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  • Got up at 7:30 this morning and have been on the go ever since. Got the laundry started, guided my wife through her workout (she is recovering very nicely from the knee replacement, by the way), made breakfast (eggs, roast beef slices and sharp cheddar cheese slices on everything bagels with just a hint of mustard), then took the time to eat and read my Bible a bit (still on Romans, working on the next posts in the series).

    Breakfast complete and about time to check the laundry, so took my timer with me and changed the load from washer to dryer and started the next load, then into my exercise room with a 20 minute “run” on the Gazelle (today is an aerobic day, tomorrow is a day off...I take one a week). When that was finished, back up the stairs to the kitchen to begin one of two canning projects, the hot pickled cauliflower.

    Now, if you have never pickled before, and this is my first time, by the way, it helps to have your pots already on the stove so you can see how much room you will have to work. The recipe for the cauliflower was the easiest of the two, so I jumped right in breaking up the two heads from my garden into florets and blanching them for about 3 minutes in boiling water with pickling salt. Once they were done, I drained them and set them aside. Meanwhile I had three quart Mason jars sterilizing in the large aluminum pot purchased specifically for this task.

    As the cauliflower cooled, it was time to check the dryer and retrieve the bedding, change the load from the washer to the dryer, put another load in the washer, take the bedding upstairs and remake the beds, then return to the kitchen to thinly slice two medium onions and add them to another pot containing 1 quart of vinegar, 2 cups of sugar, and a copious amount of red pepper flakes (more than the recipe calls for, but I like my pickled stuff spicy). Once this was at a boil, I used tongs to place some florets of cauliflower and some of the boiled onion in the three quart jars, leaving about ½ inch of clearance between the top of the jar and the contents. I placed a top on each jar, then lightly screwed down the lids and placed them back in the boiling water of the aluminum pot to process, then removed them to a towel alongside the pot on the counter and allowed them to cool.

    Now mind you, this is the first time I have ever canned anything. One of the three lids didn't seal, so that jar is sitting in the back of the refrigerator. The other two are now occupying a spot on a shelf in my basement so they can mellow for at least 4 weeks in a “cool, dark place.”

    My second canning project was Green Tomato Salsa, and this was a project and a half. But it was now time to check the second load of laundry and remove it from the dryer (towels this time), place the washer load (whites) in the dryer, and get the next load started. After that was completed, I made a quick lunch for us, ripe avocados and raw carrots and celery with a bit of ranch dipping sauce. I used a bit of Tabasco on my avocado, she likes hers plain.

    Once that was done and the towels from the kitchen area and the upstairs bathroom put away, I returned to the kitchen and placed 5 quart jars in the aluminum pot to sterilize while I chopped 5 pounds of green tomatoes, to which I added 4 yellow and 2 red onions, 5 jalapenos with seeds, 4 bell peppers (one each of red, yellow, orange, and green), ¼ cup of minced garlic, 1 cup of freshly chopped cilantro, 1 cup of lime juice, ½ cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, ½ tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano leaves, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

    I placed this mixture into 2 #8 cast iron kettles and brought them to a boil, then let them simmer for 35 minutes while I went down to the basement and removed and folded the whites, placed the colored clothing from the washer into the dryer, started the final load of permanent press items, and returned to the kitchen after having sorted the dryer load I had just removed to ladle the contents of the two pots into the now sterile quart jars (I ended up only needing four of them five, so I now have a very clean fifth jar), placing their lids on them, and returning them to the boiling water to process for 15 minutes.

    The jars are sitting on the counter now, the lids all having sealed as they should have. So, for my first time canning, I got six out of seven right, and the seventh will be enjoyed by me after sitting in my refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Not bad. Not bad at all.

    Oh, just to let you know, I am one of those cooks who cleans as they go. Before I decided to write this all down, my kitchen is clear of dishes, all the items are put away, my stove is clean and so is my kitchen floor.

    Taking a break to go check that last load of back soon.

    I'm back. The laundry is finished, all of the clothing either hung up or sorted into their appropriate drawers, and in approximately 30 minutes it will be time to guide my wife through her second exercise routine of the day, then begin dinner.

    Cabbage casserole tonight, a new recipe my daughter just shared on facebook I want to try. The cabbage and tomatoes will be out of my garden, of course, and the other ingredients will enhance them if that is possible. I took the time to lay out the ingredients, thaw the meat in the microwave (in butcher's paper, by the way, no plastic of any sort in my microwave) and chop the onion for stage one of the process. The brown rice is in the steamer as well. Soon I will be sauteing onions and garlic and adding tomatoes and seasonings to the meat, lightly cooking the cabbage, and preparing to bake it into a meal the gods of Olympus would be happy to share.

    The exercise routine, for the curious among you, goes like this. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I do 3 sets of 10 reps bench press with 90 pounds (up from 70 two weeks ago), 3 sets of 10 reps leg extensions with 50 pounds, 3 sets of 10 reps bicep curls with 20 pounds dumbbells, 3 sets of 10 reps seated rowing with 50 pounds, 3 sets of 10 reps shoulder flyes with 8 pound dumbbells (lighter weight because I have lost all of the cartilage in my left shoulder and about half in my right shoulder), 180 abdominal exercises, including 3 sets of 10 kneeling roll outs with an exercise wheel, 100 seated vertical crunches with an exercise ball, and 50 situps on the same. To polish it off, I spend 10 minutes on the exercise bike at a steady pace.

    Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I spend aerobic time on the Gazelle. Beginning Tuesday, it will be a full session of 30 minutes on those days.

    I am down to 205 pounds, and feeling a whole lot better. Who knows, I might even make it to a weight the doctors would like to see (185) but I am not holding my breath on that one. In fact, I haven't weighed less than 195 since high school and am very comfortable at that weight.

    Got to run. Want to get this posted and get Sandra started on her workout before getting to dinner.

    Pretty productive day, I'd say.

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