Making Baby Food

Making Baby Food

If you haven’t heard, The Cub was recently promoted to big sister and she’s taking the role very seriously. Among helping with her baths and changing her diaper, the cub loves to feed her a bottle and more recently, solid food.

This week the cub helped prep her little sisters food and she had a friend over to help.

Baby1The cub began by peeling the sweet potatoes. Her friend stood by to watch.

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The cub then chops the sweet potato. Once chopped Grandma DiDi cooked them in small amount of water until they are very soft to the touch.

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After the sweet potatoes had boiled and softened, the cub’s friend took a turn at pureeing the food in a blender.

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Then we poured the mixture into ice cub trays to freeze. Once frozen, pop them out for the perfect portioned meal for your baby.

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Next up, the cub’s little sister gobbled up all the yummy food she helped make for her. Bib not included.

 

Sweet Potato Baby Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 2+ Tbsp water until you find the right consistency

Directions

  1. Wash sweet potatoes well
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks
  3. Place chunks into a pan with just enough water to cover potato
  4. Bring to boil and cook until tender, be sure to check on the water level.
  5. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the sweet potatoes
  6. Place sweet potato into your blender (we use vitamix) for pureeing and blend.
  7. Add the reserved water or formula/breastmilk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency

We do this with all veggies and fruit that she can eat.  Just be sure produce is all washed well prior to cooking.

First foods include: Sweet potato, banana, pear, avocado, apple, peas, carrots, butternut squash and oatmeal. As she grows, we will get more creative with her meals and be sure to post our creations.

 

 

Farm Days

Farm Days

Have you visited your local farm lately? We took a trip to ours and learned about veggies, giving back and kindness.

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We danced our way in and were greeted by a wonderful quote.

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“I would like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.”

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The greatest part about our local farm is this – they only take pay-what-you-can donations for what you buy. Hard not to want to support such a great cause.

Grandma DiDi shops at this farm weekly and always gives a little extra. She takes the cub from time to time. I hope the cub learns to be as generous as her Grandmother who gives so much to others. And not just with monetary contributions, but with her time. She’s the greatest example of kindness to others.

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“What are these?”, Grandma DiDi asked.  The Cub explained that they were carrots hiding in the dirt!

Teaching youngsters where food comes from gives them greater appreciation and understanding for what they are eating!

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The Cub headed to the chickens to see what they were eating. The farm feeds the chickens all their own produce. On the menu today – eggplant.

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Grandma DiDi explained the difference between curly kale and dinosaur kale. The cub couldn’t wait to try some.

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Fresh produce and sunshine!

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Heading back to the farm stand to buy some produce.

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Grandma DiDi and the cub decide on some dinosaur kale. The cub gets to pick her favorite bunch.

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The Kitchen Cub was here… Get out and support your local farmers. Take your kids along   for a fun adventure.

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And guess what??? She ate the dinosaur kale raw when we got home. 😋

 

 

 

 

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Easter is upon us, and before you run out to the store to grab everything you need for the celebrations, consider jazzing up your deviled egg recipe by adding some bunny faces to them.

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After the eggs had been hard-boiled and cooled, the cub got right into rolling and peeling them. It took a few tries until she understood how to roll them under her palm. On this particular day she woke up feeling like a princess, so, of course, she needed to dress the part.

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Grandma DiDi then demonstrated how to cut them in half. With a little bit of help, the cub did an excellent job.

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Grandma DiDi showed the cub how to pop the yolk out of the egg white. The cub watched intently.

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She did it! Yay!

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Now it’s the cubs turn. This took patience and practice.

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One for you, one for me. The cub is always tasting the food we make.

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Now for the additions to the deviled egg mix. The Cub and her knife skills went to work. Chopping the celery to add to the mix was easy.

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This Cinderella princess is right at ease stirring up a batch of deviled eggs.

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Pausing to smell the ingredients is a MUST. The cub helps us chop some dill for the deviled egg mix and I think we will also use some for whiskers.

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Next up the cub chopped up some olives for the deviled egg bunny decorations. We think we will use them for eyes and maybe a nose!

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We let the cub design her own, but for our finished product, Grandma DiDi took over the assembly of the bunnies.

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HOPPY EASTER!

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We hope you enjoy the day with friends and family!

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Ingredients

  • Dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 -2 Tbsp Chopped celery (to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • Toppings: radish, carrots, chives, olives, dill, and capers

Directions

    1. Bring eggs to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes then let them sit in the hot water for about another 5, covered. Cool them completely in an ice bath for 10 minutes.
    2. Peel eggs and slice them lengthwise in half.
    3. Remove yolks and place in a medium size bowl. Smash well with a fork.
    4. Add yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard  to the egg yolks and blend well. Add more or less depending on the consistency you prefer.
    5. Add chopped celery, salt, pepper, and dill to the egg yolks (we kept the eggs pretty simple. Feel free to add other ingredients like onions, pickles etc.)
    6. Fill the egg white halves with prepared yolk mixture using a small spoon or pastry bag.
    7. Decorate the eggs with eyes, nose, whiskers and a smile using  your choice of toppings.
    8. Eat and enjoy!

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Anyone else on an endless cycle of colds with their little ones this season? The cub has had her fair share of sickness. A balanced, healthy diet can help boost your immune system, so we are doing all we can to help the cub during this season.

For centuries soup has been regarded as a cold fighting food. To back up this theory, we dive into the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.

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The cub learns about thyme and how to strip it. Grandma DiDi models and the cub follows along.

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The cub always smell new ingredients she uses. It activates more than one sense in the cub helping her to fully understand it.

Thyme: The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping-cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination.

Thyme to eat up!

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Next up, the cub chops the zucchini. If you have been following along, you will notice the cub has improved on her knife skills. We’re so proud!

Zucchini: Already being an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus.

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The cub moves onto chopping the bell peppers. Check out those knife skills!

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Along with smelling our ingredients, we eat them, too, to make sure they are delicious.

Bell peppers: are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids.

Eat up, Cub!

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Grandma DiDi helped chop the rest of ingredients with a quick kiss to show love and appreciation for one another.

Onion: An onion contains fiber and folic acid, and B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells.

Carrots: Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. These root vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Potato: Potatoes offer the body fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron, and are an excellent source of potassium.

Celery: The benefits of celery begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.

Tomatoes: Are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium and Copper.

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Once again, the cub tests out how celery leaves taste. Eat your antioxidants, little one!

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We added all the yummy ingredients to a pot to cook. Can you smell the aroma? Delicious!

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Grandma DiDi made her own vegetable broth and added it to the soup. You can also use store-bought. The cub watches with curiosity.

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Time to add our noodles. We decided to use Eden Organic Pasta Vegetable Noodles for our soup. Bonus points for adding a learning component to the soup!

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In they go from the loving arms of Grandma DiDi.

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The final product that’s filled with so much goodness. Add fresh lemon for added Vitamin C – a proven way to help boost your immune system and a brightened flavor in whatever you’re eating!

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She’s so proud of her dish. Extra credit: Happiness is also known to lead to better health! 😁

 

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • I cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • I cup bell peppers – whatever color you want, diced
  • 3 – 4 small yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • approximately 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken if you wish) *see note
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups alphabet noodles *see note
  • Salt and pepper to taste (note that canned tomatoes have a lot of salt)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add whatever veggies you want, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips, parsnips, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put oil in large dutch oven pot or pan.
  2. Add onion, celery,  and carrots and saute until softened (about 5 – 10 min) over medium heat.
  3. Add peppers, zucchini and potatoes with thyme and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in tomatoes and broth and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add noodles and cook about 10 minutes (or per package direction of noodles).
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Note: I have found that packaged vegetable broths taste terrible. So as I cook I throw all leftover trimmings of veggies I have (carrot ends, stems of parsley, and other herbs, etc) into a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. I add to them and then put them in a pot with water and some fresh garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves etc)  and simmer for a while then strain.  Freeze and use when needed.

Also noodles in broth will continue to soak up the water/broth until there is no more liquid. It’s best to eat soup with pasta first couple days.   You can freeze, but the noodles don’t always hold up well structurally, although they still taste wonderful.

 

 

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

When you are in a hurry, there is nothing better than having something readily available in the fridge or freezer to grab and go. These morning glory muffins are packed with fruit, veggies, fiber and protein to fuel your little cub through the morning.

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The cub began by helping add apples to the food processor.

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The cub doesn’t like loud noises so she held her ears while Grandma DiDi grated the apples and carrots.

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Time to add the dry ingredients to the bowl. This is the cubs favorite part.

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After stirring with her handy piggy spoon, she stops to smell the ingredients.

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The cub examines the grated apples and likes the texture. She takes a few handfuls and adds them to the bowl.

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But quickly realizes its easier to just dump them in.

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Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to scoop the honey out of the measuring cup. The cub is fascinated and giving the process her full attention.

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Grandma DiDi gave the cub a dried wild blueberry and had her guess what it was. The cubs first guess… a raisin!

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Such a big helper! The cub helps grease the muffin pan with avocado oil.

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And lastly scoops the muffin mixture into the greased pan. This is great for hand-eye coordination!

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Bake and you have these delicious wholesome muffins! Let them cool and eat or keep them in the refrigerator for about a week in an air tight bag. You can also wrap them well and freeze for 3 – 4 weeks.

 

Morning Glory Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk or your choice of milks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts but choose what you want)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 medium sized apple grated (with skin)
  • 1 cup dried fruit of choice (we used Trader Joes wild dried blueberries)

Directions
(Makes 12 -15 muffins)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease regular sized cupcake tins well with butter or oil
  2. Put all dry ingredients in bowl and whisk together until well blended.
  3. Add milk, vanilla, honey, yogurt, molasses, coconut, grated carrots and grated apples and blend well by hand or in mixer.
  4. Beat egg with oil in a separate bowl and add to muffin mixture.
  5. Add chopped nuts and blend well.
  6. Pour into tins and bake 25 – 30 minutes until almost dry with toothpick test.

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

We are big fans of lazycatkitchen.com and her plant-based recipes! Grandma DiDi made these a while back for a baby shower and they were a hit. Light, delicious and healthy. So when trying to think of a healthy lunch option for the cub, these popped up! The cub is a big fan of sushi and we always like introducing new ideas to her.

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To truly make sticky quinoa for the sushi, we dissolved miso in water to add to the quinoa while it cooked. The cub helps stir it up and watches it dissolve.

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Next up, its time to julienne some vegetables. New word for the cub and she is happy to help cut the pickled carrots, because…

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She ate them all! She loves anything pickled. Remember the pickled veggies we made a few weeks ago. Obsessed! I’m not upset about it as it is great for her overall gut health and making them ourselves cuts down on the salt!

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Back to work! Cutting more veggies. Almost ready to make the sushi.

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Grandma DiDi took the quinoa off the stove so it can cool before it goes on the nori. If we add it too soon, it would ruin the nori. While we wait, the cub helps get the rolling station set up. Such a great helper.

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Quinoa is all cool. Grandma DiDi spreads it in an even layer on the nori while the cub eats more carrots.

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Add whatever combination of veggies you would like. We did raw beets and cucumber with pickled carrots and some avocado. We also tried another one that included raw beet kraut.

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The cub is very interested in the rolling. “Grandma, you’re doing it”, yells the cub.

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“SUSHI”!!! Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to cut it into bite-sized rolls. Almost time to eat!

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So simple, yet so wholesome and delicious. Pair with your favorite dipping sauce and you have an excellent lunch.

 

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

Ingredients

  • 6 nori sheets
  • 1½ cup quinoa (we used a mix of red and white.  Black is great if you can find it)
  • 3 tbsp white miso paste*
  • 1 small avocado, peeled & sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 1 beetroot, peeled & julienned
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled & julienned
  • tamari (for GF version) or soy sauce

Directions (modified from lazycatkitchen.com)

  1. Rinse your quinoa. Dissolve miso paste in ½ cup of water. Place rinsed quinoa in a pot with a see-through lid. Add dissolved miso paste and an extra 1 and ¾ cup of water to the pot. Put the lid on and bring quinoa to the boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat right down to simmer. Simmer (with a lid on) until all of the water has been absorbed. Once quinoa absorbs all the water (tilt the pot slightly to check if there is any water left in it), turn the heat off and leave the pot (DO NOT LIFT THE LID) on a hot hob for about 5-10 mins so that quinoa finishes cooking in its own steam. Make sure you cool it down completely before making sushi rolls or else nori sheets will become soggy.
  2. Time to roll your sushi – Wrap your sushi mat (bamboo mat or folded kitchen towel) in a large piece of saran wrap. Put the mat down, put a nori sheet on top of the mat, shiny side down. Grab some quinoa with a spoon and spread it evenly on the nori sheet leaving a 1 cm margin at the very top, for sealing. As well as spreading the quinoa evenly, keep on pressing it into the mat with the back of a spoon.
  3. Place avocado slices, a few pieces of beet, carrot and cucumber all along the sheet(veggies of your choice)
  4.  Using the mat, slowly start rolling the nori, squeezing it tightly with both hands as you roll. Go back every now and then to make sure everything is tightly bonded.
  5. Once you get to the end, dip your finger in water and brush the water on the margin to seal the roll. Finish rolling and set the roll aside.
  6. Cut them into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife. Serve with a side of tamari (or soy sauce) and wasabi if desired.

Pickled Veggies

Pickled Veggies

If there is one thing that can satisfy the cub, it’s pickles! She loves sour foods like lemons, limes and capers. As with anything, making it at home lets you control how much salt and sugar is added to the recipe. I prefer these over store-bought any day!

Parents, they are also the perfect addition to a cheese board at your next holiday gathering!

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Not all mornings start with a smile. It took a little time to warm up to cooking on this particular morning. The cub started by helping us chop up the veggies using her Little Chef knife.

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In goes the Apple Cider Vinegar. Did you know that Apple Cider Vinegar can help acid reflux, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes and support weight loss. The benefits of apple cider vinegar come from its powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes. We’ll take it!

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While measuring out ingredients, the cub discovered her measuring tool made music. She made lots of music.

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After all the ingredients went in for the base, the cub got a good sniff. She approved.

Next, the base went on the stove to cook for 3 -5 mins just until salt and sugar dissolved

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While the base heated, we added our cut raw veggies to the jars. You can add them in any order you would like.

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Grandma DiDi helps finish off the jars. Aren’t they pretty.

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In goes the base. Make sure it covers the vegetables. Take the lid and screw it on really tights. Pop them in the fridge and let them sit for 24 hours before enjoying.

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The most delicious addition to any sandwich, burger, charcuterie board, or just set out as an appetizer. Just in time for all your fall gatherings.  Oh, and the cub loves them!

Refrigerated Pickled Veggies

Ingredients

  • Vegetables of choice, chopped to bite size pieces (carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp (or less) sugar
  • 1  Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 clove garlic (per jar)
  • dill sprigs for each jar
  • Optional – jalepeno slices

Directions
Makes 2 pint jars

  1. Prepare jars by washing thoroughly. Although, it is not required to sterilize jars it is highly recommended. Put clean jars and lids into large pan of water and bring to boil. Boil for 3 – 5 minutes and keep at simmer until ready to fill.
  2. Put vinegar, water, salt and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil and simmer until sugar dissolved. About 5 minutes.
  3. Have all vegetables washed, scrubbed and prepped. Cut vegetables into the size and shape you prefer.  Place peeled garlic clove into each jar and sprig of dill.  Divide mustard seeds into each jar.  
  4. Compress vegetables tightly into each jar.  They will shrink in size while pickling.
  5. Poor hot liquid into each jar and seal with lids. Allow to cool on counter.  Then refrigerate. Allow 24 hours before eating.
  6. Pickles will last about 2 weeks in refrigerator