Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Hope to Make a Difference and a Challenge!

Hi folks! Gee, I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since my last post. Here's what's been going on!

I have been unemployed for the last 2 years - thanks to the economy! I decided after many years in business to change my career and follow my dream. I went back to school at the tender age of 45 (I'm way over that now!) to get my bachelors and masters degrees. I was a library aide for about 2 years and then I got my dream job, taught for a few years only to be bumped. In education it's last in, first out! In my free time I have been pursuing a 2nd masters in library education.

I took a job as a library media specialist on the 19th and I was in orientation (un-paid) all week. This is what I was going to do! And you folks think librarians don't have a sense of humor!

Well, I resigned on Friday morning, after I was offered another teaching position in the district I was laid off from! It was all a matter of economics. The job was a quarter of the commute and more money, plus I liked the district!

Now I'll be a classroom teacher, and I'm so happy! Thank you to all the parents who trust me with their children's education and their well being! I can't wait to make a difference!

I went to a catholic school, and I had some really cool nuns who I learned a lot from, especially my 5th grade nun, Sr. Mary Coleman.  I learned genuine and heartfelt kindness from her!


Who was your favorite teacher? What did you learn from them?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Can Can

No, I'm not talking about that spicy French dance!  I'm talking about preserving food!  In particular, I'm canning pickles!  I've made regular dill pickles, zesty dill pickles and hot dill pickles!

I'm feeling the need to make about 24 jars/quarts because my family, neighbors and some friends seem to like them and they want to know when they'll be ready . . .  hmm, I"m thinking about hiding them . . . LOL!!!

Is there truly anything as good as homemade food?  Anything as good as local produce?  I feel like I'm capturing summer in a jar!  It makes me smile in January to open up one of these jars, especially when there's snow up to my eyeballs in my yard!

Here's my first case of pickles!  I've begun work on the second case!  Let me know if you want any!  LOL!!!  I'm sure I can accommodate you!  LOL!!!

My recipe came right out of the Ball Blue book of canning.  If you'd like the recipe let me know and I'll send it along to you!  Below are a few links that I thought you'd enjoy browsing, especially if you like home canning!


National Can It Forward Day

Ball's Fresh Preserving.Com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly

That time of year is upon us.  It's time to start preserving the taste of the wonderful glorious summer season for the "unmentionable" time that lies ahead!  These Six easy little steps gave me the most delicious home-made Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly I have E-V-E-R tasted! I have been longing to make this jelly for weeks, but because of one reason or another I haven't been able to to make it until this afternoon!

I found the recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  If you don't have this book, it's worth buying.  In fact, it's being sold at Sam's Club and BJ's, I don't remember the cost, but it's worth the small investment.

Since I love red pepper jelly, and I love balsamic vinegar I thought this would be a winning combination ~ it is! You won't be disappointed - at all! 

This mouth watering jelly would be great served over cream cheese as an hors d'oeuvre served with crackers, or as a glaze on chicken, pork or fish!

 Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly

5 medium red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
3 medium jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and deveined
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup red wine vinegar (125 ml)
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (45 ml)
2 tbsp. lemon juice (30 ml)
1 package regular powdered fruit pectin (1.75 oz /49=57 g)
3 ¼ cups granulated sugar ( 800 ml)

1.  Finely dice enough red pepper to measure ½ cup and set aside.  In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree remaining red peppers, jalapeno peppers and garlic until smooth.

2.  Transfer puree to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a deep bowl.  Let drip, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.  Measure 1 ½ cups pepper juice.  If you do not have the required amount, add ½ cup biling water to the remaining pulp in the jelly bag to extract additional juice.

3.  Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.  This recipe made 3 - 12 oz. jars.

4.  Transfer red pepper juice to a large, deep stainless steel saucepan.  Add reserved diced red pepper, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  Whisk in pectin until dissolved.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Add sugar all at once stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.

5.  Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch (0.5 cm) headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

6.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store. 


P.S.  Thank your for all your lovely comments over the past year.  I truly treasure each of you and I hope to spend more time with each of you over the next year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!!

The winner of my 1st Blogversary Give-Away is . . . .

Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Bonnie @

From A Writer's Kitchen!!! 

Bonnie won a copy of Stonewall Kitchen's Grilling cookbook! And a set of beautiful potholders that were made by Angela, The Crafin' Scot from the Scarborough, Maine Farmers Market!


When you have a moment you should check out Bonnie's blog!

I used the random number generator, but could not get the numbers to show up on this post . . . crazy! The winning number was 2!