Thursday, March 22, 2012

Candles in Jars

I did a little science experiment in my kitchen last weekend.  I can't say I necessarily recommend these methods, since I'm fairly certain that one wrong move would have sent hot wax and boiling water all over me...  But luckily that didn't happen and you can try this at your own risk.  

I've been wanting a set of candles in canning jars.  Obviously candles should be in canning jars.  Everything else works well in canning jars.  But I didn't really want to buy a bunch of beeswax and melt it down myself.  I  can get really awesome 100% beeswax candles at my co-op with my employee discount, so there 's really no reason to make candles myself (this is me talking myself out of making things from scratch that I can easily buy).  

The Problem:
The standard candle sizes that I can find won't fit in a wide mouth pint size jar (my favorite size).  


Peel off the labels and such from the candle.  Fill a heavy bottomed pan with enough water so that it comes about halfway up the sides of an empty pint sized jar.  Put that jar in the pan of water (keeping the water outside of the jar only) and place the not-quite-small-enough candle into the jar as far as it will go.  The candle should be heavy enough to keep the jar from floating.  

Heat the whole contraption up over medium high heat.  As the water begins to simmer, press firmly on the candle- making sure to press straight down.  [This is where you might scald yourself]  Repeat frequently until candle sinks enough to meet the level of melted wax in the bottom of the jar.  Wipe any stray wax from the jar rim.  Turn off the stove and use your canning tongs to pick up the very hot jar and place it on a dry kitchen towel until it is cool and dry.  


 So cute!  Everything's better in a canning jar.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Pan and One Pan Only

I can't believe I've never done this before.  This was way too easy and saved me from dirtying extra dishes.  

I was cooking up some brown rice (a big batch of 3 cups of uncooked brown rice in the pot) and had cauliflower and red pepper in the fridge as possible veggies to include in my dinner.  I was feeling pretty lazy and decided to just chop the veggies up smaller than I normally would and throw them in the pot of rice.  I just waited until the rice was just barely done and the water was mostly absorbed.  Then I shut off the fire, stirred in the chopped veggies and replaced the lid.  10 minutes later the veggies were perfectly tender and the rice was done.

I drizzled this combo in a flax oil-lemon olive oil-tamari-umeboshi plum vinegar dressing.  Excellent side dish- but I ate a big bowl for my dinner.  It could use some grilled tofu on top or something, though.  I imagine this would work with nearly any vegetable -carrots, cabbage, sweet potato, broccoli- you'd just have to cut it smaller or larger (or shred it) to make sure it gets fully cooked.

Anyhow, I love that the veggies could cook in the same pan as the rice.  And the leftover veggie-spiked brown rice can go in burritos, stir fries, etc.  Am I the last person on earth to try this?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sort of a picnic

The dining room table is covered in a jigsaw puzzle, so we're eating picnic foods ... probably on the floor.  
Field Roast hotdogs, baked beans  (with a little kale mixed in), waffle fries, and coleslaw. Heck yeah! Hooray for a sunny day and summer food!