I’d Can That: A Canning Roundup

I'd Can That Roundup

Mason Jar Clipart from Creative Market / Click the photo for the link

Last year was the first year I ever attempted canning. It was actually the first year I ever thought about canning. My boyfriend got me a canner for my birthday (because these are the gift ideas I have nowadays) and a couple weeks before Christmas, I started canning like crazy, making apple and pumpkin butters for my family. That was the problem. I started way too late and became super stressed about the whole thing.

So, this year, I’m going to start a little earlier – making it a little more relaxing and enjoyable, and hopefully giving me time to try a couple new recipes. Luckily, canning recipes have been flooding all the proper social media channels, so there are plenty to choose from. I’m going to share some of my favorites today, in case you are also hoping to get a jump start on canning!

Photo Credit: Aubri / See Kate Sew

Pumpkin Butter / Photo Credit: Aubri / See Kate Sew

Of course I had to start with my favorite – PUMPKIN BUTTER!

I used this recipe from See Kate Sew last year and everyone loved it.

Photo Credit: Jackie / The Beeroness

Stout & Sriracha BBQ Sauce / Photo Credit: Jackie / The Beeroness

I know there are BBQ sauce connoisseurs and I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’m not one of them. However, I do love me a good stout and this Stout & Sriracha BBQ Sauce recipe from The Beeroness looks delicious!

Photo Credit: Annalise / Completely Delicious

Tomato-Basil Marinara / Photo Credit: Annalise / Completely Delicious

Ah, yes. The good ol’ marinara sauce.

This recipe from Completely Delicious is perfect because pretty much everyone uses marinara. I’ve always been a pesto fan, but my boyfriend likes marinara and so I’ll make a creamy marinara which is always yummy. Annalise made this recipe as part of a Canning Week link-up, which is definitely worth checking out.

Photo Credit: Becky / The Vintage Mixer

Maple Apricot Jam / Photo Credit: Becky / The Vintage Mixer

I can already imagine this Maple Apricot Jam from The Vintage Mixer spread atop a piece of freshly toasted bread

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam / Photo Credit: Leela / Rosemarried

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam / Photo Credit: Leela / Rosemarried

I adore jalapeno jam, and this Raspberry Jalapeno Jam from Rosemarried is the perfect twist on that

I can see putting this on top of my bagel and cream cheese in the morning!

Do you love canning? What are some of your favorite canning recipes? Share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest! Stay thrifty, my friends.

My Healthy Life: A Journey

Well, I’m exactly one week away from two things I have been looking forward to – my birthday, and my goal date for my weight loss. They happen to fall on the same day, and that is no coincidence. I was hoping to reach 130 by my 31st birthday and kept assuring myself the whole time that I could most definitely do it. And I probably could have…if I locked myself in my room with a mini fridge filled with only the healthiest and best food, and my only activity to do during the day was to exercise.

But, let’s face it. Real life happens…and sometimes your best intentions fall short. I will say that I am proud that I have not only lost all the weight gained during my pregnancy, I am between five – ten pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant. Sure, I still have 15 lbs to go before I reach my goal weight, but I have had the willpower to turn down fast food and soda, when both are so easy…and sometimes so good.

I have put myself on a workout regimen, and sometimes I actually stick to it. But sometimes I don’t, because I’m freaking tired after chasing around my daughter, and sometimes I count mopping my floor (so what if my mop is actually a Swiffer) and doing laundry as my workout for the day.

18ac2a84412a11e3b44322000a1f92df_8My morning walk with my daughter. My favorite workout routine

So, I’m going to make a proclamation for myself, and if you would like to join in, I would love your company:

  • No more following websites that have the word “Skinny” in them. I don’t want to be skinny. I just want to wear my old jeans. Not the jeans I was wearing before I got pregnant. The jeans I wore when I was at my most comfortable weight. Sure, my hips have expanded. Babies will do that to ya. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But damn did it feel good to put on a pair of jeans I have not been able to wear in over a year.
  • While on that note, no more pinning “Skinny” recipes on Pinterest. If you haven’t heard this before, most of the skinny ingredients are worse than the real thing. Look at the ingredients and decide if you really want all of that in your body. If you do, go for it. If not, put it down. It ain’t worth it in the long run.
  • Follow bloggers and recipe developers who use real ingredients for all of their food. They don’t do a diet version, because they don’t need to. You don’t need a diet version of granola – it’s granola! A good site I just found today is A Sweet Spoonful. Her recipes have real ingredients in them, and most of them aren’t crazy. Check out these pumpkin spice muffins (you know how I feel about pumpkins). She also has a book called Whole Grain Mornings – I think the title says it all – that will be available on Dec 31. You can pre-order it now through Amazon, and it will be perfect for your New Years Resolution, if you’re about that.
  • Remain active. Even if I can’t get a workout or yoga session in, I remain active. I sit at my computer to write blog posts, and do some work. But I take a break after every project I work on to go walking with my daughter, to play with her, or to clean my house. It keeps her entertained and happy, and I stay active. We hardly ever sit down to watch TV until after dinner. Because that’s my family time, and that’s how we like to relax.

I’m still going to work on my goal, but I’m not going to hate myself if I don’t get in that 15 minute yoga session, and then 15 minutes of bodyweight workout, and then 15 minutes of yoga at night. Because sometimes I’m just tired. And I have other stuff going on. But I will (attempt to) drink all of my water, and I will cook real food for my family. Because not only do I want to look good in my jeans, I want to feel good, too.

2b58fe7e3ff311e38f8522000a1fb838_8Homemade apple butter on wheat toast with banana. Breakfast is served.

Here is my promise to you, and this is one I can stick to. I will continue to share sites with you that I feel good about sharing. I will continue to show you new recipes that incorporate real, healthy food. I won’t ever share anything that has the word Skinny in it. Unless I have checked the ingredients and they are all real. That’s my only exception.

So, to start things off. Here are some of my favorite sites that embrace whole foods and healthy living:

The Gracious PantryIf you have read my blog just once in your life, you probably know how deep my love for this site runs. Tiffany not only shares a whole bunch of clean eating (the elimination of processed foods in your diet) recipes, she also advises on healthy food substitution, like the sugar substitution chart, and she loves pumpkin, too. My kind of girl.

Healthy Aperture – Healthy food photo sharing site. A good way to find recipes that you will love and continue to use, and you can also find new healthy bloggers to follow. If you find yourself liking a bunch of recipes from one poster, maybe you should check out their site and see what else they have. There’s also a blog with healthy tips and recipes.

Attune Foods Blog – This is a new one that I found today, through Sweet Spoonful. It’s a healthy recipe sharing site, and you can also join the FitClean community, which focuses on incorporating both fitness and clean eating in your daily life.

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

Weekly Wishes #3

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

This is the third week I have been blogging about my Weekly Wishes – an awesome link-up started by Melyssa of The Nectar Collective – and I have to say, it has been a huge motivator. I’m holding myself accountable for my goals and challenges, and I’m figuring out why I didn’t do what I had planned to do. And it always boils down to do this…life really does get in the way. It might seem like the biggest and most widely-used cop out in the world, but it is true! Sometimes, you really don’t have enough hours in the day, and that rang true last week.

Last week’s wishes:

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!

Creative: Restore the three-tiered basket I recently purchased at the Lodi Street Faire and finish my chalkboard tray to use as a prop for my photos.

Fitness: 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day

Home: Switch out the garden – work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies

I did get my business wishes completed last week. I got the Press Release from Heather so I can start promoting her work more, and I found a bunch of new author communities for her to join. She’s going to look through all of them and pick one for now. She’s also looking at independent bookstores in San Diego where she can do a reading and sign some books – so I’m excited to see what happens there! We also have some Book Reviews I need to check on and share!

As for my creative wish – I got the tray done, finally! And as it turns out, it works perfect as a prop for my photos! I used to take a photo of a recipe I’m working on, and it added a really nice touch. I need to find a rust removal solution for my three-tiered basket, so if you know of any – please let me know!

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I was not able to get much of an exercise routine in last week, so I’m going to try it again this week! My daughter is starting to get more of a sleeping schedule down, so I should be able to fit something in during her naps.

And, my garden. I’ve decided to hold off on working on it until I get some new plants in. Then I can take a day to just clean it out and put new stuff in. I need to look up what plants will do the best in this season and go from there. I’ve started making salsa and hot sauce with the peppers from my garden, and that is a big motivator to keep it going!

This week’s wishes:

Business: Start working on my logo and graphic design work for Baby Burrito Collective. I’m going to work on the website as well, but I at least want to get my branding done before I do more work on the site. My goal is to eventually learn web design and build my own website, but I’m taking it all step by step. I’ve learned what trouble I face if I try to do it all at once, so I’m trying more and more to take my time with everything. I’m going to keep a Pinterest board with all of the colors, fonts and designs I want for my site.

Creative: Start working on the three-tiered basket. I need to soak it in some rust removal solution and then I will paint it a lovely color and hang it in the pantry. I didn’t know how much I would love repurposing and upcycling old stuff to make it the way I love it, but it gives me such a rush! I also need to work on the chalk/cork board I have been wanting to fix. I have the frame, just need to make board now.

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

Fitness: Get a routine. I did so good for the last couple weeks, and now the weight is creepily finding it’s way back. I just need to get a routine that works for me instead of worrying about doing it for a certain amount of time, and just doing it every day. Even if it needs to be something quick, it’s better than nothing, right?

Home: Get all of my peppers and basil out of the garden before the frost hits and start canning like mad. I’m hoping to get a pressure canner, which will help a lot. I’m thinking of canning apple butter, hot sauce and pesto as part of my Christmas gifts I’m giving away. I always love getting that stuff, and I would love to do it for my family!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

 

Weekly Wishes #2

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Last week I started a new weekly series called Weekly Wishes that I found on a pretty amazing site, The Nectar Collective. It’s a weekly link-up where participants write a post (such as this) and link it up to the post Melyssa writes on Nectar Collective, then you leave a motivating comment on the person’s post who linked up directly before you.

In doing so, I actually found Andrea Lui, who runs a handmade jewelry shop on Etsy called Oh! Jewelicious. Her work is beautiful and while I’m not much of a jewelry person, I can see myself wearing her stuff! I especially love the sparrow earrings. It’s hard for me to wear necklaces or anything that dangles because Cecilia has quite the grip and I wouldn’t want it to break. Look how cute these sparrows are…there is also a necklace to match!

Image belongs to Andrea Lui

Image belongs to Andrea Lui

I shared my weekly wishes for my business, creative, fitness and home wishes last week, and

Last week’s wishes:

Business wish – Create buttons for both my Sweet Mariposa shop and my blog. Read through Ch. 9 in The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin.

Creative wish – Finally finish these cheese graters! I’m going to share the tutorial on my Linkouture when I’m done!

Fitness wish 15 minutes of exercise + 15 minutes of yoga each day

Home wish – Start canning all my vegetables from the garden

How I did:

I did end up creating my buttons for Sweet Mariposa, but have decided against making buttons for my blog at this time. I don’t think they are really necessary right now, and I have some projects in the works for this blog and may create a few buttons then. After looking through loads of different tutorials – only to be unsuccessful at all of them – I took the easy route and just copied the code from a button I got from another site and entered my information. Simple, eh? You can see the button on my sidebar – hooray!

I’m also through Ch. 10 in The Handmade Marketplace so I’m pretty sure I will finish the book this week (there’s 12 chapters). I’m going to jot down some of the information I got from the book and see how much of it I can incorporate in my own work. I will be writing a review in the near future.

I also finished the cheese graters, and I sent my tutorial over to the wonderful Bev at Linkouture, so it should be up soon! It was a big challenge of mine to get these done, so I’m relieved I finally did it! You can also find them at my Etsy shop. I can do different colors and styles if you fancy one.

SONY DSC

I was able to squeeze in a couple bodyweight workouts through Fitness Blender, and I treated myself to a couple restorative yoga sessions at night, but I find it really hard to stay on my fitness goals. So I’m really focusing on what food I’m putting into my body and getting exercise when I can – which isn’t hard with how mobile my little one is now! We’re always walking and exploring so that certainly helps. I lost a few pounds in the last week so it’s working!

And finally, I put all those crazy peppers to good use and made some homemade hot sauce! I used a recipe I found on Pinterest and I’m still having trouble finding the original website. I’ll share the recipe this week but here’s a photo for now! I also made homemade apple butter with that recipe I shared last week that I got from My Baking Addiction and it was amazing! I put it on my toast this morning and topped it with banana. I could have eaten the whole jar but figured I better save some for tomorrow. I will share my experience with making both later this week.

IMG_0652 IMG_0654

Now moving on to this week!

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!) and get her into some awesome author communities! After becoming an Oh My Handmade member, I am true believer in how important it is to be a part of a community. They help you go over ideas, and will support your work and everything you are doing any chance they get. We need to get all of her bases covered so we can continue networking and promoting all of her wonderful work.

Creative: See that three tiered basket in the picture? (hint: it’s #7) I want to restore that this week. I’m going to hang it in our pantry an use it to hold all of our bread and snacks. I just can’t decide if I want to paint it all one color or use multiple colors. Let me know your thoughts! Last week, I also started to work on a serving tray that I was upcycling into a chalkboard cheese tray. I’ve since changed my mind and decided to use it as a prop for photos. I just need to make a few little fixes and I’ll be done…so I wanted to finally finish it this week!

thrifty finds

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Fitness: I’m going to continue working on my goal of getting a 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day. It’s challenging but I feel so good after I’m done that I want to continue working on it. It’s also such a lovely feeling to not have to cringe every time you try on an old pair of pants. I’m also making it a goal to get rid of the white sugar and flour in the house, and find good, healthy replacements for sugar.

Home: Well, it’s time to switch out the garden. I’m going to work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies. I’m going to look up what will be good to plant right now and look into planting some succulents and flowers. Of course, I will be sharing my journey with you along the way! Although my garden had its ups and downs this season, I learned a lot – and I was able to make so much from it! Hoping to get a pressure canner soon *fingers crossed* so I can more and more good stuff!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

I have always had an affinity for old, beat-up mens belts. Back before Ed Hardy was let loose into the world of belt design. Before “No Fear,” before flames showed up on everything, and even though I love a good frothy beverage, before belts could open beer bottles. There is just something about that simple and clean design that sticks out in my head. The more beat up, the better.

But like everything in life, you eventually outgrow your belts. You start having babies, and the men start gaining “sympathy weight.” You start poking new holes that go further and further out and and before you know it, your favorite belt ends up in a pile you never thought it would see – the donate pile.

Before you go tossing that belt all willy nilly, here are a couple projects that could bring new life to your old belt. If you happen to have (or find) a belt with a rockin’ imprinted design, or an old school big belt buckle – even better.

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Recycled Leather and Wood Shelf from Design*Sponge – Kate Pruitt is the Senior Editor at Design*Sponge and has completed over 100 projects for that site. Damn, girl. She used two different belts for this project, both of which she got at a thrift store. Kate brought up a valid point – belts can be rather overpriced, so keep looking if you can’t find one for a good price. Also check out swap meets and yard sales – they may be a little cheaper, and if not, you can talk them down. She ended up finding both belts for under $10, which means that she spent less than $15 on the whole project. You can find out more by clicking on the photo or Design*Sponge link above. You can also find more of Kate Pruitt’s projects here.

Image  belongs to Poppytalk

Image belongs to Poppytalk

Hanging belt vessel from Poppytalk – If you have ever tried reusing glass bottles and it has taken you beyond forever to get that label off, and you start thinking that maybe it would look fine if the label just stayed on. People would get the concept of a flower vase that is completely covered by an olive oil label, right? Well, Jan shared an alternative – peanut butter! It’s delicious and serves multiple purposes! You can get the entire tutorial, along with beautiful photos, and a whole lot more by clicking on the photo or the Poppytalk link above.

Image belongs to House of Earnest

Image belongs to House of Earnest

Leather Belt Curtain Ties from House of Earnest – Along with the Poppytalk tutorial, I got this tutorial from a roundup at BrightNest. Erin’s blog is full of crafty yet classy projects like this, and her photos are both beautiful and informative. She also has a Home Decor section – where she shares home tours, sweet products and interior design ideas and inspiration. If you are looking to beautify your house without a spending a whole lot of money, you should go check her out.

And for an added thrifty bonus: APPLE BUTTER! I am lucky enough to live relatively close to Apple Hill – an amazing place in Placerville, CA that holds a craft fair, a pumpkin patch, and you guessed it – all things apple. While I was there, I sipped on apple wine while eating an apple doughnut. It was amazing. I came really close to purchasing apple butter – until I saw that it was almost $10 for a little jar. DAMN. Now, I’m all about supporting homemade, handmade and small businesses, but sometimes a girl just can’t do it. So I decided I would make my own. Here’s an awesome recipe I found:

Image belongs to My Baking Addiction

Image belongs to My Baking Addiction

Homemade Apple Butter from My Baking Addiction – Jamie made this recipe in her crock pot, and I just saw another apple recipe she slow cooked – applesauce! I would have to say that I’m not a huge fan about eating apples a la mode. Not sure why, but I usually always have to pair them with peanut butter. We just got some apples fresh from Washington so I would really like to use them up! I think these recipes are both in order.  She also shares baking fundamentals and tips on her blog, so I see her site becoming a good resource for me.

If you have any belt projects you would like to share, or you completed one of these projects, post in the comments and share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with the hashtag #thriftythursdays. If there is a project you would like to see in the future, please let me know. I hope that this series shows you that there are many things you can do with discarded items that don’t take a whole lot of money. Stay thrifty, my friends.