The Best Pickles EVER

Yes, these are the best pickles EVER!  Not because we made them, but because the recipe is the best one I have ever tried.  And of course the best pickles come from home-grown cucumbers.  For the first time in my garden, I was able to grow perfect cucumbers!  I planted them by the trellis thinking they would climb…and boy, did they ever!

The one problem that I have always had is powdery mildew. I can’t seem to keep it away. I found some organic spray that actually seemed to work fairly well, but if I missed a spraying, the leaves were covered again.

From the vines, I was able to get about 5 quarts of pickles before we went on vacation.

The recipe is as follows:

1qt jar
1 jalapeno
1″ wedge of onion
1 clove garlic
cucumbers (as many as will fit, cram them in there because they shrink)
1 teaspoon dill SEED
1 tablespoon canning salt

1/2c sugar
1/2c pickling vinegar
1c water
Mix until sugar dissolves. Microwave JUST until boiling (about 4 minutes). Pour over jar contents to the top and seal. Store in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.

***The original recipe from a friend said to put the brine in cold, then place in a hot water bath just until the pickle color changes (10-15 minutes).  I have not been successful doing it this way, as my pickles always get too soft.

New Eating Habits

Lately, I have been reading about the food that we buy now.  We are not in good shape as a country when it comes to our food.  There have been many things that have triggered my interest in eating healthier, but looking at my girls has been the biggest motivation.  Is what I am feeding them good for their minds and body?  While we eat healthier than most families…the answer is no.

I stumbled across this blog Maria’s Health and was amazed at what she was making!  Everything we love…just so much better for you!  So I ordered her book.  Oh.My.Gosh.  The small book is PACKED full of recipes that sound awesome!  The best part is a lot are gluten free and low/no carb.

With this change in eating comes a change in buying groceries.  I had to place a rather expensive order (I ♥ Amazon!!!) to get some of the ingredients.  This is only some of it, the rest will be delivered next week.  I told Wade…we can pay for it now, or we can pay for it later when we have health issues.  (And it is better than paying for some weight loss program!)

Today I made my first recipe.  It was for cheese danishes.  They were pretty good!  The Stevia (Wade found it at HEB) is really sweet, much sweeter than sugar, so that will take some getting used to.

(oh…and don’t forget to grease the pan! “fake” sugar does NOT come off of anything…even non-stick! lesson learned.)

Power Balls

A couple weeks ago we bought some flax seed after hearing my co-worker talk about making power balls.  The girls LOVED them!  I am not sure who ate more, me or Wade.  The girls and I made more today.  It is a great [mostly] healthy snack.

1c honey
1c peanut butter
1/2c flax seed
3c oatmeal
1c chocolate chips
1/2c nuts
1/2c dried fruit (we skipped this because we didn’t have any)

Mix well and enjoy.

Meringue Cake Failure

Lately we have been going low-carb.  But I have a SUPER sweet tooth, so this has been very difficult.  After 2 weeks I needed SOMETHING sweet.  The latest Martha Stuart magazine had some great recipes in it and with a little modification, are very low carb.  I attempted to make this beautiful meringue cake.

I put it in the oven and started on the syrup.

I took it out of the oven and this is what it looked like.

Oops.  I think a couple things went wrong.  First I used one of those rubbery bunt pans and put it in a water bath.  I should have skipped the water bath using that pan.  The second, I think I actually over mixed the meringue.  It had stiff glossy peaks but it had only been about a minute and the instructions said 3-4 minutes.  Lastly, I used splenda instead of sugar (no carbs in splenda).

We did try it then chuncked it in the trash.  Maybe next time.