Canning is for the Strong

A few weeks ago we Canned some of our tomatoes into sauce. I’m going to say right off the bat, that this post is NOT a tutorial, nor will I link the tutorial I attempted to use. As…well….things didnt go that great.

The whole process was very messy, kinda fun, very confusing, and a little expensive. I needed a little grandma to help me! None the less it took us about 5 hours and we made 6 jars of sauce that taste like watered down tomato salsa.

Our tomato crop wasn’t very good to begin with. All the tomatoes were just super mealy, even if they were firm. Rain water-logged a lot of them too. I probably wont do tomatoes again, or maybe just one plant of vine tomatoes (which are the only ones I really like). So far we used our sauce to make a pizza, which was really good, although I don’t know that the sauce has much to do with it. I think if we made spaghetti that we would need to add a lot of tomato paste to make it thick enough.

Oh and when we Boiled them (we don’t have a pressure cooker) they didn’t really fully seal until the next morning, which no one told me and at first I thought the whole thing was a giant waste. There may have been some cursing…just saying.

Needless to say it was a learning experience!

We got a food dehydrator for the wedding, which is very exciting, I just need to find time to use it. I might do some apples slices! I consider every bit of “homemaking” we do at the very least a learning experience. I might sometimes fail, but at least I tried.


Watching our Raspberries grow has been one of the coolest parts of living here. All props go to the previous tenants who actually GREW them, we have just maintained them. When we first moved in we werent even sure what they were, they just looked like sticks. Today they are wild and crazy berry producing MACHINES!

This is after my brother CANED them. Thank god he did or we would have a mess!

I have tried to be really good about picking them so they don’t get rain-rot or spoil. We are really lucky too in that these berries are big fat juicy ones, not like those silly little wild ones. I would say I have probably picked close to 3 gallons of raspberries so far. Some I just froze in ziplock bags (for smoothies and such) some I gave away to people, and a LOT have been made into freezer Jam. Last week I brought Leo, the two year old I babysit, over to the house and showed him how to pick them too.

It’s definately hard to figure what to do with so many berries. Many will in fact rot and go to the birds, but we feel we are taking full advantage of them, so its ok. I have made 3 batches of freezer Jam so far, about 15 8 oz containers and 3 16 oz containers. I looked around a bit for a recipe, but in the end just went with the Ball Freezer recipe. Yes its a fair amount of sugar, but when I was reading about it, it sounds like the sugar is really needed to preserve the berries. I’m also not sure what the difference is between cooked jam and freezer jam, but freezer jam is WAY easier, and it lasts a full year, so that works for me! Ball also puts out a cute line of freezer containers that stack which I really like better than Tupperware. Ball also has an awesome website with a fruit calculator and lots of recipes that you should check out. And there colors are lime green…whats not to love.Oh and a few people have asked if I de-seed my jam. To me this is a ridiculous request, and if you don’t like seeds, don’t make raspberry jam.



Summer Slim Down

So Mr. Gaunt and I will be going to Washington July 2nd -11th to spend some quality time in the great Pacific Northwest! It’s actually going to be a very exciting time because we will be spending the 4th weekend on Harstine Island! Growing up my family (grandparents) owned a cabin on a small private island Point. We would go every summer for at least a week to the cabin and do all the fun beach-y things: Dig Clams, Chase Geo “Gooey” Ducks, Swim in the ocean, Ride the ferry, Feed Deer. Well they sold their cabin in 2004 (sad day) and I havent been back since spring break of my senior year in High School (2003)! So my mom is gonna rent a different cabin and Mr. Gaunt and I will be joining my mom and siblings to spend the weekend at Harstine! I have so many good memories there, and I can’t wait for Mr. Gaunt to share in some of these!

Harstine Island Beach

Harstine Island Point

So because it will be July, at the beach, I have really decided to shed another 15-20 pounds before I go. I would love to rock some shorts and a swimsuit and not feel like a beached whale. I haven’t lost any weight in a few months, once I hit my 75lbs lost mark. I am happy to say I have maintained the loss (within 5lbs) for a good while now. I just really want to go down one more size.

So I have to make a game plan for working out and lowering the calorie intake a bit. It’s harder now because I am so passionate about eating regular whole healthy meals, that I hate to really “diet” but if I want to shed those pounds I think I have to. As for working out, I cancelled my gym membership last month (because I never go!) so I will need to either take a class at the Rec center, or workout outside. The pool opens memorial day weekend, but that’s still a month off. Until then Mr. Gaunt and I are gonna come up with a workout routine we can do together. For the food I think I’m going to reduce my carbs and dairy a bit. Go hard on veggies and fruit.  I also need to cut out any garbage snacking (Starbucks muffin anyone?) at least until July. So I have about 2 months to do this so I really need to stay motivated. Any encouraging words would help! Oh and I will start up a weekly weigh in again too. I think Friday (a week from tomorrow) will be my first check in date!

Today in the mail I got a book I ordered entitled Putting Food By, on Canning, Freezing, Dehydrating food! I’m very excited to read this and learn a bit about food preserving, especially to prepare for next winter! Oh and I got a new issue off Body and Soul Magazine that has a “Healthy Weight Loss” Guide in it. Maybe it will inspire me!