Keeping Up With Mrs. Smith

When a perfectionist moves into a fixer-upper…


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Old-Fashioned Apricot-Pineapple Jam

The autumn-lover in me never has a hard time saying goodbye to summer.

The jam-lover in me, however, gives a long, backward glance to those summer mornings spent in a steamy kitchen canning up batches of jams and jellies.

So what better way to say goodbye to summer than with a recipe for my most favorite jam?


I was very blessed to have a Momma that made apricot-pineapple jam for us kids.  And no matter how much she made, we always seemed to run out by Christmas.  It was heaven in a jar.  

Though Momma used pectin in her recipe, I prefer to go commando.  Or…whatever the term is for going without pectin.

As for the fruit, choose perfectly ripened, ready-to-eat fruit; no underripe or mushy stuff here.

Old-Fashioned Apricot-Pineapple Jam (no pectin)

You will need:

*5 lbs ripe apricots, halved and seeded

*1-1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced

*1-3/4 cup sugar

*3 Tablespoons fresh lemon…

Canning Tomatoes & Salsa

Mr. Smith and I were very spoiled this summer by our productive tomato plants.  It’s actually a miracle that they survived at all considering the three late freezes we had in April.


Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end so why not prolong the existence of those precious fruits with some canning?


In the meantime, so long garden-fresh salads.  See you next summer…..


Canning Tomatoes

Step 1: Sterilize jars.

Canning tomatoes requires utmost care due to the high risk of botulism.  The best way to avoid this nasty bug is to use clean, sterilized jars.

You can sterilize your jars by placing them in the dishwasher on the steam cycle or you can place them in a clean, sterilized sink full of boiling hot water.  For extra precaution, I stir in a teaspoon of bleach to the water before adding my jars and bands.

Cook’s Note: Do not add the lids to the bleach…

Keeping A Brave Heart

Three years ago, we rolled up our sleeves and jumped head first into a mess of a house.  As a way to cope, I created this blog and have lurve-lurve-lurved all the connections and possibilities it has opened.

Now it is time to roll my sleeves up again and try-try-try to get my new site which I am calling “Keeping Up with Mrs. Smith” up and running.

A new site??

Yes.  A new site with the capacity for even more possibilities!


But like most things in life, this transition has been…tricky.

A lot has gone wrong.

Stuff hasn’t worked.

Cursing and screaming have ensued.

For 7 months I have tried and failed and tried and failed again to get this new site up.

But I guess 7 months is not long compared to the 3 years [and more to come!] of blood, sweat, tears, penny-pinching and overall suffering we have already put into home ownership!

In short, this…

A Clyde Woman in Vegas

I’ve never liked Las Vegas, and I despise road trips.

So feel free to laugh when I tell you that I just got back from a 2,130-mile round-trip drive to Sin City.

Las Vegas has never been on my list of places to visit.  In fact, I’d rather go to a rodeo than go to Vegas.


I take that back.

I really hate rodeos.

Anyway, deserts and gambling and overall mayhem have never been my cup of tea.  So when my friend Colleen asked me to accompany her to a Lambeth cake conference at a Vegas resort, I really had to think hard about it.  In the end, it was Mr. Smith who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and go.

And though I never tried a slot machine or even visited the Strip for that matter, this trip opened my eyes to just how BIG the world is and just how…

Fried Green Tomatoes Revisited

Sometimes I don’t get things right the first time…

Last summer, I shared a recipe for fried green tomatoes with you, but the step-by-step photos did not do the dish justice.  Fortunately, I don’t mind trying a recipe again–especially if it means I get to eat it again!  And since the garden is exploding with big green tomatoes, what better time to offer a lighter, brighter, more vivid version of this crispy treat?  :-)

Flavorful Fried Green Tomatoes


I’ve ordered fried green tomatoes a couple times at, believe it or not, more upscale restaurants, and though they were delightfully crispy, they were a bit on the bland side.


Garlic powder and a final sprinkling of kosher salt is all you need for a flavorful batch of fried green tomatoes.

(But a little dollop of dilly dipping sauce couldn’t hurt, either.)



Wash and core 4 large green tomatoes.  Slice 1/2″ thick.

Next, set up your…

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