Welcome To The Shakin 'N Bakin Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I love to cook and bake for my family. I hope you enjoy the recipes, foodie reviews, foodie giveaways and cooking tips posted on my blog.

How to Print Recipes: You can print out each individual recipe featured on this blog by clicking the "share" button at the bottom of each post. It will open up to show you options, click on print and another window will open up with the recipe inside it for printing. You can also use the SHARE button to email a copy of the recipe to yourself for printing later.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Grandma's Freezer Cucumber Pickles Recipe

When I was in my early teens my maternal grandmother started to teach me food preservation. This included: home canning, freezing and dehydrating foods she harvested from her backyard garden. As a young girl, I really didn't appreciate her knowledge but now that I am a mother & wife myself...I realize the full value of everything she taught me during those years.

One of the things that she taught me was how to make bread and butter sweet pickles. She taught me how to can them and also taught me how to freeze them. Today...I can sharing with all of you one of her super easy pickle recipes.

** Note: The reason my pickles look super dark in that glass mason jar is because I placed them in dark purple glass jars! Trust me...they look like regular pickles!

Grandma's Recipe for Cucumber Pickles

3-4 large or 6-8 small cucumbers
1 cup sweet onion, sliced or diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. pickling salt
4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground mustard (I use Colman's in the yellow tin)
4-6 plastic or glass freezer containers

Wash the cucumbers, onion and bell pepper; dry. Slice cucumbers into slices...we like our's thin so I usually do 1/8" to 3/16" slices. Slice onion or chop it into small pieces (according to your preference and chop the green bell pepper.

In a large mixing bowl combine together the sliced cucumbers, onion, green bell pepper and pickling salt. Stir until everything is well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes and re-covering the bowl.

In a large mixing bowl combine together the granulated sugar, white vinegar, celery seed, ground turmeric and ground mustard. Stir until well blended together. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes and re-covering the bowl.

Pour the cucumber mixture into a colander and run tap water over the mixture to rinse off the salt and to drain away all liquid. I like to let mine set in the colander for several minutes. Pour cucumbers back into their original bowl. Slowly pour the sugar and vinegar mixture into the cucumber & pepper mixture until well combined, stirring after each addition. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Spoon pickle mixture into freezer-safe containers leaving a 1" headspace in each container. Cover. Place them into the freezer. When ready to use...thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, they will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Do NOT let them sit out in room temperature for hours!

Print Recipe: You can print out this recipe by clicking on the SHARE button located at the bottom of this post. A new window will open. Click on PRINT and the recipe will load into the window for fast printing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Home Canning - Apple Pie Filling Recipe

I love to make and can my own apple pie filling. The fruit filling can be used all kinds of different ways. I've used it to make apple pies, crisps, cobblers, turnovers, cakes, breads, etc. Seriously, this apple pie filling recipe is very versatile and it's a staple in my pantry. Every year I make and can at least 2 dozen jars of homemade apple pie filling!

The recipe that I like to use is from the Ball Blue Book - Guide to Preserving. This recipe will yield 6 to 7 pint jars.

Home Canning - Apple Pie Filling Recipe

10 lbs. apples
Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector
4 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water
ground cinnamon (I like to add about a tablespoon to the recipe)

Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Some people slice them into rings but I like to peel, core and cut into thin wedges. Treat with Fruit-Fresh to prevent apples from darkening.

Combine granulated sugar and water in a large stock pot or saucepan. Bring mixture to a full boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Drain apples from water and then place them into the hot syrup and let stand for 10 minutes. Bring apples and syrup to a full boil over medium to high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove apples from syrup, keep hot. Return syrup to a boil.

Layer hot apples loosely into a hot canning jar. Ladle hot syrup into the jar leaving a 1/2" headspace. Wipe rim, add seal and add the band until it's fingertip tight. Place jar on the rack elevated over simmering water of the canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

Lower the rack into the simmering water. The water needs to cover the top of the jars by at least 1" in depth. Adjust heat to medium-high and bring the water to a boil. Process the jars for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove cover. Let jars sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes. Remove jars from the caner and place them on top of a towel on your counter to cool. After 12 hours, check to make sure all jars sealed properly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Date Night Out at Mellow Mushroom

We were recently out shopping and decided to stop in our local Mellow Mushroom for dinner which is located conveniently off  I-20 between Atlanta and Birmingham. Mellow Mushroom is not your ordinary box pizza joint. Its a family friendly gourmet pizza place that still uses a stone oven to bake their pizza. They have more to offer then just pizza, including calzones, hoagies, salads and more including fabulous deserts.

Our server Sara was more than happy to help us decide what to order and the manager Jonathan was constantly making sure all the customers were happy and had everything they needed. Last Wednesday happened to be trivia night at our local Mellow Mushroom and it draws a big turn out. Even with the restaurant being full we received our order rather quickly and YES it was delishious!!

From the many choices they have on their menu you can also make your own personal pizza. We tried the Bayou Blue pizza from the menu and a custom pizza with garlic and olive oil smothered with mozzarella, Feta, pepperoni, and portabella mushrooms. I cant say enough about how good the pizza was.

Our server Sara recommended desert which I have to say was absolutely fabulous.

While you there make sure you check out the many, and I do mean MANY kinds of craft beer they have on tap and by the bottle. Currently their fall flavors are spotlighted including Samuel Adams Octoberfest and many more fall flavors. Or if your more into cocktails or wine they offer a variety of those too.

We learned while we were there that Mellow Mushroom had teamed up with instagram as part of their No Kid Hungry campaign. I made sure to instagram our Mellow moments and included their hashtags so a $3 donation would be made to ensure a child in the United States had food to eat. This promotion was going on from 9/1/2015 to 9/30/2015.

We learned from Jonathan (the manager) that each Mellow Mushroom is unique and that all of them do fundraisers locally for their own community. These fundraisers are at every Mellow Mushroom and the fundraisers differ across the country.

You can find their full menu on their site. If you ever have the chance to visit a Mellow Mushroom restaurant, you definitely need to stop in and try some real gourmet pizza. They also offer a gluten free menu, how great is that! You can connect with them on Facebook and/or Twitter too.

Disclosure: A free dinner was offered to Red and her husband for this review. No monetary compensation was received. Regardless of being provided a free dinner, Red's opinion, words and thoughts are her own 100% unbiased opinion. Your opinion may differ.