Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Prepare every needful thing...canned butter

I'm a bit of a food storage/preparedness junkie, but in a good way.  Thankfully it's recommended...you can see so yourself in Doctrine & Covenants 109:8

I've been wanting to try canning butter for a while now, but life always gets in the way.  Until now!  

Out here in the west there is a grocery store called Macey's.  I really like this store, it is open 24 hours, it has a great "feel" and they are closed on Sunday.  They also have a perks program and email specials that they do not advertise in-store.  That is how I was notified of the sale they recently had on butter...$1.88 per pound.  For reference one could easily find butter for $2.50 per pound on a pretty regular basis.  So yeah, that's a great price.

My good friend's mom is ridiculously knowledgeable about canning and food storage.  I am house sitting for them right now and she left instructions and all the accessories necessary to take on 18 pounds of butter.  Following are her instructions accompanied by photos I took along the process, and some commentary.

Bottled Butter

1.  Real butter is best but margarine works too.  DO NOT USE UNSALTED BUTTER.
2.  Heat half-pint or pint jars in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.  
Heat lids (flat piece) in boiling water, then turn down to low heat.

* I used half-pint jars because the way I see it is it will be easier to go through a half-pint jar of butter than a pint or quart if/when I'm in a place without refrigeration.  Because once you open these pretties they will need to be kept cold just like normal butter.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan; boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Don't forget to prep your space...

4.  Stir and ladle the butter and whey into the hot jars, using a funnel to keep butter off the rims. 
5.  Wipe rims off, then place the hot lid and ring on the jar.
(no photo, but I think you get the idea)

I used an area to the left of the stove top to ladle the boiling butter into the hot jars, secure lids & rings and then transferred the jars to the cooling racks.  Fill the jars one at a time.  The jars are super hot and you're making them hotter by putting boiling butter inside, you don't need the jars or the butter to cool through this process before you get a chance to put the lid/rings on.  You also don't want to risk burning yourself by doing too much at once...see my "oops" below.

The photo below shows what the butter looks like when it's hot right after you've finished steps 4 & 5.

6.  Shake jars every 5 minutes over the next 20 minutes. 

7.  Put the jars in the refrigerator & shake every 10 - 15 minutes.  Eventually the butter will stop separating as it hardens.  
You'll see it really start to firm by about your second or third shake in the fridge. You'll also notice it go from an apple juice yellow to a whiter/creamish yellow.

Leave in fridge 1 hour more, then you can store it.

Look at that...

Such an awesome thing...I'm giddy thinking about the last dozen jars sitting in the fridge right now. 


Bottled butter can store on your shelf for 3 years.
If you want delicious "browned butter" stir less during cooking & boil 7 - 8 minutes.  It will be darker in color and apparently it tastes like heaven.

For reference I was able to fit 3 pounds of butter in 7 half-pint jars.
Keep in mind when you cook the butter it boils the water out so you end up with less butter than what you started with.  I started with 18 pounds of fresh butter and it produced 42 half-pint jars of canned butter (plus a little tiny jar seen on top of the box in the above picture.)

If my math is correct (and that's doubtful) I figured each jar of butter cost approx. $1.36. (This doesn't count my oops below.)

The oops: while I was multitasking I dropped a jar.  Technically I think it popped out of my hand, the jar part that is.  I am not quite sure if the lid wasn't on properly or if it was literally forced off by the heat, either way I can't get all the butter cleaned up off the floor.  So the casualty was the contents of one jar, but the jar didn't break... testament to the Mainstays brand.  I like them too because they're plain (no quilted look) and simple.

If you're a friend and want a hand or some company while you do this just let me know...if you're close I'll just come visit.  If not I'll happily accept payment for my time in the form of an airline ticket.

If you have any questions just leave a comment...I'll do my best to answer or get an answer from the queen.

Here's the last thing, some people say "why can butter?" and I say "why not can butter?!"  I don't have a job, much less a home or a generator at the moment, but I do recognize the need to be prepared.  I also know that the woman that left me the directions and accessories to make this happen DOES have a generator and even she doesn't leave it up to the freezer/refrigerator to keep all of her food stored.  Because yes, butter can be frozen, but I really don't think that's the point people.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Going & doing and having fabulous adventures: Park City, SLC Cemetery, and more memory lane

Hello lovelies, I'm here.  In my previous posts I mentioned going & doing and having fabulous adventures. So you can't blame me if I've been out "going & doing and having fabulous adventures" and completely shirking my blog owner responsibilities. But I couldn't stay away long and now I'm eager to report back on a little escape my enthusiastic friend Charisse and I made up to Park City.

We had no plan. I picked her up and off we went, up through the canyon and right off the freeway, no biggie. Park City gets a lot of publicity, but in all reality there isn't much there.  Little downtown is basically only one street (below) with some fun shops and galleries. If you are not budgetarily restricted and in the mood to be a tourist, there would be plenty to splurge on.  Charisse and I are not exactly spending these days, so we did a lot of window shopping and still managed to have a great day.

I didn't pass up this fabulous "hat", it was a steal and reminds me so much of the one my mom has.  If I remember next time I'm in Ohio I'll snap a pic and post it for your viewing pleasure.

There is a free trolley that drives up and down the two main streets all day long. We had to jump on and give it a go...I think I expected too much, or maybe I've ridden public transportation too much to call it a novelty, but it was still fun.  Fun, as evidenced by the picture below of my dear friend Charisse.

It's been a few years, but the first time I ever went night skiing it was right up there on this slop.
It was magical.

Did you read THIS POST where I took a wild walk down memory lane?
There were a few places I missed so Charisse humored me and we took our day back down Katherine's Earlier Years.

The University of Utah Hospital, where I had my first (after college) real life job.
It looks so different, bigger, improved, wow.

And this little gem below, oh, just a simple apartment that I shared with roomie Nikki Brown.
Our (one bedroom/bath/yikes) apartment was on the far end of the top level.

Crazy how many memories I have from this place.
I loved this neighborhood. This apartment was just two blocks from the SLC Cemetery (next photo) and I used to go on walks there at dust. 
Nikki met her husband when we lived in this apartment.
I had my braces removed when we lived here & my wisdom teeth too. 
Nikki taught me how to drive a (her) stick shift so I could borrow her car to go to my follow up appointment at my oral surgeon's office.
I had the (now) funniest experience one late night where I thought it was the Second Coming! It was really just out neighbor playing his music too loud.

Well, now I just feel old, so let's keep going...

This is the cemetery, Charisse and I spent well over an hour driving through in search of exciting grave stones.

Many of the past presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are buried here.
I don't know what it is about seeing their graves, but you just feel like you are standing on holy ground when you are there. It makes me think about the angel that came to the women at the grave/tomb of the Savior. I know it's not supposed to be funny, but I imagine him with this sort of grin, "why do you seek the living among the dead?" ...you silly women.

As we were meandering the graves we happened upon three sisters enjoying a meal around a freshly covered grave. The previous day they buried their father right next to their mother that passed a few years previous. These sisters were inspiring and a complete joy!  They offered us cupcakes..."in celebration of their fathers life."  And they told us stories of their father. They said that the year after their mother died their father called a mandatory family birthday dinner at her grave.  "And we're having steak, I'll pick it up on the way over!" he said to them. I just imagine how much love this man had for his wife. 

No matter how many times it happens (I mean, the world if full of people in love) it's challenging to stomach what I want so greatly, and yet... 

Back to the grand tour:

As we drove around looking for President Brigham Young's grave we saw this:

That is the view I had every time I walked to/from school. It was great. Odd, it's a bit of a sketchy area (this is more the neighborhood from the last post) but in the same way there are amazing homes and businesses (like the church office building and the temple) so it's a strange ying/yang thing happening.

I did manage to find the grave of Brigham Young.  It is in this beautiful little garden with some other graves.

And since we were on the search for the dead Charisse let me drag her to West Valley City cemetery and we found the grave of my great uncle Harry. 

So there you have it...a day full of tourist adventures and parading through my past. 
Crazy and fun, and fabulous company.

More adventures coming soon

Friday, March 15, 2013

I wouldn't call it nostalgia

To say it was a nostalgic day would be wrong.  There was no longing as nostalgia would indicate, but more curiosity.  I had an interview downtown and arrived about 30 minutes before my appointment.  What better to do with my time than drive around and see my old stomping ground.  What a trip.

This is The Bay.  Salt Lake City's hottest night club!  Or at least that's what the Internet said.  This little gem, which I also remember being much larger, was where these tempting lips were first kissed.  I'm surprised this place is still open, I remember it being so much cooler back then.  Then again, so was the guy that kissed me.  These lips are sealed, I'll never tell..

In the next photo...behind the green door on the bottom left (#3) was my first apartment in Salt Lake City.  If I remember correctly Mom and Anne were in SLC and found this place for me.  My roommate was Korena from Weiser, Idaho and we shared a one bedroom apartment.  I borrowed a bed from Aunt Velois and I'm pretty sure I could move everything I owned in a brown paper bag.

Korena and I moved from the green door apartment (above) to this little beauty (below) right around the corner. We lived with Amee & Camille and for a bit, Jeanie in the upstairs apartment. [Nikki might have lived in this apartment at one point too, but I can't recall.]

Downstairs was an Indian family and it is them that I blame for my serious aversion to curry. This apartment had a huge kitchen, it was fabulous. It also used to be painted yellow when we lived in it, and there was a patio on the front porch roof top that we could access from our living room.  You can see in the door/window in the bay window on the second floor.

While living in this house I...

  • Shared one bathroom
  • Began my lifelong relationship with the Welch family 
    • Thanks to roomie Amee
  • Learned President Ezra T. Benson had passed away
    • I even remember calling Dad and being surprised that he didn't know yet
  • Attended a singles ward where emeritus general authority John Sonnenberg was my bishop
  • Tasted my first artichoke heart
    • yumm
  • Mom called to tell me our dog Goldie had died
    • It was on July 4 or 24, I'm not sure which, I just remember there were fireworks
  • I graduated from LDS Business College
  • Got my first real job at the University of Utah Hospital
  • Had my first experience with Biolage Conditioning Balm
  • Had the best body of my life
  • Did not own a car so I walked everywhere (see previous comment)
    • Camille had a car, I might have hitched rides sometimes
  • Learned from Grandma Shores to use an emergency blanket on my window to keep my room cool
  • Skipped church for no good reason 
    • Got deathly ill from the food at The Training Table while we should have been at church
    • Camille drove
  • Was introduced to and fell in love with fry sauce
Well that just about does it for this trip down memory lane.  The interview went great, hopefully there will be more interviews in my future.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bring on the excitement!

If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies

Do you think the process of changing from a caterpillar to a butterfly is painful?  Or breaking free of the shell so your little yellow chick-self can face the world?  To make me (the human) feel a little better about myself I'm going to believe that the process is indeed a little painful.  

After all, in order to get to the season of Cadbury Mini Eggs we have to suffer through a season of awful, chalky conversation hearts.  Admit it, you don't eat them because they are ever so tasty, you eat them because they speak to you.

We grow, we change, and if we're able to read this blog we even live through pain.  Thankfully I'm still living, still breathing, still making plans, still pushing and pulling and struggling just like the rest of you.  It still hurts, but what part of life doesn't come with some sort of pain?  Even during happy times (child birth...so I'm told) there is some amount of pain.  All I'm saying, and I'm not sure I'm saying it well, is that there will always be pain.  And it sucks.  Yep, it bites the big one.

And then you get on with whatever the hell you want to do with your life!  

I'm still working on that 'what I want to do with the rest of my life' part, but I know this...when I moved from Utah last time (a billion years ago) I was a little sad.  I thought "Blast, I didn't get a chance to do this, or that, or whatever."  Well, I'm back and I'm going to do this right.  Um, or at least that's my plan...right after I find a job, or maybe even while I find a job.  

So lay it on me...what is the funnest, most exciting, beautiful, creepy, unique, awesome, wonderful place(s) you have been in or around Utah?  

I'm not sure how long I'll be here and I'm not sure where I'll land when my feet finally hit the ground, but you can bet I'll be ready for more than chalky conversation hearts when I get there.

No pain...no gain.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"I'm Jane, Jane and John Smith"

Sitting in the foyer at church this afternoon I [accidentally] found myself eavesdropping on a conversation between two women.  It seemed woman number one (who I'll call Wanda) was giving woman number two (who I'll call Jane) a box of items.  After pleasantries Wanda said to Jane, "now tell me your name again" to which Jane replied, "I'm Jane, Jane and John Smith." 

Please note: John was nowhere to be seen...not even in the same room, perhaps not even the same building.

I'll admit, I felt a little queasy at her reply.  Jane was a mature woman, so it wasn't a surprise that she said what she did.  Part of me wants to jump on the BE AN INDIVIDUAL bandwagon and the other wants to jump down the LOVE IS LOVELY slide.

Remember Leave It To Beaver, and I Dream of Jeannie, when Mrs. John Smith was more common than just plane Jane Smith?  Thankfully, neither do I.  There is a nice ring to it and I would be lying if I said I didn't scribble that certain someones name combined with my own on my notebook a time or two in the past year.  I'm not crazy, I had every reason to think I would be writing that name forever, but things change.

Which is why my second wave of queasiness came as I thought of that woman as an individual.  I'm all for being in love and showing it in every way.  Some said "don't you dare take his last name" when the only thing I wanted more, was him.

So let's just say you're happily married.  First of all, congratulations!  Second, you're still you, right?

What I saw was a woman that sees herself as an extension of her husband.  If he had been right there and a gesture toward him during the conversation explained her words, there would have been sense in the exchange.  But to me it was almost as if she were justifying who she is by the man she is married to.

I do pray for the eternal wedded bliss [almost] every girl dreams of...one of these days.  But even if I were happily wedded I would be no less myself than I am now.  More a part of something amazing, yes.

I know what [some of] you are thinking, I am a part of this miraculous relationship and I am a better me because of him, or something equally as queasy.  So I giggle a little and think of how I should introduce myself now, in the absence of my companion...

For my parents: "I'm Katherine [pause for effect] John, Win & Katherine"
For my talent: "I'm Katherine, a soprano, Katherine"
For my heritage: "I'm Katherine, Irish, German, Katherine"
For my inner child: "I'm Katherine, favorite color green, Katherine"
Or maybe: "I'm Katherine"

Yes, hopefully, eventually Mrs. but for now, Katherine.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I lied...

In my last post I said "Odd how much easier the getting on with your life seems when the mourning has been in motion for so long." It was a lie.  Getting on with my life is only pretend, I feel frozen.

Sometimes I catch myself looking around for him because I [think I] hear his voice.  Or my stomach aches because the only memory I can muster is the one of us doing that thing or being there, right there were things were perfect.  Goodness it is sad.

It seems to only be getting worse, on Valentine's Day (of all stupid days) I lost my job.  It was a witch hunt.  Which doesn't speak well of me, as I am no witch.  It has been bad, quite bad.  

A friend told me last night that I changed.  He said "I used to hear you smile the moment you answered the phone.  Now I am sitting right in front of you and I can't even see it."  He's right.  I have changed.

Do you think it was when I moved?  Can a city really make that much of a difference?  Or maybe it's the people.  Or maybe it's the fact that when I came here, to be with him, I really was giving it everything I had.  Every bit of me.

So yes, I lied a big fat lie.  It is not easier.  It is more painful.  I'm sure it will get better, but in the meantime, it just hurts.

They say..."we are not friends, we are strangers with a past."  Such a harsh reality, don't you think?

Lies.  All lies.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." 
— C.S. Lewis

I can't seem to find the words to tell the story in my heart.  I've read stories that create a picture only the imagination can see, however it seems words will never tell what only my heart can feel.  I've always been protective of those I love, although different, sometimes even more so with romantic relationships.  The excitement is so intense and the love so strong I want to shout it from the highest peak, but so precious and tender than I want to hold it softly and protect it from danger.

As I both literally and figuratively "pack" away the relationship I thought I would be cultivating for the rest of eternity I would seem callous if I didn't notice how drastically things have changed in the most recent past.  What I would give to go back and try again, try different, try harder.  

Odd how much easier the getting on with your life seems when the mourning has been in motion for so long.

I have missed you for months, even more so now - only miles apart - than I ever did when the distance was so much greater.

Time will pass, distractions will alter my mood and mind, and eventually someone new will come along.  Someone who holds me tighter when times are hard, rather than pushes me away.  Someone who protects me from any harm and makes me a priority.

Only time will tell where our lives will lead.  If being vulnerable brings me to this place again I will take the leap with eyes wide open and pray I am stronger, wiser, happier, and all along the most marvelous me I can be.

Here's to love.
Here's to life.
Here's to vulnerability.