The Craft Project

A Castle of Cans

So I suffered a crushing disappointment yesterday: I was signed up to run the Yukon Trail Marathon Half Marathon and exactly 12 hours before the race started my knee failed me.  This wasn’t entirely unexpected – my knee was boken when I was younger (a word of advice – if you are ever tempted to try and outrun a train doubling on the back of a friend’s bike, don’t do it – when your knee takes on a railway track your knee will always lose…and of course then there’s the issue of the speeding train bearing down on you) and then it suffered a monumental list of injuries (who knew hurdles, freestyle skiing, and rugby could have such a negative influence on your joints).  Anyways I have been in physiotherapy every single year for the last 13 consecutive years – and believe me – I’m really tired of it.

So having my knee act up wasn’t entirely surprising, although it was disappointing.  If you are one of those people that think running is a stupid idea in the first place (like my husband), you won’t see being saved from 20 km in 24 degree heat as much of a loss.  And if you are among the logical thinkers of the world, you will point out that by choosing not to run yesterday I will be able to recover rapidly and take part in the other events I want to do this year, including the Klondike Road Relay and the Victoria Half Marathon.  Those of you currently pursuing one of these two lines of thought are clearly no where near as stubborn as I am.

I am really stubborn and I hate to back down from something I’ve sent my mind to – even if it is something as inconsequential as 20 km in the woods.  So I was upset when after doing my warm-up run (yes – I am stubborn enough to have still warmed-up while limping, just in case some miraculous pain reversal occured) and having to acknowledge that I needed to walk home instead of lining up on the start line.

When I got home I pouted on the couch with my teddy bear Field, but as I’ve probably mentioned at some point before, I’m terrible at sitting still, so after about half an hour I needed to do something.  The answer turned into a very large something – 26 jars of pineapple mango salsa (Tyler’s favourite) and 15 jars of tomato sauce.  All of the time in the kitchen lifted my spirits -not only was I accomplishing something (even if that something was the antithesis of running) but I got to feel vindicated about my buying $40 of tomatos (2 cases) from Superstore the other day (the clerk had thrown every ounce of sarcasm at me she could muster with the words “you do realise you are buying $40 of tomatoes don’t you?”).

And today after they had cooled I got to spent a very happy few minutes building them into a castle of sorts on my dining room table – well at least until Tyler came into the room, caught me, and “suggested” that I deconstruct my budding materpiece (something about not wanting a days worth of canning smashing on the dining room floor).  He took a picture of me before asking me very kindly to organize my cans in a more adult-like fashion (I contend I am clearly not an adult – but that’s a whole different can of worms).

Castle of Cans

My castle of cans

Anyways I thought I should share the yummy recipes with you, in case you to have had a rough day and need some quality time in the kitchen to get you smiling again:

Pineapple Mango Salsa

12 cups of chopped tomatoes

1 package of Bernardin Salsa Mix (you can find it pretty much anywhere canning supplies are sold – I get mine at Canadian Tire)

0.5 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 pineapple, chopped

2 ripe mangoes, chopped

Makes approximately six 500 ml jars

Combine tomatoes, pineapple, mango, vinegar, and salsa mix in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Ladle salsa into hot jars and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

Tomato Sauce

20 cups of pureed tomatoes

2.5 cups of finely chopped onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1.5 tsp dried oregano leaves

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

0.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

bottled lemon juice

Makes approximately seven 500 ml jars

Combined tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and sugar in a large ssaucepan.  Stirring occassionally, bring to a boil.  Boil for about 2 hours.  Place 4 tsp of lemon juice in each hot jar, before ladling in the tomato sauce.  Process in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes.


  1. Jeanne Haessler

    High fives on your awesome productivity and that pineapple mango sauce recipe is making my mouth water. I think you subscribe to the same mantra I do: “growing older does not mean growing up”. Maturity really is deadly boring. 😉 And I can say that at 58!

    My sister in law just ran in the Boston Marathon and I salute you and her for doing so. Due to injuries and health stuff I can’t run at all but I love watching it and imagining what it must feel like. Hope your knee heals up soon. I must say all that preserving was a great way to make lemonade from lemons. Bravo!

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