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This Journey

Memories to today....

I have the distinct memory of helping Grandma in the kitchen at 3 to 4 years old.  She had a HUGE victorian farmhouse with a real cellar type basement.  I remember the jars were blue and we were bringing them to the kitchen to create a meal for the family.  While I have no recollection of whether I drove her nuts or not; I remember being fascinated with the jars and cooking.  Now, I have to believe that you're shown your talents early in life.  You may not necessarily follow them at first, but life will inevitably bring you back around.

Fast forward a few years, growing up in a hydroponic tomato operation, we had access to as many fresh #2 tomatoes as we could want.  I was young, but not too young to take over most everything in the kitchen.  Mom taught me her core recipes (think chili and stir fry) and how to can the tomatoes.  Off I went with making and canning every tomato product I could safely do at that age with a single waterbath canner.  This was the same year that I also took over all the Christmas baking. The following year, I did Thanksgiving too. 

Somewhere in there, after Grandma had passed, we ran out of her homemade Watermelon Rind Preserves.  This was a tragedy as we had oatmeal cookies with these preserves in them every year for Christmas.  Dad sourced the watermelons and he helped me cut away all the pink and all the peel so we only had the rind itself left.  He was the director of this operation and we simmered those pieces in the syrup and spices overnight for TWO days until he declared them right.  I remember multiple trips downstairs and getting him out of bed to check them!  I tried to duplicate the preserves last year and it wasn't a total failure, but without his oversight, they are not the same. 

I will try again.

Dad was given a deer one year.  We cubed and waterbathed it in Grandma's blue jars.  I don't remember eating it as Mom was picky.  I'm a proponent of pressure canning now and have done up a few batches of venison.  It's fantastic!

My Aunt taught me how to make bread and candy.  She was a fantastic cook, knew how to season everything correctly and wasn't afraid to try something new.  I don't remember there being any flops.  She cooked for Easter each year and I am lucky enough to have some of her recipes. 

Over the years, an obsession with jars has formed and solidified.  I have an extensive collection of antique jars with several different types of closures.  I've been experimenting with canning in the bail and glass top jars and the galvanized lids with gaskets.  I'm also not afraid to reuse flat top lids or off-brand lids.  I personally don't like to reuse store bought jars and lids but it's just because it messes up the look of my shelves.  I want them to be as satisfying as walking down to Grandma's basement seeing all the jars lined up with their colorful contents screaming TRY ME!

I bake in an electric oven and can on a glass top stove.  I have formica countertops and stock cabinets.  I use readily available equipment and easily accessible ingredients.  I'm out in the boonies that just happens to have fiber internet running through it.

All of these things have culminated into this website and soon; a YouTube channel.  Please join me as I learn new skills and share how-to's and don't-freak-out's about canning, baking, and general cooking.  While I am also an avid quilter, I'm starting here to transfer my knowledge and help newbies with preserving their own food and creating satisfying meals for their loved ones. 

Just a quick note to mention:  When I go online to search for a recipe, I cannot stand having to go through blogs with ad after ad and finally getting to the recipe at the end.  This is why this blog is being created differently.  I've setup a separate page just for the recipe cards for easy access. You can choose whether to read the blog or skip over it and go straight to the recipes.   I have signed up as an Amazon Associate to add a little bit of monetization to help support the cost of the website.  I have not added anything in my Amazon store that I don't have some familiarity with.  If it's an item I use everyday, I will give you a review of it that is honest and hopefully useful.  It does cost money to keep this blog going and if you feel so inclined, please feel free to click on a link and purchase something you can use in your own kitchen.

Thank you for being here!

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