Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Salsa & Sauce Part II

So the salsa is done and divided and I don't feel to badly.  We had a lovely dinner in the screened porch with peach pie for dessert and then a surprise early birthday cake for Pat.  There was no shortage of food or dessert.

We started our morning off with coffee on the front porch.  It's not a view of the lake but it gets the morning sun and we get to overlook the garden.  However within no time we are right at it because one sister is leaving at 11 a.m. and we can use all the help we can get.

Two large pots filled with water on the stove so that I can blanch 5 bushels  of tomatoes!  Within a few minutes of adding some tomatoes to a small strainer putting them into the water and going back for more tomatoes, bending over and over again, I realize I could be in trouble and maybe not be able to walk tomorrow.  So I ran around the house finding items so that I can bring these bushels and also the white pales up closer to my waist line.  Easing the amount of bending.

Outside two of the sisters are washing and inspecting the remainder of the tomatoes.  Oh what a beautiful day and look at the lake!  If that doesn't make the job more enjoyable......

Do you believe that when they started this several years ago they did it all by hand and finally decided to buy an electric grinder.  They set it up outside because little did I know the mess this machine would make.  I would get my turn at everything, they said.

So like the tomatoes for the salsa I would boil them enough for the skins to be soft, this would help them go through the grinder better.  Once I had a  full bucket I would bring it outside.  The person on the messy side would fill the machine with tomatoes, scrape the tomatoes coming out,  and add some of the pulp back into the machine to help thicken the sauce.  The other person just kept plunging the tomatoes down the hole.

This was one messy job and hot when you were being splatted with hot tomato sauce.  I didn't do this job very long.  The tomato sauce ran into a bucket that  held a pillow case and the bucket had holes in it to allow for water to drain, again to help thicken the sauce.

The sauce would then be transferred back into the clean buckets and we started working on the making of the sauce.  I can't really remember the measurements but I think it was 1 cup onion with some oil cooked until soft and added to each pot of sauce.  You can also add some bay leaves to the pot or drop them into the bottom of your mason jars.

The mason jars are heated, and the lids are boiled all the same process as the salsa.  We had our issues from exploding jars to jars where the sauce was just so overheated in the jars they had pushed off the lids and the sauce was seeping out.  This was a little discouraging because the whole pot has to be emptied and filled again. 

On the 3rd day I could hardly lift my right arm from lifting every tomato in that pot and out again.  Ok well almost every tomato.  We ate and ate again, we swam, we shared some wine.  We played the music loud and danced.  The sisters reminisced and shared some family stories but no one ever told me.....
"How do you get those shoes on with your feet so big"?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Salsa & Sauce

For several years now my girlfriend and her sisters have got together at the end of August to make tomato sauce.  Over the last few years I have grown an interest in canning.  I think I just like the idea and well probably, mostly, the look of all that delicious produce in the mason jar.  So I was thrilled when I was invited to join the sisters in making the tomato sauce.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into.....

The setting would be beautiful.  A lake side log home and beautiful weather.  My girlfriend (Pat) and I decided that we would do salsa first.  I arrived at 11:30 am on a Sunday morning having taken the train, a quick stop at the grocery store for a few last minute items and we were back at the house chopping away.  She had already picked up 6 bushels of tomatoes. 5 would be for the tomato sauce and 1 for salsa.

The canning process is very time consuming to say the least.  First we washed all the tomatoes, inspecting each one for bad spots.

We then blanched the tomatoes to make the skins soft enough to peel.  Then we chopped and removed as much seeds as you could.

I brought my mandolin and chopped.... oh I don't know really,  one huge bag of onions.   There where lots of tears until Barb lit two candles and it really did work.  I've tried everything including biting on a toothpick.

After chopping all the ingredients and the secret spices we cooked it all on the stove and then began filling the jars.

The jars are heated in the oven and the lids are boiled.  Making sure the rims are clean we place on the snap lids and then the ring, finger tightened only, then they are placed in the bath.

Ta da!  Fresh salsa for the year. Ha! If it lasts that long.  We finished up at around 7:00 and the four of us headed down to the dock for a much needed glass of wine.  Tomorrow after all would be another full day of canning.  My feet would be killing me and every bone in my body would ache.
I would have no idea!

Considering the amount of pictures I have to share I decided I would post our two days of tomato sauce tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ribbon, pins and back breaking work

Choosing curtains I find to be very difficult.  Hemming them I find to be a nightmare.

Growing up we had sheers and then lace.  I have always loved the look of lace and had it in just about every window in this house.  Last year my dear brother told me to "get rid of the lace" and I thought maybe it was time.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter and a 2nd Birthday

This Easter was eggstra special as flounder turned 2!!   We celebrated with our annual Easter egg hunt, dinner and some chocolate pudding cake.  It was by far one of the best deserts I had in a long time...and a really nice time with family.  

Painted eggs from Ariel

Love my vintage post card

and the Easter Bunny from my Nana

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The sounds of Spring

Happy Spring everyone.  It is going to be a crazy warm week here with temperatures over the 20's.  The snow is almost melted in our yard.  There will be no more toboggan rides.
My husband is chopping at the bit to rake the yard and pull out the lawn furniture.
It's only March 18th I said on Sunday!  It could still snow!

I noticed a few trees a budding, some plants are showing and the robins back.

 We have a family of 7 bluejays feeding from our feeders.

...and look who's back.  This year I really want it to be a year of less work and more relaxation.  We have a great camera and a tripod and I have always wanted to just sit out and capture some great shots of the many birds that feed at out feeders.

Enjoy your first day of spring.  I hope it's warm where you are.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Finally a new post.....about Blocks?!

OK so keeping up with a Blog is not that easy.  I don't mean to complain but it's a lot of pressure.  I haven't posted anything in days.  I have several things on the go but I can't seem to get anything finished in order to take pictures and then write something about it that's half decent.  I was determined I had to find something to write about.  I had just finished making my blocks for Spring and Easter the other day when I realized..... I have blocks for other special days and so it was created....a new post.....finally!

One thing that is becoming part of my themed decorating is blocks.  They do take a while to make but when they are done I just love them.   One day I will post a "how to" tutorial.  But for now enjoy a few pics of the ones I have made so far.

I usually try to use both sides of the blocks if the phrase works out for both sayings.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year do not have the same amount of letters but I  added the exclamation marks to the end of Happy New Year which makes up for the last two letters in Merry Christmas.  
I actually made two sets of these blocks, adding the green to one set.

The set below I made for my girlfriend but a little bit larger.  She lives in a beautiful log home with vaulted ceilings.  I didn't think the small set would make much of a statement.  She won't be happy to see all those tools in my picture.  The wall has since been painted and a beautiful painting of a poppy is displayed there now.  Sorry Pat!

For Happy Halloween I had to get a little more creative with 3 extra blocks so again added the exclamation, a bat and a black cat.  I love my black cat!

Also my "Boo" usually sits in front of the tv but it wouldn't have made the best picture.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter works out perfectly!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Our home...

Before I post any pictures of my home I thought I would fill you in on a few things first.  I rent our home.  It is an early 1930's, 1 1/2 story, 4 bedroom, just on the outskirts of the city with about 1/4 an acre of land and I love it.

That being said there will be no posts of tearing down the walls, laying hardwood or ceramic tile.   No granite counter tops, new faucets or cupboards.

The washroom, well the toilet you can clearly see if you are sitting at the kitchen table!
A designer no no...I know.

The living room is 12 x 12 and the dinning room is 9 x 9 and there is no making either of them bigger.

It is however a warm cozy home that has a back porch/mudroom (which I love)  that enters into the large country kitchen.  One of my 4 bedrooms is on the main floor and that is the office, or should I say the drop off spot.  It is the room with the computer and the room that I craft in and is most of the time a mess.   I have considered moving it upstairs and bringing down a bedroom and for many reasons that would be a great idea. One being it would make a few great posts of before and afters and I can so see the office upstairs with the slanted ceilings.....dreaming.  However it is so nice to have the computer on the main floor. 

I have 3 decent size bedrooms upstairs with the slanted ceilings, my dream since I was a little girl.  None of them with closets. Not my dream since I was a little girl!

The basement....well lets just say there will never be a make over with pictures of that space.

So my point is, when you rent, your makeovers are limited to paint and decorating around the existing shell.    It is an old home with rustic baseboards and uneven walls with years of paint on them and I just have to work with what I got......I like what I have and have been working on making it a welcoming, relaxing, comfortable home.

These stories I will share with you.