I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Two Happy Surprises

Yesterday I went to Lowe's to buy something and in the middle of the main aisle was a bright green display for Ball canning supplies. Knowing that I was hoping to make pickles and spaghetti sauce later in the summer, I bought some rings and flats for my canning jars. Then, I spied the "Ball book" something I have not seen for sale in 25 years. It is a soft cover, magazine-sized book of canning recipes. My old trusty one from the late 1970s is at Rachael's house, and because I wondered how much recipes have changed in 30 years, I bought a copy. On my way home, I decided to run out to Crow's Nest in Price's Fork to see what fresh produce they have for sale. Mama mia! I almost fainted when I saw the huge bunches of just-dug beets. For the past many months I have been hankering to make beet pickles so with this happy find I bought six bunches of the biggest beets I have ever seen. The cost? $1.50 per bunch. Amazing. I got home and called Rachael telling her that I needed the beet pickle recipe from the old Ball book. She sent it to me. On a hunch, I checked the new Ball book to see if it contained a beet pickle recipe. It did and I wondered how much it had changed over the years, thinking how sad it was that everything seems to end up "new and improved". Imagine my shock and delight when I read Rachael's email with the recipe. It is the exact same one as in the new Ball book! I guess some people think like I do: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. As I type this the pungent odor of vinegar and spices are overwhelming my house and my nose. Oh, those jars of beet pickles all lined up on the counter sure look inviting.

Here's the recipe:

Beet Pickles

3 quarts peeled, cooked small beets

2 cups sugar

2 sticks cinnamon

1 T whole allspice

1.5 t salt

3.5 cups vinegar

1.5 cups water

To cook beets:

· Wash and drain beets.

· Leave 2" of stems and the tap roots.

· Cover with boiling water and cook until tender.

· Combine all ingredients except beets.

· Simmer 15 mintues.

· Pack beets into hot jars, leaving 0.25" head space. (Cut larger beets in half, if necessary.)

· Remove cinnamon.

· Bring liquid to boiling.

· Pour, boiling hot, over beets leaving 0.25" head space.

· Adjust caps.

· Process pints and quarts 30 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield: about 6 pints.




Rach said...


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