Hooray for updates.

1) Thank you to everyone who entered the apron giveaway! Winners have been announced on that page. Meanwhile, if you didn’t win (boo!), At Cost Apparel has offered the Mel’s Kitchen Cafe aprons for sale (yay!). Aprons are $12.99 and that includes shipping right to your door. Go here to order! The aprons will be available at this deal until Friday, October 4.

2) In an effort to help get your questions answered more quickly and help everyone keep feelin’ the love, I’ve added a contact form here. Let me just reiterate how much I appreciate each and everyone of you and love hearing from you (is it sad that you are truly my social network? I need to get a life!). I promise to try and respond as soon as I can but remember that if you have a question about a specific recipe, you’ll probably get a swifter response if you comment on that particular post.

3) You know how a few weeks ago I posted this Canning Basics tutorial? And I promised more canning posts and recipes? Well, yeah, life got in the way and although I’ve been a canning maniac (applesauce, crushed tomatoes, Italian salsa, etc.), I haven’t documented any of it thanks to insane craziness of daily schedules that leaves me feeling like I literally cannot.get.on.top.of.my.to.do.list. While I send myself to time out in punishment for the lack of canning posts, here are a few online resources and tips that I’ve been using during the canning process. I also have a pretty sweet step-by-step pressure canning post (the basics) that will go up sometime between now and next summer. How’s that for commitment?

  • Pick Your Ownwhile this site is a little confusing and chaotic to navigate, it has some great information and a lot of my canning searches lead me here.
  • For peaches, I skip the step of making a simple syrup like many recipes call for. Instead, I pack the peeled, seeded, sliced peaches in quart-sized jars very tightly, pour in a couple tablespoons of sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the peaches) and add water to within 1/2-inch of the top of the jar. Then I top with a lid, ring, and process in my water bath canner. Saves a step and peaches still turn out very tasty.
  • I have been borrowing my friends Victorio Food Mill and it is a lifesaver for applesauce (I canned over 40 quarts with it). Does it eliminate sticky spots on the floor? No. Did my shoulders ache from cranking the handle for four hours straight? Yes (no comment about the state of my untoned shoulders). Did it revolutionize applesauce making? Oh yeah, baby. Love this thing. I hear it is great with tomatoes, too (I have an Italian tomato press I used for the 1st time this year, despite owning it for almost ten years – made the most fabulous crushed tomatoes in the world; it also does applesauce but wouldn’t recommend for super large batches).
  • I know canning season is waning but I do have a fabulous salsa recipe to share. If anyone is interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll either post here or on Facebook.

4) Hmmm, I think that’s about it! Stay tuned this week for my latest slow cooker invention that rocked our world and our favorite overnight breakfast solution that I’ve been making for years and have yet to share with you (sorry!).

Thanks again for being simply awesome!