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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Canning Dry Beans & Road Trip

No I have not dropped off the edge of the world but thanks for the concern. My husband and kids arranged for me to be able to make a solo trip to visit our newest grandbaby for a couple of days then visit with our oldest (16 months) grandbaby for a couple of days. It was last minute planning so I didn't have a chance to post a message. Sorry about that.

Canned Dry Beans

I've been in serious stock-up mode. Some of the foods I'm stocking up on like dried beans are being vacuum sealed for storage while the rest is being canned. The reason for home canning your own beans aside of economics is you end up with a superior product to store bought. At the same time you can season the beans exactly as you desire so you have a personalized end product. Finally, you create a low salt, preservative free convenience product. Realize that busy people want convenience food ingredients or simply a pour & heat meal sometimes but that is no reason why you can't make your own.

I decided to do up about half the beans I bought from my last purchases for canning simply to take the new canner for a run. I canned all the beans in 500 ml jars. The yield was 5 jars pinto beans, 4 jars black eyed peas, 5 jars oriental mix beans*, 4 jars white kidney beans, 6 jars black turtle beans and 1 jar mixed beans. The dried beans all came from the Bulk Barn, a Canadian bulk food store. This is one of my favourite stores for buying dried foods as I buy in the amounts I want not the amounts deemed by the food industry. This ends up not only saving money but because there is considerably less packaging is environmentally friendly. I managed to find a couple of interesting new items. One of the new items was an Oriental bean mix consisting of a beans and lentils mix. This store also sells organic and health food products at comparable prices. As with all grocery stores though, you really do need to know your prices.

Lunch

We stopped in Port Credit, Ontario to enjoy the beautiful sunny day as we walked along the pier. There were a fair number of Mute and Whistler swans as well Canadian geese. Even though the swans visit us almost daily at home, I never tire of watching them! After our walk, we stopped at Lake Affect Patio Bar & Grill for lunch on the outdoor patio. The nachos came topped with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, red onions and black olives served with salsa sauce and sour cream. We also ordered two pounds of chicken wings with four separate sauces: hot, homicide (serrano), honey garlic and barbeque. The wings were large and meaty, nicely fried for a crispy skin yet tender meat. The adults enjoyed a draft beer with mine being Sleeman Cream Ale, a Canadian premium microbrewery beer made in Guelph, Ontario while grandbaby sipped contentedly on cranberry juice. Grandbaby loved the variety of vegetables as well as the nacho chip and enjoyed the chicken include a lick of hot sauce! This child is destined to be a true food lover. At 16 months of age any food is fair game!

Golda's Kitchen

Anyone who has read this blog knows I do a lot of canning. I have to order some products online because they are not carried locally. So it is with ClearJel starch, a modified corn starch that is the only thickening agent currently approved by the USDA. I use ClearJel for home canned pie fillings, gravies, stews, soups and sauces because it retains a smooth consistency during heat processing. Up until the past year or so, I was buying ClearJel from Bernardin but they are now selling it through Golda's Kitchen in Missausaga, Ontario. I've ordered from them several time so it was nice to actual visit one of their stores.

I love shopping kitchen stores and seriously could have dropped a lot of money in there yesterday. I restrained myself since I was travelling home by rail but I found several items I simply must have! So I've been browsing their website today and will be placing an order shortly. Their shipping and service are very good! I am also planning on going down to take a couple of their cake decorating workshops as well as a cooking class or two under Chef GĂ©rard Jeantet if possible. A couple of my kids did workshops through the Culinary Art School of Ontario and really enjoyed them so I'm planning to do the same now the weather is nicer for travelling. Workshops are from 1-4 pm on Saturdays so I'll get to spend a bit of time with the grandbabies as well.

Purchases

Purchases at Golda's Kitchen included ClearJel, citric acid, a deviled egg platter (perfect for the upcoming meet the baby party), a magnetic lid lifter (not shown) and a dough press set. The ClearJel, citric acid and lid lifer are for canning.

The press set is by Progressive International. Basically these are dough forms. You open the press then cut the dough with the bottom edge of the dough press to cut circles. The dough circles are then placed in the press, fill and sealed ready for cooking. This will be a quick way to make pocket sandwiches and fruit filled turnovers. Please check back for ways I use the dough press set.


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