Canning, Uncategorized

Diced Tomatoes Simple and Delicious

  • Success!!!! My dear friends we have tried a garden for three seasons now. Each year giving us variable amount of crops. This year though was different. We mapped it out, made our plot bigger and everything was done from seed. We even planted later than anticipated due to several illnesses hitting us all at once.

My husband has put in hours of countless research and hard work into our garden this year. Our main crops were tomatoes and jalapenos. Alongside cucumbers, onions, pumpkins, bell peppers, chile rellenos, zucchini, and spaghetti squash.
Our main goal each year is to supply ourselves with the main items we buy at the grocery store i.e. corn, tomatoes, green beans, etc.
So far we have had great success with our tomatoes (I think our drip system helped a lot).
I did not measure it out but so far we have yielded at least 60 to 70 lbs of Tomatoes possibly even more.

Now I have heard  that you can get that from just one plant if you do it right. Ours are off of twelve plants (Roma , Organic and Steak). Next year we will, I believe, only be more successful with the more we learn over time. Again this is only our third season.
Tomatoes are a huge staple in our house. We use canned diced Tomatoes for everything  from pizza sauces to a simple spaghetti dish. Usually we pay at least .58 cents per can at our Local Winco Foods. Now that isn’t half bad. That is usually the cheapest unless we hit the Smith’s case lot sale in which we can get them knocked down to .50 cents per can.
Now I am not one with numbers and math so I can not tell you how much we saved, if any, on growing our own and canning. I know that in the long run the investments we have made with our soil, our seed packets, and canning materials will be all worth it in the long run.
Sustainability is the key to our future. We have lost this ability over generations. I am hoping along with my mom we can bring it back. Stocking our own food storage with our own goods produced in our backyard.
Now that I have said that let’s get on to the simplest canning recipe for tomatoes.
We like to use the pint jars for our diced tomatoes.
We have done two sets of NINE pint jars of DICED TOMATOES. The first set with Lemon and the second with citric acid.

First step pick those delicious Home Grown Tomatoes out of the Garden.

Trying to not bring the stem and leaves with each Tomato.

Go back inside Rinse them well.

Prepare your canning jars. Our favorites BALL and KERR of course.

Wash with soap and water, glass jar and ring, especially if they are from last season. Checking along the top rim of the glass for any knicks. Even the smallest one. If there are any toss or save the glass jar for a cute little future craft. While washing up the canning jars we set a 10 quart stock pot on to boil with a steam basket.  Trashing the lid from last season and placing the new lids you need into a water bath. We use a 8 x 10 non stick baking sheet with a quarter inch of water in the bottom set directly onto the burner.        Along with that we prepare are VICTORIO steam canner and set aside on a burner. Not turning it on until maybe the fifth jar is being filled.

While everything is warming up we prepare our jars. Put a 1/2 tsp of Morton Canning and Pickling Salt into the bottom of each jar (The salt is totally optional no need to actually add it but I think it really helps the flavor of the Tomatoes).

Also add either a Tablespoon of Lemon Juice or 1/4   teaspoon citric acid to the bottom of each jar ( We used Lemon in our first nine made two weeks ago and citric acid in the ones we made today). Citric acid is added to up the acidic level and to help improve the quality of the shelf life.

Once that is set up now it is the time to give those sweet Tomatoes a water bath or blanch them in cooking terms. Take your empty steam basket and fill maybe halfway and immerse the tomatoes in the bath for up to 90 seconds. I like when I can just slice the tip off the Tomato and the skin just peels off.

Then slicing it in half and into quarters. 

Keep doing these two steps until you have filled your jars within a 1/2  inch from the top. Squishing the tomatoes down to release some of the juices. Some people will dice the Tomatoes and then fill with boiling water but my mom taught me that her father a farmer from North Ogden would just push down on the tomatoes to fill the jar up not only with fresh diced tomatoes but their yummy juices. 

A much tastier pizza sauce or dish will ensue without being watered down in flavor.  Once each jar is filled wipe any spill or sticky from the rim of the glass. 

Place the lid that has been simmering in hot water in our 8 x 10 baking sheet onto each jar. Place a ring on each jar tightening to only hand tight or fingertip tight. Place all NINE filled jars into the steam canner. Top it off with the lid and follow instructions on which altitude level you are at on the gauge. Here in UTAH we have to get it all the way to the green area. 

Once it hits that mark on your gauge time for Ten minutes.

20170916_095038

We set up a little space with a few hands towels for the cans once they are done. Placing them on the a towel and covering with another. Then you wait for the chorus of tin lids popping if they have not already.

Then viola you are done and deserve a huge high five because well you just canned your first or for me second set of diced tomatoes for the season. Woo HOO!!! Seriously. It is a huge accomplishment. It makes me feel so good to know we are providing such sweet nutrients for our family from our very own garden from our very own hands.

Next step will be to get to know corn and green beans better. We can only plan and wait until our next season.

Continue reading “Diced Tomatoes Simple and Delicious”

Advertisements
Uncategorized

The Monster hiding inside me

It has been with me since I was child. Haunting me with self doubt, worries, and fear. Only building up to hate of myself and all that I do.

I can stand in the mirror and find no love for what I see. 

Never finding the words to tell myself how much I should really love me.

Disappointing myself on a daily basis it feels. 

Somedays so much so.

I pound and I pound my head to to make the demon leave me.

Since I was a child he has haunted me.

I did not have a horrible childhood. I grew up fairly normal. 

There are many different circumstance in my life that have lead me to think they way I do.

I moved a few more times I should have. 

I grew up with a hard working dad and a wonderful mother.

Five brothers total. Two being foster brothers.

I learned plenty of what not do to do in life.

Especially through my teenage years.

Thats when the depression and anxiety. Really began to be a problem.

The demon growing inside.

 Eating hardly anything.

Writng many tearful journals of self hate and so much anger for my parents.

Sounds so typical for a teen. 

My dad was forced to retire. He didnt know how to say no to alot.

He was always in pain and suffered mentally.

 Bipolar in fact.

Using and abusing his pharmaceutical drugs. 

Along with methaphetimine, cocaine, and on occasional heroine. 

Telling me so many stories I would rather not have heard. 

Stories of molestation and abuse.

Thoughts of feeling worthless with debilitating back problems. 

Being told more than a few times at his attempt of suicide.

Watching all this as I grew and not knowing it all until he told me. 

Treating me more like a young adult than a innocent child.

Seeing my brothers mess up their lives continuously to. Having children young and abandonding them.

Me always wanting to fix it all. 

Wishing on wishes for things to change.

All while my mom “obliviously” sits on the side lines going along with it all. Pretending everything was alright.

I hated it all so much. I hurt so much. My mom hurt. My dad hurt. my brothers sweet babies hurt. 

I wanted them to have more and still do. 

I was only seven when the first was born and then they just kept coming. I felt the need to be there to show them how to survive. To love them. To show them the world was not so cruel.

It hurt. I was always crying myself to sleep.

I feel in love at fourteen. I had met my best friend soul mate. He broke up with me almost four years later. Left me for another girl.

Two weeks later I lost my dad.

Heart failure.

Regardless of it all. My dad was my best friend. He always listened. He had a huge heart and he hurt to.

Life. God was a asshole (excuse me for the vulgarity).

A week before that. He expressed his love for all his kids and my beautiful mother. Planning their 20th anniversary for the following year.

Written in my moms hand writing and words often told to me by my dad.

Yet telling me somedays he wished we were never born for this world is to painful.

Maybe I learned it. 

I have written hundreds of suicide notes on paper and in my head since I was a mere child. 

The monster has never rested. 

My early twenties were bit ugly. 

Binge drinking weekends away with my best friends only to bring her down in my dispair.

Or spending to much time in the wrong company.

Hurting abeautiful friendships along the way.

Hurting many relationships.

Dating on and off.

Weirdos, druggies, musicians, and leaving “Mr, Perfect behind.

From fear.

From jealously. 

From love.

Sleeping most days away

My first attempt was at fifteen.

Wimpy little scratch marks with little carving knife.

My second on accident. Sort of. At 16. Over dosing on pain killers in my room. Down the hall from my oblivious parents.

The third the night I tried to out drink a friend on her 21st birthday.

I wouldn’t let myself love or get close to many.

Then I let it all go.

All that didn’t have to define me.

I met my husband.

He called me rad.

I fell instantly in love.

I wasn’t going to let this one go.

Now I sit in my own beautiful home with my beautiful daughter with every reason to be happy.

Still battling that monster who has haunted me since I was a child.

Crying because I do not want to hurt my beautiful husband. 

Crying because I do not want my daughter to learn these horrible thoughts of mine.

To feel the pain of life.

Hating myself for feeling the way my dad did. 

This world is harsh. This world is scary.

Evil prevails around us all the time.

Temptation is real.

We bleed red.

and it hurts.

I came across a quote the other day. 

When I was feeling low.

For a person with major depression as myself. This quote speaks to me.

Life is PAINFUL.

Life hurts.

Death seems like peace.

Life as I have come to realize after my daughters birth

Is a gift. 

Is a blessing.

We are walking mircales. 

I want to give my daughter love.

I want to show her that through the pain there is beauty.

I hope she remembers all the good. 

That she learns from the bad.

That mommy is not perfect.

Niether is daddy.

That life will not be either.

That giving up is never the answer.

He haunts me daily and it is a battle.

A battle I will fight every day until I am old and gray.

A battle I need to fight openly.

I am not the only one who thinks this way. 

Suicudal thoughts are real.

If you ever think it.

There is a problem.

Get help.

Tell someone.

Never keep it to yourself.

There is help out there and if you cant find it with anyone close to you.

Call the suicide hotline.

1-800-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Saving many lives with one call.

Be aware your not the only one and beaware that others are dealing with more than you can see.

There is a monster inside of me hiding.

I will not let him win.

Uncategorized

Improvising my life on a daily basis

Have you ever just sat there and watched five toddlers create their own play without any guidance. Besides a few improvisations it is all mimicking. For a little over 10 years now my daily life has been this improvising. Learning to expect the unexpected. Mimicking what I have learned over the years from my parents, my grandparents, and from many other parents I have met or seen along the way. Some cases also learning what not to do.
Now I am nowhere near perfect and I compare myself to other mommies all the time.
Do I feel like I have my shizzzz together ? No.
Do I feel insecure in my parenting and care giving skills? Yes
Do I feel the need to improve myself as a wife? All the time.
Am I doing the best that I can? Heck yes!
Am I happy with where I am now in my life? Heck YES!
If you know me and you know my back ground.  You know that NEGATIVITY has ruled a majority of my life. Given the circumstances of my childhood and teenage years. Not that I had it tough, really.  There were just a lot of troubled people in my life. Having an impact on my life and surroundings.
Now five years after meeting my husband and father of my child. I can say with out a doubt in my mind this is the happiest I have ever been in my life. Even with my dark days of depression that come and go. Even with the weight that I have gained, surgeries I have had and the complaints I make,
I am still happy.
I was forced to finally make a decision two years ago almost. To either go back into another daycare or with my limited “skills” and lack of “knowledge” into a fast food job or something. My real desire though was to stay home and raise my baby.
How could I do that?
We just moved into our house the beginning of 2015 and then November came and I had no job.
The thing is “I am daycare”.
Why pay someone else to watch my kid? When it is what I have been doing the over the past ten years? That was it.
I would open my own little home child care.
It is the best choice my husband and I made for me to stay home. With my skills as a infant room teacher, nanny, babysitter, etc. I am able to not only watch my daughter grow and become such a fun little human being. I am able to help those who need a loving home to send their children to while they go work to take care of their children. To do what they need to do in their working lives without having to worry about their kids. 

At most I watch four children each day five days a week along with my own daughter. Each day bringing me to improvise. You can’t just schedule when a toddler has to go pee or when they decide to fall asleep. Don’t get me wrong we have a pretty strick routine. We try to maintain our list of activties, and planned curriculum.

As one of my favorite song’s says in the chorus,

“When all you got to keep is strong Move along, move along like I know you do when all your hope is gone move along, move along like I know you do.” ~ All American Rejects 2005 2nd album Move Along

I think this speaks to me more now than back then. Being a mom and a child care provider sometimes you just have to move along when all you got to do is keep strong. Its a hard knock life sometimes with egotistical, almost threenagers are trying to run the show and try to tell you how it is.

You improvise and move along.

Uncategorized

Birth Story: The moment life got real.

The past two days despite all the merriness, love and gift giving were full of uncomortable moments of standing, sitting, sleeping, moving, doing anything really. I was already sleeping upright in our new cozy recliner chair for like the past 3 weeks every night. It wasnt comfortable but I could at least get a couple hours a sleep at a time. At 36 weeks pregnant most of us are getting little sleep. Most people do not tell you that the sleepless nights begin a few months before they are born. I was miserable.

All the activies of Christmas Eve and Christmas was my final straw. After a day of opening Christmas presents at Grandma Jans’s. We went home that evening. I just washed up and went straight to bed. At 36 weeks pregnant I mainly laid on my right side with a pillow propped between my legs and another just under my big ol’ belly. *side note* I have never felt more attractive in my entire life than when I was pregnant. I felt beautiful from the tip of my head to my toes. I was creating life.

Back to the story:

I woke up at 4:30. a.m. December 26, 2014. I felt hot as usual. Sweating from every nook and cranny. My thighs extra sweaty as usual. Except this time it was a little to “sweaty”. I rolled myself out of the bed. Stood up and there was a quite literal gush of fluid coming from my loins. Okay! My heart skipped a little. “shit”. I waddled my way over to the bathroom. A few more little gushes and now water was dripping down my legs. Warm like I peed myself. Which did happen in the last few weeks with even the weakest sneeze.

I decided to peek my head out the door and waddle over to Patrick. “It’s time.”

“What?” He said.

“I think my water broke”

“Are you sure?”, he asked nervously.

I answered yes then told him to get ready to go. I called the hospital and my mom. Telling her its okay. Meet us there later when I call you to say it is for sure.

The roads were icy. It was freezing out. No one was on the roads. I am thinking it was snowing but as of now I am totally not sure. All I know is during the week after there was all sorts of problems with the cold. Including my recovery room and the NICU.

We arrived by 5 am. They sent us to a room to check for contractions and to see if my water had actual broke. Waddling my way to the room the nurse left to get me one of those lovely hospital gowns. While the nurse was out she had me waddle my way to the bathroom. I left trails of water along my path. The nurse came back in laughing.

“Yeah, looks like you did”

I remember nervously smiling at her and thinking it is kind of obvious is it not. duh.

Patrick just waiting calmly over in the little area with a bed monitor to track contractions, heart rate and all that stuff. Mind you this is just the room where you wait to go into labor and delivery. Where if the curtain was open the whole world would see my vag.

I sit down at a almost 90 degree angle because if I laid on my back for to long I felt horribly dizzy. We checked my blood pressure and put the monitoring belt on. Blood pressure high and baby was doing just fine. I was contracting but no more than three minutes apart. I really could not feel anything at all; just felt uncomfortable.

The nurse was surprised and said I was lucky. She did not have that experience. I can handle pain quite well compaires to most.

*side note everyone who is pregnant should watch. What to Expect when you’re Expecting w/ Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, and many other actors.*

The nurse then says we need to check for dilation and to see if in fact my water broke.

So on goes the gloves and the hand, okay I am sure it was just her fingers go in the vagina. I can feel her hit my cervix. She fiddles around and with a smile she pulls her fingers out and exclaims happily.

“She has hair and quite a bit of it!”

My heart just fills with more love and I look to Patrick. We both smile and nervously laugh.

Except I was barely dialted to a little over a one. 

That was disappointing. I was hoping to be instantly dialated. You know just pop that baby out and be on my way.
Ha ha, No such luck.

The nurse leaves again and in strolls my mom. I think she was more nervous than I actually was. The nurse came back told the doctor of her news and they sent us over to labor and delivery.

  By the way my actual doctor was not in town at the time. Sometimes that happens. I was four weeks early and having a baby the morning after Christmas. Good thing the on call was very polite and has good judgement.

(Now I am not quite sure on the following 24 hours after heading to my labor and delivery room).

I want to say we waited a hour to start the Pitocin. To see if I would dilate on my own. I do know eventually I was given it in a IV.

I do know they hooked all sorts of things up to me. Blood pressure monitor, my monitor belt for the baby, and a monitor later up my vagina that connected to her head to keep a closer eye on her.

 Oh my gosh! That was when I finally asked for some pain relievers. Fentanyl I think it was called. They let me take it every so often.It would also help me sleep. Which was a major relief after like six or so hours of being there.

As I slept on and off. Patrick did the same. My mom read, watched tv and they would leave to go eat when they were hungry. I wasn’t able to eat so it was hard watching others eat or even smell the food,

I had only ever wanted just my mom and my husband in the delivery room with me. Except around 8 a.m. Patrick’s Grandma Jan walked in. She just sat there patiently all day. It was a comfort to have here there.

Now given the time we arrived at the hospital and the last thing I ate was just before we left our apartment ( a string cheese). By 6:30 pm I was beyond starving. I think they tried to just give me some broth and water before but it just was not cutting it. I was so miserable from sitting in that dang hospital bed.

waiting…

….waiting.

I was so effing hungry and still so tired.

Finally sometime after seven I was given a basic turkey sandwhich and some side and I believe water.

The original nurse had told us we only had up to 18 hours after my water broke to get the baby out. 

After 19 hours I was only dilated to a seven or so. That is when I had to ask for the epidural. 

The anesthesiologists came within a few minutes.  Everyone had said it would be immediate relief but nothing was happening. Nothing but the fact that the left half of my face was going numb and my left eyelid was drooping. It was a little scary so we asked the anesthesiologist to come back. I had to have a new epidural put back in. For some reason the first instead of going down into my lower half it traveled up.

At least before the epidural I could go to the bathroom on my own.

The rest of my ten hours of labor was calling the nurses to help me turn over and sleeping the best I could. 

Finally! I was dilated to a ten and felt the need to take a big old poo. (Seriously ask anyone who has had a baby that is what it feels like.

 On December 27, 2014 around 8 a.m. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. I tried so hard with all the energy I had left to push. 

Nothing. 

She was twisted in my birth canal.

Still doing fabulous as far as all the charts and graphs told us. 

I asked in probably a whisper at this point.

“Please, can we just do a c-section?”

The Doctor just looks at me then the charts for a few minutes. Says something to the nurses and me. Which I couldn’t make anything out. it was like that all night all. 

So I would just nod my head in agreement and hope someone else was paying attention.

White hospital walls blurred passed me as they rolled me into surgery.

Confusion must of sent in on my face because the anistheigioligist who was in the surgery room gentley patted me on the head and smoothed my hair out.

Then quietly said, 

“Everything will be okay sweetie.”

I started crying as he started counting down. 

Looked at my nervous husband and then I could feel everything go numb.

(Even more than I already was)

As they cut me open. I could feel a pressure change. I could feel the tugging of my skin and the my baby being ripped from my insides.

They didnt even show her to me.

Took her immediately to get cleaned up.

 

It was over. She was here.

They rolled me back to my labor room. Everyone had showed up to meet her. 

My Paisley. Our Paisley girl.

The nurses and doctor brought her in and said their congratulations.

Finally, I got to hold her. Skin to skin.

 I was in love. Pure love.

She was beautiful.

Then they took her again.

This time though she wasnt coming back. She wouldnt be sleeping next to me or crying in my room with me.

She had to be taken to the NICU.

Now because of all that I had went through. I was in a confused emotional state and I still dont really understand why they took her.

It was torture.

I could here babies crying in the hallway as I would roll down or walk to the NICU. I would hear the other mothers comforting their babies from their recovery rooms.

Instant jealousy and sadness would over come me. 

She needed me.

I couldn’t just answer her cry and instantly feel the gratification of holding my baby in my arms.

It was heart ache and torture for almost a week.

Then we took her home for one single night in our crummy apartment in Murray.

The next day Jan. 2nd, 2015 we moved into our home. 

Our home that we found while I was seven months pregnant and closed on while we were still in the hospital.

Our home which was only the third one in the first day of looking at house.

Our home which felt so natural to be in. Like I have been there before.

Now two and a half years later we are educating, learning from, laughing with our darling Paisley and I couldnt be more thankful to have her,

I would go through all the misery of labor again.

Just to have her.