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Programmer’s Pizza Party!

We made homemade pizza as a late celebration for Programmer’s Day! Best keto pizza ever! I’m proud of my Programmer! 

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FABA 2018

Bonita Springs, FL

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What I have Learned about Canning

Disclaimer: my first time pressure canning was on May 2, 2018. I did water bath canning one time many years before this. I am fortunate enough that my garden is producing bell, banana, and hot peppers like crazy! This means I’m constantly finding ways to use these veggies, but when I pick 32 bell peppers at once, I get to can! Here is what I have learned in my very short canning experience.

Size matters. There canning aisle of Walmart has so many sizes to choose from. For some reason I decided that smaller was better. For my hot habanero sauce and jalapenos I selected the adorable 4oz. jars. My thought was, how much hot stuff can you really eat at once? For my bell peppers I picked the 1/2 pint jars, and the green and yellow beans got the pint jars as those were the first to be canned and we had some left over from years earlier. And this is where I went horribly wrong. 

Yes, those tiny 4oz. jars are incredibly adorable, but they are so expensive for the size you get! Not only that, but, we live in the south. If you can’t eat up 1/2 a pint of hot sauce before it goes bad in the fridge, go back to Minnesota. 

Bell peppers are big. I was told to quarter them before canning (I cut them down into 8ths). Have you ever tried to shove bell pepper strips into an 8oz. jar? I have. You can for a little more than one pepper in there. That’s it. That’s a whole lot of jars when you are canning 25 or so bells. It’s unneccesary. Who only eats one bell pepper at a time anyway? 

I’ve decided I’m done with 4oz. jars. My light-your-face-on-fire habanero sauce works beautifully in the 1/2 pints. And after comfortably sliding 3 bells into each pint jar for the first time tonight, the bells found their new jar size. I’m still terrified of quart jars. I don’t know why, but I don’t like them. I’m sure I’ll throw green and yellow beans into one some day and fall in love, but that hasn’t happened yet. 

Be consistent. I opted to get all regular mouth jars as I already had (what I thought was big and was mistaken) a stash at home. This proved to be a useful trick. All of my lids and bands are the same size. This way when my overflowing collection of bands come sliding out of my cupboard on top of me, I can pick up as many as I need and don’t have to worry about size. I can also stock up on one size of lids and not have to worry which ones fit which jars. I cannot advise on whether wide or regular mouth are better. I don’t have any experience with wide mouth jars and I don’t want to start a mouth-size debate I cannot support. 

When you go to the store to buy jars, buy a bunch at once. You’re going to use them. Having to make a run to the store before you decide to can makes the process that much longer. And make sure you have vinegar. And any spices you need for your recipes. Stock up. The pickle crisp is by the canning jars at Walmart, but the canning and picking salt is in a box on the bottom shelf by the regular salt. You’re welcome. 

When you buy a pressure canner, make sure to buy the tool kit as well. A jar lifter is the coolest thing ever and absolutely essential. My husband and I made salsa years ago and didn’t use a jar lifter. I have no idea how we pulled that off. Somebody was looking out for us that day. And keep the book that comes with the canner. It has loads of recipes, tips, instructions, and ours tells you how to use it as a water bath canner and pressure cooker. 

Canning takes a long time and a lot of counter space. Forget about multi-tasking, you’re just going to get confused and run out of space. Turn on some music and enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with canning at midnight, as long as you don’t fall asleep! 

My husband is a pro at getting the pressure dial perfect and leaving it sit for the allotted time. I’m not so great at it so I stick a chair in front of the stove and watch it to make sure the pressure doesn’t drop below my mark (if it does, then you have to start your time over). Another trick is to aim for one psi over your mark so if it does drop a little, you have time to adjust it without having to start over. 

Pressure canning is used for plain bell peppers whereas water bath canning is used for pickled items, including hot sauce. You’ll want to research both methods and get good at them, depending on what you’re canning. 

One last thing before I get off my chair in front of the stove (my timer just beeped for my canner). 

When you make hot sauce, skip all of the hard work. Cut the stems off of your habaneros and throw the entire pepper, seeds and all, into a blender. Add your vinegar, garlic, onion, ect. and liquify it while it is still raw (and not splashing hot juices at you). THEN pour it into a sauce pan and cook for the 35 minutes. As soon as it’s done cooking put it straight into your jars and water bath can it. Some recipes say to take the seeds and ribs out, chop them up roughly, cook, and chop again in the food processor. I’ve tried this. It’s a waste of time and is a pain (sometimes literally) to put hot liquid into a food processor as it seeps out the sides on mine. Another pro step: as you pick your hot peppers, cut off the stems and throw them into a freezer bag and freeze. Once you get 100 or so of them (2-3 batches of picking) then can them all at once. This was my Husband’s idea. He is a genius. 

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m tired. But satisfied. 

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Keto Cooking Weekend

I made all of these keto items this weekend! I just felt like cooking. 

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Story: Las Vegas Trip!

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Motorcycle Ride on Highways

This was our first motorcycle ride together going on highways (my bike has reached the up to 60 mph stage of break in), over beautiful bridges, and taking Hecksher along the ocean. Amazing. 

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Canning Life

Our garden produces so much that I need to can often. Today I made okra pickles for the first time, pickled banana peppers, and habanero hot sauce with the seeds and ribs still intact!

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The Dam Tour

We went to see the Hoover Dam on the last day of our trip. We also tried to see the Grand Canyon, but the SkyWalk was closed and people took over the area and wanted to charge ridiculous prices for a tour we weren’t interested in. Anyway, the Hoover Dam was incredible! We took the dam tour, rode the dam elevator to the dam power plant below, and took all the dam pictures we wanted! Yes, we had fun making dam jokes. 

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Fremont Street at Night

We had to come back to Fremont Street to see the giant screen lit up at night. I loved the deck of cards and how they flipped over. 

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Driving the Strip at Night

Viewing the Las Vegas strip. We were lucky enough to get stuck at a red light to see the Bellagio fountain/light show. I’m pretty proud of the Eiffel tower shot I captured.