Canning with Liz!

Liz is an excellent cook and an even better friend. She has grown up canning and continues to do so as a college student. I had the opportunity to interview her on her experiences canning food from her own backyard.

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After we finished our interview, Liz and I read through a few of her cookbooks. These cookbooks have been given to her from her great-grandmother, aunts and grandmother as well as a few she has picked up over the years. She just has a few…:)

Photography: Liz Burgess

Photography: Liz Burgess

After Liz so generously shared her expertise she gave me the entire right side of cookbooks shown above! I can’t wait to try them out!


Award Winning Green Chair Chili

I have never made chili before this fall which is wild considering my love affair with my crock-pot. I decided earlier this fall that I really wanted to learn because the non-profit I have had the opportunity to intern with this fall will have a chili cook-off at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone, N.C to raise funds to alleviate hunger in the High Country.


I talked to my friend Brooke about this and she recommended I try her dads recipe to learn how to make my own. Her dad’s recipe has been a family favorite after it won the chili contest at a family camp she attended as a child.

Unfortunately I was not able to give this recipe the justice it deserved because I lent a friend my large stockpot and knew I was not going to be able to get it back in time to prepare for the Hunger and Health Coalition Chili Cook-Off so I used a couple of pans and my crock-pot instead.
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

First I browned the meat in a large pan. The recipe called for between 2 and 3 pounds of ground beef so I did 2.5 pounds and used a medium to hot taco seasoning packet I had on hand instead of Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Chili Kit or package of 3 chili flavors combines which was recommended. I sauteed the meat to blend the spices every 3 minutes or so.
Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

After I finished browning the meat I drained the fat and dumped the meat into my 5 quart crock-pot. Next I placed the following vegetables cut into bite size pieces in the pan until the onions were translucent:
Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno minced with seeds
After the onions were translucent I added them to the crock-pot as well. At this point I realized that I did not do a great job of “cutting once and measuring twice”. In other-words I should have halved the recipe considering the size of my crock-pot because mine was filling up quick!
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

But the chili was not a lost cause, cooking is all about improvising and so I made a few changes. I decided to take out one can of water, beans and diced tomatoes to make it all fit and it worked out great! I then turned up my crock-pot to high and added in:
  • 2 14 oz. cans of pinto beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can of water
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp of salt (I used kosher)
  • 1.5 tbsp of corn starch
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

I left all the ingredients in the crock-pot for an hour until it simmered and dove on it!

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Sarah Kasper

Thank you James Walsh for your awesome chili recipe! This recipe was so easy and filling, I can’t wait to compete December 6, 2014! Wish me luck!

Photography: Brooke Walsh

Photography: Brooke Walsh

Italian roasted potatoes

I try to make these pretty infrequently because white potatoes aren’t the most nutritious carbohydrate, however sometimes you just have to have potatoes and they are better for you at home than a fast food joint. I make these to dip in ketchup and to eat alone and I also like them as is paired with several other vegetables for a good filling dinner.

photo 1


Begin by washing and peeling three medium sized white potatoes and preheating the oven to 375. Next take out a 9.5 X 11 metal baking pan and grease the pan with just 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Yes, my cutting board is in the shape of a violin... I might be a little bit nerdy:)

Yes, my cutting board is in the shape of a violin… I might be a little bit nerdy:)

Cut the potatoes so they turn out like little pucks and season with:

  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon of basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt (regular or sea works as well)

photo 3

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then use a spatula to flip potatoes so that both sides become evenly heated and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

photo 4

Let cool and enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal bars

I am a big believer in eating breakfast. I think it is the best way to start the day. It is even better when it is easy to grab for on the go, this recipe makes for 8 to 12 servings, (although it generally doesn’t last that long in my house).

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Before. Photography: Amanda Jacobson

You are not looking at this photo funny, I live in the mountains and my house is not level:) Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Coat your 8×8 inch pan in olive oil. Next, mix the following ingredients, leaving the flaxseed and water mixture to be stirred in as the final ingredient.

2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular or soy milk would be fine)
2 large bananas, mashed OR 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup dark or milk chocolate chips

*3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed set aside in 1/3 cup of warm water for ten minutes before mixing in with other ingredients.

Bake for 40 minutes and enjoy.

TIP: This stays good in your refrigerator for up to five days making this perfect to make on a sunday evening to prepare for your school week.



oatmeal bar recipe -1