Sunday, May 19, 2013


If you need some quick meals this summer when you want to do anything but cook, you might consider canning your own sloppy joes.  Just open, heat, and put it on a bun.  What could be easier?  Olivia and I started canning sloppy joes after we mastered canning beef and chicken and asked ourselves, "What else could we do to make meals a little easier?"  Sloppy joes have always been a favorite with us, so we came up with a way to do it!  If you take the time to preserve a batch, you won't be sorry this summer when it is too hot to cook or beautiful weather beckons you somewhere other than the kitchen!


9 pounds ground chuck
5 large onions, chopped
2 large containers ketchup (80 ounces total)
1 12 ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup minced garlic (from the jar...  Yes, it seems like a lot, but this is 9 pounds of meat! :) )
pepper to taste

Brown hamburger until pink just leaves chuck.  Remember, you don't need to cook this until the point you would normally, because the meat will continue to cook during the processing time in the pressure canner.

Mix in the remaining ingredients and heat the mixture through.  Once warmed, can in pint jars.  Process the jars at ten pounds pressure for 70 minutes.  Yields approximately 15 pints.

Saturday, May 11, 2013



  Mother's Day seems like the perfect time to reminisce about how mothers connect with their children through food.  Things like holiday meals, favorite family recipes, special occasions, and even the homemade popsicles mothers have made for years with Tupperware molds all contribute to our childhood memories of mother's kitchen and the love of family.
  I can't remember a time when Olivia didn't enjoy cooking.  As a child she even had her own herb garden that she tended and used for cooking purposes.  When she was in a stroller, she went with me on Saturday mornings to the local farmers market to pick out  produce.  Many of those people knew her by name and watched her grow up.  Olivia's love of cooking developed into an early desire to become a chef (a desire that was put aside when she learned many chefs work extremely long hours and often in the form of split shifts).  Nonetheless her passion for cooking has remained and we still share the love of going to the farmers market on Saturdays during the summer.
  I must say one of my greatest joys and, I have to say amusements, has been her growing interest in gardening and food preservation.  She reminds me often that she never really intended to have a garden.  As her mother, it gives me joy to see her approach the garden anew each year and work so diligently in late summer and early fall to preserve the harvest.  It makes me very happy to know she shares the love of the earth, God's creation, and being part of the circle of life.  I know that will live on in her long after I am gone.
  Building those memories and bonds is what Mother's Day is all about.  Fellow moms--enjoy your day and savor the bonds.  Also enjoy making these wonderful sourdough waffles.  Getting the starter going is a great family endeavor. The first few waffles may turn out a little light, like the ones shown below, but the rest will be golden and delicious.

Recipe from:  King Arthur Flour

Overnight sponge

Waffle or pancake batter

  • all of the overnight sponge
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


1) To make the overnight sponge, stir down your refrigerated starter, and remove 1 cup.
2) In a large mixing bowl, stir together the 1 cup starter, flour, sugar, and buttermilk.
3) Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight.
4) In a small bowl or mixing cup, beat together the eggs, and oil or butter. Add to the overnight sponge.
5) Add the salt and baking soda, stirring to combine. The batter will bubble.
6) Pour batter onto your preheated, greased waffle iron, and bake according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7) Serve waffles immediately, to ensure crispness. Or hold in a warm oven till ready to serve.

Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
42 mins. to 50 mins.
Baking time:
Total time:
12 hrs 42 mins. to 12 hrs 50 mins.

Saturday, May 4, 2013



In honor of Cinco De Mayo, here is a great Mexican dish you will want to try soon.  The ingredients are simple, the process is easy, and the taste is great!

You may be seeing a lot more recipes with a Southwestern or Mexican flare in the coming months.  Olivia and I went shopping for flower and vegetable plants today for our gardens, and Olivia found quite a few interesting pepper selections.  I'm confident it will work out well for her and those who enjoy the food she makes.  She likes spicy food she is innovative at preserving overflowing produce, so I'm sure it will all work out well.

We had great fun shopping for plants today.  We went to a nursery in Ligonier, Indiana that has been family run for many years.  In addition to selling plants, they also have a restaurant and in the fall, they produce fun and innovative displays with pumpkins.  They fashion them in the likenesses of Presidents, cartoon characters, cultural icons, etc.  We took Olivia there when she was a toddler.  Today she and I traveled  there to buy plants for our gardens.  That is one of the many things I love about growing up, having a child, and living in the same state for many years.  We have gathered a treasure of great memories.  I thought about those today as Olivia and I explored the plants together, talked over flower combinations and choices, and, of course, explored the mind boggling array of peppers.

Whether you mark Cinco De Mayo with great Mexican food, gather together to celebrate a meal during upcoming Mother's Day, or plan your own vegetable garden, be sure to make a lasting memory with those you love.

- Nanette


8oz pkg. cream cheese
8oz. Lightening Jack or Pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded  (I used one pint jar of homemade shredded chicken and it made five chimichangas.)
8 flour tortillas
cooking spray
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, for garnish
sour cream

Stir together cream cheese, Lightening Jack or Pepperjack cheese and taco seasoning.

Fold in chicken.

Divide among flour tortillas.  Sprinkle A bit of cheddar cheese on top of the mixture on each tortilla.

Tuck in sides, and roll up each tortilla.  You may need to use toothpicks to keep the  chimichanga together.  (See the picture below.)

Lay seam side down on a cookie rack placed on a large cookie sheet.  Make sure you've sprayed the cookie rack.

Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Turn chimichangas over, and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, and salsa.