Tuesday, July 5, 2011

...and I'm a Mormon

I consider myself a connoisseur of commercials, having amassed a sizable collection of personal favorites. The cinematography, music and punch lines combine to make memorable works of art (and hopefully sell something in the process).

In my latest search, I have happened upon some memorable commercials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each commercial emphasizes a gospel principle from the perspective of a given member of said church, drawing upon their own unique and sometimes challenging life experiences. I admit I am no Chuck Norris and I may have teared up watching some of them (but only a eensie weensie bit in the most manly way).

In my opinion, they are refreshing and feel good worthy of which I highly recommend regardless of belief system. Some of my favorites are Marco, Eric, Nadia, Allan, Victor, and Jane to name a few. Each week, I find myself looking forward to meeting someone new and seeing the beauty in life. Makes me wanna go and carpe some diem!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Canning 101: An Exercise in Patience

I'd like to preface this post with the following scripture:

"And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive," (Book of Mormon, Alma 7:23).

You're might be thinking: what could this possibly have to do with canning? Well, everything actually. Over the past few weekends, the wife and I have been learning about self reliance in the following areas: education, health, employment, home storage, finances, spiritual strength. We discussed plans and ways to make strides and improvements in each of these areas; however, of particular concern was our sad state in home storage (i.e. food/water storage, 72 hour emergency kit, etc..). In addressing this concern, our effort lately has been focused on learning how to look for food sales and preserve food via pressure canning.

Learning new things is fun, right? Indeed, but if things should go awry and your kitchen turns into the insides of a honey jar, you might as well enjoy the journey. I am pleased to report, we have been successful in canning chicken, peaches and strawberry/blueberry jam. Each one brought with it a unique set of trials and setbacks. Cutting raw chicken is awkward. Preparing imperfect peaches is an uphill battle. Shrapnel from exploding bubbles of boiling jam is hot; very hot. But after the maelstrom, there is a feeling of satisfaction when you can finally see the fruit of your labors. Canning teaches patience and diligence. And in my opinion, preserving and laying up fruit against the season is just another way to cherish the many blessings from a loving Heavenly Father.

Peaches on sale for 47 cents/lbs is not an everyday occurrence, so we did the sensible thing and ransacked the local grocery store.

Chicken was poached pre-canning to ensure eradication of harmful bacteria. Kitchen was scrubbed to the same effect.

Boiling peaches. This process was very educational in how to select peaches in the future.

Yellow gold!

Constant stirring to help thwart jelly attacks. "Wax on, Wax off" technique came in quite handy.

And by their fruits, ye shall know them.