Happiness is…pickled beets!

I’m canning like a crazy girl this week.

Letting my inner domestic princess run wild results in amazing stuff coming out of the kitchen. Pickled beets are one of my favorite- and people beg from year to year to be on the list for Christmas beets. I’m sharing my recipe so that you’ll make some- I’d be willing to bet you’ll love them! There are a few secrets here and there I don’t share- because every pickling recipe is different. Tweak this one to please yourself and go crazy… mine have onions in the jar too this year.

Boil & peel your beets, and let them cool a little so you don’t burn your fingers off.

Sterilize your jars- don’t skip this step, EVER. You can’t be too careful, even when you’re canning something vinegar based.After they’re clean and steamy hot- fill them with your beets.

You can add anything you want really. I added a jalapeno pepper for one of my favorite girls that loves spicy things and they all got a chunk of onion from the garden too. Yummy. I don’t like sweet pickled beets, mine are more savory. Much better, if you ask me.

Boil your lids, clean the rims of your jars with a clean towel dipped in boiling water. Be neurotically safe- it’s worth it for the time it takes to get them canned. Boil your brine.

Get your hot water bath canner full and heating. It takes a while to get it going and if you time it correctly, this can be easy.

Brine… Every recipe calls for equal parts vinegar & sugar. Uck. If you’re using fresh garden beets, you don’t need that much sugar. You cannot mess with the vinegar- but you can use a whole lot less (if any) sugar. Play around with it, and taste your brine while you’re making it. If you don’t like it now- you will not like your beets. Be picky. Vinegar is cheap. Here’s my recipe:

Pickled Beets Brine

3 cups vinegar

1-3 cups sugar. Add it a little at a time until you like it.

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp pickling spices.

Boil it all together for 10 minutes or so- until it smells good and you like how it tastes.

Strain the pickling spices out and add it to your jars. Clean your jar rims again, put your boily-hot lids on with the rings, and set all your jars in a sink full of VERY hot water until the canner is ready. If you let your jars cool too much, you’ll blow the bottoms out when you put them in the canner. Nothing is worse than hearing that pop and seeing those bubbles. I promise. It’s worth being patient and letting them heat up. I lost 6 jars last year (out of about 400) so it doesn’t happen too often if you’re really careful about keeping them hot. Load 6 at a time- 7 makes it sketchy and I always end up getting burned.

10 minutes later you are rewarded with the most spectacular pickled beets you’ll ever have. Ever. Not that I’m bragging.

Victory… beautiful and delicious. What’s not to love? Raspberry jam coming up next….

Go domestic princess, go!

Changing of the guard

I have certain break up idiosyncrasies. There are some rules I never break.

I replace all of my lingerie. For me? Lingerie is like bubble gum. Once you’ve given a piece to one person, you can’t give it to someone else. Period. I never want to look at my cute little skank wear and have multiple memories surrounding it. Eeek. No. Yikes. Gag. Some of my favorite stuff is from an old boyfriend, and I couldn’t throw it away… but I’d die before I’d wear it with anyone else. It just seems wrong. Eww.

Same goes for sex toys. With the exception of my brutally expensive vibrators. Sorry. Nobody else gets to play with them because I don’t want to have to replace them. How can you use those things interchangeably with different partners? Gross! Ugh! Not ok- not at all. I threw away some of my favorite things when the hippie moved out. WITHOUT hesitation & along with his sad little fella, went my favorite substitutes that were associated with him, because you have to get rid of the old cock entirely. The only women that have room for 2 are on video. You don’t want to be that girl. Uck.

I paint a room in the house a different color. I painted the living room pale Tiffany blue a week after the dirty hippie moved out. Lovely- and a color he hates. Two birds, one stone… or gallon of eggshell. Something about changing your surroundings makes them feel better. Erasing him from the living room felt great.

I’m a nice ex. I don’t tell all of your secrets to my friends. I don’t act like an asshole to you in public. (with the exception of the hippie) Unless that’s where you want it to go… in which case. I’m not much fun. I don’t like to fight and I hate drama. You win, go ahead- I really don’t care enough to be bitchy & dramatic about it. When it’s over… it’s just over. You know when there’s no going back- and there’s no point being mad.

and I have lingerie and sex toy shopping to keep my mind off of things.

No wonder I’m a nice ex.

30 Days of Truth, Day 6

30 Days of Truth, Day 6- Something you hope you never have to do.

This calls for another list, since there are A LOT of things I don’t want to do

  • I hope I never have to go through another divorce. I miss my boat
  • I hope I never have to get bailed out of jail.
  • I hope I never have to feel inadequate enough to be with someone who cheats on me, ever again.
  • I hope I never feel so lonely that I get involved with the wrong guy.
  • I hope I never have to answer for a few of my larger mistakes lately & I hope I never have to repeat them.
  • I hope I never have orgasm-free sex ever again.
  • Along the same lines… I hope I never have to fake it again. I’m a little too convincing- and then they never learn.
  • I hope I never hurt someone intentionally, or use someone for my own satisfaction…
  • I hope I NEVER have another Brazilian wax. Shudder.

That should cover it- because I could go on for days. I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way, which results in my having plenty of things I hope to never do again. I’m learning, I promise. Maybe not in the best ways, but I’m at least getting the lesson and not repeating the mistake.

That counts, right?

30 Days of Truth- Day 5

30 Days of Truth, Day 5- Something you hope to do in your life.

Ah, finally… something not so insanely painful or mortifying!

I’m a true blue dyed-in-the-wool Mommy. My kids are everything to me. There’s nothing that has ever been more important than always being there for them. They’ve never been to daycare, and they’ve never come home to an empty house after school. Every cookie in this house, has been homemade. I’m sort of crack-y like that. I’m up until 4 in the morning on Christmas Eve, Easter, etc… sewing things while they sleep so they don’t know I made them. They’re nice enough to pretend.

My venture into mommy-hood began quite early…

August 1, 1994, about a month after my 18th birthday. I’d finally gotten my college paperwork, and was heading to the University of Oregon. On a scholarship. My mom didn’t go to college, and she was overjoyed that I was getting out of Sandpoint- and SO excited I was going to college. I was excited for her to get home from work so I could tell her about the scholarship… I’d applied and dreaded not getting it- knowing my mom would die working before I chose to not go. I’d been sick all week- feeling horrible and throwing up constantly, thinking it was nerves or my usual end of the summer cold… and I realized something…

My period was late. Over a week late. Oh shit….

I had to work that day so I stopped at the grocery store on the way, and bought a pregnancy test. Realizing more and more that I had more than a few symptoms. Uh oh… I didn’t even unlock the store before running to the back bathroom and taking the test.

The pink line showed up immediately. No doubt about that one… I didn’t have to wait 3 minutes… but I did… thinking it might go away. No dice. It was practically red. So I did what any delusional pregnant teenager does…

I took the other test… and it was only darker this time.

Oh my God in heaven. It was definite. I was pregnant. Very much so, if I gave the color of those lines any credit. I’d also just found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. Same day. Oh boy. Not a bright moment in history, that’s for sure.

And yet… I was totally at peace about it. I knew I was having the baby- and I’m completely pro-choice – it wasn’t a religious decision. I just knew he was meant to be. I knew my whole entire life was about to explode around me… and I was fine. Content even. Because what I always really wanted to do? Was have kids, and be a good mom. I was heading to college more out of my love for my mother, than anything. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I really wasn’t excited about leaving. Don’t get me wrong- it was a shock- and the months that followed weren’t easy. I love being a mother, I never felt too young and he’s an amazing kid. Meet him once and you’d completely agree with me. He was worth the sacrifice.

We were one of those rare couples that got married. We’ve since gotten divorced but we also have a daughter, great memories and a close friendship.

I really hope to go to college at some point. Even just to keep learning something. I want to learn Spanish… and Italian. Chinese too. I’d like to go just for the experience of going- hell I’d love to be in a sorority…but it might be weird if my kids are the same age as the other girls. I’d love to go to nursing school, so I have something to do with myself after my kids are grown and gone. It can wait- I’m not worried about it.

Because I’ve already gotten to do what I really hoped…

Be a mother.♥

30 Days of Truth, Day 4

30 Days of Truth-Day 04 – Something you have to forgive someone for.

Yikes… this may be more than anyone wants to read. WTF was I thinking in agreeing to all this self introspection for the world to see? At any rate. I promised. I’m painfully honest… and I believe that any time you share your own story, you have the opportunity to help someone else share theirs.

I’m a rape survivor. I was 15, and he was a friend of the family. Close friend actually. I didn’t tell my mom for a while because I knew how devastated she’d be on so many different levels. She’d sent me to New York for a week to stay with Jeff. Thinking he was going to show me the big city. I know she didn’t know what she was sending me into- I know she still feels horrible.

When I got back from New York, I fought and fought with her about every single thing, and ended up getting really sick. When I finally told her I think she probably thought I was losing my mind. I may have been. It was so much to tell and so much easier if I didn’t. Telling made it real…and it opened cans of worms I didn’t want to open.

I had to be interviewed by a detective… and had to be absolutely precise in every detail, down to the color of my panties. It was awful. I kept trying to skip over things, and my mom was sitting in the room, sobbing. They finally had her leave, which made it a lot easier. I refused the physical exam. Thank God- the day had been bad enough at that point.

I wanted to put it behind me, not talk about it. My mom put me in counseling. Which was more boring than anything I can even describe. Putting it behind me worked a lot better- and I think part of growing up in a family with open communication meant I never thought it was my fault. I always knew it was his failing- even if I was the one who ultimately was affected by it.

I moved on… with a few scars… for sure. I can’t stand facial hair… because he had it. The sensation of facial hair on my neck or my face or my thighs… makes me want to throw up. Which sucks. Damn it. I don’t like having a life long scar from him. It frustrates me….not to mention the men in my life who are slaves to the razor.

Certain Beatles songs too… I can’t hear them…so I just avoid the Beatles entirely.

I’m incredibly forgiving and have never been one to hold a grudge. With the exception of Jeff. He stole my childhood in a lot of ways. I wrote him one ranting angry letter, once, on the urging of my counselor. I don’t know if she mailed it- I never heard from him after he was arrested.

Part of growing up is learning how things can affect you but they don’t have to change you. I can forgive him for almost everything. I’m pretty happy- pretty successful- and love clean shaven men better anyway.I forgive him for violating my trust and the trust of my mother.

But damn him for ruining the Beatles.