Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday's Guest Blog

3-16-11 vacation brain My friend Ann knows I'm struggling a bit, trying to keep my daily blog posts coming for my family and friends. Since she is full of information, ideas and opinions.... she volunteered to be a guest blogger one day a week, and I happily accepted.... And I won't put too many strings attached, or edit her opinions. You'll just get "all Ann".... So below I give you Ann's first guest blog! 
PS: I also loved  the TV show "THAT GIRL"  ..... Judy

Family Traditions, Longing for the Good Old Days

Truth be known, I was not raised in the “good old days” thus only have a handful of family traditions. Frankly, the first 16 years of my life, my goal was to be like “That Girl” aka Ann Marie (and that is my name), and make it to the big city on my own. I gave up family traditions for what is now termed “ridin’ solo”.

While I gained a lot, I long for the traditions and memories so many of you have. Like Judy, she has a trunk full of those along with a great family (hello to marine dude John, Jean, Jan and kids). From time to time, I wish for a fraction of what’s in her trunk (like flag day cake, gingerbread house, mint pie to name a few). So not waiting for traditions to drop in my lap, I’ve set out to find some and/or make my own.

Last fall, I stumbled upon a woman on NPR talking about canning, Mrs. Wheelbarrow (aka Cathy Barrow) from the Washington DC area (where I grew up). She was talking about the lost art of canning and among her blog, cooking classes, she teaches canning. She was canning tomatoes and after listening to her program, I was inspired to can something (I did can back in the 80’s but found that I could buy tomatoes cheaper than canning them).

In the next two weeks, I located the equipment (via a facebook message) from a travel buddy of mine, a recipe for Crockpot Apple Butter, and after seeing the weekly Fareway Ad for Jonathan Apples, $1 for three pounds, I bought 25 bags = 75 pounds for $25. Yikes, what did I get myself in to? I say, go big or go home :p

Happy to report that I got the process done on two weekends in five steps:
* Cutting the apples was cinch with the use of a Pampered Chef apple cutter.
* Cooking the apples took only 10minutes (cooked them in apple juice).
* Mashing the apples through a sieve, messy, very messy.
* Crockpot cooking was easy and made the house smelly de-lish!
* Water bath cooking was a bit difficult on my glass stove, moved to the grill.

After making several pints of apple butter, I canned several quarts of apple slices to make apple pie this winter (okay, it’s spring and I have not made a winter pie yet). Let me say, while this was fun, it was a lot of work and I have no one to blame but myself.

The following month, I saw a recipe for “pumpkin butter” and before you know it, there I was, making pumpkin butter from scratch.

The process was a little easier but nevertheless, messy. Pumpkin Butter is equally tasty as Apple Butter. And as Rachel Ray would say, Yum-O! I have added to my trunk of family traditions, fall canning.

Chat Later,
That Girl, Ann Marie


  1. Loved your first post, Ann! I feel like I know you through Judy. Welcome!

  2. Ann's first blog post is representative of all the energy she puts into living! I can't begin to keep up with her.

  3. Thanks Renee. And as much as Judy say's she can't keep up w/ me, I admire her for her principles and sticking to them. By the way, she too has energy when it comes to her passion ... rallying for things like "save the tree, save the planet and save the fat cats ;)".

  4. Ann, my friend Mary Ellen is weening me off Ed Fallon this morning.

  5. Judy, Judy, Judy.... I read his blog and thought ... man, Judy don't drink the kool aid. Yes, I read his blog, yikes!

  6. What a great post Ann! I'm with Judy - don't think I could keep up with you - 25 pounds of apples?! Yawza! I would have given up right there and then! Don't really like what says about me! Kelley