Busy Bee

This morning was one of those lovely morning when I woke up at about 3:30am. Went to the bathroom (being pregnant is wonderful), and then went back to my bed (fell asleep in my littlest boys bed). I tried and tried to fall back asleep, but my mind was anything but tired.

I was creating a mental list of things at 3 something in the am, that’s how my brain works sometimes.

What is a mommy to do?

Well, for starters, the smell of fresh bread was in the back of my mind, so here’s what was for breakfast today:

This little heel was all that was left of my ham & cheese bread. Next time I’m thinking much more ham & cheese, I’m talking gooey.

I also have quite a UFO list, and an even longer list of projects that I want to get done. Thankfully I was able to cross a total of 4 things off those 2 lists.

The first item being the sashiko sampler that I have been planning on turning into a pillow cover.

I am planning on adding a few buttons to keep the flaps on the back closed up nicely. Other than that she’s done. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I didn’t want to take away from the sampler, but didn’t want a boring back either and I think I nailed it.

In my opinion, one can never have too many pillows. How many pillows do you have on your couch? On your bed? I have an L-shaped couch from IKEA, the Ektorp one I think, and I’ve got 7 to 9 pillow on it in addition to the cushions. I think there’s about 8 pillows on my King-sized bed, and none of them are just decorative. I heart pillows, even have a pinterest board just for pillows. Clearly I need to add some more to it….

The other 3 things were: making a pair of leggings for my Little L from a shirt that was way too short for me, mend a pair of yoga pants for Miss A, and make PJ pants for a little boy who is a good friend of the family. I’ll get a photo of this guy in his pants soon, I can bet it will be a good one, he’s quite a character!

To top all of this off, I actually put together a post about it and on the same day to boot, with pictures.

Ok, can I go take a nap now??

But first, check out some more of our creative spaces.

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Can Some Chicken, It’s Worth It

Most people that can things make their own jams and jellies. I find the most joy in making jams and jellies, they are always so yummy, and my kids can help make them.

However…

Today I will share with you how I can chicken. The taste of home-canned chicken, I have found, cannot be matched. I wait until I can get boneless skinless chicken breasts for less than $1.79 per pound, then I buy increments of 14 pounds because about 1 pound of chicken fits into one pint-sized jar, and my canner can hold 14 pints.

I have a copy of this book:

Photo from Amazon. Click Here to go to website.

If you are seriously into canning, this book it a go-to resource for all things canning. For real. 

They have a recipe/guideline for canning Chicken, and all other types of poultry. I follow this pretty much to the T. The only thing I do differently is use room temperature broth instead of boiling. I figure that if the entire jar, contents, and canner are room temperature, then I should be good to go.

The Ball company also publishes small paperback books called The Blue Book. There have been many many versions of these printed over the years, and I recommend follow the most recent guidelines for canning since there is still research being done on this. For example, my Grandmother has Ball Blue Books from the over 30 years ago, and back then they home canned pureed pumpkin. It has since been found to not store well in these conditions, and almost breeds botulism=BAD!!

On a side note, I usually use Ball jars. I have had some for over 8 years, and a lot of mine were given to me or bought second-hand. In other words, if you are canning correctly, they will last a long long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have broken jars before, and am sure it will happens again (because it just does sometimes).

Here’s a general run-down of how I roll:

Supplies:

What To Do:

  1. I do a raw-pack method, which basically means everything is not cooked when it’s packed. I think there is a better outcome with this method.
  2. You need to start with clean jars, lids, and bands. I just run them in the dishwasher for a whole cycle. Then open up the dishwasher and let them get to room temperature.
  3. Get your chicken, cutting board & knife, broth, and jars out. I like to just take over the dining room table so I can sit while cutting all this chicken.
  4. Just start cutting chicken into manageable sections and put it in your jars. I pretty much cut the pieces small enough to fit through the funnel. You really want to pack the chicken into the jars. Fill each jar, leaving a generous 1 inch headspace. 
  5. Put a little bit of broth into each jar, fill to barely cover the chicken. Use your clear ruler and push it down the sides of your jars to release any air bubbles. Then add more broth if necessary to get the 1 inch headspace.
  6. Screw on bands using your hands until they feel tight, don’t go crazy and break your jars muscle (wo)man (yea, I’ve done that before…)
  7. Put your jars into your canner. I would read the instructions manual for you canner and follow any guidelines there may be (position, water level, etc). Put lid on canner.
  8. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent. Continue heating until you get to the 10 lbs. pressure. Your gauge should gently rock with a hissing noise coming from it, nothing too crazy.
  9. Process the pint jars with the boneless chicken for 75 minutes, yea it really takes that long so grab a movie, book, or project and get going.
  10. When your timer beeps, turn off the heat and let the canner release pressure all by itself. Wait a few minutes after it’s done, and open the lid. At this point I usually wait 20 to 30 minutes or so so the jars are cool enough that I can just pick up the jars with my hands. Let the jars continue to cool, putting them on a kitchen towel and keeping them away from drafts. These jars are glass, and will break with rapid temperature changes. 
  11. Once cooled, rinse the outside of your jars, label (if you don’t inhale it as quickly as we do), and store. You’re done!

If you can, what do you like to can?

Cook & Tell

This is a great recipe blog that I am privileged to be a co-author of, even though I don’t post here anywhere near as much as I should.

Cook & Tell

Please take a look, I can guarantee that there are recipes that you will LOVE!!

See:

Peppermint Patties

Cranberry Vinaigrette
Blueberry Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt
Croissant Egg Boats

These are only a few of the recipes on Cook & Tell, there are lots lots more!

Could you tell I’m having a craving for sweets right now??