Thursday, February 26, 2015


It's pretty exciting!  A while back, Roxanne (my friend from the Topsfield Fair) let me know that someone was interested in publishing a cookbook of canning recipes that had won blue ribbons at fairs.  Since I'd won two (that was 2013), Roxanne suggested I contact the author, Linda Amendt.  Well, I did, and even though my recipes weren't much beyond the standard jam/jelly recipes, my Wild Grape Jelly recipe was included.  As was a little bio and photo.

The book arrived in the mail today, and I couldn't be happier.  There are lots of nice recipes in this book, variations on basics and interesting flavor combinations.  The best part, for me, is reading everyone else's bio and seeing the wide variety of people out there who have gotten into preserving for so many reasons.

Go ahead and check out the cookbook for yourself (I am not compensated for plugging the book, I'm just so excited to see my name and photo in print) - it's available for preorder.  While you're at it, go to Linda Amendt's website:  Canning is but one of her many talents!

Do you know what makes it totally awesome?  Seeing the looks on my kids' faces when they saw my photo IN A BOOK.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's Late February, So I Must Have Been....

Looking toward Breckenridge from Copper
...skiing!  This, plus the final push at work, and taking a class in Boulder, CO, explains why I have done almost nothing of note in the kitchen in the last month.

Well, that's not entirely true.  We brought 1 jar of salsa and 2 jars of jam with us on the trip, and brought home 3 empty jars.  We had our usual go to meals, with a few variations.  Since there were a few more people this time, I started with roasting 2 chickens.  One chicken was dinner the first night with mashed potatoes and green beans, and the meat from the second chicken was the protein for the burritos another night.  The bones all went into making soup, which was lunch for several days.  We had BLT night, and pasta-with-Rick's-famous-lamb-sauce night, and went out for dinner one night.  At that point, I left the crew and headed to Boulder for my class, and they were on their own with instructions to eat up whatever was left.  They did pretty well, actually, only bringing back a little bit of food to my sister's place.  My sister had been kind enough to buy all the groceries before we got there, which saved us a HUGE amount of time and effort.  I think it was, quite possibly, more groceries than she'd ever bought at one time ever in her life!

While in Boulder, I recertified as a Wilderness First Responder.  It was an adventure!  I was one of the three people who got to be doused in cold water and shoved out into the snow so the rest of the class could rescue someone with hypothermia.  To be fair, I did kinda volunteer.  It was fun, in a shivery sort of way.

I got home last night, and today involved a lot of quality time with the laundry machine and some time spent chipping away at the ice that covered half our driveway.  I did make 2 loaves of bread, and I have a pork roast in the oven.  I think we might use the last of the spiced crabapples on the roast.  And preserved garlic.  I can't wait for dinner!

Friday, February 6, 2015


As I'm in the final 2 weeks of my job, and working way too much, and navigating all this snow (last tally was about 39 inches at our house since the blizzard 2 weeks ago, the biggest problem is that we have no place to put any more and they're expecting at least another foot this weekend, eek!), I haven't had much time to do any cooking or baking.  But, yesterday, I pulled together Dark Chocolate Brownies.

In the past, I have usually opted for cookies over brownies.  Quite often I find that brownies are dry.  I don't like them if they have nuts in them, either.  My mother has a recipe for brownies that's really good but even with that, it seems brownies are not my go-to baking Thing.  That might have changed yesterday. 

My mother sent me a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.  She's been getting that for as long as I can remember.  I wish I had more time to leaf through them all.  But the kids, well, they got a hold of the most recent issue and I found it next to the computer, opened to the page with the recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownies.  A not so subtle hint.  One of them even wrote, "This is Beautiful," next to the photo.  How could I let them down?

I'm not going to reprint the recipe here, as it's copyrighted, but I will post a link:  Deep Dark Chocolate Brownies.  I would use slightly less salt.

These brownies are decadent, and rich.  Almost too rich.  The 9 year old had to peel the ganache off the top because it's "too much chocolate," as if there is such a thing.