Canning Tomatoes

The last week of August my great friend Sarah came to visit me up in Vermont (I was spending a week there between two weekend weddings) and we had an adventure in canning tomatoes!

We’ve been talking about it for quite some time so it was exciting to actually make it happen. I went to the Farmer’s Market and talked to some Farmers trying to find organic tomatoes. I eventually bought 60 pounds… was a lot 🙂 We got up early one morning to buy the rest of our supplies (a new canning pot, some tongs, etc.) and were canning away by about 10:30.
We found this Bell Canning video particularly helpful but random Google searches were also conducted throughout the day since we were novices.
The first step was washing all the jars, lids, and tops in very hot soapy water. They would be additionally sanitized by taking a bath in boiling water so this was just a pre-caution.

Thank goodness for my Mom’s kitchen which has tons of counter space. Thank goodness also that we had two people – I can’t imagine doing all the steps with one. While Sarah chopped the tomatoes roughly I washed them first in the sink to rinse them and then blanched them so the skins slipped off easily. We were quite efficient with our jobs 🙂

(I took a first picture and then told Sarah she had to look happier….reminds me of Jeff’s happy faces when painting!!)

The Stove was going all day either blanching tomatoes, warming up water for a canning bath, or sterilizing jars and lids.

A teaspoon (or maybe a tablespoon…can’t remember) of lemon juice is added to each jar before it boils.

Oh yeah……some done and lots to go 🙂

We had picked up fresh dog treats that morning so Strider, Sage and Nellie enjoyed them fully. They hung out on the back porch most of the day – occasionally wandering over to the apple tree to see if any had fallen 🙂

The rough steps are:

– Wash tomatoes
– Plunge them into boiling water to loosen skins
– Peel off skins and chop them up
– Sterilize jars
– Fill jars with a teaspoon (I think) of canning salt, 1 Tablespoon (I think) of lemon juice and the tomatoes – leaving about 1 inch headroom
– Run a knife around the outside of the jar to remove air bubbles
– Place jars in boiling water and cook (they call it process) for 45 minutes
– Remove jars and place on a dish towel for 12-24 hours so they cool down slowly
NOW….when we took our first batch out of the water it looked like this – yikes! But trusty Google told us that this is normal depending on the amount of water in your tomatoes (ours were very liquid-y) so we didn’t worry – phew!

The process continued……for a long time 🙂

Lowering the jars in for processing

Our haul at the end – 47 quarts of diced tomatoes and 5 quarts of tomato puree

Ahhh….feels good 🙂

Sarah took this picture of me near the end of the day….she calls it death by canning 🙂

After seven hours in the kitchen all the tomatoes had been processed and we headed out for a celebratory dinner at Bearded Frog. We then topped it off with dessert at The Inn – a great end to a fun day!
Did I mention that we had SO much fun canning tomatoes that we tried our hand at peaches the next day? Stay tuned 🙂

Fia’s 2nd Birthday Party

I’m going a bit out of order here but I’m excited to share these photos and it’s already a month past the event….so here we go!

Fia turned two on September 3rd and I was THRILLED that I was able to be there the next day for her party. It was mostly family but her biggest buddy Gray was also there.

Fia’s Grandmother brought two balloons smartly tied with dowels at the bottom so they wouldn’t float away – they were a HUGE hit 🙂

Up, up, and away!

Grandma Campa reads a book about tractors with Fia – loved this quiet moment

Her biggest present came from Ave’s Mom and Dad……

A motorized gator! Fia’s first word was Gator and she loves riding around on the real one so to have one her size was quite a hit. Gray thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and clapped his hands in delight 🙂

At first Fia really had no clue how to drive it but I just saw her this past weekend and she’s figured out the pedal and loves to drive around in circles so she doesn’t actually have to steer 🙂

We got all the grandparents together for one picture – Fia is a very lucky lady 🙂

And after a yummy meal we opened some presents – a tea set was first

And Fia was entranced with this knit dragon

Love this one.

Blowing out the candles on her carrot cake

Frosting was a big hit

Saying good-bye to one Grandpa

We did a few family photos to mark the occasion

And then it was time for more gator riding 🙂

Happy birthday Fia!

Spoiled rotten at Grandpa’s house :)

Queensberry Coffee Table Style Wedding Book

My favorite album company Queensberry recently started offering Press Printed Books and Albums that are just beautiful.

These Coffee Table Style Books are a great option if you’d like to include more than 80 images in a given album – they are priced to include up to 150 images although can include more (just inquire).

This album was one I made for Talley’s Grandmother – a 10×10 100 Image book.

Similar to the matted albums you are able to incorporate a translucent title page to begin the album

Since she incorporated photos from both the rehearsal dinner and the beach party we separated the sections with another translucent page

The final page incorporated one of Talley’s “doodles” that showed the Inn at night!

Wendy & Mike’s New York Engagement Photos

Wendy, Mike, and I met up outside Prospect Park in Brooklyn for their engagement photos. They are getting married next month at the beautiful Elm Court and it was great fun to hear all about their plans!

They were so at ease with each other and between them and the beautiful morning light I was loving the images!

I loved the texture of this tree

Love this one too

We walked down the street where Wendy used to live and ended up on the steps of their old apartment building!

We finished the morning at this beautiful fountain right next to the subway station. It was getting quite hot so we were happy to be cooled by the mist 🙂

I look forward to seeing you both again and meeting your families in just a few weeks!