Sep 262013
 

This post is entirely a mish-mash of everything! Complete with bullet points. Have a great weekend everyone.

  • Thank you all for the advice and support on my post about acne and anxiety.

The personal experiences with accutane gave me something to consider and most of the feedback was good. I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m trying the antibiotic route right now. I’m also going to talk to my doctor about switching my birth control pill to something that is supposed to help acne.

  • We picked a dog!

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. Jazzy or Bella. We loved them both and felt like both dogs would be a wonderful addition to our home. In the end it came down to two things: how Bella reacted when she met Fat Kitty and the fact that Bella is already trained in a lot of things. The fact that she can “sit” and is so well-behaved is huge! Since we’re first time dog owners, I think that was the better choice. I think Jazzy needs a home where one of her people either work part time or from home or have experience dog training. I will keep you posted on the Bella saga as it unfolds.

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  • I made a mistake canning!

As a newbie to canning, I appreciate the tip about the lemon juice. I wish I’d know that beforehand and it was my mistake for not finding the RIGHT recipe. So I popped the jars of the tomato sauce in the freezer and they seem alright. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than wasting all that sauce.

  • In other news, I went to spin class!

It’s been a year and a half since I went to spin class. I’d planned on biking to work the other day but the rainy weather that has set in this week discouraged me. So I went to spin.

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It was nice to be back at the class. I saw some of the “regulars” that I used to see in the class every week and one of them remembered me and asked me what I’d been doing. That was nice! She did STP this year and told me about her experience. Then class got started. I took it easy and it wasn’t the greatest class. My knees bugged me at a few different times during the class but the good news is that I didn’t have knee pain afterward OR the next day! I left Spin after 45 minutes–I probably should have just done 30 as my first attempt back. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can work up to staying for the whole class. My goal is to go to spin all winter long and hope that helps my knees and get me back to cycling for next year.

  • Michael made jalapeno poppers from the jalapenos from our garden!

We had tons this summer and they were really spicy. He pickled a ton of them and then we had the poppers with dinner. They were awesome. I wish they weren’t so much work because I could seriously eat these things every day. ;)

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He said it was kind of a Russian Roulette but with spicy. He wasn’t sure which ones were going to be the spiciest (I chose wisely with the three small ones) and he ended up getting the nuclear hot ones.

  • Engagement Photos!

We had to reschedule our engagement photo shoot because I wasn’t feeling well and our photographer was sick AND I had that horrible acne outbreak so it was probably a good thing we rescheduled. We’re doing them this weekend. Cross your fingers it doesn’t rain the entire time.

This concludes the bullet points. And it was rather long-winded for bullet points…Thanks again everyone for the advice. :)

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Sep 242013
 

I don’t know about you guys, but apparently Fall is here in Oregon. It turned fast, too. One week it was in the high 80′s, clear skies, great weather, and the next day it was pouring buckets, there were windstorms and gray skies. I’m so not ready yet! But looking at the weather forecast, it didn’t seem like summer would be returning. I packed all my tank tops into the spare closet and pulled out my sweaters. Boo.

In other Fall news, I tried canning for the first time!

For a few years now I’ve said I was going to do SOMETHING with all the tomatoes we grew in our garden. Every Fall I do nothing. We eat as many tomatoes as we can and then the rest go bad or I give them away. Not this year. I was finally going to do something with them. At first I thought maybe I’d just freeze them. I looked it up online and figured out a plan. Then I saw this at the grocery store:

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It was on sale and also had a $2 off coupon so for $10 I got to try canning for the first time and not feel like I had to make a huge investment. I had a huge tub of roma tomatoes.

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First I cut the tomatoes in half and then laid them on a pan for roasting. I sprinkled the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning and roasted them for the full 2 hours. They looked gorgeous when they were done!

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Here is the recipe I used for making tomato sauce:

Alton Brown's Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Calories per serving: 100 or so depending on portions

Ingredients

  • 20 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 cup white wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans place tomato halves cut side up. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. Bake tomatoes for 2 hours. Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly.
  3. Then turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and process tomatoes through a food mill on medium dye setting over a small saucepan. Discard skins.
  4. Add white wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/tomato-sauce-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback
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I didn’t have a food mill, so I tried to get the seeds out the best I could but kind of failed. Oh well. It didn’t hurt the sauce in any way. The skins were super easy to get off. I pureed it in the food mixer a little but but left it kind of chunky. Then into the pot to cook. I added a ton of fresh herbs from my garden–oregano, rosemary, basil and some pineapple sage. I also added some dried Italian spices (thyme and marjoram).

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If I had to do it all over again, I would sautee the diced onion and garlic for a few minutes before adding it to the sauce. Lesson learned! It didn’t affect the taste of the sauce at all, but I think cooking down the onions would be better. Just for future reference.

Now onto the canning part…Thankfully my little packet came with an easy guidebook (with recipes too). I had already cleaned the jars and then just had to heat them up.

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It was awesome that I’d also inadvertently made nearly the perfect amount for the three jars! And it sealed! Woot!!! First experience canning was a success!! At least it looks that way. Who knows 5 months from now when I take the sauce out of the pantry…cross your fingers! If it IS a success, I will definitely do much much more next year.

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Well, wait a second…I’ll be getting married this time next year so probably not canning….but maybe earlier in the summer I can. Anyways, I was happy that I finally tried canning! I might have to practice doing more this winter…..

Are you a canner? Any tips?

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