Monthly Archives:


Growing up I was considered a “picky eater.” I pretty much survived on grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I started trying new foods and boy I was really missing out. I tried watermelon, corn, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, pretty much every vegetable possible and I loved them all! But my one true love that I have encountered in my taste testing has been pickles. My relatives at family gatherings would devour pickles and I never understood what all the fuss was about. Once I tasted the crunchy sweet and sour taste of the dill pickle, I understood all at once. What was I thinking, it makes me so sad that I missed out on this glorious creation for the first 20 years of my life. 

The definition of venturesome is willing to take risks or embark on difficult or unusual courses of action. This has definitely been true for me as I have learned to try new foods, it has been a risky endevour. In embarking on this unusual journey of food I have learned so much and been able to experience so much more about the tastes of the world. Being venturesome doesn’t just play into tasting food, it can apply to any new conquest you embark on when trying something new. If it’s trying a banana (I still don’t like these) or trying a new sport or craft, putting your whole heart into something new can be exciting and exhilarating. Jumping into new activities can invoke a change that can shift the boring, same old mentality that lingers for many. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

So take a risk, try that food, bake that really difficult recipe, try that exercise class, or get into whatever inspires you. I always ask my students, “what’s the worst that can happen?” We can try it, if it doesn’t work, we will change things up. You will never know until you try and if you never try you will never know. 

Like I mentioned before, these pickles are the BOMB.  They are so crunchy and best made with small garden cucumbers. If your cucumbers are jumbo, you can cut them into spears and slices to get the same crunch effect. We can these pickles so we can enjoy them all year long. FDR said it best, “Above all, try something.” Try these pickles, you won’t regret it!


Dill Pickles

3 quarts cold water
1 quart vinegar
3/4 c. canning salt
1 head dill per jar
1/4 t. alum per jar
1 clove garlic per jar
1 T. pickling spice

Pack cucumbers in quart size jars with dill, alum, garlic, and picking spice. Boil cold water, vinegar, and canning salt. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust two piece lids. Process quarts for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. 












The school year is in full swing and I have been MIA for sure! My work as a school counselor commenced again for the 5th year. This time of year has always been close to my heart. How can you not love brand new school supplies, new clothes, and smiling faces as students embark on the next year of school? Paired with the cool, crisp fall temps, apples, pumpkin spice, fall colors, leaves, and Halloween just around the corner, I couldn’t ask for anything more amazing. 

This recipe for apple juice embodies all of those exceptional elements of fall. Every aspect of making this recipe is a labor of love that can be savored all year long with your family. This recipe blends so perfectly with the classic story of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. This story is a simple tale of a boy and an apple tree. The book shares the true meaning of giving and how happiness is derived from the act of giving to others. The importance of helping others without expecting anything in return is the true life lesson to pick from the depths of these pages. 

I found a giving tree of my own that offered up gorgeous, red crisp apples for this delectable apple juice recipe. Kindness has a large part to play in this recipe because I do not have any apple trees of my own, so I always seek out apples from friends and family. This apple juice is super refreshing and I think it would make a great weekend outing for any family with an apple orchard nearby or a nice friend with an abundant apple tree!

Share this classic story with your family and discuss the importance of giving. The illustrations and deeper meaning will help inspire gratitude all around. While your at it, I hope you enjoy the homemade apple juice for many months to come because winter is coming!

Homemade Apple Juice

5 gallons of apples, sliced 
4 c. sugar
5 T. cream of tarter
10 quarts of water

Cut the apples into 8th’s to fill a 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full (I fill it almost to the top). Boil the water and sugar. Add the cream of tarter to the boiling water. Pour the hot mixture into the apple bucket and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 24 hours and strain off the juice. Re-heat apple juice and put into 1 quart jars and hot water can for 10 minutes in boiling water. 

YIELDS: 10 quarts


applejuice6 applejuice5