Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Shopping With My Dad

I haven't left my house since two days before Thanksgiving. I didn't go shopping on Black Friday, and didn't go out Saturday or today. I have baked, cooked, washed countless batches of dirty dishes, fed the animals, started decorating the house for Christmas, and even done a little cleaning. I have visited with my family, had my dad, sister, niece, and nephew over for leftovers, but I have not left the house. It's been very nice; five (5) whole days, just here, not going anywhere. But tomorrow, it's back to normal. Even more than that, after work I will be taking my dad to Walmart to go Christmas shopping. It'll be great, just him, me, and a few hundred of our closest friends all at Walmart at the same time. A father-daughter bonding trip! I love my dad. He's the self-proclaimed, "Resident Curmudgeon." And he's right. He really is. He doesn't want to go Christmas shopping. Not with me, or anybody else. But I told him he could do this, and then softened the blow by telling him maybe he could take me out to dinner afterwards, or maybe before! He loves taking his kids out to dinner, and I knew he would agree to that! So tomorrow, after work, I'm driving to my dad's, and we are going Christmas shopping together, at Walmart. Maybe he will take advantage of the little scooter things they have there?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it's the morning after Thanksgiving.... and I am still loving Thanksgiving. Today I am loving it in the form of leftovers. I had the breakfast of champions. A slice of apple pie and a roll with pomegranate jelly on one side, and mint jelly on the other side. I have started listening to Christmas music, and am trying to decide whether to make something else in the kitchen, or clear out my clean clothes in the bedroom so I can sew. What else could a person ask for? Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, and the day after!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day of Questions--

I don't know if I've ever had a sugar rush. Maybe I'm having one now. I made fudge from a recipe my sister gave me, and then caramel corn and sugared nuts, both from Buns in my oven website. They were all really good. Yes, I gave lots away, but still, this afternoon my head is swimming. Ever had a day when there were just so many questions running amuck in your head that nothing else made sense? Yeah, that's today. Want a tour? Here's just a few:

  • What sort of things do I need to get now, a few days ahead of time for my Thanksgiving dinner?
  • What can wait until the day before, when I'm off work?
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why doesn't the game of football make more sense?
  • Should I make cranberry sauce now or later?
  • Do I have everything for cranberry sauce?
  • How much Martinelli's is too much?
  • Is there really such a thing as too much Martinelli's?
  • How many different pies should I make?
  • How many people are coming to dinner?
  • When should I clean out my frig?
  • Should I even bother cleaning out my frig?
  • Why do golf balls have so many dimples? Are they all used when we buy them and the dimples are where the other people have hit them?
  • Maybe golf balls aren't pumped up enough. If so, how do I pump up golf balls?
  • How much wood can I put in the woodstove before I get run out by my men?

So many questions. Does anybody have answers to any of them?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Feelin' Like Fall!

Fall is definitely here. One of the things I love about fall is the smells. The smell of the fire in the wood stove, and the crisp, clean air outside in the morning when I leave to go to work. This afternoon, I was having a nice time blowing leaves off the driveway. This time of year, I usually do it every other day or so. Unless I tell our youngest if he wants dinner, he can do it. But most of the time, I do it, because I don't mind.

So there I was, blowing leaves, smelling the fall smells, just enjoying working outside, and being by myself doing outdoorsy things. I love outdoorsy things. All of a sudden, my perfect Zen moment was interrupted by the most ...... oh, I don't have words to describe it. It was bad, let me tell you. Of course, I had to figure out what was causing it. Didn't take me long, and this is what I found:

Can you tell what that is? I'm real nice, or else I would give you the blown up picture. That's a very big, very fresh, dog poop, almost perfectly on top of a nice tree stump that is going to become yard art. My hubby brought that home to me after one of his many hunting trips. He's always thinking about me. What a guy! But, I digress. Our big goof of a dog backed up to my beautiful stump, and deposited some art of his own. We have 2 1/2 acres for him to do his job, and he picks my yard art. Yeah.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pomegranate Jelly

I have been looking at 2 big containers of pomegranates on my kitchen counter for almost a week now. Here's one of them.

I got out all my stuff, and got to work. The thing is, the classroom that I work in usually gives gifts to all the staff members of the whole school (yea, the whole school!) that have been helpful to us during the year. That adds up to about 50 people. We had been talking about what to do this year, and a great idea was to make pomegranate jelly. I'm the only one that does that sort of thing. I also have a real hard time saying no. Put those two things together, and that's what I did this weekend. I could have done it at school, but that didn't make too much sense, because depending on the day at school, it can be difficult working in the kitchen for an extended amount of time. Anyway, I got started. I juiced them. I used my trusty, old, cracked, hand juicer. I love it. Can you tell? We go way back.

Pomegranates are messy. Really messy. I cleaned up alot.

Jelly is basically simple to make. All it is? Juice, sugar, and pectin. Pour in the juice. Isn't it beautiful?

I decided that since I needed to make so much jelly, and I didn't know if I would have enough pomegranate juice, I would make pomegranate/apple jelly. I poured in the apple juice. (store bought, plain ol' 100% juice)

Heat it up, and stir in a little sugar, pectin, and just about 1 teaspoon butter. That's to keep the foam from taking over later. Take my word for it. You need it, and the taste is not noticeable.
Let it come up to a hard boil and add the rest of the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Keep a close eye on it until it comes back up to a hard boil, and then boil for 2 minutes.

Take it off the stove, let it sit for a minute or two, skim the little layer of foam off, pour it into jars, and process for 5 minutes. Voila! Pomegranate jelly.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Saturday!

This morning I woke up and the sun was shining. The start to a great day! On the list of things to do today? I'm making pomegranate jelly. Everything's ready, and most important? I'm barefoot, in my jammie pants, an old t-shirt, and I've put on the music. Loud! More later. With pictures. Oh, I love Saturdays!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apples, Apples, Apples!

We have this apple tree. Actually, we have more, but just one produced enough to do anything with. Last week I convinced my youngest child that he wanted to help me finish picking the tree. He's much taller than I am, and it all made perfect sense to me.....teenage child, very tall, lives at home, eats at home......well, you get the picture. Anyway, I had about 3-4 big boxes of apples on the kitchen counter. I made applesauce. Boy, did I make applesauce! Thank heavens for my really cool Victorio Strainer. Before I had this thing, I would never attempt to make much applesauce. But not now. All I have to do is cut them in quarters, cut out any buggy parts, cook them down a little, and run them through the strainer.

I got my jars all set up to can the applesauce. I ended up taking more than one day to do all this, because I started after I came home from work. I made a bunch one evening, and then the next day put the whole batch in the electric roaster to warm it up before I put it in jars to can.

A family can only eat so much applesauce, right? I still had some apples left over, so I made apple butter. Here it is, cooking down and smelling really good.

Oh, yum. Here's a few jars of the finished product. I can't wait to open up a jar and use it on toast, or in recipes! Next on the list to make? Pomegranate jelly! I LOVE fall!