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2013 in Review

 

This is too cool!  I’m still pretty new to blogging, so I was fairly wowed by these stats!  People from 91 different countries reading MY tiny little blog?  Over 8,000 views in one year?  It’s kind of amazing to me, really!  Thank you to everyone who has read posts here, and a special thanks to followers and those who have left comments!  I will be back again next year with a more personal review of 2013.  This has been a memorable year with plenty of highs and lows, and I have lots to share with you all… stay tuned!  More preservation recipes to come as well!

Thank you all so much, 

Chelsea Daniels

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Categories: Uncategorized

A Tribute To A Fine Lady

Phew!  Sorry for the major downer post last time!  I admit wine was involved, but mostly I was just feeling really sad for my poor hubby.  He’s been doing pretty well, despite the occasional innocent insensitivity from one of the kids.  Dagny: “Daddy, Mica a cat-killer!” or, “Dat Pounce?” (Pointing to a different cat).  Cozy’s are more sophisticated: (Sighs) “I miss Pounce.  Does it hurt to die?”  Each question brings a tear to his eye, but overall he is healing.

And then…

Two days after Pounce’s untimely demise a rowdy storm blew into our area.  After a tornado came through 10 miles from our house three years ago and destroyed entire neighborhoods and the front half of a local high school, I’ve been less than a fan of storms anymore.  Consequently, I pleaded with friends on Facebook to call or text me if the sirens went off, because we cannot hear them out in the country.  I also downloaded two different apps that would alert me as well.  (Oh, and my phone has a built-in storm alert…overkill?  Maybe.  Ironically, my basement is NOT stocked with emergency items or even somewhere to sit while praying for our lives.  I’m a conundrum.)  Anyway, my phone was going off in some capacity the entire night: alarms, texts, Facebook notifications, actual phone calls (remember those?).  The girls and I snuggled with blankets and bean bags next to the wolf spiders in the basement while Ty snoozed in our big comfy bed on the top floor of our house, far too unconcerned with staying alive for my taste.  We lost power for several hours, which was fine in the cool basement but rather steamy when we stumbled back upstairs to crawl back into bed once the coast was clear.  I wasn’t in bed more than 10 minutes before I got another text.  Heart pounding, I went back into survival mode but after reading the text my heartbeat changed to a different pattern.  The text was from my Mom, “Grandma just passed away.  Dad is heading over there.”

My Dad and Grandma at our annual St. Paddy's Day party last year.

My Dad and Grandma at our annual St. Paddy’s Day party last year.

That was a rough week!  While Grandma was 90 years old and we all knew she would be dying soon as she was fairly ill and had received the Last Sacrament, you never can truly prepare your heart for the inevitable, right?  Well, I had a big giant post about our cat, so let me share just a few memories of my Grandma…different tone though.  Grandma lived a wonderful life, and while we will all miss her, she is with her Father, her husband, and her oldest daughter.  She’s happy.

My father’s mother was born in 1923, and probably like everyone else raised during the Great Depression never could quite break any extreme frugal habits.  She married Grandpa and they tried for five years to have a baby, and finally ended up adopting a baby girl.  As is often the case, she became pregnant…seven more times.  My Dad was right in the middle, the second boy of three, with five sisters.  Together, they raised their eight children in a tiny 3-bedroom house that is still in the family.  Grandpa died before I was born, less than 60 years old.  Grandma never remarried, and never did tell me why.  I think maybe she figured no one could ever hold a candle to her Edward.

I was in the middle of her 30 grandchildren (15 great-grandchildren!), but she never failed to buy me new underwear for Christmas each year of my childhood and she always made me a homemade peach pie on my birthday, bringing some summer to the dead of winter, which, to this day, is still my favorite kind of pie.

Truthfully, Grandma scared the bajeebers out of me as a child.  She was a staunch Roman Catholic who raised 8 children and even several grandkids…this was not a woman who took any crap from any kids.

Wearing glow-sticks as earrings at a Christmas In July Ty and threw many years ago.  She had a good sense of humor!

Wearing glow-sticks as earrings at a Christmas In July party Ty and threw many years ago. She had a good sense of humor!

Plus she HATED my cat, Rikki, who was the love of my life as a child.  Once, Grandma was babysitting us while my parents were off doing whatever it was that parents do without their children (I’m pretty sure mine just held hands and missed us…) and she was putting me to bed and Rikki jumped up right next to Grandma’s head.  Grandma sat up, let out a screech loud enough to wake the dead and Rikki shot out of that room in a bright orange blur.  My brother and I laughed about that for days.

I gained a new appreciation for Grandma the older I got, as children do.  As time went on and I got married myself, and had some of my own children, my fear morphed into admiration.  I loved talked to her at family parties or playing Scrabble with her when we’d hang out.  She was a fountain of family history and amazing recipes.  We shared an unabashed appreciation for food and while I usually never could get a word in edgewise, I liked hearing about her favorite recipes.

I think the thing I most admired about my Grandma though, was how close her children all still are.  Several times a year my Dad’s side of the family gets together for big Irish parties and all the siblings come as well as most of the grandkids.  It’s always such fun, and beyond the parties they are really there for each other.  Grandma definitely left a legacy to be admired, and she will be greatly missed.

She cheated at Scrabble, though.

Four Generations

Four Generations, Christmas 2012

Stick with me, folks.  I have so many recipes coming at you!  Hummus, lemon basil pesto, canning peaches (and making them into pies in honor of my Grandma!), vegetable soup, miracle pasta…  it’s all coming soon!  And no more sadness if I can help it!

Categories: Journal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

So I have These Two Chickens…

Do you find yourself starting sentences like that often?  No?  Just me?

I’m sorry for the big gap in posts.  I’ve been distracted lately with a $5 garage sale find…a Sunbeam BreadMaker!  I definitely have a crush on it…I never thought I’d get into owning a breadmaker, but I find that I am completely sold on it.  It’s once of the many pleasures of life I never knew I was missing out on!  My house has been smelling like freshly baked bread for two weeks now…I’m definitely addicted!

Well anyway, I have these two chickens in the freezer.  Had.  Past tense.  Now they’re in jars in my cupboards.  I thought I’d do a public service announcement and let you all know exactly how much product – and the easiest way to do it – you can get from two chickens.

You will need a pressure canner if you want to can chicken broth or meat.  Otherwise, you can freeze your bounty in baggies or freezer-safe jars just fine.

Here’s what I get from stewing two whole chickens:

  • 7 quarts of chicken stock (I technically got 10, but since I could only can 7 at a time, I chose to make the other 3 into soups and froze them)
  • 3 quarts of Italian Wedding Soup
  • 6 pints of shredded chicken meat, great for soups, casseroles, chicken salad, etc!

This post will take you to a tutorial on how to can chicken broth.  (This was my first post on pressure canning…I’ve learned a lot since then!  I no longer add chicken to the broth nor do I add noodles.  I just find that I use broth so often in cooking and I don’t always want chicken with it.  You can add chicken to the broth if it is more convenient for you to do so, but I do advise against adding noodles.  They just don’t hold up, sadly.  If you don’t add chicken, the broth only needs to process for 25 minutes.)  This is actually a better description of the process, with lots of helpful tips!  Below are the instructions for canning the chicken meat.

Canning Chicken

What You Will Need:

  • Meat from 2 stewed chickens
  • Pressure Canner
  • 6 Pint Jars or 3 Quart Jars

Directions:

Prepare pressure canner by making sure there are at least 3 inches of water in the bottom.  This is a good time to apply a thin coat of olive oil to where the lid and pot meet as well.  Bring to a boil on the stove.  In a separate pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, and in a third pan, simmer the lids.  Heat jars in the oven at 225*.  When everything is hot/boiling/simmering, fill jars with chicken meat.  (Meat doesn’t have to be hot.)  Ladle boiling water into the jars, leaving a 1″ headspace.  Swish plastic tool around to release air bubble.  Wipe rims with vinegar.  Apply lids and tighten bands.  Place in pressure canner and lock lid.  Allow canner to vent 10 minutes, then set gauge to 10lbs.  Once pressure is achieved, process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.  Turn off heat, let pressure return to zero on it’s own.  Wait 2 more minutes, then remove gauge and lid.  Let jars sit in the hot water for 10 minutes, then remove jars to a towel on the counter.  Let cool completely, then wipe lids with a damp cloth, label jars and store!

 

You feel pretty cool now, don’t you?  Stay tuned, fellow preservers!  It’s canning season, and as things are coming ripe in my garden, I will share more experiences!  (You know, if I can quit harassing my breadmaker…)  Coming soon:  Pickled watermelon rinds, green and wax beans, dill pickles, tomato sauce and other tomato products!

Categories: Uncategorized

Check It Out!

Like my new logo and layout?  I was persuaded by my very convincing nephew to allow him to give my blog a facelift.  Didn’t he do a great job?  What a lucky Aunt I am!

Don’t let that fool you, though.  He’s still a punk who is totally going to get his rear-end handed to him at the Gaylord Triathlon.  🙂

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!  Sun-dried tomatoes!

 

Categories: Uncategorized

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