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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The State of Things

How many girls can say their husband gave them the state of Virginia for their 40th birthday? Not many; I know. I’m lucky and very grateful.

Internets, friends, lovers, Maytag repairmen, I’ve been holding out on you. I am moving to Virginia! The big day is only weeks away, which seems like only days, hours, minutes. There are so many things to do!

Also, another secret…I haven’t worked since January of this year! Big reasons for that as well, but I will keep you on the edge of your seat until the time is right.

You see, this has been in the works for months, but I didn’t want to announce it until the line was drawn in the sand. Hubby got a promotion with his company that is requiring us to relocate. Unfortunately, we are having to short-sale our house, which is a very big sore spot for us. We’ve had a contract on our house since April, with a buyer who is willing to pay $20k MORE than what the houses are going for in our neighborhood. We’ve already signed 3 extensions for a closing date, but still the banks drag on.

We can’t afford to pay 2 mortgages, and I don’t even want to entertain renting our house out of state. Every single house that has rented in our neighborhood has been trashed, causing the owners to invest even more money into their house to fix it up. If we lose our buyer due to the bank’s negligence, we are prepared to do what we need to do to move on with our lives to better jobs, communities, and opportunities.

It’s come down to a business decision, plain and simple.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zesty Peach Barbeque Sauce

Can Jam Challenge #9

I remember the first time I made this sauce and spooned it over a home-roasted, pulled pork sandwich with a dollop of homemade cole slaw. I think I exclaimed, “Holy crap, this is GOOD!" although I may have used more colorful adjectives.

I’m a sweet BBQ sauce southern girl, and this Zesty Peach Barbecue Sauce is just the ticket! It’s good over chicken, ribs, and would even serve as a wonderful dipping sauce for chicken fingers. It’s sweet, fruity, and has a tiny bit of heat, but I like it that way.

One thing I’ve noticed about many canning and preserving recipes is they all seem to have the same flavor profile in one form or another (cinnamon, allspice, mace, dill, peppercorns, etc.). I try to find different flavor combinations so it doesn’t feel like I have a gazillion jars of the same thing.

Home canned zesty peach barbeque sauceNow I know that BBQ season is almost over, but peaches are at the end of their slurpy best right now, so don't miss out!

Zesty Peach Barbecue Sauce
Recipe Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Yield: 8 half pints

6 cups finely chopped, pitted, peeled peaches
1 cup finely chopped, seeded red bell pepper
3 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 ¼ cups liquid honey
¾ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons canning salt

In a large, stainless steel saucepan, combine peaches, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper flakes, mustard, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a light boil/simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 25 minutes.

Ladle hot sauce into prepared canning jars, leaving ½ headspace. Process jars in a BWB for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Green Is Beautiful

I am in love, love, luuurve with this Basil Vinaigrette recipe I found on Simply Recipes the other day. Like most of you, I have TONS of basil growing in my garden right now, which require frequent harvesting before they get leggy.

Homemade basil viniagrette dressing
I boiled up some chopped, golden potatoes and drizzled this green jewel of scrumptiousness over them while they were still warm. Total HEAVEN!

Basil Vinaigrette Recipe
Recipe Source: Simply Recipes

Ingredients
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil

Method
Place the salt, sugar, mustard, shallot and basil in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender down with a spatula. Add the vinegar and pulse again.

Turn the blender on low and take off the cap in the center of the blender’s lid. Slowly pour in the olive oil. It may sputter a little out of the open cap, so hold you hand over it to minimize splashing.

When the olive oil is incorporated, turn off the blender and scrape the sides down one more time. Cover and purée everything for 1-2 minutes.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Makes a little more than one cup.
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