Okay, okay, okay…I might be a few hundred thousand short of a million cucumbers, but I did have over 21 pounds of them!


A woman I know was selling 20+ pound bags of cucumbers for…wait for it…$5! Yep, you read that correct. 20 pounds of cucumbers for only FIVE DOLLARS.

How could I turn that down?!

As soon as she contacted me about the cucumbers, I knew pickle making was in my (very) near future.

Now, I haven’t met a pickle I didn’t like. I love the tangy/sour ones that hurt the inside of your cheek. I love the cold, crisp, crunchy ones. I like sweet. I like little, I like chips and spears and dill and spicy ones. I just like pickles.

However, Fat Daddy and Little Man prefer the Bread & Butter style. I called up my mom, got her trusty recipe and began creating.

I made 12 pints of bread & butter style pickles and three of them I added a serrano pepper to make them have a little kick!

I also made 5 quarts and 2 pints of kosher dill. And I decided to try something a little new with the dill variety: I added carrot chips. I’ve had pickled carrots before so I’m anxious to see how they turn out!

I had all my pickles made (brine made, jars sanitized and jars processed) before 10am yesterday. I was tired but in the end the result is so incredibly worth it.

Pickles 5.2015



Now if only I could find a way to earn a living by canning.

Have a great day!


Grief Changes Shape But Never Ends

I still deeply mourn the death of my father. He was taken at age 57 from a heart attack. I had so much more I wanted to talk to him about and share with him and experience with him. December will mark the 5 year “anniversary” of his death and each year, while it’s gotten a bit easier on that day, it’s still hard and emotional.

Friday, April 24th would have been his 62nd birthday and I remembered him in the best way I knew how: eating pizza and ice cream – two of his favorites.

I’m quite certain Fat Daddy had no idea why I pushed to go out for pizza and Ice cream Friday night (I do like both but honestly if I had a choice, it’d be tacos and cheesecake. Every day. EVERY DAY. Hence the “Fat” part on my moniker). After we ordered and waited for the delicious tribute pie to arrive, I asked Little Man if he knew whose birthday it would have been today. He didn’t know so I told him it would have been Bompa’s birthday. A big smile appeared on his face and his eyes teared up a bit. For an 8 year old boy, my son has an “old soul” and loves deeply. He may have been only 3 when my dad died but he had a bond with my dad unlike any other that I have ever seen.

Our pizza was delivered to our table and before I took my first bite I silently wished my beloved dad a happy birthday. Oh how I wish I could have called him up and said those words. Or better yet, hugged him while saying them to him.

We enjoyed our pizza and delicious ice cream and I know my dad was smiling down at us while he was celebrating his day with my grandmother playing poker or cribbage.

Happy birthday in heaven, Dad. You’re loved and missed greatly

Bday pizza

Lightly Dressed

…And no, I’m not talking about what I’m wearing in this hot Phoenix weather. I’m taking about this beauty:

Broc salad

My newest obsession: Broccoli slaw with a lime-honey vinaigrette.


Super easy. Super nutritious. What more could I want (oh that’s an open ended question that I won’t get into here).

So I love crunch. Crunchy munchy things. Some people love sweets, etc. Nope, not me. GIVE ME CRUNCH: chips, crackers, popcorn, corn nuts (that’s another blog all in itself). You get the picture. I do try to eat light at lunch because I make a bigger dinner for Fat Daddy and Little Man and we eat early (think retirement home dinner time). I like bringing salads and sometimes adding left over chicken or steak and adding tangy cheese to awaken my taste buds.

But I was getting bored with the normal salad. I tried changing it up and adding extra veggies or extras like bacon and crutons or nuts.

Still got bored so I started poking around the interwebs…

I came across a recipe for broccoli slaw. Now, I do love a good cole slaw (I use my dad’s famous recipe) but eating a heavily sauced slaw isn’t always what I crave. Then a beautifully bright light bulb went off:

Vinaigrette. Dress it in a vinaigrette. I could hear the angels singing.

So I experimented. One was horrible. One was mediocre. One was AMAZING with the taste and texture of the broccoli slaw. For those who aren’t familiar with broccoli slaw, it’s a combination of shredded broccoli stalks, carrots and I added red cabbage. I’ve had some with onions and that would be tasty too.

You can buy pre-made broccoli slaw in the produce department but I made a gallon freezer bag full for under $2.00 (in my grocery store, the pre-made stuff was $3.99 and it was a 16 ounce bag).

My vinaigrette of choice is a tangy but sweet and balances the rough, crunchy texture of the broccoli and the delicateness of the cabbage. Its’ so good. GO MAKE THIS.

I wish I could give you the “recipe” for my vinaigrette but it’s all to taste. I can tell you for 2 bowls of slaw, I used the juice of 1 large lime and probably 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (the GOOD stuff. The real stuff) and about a tablespoon of honey. Again, to taste and I could be way off on the measurements. This lightly dressed the vegetables and didn’t leave too much at the bottom of the bowl. I added pepper and viola – a lunch made in crunchy heaven.




I’ve been canning food for about 3o years (gasp). I’ve made ketchup, jams, jellies, pickles, icky canned meats, fruits, salsa, and a plethora of other goodies (and some not so good). However, I have never made homemade mustard.

Until now.

In my canning bible (aka Ball’s Canning Blue Book) I found the section on homemade mustards quite interesting. The recipe that stood out like none other was the Oktoberfest Beer mustard (umm, beer you say???). I was immediately ready to create.

The ingredients were simple:

startingrest of ingredients

Mustard seeds, beer, sugar, water, vinegar, onion and garlic powders. Easy peasy. Or so I thought. Finding the mustard seeds was a bit cumbersome. I called and searched and was just about to order from Amazon when I called one of the health food stores (or as Fat Daddy calls it, the Hippy Store) and low and behold, they had my seeds.

Let the creating adventure begin!

The process wasn’t hard but it was time consuming. You need to let the seeds sit in the delicious beer for about 2ish hours. I got the seeds soaking then ran an errand and did some laundry -who said Fat Momma can’t multitask?


After soaking blend the seeds and add to a large sauce pan and cook away with the other ingredients. I tasted along the way and decided to add a bit of salt to bring out the flavors a bit more.blendedcooked product

After my creation was done I canned in a normal water bath for 15 minutes.

Finished mustard

The mustard is a bit pungent with a hint of spicy undertones. I’m sure its because I used Guinness. I already have plans to use a berry weiss and a cherry wheat. I think maybe using a sweeter beer would be more useful. I’ve had my mustard on a good ol’ Wisconsin bratwurst and on a turkey Sammy and it was delicious (disclaimer: I love mustard. Yellow, Dijon, horseradish, deli, etc etc. But this batch does take a special liking. I honestly do like it but using Guinness may not be for everyone).

How I wish I could find a cash tree and just can and create kitchen goodies for my full-time job. It’s so rewarding and relaxing for me. I love giving my homemade goodies away; makes me so damn happy to see people enjoying my creations.

Have a great weekend everyone – I’m off to buy more beer for research. Yeah, research!

Fat Momma Cooks: Chewy, salty deliciousness. WARNING – NOT LOW CARB

I’ve been in a cooking/creating mood lately. Last week it was the tomatoes (my salsa is ¼ gone already. I have a slight addiction to the stuff), so this week I thought I’d try to make something I have never made before: Soft Pretzels.

I love soft pretzels dipped in yellow mustard or spicy mustard. Cheese is good too (let’s face it: Everything is great with cheese {or bacon…mmmm, bacon}). But as the price of groceries continues to rise, I’m trying to find simple yet delicious recipes to make my own homemade treats.

I read about 4 different recipes and while they mostly were the same, the one I picked was from a trusted source: Alton Brown from Food Network kitchens. I love Alton Brown. He’s never let me down on a recipe before so I was eager to try his soft pretzels.

I gathered my ingredients and my helper (Little Man) and began to create.

While the entire process was quite simple, it was rather time consuming – letting the dough rest and rise, rolling the pretzels out, but the end result is delicious. It was fun making them; their shape isn’t perfect but so so tasty, so who cares what they look like!

My next pretzel making adventure I’m going to try some sweet and savory flavors, as I stuck to the traditional salt this time. I’m thinking cinnamon sugar, Italian flavored, and maybe a spicy one next time around.



If you’re interested in making some for yourself, here’s the recipe I used:

Tomatoes: Glorious, delicious and juicy tomatoes.

Their smell was intoxicating. Their taste was extraordinary. I was in love. In love with these beautifully imperfect tomatoes.

I was so excited to pick up my flat of heirloom tomatoes the other day but when I got to the pickup site and saw these beauties, I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were the most amazing tomatoes that I had ever seen.


My brain immediately went into “canning” mode to decide what I could make. I wanted to showcase these specialty tomatoes. Their taste, texture and color were something I didn’t want to hide in a pasta sauce. I had made a couple different tomato jams in the past and knew I needed a special recipe to showcase these guys.

I bugged my mom for a few days and obtained a copy of her sweet tomato jam. The one I remember as a kiddo. Eating it on a cold, snowy, blustery day immediately transported you to summer and hot, muggy days and fireflies and soft grass beneath your feet.

I also found an heirloom tomato salsa that used minimal ingredients to highlight the tomato themselves. And last but not least, from my science pal at Food Network, I printed off Alton Brown’s tomato infused vodka (If I could have found a recipe for tomato beer, I sure would have done that)!

I gathered all my ingredients and began creating. My kitchen was a mess. My clothes were spotted with tomatoes. My hands smelled of Earth. My stove and canner got a workout but the end results were impressive if I do say so myself.

Canned goods

I had about 28 pounds of tomatoes. I got 6 pints of salsa, 3 jars of sweet tomato jam and a 750ml bottle of vodka steeping. I even had enough to eat (and because I’m such a nice person – share). I foresee many caprese salads, BLT’s and tomato slices in my lunching future.

If anyone is interested in any of the recipes, shoot me a line. I’d be happy to share!


And I just can’t hide it… (ear worm, I know lol)

I ordered 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes to can!!

I can see some of you rolling your eyes and even showing a little bit of a smirk – But I don’t care! FAT MOMMA LOVES CANNING!

I’ve never worked solely with heirloom tomatoes but have eaten them and fell in love at first bite. The price per pound can be exorbitant so getting 20 pounds for $20 is a steal.

I have so much I want to do with them: Salsa, tomato jam, tomato infused vodka. A beautiful tomato, basil and mozzarella salad. YUMMY!

I pick these beauties up tomorrow evening and I want to call into work so I can stay in my kitchen and create my delicious masterpieces. And then eat them!

I already have a couple other blog ideas in the works from my canning adventures with these amazing tomatoes.

Hope you find something that makes you uber excited that you just can’t hide it.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

Dr. Seuss

Frustration Times 600

I feel like screaming
I feel like yelling
I feel like punching something
I just want to sit and cry my damn eyes out, eat an entire container of bean dip and cry some more.
But I can’t do any of that. I have to do everything but that.
Fat Daddy is in the hospital with a horrendous staph infection that has attacked his bones. How did this happen? He stepped on a metal pipe 7 DAMN MONTHS AGO and just NOW went to the doctor.
I took him to the emergency room Thursday night & they immediately admitted him. They’re holding off amputation of the foot/leg…for now.
If he would have just went in when this happened none of THIS would have happened. Grrrrrrrrr
I’m pissed.
6 weeks off work. He hasn’t been at his new job long enough to get FMLA, so that’s a fantastic scenario there.
He has short term disability which I’m thankful for but I’m still pissed off.

What about me & my medical issues (i.e Herman the hernia). Herman has to come out. I’m in pain every damn day with the invader but now for at least 6 more weeks have to live with him. I can’t be off at the same time. No way could we afford that.

I know I’m being selfish but I’m so incredibly angry at this whole situation. I already do everything but now I can’t even ask for help.

I mad. I’m sad. I’m pretty damn depressed (between the pain of herman, my MS flaring up & now this, I think I need some happy pills) or lots of vodka.

Oh and with this recent medical crisis with Fat Daddy I’ve had to endure the monster-in-law on a daily basis. The monster-in-law butting in. The monster-in-law taking charge. Hell, I’ll just stay away from the hospital & let her make decisions.

Calgon take me away! 

Sick of Being Sick

Cough. Sniffle. Hack. Blow. Repeat

I have had a cold or the plague in some form since right before Christmas. I went to the doctor when my temperature stayed above 101 for 3 consecutive days and was told, “It’s viral – nothing we can do”.

A waste of time. A waste of money. And an invitation for more gems.

So here I sit, now February 3rd and I’m still hacking. Still coughing. Still blowing my nose (Kleenex corp can single-handedly thank me for their 1st quarter profit spike) still taking OTC cold meds.

I sound like a 3-pack per day smoker (or Kirstie Alley) and feel like I could sleep until summer. I have ZERO energy and find myself nodding off at work.

But it’s viral – nothing I can do…

I‘ve tried homeopathic remedies and I’ve ingested my fair share of cough syrup and cold meds. I even went the alcohol route and tied a good one on the other night…while I felt great then, the “I can breathe out of both nostrils” feeling went away as soon as the alcohol wore off.

And before you say, “Fat Momma, just call into work and sleep, silly lady”, my company changed our PTO policy this year and are monitoring “unplanned” days off…depending on who your manager is, those unplanned days are strictly monitored…and ding ding, lucky me, I have a manager who asks where you were if you’re in the bathroom too long.

There’s a lot of 2015 left and my buddy Herman the Hernia needs to come out at some point – I need to toughen it out.

I know I shouldn’t complain – I’m not stuck in a hospital. I’m not dying of some incurable disease. I’m merely inconvenienced by coughing and fevers and snot – LOTS of snot – but damnit, I just feel better whining about being sick.

I can’t whine to anyone in my daily life (hell no one listens to me) so I whine to you – don’t ya feel special now?

I hope all of you are staying healthy and snot free. The weather here in Phoenix is supposed to warm up to the low 80’s by the end of the week – I’m hoping for a few extra minutes this weekend to sit in the sun (with sunscreen of course) and soak up some Sunny D – maybe that will kill the virus.

Oh look, another empty Kleenex box…



Oh yes, you read that right. I made a bacon bourbon jam. If you want a low carb recipe, move along. If you want a festival of flavors for your tongue, read on!

I love canning. Making pickles, salsas, pasta sauce. You name it, I love doing it. I’d like to be able to can for a living. Go to farmers markets and flea markets and sell my goods. Crazy dream I know, but I’d so love being able to do that.

Nonetheless, I was looking for an onion jam (which I will be making soon) and while reading some of those recipes wondered why I couldn’t make a bacon bourbon jam.

I like bourbon

I LOVE bacon

I enjoy jams

What’s not to love?

One thing I so enjoy doing when cooking (not baking mind you) is being adventurous and adding my own spin on things. Taking a leap. Rolling the dice (wish I felt that comfortable doing that in real life!).

So I gathered my ingredients:

BB JAM ingredients

Bacon – thick delicious cut bacon

Bourbon – a good high quality kind. The one I used is made right here in good ol’ AZ

Maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, sweet onion, cumin, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, garlic and salt.

Then I let the magic happen.

BB JAM bacon cookingh BB Jam finished

All the ingredients produced two 4 ounce jars. It was a lot of work for a small amount of finished product but it is SOO incredibly delicious.

After cooking the jam, I did process in a water canner and have kept it in the fridge. To keep long term, you would need to use a pressure canner – which I do not have.

I’ve used one jar thus far and served it with a crusty baguette. I think it would also be amazing poured on softened cream cheese with crackers, on chicken or straight from the jar!

I’m going to be putting out the last jar at a party I’m throwing next weekend. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

My next “canning” adventure: Pickled Eggs!