Sunday, September 13, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation is....

So, I didn't really have a vacation, but seeing as school is back in session it only seems fitting to write a review of my summer.

Fall is upon us in Minnesota. I don't really know when summer arrived, but it's on its way out. It will toy with me for a few weeks. Some days will be sunny and 85 while other days will be foggy and 42. What does that mean for me? Adventure.

I have several irons in the fire metaphorically speaking. I have been busy canning, quilting, fishing, working, and swimming. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. :) Gee, it's no wonder my mom says I would make a great Suzy Homemaker!

First things first- Below is a photo of a quilt I am working on. I decided to make a memory quilt of sorts. This quilt is made up of pieces of fabric from quilts I've made for people I love. I got this idea from a quilt I had growing up. My great grandma used to make quilts from her old aprons. There was so much love in those quilts. I wanted to look at my own quilt and remember the people and the events of my life. So, this is my way of preserving some of those memories.

Next on my list, canning. I love canning. This summer I've made jelly from mixed berries and rhubarb, and I took a stab at making dilly beans. All of this was done with ingredients from my own garden. Next on the list? Salsa and spaghetti sauce. One of the most exciting things for me was getting my own set of canning tools. Yes, I am a dork. Yes, I am ok with it!

I've read several books this summer. And yes, cookbooks count too! LOL. Ann Brashares, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and many more have been my constant companions. I don't see that changing with winter beginning to creep its way in. Cold nights mean cocoa and books :)

Fishing adventures abounded this summer. Jon and I went out often, I took the boys from work regularly, and of course, Kate and I went out River fishin' on the Mighty Mississippi in her boat. Yes, I learned how to back a trailer in for the first time. Yes, it still scares me!

Another of my great adventures has been walking with my walking partner, Corinne. She and her dog, Venus have been wonderful encouragement to me. We've been all over the place walking off the weight and strengthening our friendship, faith, and bodies.

My latest adventure was with Kate. We intended to go fishing on the River. We got to the river, got the boat in the water. And then the motor broke :( No fishing that day. Since there was still a lot of day left, we went with plan B. Snorkeling. We went to one of the local tacconite mine pits and dove in. Well, we didn't exactly dive it, it was a bit chilly at first. But we had a ball just swimming around the edge of lake exploring the world below the surface. Kate took pictures of me snorkeling away on my own little adventure!

So kiddies, that was my summer. What a summer it was. I look forward to new adventures this fall and winter!

Here's to you and your adventures, culinary or otherwise. Cheers!

Dilly Beans

2 lbs green beans, washed and trimmed
¼ cup kosher salt
2 ½ cups white vinegar
2 ½ cups water
4 cloves garlic
4 heads dill
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp black pepper

Combine water, vinegar, and salt in large saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at least 5 minutes. Add a dash of franks hot sauce or cayenne pepper.

While waiting for the vinegar mixture to boil pack the jars with beans, 1 head of dill, 1 sliced garlic clove, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and mustard.

Pour the vinegar mixture into each jar until nearly full. Place lids on the jars.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Store in a dark, cool place for at least 2 weeks prior to eating.
-Makes 4 pints