I loved this day

I loved this day with it’s golden glow, a last breath of summer wearing the colors of fall.

I loved this day with a pile of weeds culled and branches clipped as I slowly get ready to put the garden to rest for the year. I loved this day with cilantro from that garden even as everything else is winding down. I loved this day as I wondered when to plant my garlic. Is it time?

I loved this day with a fairy princess biking to pick apples, coming back with a bag of them in her bike basket. I loved this day of my girls whirling-spinning-climbing-sliding-flipping on the playground as I wrote two letters in the warm sun. I loved this day even as the chill of late afternoon crept in with a reminder that it is fall despite the glory it offered.

I loved this day with dinner offered, no need to cook.

I loved this day of applesauce making. What do you love?

I loved this day as I turned apples into sauce, cutting, simmering, watching white slices and red skin turn into a tawny rose puddle that pulsed and breathed as it came to a boil. I loved this day savoring warm apple sauce sprinkled thickly with crisp granola. I loved this day listening to the canning pot bubble and clatter for one of the last times this year.

I loved this day in this season I love. I loved this day with the ones I love. I loved this day doing the things I love.

I loved this day.

What ever you love, let’s write together. Write What You Love Starts tomorrow. You can still sign up here. (It’s free!)

Write What You Love—3 days to start writing and connect to what you love

Right now I’m loving . . . {2}

Right now I’m loving tomato and peach season. tomatoes, tomato-peach season

I love making salsa, more salsa, bbq sauce, jam.

I love the ping of a canning jar sealing and standing and stirring in the steamy kitchen.

I love the golden color of peaches cooking down and the tumble of red-yellow-green of tomato-peach-peppers in the salsa pot.

I love eating ice cream (or chips and salsa) at the end of the day and picturing hot toast slathered with golden jam on a cold morning.

And I love looking at all the jars—adding these orange-reds and yellow- golds to the greens and berry reds and purple-blues—filling my shelves, proof that I have done something with all these summer hours.

tomato peach salsa





What are you loving right now?


Some Like It Hot—Sweet and Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles

I had an eight-hour canning extravaganza on Saturday, which felt utterly productive.IMG_3132

I knew I was in for dilly beans and raspberry jam and raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce, but when I showed up at my friend Kath’s house she had a colander full of cucumbers too. Always game, I asked, “Dill or bread & butter?”

Since the dill pickles we like need to sit for at least 12 hours (and I wasn’t planning on staying quite that long), we decided on bread & butter. But there were all those jalapenos. Our first batch of spicy bread & butter pickles was born.

When making these pickles, the cucumber, onion, and peppers sit in a salt brine for two hours before you cook and can them, so we started the process and then went to pick raspberries. We came in got our jars heating, had lunch, and got canning.

We had a not quite full small jar to wrap up our batch of pickles, so after it cooled a bit, we stuck it in the fridge. We usually end our canning days with ice cream, but instead we ended with pickles. They were cold and sweet and spicy all at once. We ate the whole jar standing up and agreed this was a keeper. I liked them so much, I made another batch on Sunday by myself.

In eight hours, we squeezed in

  • a batch of hot bread and butter pickles
  • a double batch of dilly beans
  • a double batch of raspberry jam
  • a double batch of raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce (so good on ice cream)*
  • a single batch of raspberry-mint-lavender jam (my big girl kept suggesting raspberry mint, so we tried it).

Hot Bread & Butter Pickles
(adapted from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

10 cups cucumbers sliced into roundshot bread and butter pickles, cucumber, onion, jalapenos
2 cups onion sliced (I prefer thick slices)
2 cups sliced jalapenos (we kept the seeds in)
½ cup pickling salt or Kosher salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seeds
2 Tbsp mustard seeds (we use mix of yellow and brown)
2 tsp pickling spice

  1. Mix the pickles, onions, and peppers with salt and cover with cold water. Let sit for 2 hours.
  2. Prepare 6 pint jars for canning: wash jars and bands in hot soapy water, rinse, and put into a filled canning pot. This recipe should make 5 pints, but I’ve learned to always put an extra jar the same size or smaller in the canner, just in case. Put the flat lids in a heat-proof bowl. Get your canning station set up: layout a towel on the table or counter. Get your ladle, funnel, tongs, slotted spoon, and a wet paper towel or clean rag ready.
  3. Go pick raspberries, have lunch, read to your kids, or whatever you like until the two hours is up.
  4. Start heating the canning pot.
  5. Mix the vinegar and spices together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. While that’s heating, dump the vegetables into a colander and rinse under cold running water.
  6. As soon as the vinegar mixture begins to boil, add the vegetables. Again bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  7. Remove jars from the canning pot. Ladle water from the canning pot over the flat lids.
  8. Spoon the veggies into the hot jars, packing fairly tightly. Ladle the vinegar brine into the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.
  9. IMG_3131Wipe the rims of the jars clean. Place a lid on each jar and screw on the band.
  10. Put the filled jars back in the canning pot. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil process for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude if necessary).
  11. Then turn off the heat and removed the cover. Let jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove onto a clean towel. Wait for the delightful ping of the jars sealing. If one doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge to enjoy now.

* If raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce sounds good, look for Sundae in a Jar in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. We replace the strawberries with raspberries.