Paint:  
Thread & Needle: 
Fashion:  Headbands with fabric flower
Organizing/Cleaning/Decorating: Magic eraser and the things it cleans

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I have chosen to blog

I have decided to blog and share the things that I love to do and show my creativity.  By doing this I know my challenges will get tougher and my creativity will grow and that is so exciting to me. 
This is all new for me but being creative and challenging myself to learn fun things is not.  With my blog I will share all sorts of things like cooking tips, tricks and disasters to crafty things that I have made.  I am a very quirky person and love to make every day a fun adventure.  Be prepared for lots of pictures and funny stories with everything I do.  I hope you enjoy and look forward to sharing.