Canned Chana Masala- Putting Up with ErinCanned Chana Masala- Putting Up with Erin

When someone approaches you asking if “you’d like to trade a 90 minute Thai massage for canned goods…” you say “yes, absolutely freaking YES!”. I’ve always surrounded myself with people who have trade’able skills/professions (hair dressers, yoga teachers, massage therapists, tattoo artists, etc.). Until I started canning a couple years ago, I never felt as if I had any skills of my own that I could barter with… “do need help some with spatial data analysis… No!?! “. My blissful, almost coma inducing massage not only left me in a intense state of relaxation, but may have made me a bit vulnerable and willing to give up almost… heyo… any of my canned goods. While she was super interested in some good ol’ pickles, I suggested that I could make something up. The original plan was to make a hummus-in-jar type of thing, but then I learned that tahini is not safe to can due to the oils. So with 2lbs of freshly soaked chickpeas, it was time for plan B.

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Cuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with ErinCuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with Erin

Happy Memorial Day! For various reasons including the weather, my birthday, “school is out of summer”, etc., May has always been my favorite month. Fortunately, living in a new state and city during the month of May has proved just as favorable. When I moved to New Hampshire a month ago I was told “fully enjoy the next 3 weeks as the Seacoast region after Memorial Day gets a bit wild”. I now hear that and think, “More wild than April? Oh boy! This could get unhealthy!” 🙂 What weekend festivities do you all have in store for the holiday? The weather in Portsmouth is forecasted to be 75F on Monday, and as I’ve quickly learned during my limited time here, as soon as temperatures sustain above 70F, playing hooky and beach days are in order. I plan on spending they day BBQ hopping, birthday celebrating, and hopefully donning a pair of short shorts and sunglasses!

Not that today’s recipe has much to do with Memorial Day, but putting up beans is always exciting right!? It’s been a few months since I’ve pulled out the good ol’ pressure canner and honestly I can’t imagine a point at which I will feel totally comfortable building a preserved food bomb in my kitchen. These pressure canned cuban style black beans are a great pantry staple for quick use in any black bean soup or rice and bean recipe. So good and so flavorful! Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend!

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Pressure canned creole black eyed peas!- Putting Up with ErinPressure canned creole black eyed peas!- Putting Up with Erin

As we are currently smack dab in the middle of this year’s Mardi Gras festivities, I figured some creole inspired black eyed peas would be quite appropriate. This time 2 years ago, give or take a couple weeks, I spent some time in New Orleans. While I was officially in town for a conference, the majority of my time was spent riding a very small and very uncomfortable beach cruiser around town, eating a lot of amazing food, attending yoga classes, and enjoying the “shorts and tank top weather” during February. At the time, I had recently began experimenting with a vegan, gluten-free lifestyle. I’m no longer vegan or gluten-free, but boy can I tell you, NOLA proved the short lived attempt REAL challenging. Even though I avoided the classic muffuletta sub, and the much desired seafood of the region, I suprisingly ate like a vegan queen during my visit. As you’ve probably noticed me mention it here before, I really like beans, like a lot.. or so I thought until I observed my host’s bean tendencies. Not only did this girl like beans, but I’m pretty sure I saw her eat them each and every day I was in town… Amazing really! 🙂

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Pressure Canned Ranch Style Beans-Putting Up with ErinPressure Canned Ranch Style Beans-Putting Up with Erin

Ever eat a can of beans just because… or maybe just because a can of beans is an easy, filling, and tasty meal? As a somewhat new vegetarian, I’ve had to adjust to new ways of consuming ample amounts of protein. Beans have quickly moved up my plant-based high protein list of staple foods. If you’re from the east coast you’ve most likely never heard of Ranch beans. Growing up in California we frequently ate “Ranch Style” Beans, specifically those made by Congra Foods. Before 4 days ago, it had been years since I’d tasted the heavenly Texas inspired flavors of Ranch beans. Luckily with my new found passion for pressure canning, I’m able to experiment with bean varieties such as these. These ranch style beans are even tastier and more versatile than my first canned bean batch: Taco Spiced Chickpeas. Adding cinnamon to the savory mixture of onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños really pushes these beans to the next level. So far I’ve tried them in bean and cheese burritos, as well as an ingredient in acorn squash stuffed with wild rice. I’m looking forward to trying canned black eyed peas, chile beans, baked beans, etc. Enjoy!

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Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin
Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an extreme risk taker, but I do think a little bit of added risk makes any hobby that much more intriguing. For Christmas this past year I received a glorious, long sought after Presto 16 quart pressure canner. When writing my gift list, all I could do was think, “wow.. all the things I can preserve with a pressure canner that I can’t with a water-bath canner…” Admittedly, it’s been sitting pretty in its box for the past month.  I didn’t think it would happen to me, I process foods over high heat all the time, yet the simple word “PRESSURE” kept me real nervous about experimenting. Last night after watching at least five instructional videos, I went for it.

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