Posts Tagged ‘chelsey cooks’

Chocolate Caramel Crack-ers

Chocolate Caramel Crack-ers //

I love sweet awesome candy goodness, but I like to pretend that I don’t want to eat it ALL the time (especially when my kiddo is looking). Admit it… you’ve snuck the candy you JUST told your kiddo they could not eat, after they go to bed. Ha! Or, maybe that’s just me? I mean, she has a crazy sweet tooth and will eat all the candy/chocolate around and then she goes on an insane sugar trip and I lose my mind.

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Water bath canning method… for high acid foods

Spicy Pickled Carrots //

I realized, AFTER I shared my Apple Pie Butter recipe, that I never shared how to actually do the Water Bath Canning Method. I am, by no means, an expert… but I’ve researched a ton and referenced a couple of reliable websites (at the end) for this post (plus my random tips). Water bath canning is the most simple method for preserving high acid – foods (I haven’t even attempted pressure canning… it’s a bit intimidating). BUT, I’ve had a ton of fun working with the water method. I’m sharing how you can do it! Check it out:

Tools you may need:

If you’re completely new to canning, I recommend buying this kit. Saves money buying it all together. BUT, if you already have some of the tools… here’s a list:

- A boiling water canner (or a large pot with a lid) with a canning rack

- Canning funnel

- Jar lifter

- Magnetic lid lifter

- Canning bands and lids

- Canning jars (if you use old jars, make sure they were meant for canning and have zero chips or nicks)

- Wooden spoons

- Ladel


- Gather your recipe ingredients and all info (including how many jars you will need).

- Wash jars in the dish washer, or warm soapy water. Check your jars for any nicks and chips, and don’t use those jars if you find them (the jar may not properly seal).

- Fill your boiling water canner with water and place your jars in. The water should be about 2 inches above the jars. Heat the jars to a simmer at medium heat, until ready to use.

- Place your lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the lids to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil the lids, this may damage the seal. Keep your jars hot until ready to use (this will prevent breakage when filling).

- Prepare your recipe using fresh veggies or fruit.

- Remove a hot jar from the pot, using the jar lifter, and dumping the water back into the canner.

- Filling one can at a time, use the jar funnel to fill the jar. Make sure to leave the recipe’s recommended head space (if not specified 1/4 inch for soft spread, or 1/4 inch for fruits, pickles, salsa, and tomatoes).

- Remove air bubbles by gently tapping the base of the jar on a hard surface, and/or run a rubber spatula or the handle of a wooden spoon along the edge of the jar 2 to 3 times.

- Use a clean damp cloth to remove any food debris from the rim and threads on the jar.

- Remove one lid from the heated water using the magnetic wand.

- Center the lid on the jar (allowing the sealing compound to come in contact with the jar rim). Apply the band and twist till fingertip tight (don’t make it too tight).

- Place your filled jars into the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by 1 to 2 inches (if you’ve lost water during the process, add some warm water from the heated lids pan).

- Place the lid on the canner. Bring the jars back to a rolling boil: that’s when you start your processing time.

- Process the jars for what your recipe, adjusting for altitude (here’s an altitude chart).

- When your processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

- Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel. Let the jars cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Don’t tighten the bands, because that will mess with the sealing process!

- After 24 hours, check the lids for proper seal. Push the center of the lid. The lid should NOT pop up and down. Remove the band and try to gently lift the jar with your fingertips on the lid, the lid should not come off. If the lid comes off, place it in the refrigerator and eat it within a week or so.

- Clean, store, and label your jars in a cool dark space (label with the month and year). Your preserved goods can be saved for a year (give or take).

- Enjoy!

I hope this helps you! I need to thank the Ball website for help with this post. Visit their water bath canning page to see visuals for this process. The Dummies website also has quick straight-forward instructions for this method. Sooooo, I’m in a preservation club. We gather once a month to swap the goodies we’ve made (I mean… I really don’t need 8 jars of pickled carrots). There IS actually a food swap website to share some info for you to start your own food swap club! Check it out.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you’ve tired canning… or if you will be trying it for your very first time. Happy Tuesday!

- Chelsey

Wednesday Goodies: Homemade Velveeta Cheese goodness!

Homemade Velveeta Cheese //

The other day I found this on Pinterest…. Homemade frickin’ Velveeta cheese. I really love cheese…. It’s pretty much a necessity in my life. I had to make this IMMEDIATELY! I mean, yeah: cheddar cheese is almost the same thing… but there’s something magical about Velveeta. Unlike cheese, it doesn’t turn into greasy mess when you melt it. It’s just creamy cheesy goodness. Toss in some tomatoes or beans into this cheese and you have an amazing dip.

We went ahead with a grilled cheese sandwich for our first Homemade Velveeta Cheese experiment. The result: delicious. We did just plain cheese for our kiddo and added spinach and bacon for us. PLUS, tomato soup. So yummy. This pinterest find is a WIN.

Homemade Velveeta Cheese //

I researched about 5 different recipes and decided this was the recipe for me (I only adjusted the salt and types of cheese amounts). I hope you check it out (unless you hate cheese, then don’t… ha):

Homemade Velveeta Cheese

Recipe adapted from, America’s Test Kitchen via The taste Tester

1 Tablespoon water

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (unflavored)

1 cup colby jack cheese, grated*

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated*

1 Tablespoon non-fat or whole dry milk powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk


- Line a small pan with plastic wrap (with the wrap hanging over the edge). The recipe called for a 5 x 4 bread pan, but I used a 5 x 9 x 1 inch high pan. Worked fine.

- Place the 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.

- Pulse your grated cheese, dried milk, salt, and cream of tartar in a food processor (about 5 times).

- Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat (it starts to boil pretty quick). When it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it dissolves.

- Pour the milk mixture into a liquid measuring cup. With your food processor running add the milk into the cheese mixture. Blend until the mixture is combine and velvety smooth.

- Immediately pour the cheese mixture into your prepared pan. Chill in a fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

Homemade Velveeta Cheese //

This is delicious. I mean… yeah, it’s cheese… BUT, it’s just like Velveeta cheese. There’s something different about Velveeta. It’s creamy and fantastic. This is a wonderful substitute. Let me know if you try it! It’s so good. I mean: cheese. Also…. try and take photos of a grilled cheese sandwich while your kiddo is watching… it’s almost impossible, “Mama, I’m Soooooooo starving hungry.” Ha!

- Chelsey


If you have a Wednesday post, please feel free to link it up below. And, feel free to link up to these blogs too… Parenting by DummiesProject AliciaJenni from the Blog, and Live and Love Outloud.

Homemade Granola (no refined sugars)

Homemade Granola

I love quick and easy foods. I’d MUCH rather just head to the store and buy something… instead of making it. I’m just not into cooking. Since I’ve had my kiddo I’ve been looking at the ingredients on all those foods I thought were healthy for me, when they’re really not. I cannot pronounce half of the ingredients on most packaged foods out there. PLUS, the majority have corn syrup or sugar added. I prefer to save my sugar intake for when I’m eating pie, chocolate, or cookies.

This brings me to snack time for the kiddo. She’s started preschool this year and can’t bring peanut butter to class (she pretty much LIVES on pb at home). We tried store bought almond butter, she doesn’t like it (I’ll have to make my own, maybe add a touch of honey). I wanted to send her with some sort of snack that had protein and no refined sugars. I googled, I experimented, and finally came up with a granola recipe she loves and I’m comfortable and happy to give to my daughter.

Homemade Granola (with no refined sugars)

- 7 cups old fashioned oats

- 1 1/2 cups of slivered almonds (optional: food processor them for less crunch)

- 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds (optional: food processor them for less crunch)

- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

- 3 Tablespoons of cinnamon

- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

- 3 tablespoons pure vanilla (check the ingredients, most vanilla has corn syrup added…)

- 1 1/2 cups of no sugar added applesauce

- 1/4 cup honey


- Set your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend. You wont the granola just barely moist. Add a bit of applesauce if it seems too dry (blend really well, get the wet ingredients mixed in well).

Place the granola in a 1/2 inch thick layer on 2 cookie pans (make sure the pans have sides, so the granola doesn’t slide off). Bake the granola in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes. Mixing up the granola blend every ten minutes. This will help the granola to cook evenly, and hopefully not burn. The outer pieces of granola will probably cook faster. This recipe made enough to fill two 24 ounce jars and one 12 ounce jar.

When you’re done, let the granola cool and then store in your favorite jar! OR, give these away as gifts for your buddies. You can also add raisins or other dried fruits to the mix, after it’s done cooking. My kid likes raisins and banana chips in the granola.

Homemade Granola

SO, my kiddo doesn’t like the big giant pieces of almonds and sunflower seeds (she’d eat around them). That’s why I like to process the nuts into small tiny pieces (just a bit smaller than the oats). She doesn’t even know she’s eating them…. bwa ha ha ha <——–evil laugh.

I’ve been eating this pretty much every morning with breakfast. I mix half plain yogurt and half applesauce…. and put a TON of granola in there. So yum.

UPDATE 12.2013: if you like your granola a little sweeter/crunchy… follow the recipe above then add 1 – 3 tablespoons of honey (blend really well). Bake on cookie sheets at 200 for 15 – 25 minutes (mixing granola every 10 minutes). Let cool. Done!


- Chelsey