Canned Peaches

What to do as I gear up for my low-carb eating plan? Why, can peaches of course. Multi-talented Jayneann and brown-eyed Ukrainian beauty, Valentina, let me sit in on a canning session. Here are my notes--for your benefit and for mine so that I can fly solo next year.
Make sure I have--canning kit, canning bath thingy (Jayneann, what's it called?), jars (sterilized), lids, rings, three lg bowls, 3 pots. PEACHES-- look for @ .59/lb (price match at Walmart)
**One batch=7 jars (@5 peaches/jar) (2 plastic grocery bags worth)** Make simple syrup: heat and dissolve 4C water and 1C sugar (multiply for more batches). Boil other water and place peaches in a few at a time to blanch. Then dip in cold water. Peel off skins and cut into fourths or sixths. Leave in cold lemon water until ready to place in jars.
Valentina's lovely red nails.

Fill the jars with peaches and dump out extra water. Start boiling lids and heating water in canning bath now.

Use the cool funnel thingy in the canning kit to ladle the light syrup in each jar to the top. Jayneann's lovely model hands.

Use a knife to get rid of air bubbles around the perimeter of the jar. Don't forget this step or explosions may occur. Canning will become a chemistry experiment gone wild. Wipe rims of jars clean.

After boiling the lids, use the cool magnet grabber thingy from the canning kit to lift them out of hot water and onto the jar top. Screw on sterilized rings.

Place them in the hot canning bath water filled 1/3 full of water. Middle jar first to stabilize the rest. Lower the rack--water covers the tops of jars, and cover. Bring to "roaring" boil. Boil 25 min with the lid on.

Use the cool grabber jaws thingy to lift jars out (slowly) and place on clean towel by stove to cool. As the jars cool the seals will set over the next 24hrs or so. If a jar's seal does not set, put it the in fridge and use in the next few days.

Remove rings, wash and dry outside of jars that can be sticky after all this process. Let cool over the next day or two. Label with date or date of expiration (good for about 4 yrs.) and set prettily in the pantry, smile and feel like a better woman for taking good care of the special people in your life.

Ideas for using canned peaches:
Cobbler, mix with cottage cheese, mix with oatmeal, plain with cinnamon or on icecream, over pancakes.
Other stuff I wanna try canning:
Plums (ripe, keep skin), pickles, cherries (look for $.99/lb), pears (no blanching necessary)
This is a long (2hrs/batch) but fun process--way more fun to do it with other people. Can't wait to give some to the fam!


Gear Up Soup

I am gathering ideas for a cleaner, non-dairy, lower calorie eating plan--summer vacations have left me with too much junk in the trunk. I like miso soup for lunch--it's comfort foody and not tons of calories. I usually add cubed tofu and spinach to the broth made from this brand:
Another way is this:
Saute 1 onion in oil. Add an equal amount of cabbage/carrots and/or cauliflower and saute till tender. Add 2 C veg broth, 1 Tbsp peanut butter and simmer 3-4 min. Then add 1-2 Tbsp miso paste. Simmer 8 min more.

Next time I will tear in pieces of nori instead of spinach for a more authentic go. And it's good for you too. What do you eat for a healthy lunch? And how do you keep control of portion sizes?



and Kicking, I am. Too busy/lazy for pics so here are some bullets I'll shoot at you.

*We're putting our house on the (crappy housing) market. The long term goal would be to perhaps build something in Colorado. Cyler's lucky I have some gypsy in me.

*I'm in love with the British sitcom "Gavin and Stacey." One can Netflix it. It's a bit naughty but I can't stop laughing. I'm going on to season two.

*I made homemade tortillas. Yum.


Could You Would You?

Live in SW Colorado? Ever since we moved from Vegas Cyler has been jonesing to move to the mountains (pref Montana). I have kept him at bay for 5 years ('you are NOT putting me on the side of the mountain while you travel all week!') and we have enjoyed living in Texas. Now the 'mountain talk' is back again and I have little defense against Ouray County. Closer to family, Cyler gets his mountains, good schools, Birkenstocks and Tony Llamas are both welcome, educated countrified Democrats reign, I get my horse (and chickens, goats. . .)--and then I remember this:
But then, there's also this:

So, could you? I guess the question that is keeping me up till 1am is 'could I'?


Clan Campbell '06

Cyler's bro and sis, Chauncey and Connor. Our reunions simultaneously feel like rightwing patriot movement retreats or like ultra leftist communal experiments--and they are so fun.

Cyler on the left. This year we didn't have quads--in '06 we did--hopefully we will again.

Each family of the siblings of Milo and Alporta Allen Campbell is responsible for feeding the whole group--we had 80 this year.

This fine 30-something bachelor lives in 'New Jerusalem' (rural Missouri)--convenient for when Jesus comes again, but difficult for finding a spouse. Anyone know of a girl who likes a fun guy?

Cyler's dad's family. Lots of boy cousins for Soren.

We are multiplying--I hope we are replenishing too.

Maggie (in the belly here) is now on the ground--pics to come when I get them from this year's photo crew.

Colby looking tough and Ellery looking froggish.

Campbell bucks--goaties and baseball caps. These ones have made great dads, excepting Colby who is newly unattached. He is in Las Vegas on the path he has chosen and we were happy to see him this past week. Cyler had a pendant made for himself, Colby and Soren. He gave Colby his at the reunion as kind of an empowering connective moment between them. I'll post the design Cyler did when the other two are done.

Campbell genes mixed with some Asian spice. Delicious--I want to kiss him all the time!

Channin and Gideon--buddies.

Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door.

Too complicated an image for me to comment on.

No More!

We are home from NV/UT/CO/NM. I and the kids have been on the road since June 29th. Now, no more:

Car ride bickering hallelujah, hallelujah
Public bathrooms (where I try not to imagine the microscopic terrorists that await on the floor, and not to imagine why that piece of toilet paper on the seat didn't actually make it in.)
Captive audiences (Cyler in a seat for hours, unable to escape musings on my HBS (Hair-Brained-Schemes)
Hot Springs in Ouray, CO (Cyler fell in love with CO--something tells me we are going back there)
Living out of a suitcase that gets fuller as clothes get dirtier and not fun to fold
Sleeping in a different bed everynight
Gazpacho and Huevos Rancheros in Santa Fe NM (ask to see Cyler's bone/horn hat band)
Sharing my toothpaste tube
Rotting Turkish Delight in the cooler
Excuses not to exercise
Excuses not to cook
Excuses not to clean


Family Road Trip

Beginning now. Swimming at sister's. Tuacan in St. George. Reunion at the Paiute Courthouse. Digging for treasure. Maiden voyage to Colorado. Twenty hours both ways. Wish me luck.


House of Curves

See a pattern here?

7/7 Greek Hospitality

Hotel Artemis is run by Adonis and his family. His dad built it and his widow is still working there everyday. Adonis's sister, Francesca lives in Athens most of the year with her family and lives on Mykonos for the summer. She is my age and her two girls, Elianna and Artemis are close to my kids' ages. Her husband owns a household goods shop and stays in Athens to work. They rarely have children come to the hotel and were eager to spend time with us. Our good fortune. One evening they invited us out to walk around the town and then go to Agias Kiriakis (St. Sunday) to pay homage on her feast day. Feast day celebrations start the night before, (like Jewish feast days/Sabbath). Of course I was all over that and readily agreed. Elianna speaks great English and is so sweet. I kept wanting to compliment them but it attracts the evil eye so I tried to keep quiet. Their baby niece, Georgia, and mom (Adonis's wife) came to the beach with us once--I couldn't keep from complimenting the baby saying she was so pretty. The mom left about 5 min. later. I hope it wasn't to avoid contact with us.
The evenings here. I would never eat inside if I lived here either.

Artemis is in 4th grade and knows a tiny bit of English. They connected over Barbie.com. Although they didn't understand eachother, Ellery and Artemis often walked around holding hands. Instead of complimenting Ellery, the two girls would just stroke her hair and smile quietly. Soren was decidedly quiet though he wasn't about to stroke anyone's hair--he clammed up around Elianna. Was it the bikini top she wore which is ubiquitous, and at other times deemed unecessary by some women as well as all pre-adolescent female children. Bikinis are worn by the old, the new, the large, the small, the flabby, the post-partum etc. I felt like I was wearing a tent in my boyshort tankini. It was freeing to know that in this part of the world where women's lives are quite proscribed, they can be free enough with their bodies to not feel like they have to be perfect to wear a bikini. I must try this new paradigm--in my own backyard.

In town there are 3 community pelicans that roam the streets. The tavernas feed them and consider it good business when one visits, bringing prospective customers along. They have names, I forgot the 2 boys but the girl is Irina.

Soren got 'kissed' by one. We stopped at a taverna--the kids had fruit drinks and crepes. I had told Francesca that I wanted to try Sardines which are now in season. We ordered some with the typical greens (horta) and she showed me how to eat them first with utensils then we degraded to the real way--with our hands. They are salty, smokey and so fresh. I wonder if I can find them in the US. The two of us talk and compare our lives--daily routine, kids' school/hobby schedule and interests, and cooking--she describes how she prepares stewed rabbit and I explain Fried Green Tomatoes. She said, "Here, we eat our tomatoes red."

While the nightlife began with food and drink and merriment, we were walking inside a small stone church in the shape of a greek cross. The ceiling was light blue with gold stars all over. Wood carving, chairs labeled with names of patrons, iconography framed and within kissing range for adherants. Ellery followed Artemis around, walking in front of an icon, crossing herself and kissing the artwork which was beautiful in that Byzantine style where a beautiful face should be a theatre of pain. She enjoyed being part of a ritual-how nice to be included. One of the Orthodox priests came in (many of them are married, they don't cut their hair and wear hats that are flat on top, similar to 'other' traditions of sacred dress) and said something. We bustled after the girls across the street where an adherant was handing out big chunks of bread. Great crusty, fluffy creations, some with raisins in them. Everyone got some in the name of Kiriakis--note to self to look up her hagiography. After, we roamed the narrow streets, we had Greek yogurt gelato flavored with Mastic and Herbs. Kids threw rocks in the water--Ellery accidentally threw one at a boat which drew the attentions of an old weathered fisherman.

They invited us to come back next year and stay at the apartment attached to their summer house. Time to save up some more Euros. European kisses and email exchanges too. I want to put together a little package of goodies for the girls to send back as a thank you for showing us a Mykonos different than what we would have been able to see on our own.