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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Anyone who has known me for about a year or longer probably knows that my body is jacked up. There are a lot of reasons for this, from exposure to toxins to chemotherapy to radiation to bad friggin’ familial genes, my body has always had malfunctions. But, you know, I’m still here so it’s all good.

However, I just saw my most recent blood workType_2_Nation_million_beta_cells_diabetes_meme_500px.jpg and it shows that I left pre-diabetes land and went into diabetes city.

I knew I was going to get diabetes. I have endocrine issues. I have insulin resistance. I’ve been pre-diabetic since I was a teen. This was expected even if I was working to keep it away. But when I saw the numbers I have to say I’ve been in a state of odd numbness with flashes of anger and despair.

I thought I’d have more time. (more…)

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Home Chef Review

I decided to try the food service Home Chef. This is where they send you all the ingredients and the recipe and you just make the food. For $9.95 per serving, I thought it would be a good alternative to eating out. I mean, true, I’m still cooking. But the grocery shopping is done and everything is just ready to go. A few meals per week where I don’t have to think as hard about them seemed nice. Besides, Groupon had a deal.

delivered

They only had one meal this week that matched my food profile, the Lemon-Parsley Fish Cakes with romaine and tomato salad. My family is pescetarian, which means the only things with spinal cords we eat are fish, and even that is pretty limited. We also don’t eat animal-based dairy in the house. (I’m also lactose-intolerant so I have to limit dairy outside the house, as well, or it gets embarrassing to go places with me.)

So my meal was shipped in a box via FedEx. It’s packed to stay cold even if you’re not at home when it’s delivered. Bonus, everything is either compostable or recyclable! (more…)

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The town next to mine has way cooler classes and activities, so I jumped city lines and took a pressure canning class.

I’ve danced around pressure canning for a while. I tried water bath canning this Spring and really liked it. But water bath canning is pretty much for fruits. Jams, jellies, chutney, etc. I dig all of them, but what I grow in my garden is veggies. I also wanted to can sauces and soups. And for all of that, you need a pressure canner.

Like right out of a sci-fi or horror set.

Like right out of a sci-fi or horror set.

This thing is not only intimidating-looking, it is also intimidatingly priced. At about $240, this isn’t some random hobby you just pick up to see if it sticks. Which is why I started with water bath canning. I was out only about $50 and I could decided if the whole rigmarole of canning was something I was into.

Having found that, yes, I’m into it. I went to this class yesterday. It was supposedly meant for kids, being put on by the local 4-H. But there was no one under their mid-twenties in that packed kitchen. Somehow I ended up sitting with a table of other vegetarians because when the first project was to can chicken, all of us went, “Pass.” Apparently we picked up each others’ vibage or something. Another very cool thing happened when we were all busy chopping and peeling for the veggie soup. I asked my table, “We’re not just tossing these scraps in the trash, are we?” A few moments later a bag went around for scraps that another student was going to put in her compost. Which is exactly where I wanted them to go. Well, ok. I’d have preferred that they went in my compost pile, but as long as they weren’t going in the landfill, I was good.

The instructor was awesome and patiently answered my many questions. No, the canner will not blow up. No, as long as you process everything long enough, you will not die of botulism. No, really, you won’t blow yourself up. Well, yes, this model of canner was used in a bombing incident, but there was no food involved, so you’ll be ok.

Now that I’ve seen the process from beginning to end, took notes, and have handouts, I think I’m ready to tackle this bad boy. So, I’ll be saving my pennies and hopefully have a pressure canner to (not blow myself up with) can my garden veggies next summer. Then I can make more of these!

My very own jars of green beans and veggie soup that fit perfectly in my car's drink carrier. Who knew?

My very own jars of green beans and veggie soup that fit perfectly in my car’s drink carrier. Who knew?

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This is my jam

Pluot Jam... I hope.

Pluot Jam… I hope.

Well, there it is. My very first attempt at canning. It is a very stressful process, but I think that’ll lessen as I get more experience. And I am definitely gaining experience.

What I Learned During My First Time Canning:

  1. When planning to can for the first time, do not buy 15 pounds of “stone fruit” and wait until it arrives before knowing what fruit it actually is. As good as Pluots are, there are not a hell of a lot of canning recipes for them. And a first-timer really shouldn’t be winging it.
  2. Make sure you have all your equipment ready. Seriously, all of it. Take time to actually dry-run through the process to make sure you’re not searching all over for that one thing you need right now.
  3. Make sure to have all your ingredients ready. Finding out that you don’t actually have any lemon juice to add to the pot of cut fruit and sugar is incredibly stressful. Having to resort to lime juice adds to the stress.
  4. Cut your fruit prior to having all your pots boiling. It takes much longer than you think it will.
  5. Make sure you know what jar sizes you have. Again, winging it isn’t really smart on your first time out. The sizes of these bad boys are kind of important to the processing times.

After all that, though, I at least know better how the process proceeds. Next time I’ll cut my fruit a bit better, ’cause seriously, who’s gonna want that big of a chunk of Pluot on their toast? I also now know roughly how long the process is. So, all-in-all, this was a good thing.

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