Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Canning Give Away!

This past weekend, I had friends over to can at my house. We had a great time. We totally ruined rocked the jam ice cream topping.

I'd love to share my new love of canning with my readers by giving away these goodies:

A Ball collapsible funnel (truly awesome)
1 jar of instant fruit pectin
1 package regular pectin
1 package low/no sugar pectin
several coupons for canning related goodies, including $2 off Ball Canning Discovery Kit

This contest will run through July 3. I'll announce the winner on July 4! US only please :)

How to enter:

Share your favorite canning recipe (or a canning recipe you want to try) in the comments section.

Optional entries, please leave one comment for each additional entry

1. Follow this blog

2. LIKE Confessions of an ADD Housewife on Facebook

3. Follow ADDHOUSEWIFE on twitter

4. Tweet about this giveaway (and link in the comments with your tweet) with the following:
I think I CAN win canning supplies with @addhousewife PLZ RT

5. Share about this giveaway on your own blog (share the link!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Confession: I never opened your gift

It was 17 years ago. I was a new blushing bride. And i did the unthinkable: I lied on a thank you note for a wedding gift.

Someone gave us a gift. I sent them a note thanking them for it. I told them I couldn't wait to use it. It was a lie. I didn't even know what to do with the gift. And so it sat, unopened (tho unwrapped) in the extra bedroom in our first apartment.

My mind was more focused on trying to figure out what to do with the three crockpots, two trifle dishes and three cake dishes that turned into punch bowls. Returned what we could. Regifted the rest to other friends who got married around the same time. My only regret is not keeping a trifle dish for myself.

We moved around several times those first few years of marriage and so that unopened gift in the big brown box was packed up and moved. It moved from Utah to Oregon. Oregon to Washington. Washington back to Oregon. And finally from Oregon to Alabama.

Seventeen years. Unopened.

Every time I looked at that box, it mocked me.

Ha! You're chicken! You're not a good Mormon if you don't know how to use me!

Seventeen years. I have lived this lie that I couldn't wait to use...a Hot Water Bath Canning Pot.

If you've ever seen one of these, you know that it's not a small thing. And it's not something one would normally keep in storage for years, moving states FIVE times. What is even less believable is the fact that the Canning Pot made it on our cross country move when my beloved dehydrator didn't! Why the Canning Pot made it on the truck, I will never know.

I'm at a point in my life where I am trying to conquer my fears and embrace being who I am. And I'll be darned if I let a stupid pot get the better of me. Plus, I got some freebies in the mail that required me to learn to can and do it with some friends.

I dragged out the pot, got some mason jars off freecycle, bought ugly (discounted) fruit at the farmers market (if this was going to be an epic fail, I was not going to be spending big bucks on it!), and decided to give it a whirl.

I'm totally kicking myself now. Canning is not scary. Ridiculously easy, as a matter of fact. So far I've made Pickled Green Beans, peach jam, strawberry jam, berry marmalade and salsa. I plan on doing as much canning as possible over the next few weeks. D has asked that I refrain from going overboard on this (as if I'd EVER go overboard on anything?) but he has his reasons...and I really hope to be able to share those reasons soon.

Leelee has asked that I teach her how to can, with plans to enter the youth canning exhibit at the fair in October.

Be sure to check out the blog later in the week for a canning related give away :) I gotta share the love!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Bowl Full of Cherries (Sauce)

One of the great things about twitter is sometimes, when you tweet someone who's on a TV show and the person tweets back.

The first time it happened to me, I had a flurry of @ messages from people who saw my twitter handle mentioned in a post from none other than Jillian Michaels! I had no idea since I didn't follow her, but she did reply to a snarky comment I made.

Other times, the mentions are much more useful and answers to questions. And, that brings us to what this post is really about. My market had a large quantity of cherries at a closeout price. I paid about $2/lb! Super great price here in dixie! So, I tweeted Mary Beth Albright who's on this season's Next FoodNetwork Star asking for a recipe that uses cherries. She tweeted back with this fabulous recipe for Cherry Sauce!

Of course, I can't do any recipe right. First, no cherry pitter. Never fear, though...A paperclip works in a pinch. yes, a paperclip! Apparently this is a method suggested by Martha herself.

After solving that dilemma, I went on a search for my liquid...only to discover no Kirsch. I figured maybe I'll use Maraschino cherry juice instead. No go. So, I did what every other desperate kitchen goof does... I dolloped in two tablespoons of Strawberry Jam. LOL

Everything else went according to plan. I had a brief moment of panic when I checked my vinegar basket (doesn't everyone have a basket in their pantry devoted solely to vinegar??) and I could only find garlic infused Balsamic. I did manage to find some very cheap balsamic in the back corner of the basket, so it wasn't a total loss.

The sauce is amazing, even with using strawberry jam. I can just imagine how good it would taste if I actually did it correctly!

I considered serving this over our grilled pork chops tonight, but that idea was nixed by D. He hasn't gotten adventurous enough with his food to mix sweet and savory. So, we're going with the cream topping. DELICIOUS!

Fresh Cherry Sauce
1 pint sweet red cherries
2 tbsp. kirsch (cherry liquor) (can substitute red wine) (or in my case strawberry jam)
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long)
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Pit the cherries into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and toss with kirsch. Let sit (unheated) for about 30 minutes, until there’s a good amount of cherry juice in the bowl. Turn the heat on to medium-low and add the cinnamon stick and vinegar. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the juice thickens (if you’re in a hurry, you can add a bit of cornstarch or flour).