Saturday, September 25, 2010

Canning Peaches...

Last week, I decided to can some peaches, since I found them for a bargain price.  They weren't super sweet--so I decided to can some peach pie filling so I could use it for peach cobbler.  I also made some peach jam that tastes quite like peach cobbler on toast--a yummy dessert!  Yes, just call me Betty Crocker!  Here are the recipes:
Peach Pie Filling Recipe

Ingredients:
6-lbs. peaches (about 12 large)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice
3-3/4 cups water
5 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
Directions:
Peel, pit, and slice peaches. To loosen skin, dip peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then submerge in cold water. The peaches will now peel easily. Place peach slices in water containing ascorbic acid, until all peaches are sliced. Combine lemon juice, water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Drain peaches and add to syrup mixture. Cook for 3 minutes. Ladle into hot jars, release air bubbles, clean jar rims, and seal. Process quart jars in a water bath canner for 30 minutes. Makes 5 quarts
***I doubled this recipe & it only made 7-8 quarts...just FYI--but I filled each jar mostly full with fruit & ladeled the syrup over the top...

Here's the recipe for the cobbler part--(this made a great gift for visiting teaching this month!)
Fresh Peach Cobbler

Directions:
Pour contents of jar into a 9X13 inch greased casserole dish.
In a separate bowl mix together:
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 c. milk
Pour the batter evenly over the peach mixture (the liquid will be absorbed when it cooks). Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown and cooked through.

Here's the recipe for the peach jam--this is YUMMY!
Peach Jam

10 cups of peaches, peeled and chopped
6 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 packets (1 box) liquid pectin
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Add peaches and sugar to a large, non-reactive pot. Stir so that the peaches begin to release their juice and mingle with the sugar. Bring to a boil and add cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice and let jam continue to cook for about fifteen minutes. If the fruit hasn’t broken down much after that time is up, use a potato masher or immersion blender (taking care not to burn yourself with hot jam) to break down the chunks. Add pectin and bring to a rolling boil for a full five minutes.
Turn off the heat under the jam and fill jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Makes 6-7 pints (yield varies depending on width of pot, cooking length and juiciness of fruit).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lightbulb Moment!...

"Lightbulb Moment:  A light bulb moment is when you have a sudden realisation about something, like the light bulbs
used to indicate an idea in cartoons.
On Saturday, we ran into some friends of ours from our old ward at Nielsen's (where we were enjoying a little piece of HEAVEN called Nielsen's Peach Cobbler with vanilla custard...).  We sat and talked for an hour or so, and it was so nice to catch up!  Somewhere in the conversation, the subject turned to parenting teenagers--since we have them, and theirs are coming up fast (their oldest is 11).  I was talking about how it wasn't really that bad, you just have to thump them every once in awhile, and they get the point.  I mentioned how amazing my teenagers were, and how great they were, and how they were SO good, compared to the way I was when I was their age.  I mean, I wasn't awful or bad--I just had a hard time in junior high.  I had a little rebellious streak for those few years, where I lied to my parents a lot, I swore a lot, I had boyfriends (which I knew wasn't the best choice).  I just made some bad choices during that time in my life, and I was talking about how my girls were so much better, even though they face even more temptation than I ever did.  Then came the "lightbulb moment..."
Friend:  "So did your parents know you were doing all those things?"
Me:  "Are you kidding me?  NO WAY!" 
Friend:  "Really?  Are you sure they didn't know?"
Me:  "Yep--I was pretty good at keeping my parents in the dark."
Friend:  "Well???"
Me:  DING DING DING!!!!!  (lightbulb goes on in my brain...)
Oh, CRAP!
Now, excuse me, while I stick my head back into the sand and pretend that I didn't have that conversation!
Oh, the JOY of parenting!   

Friday, September 17, 2010

YUMMY...

Here's a new chicken recipe that we tried a few nights ago & it was so YUMMY!  It wasn't a freezer meal recipe--but I froze it & it worked well!  The kids said it was better than Panda Express Orange Chicken--which is a favorite and it was with boneless skinless chicken breast & I used lite coconut milk for the sauce--so WAY healthier!  I love it when I find a recipe that all the kids like!  YAY!

Sticky Coconut Chicken

6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Marinade:
1 T. fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 t. pepper
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. coconut milk

Coconut Glaze:
3/4 c. rice vinegar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 T. soy sauce
1 t. fresh ginger or ginger powder
1 t. crushed garlic
1 can coconut milk (minus 2 T. for marinade)
1 t. red pepper flakes
Rice, cooked

Directions: Place chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag. Add the coconut milk, ginger, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Combine coconut glaze ingredients and put in quart size freezer bag. Label & Freeze.

To Prepare: Grill chicken breasts on a hot grill and begin to make coconut glaze. While the chicken is grilling, bring glaze ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. Once it begins to thicken however, immediately take off the heat. (You can use a little cornstarch mixed w/ water if necessary.) Serve over rice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Slowing me down...

I don't know why really, but lately God is trying to tell me something.  I must be needing to learn patience, or learn to stop and smell the roses or something--because He's really trying to slow me down.  Last week, I went to play a friendly game of church volleyball with my ward.  I begged Emie to come with me & promised her some fun playing time.  She didn't want to come play with "a bunch of old people".  I was totally talking TRASH to her, like, "Are you kidding me--us OLD people can still play volleyball--we're OLD not DEAD!"  and "I was on a state champion volleyball team--don't you think I KNOW how to play volleyball???"  She still wasn't convinced, but agreed to come anyway.  Then, in the first 5 minutes of the game, I got my first hit and came down a little funny and CRACK--I hear a pop in my foot.  It wasn't my ankle, but the middle of my foot on the top---I swear I heard my bones break!  I tried to "walk it off"--Ummmm...in what world has that ever worked?  It didn't.  So I sat out the rest of that game & one other.  After an hour, it had really started to swell...and HURT!  My sweet Emie (without even gloating by the way....) carried her OLD and CRIPPLED mother out to the car on her back!  Yes, my dignity was pretty much shot!  That night I was in a lot of pain--so I really thought it might be broken.  Todd took me in the next day for an X-ray--and luckily it wasn't fractured.  Doesn't this remind you of another post...HERE?  UGH!  What is it the Lord is trying to teach me?

You mean I'm not 16 anymore?  When did that happen?  I guess I need to start acting my age and give my poor body a break--or it might break--literally!  Funny thing?  Our 1/2 marathon training officially started last week!  I wonder if I'll be able to catch up???  It might be Todd on his own this year...since HE left me on my own last year...that post is HERE!  I'll keep you posted!

I Finally Did It!...

A few weeks ago, before I broke the boat...we went with some friends to the lake while the kids were in school & I finally was able to get up on a wakeboard!  If you have teenagers, you know that it is NOT the cool thing to water ski anymore.  Wakeboarding is definitely where it's at.  Too bad when you're OLD like me, it's hard to learn new tricks!  I hate trying to wakeboard when there are lots of people on the boat, so this was a chance to do it when there weren't so many people there to make fun of me!  Props to Todd for snapping this pic during the 30 seconds I was able to stand up before the epic CRASH & FAIL once again.  I sure look like I know what I'm doing don't I?  Woot!  (I know it's far away--but it's the phone camera & it really is ME I promise!)

Summer Movie FUN!...

This summer, Emie made a bucket list.  It actually had a TON of things on it that she wanted to accomplish.  Sorry to say, summer wasn't long enough to accomplish all of them--but we were able to help her do a few!  One of her bucket list items was to go to a midnight movie with friends.  We actually went to more than one!  Midnight movie showings are one crazy place!  You wouldn't believe how many people show up for them.  Some of them even wear their jammies!  This is a pic I found this week of Emie and her friends (and Erin too) at the premiere of "Inception"--they were trying to be upside down by the picture on the poster--but it wasn't strong enough & kept falling down if they did handstands by it-so they did a back bend instead.  The lady was getting mad at us for messing with the poster...too funny.  This was a crazy movie to see at midnight...it made you think.  The best movie we saw at midnight was "Despicable Me"--no thinking involved & we were all SO slap happy that it was the funniest movie ever!  LOVE midnight movies!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day to Mourn...and Remember...

For me, 9/11 will always be a day to mourn, and to remember those who were lost.  It is a day to reflect on what we love about the country that we all live in, and to remember that freedom isn't free.  It is a day to teach our children how we felt, and what we learned about ourselves that day.  We all lost a sense of security that day that I'm not sure we have ever really regained.  We must never forget what happened that day.  This is my favorite tribute to 9/11.  The song tells us that "I believe, that love is the answer, I believe, that love will find a way."  I truly belive that.  If we love God, and we come unto Him through a loving Savior, Jesus Christ--He will heal our hearts, and our families, He will heal our homes and our communities, He will heal our country and our world.  It starts with YOU!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How fast can YOU wreck a boat???

Well, I did it in less than 60 seconds--so I think I'm pretty close to the Guiness book of World Records on that one now!  This is how it happened...Erin had some of her friends over a few weeks ago to go to the lake after school on a Friday afternoon.  We hurried to load kids, and get out there so there would be some day light & hopefully some okay water to ski in & do tube wars.  Here they are before we left:
And here we are about to launch the boat & get out onto the lake:

While I was backing the boat up off of the trailer, there was another boat next to us...this always makes me nervous because our boat doesn't steer when you are in reverse, so we were wandering over close to this other boat.  Add to that that ALL of these kids were in the middle of moving from their positions in the front of the boat, where they were for these pics I took to the back of the boat, and it was just general chaos.  No problem, though, I have done this 100 times.  So I put the boat in gear, and figure I will just pull around and get us out of there until...BOOM.  In the chaos, I had turned the boat around too quickly, and the back end of the boat hit the concrete on the boat ramp and OOPS...that was that.  Less than 60 seconds.  The boat started back up, but when we tried to give it gas, it totally vibrated the whole boat.  We pulled it back out of the water & checked out the prop--TRASHED!  Todd took it over to the marina, because we have an extra prop...and they fixed it.  So an hour later, we launched it again...NO DEAL.  UGH!  So I felt like a STUPIDO in front of all of Erin's friends--then come to find out--it was one of their birthdays!  What a SUCKY birthday--stuck out at the lake in a broken boat!  We decided to turn it into a swimming party and called Grandma and Grandpa Allen to see if they would save the day!  Not only did they let us use their pool, but they also had hamburgers ready for us to BBQ and chips and stuff to eat with it!  The kids ended up having a great time--despite my little driving error--(which we just got the estimate for--ummm...it's not pretty--$3,800).  Good thing boat season is over...that will have to wait to see if the store has a good Christmas because summer has been SLOW!  Love you Erin--and so glad you have great friends, and a great family who stepped up & saved your little get together.  It ended up being a super fun night after all!

Poor Jimmy didn't have very good luck either!  He smacked his face pretty good in the pool!  But he toughed it out!









Making Bread...

So, we made all of that apricot jam a few weeks ago, and I'm not gonna lie--that stuff turned out AMAZING!  So amazing in fact, that I went and bought more fruit and berries last week to make even more!  I made peach/raspberry, plain raspberry, and a mixed berry jam with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries that is to DIE for!  I also went CRAZY and canned 28 jars of pears as well.  I don't know if I'll do that again--it was way more work than the apricots! 

Well, what good is all that JAM without any bread to put it on?!  So last Sunday I dusted off the Bosch and we went to work!  It's been WAY too long since I've made bread--(stupid low-carb diets) but it really turned out great & tasted awesome with the homemade jam!  The kids like to make their own little loaves, and it is amazing even with as much as they tear it up and roll it and demolish it and drop it on the floor a few times... it still manages to make a halfway decent little loaf of bread (that only THEY will eat)!  If you get some homemade bread or jam from us--we must really like you, cause I'm being kinda stingy with it!  That stuff is a lot of WORK!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tender Mercy...

It might be simple, and a little crazy--but can I tell you how thankful I am that these are fashionable:

Seriously--I LOVE these banded tops!  I'm telling you, I have worked HARD this last year to get rid of the fat around my middle--but it will not BUDGE!  If I wasn't such a chicken, and it didn't cost a fortune, I would go in and have a doctor lop it off.  These banded tops are the next best thing!  LOVE that it hides my middle, and gives the illusion that I don't have THIS:

Ummmmm....because I DO! 
Thank you BANDED TOP--for hiding my MUFFIN TOP!
(Seriously...thank you, thank You, THANK YOU!)
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