How To Blanche Tomatoes Before Freezing

It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  Harvesting the garden and canning/freezing tomatoes for chili and soup this winter.  Most of the tomatoes that I grow are Heirlooms.  They’re not the best looking tomatoes, but they have a great variety and the best taste.  So Heirloom it is.   My favorites are Cherokee Purple and Paul Robeson.  Yum.  I love slicing them and spreading a little mayo over them with a little pepper.  It just doesn’t get any better than a fresh tomato from the garden.  

When I harvest enough veggies, I get the blanching basket and my Ball Canner out.  The tomatoes taste as good during the winter as they do when I pick them from the vine.  I freeze some of the tomatoes and can others.    


I purchased a blanching basket that fits perfectly into my stockpot.  It’s great for blanching tomatoes, green beans and squash before freezing.  Blanching tomatoes is easy and a necessary step to remove the skin before freezing or canning.  It locks in the flavor and here’s the steps:


1.  Choose tomatoes that are not bruised or cracked and rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt. 


2.  Full your stockpot half-way and bring to a roaring boil.  Do not fill completely, immersing the basket will cause the water to rise.  


3.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  This step is important, it will stop the tomatoes from cooking and cool them down enough to remove the skin.  


4.  While you’re waiting for the water to boil, remove any stems and make an x on the bottom of each tomato.  Making an x on the bottom of the tomato helps loosen the skin during the cooking process.  (This step is optional.  I have blanched tomatoes without the x).  


5.  Once your water is boiling, place the basket inside the stockpot for approximately 30 seconds – 1 minute. Do not cook your tomatoes longer than the 1 minute time frame.  Some of the skins on the tomatoes may start slipping off the tomatoes during the boiling process and that’s fine.  You’re going to remove the skin from the tomatoes, this is the goal.  


6.  Remove the basket from the stockpot after 1 minute and emerge the tomatoes into the ice water with a slotted spoon for about 5 minutes.  You can see the skin slipping off a few of the tomatoes in the picture below.  


7.  Remove the skin from the tomatoes, the skin should easily slip off the tomatoes.  


8. I recommend slicing large tomatoes before placing them in quart or gallon freezer bags.  Smaller tomatoes can be left whole.  If you have a sealer, now is the perfect time to bring it out.  I like to use quart bags for storage.  It’s a sufficient amount for my dishes down the road.   


9.  Write the date on the freezer bag with a permanent marker and freeze until ready to use.  


10.  If your bags are sealed properly, your tomatoes should not sustain freezer burn and should be good to use through out the winter.      

Stay tuned for my canning session.  I usually put up 15 – 20 quart jars of tomatoes each season.  I use the canned jars in chili, soup, salsa and other recipes as well.   What are you harvesting from your garden?  


Inspirational Quote – Single Parents

5 Benefits of Godparents

All of my children have been dedicated back to Our Lord and Savior.  Having children Baptized is an important event in my family. When you’re blessed, you return your blessing back to God.  It is expected by the time the children reach the age of 1 or shortly thereafter, no exceptions.  


This is Xavier being blessed 7 years ago.  He was a perfect angel during the ceremony.  










                                My daughter, Xavier and his Godmother




                              My Son-In-Law and Zarriah on Christening Day






                               
In the picture above, my daughter and Zarriah’s Godmother and Godfather, my nephew. My nephew is also Xavier’s Godfather.  Zarriah was also a perfect little Angel.  



My daughter was dedicated 35 years ago, so she understands the importance of the dedication. My best friend is her Godmother and is still a big part of her life.  I am proud to say that my daughter and both of my grandchildren were dedicated in the same church, what a blessing.  


Some people may wonder about the role of the Godparents.  Some families may have different goals, but in my family the most important roles are:


  • Spiritual Guidance
  • Friendship
  • Mentoring
  • Role Model   
  • Providing Security

I think it’s important that parents have assistance in their children’s upbringing, and the children know that they have someone that they can always turn to.  Godparents are expected to attend birthday parties, graduations and other significant events in the children’s life.  Most importantly, they accept the responsibility of raising the child if the parents are unable to fulfill that role.  


Have your children/grandchildren been dedicated?  What were you expectations of the God parents?





Inspirational Quote – Attraction

8 Back To School Shopping Tips

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Back to school!  So, it’s that time of year and it’s right around the corner.  We’re heading to the malls and stores for back to school clothes, book bags, lunch boxes, and paper supplies.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Don’t we have simple tips  to help you prepare for the big event.

First, set a budget.  Next, seek out bargains.  And use our back to school shopping tips for ultimate savings.

Additionally, wondering how to stay on track with your budget?  A list will keep you on track and help you to not make purchases that your really don’t need.  Here are a few more tips:

  1. Head to the Thrift Stores – Thrift stores are excellent places to find bargains on jeans, tees, coats and more.
  2. Check Your Child’s Closet Before You Shop – Before you head to the store, check to see if your child has clothing that can be used or passed down. A new shirt/tee can dress up an old pair of jeans.  A scarf can dress up an old shirt.  A new pair of shoes will dress up everything!
  3. Recycle Old Jeans – If your daughter can still wear jeans from last year get creative. Add a design with jewels or paint or distress them.  You can turn the old into new.  Make it a mother-daughter project.
  4. Don’t make large purchases – Don’t purchase everything at once.  It may save on time, but you will most likely spend more if you’re not purchasing sale items.  Set aside several week-ends to shop when you have checked out upcoming sales.
  5. Look for Sales and BOGO deals – Scour your local paper for upcoming sales.  Only purchase items that are on sale and start shopping early for the best deals.
  6. Shop at Dollar Stores – Crayola Crayons, notebook paper, notebooks, rulers, sandwich cases etc. can be found for a bargain.  Ollie’s, Big Lots, Gabriel Brothers etc. should be on your shopping list for these products as well.  Check Ollie’s and Big Lots for good deals on school supplies too.
  7. Head to the Clearance and Sale Racks – I stocked up on end of season tees and jeans this week-end for my little man.  Target and Old Navy have great sales on jeans. You can find good deals at Gap, Children’s Place, and Polo too.
  8. Check Out Deals On-line  – You save on time and gas expense.  I look for free shipping sites.

Finally, we hope you found our school shopping tips beneficial.  You may also like:  Simple Tips to Consider for Studying Abroad.

 

 


Turn It Up Tuesday – Week 47

Welcome to the 47th week of Turn It Up Tuesday! 
Mother 2 Mother Blog is honored to be your host.    
This week’s topic is “Back to School”. Share your back-to-school posts here (and your non-back to school posts – no one is excluded) this week! Each of the hosts and guest hosts will be selecting 2 posts this week! That means you’ll have double the chances to be Featured and win Best of the Best!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!
As you may know, Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Debbie from Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains

Debbie
“Heartbeats Soul Stains is a place I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences on being a woman, wife, a mother of 7, friend and survivor of many different obstacles, challenges and tragedy.
I will share the good, the bad and the oh so ugly things that happen in a family our size. Life is hard for all of us, we all have those crosses to carry. Life is also very beautiful and precious and I am determined to never take the amazing blessing I have been given for granted.”
Stop by and check out her blog…it’s definitely a great read!
Are you interested in having your blog or website featured in this spot? Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month! Click here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

TUT Hosts 7.20.04
(from the top – left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | April from 100lb Countdown | Becka from Probably Craftin | Kae from Where’s My Pacifier? | Margaret from The Mother Rising | Rachel from Craving Some Creativity | Cindy from Mom Maven | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly| Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Lisa from The ‘Fix It’ Stitch | Karen from Quinton Wench | Jillian from Baby Doodah | Katy from Chaos & Kiddos | Tenns from New Mama Diaries

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for August!

TUT Aug 2014 (3)
(from the top – left to right)
Elie from Chocolate and Crockpots | Ce Ce from A Chicago Mom and Color Crush Creative | Tara from Anything & Everything | Kelly from Making-More | Sandy from Being Content Where You Are | Trista from A Purpose Driven Wife | Becky from bybmg | Kimberly from Being a Wordsmith | Lauren from Life In The Wilde | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Kelly from Patient Resilience | Victoria from Giveaways 4 Mom

Interested in being a guest host or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.  We’re now accepting guest hosts for September, October, and November.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Katy chose The Ultimate Zucchini Recipe Roundup from Mommy on Demand. “I have been on the hunt for new ways to get my toddlers to eat zucchini during their veggie strike. This round up has some great recipes that I know they’ll love, and a few fancier options that I can make for the adults!”
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Cindy chose Blessing Bags – Keep on Hand for those in Need or Donate to Homeless Shelter from Thrifty NW Mom. “I love this! Our old church had a large outreach to the homeless community and even a Saturday night meal and church service for them. Throughout the year we would gather items similar to these bags to reach out to people we saw on the streets…and invite them to church. Now that we are at a different church, I still need to be reaching the homeless and needy of our community in a tangible way and this post reminded me of that.”
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Victoria chose I Can’t Take It Anymore! Tips to End Baby Daddy Drama from Epic Mommy Adventures. “I chose this post because it is something that I can personally relate too. When reading the post I could see that there was real life experience put into the post and those are the posts that I really love to read.”
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Becky chose A No-Stress Attitude About Potty Training from Fruitful Families. “I loved this post because it is totally how I feel about potty training and we only trained one. I didn’t let it stress me out, and we really just waited until our son was ready. This post is a great read for moms!”
Jillian also chose this post. “I chose this post because we are reaching the time when we’ll be needing to potty train my son and this has great ways to keep it a stress-free experience.”
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Sandy chose Homemade Freezer Biscuits from Ten At The Table. “I think having these freezer biscuits on hand will make our busy school morning a little bit easier. Just put them in the fridge the night before and pop them in the oven while we are getting ready. I can’t wait to give them a try.”
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Rhonda chose I Can’t Take It Anymore Tips to End Baby Daddy Drama from Epic Mommy Adventures. “As a single mother who has raised a daughter and dealt with baby’s daddy drama, the tips are very insightful and will help eliminate unnecessary stress. Great advice.”
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Kelly chose My Five Camping-with-Littles Must-Haves (And ONE thing you’ll never need!) from Mommy Life after PhD. “I chose this one because I think it is wonderful for everyone to be out in nature and enjoying time with their families, but many people wait “until the kids are bigger”. I think these suggestions are helpful to show that you don’t have to wait.”
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Stacey chose 14 Tips for Coping with Depression while Raising Children: Guest Blogger Jenessa from Mothering {In Real Life} from Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy’s Survival Guide. “Jenessa wrote such a beautiful and heartfelt post! Struggling with depression myself, she offered many wonderful ideas to help muddle through those difficult times, especially when trying to raise healthy and happy children. Our children still need us no matter how we feel, and so many of her tips were completely spot on in coping with depression and raising children.”
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Kimberly chose 10 Funny Marriage Proposal Disasters from A Kaleidoscopic Dream. “I am a sucker for a unique marriage proposal story. The ones that turn out opposite of how they were planned are the best. The ladies at A Kaleidoscopic Dream did not disappoint with these picks. Hilarious!”
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Jessica chose No, He Doesn’t Wear A Ring. from Blessed in Alabama. “How true! My husband and I have been married 4 years August 9th and I can happily say that he does not wear a ring,,, and surprise! Neither do I. His reason is because of his job. My reason? I lost weight (LOL!!). However, we are still happily together and the ring does not define our marriage – our trust and love for each other does. Thanks for the post!”
Chelsea also chose this post. “I chose this post because I think it really proves a point. People get so caught up in appearances and what others think of them. It was a nice refresher to know that someone out there is living freely, and doing what works for them. I especially liked it because I can certainly relate. Although I am not married as of yet, my boyfriend of 6 years obviously does not wear a ring. I do, but it’s a promise ring. Hah! I always get shade from people saying that it’s not equal for me to wear a ring (and say I’m off limits) but he is not. So, I was happy to see what she had to say.”
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Kelly chose You’re Going to Love This! from Woods of Bell Trees. “This was my favorite because I love the whole “Swap and tell” idea. It is a great opportunity for business owners, like me. It sounds like a really fun concept.”
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The post with the most clicks is Back to School Blog Hop: 15 Back to School Ideas from Curly Crafty Mom.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
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And the Best of the Best is…

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No, He Doesn’t Wear A Ring. from Blessed in Alabama
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Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details!
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So now that you’ve met our sponsor of the month, our hosts and co-hosts, and the Featured and the Best of the Best…

let’s get started!

  • Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.
  • Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!
  • Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!
Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!
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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!

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Interested in reading all of the Featured Posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

Inspirational Quote – Over Forty

My Little Diva – Beach Fail

My Myrtle Beach vacation is over.  I could use another one, this time without the kids. They require energy, lots of energy. The weather was beautiful for the majority of the week, we had a great time.  


Things didn’t go as we had hoped with my little diva. She’s modeling her new bikini in the photos above, but that is as much use as she got out of it.  In a previous post, I talked about how Zarriah wasn’t fond of the beach. Well, she’s still not fond of the beach.  We attempted to take her to the beach twice during our vacation.  The first day, she lasted about 30 minutes. She decided that she wasn’t interested in building sand castles, she rather munch on chips.  After a few handfuls, she wanted to return to the condo.  Thank goodness her grandfather was there, he’s not fond of the beach either so it worked out.  He was happy to babysit while we enjoyed the beach.  






The second day out we took her out in her new bikini.  It didn’t end well, she said a fly got on her sandcastle and on her belly.  She wasn’t having any part of it.  She insisted that she be returned to cleanliness and she wanted the bikini off immediately.  What’s a diva to do?  This one decided to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watch cartoon network.  She was perfectly content, and later decided to take a nap.  After all a girl needs her beauty sleep.  


Needless to say the beach is not working out with this diva.  We’re looking at the Disney cruise for next year’s vacation.  Do you have a diva?  How do you handle yours?



Inspirational Quotes – Gossip

 

Cooking With Kids

Cooking with your children is a great way to spend quality time together.  It gets them involved in meal preparation and forms memories of making sweet treats with grandma.  My little Zarriah loves Groundies, otherwise known as brownies.  She hasn’t quite mastered her B’s yet, so Groundies it is.  We decided to make a batch on our vacation and as you can see she is having a great time helping Mawmaw whip up a batch.  The best part of making Groundies is her licking the spoon while waiting for the brownies to bake.  

I started cooking with her brother 6 years ago, and I wanted to carry on the tradition with her. This was our first brownie making session together, so I cherished the moment and memories.  We had as much fun eating them as we did baking them.  I have found that getting children involved in meal preparation or working together to fix treats helps to combat the Picky Eater Syndrome. I must say she’s not as picky as her brother, which makes life in the kitchen a little easier. I’m looking forward to many brownie and other cooking sessions with my granddaughter.  Do you cook with your children?  What’s dishes do you make together?