Author Archives: sarahskitchensink

About sarahskitchensink

Thirty year old who lives in Alabama but is still a St. Louis girl at heart. Paleo by necessity. Cook by happenstance. Gardener out of curiosity. Crochet enthusiast by choice!

Thank the Lord for Clamp Lid Jars

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Back in August and September of last year I began doing research on healing oneself with diet. Although I ate gluten-free as a result of a diagnosed sensitivity to wheat, my body had begun to exhibit the same symptoms as back when I did eat wheat. After much research, I chose to try a Whole 30 (as well as eliminating nightshades) starting October 1st. As suspect as it sounds, it was life changing. Almost all of the symptoms that led me to the Whole 30 disappeared over the course of that month. Additionally, I was able to ditch both my daily allergy meds and the over-the-counter sleep aid that had helped me get mediocre sleep at best.

After the 30 days I began the reintroduction protocol and quickly learned that I was not going to be able to add many foods back into my diet. In fact, over the next few months I discovered that I needed to eliminate even more. That’s when I came across the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and learned about things like leaky gut and that you can actually heal a leaky gut if you will take the time and make the dedication necessary.

This brings me to the clamp lid jars.

One of the things that is highly recommended for those who need to heal their gut is the consumption of fermented foods. As a child I lived in Germany for five years, so I grew up loving sauerkraut. But what you find in most stores is pasteurized and therefore lacking in all of the probiotics that are so healthy for you.

I came to the conclusion that I needed to try and make my own, so I pulled up Google and began looking for how to make sauerkraut. It didn’t sound that difficult to make, so I went out and got the ingredients and prepared my first batch. After a few days of fermenting it was pretty darn ugly. The cabbage had worked its way out from under the weight I had holding it under the brining solution and begun to mold.

The experience and failure were enough that I decided to just buy the expensive, semi-pasteurized version of sauerkraut that the local health food store carried. This went on for months until by chance I came across the idea of fermenting in clamp-lid jars. The method doesn’t even require a weight! The lid seals out anything bad that might spoil your sauerkraut, while the rubber gasket allows for the excess gas to seep out. It sounded like the perfect solution and when I came across one such jar for a good price, I knew I had to give making sauerkraut another try. This is the recipe I used.

For three weeks I’d poke my head in the pantry (where I had set the jar) and check to see if it was bubbling, leaking, or growing anything unsavory. Then this past Monday, I finally got to open it up and there wasn’t any sign of mold. Not only that, but it was some of the best sauerkraut I’ve ever tasted!

Clamp Lid Jar Sauerkraut

In fact, we liked it so much, that I went out and purchased two more identical jars. We’ve got a second batch of sauerkraut fermenting and also decided to try lacto-fermenting okra. So far it looks like it’s going well, but we’ll see once we get to taste it.

If you’ve ever wanted to try fermenting or have tried it and failed, I urge you to try a clamp lid jar. What seemed like an insurmountable obstacle after my first attempt, became an easy task thanks to a lid and a clamp.

 

It Started with a Dishcloth

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The dishcloth actually came a little later in this tale.

About a week ago a friend and I were chatting via Skype. She shared a link to an image of the most adorable hoods for children. The various animal ear designs were darling and I couldn’t help but think, “I wish I knew how make these for my nieces and nephew.” When I mentioned this desire to another friend, she urged me to try crochet. I was reluctant. In the past I’d given knitting a try and to say it didn’t go well would be an understatement. I didn’t even manage to learn the first stitch!

Fast-forward to a whopping 12 hours later and I found myself in Walmart and straying from the grocery isles to the craft section. There I picked up an, “I Taught Myself to Crochet” kit and a ball of yarn. When I arrived home I pulled everything out and tried the first stitch. It wasn’t promising. I couldn’t even figure out how to make a slip knot!

Luckily, in the time since my failed attempt at learning to knit, I’ve become a connoisseur of YouTube. 😉

A quick search for slip knot tutorials and I was on my way. By the time I headed to bed that night–and with much tutoring from my very patient Skype buddy–I’d made my first dishcloth using chain stitches and single crochets.

The next afternoon, while I was relaxing after mowing the lawn, I thought I’d give it another try. What took me six hours the previous day only took me an hour and a half the second time. And the second dishcloth came out looking much better!

First Attempt on Right, Second Attempt on Left

First Attempt on Left, Second Attempt on Right

It’s all spiraled from there. I’ve learned the double crochet stitch, the half double crochet, the triple crochet and how to increase and decrease. I’ve made a grand total of 4 more projects, two of which I combined into a single item–I’ll share them later. Not bad for a hobby I thought might not even get off the ground! I’ve even already begun to plan a birthday present for my youngest niece who turns four next month.

Can you tell I’m hooked? Pun intended by the way. 😉

I’m currently on the hunt for fun beginner projects. If you’ve got an idea for me, please drop me a line in the comments section!

You know that old saying?

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“Everything but the kitchen sink.”

I think most of us have heard it said at least once. When I thought about starting this blog, I took some time to think about the various things I wanted to post about. I didn’t want to be one of those bloggers who locks themselves into a specific topic or genre and then feel that they must continue in that vein. I’ve been that blogger myself in the past and it can be stifling.

So here I am, kitchen sink and all! 😉

This summer has seen me take up several new and exciting hobbies. Vegetable gardening, woodworking (probably won’t be a regular thing), fermentation, and crochet. I’ve even had my fair share of handy(wo)man moments, such as installing a ceiling fan and replacing a garbage disposal. I also love to cook and play around with new recipes of the Paleo variety.

All in all, I just wanted a place to document what’s new. Experiments, successes, failures–the whole kit and caboodle.

Welcome. I hope you find something to interest you.