Pick(le) your battles

(Source)

What do you do when the heat index for your town is 117 degrees?

Run seven miles and then stand over a boiling stove experimenting with a new recipe, of course.

Let me preface this by saying I woke up in a bad mood.

My stomach was the size of a small watermelon and I have been gluten, soy, and egg free for about a month now. I even went dairy free for two weeks. I’ve had it. Nothing is helping.

So I took my bad mood to the treadmill and tried to forget how annoying my digestive system is.

Before I ran, I needed a little fuel so I finished up a jar of blueberry jam.

If you had blueberry jam that tasted like pie, you would eat it straight out of the jar too.

Um, that was tasty. Let me just finish up that strawberry jam.

What? I'm cleaning out the fridge. It's fruit and sugar people. Don't judge me.

Ok, so now I’m ready to run. Indoors. I don’t even want to leave the house in this heat.

But first, I need a little good trashy television to get me motivated.

Thanks, Tabitha’s Salon Takeover for getting me through my longest run ever!

I didn’t plan on running seven miles but I was kind of captivated with the idea of seeing those numbers on the little, flashy treadmill screen.

I don’t think I even ran seven miles during my entire middle school track career. As a sprinter, I tried to pick events with the shortest distance so I could get the whole running thing over with in the least amount of time. I hated running thatmuch.

But for the first time I was finally in the “zone.” Even though that’s the longest distance I’ve ever ran, I felt great doing it. Plus, I got to catch up on much-needed reality tv.

After sweating enough to fill one of those plastic kiddie pools, I decided to hit the shower so I could get sweaty all over again while standing over a hot stove.

I just had to try to recreate a recipe I saw at the Amish market.

I bet you’re wondering what that is.

Here’s a hint.

Uh huh. Cinnamon pickles.

I said, cinnamon pickles.

Are the Amish wearing their bonnets to tight these day or something?

Why in the world would you ever combine pickles and cinnamon?

Because it’s amazing.

It was crisper than a Vlasic with just a hint of heat from the cinnamon. There was something unique about it and I instantly fell in love. When my Mom researched the recipe, I found out why. It’s coated in sugary goodness from cinnamon candies!

It took me two full weeks before I could find pickling spice, but when I finally did, I was ready for a pickling party.

I carefully read the directions.

And then disregarded them. We would do this my way.

I peeled and seeded the cucumber, then sliced it into strips.

Then I set to unwrapping what amounted to 3/4 lb. cinnamon candies.

Not red hots! Although, that could be an experiment for another day.

Then I did (sort of) follow the directions a little while I combined the pickling spice, vinegar, and water. I left out the sugar it called since I was using the candies.

Things got a little sticky waiting for the candy to melt.

But it finally did.

I gave it a little taste test.

Holy blech!

I added another cup each of water and sugar. Ah, sweetness has been restored.

After packing my cukes in my favorite all-purpose containers (mason jars),

I poured the pickling liquid over them. I only had two jars worth of cucumbers so I had about four cups of pickling liquid leftover.

The Amish pickles were a much more vibrant shade of red, but I opted not to use extra food coloring because I think it’s pretty unnecessary.  Orang-ish cinnamon pickles it is then.

Cinnamon Pickles

 10 pickling cucumbers

1 pkg. pickling spice

1 1/2 cups vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup sugar

3/4 lb. cinnamon candies

Peel, seed, and slice cucumbers into thin strips. Pack into mason jars. In a saucepan, combine pickling spice, vinegar, water, and sugar. Heat and add cinnamon candies until completely dissolved. Pour liquid mixture into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Follow canning instructions to process.

They were ready to taste test after 24 hours. I was sad that they weren’t as crisp as their Amish counterparts, but I have my own frugality to blame. I used whole cucumbers (not pickling cucumbers ) from the garden that were starting to go a little soft. They tasted incredible but the texture just wasn’t what I was hoping for. The lesson? Go ahead and impress your friends with this recipe but make sure you use fresh pickling cucumbers.

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