Thursday, January 28, 2010


Carrots are February's can jam thingie!!

At least it's not something else that will rot my teeth out. And I'm hoping for some spicy pickle with cauliflower thing. If DD doesn't do one like that I may be forced to do one myself.

I'm really looking forward to about half a dozen jars filled with hot spicy vegatables.... must be too much marmalade in my system right now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can Jam - Citrus - Orange Lime Marmalade

I have been so excited about the can jam that it has thrown me into a whirlwind of activity.  I have been canning up a storm lately!  While it may seem a boring choice I decided on a marmalade, I have only tried marmalade once or twice and really didn't like it.  Of course I was trying the little retangular packets you find in your local breakfast place so I reasoned, if I make my own, surely I will like it better.  Wow, the difference was amazing.  While I will always be a "berry" jam kind of gal, I can definitely say I like marmalade.  I wanted to try something different so Woodman suggested an Orange Lime Marmalade, I had tons of citrus so I tried the Orange Lime as well as a Citrus Marmalade which included Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit and Clementines - it was great!  Woodman liked the Orange Lime better so that is what we are posting.

Orange Lime Marmalade
3 lbs oranges
3 Limes
6 cups water

Peel the oranges and limes.  Chop the orange peel, discard the most of the lime peel (the recipe from "The New Preserves" said all but I put some in anyway).  Measure 4 cups of orange peel into a saucepan, roughly chop the orange and lime removing as much of the membranes as possible as well as any seeds and add to the saucepan along with the water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Refrigerate overnight.  The next day measure the puree and add 1 cup of sugar per cup of puree into a saucepan.  Stir until sugar is dissolved then rapidly heat to a boil until gelling point.  Pour into hot jars and process for 10 minutes.  About 5 12 oz jars.

This turned out delish and beautiful - the first day I did not boil long enough so it was too runny - I ended up having to open them all and reprocess.  Be patient!  I hadn't made jam or jelly since the summer and got a little excited so I became impatient and paid the price.

 I hope everyone enjoyed the can jam as much as I did!  Can't wait to see what is on for next month!

Oh and by the way, I didn't really discard the lime peel - I candied it and it was yummy!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Someone says "I make my own yogurt and granola, and can fruits and vegetables from my own garden" and most of the people I know are expecting someone who has a liberal political leaning. I've read quite a few blogs lately that can't imagine someone wanting to do these things without being motivated by "liberal" causes.

I can't say that I've ever thought of myself as a liberal. Or a democrat, or a Greenie, or whatever you want to call it. I'm pretty conservative, in an old school small government kind of way. Libertarian if it wasn't just throwing my vote away, and if they'd stop coming up with ideas like privately owned and operated highways.

The appeal of living out in the middle of nowhere and producing 90% of what I consume is extremely appealing, but I have no idea why this appears to be a "liberal's" dream.

I think by forcing people to choose one camp or another we end up creating enemies out of friends.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Domestic Frenzy

It is another weekend and I have been very busy. Sometimes I think I need to go to work on Monday just to relax! Of course I really love this kind of work. This weekend I worked on my can jam entry. I have never done anything with citrus so this has been an adventure but I will save most of that for next week for my "official" entry. Right now I am going to talk about all the other things I have done and hopefully I can get Woodman to post some picture. I have sliced, peeled and chopped my way into a blissful coma this weekend. Yesterday I started with the marmalades. I tried two different types and am not sure which one we will use for the can jam. I had never made a marmalade so the sitting time gave me a long rest.

So, did I rest?

Really, you obviously don't know me yet. When I was done with the first boil and prep, I moved on to the Thai pears I talked about before - they were very yummy but I think I will use more lemon next time and maybe a little less ginger.

Next up, in my search before the holidays of sites through Tigress (my favorite site right now) I found a recipe for citrus peels that looked really good so I have been having the sprouts save their peels and thought I would candy them along with the left over marmalade scraps. These turned out terrific and if you are interested, the recipe is here.

Then last night I finished and canned the marmalades and we had a sampling of both for breakfast today. Pretty yummy!

With all this activity, you would think I would be done. But no, much like the energizer bunny, I just had to keep going. Today, I decided to make some yogurt, I'll have to let you know how that turns out because I have never tried it before. My final domestic task, wine jelly. Never heard of it? Me either but I had a bottle of wine (actually two partial) that were sitting here and we just weren't going to drink them. I hate for anything to go to waste so I had to find something to do with it. They are in the water bath as I type, again, I will have to let you know on this one but I did lick the spoon while I was cleaning up and I think I'm gonna like this.

Well, that was it for this weekend, and it is only 3pm on Sunday, surely I can find something else to get in to???


Don't eat the marmalade before the sugar goes in.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Insects and Rodents

This morning, at about 6:55 AM I awoke to a scream and a door slam. Looking for my wife in bed I realized two things... one; if I have to look around in the bed to see if someone is there I'm still not awake, and two; DD wasn't there. I run my butt downstairs half dressed to see if she was ok. I see canning supplies out on the counters and citrus debris

Ok, time out. My daughter just ran up when I was typing this and was jumping up and down yelling " I gotta go poopie!!". So, as parents we tell her to go poopie, since if we don't she just keeps standing there telling us she has to go. The bathroom is about 5 feet from me and she's in there doing her thing and singing to herself when all of a sudden she yell's "I'm done poopie!!" (Another tradition) then passes gas... Which causes the most evil chuckle to come from her and she says "I just farted!".... That's my daughter.

Ok, so the kitchen is in full canning mode, my wife is boiling citrus acting like nothing happened. Turns out that she went into the garage to find a pot and saw THEM running around.

This past fall we made the mistake of leaving a bag of bird seed laying out, our house is in a subdivision surrounded by farmfields... therefore "Those things" got in our garage. DD is petrified of THEM and can't even watch Flushed Away without shuddering a couple times. I think Ratatouie will take an act of Congress.

I, on the other hand have a irrational fear of something much more reasonable. Bugs. Just the icky ones, I don't exactly run screaming from gnats or anything. But if something with too many legs and too many antennae gets in the wrong place I freak.

The interesting part, and I'm sure you were all wondering if there was an interesting part, is the difference between DD's and my irrational fears. Not the subject matter, but the way that fear is expressed. I don't mind a bug on TV, or crawling somewhere, in fact; if I can be sure it won't jump up and eat my face off I'll get up close and personal. But on my terms. With DD, going out to the garage now is an act of extreme courage, the thought of one of THEM peeking at her spooks her. She hates them in cages at the store, she hates them on TV. She hates gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and really small children (ok not children).

Is the difference in our reactions due to how common bugs are compared to Those Things? If I had the same reaction to bugs that she has could I even operate? If we lived on a farm would her reaction tone down after exposure? I know nothing of how or why these things are.

Now, my wife is tough as nails (She's a brown belt in Judo, I don't think they give those away at Chuckie Cheese) and if she had to deal with Them I'm sure she could. The initial reaction is usually as much surprise as anything else, it's kind of like being scared by Jason in a Friday the 13th movie; you know he's there it's just a matter of him jumping out. I don't think I could operate in bug filled conditions as well as she could in the garage. When I was in the military they didn't bug (See what I did there?) me as much since I was usually in their house, not them in mine.

I hear there will be a pre can jam citrus post today.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow and Fire

Ok, it's things like this that made me pick the name for the blog....

I have a desk that is not right by a window, but if I lean back a bit I have a clear view of one about 15 feet away right by the copier. All day yesterday I saw people go up to pick up something from the copier and get stuck staring out at the snow falling. A couple of them for several minutes.

I did it a couple times myself when I went to go get coffee. I do the same thing with camp fires or fires in our fireplace. I get lost trying to make order out of it, there is just enough order to think that it's organized, but then a swirl of wind comes by and it's all gone. Some people I've talked to have said it's because it's beautiful... I think there is something to be said about the chaos and order and patternless patterns.

But, maybe that's just the way my head works. I agree that it's beautiful; I'm just not sure if that explains the almost hypnotic qualities of snowfalls and fires. Every second you look at it it's renewed.

Dunno, this post sounded better in my head though.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Busy Weekend

I was a domestic goddess this weekend. No really, it is true. The can jam has gotten me in the mood to create. This weekend (remember, it was a long weekend) I made onions pickled pink which I already blogged about, dill pickles, sauerkraut which will take a few more days and then I turned to our other passion. Cooking and freezing meals. Woodman and I found some great deals at the grocery store Saturday morning so it was time to restock the freezer. Not a huge restocking but definitely filling in the gaps. Our local grocery store has great manager's specials which we like to take advantage of. Saturday seems to be the morning. This week we bought 9 pounds of ground beef which became sloppy joes for two meals and 156 precooked meatballs - yes I did say 156! These will last us quite a while and are great for popping in sauce for pasta, meatball sandwiches, meatball stew and many other items. We also bought two whole pork tenderloins - had one sliced for grilling and divided the other into two roasts for meals. One will be a roast with gingersnap gravy and the other will be pork goulash. Lastly, we found a marked down pack of chicken which made chicken pad thai on Saturday for company and will make a nice chicken pot pie later this week. I spent less than $40 on the meat and will have many meals out of this. I love saving money and being prepared for the weeks ahead!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day

The can jam has begun!!!! I am so darn excited I can hardly stand myself - and Woodman is probably tired of hearing about it already. I can't tell you how many times in the past week I have wondered aloud what it will be. I was prepped and ready to go and now the day has arrived. What pray tell am I so excited about - CITRUS! Yes, citrus is the name of the game and so many various recipes are floating through my head. I have oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes in my house - dare I put them all together, surely not but we will see what I decide. I will be keeping you posted.

To get my domestic vibe going, I decided to make a couple other items this weekend. I have started with the Onions Pickled Pink found here - these are the greatest onions ever. Seriously, I think Tigress may be my new hero. I thought I would really like these onions, but no, I LOVE these things!!!! Woodman has provided pics below but let me tell you, these babies are delicious.

(Woodman here, due to issues with using two different editors to produce this post the pictures are kind of wonky, so they are behind the break)