October 26, 2013

While putting together the plans for our Halloween party - I whipped up this image. It was a great visual checklist for me while preparing everything. It was also really nice to use to get back to links instead of having 10 tabs open.

The Party was so much fun. All together there were 5 adults and 17 kids. There was lots of playing indoors and out. Good food was enjoyed by all. Sadly, I had no idea my husband had stuck dry ice in the freezer that morning, or I would have pulled that out to use as well. But honestly, it was a whole lot of fun. Here's a few photos of some of the details:

Halloween Party

Spiders Eggs

Zombie Teeth

October 25, 2013

The day school let out this year we flew out of town and basically we were on the go since then. I counted up a total of 5 weeks either traveling or having company this summer. So if you wondered where I was - I've been BUSY. That didn't stop after school started up and the clouds of dust settled. We're currently working on repairing our deck. Amid that mess I realized how little I canned this summer (ie. Nothing at all.) Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming urge to stock my bare shelves and a Costco trip did not suffice. I needed more.

When I placed my produce order I can guarantee you I wasn't thinking properly. I ordered WAY too much for a sane person to do. Can-O-Rama 2013 commenced. I was worried I'd have some produce go bad by getting it all at once, but I lost 1/2 a pineapple out of 16 and 5 tomatoes out of 60lbs. Not bad. Just over a week later I finished and I have to say I'm so happy with the results!

13 Quarts of Pears
26.5 Pints of Pineapple (in 37 Jars)
16 Pints Stewed Tomatoes
15 Pints Regular Salsa
6.5 Pints Hot Salsa (in 8 Jars total)
23 Pints Zucchini Salsa (in 26 Jars total)

Hot Salsa

Zucshini Salsa

+ 4 Large Bags of Concord Grapes in the Freezer to be juiced in a few weeks when I'm ready to can again.

Had I read this post from NW Edible prior to canning I may also have a few jars of tomato sauce. Maybe next time.

Altogether that was 99 jars through the canner! The hardest part of it all is finding room to put it all in my pantry! Thankfully this new house has a big Garage!

Pantry Full of Canned Goods

Canning In Garage

As if that wasn't enough for me. Just weeks later I found my self experimenting with Pressure Canning Chicken from Zaycon Foods. I followed all directions in the Pressure Canner's Manual. It turned out super easy and super delicious! 36 pints from 40lbs! It doesn't look all that pretty - but here's one batch (18 jars) for you to see. (This is nothing like Canned Chicken you buy in a store.) I also found this post from The Sister's Cafe helpful. (I didn't use Bouillon though.)

Pressure Canned Chicken

I still have a lot of frozen fruit to make jam and jelly with this year.

One thing that kept me sane through all of the canning was a message thread back and forth between myself and some friends of mine that also can. It was fun to get pointers from them, learn some new things and get the boost of support I needed to make it through that week! (Thanks girls!)

Do any of you can? Do you have a favorite recipe? Feel free to share!