Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Easy Homemade Salsa

Canning Homemade Salsa 

Ingredients


15 medium to large Tomatoes (peeled and cored)
 3 large Jalapenos (deseeded and diced)
 3 medium to large Onions (diced)
 1 large Bell Pepper (diced)
1/2 bunch of Cilantro (diced)
 1 tsp. of Kosher Salt

Use our techniques described in Canning Tomatoes for peeling tomatoes. We will also be using the same methods for cooking and canning.

Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 20 minutes. When the microwave stops, stir and restart for another 20 minutes. You will continue this process 4 times, for a total of 140 minutes.

After your second time stirring ingredients, start the dishwasher with your jars, lids and rings inside. Your salsa will have cooked for 2, 20 minutes sessions and still needs to go for another 2, 20 minute sessions. The dishwasher should be in the drying mode when your salsa is done cooking.

When your salsa is done and the dishwasher is about finished with the drying mode, you can start filling your jars. Take one jar out at a time, and using a ladle, fill up to 1/2" from the top. . With a wet dish cloth, or wet paper towel, wipe off rim and band of jar, then place lid on top. Screw on band, but  Not  as tight as you can. Finish filling all jars, and using oven mitts, jar tongs, or a dish towel to pick up, place hot jars in large pot or pressure cooker. I used a pot.

In a your pot, with your jars, you will need to add water up to just over half way. Allow pot, with jars inside, to heat to a rolling boil. Boil jars for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Its best to leave the pot, with the jars inside, to cool for about 2 hours before moving. Within that time, the water and jars will cool, and in most cases, the lids will seal. If, after the jars have completely cooled, you have any lids that still haven't sealed, they aren't going to, and you will need to refrigerate the jars to keep its contents from spoiling. Do not push down on your lids; allow them to seal on their own, otherwise you may end up with a false seal and your vegetables will go bad. Once sealed, tighten bands and store in a cool, dry place, as you would any canned goods

If you have any salsa left over, but not enough to fill a jar, place it in a container and refrigerate. You can not can partial jars. They will not seal properly.

Yields about 3 pints.

 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Okefenokee Swamp Park


Photo Album of Okefenokee Swamp Park

For those of you who have never been to Okefenokee Swamp Park, here are a few facts that might help you decide if you want to make the trip.

Entry is $15.00 per person, 12 years old and up. There is a senior discount of $1.00 for age 62 and up. Children 3 years old to 11 years old has a $14.00 entry fee. These fees do include a train ride.

If you wish to take the 45 minute boat tour, through the swamp, you can add $10.00 to that adult fee. Children can take the boat tour for an added $6.00 fee. I've included a photo of the sort of boat you can expect. No airboats there.

Never go there without some sort of bug repellent. The mosquitos are not as bad as the yellow flies. The yellow flies will make your trip miserable, if you don't have something to defend against them.

The park is filled with a friendly, informative staff, who can make light of a blistering hot day, while being eaten alive by insects. Each one seems to know every plant, animal and bug that lives in the park. Every tour, show, or display is fact-filled and enjoyable. There's even the opportunity to hold alligators; baby ones, but alligators non-the-less.

Take a gander at the photo album of our time in the Okefenokee.

Cute lil' River Otter, who my husband reassured me,
 would rip my face off if given the opportunity.
  
The Swamp Tour Boats
Cypress Knees




Boat View of the Swamp


Tree Canopy Over the Swamp



Alligator Nest
Train & Conductor


View From Train
Smithy Island





Old Smoke House
Out House . . . no, you don't have to use this.



11 foot Alligator Named Crazy

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Collecting Sand Dollars on Jekyll Island


 
How to tell the live ones from the dead ones
Live Sand Dollar
On Jekyll Island, sand dollars can be found in abundance. As the tide goes out, these lovely shells are exposed for all to see. This poses a unique problem for conservationist. Tourist, with all their excitement, tend to over collect. They not only take the dead sand dollars but also the live ones. I chose to believe this is done out of ignorance not due to a lack of caring.

Also, if you dig these little guys up on the beach, 9 times out of 10, they are still alive. They may make you think they are dead because inactivity but once placed in the water, they pep right up.

If everyone does their part, there should be sand dollars for our children, their children and their children to enjoy. So please, only collect dead sand dollars and leave the live ones to reproduce. Below are examples of both.
 

Dead Sand Dollar Washed up on the Beaches of Jekyll
Dead Sand Dollar
Live Sand Dollar
Dead Sand Dollar 
 
To bleach Sand Dollars, just set them out in the sun for a few days. If they turn the snowy white that you are looking for you can set them in a cup of 1 cup of bleach for a day, and then, set in sun for several days.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Boo Jar

How to write on jars
I'm not good at writing free hand, but you get the idea.


Supplies

Jars
Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Spray Paint

Using your glue gun, write whatever you wish on your jars. Allow glue to dry. Pick off any stray glue strings. Spray paint the color you wish.

These are great used as candy jars, table centerpieces and gift giving jars.

 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elegantly Inexpensive Table Centerpiece



Elegantly Inexpensive Table Centerpiece

Supplies

Pint Jars
Sand
Jute
Sand Dollars
Tea Light or Votive Candles
Paint Pen
 
Fill jars half full of sand. Push candle into the center of sand. Wrap jute around jar rim three times. Tie jute into a knot. Decide what sand dollar hole you wish to thread your jute through. Lining up beneath that hole, write whatever you wish, using your paint pen. Now, thread one end of the jute through the hole you chose and tie it off.
 
These are beautiful on reception tables, for parties with a luau theme, or for any candlelit event.
 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Canning Tomatoes

Easy Tomato Canning Method

This the easiest method of canning tomatoes, I know. Start by reading Canning Made Simple, here on this blog.

What you will need:

20 Medium to Large Tomatoes
2 Quart Jars with lids and rings
Water
Dishwasher
Microwave
Bowls
Ladle
Large Pot
Oven Mitts


Take a large microwave safe bowl and pour in water up to 1/2 full. Float, stem side up, as many tomatoes as will fit without crowding. Stick in microwave for 15 to 20 minutes. When tested, you want the skin to wrinkle when touched.

Place bowl in sink and pour hot water off tomatoes. Now, run cold water over them.


Note:  be careful with the next step because the tomatoes will still be extremely hot.

You will need a clean microwave safe bowl and a trash bowl. Over the trash bowl, cut top out of tomato and discard. Over the clean bowl, hold the tomato, top side down and squeeze. The peel should be in your hand, and the tomato in the bowl.


Continue these steps until all your tomatoes are peeled.

Now, for the fun part. You will either need to use a potato masher or your hands, for this step. All the tomatoes need to be mashed, without any large lumps.


When your tomatoes are mashed, stick them in the microwave for 20 minutes. When the microwave stops, stir and restart for another 20 minutes. You will continue this process 4 times, for a total of 140 minutes.


After your second time stirring tomatoes, start the dishwasher with your jars, lids and rings inside. Your tomatoes will have cooked for 2, 20 minutes sessions and still needs to go for another 2, 20 minute sessions. The dishwasher should be in the drying mode when your tomatoes finish cooking.

When your tomatoes finish cooking and the dishwasher is about finished with the drying mode, you can start filling your jars. Take one jar out at a time, and using a ladle, fill up to 1/2" from the top. With a wet dish cloth, or wet paper towel, wipe off rim and band of jar, then place lid on top. Screw on band, but  Not  as tight as you can. Finish filling all jars, and using oven mitts, jar tongs, or a dish towel to pick up, place hot jars in large pot or pressure cooker. I used a pot.



In a your pot, with your jars, you will need to add water up to just over half way. Allow pot, with jars inside, to heat to a rolling boil. Boil jars for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Its best to leave the pot, with the jars inside, to cool for about 2 hours before moving. Within that time, the water and jars will cool, and in most cases, the lids will seal. If, after the jars have completely cooled, you have any lids that still haven't sealed, they aren't going to, and you will need to refrigerate the jars to keep its contents from spoiling.
Do not push on tops, allow to seal on their own. Once sealed, tighten bands and Store in cool dry place.