Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pickling Jalapenos



I’m joining the “Our Growing Edge” link up for March.  It’s an initiative from Bunny.Eats.Design to connect foodies and inspire one another to try something new.  This month Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys is hosting. 

My hubby loves jalapenos.  I usually buy the Old El Paso brand from our supermarket.  But at $4.25 a jar , we’re pretty much paying $17/kg for those little chillies, considering that the ingredients used in the pickling liquid are inexpensive – just water, vinegar and salt!  My local grocer occasionally gets in fresh jalapenos, and this week I picked up four small trays for a total of $7.14.  (I’m kicking myself for not weighing them when I got home, because I can’t do a price comparison for you.  Next time, hey?)  It’s easy peasy to pickle jalapenos yourself.

I’ve tried this recipe before from The Purple Foodie.  It was a hit with my man, but the flavour combinations weren’t exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted some flavours that I associate with Mexican cooking.  I was looking for a recipe that included coriander, cumin and oregano.  Seeing as I couldn’t find one, I decided to make up my very own pickling liquid recipe.

Here it is:

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

2 tbs salt

1 tbs sugar

5 cloves of garlic (don’t bother peeling, just crush slightly.  I use the flat side of my big sharp knife)

1 tbs whole peppercorns

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

A few sprigs of oregano from my garden

Put all the pickling liquid ingredients into a big saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.  I like to add my chopped jalapenos to the liquid and give it all a big stir to mix through all the spices.  Spoon the jalapenos into a sterilised jar (I boil my glass jars for 10 mins on the stove, but there are other ways to do it if this doesn’t appeal to you), and pour the liquid over, making sure that the chillies are covered.  I had enough jalapenos left over to fill a few smaller containers, and thought they’d make nice little gifts for friends, teachers, etc. with the addition of some pretty fabric and a ribbon.

pickled jalapenos

Do you have a favourite fruit or vegetable you like to pickle?  What about a favourite recipe?

I’d love to hear from you.



Upcycling: Wall Hooks


I found this sad little thing at one of my local Salvos stores.  I imagine in her previous life she graced the walls of a little old lady’s home, maybe by the front door, to hold her bag, coat and hat.  Because of her dated pattern, she sat unloved on a shelf, marked $8.   I saw her potential, and brought her home for a face lift.

Sad, old wall hooks.

First, I had to pull her apart.

sad, old wall hooks 2

I used the old fabric and wadding as templates to cut new ones.  After scraping off all the old glue on the board, I attached both fabric and wadding to the backing board.  The fabric is a Joel Dewberry, in the Avery range.

Luc Preschool 023

A few white coats of paint to the frame, a little distressing and some new draw handles for hooks completed her new look. Her new home will be in my laundry, and she’ll have the honor of holding my broom, dustpan and fly swat.  Not an overly glamorous life, but at least she’ll look good doing it!

Finished Wall Hooks

I love giving things others throw away a second chance at life.   Do you?

Talk soon,


THRIVE Goal: Towards Spiritual Maturity


I guess sooner or later you’ll discover that you can pigeonhole me as a “Christian.”  I struggle with you knowing this, because I’m afraid you’ll judge me as out of touch, religious and boring.

Maybe I am.

The truth is I’m not happy sitting in Church.  Part of me desperately wants to fit in, please the others and go along with the crowd.  But I can’t.  I see horrific financial waste, where money given weekly is largely spent on a massive mortgage for an out-of-date building the now shrinking congregation can’t afford.  I see people being paid as ministers, and I can’t help but feel their 9 to 5 week would be better spent working out in the world, connecting with the so-called “lost”, rather than patting the hands of the spiritually immature who refuse to grow up.  I see the lyrics of worship songs projected up on the big screen, and I wonder if anyone else can see that we’ve swallowed the “i-culture” of our day, and are bopping along worshiping ourselves rather than outpouring our adoration and reverence to God in song.  Ideally, I’m supposed to be in a Bible Study group to grow spiritually, most of which (more often that not) follow some sort of programmed material.  I’d much rather use this time to get to know about what’s going on in the lives of the people I’m there to support.  To use that time to build relationships and give them courage to press on with their spiritual journey, as they live out a life of worshipful service to Jesus.  I’d love to see my brothers and sisters as agents of social change, advocating for justice, out in the world actually reaching the people Jesus told us to love – rather paying someone else to do it, or worse, sitting in judgement sneering down their noses at those sinful “heathens.”  Ugh.  The use of that label sickens me.

So what now then?  Do I still go to Church?  Yes, I do.  Until there is an alternative, I’ll be sitting there.  Praying.  Hoping.  For more like-minded people who sit on the edges of Church culture to find each other, to ask intelligent questions and to fumble forward as we try together to grasp how to live the revolutionary, counter-cultural lifestyle modeled by our gracious Jesus.

As it happens, God has drawn a little group of us together already.  Tonight we start a Book Club.  No edgy name.  No misspelling in the title.  Just a plain old Book Club.  We’re going to eat a lovely meal, and we’ll chat about this month’s book “Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality” by Donald Miller.  We’re going to talk about what in the book inspired us, what challenged us and what we disagreed with.  No judgement, just listening to one another and questioning to promote deeper reflection.  And hopefully spiritual growth.

My dream is that others who are disconnected from today’s Church might find their way to a place where their dissent is understood, and that they feel affirmed that their relationship with God is one that is valuable and real.

I’ll let you know how it goes.