Kansas

Round Robin

Round Robin! We made a Round Robin! What a whirlwind this past week has been! I am dizzy from it! What? you say…. As many of you know who know me…..we have children scattered hither and yon with none of […]

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She

“She” ????? It is confession time…again! The Captain came home from one of his “tours”…in other words flying, (working) and he brought me a present! Well, sort of a present! He had heard a song…an old song, but he loved […]

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Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

Fall Decor Can Be Easy… I have a dear friend….(I call her Queenie)….and she was asking me the other day for a few ideas on simple decorating for Fall. (Click on the original post at  Turn a Cake Plate into […]

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World Series…The Dream is Real!

World Series…The Dream is Real! If you have been following my Blog…you will note my enthusiasm for Sports…particularly Kansas City sports, ie; The Kansas City Chiefs (Football) and the Kansas City Royals (Baseball) and the Kansas Jayhawks (College Basketball)! (If […]

Today1

Today….!

Today…! I would like to share with you a poem that I have on the wall near my computer.  I read it out loud every single day. I just think it says it all and I understand the person who […]

 

Round Robin

Kansas

Round Robin! We made a Round Robin!

What a whirlwind this past week has been!

I am dizzy from it!

What? you say….

As many of you know who know me…..we have children scattered hither and yon with none of them in Cape Coral, where we live. ;(

Most people who live in Florida complain of having too many guests, but that is not the case with the Captain and Me!

We love having guests and especially our children, but it has been a desert of late…..with the kids I mean.

Sooooo when our grand daughter gave birth to our new great grandson….The Captain and I decided to fly to Kansas City to begin what turned out to be the most ill-conceived, short-sighted, trip we have ever taken.  

Of course it all turned out in the end and begin to come together the closer we got to home.

Because the Captain was flying a tour,…I boarded a plane by myself (in Florida) with the intentions of meeting up together in Kansas City, Missouri.

That didn’t happen!

So, I rented a car in Kansas City and drove the 45 minutes to Leavenworth, Kansas to visit Twin #1 and his family…. who kept looking behind my shoulder for the Captain…who at that point was a no-show.

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I told them he would be arriving later.

After my Leavenworth overnight visit with the Twin #1 and his wife and our 3 grand kids, (one is missing from the above pic)….I jumped into the rental car about 10:a.m. and drove the 3 hours to Salina, Kansas to see the other kids and grand kids.

The Captain arrived finally in Kansas City, Missouri (10 hours later), met up with the Leavenworth part of the family at a restaurant for a late, late dinner (9:30 p.m.) and then he jumped into his rental car and drove the 3 hours to Salina, Kansas…arriving at our hotel room about 1:30 a.m. 

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By now it is Sunday….so we spent the morning with Only Daughter and of course grand daughter and her husband and the brand new great grand son.

We then spent the afternoon with Oldest Son and that side of the family…which included Only Grandson and his intended (getting married in February) and 1st Granddaughter, her husband and their two beautiful Great Grandsons.

 

 

 

 

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Totally confused yet?…

There is more.

The Captain and I are now in TWO rental cars, as the big metropolis of Salina, Kansas does not have an AVIS! (Nearest place to return one car is 90 miles in the opposite direction at Wichita, Kansas)

So on Monday, we are a caravan of two…driving back to Kansas City! :)  Plus we made three side trips to visit loved ones laid to rest in two different cemeteries in two different cities… and we also stopped to see my sister and her husband living in Topeka. Kansas.

A whirlwind visit for sure!

Then came the typical Midwest weather….it was at-this-most-inopportune time….for rainy weather to cause plane delays and cancellations in Kansas City. 

And yes, you guessed it….the Captain and I ended up on different planes with different destinations.  He flew into Ft Myers, Florida…picked up our car that I had parked at the airport and drove the hour and a half to Sarasota, Florida to pick me up.

Luckily, I only had to wait 30 minutes for him to get there as he arrived in Ft. Myers, ahead of my flight to Sarasota.

BUT…the story is not over, altho it does get better.

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Two days after arriving home, we drove 3 hours to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Captain’s Alumni festivities, which lasted for about 3 days.

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On the 3rd day, after having breakfast with friends in the beautiful, historic Vinoy Hotel (more pics later)… we drove the hour and a half near Orlando, Florida to see Twin #2, his wife and their 3 children.

McKenzie and Mallory

 

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We spent most of the day with them before driving home to Cape Coral….another 2 and 1/2 hours.

We got to see all the kids, 10 grand kids, and 3 great grand kids in one fell swoop or as I call it…a Round Robin!

AND we are home to stay…for awhile at least! 

Next trip will be better planned with longer stays…..which means more rest for me of course! :)

Have you, my dear readers, ever had ill-conceived or short-sighted trips…or have your plans gone according to clockwork?

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I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz...as I click my little red slippers …(ok…my Royal Blue Flip Flops)… together and say:

“There is no place like home…there is no place like home!”

Have a great week!  I am going to take a nap! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! ;)

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Me 

She

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“She” ?????

It is confession time…again!

The Captain came home from one of his “tours”…in other words flying, (working) and he brought me a present!

Well, sort of a present!

He had heard a song…an old song, but he loved the lyrics and thought they were appropriate to/for/about ME!!!

The melody is haunting….which might explain why he thought of me….;)

Sometimes I have been known to “haunt” !!! Ha Ha!

OK…I am going to get serious, I am a bit embarrassed,  but flattered too ….I think.

The Captain doesn’t know I am sharing this with you my dear readers…but I won’t tell him if you don’t tell him. 

If you would like to play the song while reading this post…it is in the upper right corner (Featured Video)…just click on the little arrow! ;)

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Because the lyrics are so apropos…and would fit most women, as we can be complex creatures…can’t we?

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Women are many things to many  people, depending on what is happening on any given day.

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Women can be strong or vulnerable, happy and sad all within a 30 minute period …or less.  

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Women are beautiful and unique….Daughters, Mothers, Wives. 

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And most of all…and I speak for myself….unpredictable!

Perhaps that is why the Captain thought of me when he heard the lyrics. 

Is that a good thing?  I think it is…:) 

This particular version of the song “She” was recorded by Elvis Costello (stage name), a British singer-songwriter.

If you are not familiar with this song…and would like to hear the melody…and read along with the printed lyrics…please click on the featured video in the upper right corner of my home page.

 

“She (Tous Les Visages De L’Amour)”
(originally by Charles Aznavour)

She may be the face I can’t forget
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
 
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day.
 
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
 
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell
 
She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
 
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I’ll remember till the day I die
 
She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough and ready years
 
Me I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is She… She… She
 
Isn’t that pretty?
 
I love that we are mysterious to our loved ones….Don’t you?I am smiling as this has made my day!…and what is that old saying?
 
Smile….it will make everyone wonder just what you are up to! ;)logo 

 

Me

Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

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Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

I have a dear friend….(I call her Queenie)….and she was asking me the other day for a few ideas on simple decorating for Fall.

Fall or Christmas...a domed cake plate is a pretty centerpiece. You may remember this from a post from last year....

Fall or Christmas…a domed cake plate is a pretty centerpiece. You may remember this from a post from last year….

(Click on the original post at  Turn a Cake Plate into Holiday Decor from last November of using a domed cake plate to hold pinecones etc!)

Queenie admired the centerpiece on my Dining table….and the scarecrows sitting on an outdoor bench at our front door.  I also sat Mum Plants and pumpkins in and about the foyer.

I started mentioning a few things she could do with very little expense and many of the items she most likely would have on hand.

She kept saying…”No, too difficult…or No, I don’t have the right vases….”

She is such a hoot and a really good friend, but she can have a bit of a “no can do” attitude!

Let’s just say she needs a bit of “nudging” 

I thought it might be a good idea to show a few simple Fall decorating ideas that you can put together in minutes….most of the time. :)

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The obvious is a pumpkin and a few Mum plants….having a small bale of hay is good or some shocks of corn.

Place 3 different sizes of pumpkins near your front door.  If you have urns...use them!

Place 3 different sizes of pumpkins near your front door. If you have urns…use them!

Cut the top off a pumpkin...remove seeds...and place Autumn leaves and a orange candle

Cut the top off a pumpkin…remove seeds…and place Autumn leaves and a orange candle

Using an ice pick, poke holes around the center of a pumpkin and place real or silk flowers at intervals.

Using an ice pick, poke holes around the center of a pumpkin and place real or silk flowers at intervals.

Decorate an old chair (the more roughed up the better) with a few gourds and small pumpkins.  Add a leaf stringer you can find at any craft store.

Decorate an old chair (the more roughed up the better) with a few gourds and small pumpkins. Add a leaf stringer you can find at any craft store.

If you have access to a few tree branches, stand them up on a buffet or mantle and place Fall leaves and small pumpkins around

If you have access to a few tree branches, stand them up on a buffet or mantle and place Fall leaves and small pumpkins around

How about decorating with decorated cookies?  These large cookie cutters are the ones by Wilton with the foam-y rubberized tops.

How about decorating with decorated cookies? These large cookie cutters are the ones by Wilton with the foam-y rubberized tops.

Use a colorful runner down your dining table and add a few hurricane vases and small pumpkins

Use a colorful runner down your dining table and add a few hurricane vases with white votive candles and small pumpkins

How simple is this? a couple white candles surrounded by candy corn.  You can use any type vase or candle holder

How simple is this? a couple white candles surrounded by candy corn. You can use any type vase or candle holder

I love using old chairs in my Secret Garden....Decorate with a mum plant, candles, and let the kids cut out several pumpkins and insert a dowel to hold together.

I love using old chairs in my Secret Garden….Decorate with a mum plant, mason jars resting in a canner rack, and let the kids cut out several pumpkins and insert a dowel to hold together.

How about this simple trick?  Hollow out little pumpkins, add berry picks or leaves or both and various colored tapers

How about this simple trick? Hollow out little pumpkins, add berry picks or leaves or both and various colored tapers

Decorate your front door with a Fall wreath...and add a stringer of Autumn leaves up and down the sides.  Add a couple pumpkins (I would use 3)

Decorate your front door with a Fall wreath…and add a stringer of Autumn leaves up and down the sides. Add a couple pumpkins (I would use 3)

I like using my cake plate and cover to decorate my sideboard. Put gourds, acorns, small pumpkins under the dome, and decorate the base with Spanish moss and leaves

I like using my cake plate and cover to decorate my sideboard. Put gourds, acorns, small pumpkins under the dome, and decorate the base with Spanish moss or packing material and leaves

Get creative by spraying metallic spray paint on your pumpkins

Get creative by spraying metallic spray paint on your pumpkins

I like this Autumn spray for a banister or mantle

I like this Autumn spray for a banister or mantle…if using it for a mantle centerpiece, add your favorite dog or cat sculpture…..pheasant feathers too!

Would something like this work for your mantle?

Would something like this work for your mantle? If this is a bit much…modify it to fit your decor.

This would take a bit more time...but it is the same concept as some of those "stacked pumpkins" above. I like using battery operated candles rather than the real ones....for obvious reasons.

This would take a bit more time…but it is the same concept as some of those “stacked pumpkins” above. Just poke holes rather than carving a face.  I like using battery operated candles rather than the real ones….for obvious reasons.  Add a string of LED lights and it is magical. I keep white lights on my pergola, on all year long. ;)

 

You can find a cart like this one on line....but they are not very sturdy so be careful "filling" them with heavy pumpkins.

You can find a cart like this one on line….but they are not very sturdy so be careful “filling” them with heavy pumpkins. If you have a half-barrel or a large container…you can produce the same results. :)

Well, there are a few suggestions for your Fall Decor….Can you guess which one “Queenie” chose to use? ;)

Have a great Week-end….;)

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Me

CrockPot Dump Cake…Yum!

CrockPot Dump Cake…Yum!

Fall is in the air and it is World Series Time…and this year Kansas City fans have lots to cheer about! ;)

But I digress….Lets talk about the ease of making a dump cake.

Have you heard of dump cakes?

The meaning is simple…you dump in the ingredients all at once … and Prest-O! Change-O! 3 and 1/2 hours later, you have a dessert!!!!!

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Doesn’t this look ooey, gooey and delicious?

There are apple dump cakes and pumpkin dump cakes….just about any kind of cake you would like…all dumped together in one crock pot.

The recipe I am sharing with you has been called pudding dump cake as well as rocky road dump cake in a crock pot.

Years ago, I found the recipe in the Southern Living magazine  and it was called Rocky Road Cake in a Crock Pot.

I made the recipe and it was delicious!

I have since modified the recipe a bit and call it the CrockPot Dump Cake because you actually just dump in all the ingredients and set it and forget it for 3 1/2 hours.

The original recipe called for German Chocolate Cake Mix…but I like to use a fudge cake mix… you can use Devil’s Food or whatever your choice is.

I guarantee it will be good.

I made this a lot for our church potlucks or for Holiday potlucks at work…when I was working.  

I never took any home as my crock pot was always empty at the end of the meal….sometimes sooner! :) 

I made this a few weeks ago and the Captain and I just about ate it all by ourselves…..:( 

It is that good.

Please try it if you haven’t already and let me know your thoughts!

This would make a great dessert for any Fall or Winter Holiday dessert!

And if you just happen to be watching the World Series of Baseball on this coming Tuesday evening…and you just happen to be cheering on the Kansas City Royals…This is comfort food at its best!

Go Royals! ;)

Enjoy!

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Me

CrockPot Dump Cake...Yum!
Remember Rocky Road Ice Cream? Well, this cake is just like that...only better! And it is all done in a crock pot....what could be easier than dumping all the ingredients into the crock pot and in 3 1/2 hours...dessert is ready.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (18.25-oz.) box of Fudge cake mix
  2. 1 (3.9-oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  3. 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 1 cup sour cream
  5. 1/3 cup butter, melted
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3 1/4 cups milk, divided
  8. 1 (3.4-oz.) package chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix
  9. 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or your choice of nuts)
  10. 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  11. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Beat cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, butter, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups milk and 1 1/4 cups milk at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour batter into a lightly greased 4-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Cook the remaining 2 cups milk in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or just until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat.
  3. Sprinkle cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Cover and cook on LOW 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cake with pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted.
  5. Spoon into bowls
Notes
  1. This cake will look like it needs to cook just a little longer, but by the time the topping is set, it's ready to serve.
  2. If you want this rich, great tasting dessert to taste even better? Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream when serving. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

World Series…The Dream is Real!

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World Series…The Dream is Real!

If you have been following my Blog…you will note my enthusiasm for Sports…particularly Kansas City sports, ie; The Kansas City Chiefs (Football) and the Kansas City Royals (Baseball) and the Kansas Jayhawks (College Basketball)! (If you missed my posts on this journey…you may click on the below posts) 

The Blue Boys of October 

Boys in Blue….

Yesterday, a miracle happened and the Kansas City Royals won the play-off games by winning the best of seven games!

Actually, they won the first four games, which meant the Baltimore Orioles did not win one game!  

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Please forgive my ‘bragging’ a bit….but you see, the Royals have not been to a play-off game, let alone, the World Series for 29 years!

But now it is happening…

Last week, I was in Kansas City and the whole city has turned “blue”….meaning of course that everyone you meet (met) had the colors of the baseball team somewhere on their bodies.

There were the jerseys, the blue hair, the tattoos….anything and everything to support this young team.

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And yes, I was right in the middle of it all….wearing my old blue jerseys….and I do mean old, as I have supported this team for more years than I care to mention! 

The World Series starts Oct 21st…right there in Kansas City in Kaufman Stadium… and I am so excited!

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The Captain is looking at a new larger screen television for our great room, which has a little to do with the fact that our old 52 inch set is having issues with color tones AND me being able to see the upcoming games clearly! :)

I do have my “stand-by” television in the bedroom…but for the World Series of Baseball….if one can not attend the games in person…one definitely needs 60 inches or bigger! ;)

The American League Trophy given to owner David Glass

The American League Trophy given to team owner David Glass

Congratulations to the Boys of October….our Men in Blue…they have earned the title of men in blue, as they have certainly made the play-off games exciting.

They started with the Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics which ended 9-8 in one of the most thrilling games in baseball.

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This game would either make or break them and Ned Yost, the Royals Manager stated “That’s the most incredible game I have ever been a part of” . 

Then they went on to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels, where they did a clean sweep (3 games) of the top team in baseball. (They had to win the best of 5 games)

And finally, the Royals faced the Baltimore Orioles in the best of seven games!  
 
The victory last night…Wednesday…was the eighth win in a row in all the play-off games.  The first time any team has won its first eight games in a single postseason.
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(Actually, the Royals have eleven postseason wins under their belt…and we, the fans are still counting! :)
 
So Cheers to the Kansas City Royals….as they pursue the crown of baseball!
 
I will be watching…..and wearing my royal blue….and yes, right now there is something in my eyes… could it be tears of joy? ;)
 
Here is a bit of trivia…useless but interesting….Brandon Finnegan, one of Kansas City’s relief pitchers is the first player in baseball history to go from College World Series to MLB World Series in the same year.
 
That is how young this team is….;)
 
What a hoot!
 
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Me

One Bowl Orange Sweet Rolls

Orange Sweet Rolls….I don’t know what it is about yeast breads and oranges that seem to go together….

I have made several recipes involving these ingredients and posted them here…(click on the link below for the Orange Refrigerator Breakfast Roll recipe) 

Orange Refrigerator Breakfast Rolls 

But go together they do and this is a quick recipe (all in one bowl) to make for a week-end breakfast or for guests.

Yummy!

Please try this recipe and let me know if youW like it.

Below is the handy dandy printable recipe. ‘:)

That way I will know it is not just me who craves oranges and yeast breads. ;)

No peanuts and cracker jacks tonight….

Tonight is play-off baseball night, again….and if the Royals win this game…they will go on to the World Series!

What a great snack we will have as we sit around watching the game!

Enjoy!

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Me

 GO ROYALS!!!!!!

One Bowl Orange Sweet Rolls
Breakfast all in one....I simply love orange marmalade and the moist sweet rolls are amazing!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup warm water
  2. 3 1/2 cups flour
  3. 6 tablespoons melted butter
  4. 1 package active dry yeast
  5. 3 tablespoons sugar
  6. 1/4 cup of non fat dry milk
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  8. 2 tablespoons orange zest
  9. 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
For the Icing
  1. 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  2. 4 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients for the rolls (setting aside the marmalade and ginger) into one bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer on slow speed, combine until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Shape dough into a ball, leaving it in the same bowl. Spray the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray and cover with a clean tea towel.
  4. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size...about 1 hour.
  5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic for about 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Spread the marmalade over the rectangle and sprinkle with the ground ginger.
  8. Roll the dough from the narrow end shaping it tight like a log.
  9. With the seam down, cut the log into 2 inch pieces.
  10. Lightly spray a baking pan and put the pieces into the pan.
  11. Cover the rolls again and let rise for another hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the rolls until lightly browned (about 35-40 minutes)
  13. Make the icing by beating the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy...add the powdered sugar a small amount at a time until the icing is of spreading consistency. Add the orange flavoring and spread on the warm sweet rolls.
Notes
  1. You can eliminate the orange extract, but I really love the orange flavoring it gives the icing.
  2. This is a wonderful go-to recipe for everyday breakfasts or for guests.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Today….!

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Today…! I would like to share with you a poem that I have on the wall near my computer. 

I read it out loud every single day.

I just think it says it all and I understand the person who wrote this poem passed away in 2002 of ALS disease at the age of 50.

His name was Kenny M. Fullington.

Isn’t it interesting that the ALS water bucket challenge has been going on for the last few months…making more people aware of this debilitating disease. 

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Today

Outside my window, a new day I see

and only I can determine what kind of day it will be.

It can be busy and sunny, laughing and gay,

Today2Or boring and cold, unhappy and gray.

My own state of mind, is the determining key, 

for I am only the person I let myself be.

I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help,

or be selfish and think just of myself.

I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun,

or gripe and complain and make it hard on someone.

I can be patient with those who may not understandToday

or belittle and hurt them as much as I can.

But I have faith in myself and believe what I say,

and I personally intend to make the best of each day!

 

 

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Have a blessed day and a  wonderful week! :)

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Me

License Plate Dilemma

Fall in Florida

License Plate Dilemma…..Yep! it was definitely a dilemma!

When we moved to Florida 4 years ago…we went to the DMV to get out driver’s license, car tags…etc! 

Everything was routine…except for one thing.

The agent at the desk asked me what license plate I preferred….and I commented that I didn’t know there was a choice other than a personalized plate.

One wall...

One wall…

The lady then waved her arm towards two huge walls ….lined with license plates!

I hadn’t looked closely at them in the beginning….but there were “choices”…I mean “LOTS” of choices!

The good news is that many of the license plates are a way to donate to a charity or cause such as save the turtles…when you purchase and renew your plates.

I thought you might like to see a few of the many license plates Florida has to offer.

The plain vanilla plate…looks like this and you will see them on a number of vehicles..it is the typical oranges on a vine: 

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I believe that someone once said that there are over 150 license plates to choose from.

Below are just a few…starting with the tags we chose for our vehicles:

 

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We chose this tag for our Pick-Up Truck

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I have this tag…..My convertible is blue and matches this beautiful blue butterfly….

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The Captain chose this tag for our SUV

 

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I am sure you can see why I took extra time in choosing a tag…:)

However, I have to tell you that I like the following question….How do you know when it’s Fall in Florida?

Fall in Florida

Yep!  When all the Sno-Birds drive down to get away from their Northern Winters! ;)

Have a wonderful day….. 

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Me

Canning/Preserving Bread & Butter Pickles

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Canning/Preserving Bread & Butter Pickles!

Still canning at this household this week….I love preparing and preserving veggies and fruits.

I am sure that desire comes from both my Grandmothers….we always had sweet pickles, dill pickles and bread and butter pickles on hand with both of them canning on a regular basis.

Bread & Butter Pickles

Bread & Butter Pickles

I am sure for those who have been “following” my Blog, you remember my post about root cellars and my promise to provide canning recipes handed down from my Grandmother(s).

If you care to review that post, titled “Bugs and Spiders and Worms, Oh My…”click on the following link:

Bugs and Spiders and Worms, Oh My…..

My Mother would occasionally, “can” tomatoes, etc;…but the pickles usually came from both of my grandmothers!

My Grandma on my Mother’s side, had a HUGE, huge garden, while my other grandma had a much smaller garden as it was easier for her to manage.

They both always had fresh veggies just waiting to be “put up”, which included plenty of cucumbers and onions.

So each year, both grandma’s would make a big batch of different kinds of pickles, certainly enough to last our family through the cold Winter months.

AND just as we were using up the last of the sweets or the dills or the bread & butter pickles…it would be harvest time, when fresh cucumbers would be sprouting on the vines and sprawling on the sand hills in the flatlands of Kansas.

Pickles were a staple for us.

Mother never let the juice from a jar of pickles go to waste. Remember I was from the land of “waste- not/ want- not”.

Mother would use the juice and the little bits of left-over pickles from the pickle jars… in many different dishes from Potato Salad to Cole Slaw….Deviled Eggs and Chicken Salad.

I carried on the canning tradition…and my children can speak about a few of the canning mishaps!

Oldest son, I am sure remembers my crabapple jelly that turned into crabapple lolly-pop candy!!  But that is the way we learn isn’t it? Trial and Error.

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Bread & Butter Pickles

I have made these bread & butter pickles for a long time….and have shortened the process a bit.

Below are the step by step process that is very easy to follow.

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Gather all tools and ingredients….

I like to get everything ready so that I don’t have to stop as I am canning.  In other words, my “Canner”, which is as old as the hills, but works just fine and has moved with me on every single move….my saucepan for simmering my lids and bands (rings Grandma called them), My extra pot of simmering water that I use to pour over my sterilized jars of pickles, the jars I intend to use, the  jar lifters, large mouth funnels, measuring cups, lid lifters and spatula for removing the air out of the jars, my old crock, spices and ingredients needed for the recipe….and of course a towel to set the jars on.

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A kit includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, large mouth funnel and spatula

You don’t need anything special, you most likely have everything you need ….but you can purchase a kit at one of the big box stores (for around $10.00) which will provide you with a jar lifter, funnel, lid lifter and spatula.  (I happen to have two of everything, because many times I have “helpers” in my kitchen….:)…people love to watch and help with the process and they get to take some of the pickles etc home with them.)

Step One…..

Wash the cucumbers in a stainless steel or large glass bowl.

Gently wash the cucumbers in a stainless steel or large glass bowl.

First I wash the small cucumbers..you can use the larger cukes, but they are tougher and the skins are harder to process…but it can be done.

However, I prefer using the “new” cucumbers which are much smaller and can be found at your supermarket labeled pickling cucumbers. 

Step Two….

Rinse the cukes...note that I am wearing Royal Blue nail polish....for the sports team....;)

Rinse the cukes…note that I am wearing Royal Blue nail polish….for the sports team….;)

Rinse them carefully in cold water using a colander 

Step Three…

Cut off each end and discard

Cut off each end and discard

Cut off the ends of the little cukes…do not peel.

Step Four…

Slice the cukes....

Slice the cukes….

Slice the cukes in 1/4 inch slices….

1/4 inch slices....

1/4 inch slices….

doesn’t have to be perfect…

I cut the onion in half and lay the flat side on the cutting board...easier to slice

I cut the onion in half and lay the flat side on the cutting board…easier to slice

And slice the onions and break apart with your hands…

Step Five…

Add the pickling salt

Add the pickling salt

Add the pickling salt to the onions and the cukes

Use your hands to mix...both hands preferred...easier that way

Use your hands to mix…both hands preferred…easier that way

Mix with your hands until the salt and onions and cukes are thoroughly mixed.

Step Six…

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I use a crock, but you can use a glass bowl etc…

I have always used my crock....old habits are hard to break. ;)

I have always used my crock….old habits are hard to break. ;)

At this point, I put the mixture in my crock and cover with cold water….but you can use the large bowl you used to mix up the cukes, onions and salt.

Now comes the easy part….let the mixture set at room temperature for 2 hours!!!!! Yeah!!!

After two hours…

Step Seven…

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Wash the jars in hot soapy water..check for nicks on the jars and discard.

Sterilized jars

Sterilize the washed  jars in your canner

Prepare the “canner” or the stock pot with hot boiling water, carefully adding the pre-washed jars.

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Put the sauce pan with the lids on simmer

Step Eight…

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Add the vinegar to a large pot….mine is cast iron enamel

 

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Add the sugar

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Add the mustard seeds

 

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Add the celery seed

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Add the turmeric powder…I like to add a little water to the turmeric…it dissolves easier in the brine…be careful because turmeric stains…(:

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric in a large pot, teflon, cast iron enamel or stainless steel.

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Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, being sure to stir to dissolve the sugar.

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Stir frequently….

Step Nine…

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Drain the salty water from the cukes and onions….

Drain the water off the cukes and onions…using your colander.

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Rinse…you don’t want to taste salt in your pickles…

Be sure to rinse well and re-rinse….removing the salt.

Step Ten…

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Stir frequently….yum…just look at those spices!

Add the cukes and onions to the spice mixture on the stove and bring to a boil.

Step Eleven…

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I put the pickles and onions in first…then I had the liquid to the jars

Using a slotted spoon, add the cukes and onions to each canning jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space….very important.

Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars over the cukes and onions.

Step Twelve…

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Remove air bubbles or pockets

Remove air bubbles by sliding the spatula down the sides of each jar.

(If needed, add more cukes or juice to the 1/2 inch head space.) 

Step Thirteen…

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Wipe the rims and the ridges around the top of the jar

Wipe the rim and sides of the jars with a damp cloth

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Center the lid with the lid lifter

Center the lid over the jar…

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Fingertip tighten the bands (rings)

And add the band…do not over tighten. (fingertip tighten)

Step Fourteen…

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Place the jars into the canner

 

Process the filled jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

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Process with the lid on the canner….then let the jars sit for 5 minutes with the lid removed

Remove the lid of the canner….and let the jars drain for about 5 minutes.

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Jars are very hot so remove carefully using the jar lifter and place on a towel

Remove to a towel, Cool and store!

Now how easy was that?

There is an even easier way by giving you a head start with a package…..See below!

Personally, I prefer the old fashioned way…because I am like that….yep!

Mrs Wages pickle mixes

Mrs Wages pickle mixes

Here is a bit of trivia for you…Do you know that my oldest son cans/preserves?  Actually, all my kids are very comfortable in the kitchen.

Oldest son makes jellies on a regular basis…..from sand plums growing wild in fields and along side the country roads.

He cans, pickles, peaches and makes some of the best mulberry jams and jellies you will ever taste….

Twin #2 also likes to whip up strawberry or peach preserves!

I guess the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree! (no pun intended) ;0

It is good to know that the canning processes were handed down to me and I have in turn handed down to my children.

Try preserving your fresh veggies….believe me when I say …

Bread & Butter Pickles

Bread & Butter Pickles

You most likely will not buy from the supermarket again.

No ccomparison!!!

Have a great day!..And get out those canning jars!

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Me

Bread & Butter Pickles
A quick and easy way to preserve pickles. And who doesn't love the sweetness of bread & butter pickles?
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Ingredients
  1. 6 cups of sliced pickling cucumbers
  2. 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  3. 1/3 cup pickling salt or use Coarse Kosher salt (do not use table salt)
  4. 2 cups of white vinegar
  5. 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
  7. 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  8. 3/4 teaspoons ground turmeric (mixed with a little water)
Instructions
  1. Soak the cucumbers, onions, salt and cold water to cover... for two hours at room temperature (make sure the salt is mixed in well)
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the jars by washing and checking for nicks. Discard any chipped jars.
  3. Sterilize the jars and place the lids (always new lids) and bands in a saucepan to simmer
  4. Add enough water to the canning pot that will cover the jars once they are filled....keep hot
  5. In a large pot, combine all the spices, vinegar and sugar...and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the cukes and onions (rinsed of the salt) to the brining mixture on the stove and bring to a boil again.
  7. Boil briskly for about 1 minute.
  8. Add the cucumbers and onion to jars using a slotted spoon and a wide mouth funnel
  9. Add the liquid brine to bring the contents to about 1/2 inch from the top of each jar
  10. Wipe the rims with damp cloth and remove the air bubbles (you might need to re-measure the head space)
  11. Center the lid using the lid lifter and screw the bands to finger tight.
  12. Process the jars in boiling water with the lid on the pot for 10 minutes
  13. Remove the lid...let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing from the canner.
  14. Place on a towel (never a counter surface) and cool for about 12 hours or over night.
  15. Store in a cool place...these are usually the best if you wait about 2 weeks before opening a jar.
Notes
  1. Follow the more detailed steps and pictures in the text of this post.
  2. Jars will start pinging (sealing) once they are removed from the water bath. Do not touch the tops of the lids and allow the sealing to take place. However, if after several hours...it appears a jar did not seal...(indention in the center) just sit it in the fridge and use accordingly. The product is still good...it just didn't seal for long term storage....and this is true of anything you "can".
  3. The amount of jars the pickles produce varies...depending on pint or quart jars AND the cucumbers themselves. I always sterilize more jars than I need...just in case! However, for this particular recipe, I usually end up with about 6-7 pint jars ...or about 3 quarts if using quart jars.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Salsa Anyone?

Kari's Spicy Salsa

Salsa Anyone?  

My Dancing Friend Across The Pond just visited the Captain and I for a lovely 12 days!

She Arrived on the 20th of September and flew off to London on the afternoon of the 1st of October!

I am sure if she is reading this post….she will assume I will be discussing dancing….particularly salsa dancing!

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Always use the freshest produce!

However, I will be talking about canning salsa rather than dancing the salsa!

Most people assume “canning” veggies and fruits are difficult, when actually…they are relatively easy!

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Large mouth funnel, lid lifter, jar lifter and spatula…if you don’t have these items…they can be purchased in a “kit” at most big box stores for under $10.00.

One just needs to have the equipment at the ready….

  • a large pot (at least 7 1/2 inches tall and about 9 1/2 inches in diameter)…a stock pot works nicely.
  • a saucepan for simmering the lids and rings
  • measuring cups and mixing bowls!
  • Fresh ingredients specific to the recipe 
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My trusty old “canner”

I happen to have an old enamel canning pot that I have had for over 40 years and I use that to sterilize my jars and process my recipe, but any large pot will work.

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Sterilized jars

The first thing to do is to wash the jars, lids and bands (rings) in hot soapy water being sure to rinse well.

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Lids and bands simmering in sauce pan

The next thing I do is keep my jars warm until I am ready to fill them with my ingredients, by heating them in a pot of simmering water. (or you can heat them in your heated dishwasher)

I fill the “canner” with enough hot water to cover my jars with at least 1 inch of water and I heat to a simmer (180 degrees)

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Chop veggies in food processor or by hand….easy peasy

Next, I prepare my recipe…in this case, the salsa….by chopping the veggies and simmering for about 10 minutes!

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Score bottoms of tomatoes for easier peeling

I blanch the tomatoes first, then plunge into ice water, and then I peel the tomatoes… and this is easy to do if you score the bottom of the tomatoes before blanching in hot water….

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Blanche tomatoes first…

Plunging the hot tomatoes in ice water or a cold water bath make them easier to peel…  

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Peel the skin away

Much easier to peel, the skins just need a gentle nudging…;). I seed the tomatoes, but not completely…your choice.  The same with the hot peppers! (The seeds are the “hot source” of the jalapenos, etc.)

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chop, seed tomatoes….I like my salsa chunky so no uniform sizes for me! ;)

Oh, and please remember when working with ingredients that have a lot of acidity…use glass or stainless steel. If you use anything aluminum, the acid will “pit” your pan.

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Cook the salsa, stirring frequently

Chop the tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, bell peppers. and garlic and heat all the ingredients on the stove top for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

I like to have my salsa chunky, so the “chunks” are never uniform in size….just a matter of preference…could be a little laziness thrown in there too!! ;)

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Ladle the salsa into jars….

I then ladle the hot salsa into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace….(this allows for expansion)

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Fill to within 1/2 inch of the top….

 

and then I use a slim non-metallic spatula to remove any air bubbles. (in this batch of salsa, I happen to grab my VitaMix spatula, but any will do)

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Remove air pockets with spatula

The next step is to wipe the rims of the jars to remove any spills…(note the Royal Blue nail polish….that is my support of my sports team) ;0

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Wipe the rims and jars with damp cloth

I use a magnetic lid lifter to remove the lids from the saucepan in the simmering water and then center the lid on the jar and screw the band (ring) until tight….but not too tight…the technical term is “finger tight”.

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Center the lid with lid lifter…to keep sanitary

Place the filled, sealed and ringed jars into the water bath (called processing) and allow to boil (process) for about 20 minutes. (cover the canner with a lid)

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Process salsa in canner

Remove the lid from the canner (my canner has a rack that hooks on the top of the canner, lifting the jars out of the water)  and allow the jars to acclimate to the kitchen temperature. (about 5 minutes).

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Carefully lift jars from boiling water with jar lifter…VERY HOT

Carefully remove the jars and place on a towel (never a cold surface) and allow to cool…12 hours or overnight is best.

You will start hearing the “ping” which is the signal each jar is sealed….I just love that sound….almost like my own little song! (Don’t worry if you count the pings and they don’t add up, you most likely missed hearing one) ;)

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Cool overnight

Allow the jars to cool to the touch, as I said I leave mine on the counter overnight…and place on a nice cool, dark shelf in my pantry.

The next time you want salsa…you have the freshest possible salsa waiting on your pantry shelf.

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Enjoy your salsa… I like to wait at least 2 weeks to enjoy the proper melding of ingredients…

Now, how easy is that? :)

ANYONE can “put up” veggies or fruits or syrups or whatever your heart desires!

The steps I have shown you work for what ever you are “canning” or “putting up”

Plus, Christmas is coming and you can give a gift of your fresh canned salsa!.

Tie a pretty green ribbon around the jar of salsa and present to anyone, and it would be most appreciated!

You can hand print a label or buy a pre-made label with your name and the recipe….endless possibilities!

Below is my printable recipe for canning your own salsa…or you can use the same recipe to make on the spot, just before serving at your tailgate party. (Football Season is here)

dancing

AND, by canning your own salsa…well, that leaves you more time to actually dance the salsa with your honey!…Or dance around the kitchen by yourself!

I can hear the music now….and I am singing along with it…or is that Gloria Estefan singing….

“the rhythm is gonna get ya! the rhythm is gonna get ya!” ;)

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Me

Kari's Spicy Salsa
I have made this recipe for salsa many times...each time modifying it until I have found the right amount of spiciness. You may adjust the hot peppers and hot pepper sauce to your own liking, but we in this home....like it spicy! If you find that it is too spicy to your liking...at serving time, you can add tomato sauce to "tone" the salsa down. ;)
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Ingredients
  1. 5 cups of chopped tomatoes (I like to remove the seeds)
  2. 2 1/2 cups of chopped onions
  3. 1 1/2 cups of chopped seeded chili peppers
  4. 2/3 cups of cider vinegar
  5. 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt
  8. 1/2-1 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
Instructions
  1. Place the clean jars into the stockpot (canner) of boiling water, allowing them to simmer until ready for the ingredients.
  2. Combine all the veggies into a stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until slightly thickened.
  3. Reduce the heat and gently boil for about 10 minutes.
  4. Ladle the hot salsa into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  5. Remove any air bubbles by using a non metallic spatula (gently pressing the food against the opposite side of the jar)
  6. Wipe the rim of the jars and place the lid in the center.
  7. Screw the band (ring) until tight...but not too tight.
  8. Place the jars in the water and cover with a lid.
  9. Process the filled jars in the boiling water for at least 20 minutes.
  10. Remove the stockpot lid, wait about 5 minutes and then remove the jars to a towel on the counter.
  11. Allow to cool about 12 hours before storing on your pantry shelf.
Notes
  1. As your jars "seal" you will hear a ping and you can visually see the center of the lid now has an indention. You may leave the rings on or remove them, being careful not to "bump" the sealed lid.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
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